Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Being True To Yourself

Whenever I begin a photography workshop I always start by  emphasizing what I believe to be the greatest single asset any photographer must possess. You can't steal it, you can't copy it, because it is a part of who you are.  It is your individual uniqueness and your ability to be true to yourself and your own vision.

Each one of us view the world differently. We have different likes and dislikes, from our taste in music to the food we eat. When we try to emulate other people's style we start to blend into the masses of photographers instead of standing out from the crowd. The process of creating a great photograph is not a trade secret kept under lock and key.  We just tend to overlook the creative process, the emotions that drive us and makes us want to pick up the camera in the first place. Now while there is a technical aspect to photography, what makes us tick is more important than what lens we use or whether or not we use a flash.

No matter what aspect of the photographic process we want to learn or master from using lighting to Photoshop blending modes, it is imperative to approach the creative process from an emotional view point more than a technical one.  Choices will have to be made, and choices that only you can make. So while getting inspiration from other photographers is great, let your vision speak loudly.  Get out of the box, experiment, have fun and let your artistic vision soar.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year Ringing in 2015

The New Year is here.  What are we going to do with it? What changes will we make? There are many hopes and desires we all have on this day.  For me it is also a day to be thankful for those that touched my life in 2014. 

2014 was incredible for me in many ways.  Tons of growth in both my personal and business life.  Tons of new friends and adventures. Today I want to showcase some of the faces of 2014 that were a blessing in my life.

Kate, you are amazing.  You are always gracious and kind.  You and your horses have filled my heart with so much joy and laughter.  I am very happy to call you my friend.

To the Wiedkamps; Katie, Heather and the entire family.  Your thoughtfulness, hospitality, and generousness are beyond compare.  Not to mention the big beautiful horses of yours are just plain outstanding.  Thank you for being apart 2014 and I am looking forward to 2015.

Ashley Morgan Rhodes, you are amazing, beautiful and a fantastic rider. You put your all into everything you do and it shows.  Thank you for a wonderful workshop and here's to another wonderful New Year.

Linda Kindle every horse is your barn is a testament to your incredible training skills.  It was wonderful meeting you and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Linda DeWilde-Petersen it was great seeing you again and meeting your wonderful Andalusian horses. Wishing you a absolutely wonderful New Year.

To all the cowboys and cowgirls that make each shoot spectacular and special, our heart felt thanks for all that you do. 

To all of the rest of you, a great big thank you as well. You are the ones that make what I do such a joy.  As 2015 moves forward I wish you all health, happiness and success in all that you do.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Incredible Mangalarga Marchador Horse

I was first drawn to this beautiful breed of horse by viewing photos of them on the internet. The desire to learn more about them and photograph them myself led me to contact one of the U.S. leading breeders Lynn Kelley of Summerwind Marchadors, Inc.  Lynn and her husband John helped found the US Mangalara Marchador Association or USMMA in 2005 and continue to be lifetime members. That chance meeting has turned into a ongoing friendship and business relationship which I treasure.

“This is, without a doubt, one of the most outstanding horse breeds in the world.”

The Marchador horse has a willing nature, sound gaits and athletic versatility.  Bred for years to be sound and square with big bones.  The added bonus is that they have that Iberian beauty and a soft  kind eye.

Lynn's breeding program tries to emulate the best breeding practices from Brazil. Lynn believes that strong genetics are the key to any breeding program.  Combining natural balance, gait, tractability in one harmonious pairing ensures a perfect foal every time. 

The Mangalarga Marchador stands between 14.2 and 16 hands, averaging 15 hands and weighs between 850 and 1100 pounds. Gray is prominent, but chestnuts, blacks, bays, buckskins, palominos and pinto horses may also be found. A versatile, sure-footed horse with plenty of cow sense as well as stamina, this breed holds the Guinness Book of World Records Endurance Ride of 8,694 miles in 1994.

Lynn was searching for the “perfect horse” when she picked the Marchador breed. "I found my mare, Bossa Nova de Miami. Every day since has confirmed my choice. Everything I read about the breed was true – especially their wonderful, kind disposition. The 200 years of breeding history shines through!" To learn more about these incredible horses please visit Lynn's website and

Every time I have photographed Lynn's incredible horses they get under my skin and reach into my soul even more than the time before.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Seeing With Your Eyes Closed

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
Helen Keller 

The Mane Attraction . . .

I always tend to find myself closing my eyes as I reach out to touch the horses I photograph, feeling their coats, theirs muzzles; even running my fingers through their manes.  When I step back and open my eyes that wonderful smell, that only true horse lovers can appreciate, engulfs me. I am ready. A sense of what I want to capture is there inside me now.  

When they gallop past me I feel their foot falls, hear their breath and feel their power and sense their intelligence, its undeniable.  Capturing the combined emotions horses bring out in me is the essence of what I do.  The viewer must be able to experience through my photography what I feel when I'm there; I want you to share in the adventure and be a part of the excitement.

Seeing with your eyes closed is essential. 

Missy ~ Arabian Mare . . .

"The horse moved like a dancer, which is not surprising. A horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music. ~ Mark Helprin

Andalusian Stallion  . . .

"Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to buy a horse. ~ Anonymous ~

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wild Horses of the World

Wild Horses of the World has been an ongoing project for the last year and will continue through much of 2014 and 2015; along with three other projects I will talk about in another post.  Wild Horses of the World is very near and dear to my heart and is yet packed with some of the most political turmoil of any subject I am documenting.  

Mustangs ~ Miles are left behind the drumming of hooves.

In addition to the main areas I photograph wild horses; Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, there were so many more that needed to be documented.  Not just in the United States but all over the world.  Soon trips to Nova Scotia, Mongolia and Portugal were in the works. Equine spirits from all over the world were calling my name.

The spirit and emotion that wild horses bring out in people, myself included, is incredible.  The may look and act like our beloved horses in the back yard; yet... they are so very different.  Once their gaze catches your eye, locks on and pulls you're hooked.  There is no turning back.

Stallions ~ fiercely protective, submissive and gentle all rolled into one.  The same stallion can seem like a totally different animal in the evening than he was in the morning. Their moods always changing, dictated no doubt, by surrounding stimulus. 

Triple Play 

Foals, their energy and joy we all wish we had in our daily lives.  Just going through the images I am choosing for the book makes me smile over and over again.  They give renewed hope for all the things I wish the world to be. 

And the mares, the beauty and brains behind the herd.  The family unit starts and ends here.

As "Wild Horses of the World" continues to unfold,  I hold the certainty in my heart that the images that follow will have tremendous impact on how we as a people decide what is important in the world and what is not.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Am Still Here

I Am Still Here

Sedona 2014

A blog post inspired by guilt, guilt that I haven't posted a blog in a few days.  That doesn't seem right, but here I am.  So decided to shed some light on the life of a photographer and to dispel the notion that photographers have a camera in their hand 24/7.  Now I would like to be shooting all the time. I think most  photographers would. Being out shooting creating magic, memories and capturing that special moment in time, possibly never to be seen again, is what we live for. But the reality is that I spend a good 75% of my working time in front of a computer. Not nearly as glamorous. My clients as well as other part time photographers may not really think about it, but digital workflow, billing, editing, post production, marketing, accounting, taxes, and the plethora of other general office work, not to mention social media, blogs, websites and galleries (yikes) is where you spend most of your time if your going to be successful photographer.

Red Heeler 2014


Not only do I appreciate photography, I consume photography. I love art and being creative. It is a passion without a doubt or I would never do anything I ranted about in the previous paragraph. Even as I type this in the back of my mind are all the things I know I need to do, but there is also all the things I want to do, to photograph.  All the projects I have going, all the ones I want to start, and the ones I haven't yet thought of and the dream just keeps getting bigger and better.  And you know I hope this ride never ends.

Wind Turbine 2008

Here is to every passion you or I will ever have, the people that helped us realize our dreams,  our children, our parents, our bright future and the joy that is life.  Looking back, I know I still have much I want to learn about photography. I know I have much that I can teach and share.  I know there is a business side of my passion that will always command much of my attention and I know I am creative and passionate about the career I have chosen and I will always strive to share as much as I can, as often as I can, with all of you.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunny's Being an Idiot

Sunny's Being An Idiot

When I first heard these four words, "Sunny's being an idiot!" It came as such a surprise all I could do was laugh. This darling little girl was extremely upset with her horse Sunny. 

It reminded me of one of those moments that stick out vividly in your memory...
I can barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I do remember this great piece of advice I got from my mom when I was only five years old.
I can remember standing in our family's kitchen...
And I am absolutely BAWLING... tears just pouring down my cheeks.
I couldn't tell you what I was crying about. All I know is that five year old me was upset in a MAJOR way.
My mom was standing in front of me and said, very compassionately...
"Hey... it's not the end of the world"
For some reason, that was exactly what I needed to hear because I stopped crying almost instantly.
Even as a pouty five year old I realized I was making a mountain out of a molehill.
What confuses me to this day is how so many folks get so worked up about relatively small things and I am guilt of it just like the rest of us, even now.
We get upset... scream at friends, coworkers and loved ones.

Life is short, we are reminded of this everyday, in many ways. 

This little cowgirl in the middle of her anger with Sunny, was given a similar three word phrase that I am sure will come to her mind some time later in life, that stopped her crying immediately too.

"Let's Go Riding!"