Bettie and Captain Jack - Athens, Georgia Horse Photographer

Of course, I had to photograph my mother and her horse while I was visiting Washington! There are so many things that I miss since I moved from Portland to Athens, Georgia, and my mom is one of them. This woman taught me so much about riding and got me in the saddle before I was even walking. We had lots of fun riding together over the years. For this shoot, we rode into the state park next to her co-op barn, so I got to ride my old mare Fatima, who is now 24 years old, and was my first bay Arabian mare. She took my giant camera bag in stride (though I had to have someone hand it to me as mounting with the extra 15 pounds from the ground was out of the question) and did a mostly fantastic job of not walking in front of my camera while I was shooting. It was so great to be riding her again.The desert is an amazing backdrop for epic photos. I have more to come... this is the first round.

Leslie and Jag - Athens, Georgia Equine Photographer

I went out to Tri-Cities, Washington to visit my mom while out on my adventures and had a photoshoot with the lovely Leslie and her handsome guy, Jag. In case you are wondering about the mist at sunset in the desert... It's not mist. It is smoke from nearby brush fires. The state has been battling fires for months. The Athens, Georgia area is lush and lovely, and has the best weather, but I do miss being so close to the desert, ocean and mountains, for all the incredible scenery makes for amazing backdrops for photo shoots.

Sanstrum Family - Athens, Georgia Family Photographer

The Sanstrums and I go back about 4 or 5 years. I met them when I was looking for someone to do a partial lease on Bella to help me keep her in shape. Their daughter, Madeline, hit it off with Bella and over the years, her sister also rode her a bit in 4-H. They gave Bella so much love, and Aleta knitted me so many things to keep me warm that I wanted to give something back, so I gifted them a shoot. The plan was for a family photo shoot, but I got a couple of Madeline with her new horse as well. It was so fun to hang out with them on the farm again while I was back in the Portland area, visiting from my new home in Athens!

Lacey and Her Horses - Athens Area Equine Photographer

Lacey's mom heard I was coming to town and contacted me to photograph her daughter and their three horses. Beautiful day, beautiful daughter, beautiful horses... What could be a better mix? The Medicine Hat Paint is her main show horse so we got plenty of photos of the two of them together. One of my goals as an equine photographer is to capture that special relationship between a rider and their primary horse. 

Something that I noticed while back visiting the West Coast, was how opposite the grass is over there. Here in the Athens area, the grass dies and turns yellow in the late fall/winter and is green all summer. But in Oregon, the grass turns yellow and dies in the hottest part of the year but stays green otherwise. In my mind, summer will forever mean golden fields. This golden field was a beautiful setting for an equine photo session, but we did have to move into the shade as the sun got higher.

Chabala Family Portraits - Athens Area Family Photographer

Summer Chabala and I worked extensively together in real estate. I did all of the photos and marketing for the team she worked on for about 5 years. As the team got busier, I trained her to take over some of my non-photographing duties.  We both left the team at about the same time, me to focus on building my real estate photography business, her, to go out on her own. I continued doing some work for her - mostly design oriented. When she heard I was coming back for a visit from my new home in the Athens, Georgia area, we scheduled a family shoot, and went out after for ice cream and to catch up. Seeing my old friends and clients was a highlight of my trip!

Lindsie Feathers - Athens, Georgia Band Photographer Visits West Coast

After having lived in Athens, Georgia for about a year, I went back to the West Coast to do some adventuring and shooting. Lindsie Feathers needed promo photos for her upcoming tour and just happened to be staying in my hometown. So I drove out to my hometown, Scappoose, about 40 miles from Portland, to photograph her. It was a "trip" making it back to my hometown on this trip! I loved working with Lindsey in this context. She had previously created a video of my band when we needed a promo video, so it was fun to be on the other side of the lens. As a musician myself, I love working with musicians and artists to create promo images that reflect the essence of their art!

Classic City Clydesdales of Bishop, Georgia - Georgia Horse Photographer

I recently photographed Classic City Clydesdales out in Bishop, Georgia for Southern Distinction Magazine (headquartered in Athens, Georgia). All outtakes are here, and I will add in the images that will be used in the magazine after the magazine is published in August. Enjoy these big, beautiful horses and the stunning property! UPDATE: I've added the images the publication used as well and will be posting a PDF of the entire piece as soon as I can get it!

Conyers, Georgia Horse Photographer - Images of the Good Horseman's June Dressage Show

I went to the Good Horseman's Show at the Georgia International Horse Show in Conyers, Georgia, just to practice horse show photography. And, of course, to see highly trained, beautiful horses prancing around an arena! I love watching (and doing) dressage. Even though these days I mainly ride Western, I trained my mare to be a Western Pleasure horse using basic dressage principles, because they work for any kind of training that requires flexibility, coordination and collection. Enjoy these lovely horses doing horse ballet!

Athens, Georgia Interior Photographer - New Work for Webber Coleman Woodwork

I got to do some interior photography recently, one of my favorite kinds of shoots. I usually would photograph a kitchen with the lights off, but after talking it over with the client, we decided lights on would be best - in part because the house was located inside a grove of trees with almost no natural light, and in part because the lighting was designed to accentuate the kitchen. I could tell from the rest of the house that this kitchen remodel really opened things up! We also photographed two of the bathrooms they had remodeled in the same house. I loved what Jessica Webber did with the staging!

Jennifer & Aussie - Athens, Georgia Equine Photographer

Congratulations to Jennifer for her winning bid on the certificate I donated to the University of Georgia Poultry Science Club! We had our shoot last week and it was a blast. Aussie is a funny horse - very obstinate - and Jennifer seems to be the only person who can get her to do whatever.  This lovely couple has been together for a number of years and they have done all kinds of fun things - shows, drill team, trail riding.  As a horse portrait photographer, I love capturing all of the quirks of a human-horse friendship!

The Story of My Fiddle + A Little Tune

In 4th grade I was taken to an after school thing where we got to play with musical instruments and pick one to learn. The adults asked "What do you want to play?"

I said, "I want to play the violin."

"We don't have a violin program," responded the adults, "you'll have to pick something else."

I picked the flute, but never got over my desire to play the violin. I love the sounds of the fiddle so much that I even dreamed, literally, like dreamed during my sleep, that I was playing it. But it always seemed so impossible. One day I was messing around with Michael's mandolin, and started playing along with a record. "Whoa," I said, "this makes so much sense." I continued playing the mandolin for the next few years and occasionally picked up another person's violin and made some game attempts to play. The bowing came fairly naturally, once I was shown how to do it, and since the mandolin and the violin are tuned the same, I could manage with the left hand.

One day, I decided to just go ahead and start playing the violin. I mentioned this to our fiddle player, and she loaned me a violin she had sitting around. I loved that fiddle, but since it wasn't mine, I had to give it back after a few months. I started looking around for a fiddle of my own, and remembered that when I had met my family on my dad's side while my grandmother was in the hospital, they had told me of a violin that had belonged to my great-grandfather, Tony Sneath, who had taught violin and piano lessons, played in an orchestra, and owned a piano store. It was tucked away in someone's attic, and had been since he had passed away the year of my birth.

I made some phone calls, and found that my cousin Liz, whose attic it was in, was delighted at the prospect that it would be played again. She met me the next day to give it to me.

After sitting for 30 years in the attic, it needed a little work. I took it to the fiddle doctor, and he quickly got it in working order. When I picked it up, I asked him to tell me what he could about it. 

"This violin is a mystery," he said. "I can't tell when it was made. In some ways it looks hand made. In others, it looks factory made. It has been repaired a number of times. There is a mark inside indicating that it went to auction at some point, and the tag inside was taken out of another violin. There is only one thing that I can tell you for sure."

"What is that?"

"Your great-grandfather loved this fiddle very much," he said, holding it in his hands and looking down upon it. 

Hog of the Forsaken is a song by Michael Hurley with a prominent fiddle line. I fell in love with the song on the back porch at Shady Grove, and decided to learn it on the fiddle. So I asked Michael Hurley to teach me. He showed me how, and then I played along with the record. I wanted to sing it, too, but it is in a most awkward key for me, hitting notes that are too low. So, I just jam on it instead. A little recording is below, so that my family can hear my great-grandfathers fiddle being played once again.

Giving Thanks for my Equestrian Life

Today I am giving thanks. I am so grateful for the role that horses have played in my life, and especially to my mom, who enabled me to ride throughout my life.

Thanks to my mom, who got me in the saddle before I was born by riding while she was pregnant with me. She taught me to ride, hauled me to lessons and 4-H practice and shows, bought me my pony, my first Arabian, and gave me the horse she bred out of her mare. When I was in college and couldn't afford a horse, she hauled her two horses to meet me in downtown Portland (and parallel parked a 4 horse slant) and pick me up to take me riding while she had drill team practice.

Thanks to Honey, the solid chestnut Appaloosa mare who was the first horse to teach me to ride when I was a toddler, and took such good care of me.

Thanks to Blue, my grulla Quarter Pony, who did whatever he wanted, pretty much when he wanted. He taught me how to convince an equine that it wants to do what I want to do. He taught me to get back on after falling off and made me a confident rider.

Thanks to Subiah, my first Arabian mare, whom I loved more dearly than anything in my early teens. She taught me how to train a horse and just how deep a friendship can be. She also taught me that sometimes you just have to say goodbye.

Thanks to Fatima, who taught me how to start a horse from scratch, how to safely handle and calm a nervous, high strung horse, how to keep my seat when the horse suddenly moves sideways, and most importantly, she taught me patience.

And last but certainly not least, thanks to Bella, pictured here, who has taught me that unshakable trust between a horse and rider will overcome fear any day. She taught me that the adoration between a horse and rider can be completely mutual. She gives me friendship and love every day, and has helped immensely to cure my depression. She has shown me that horses are incredibly intelligent animals, who know when they are in a dangerous situation and will be forever grateful if you help them out. I call her my angel pony and often wonder - did I save her, or did she save me?

These are not all of the horses I have ridden or leased, and am thankful also for each and every horse who made me a better rider, a better horsewoman, and a more patient, kind and thoughtful person.

What are you thankful for in your equestrian life?

2016-2017 Willamette Week Finder

The Willamette Week Finder was released a couple of weeks ago and I was very excited to get my copy in the mail yesterday! Why would I need a guide for Portland when I just moved to Georgia? Because a bunch of my photos are in it! Many of my street style images made it into specific neighborhoods, as well as many images of bars and food that I  shot over the last year or so. But my favorites were the full 2 page intro spreads to each quadrant. Some of my favorites are below.