Cowgirl Up

Let’s rewind about a year to the first photoshoot I worked on after moving back from France.

During the first couple weeks of summer, a photographer specializing in cosplay asked if she could shadow me. Of course, that was fine, but since our subject matter differed, I wondered how that would work out.

Within a couple days, we started sharing our progress on personal projects and eventually decided to work together on a Western editorial. Planning was a most frantic affair as everything had to fall into place at just the right time. In addition to models and a horse, an abandoned building was also on the wish list. There were a few dead end leads on properties but in the end, we settled on a ranch that our friend Erwin had found while hiking. It was supposed to have bats and everything!

The day of the photoshoot, we meet up with our friend Jonathan, Caitlin who’d won the title of Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen several years in a row and a horse named Bella. The thing about Bella is that she’d been washed and groomed to perfection; she was ready for the show. Our crew was not big enough to appease her yearning for cheering rodeo fans. Although Bella didn’t kick anyone or try to gallop off, she became increasing difficult to work with. I felt bad but there was nothing we could do about it.

Other than that, the photoshoot went well and we stayed out till the last rays of light touched the earth. Getting ourselves and equipment back to our vehicles proved to be quite a trek though. That’s ok – we got good shots, it was worth it.

*Pictures in collaboration  with Juntsu Photography.

  • Models: Caitlin and Johnathan
  • Location Scout: Erwin
  • Horse help: Caitlin’s Dad
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Maybe Viking?

It was the result of bad planing: the camera was forgotten at school, the model wasn’t contacted on time and I wanted to take a nap and forget about the time that a certain snowboarding trip had ended in tears. Nevertheless, Hannah agreed to be in the pictures. Since we had yet to see her in a dress, everyone was more than excited to carry on with plans.

After dropping off the snowboarders, Hannah and I found ourselves hiking through the snow in dresses. While funny at first, the feat proved rather unfortunate as I fell and caused the entire crew to slide down the mountainside. Those observing from the warmth of their cars laughed nervously, most certainly judging our choice of attire.

Vikings (3)

With fur, a husky, knife and the texture of Hannah’s hair, the theme developed somewhat of a Viking undertone. Gretchen, our stylist also had her try on a white snow coat, but it was decided that the coat did not match Hannah’s personality.

While the rays of light touched the earth, Erwin reflected them onto the characters. We raced from one location to another as the sun danced between the trees. When it was finally gone, the ISO was adjusted to compensate for the lack of light.

In post production, blues were accented in order to add to the coolness of the pseudo Norse winter. I also did some research to see if the images at all resembled the assumed appearance of a viking girl. The trees didn’t even make the cut. The Nordic forest lacks the bushiness displaced by Californian evergreens. Then there is the matter of the dog which looks a tad bit Americanized. Well… it’s not historically accurate, but hey, close enough right?

After the photoshoot, we headed to the slopes for some night skiing/snowboarding.  While Hannah was totally conquering the steepest drops, people had a hard time believing that I’d ever skied down the Alps. Yes, it was that bad.

For the record, the ALPS are amazing!

How to Scare Off a Cowboy (or Any Guy)

Scaring off cowboys is a backbreaking activity because it requires an enormous amount of time, dedication and insanity to complete the desired effect. Cowgirls or not, many are willing to sacrifice their reputation in order to win the affections of a dashing gentleman. Little do they know what a challenge it is to catch a cowboy’s wink. It is much more entertaining to scare him through strategic manipulation. The cowboy is sure to notice the girl … and keep a distance.

To frighten a cowboy, a girl must begin by appearing at locations that he frequently visits. It is important for him to know who she is. Even better, he must know her by name.  Cowboys are close-knit with their friends and family. For this reason a girl does not have to interact with him directly. Instead she can mingle within his social circle so his closest companions can become comfortable in her presence. Most importantly, the girl must become close enough to the cowboy’s family that she is invited for dinner. This is an excellent place to start. A kick here and a kick there, pretty soon she might have a full-fledged game of footsies under the table cloth.

While attending the many events surrounding a western lifestyle, a girl will find that a pink lasso can be her most amusing companion. Girls not familiar with the art of roping must have the desire to learn the techniques. For best results, she can ask her target cowboy for assistance. He will gladly hold her hand as she twirls the rope. Learning to swing the lasso is frustrating. Being able to rope the cowboy’s feet makes the effort worthwhile.  At first, most cowboys will find this gesture cute. With time, they will grow weary of being tripped. In anger he might question the purpose of her teasing. The girl can simply say that she is practicing what the cowboy himself has thought her. In the future, the young man will disregard her attempts to tighten a rope around his ankles.

During these roping events, the girl must take the opportunity to photograph her cowboy. Cowboys love to have their pictures taken, especially if they are on the job. The girl needs to make sure that the pictures are clear and enjoyable. Another approach is to have a friend photograph the cowboy then upload the pictures. Either way, once the pictures are online, the girl must have her friends comment on them. She must be generous with her own comments as well; often mentioning how handsome the cowboy is. Her posts might become mushy. This will only add to the desired attempt to scare off the young man.

By this stage, if the girl doesn’t already know where the cowboy lives, it is important that she finds out immediately. She might even discover that he lives nearby. If this is the case, she can take advantage and obtain pictures of his house from the comfort of her rooftop*.   For best results, when he asks to see his roping pictures, the girl is obligated to lend him her camera. She might want to have another camera at hand. In this way she can capture his reaction when he recognizes his home among her photography collection. The girl may admit to taking the pictures or she may act surprised that he discovered them. The cowboy will take a good long stare at the girl and he will never think of her in the same way again.

Next, the girl must create a web page directed especially towards the cowboy. She must include pictures of him and even Photoshop herself into some of the shots. The webpage will be all the more appealing if it includes poetry and love quotes. The girl might choose to use the webpage as some sort of diary where she can express feelings towards the cowboy. When page appears to have an adequate amount of mushiness, the girl must make sure the targeted young man (or his friends) ‘accidentally’ get a link. Most likely, the cowboy will be appalled when he discovers the online tribute.

To further the effect, the girl must get her friends involved. On a lovely afternoon she can direct them to create hordes of posters. Each poster must include: the cowboy’s name, hearts, and most of all, glitter. Pictures of him may be included but are not necessary. In the dark hours of the night, the girls must sneak into the young man’s property. The posters can be used to decorate the exterior of the home.  If the home itself is unreachable, then the posters may hang from the fence, gate, trees or shrubs. What a surprise when the cowboy wakes up in the morning!

Most girls may choose to stop at this point. However, it is possible to become friends with the county sheriff and asked for permission to steal the cowboy’s horse. If he grants permission, the girl must also share her intentions with the horse’s legal owner (provided that the legal owner of the horse is not her cowboy). After formulating the perfect plan, the girl is welcome to carry it out. The best time to steal a horse is on the day of a roping event. The girl can remove the horse form its stall and transport it to the event before the cowboy has the chance to notice the horse missing. This of course, is a suggestion that might be carried out by any girl who is desperate to scare off a cowboy.Playing With Color (2)

Another thing a girl can do is to spread rumors. She can say that she is so infatuated with the cowboy that she intends to kidnap him.  For better results, she must include spine chilling details; the use of chloroform, a stolen vehicle, some desolate ranch, etc. Obviously by now the young man will be horrified by her conduct and will go out of his way to keep a distance.Playing With Color (3)

After the girl realizes the extent of her inappropriate behavior, she will be ashamed of her actions. Embarrassment may cause her avoid any contact with the cowboy. The young man will miss the previously unwanted attention. He may only see the girl through nightmares. He will question her absence and become curious enough to look for her.  Needless to say, it’s hard to rope the heart of a cowboy, but with constant pestering, a girl is sure to be on his mind daily!*

*Option only available under certain circumstances.

*All examples taken from real life experiences, thankfully not my own.

*Pictures in collaboration with Juntsu Photography.

  • Models: Caitlin and Johnathan
  • Location Scout: Erwin
  • Horse help: Caitlin’s Dad

Take Me to Africa

Like I’ve previously said, I’ve always wanted to travel to Africa. But sometimes, when one can’t go to Africa, it’s ok to bring Africa to wherever you are.

Africa (1)Meet Leila, my lovely and very wise roommate. Also the first person to gladly teach me how to tie head scarves the right way. When I told her about my 9 countries, 9 photo shoots, 9 months project she was willing to help out. Obviously, I was way to excited about the whole scarf tying thing. Told her she had to wear one for the pictures!

Originally, this was supposed to be the photoshoot for ‘France’ but boy does it look geographically incorrect! Where are we? Perhaps in a Francophone? Could it be somewhere in Africa?

Yes, for the sake of this project and my current failing status – I should probably just say yes. A little quick internet search for an African country with similar landscape. Uganda? Not a Francophone but sure. Now what about this cow? It does not look very Africanized! Ok, we shall just say that it’s an imported English cow.

Done. Just like that. We are in Africa.
Africa (3)Now, how did we really end up with this shot? Well, you see, the mountain behind our school supports several herds of cattle… and I’ve always also wanted to do a photoshoot involving cows.

One sunny afternoon we set off to conquer the mountain! Unfortunately, when we got to the top, the air was chilly and the sun played hide and seek behind the clouds. Cows were easy to spot. All of them wore Swiss little bells that clinged and clanged with every step. We tracked them down and set up for the shoot. The reflector was useless. The sun was really gone.

And then the cows got a little tricky to handle. They were getting a little grumpy, looking at us funny and even doing a little stomping. Thankfully, Sarah was there as cow wrangler. She stated that she disliked hows, but she did a better job with them than either Leila or I could have done.

Africa (2)Here we are, a blotched attempt at a group picture. Nobody was dressed appropriately for the sudden temperature decrease. We ended sooner than expected and ran down the mountain, shivering as we went.

Oh well! Some good pictures were taken!

Now that my nine months abroad are are almost done I only have four of the nine photos needed for the project. USA, France, Belgium and Monaco.  Switzerland is just a 25 minute walk from my room so that’s easy. Mexico might be a thing before the summer is over. But the rest? What if I pretended the models were in diffrent countries. What if this one was in Uganda and I did another photoshoot for France? Might be a thing. I don’t just want to give up.

Grow Big and Strong, Little Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon was such a cute movie! I was so hyped that I updated my facebook saying “What if we could ride Dragons in Heaven? ”  This immediately caused a hot debate on the existence of God between two strangers.

I didn’t participate – but it certainly left a lot to think about.

Grow big and Strong (683x1024)

Later in the day, on my way home from the library, I caught a cute baby lizard. My imagination kinda grew wild afterwards.

San Fran Pooch

Walking down the streets of San Francisco and look what I find: San Fran Dog

An older man was walking him and allowed me to get a shot.  Classy!

This other dog, Rocky, walked into a cafe. It didn’t take long to figure out that it was the same dog as the painting on the wall! Same markings and everything.

SanFran dog 2Over the course of my SanFran adventures, I was overjoyed to find that people really care about their pooches. It really hurts to see the unethical treatment of these household pets, but I’m glad that in some places it’s none existent.

Lady with an Ermine

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For my portraiture class, we were supposed to recreate a well-known image.

I chose to do Lady with an Ermine. I asked Amanda to help me out with the project. She is usually helping me behind the camera, but this time she would be in the spotlight.

After doing a little research, I found out that a lot of people mistook the ermine for a ferret. That gave me an idea. I asked my teacher, Amy, if I could borrow Phoebe for the project. She agreed 😀

Lady with an Ermine

I researched and looked at other recreations for inspiration. Some of them were closer than others to the original image.

IMG_0271Brandon and Sam came in to help with the photoshoot.

It took a little while into coaxing Phoebe into modeling for us, but once she was ready, we got some really good shots.
This was definitely a fun one.

Ferns and Flowers

Last week I got to take pictures of three beautiful young ladies.

Abena, who is visiting from Moscow Russia asked for the favor.  Her sister and her cousin who are both named Adwoa were also there.

In Ghana, the country from which the girls are originally from, Adwoa means ‘girl born on Tuesday’.

I had a lot of fun editing the pictures the next day, especially this one with the cute jaguar kitten.

The picture that took the longest to edit was this one with the parrots. It took like six hours!

I made other versions of this picture but Abena did not like them! She did not want to have wings or any ‘weird mess’ like that, lol. Inspiration to add jungle animals  came because the day we shot was very, very hot! It was nearly 107 degrees that day and the humidity was just awful. Thankfully we all managed to survive. Well, almost; I stubbed my toe during the photoshoot  and couldn’t walk for a bit. Still hurts but at least it’s not swollen and purple anymore.

Throughout the shoot, whoever was not modeling helped me with the reflectors and other things. Abena’s sister was willing to do the girl’s makeup as well, so that worked out nicely.

Here we all are after an evening of taking pictures in the summer heat.  From left to right: Me, Abena’s cousin Adwoa, Abena’s sister Adwoa, Abena’s little cousin and finally Abena herself.  Abena’s little cousin was not happy to be there at all! He was really upset that we had picked him up from school to bring him to the photoshoot.

(From left to right:  Adwoa, Abena, me, Awoa and Ama- second row.)

Here is another picture taken last year when Abena came to visit from Russia.  The girl on the bottom is Amma. She is Adwoa’s little sister. I’ll be doing her senior pictures sometime soon.


I really love the traditional African style and hope to do an African themed photoshoot in the future. I feel like the Ferns and Flowers photoshoot had more of a South American feel to it. So international!
To view the rest of the pictures please visit:

Ferns and Flowers

An Afternoon With Koda

I redited some pictures that I had taken for my Digital Photography Class during winter quarter.  My first WordPress post actually has two of these images as I had turned them in to the teacher.

During the photoshoot, I got to work with Erica and her horse Koda.  It was the first time Erica had ever ridden bareback. We had a lot of fun, but almost had an accident when a biker scared Koda. He began bucking. Luckily Erica was able to jump off in time. Anyways here are some of the edited and redited shots 🙂

From left to right: Original, Edited for class, Redited.

From left to right: Original, Edited for class, Redited.
I was able to remove the second horse and have several versions of it in both color and black and white.

From left to right:  Edited for class, Redited, Original with saturated colors.

To view the rest of the images, visit:

The Baby Newt

I had never seen a newt or a salamander in real life. But I always wanted to have one, maybe as a pet.
So yesterday when my boyfriend and I went for a walk in the woods – it came as a total surprise when we stumbled across a newt.

Oh my goodness and it was the cutest little newt ever! I took it home to show Jazmine and Regina. Jazmine loves animals too, and we thought that maybe we could keep it as a pet. But then Regina made a scary discovery! She found out that the ‘California Orange Bellied Newt’  has the same toxin found in puffer fish. It is toxic enough to kill a human! We freaked out so badly that we returned the newt to the forest immediately. It wasn’t till late last night that we found out that the California  Newt is only poisonous if eaten and it can actually be kept as a pet and feed earthworms. Jazmine and I were so sad that we hadn’t known this before! We could have keept it as a pet!
Anyway here are some more pictures !

My pets :)

Here in college, you can only have two kinds of pets; a fish or a horse. Guess it’s understandable, some people are pretty irresponsible when it comes to their animals.  But I really, really miss mine!

He is totally out of focus here, but this is my dog Chef. (AKA Poochie Boy or Poochiko) When he was a puppy, we used to take long walks in the woods and we would play hide and seek. When we moved to the city, he went from being a garage dog to a pampered house dog.   He loves living in the house, but he is NOT a city dog! His favorite activities include riding in cars and swimming. And yes I do talk to my dog on the phone… which can be awkward sometimes… especially at school.

This is  Surfer. Won him at a school fair and want to bring him to school… but it’s an 8 hour drive… and he has become obese in my absence.

This particular praying mantis is Venues. I love praying mantises.  When ever I have one, I take her everywhere. And I do mean everywhere… rode trips, plane rides, you name it.

Hummm, this is my cousin’s pet cow.  Note to friends and family… I really, really want a pet cow, like for my birthday or something.

And I want a real live one too, not a dead one to feed 500 people at my wedding or whatever >.< that’s just horrible.