Mega Heat is a TV Star?

That’s exactly what I said to my trainer Liz today with a bizarre¬†look on my face.

Liz is the owner and trainer at Pair of Aces Stables, Inc. located in Reno, NV and has been my trainer for many years. As I was in need of a few conformation shots of horses for my new project, Liz was so nice to assist me and offered her grooming skills ūüôā and horse handling¬†expertise.

After we finished with the shots, she asked if I could take a few photos of Mega Heat, her off the track Thoroughbred. Mega and Liz were accepted to compete for their share of $100,000 in prize money at the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 5-8. (Big Congrats!) So she needed a few updated official photos of him.

Liz continues to tell me that he is famous for his role as “Mega Horse” in Rob Dyrdek’s MTV reality show Fantasy Factory.

In the Season 2 premiere of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, the world-famous skateboarder dares to purchase and jockey a thoroughbred racehorse (Mega Heat). In pure Dyrdek style, Rob dives head first into the horse-world. He purchases a pair of giant “horse-legs” for trotting around on, acquires a wooden horse on wheels to practice racing on, and even transforms himself into a lightning-fast jockey named “Bolt Speedman”.

I found the link to the episode here: http://www.mtv.com/episodes/5z45sx/rob-dyrdeks-fantasy-factory-dirty-man-horse-season-2-ep-201

WOW! I just watched it and took a few pics with my iphone: quality is extremely bad but so much fun to see it!

 

Rob owned Mega Heat throughout his racing career, and Liz then adopted him after his successful career as a racehorse when he retired from the track at 9 years old in 2016.

Here are some photos from today’s shoot. Doesn’t he look handsome?

 

 

Liz has an entire team behind her to assist with this enormous project: Lexie, Felise and Carrie are all working together, along with an amazing vet, farrier, physical therapist and chiropractor to help him transition from the track to the sport horse world, and to reach the finals in KY.

Here are¬†Liz and Felise with Mega Heat or shall we say “Mega Horse”? ūüôā

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Like any star he has his own Instagram and Facebook page! Please like and follow him at @mega_heat and https://www.facebook.com/megaheat to follow his progress.

I also found some race footage and statistics of him on Horse Racing Nation: http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Mega_Heat

WOW! What a cool story! I absolutely had to write a blog about it to share Mega Heat’s story. And I hope, YOU will too! I wish them all the BEST of Luck and can’t wait to see them compete successfully in Kentucky!

 

Fantasy Photo Shoot with Ashley Morgan Rhodes

If you like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings or the new show Emerald City, you will LOVE Ashley’s portfolio. She is a model, horse trainer and breeds beautiful Friesian horses, raises Andalusians¬†and of course LOVES fantasy photo shoots!

I met Ashley last year at Bartley Ranch at a horse expo. She and Leah Earle performed some Mounted Archery which grabbed my attention immediately. When I saw Ashley ride her Andalusian Stallion¬†Thor and reared him up with her bow…OMG I couldn’t believe how beautiful they looked. I absolutely needed to photograph them! After her¬†performance, I literally ran to her. She told me that she¬†invites twice a year photographers for special photo shoots, so I was all ears! Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the one in June of 2016, so we scheduled another one later in Fall. I¬†envisioned to do some sort of a Renaissance/ Game¬†of Thrones¬†kinda shoot and also wanted to get Michael Artemis involved¬†with his HAWK Leonidis. I thought that would be epic and Ashley loved the idea working with a Hawk.

Later in September I¬†scouted out a few areas¬†at our local Galena State Park which is picturesque already by itself, and the colors were beyond magnificent!¬†Finally my ideas came to life! Ashley also wanted to tie in a¬†“Legend” shoot and brought a very fairytale looking like handmade Renaissance dress.¬†There were two more photographers¬†there – Nicole Sepulveda from Sacrament0 and Judy Solomon, another equinotographer.

Michael, Leonidis (Hawk) and Ashley meet for the first time.

Getting ready:

First we did some shots without Leonidis.

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Then we slowly introduced Leonidis to Xander, her horse.

We weren’t sure how Xander¬†would react to the Hawk once he was on his back with Ashley, but surprisingly he did just fine. We took our time to ensure Ashley is comfortable and Michael, who is an expert in wild bird handling, was guiding Ashley of how to¬†work with him.

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Ashley really enjoyed Leonidis and started to play and cuddle with him ūüôā I must say I was impressed of how long she could hold him on her arm! Here some more photos without the horse.

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By now it was 4 pm and we ran out of sunlight. So we rushed back to the trailers, Ashley changed into her gorgeous “Legend” Renaissance dress and Thor was made into a Unicorn ūüôā

Here two edited final images. Since we were rushing to get to the location, I did forget my other wide angle lens, so my 70-200 didn’t do me any good because the space we had was extremely tied.

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I must admit that the MOST challenging part¬†for me was the editing. I was soo excited to go home with 800! images and to start the edit, but¬†when I went thru the images I was really disappointed in the quality. And¬†I just couldn’t get the images to look the way I wanted to, so after many long agonizing hours and days of frustration and eye tiredness, I finally gave up and stopped working on them.

I don’t know what made me think of them this week, but I revisited the shoot and found a few images that¬†I was quite happy with and started to¬†edit¬†. Maybe it was a new fresh eye, maybe my new super speedy laptop…I don’t know but at the sudden I see all these images and I went crazy. I edited the last two nights and these are the results. I do have a LOT more. The entire gallery will be added to my portfolio on my website shortly.

I hope you enjoyed the blog and photos as much as I did the photo shoot. Ashley is truly a professional model, easy to work with and a passionate horse trainer. Also a BIG thank you to Michael Artemis who came along with us and was open minded to my idea. If you ever need any info on Hawks and how to care for them, feel free and contact him. He is a Master of his craft.

As usual, any feedback is appreciated, good or constructive!

 

Bye Bye 2016

I have been really busy during the holiday season and the remaining time was spent with my family decorating the house, Christmas parties, making cookies among other things you do during Christmas. And I just now realized I have not written a blog for two months!

I started doing Holiday Photo Sessions with¬†kids/ families¬†and their horses two years ago and everyone just loved the idea. My slogan is…”You can’t bring your horse to JC Penney but I can come to you!” And this year my business during this time has more than doubled thanks to my repeated customers,¬†word of mouth and¬†social media.¬†I loved seeing families getting¬†dressed up, decorating their horses and¬†falling slowly¬†into the Christmas spirit. It’s¬†always a lot of fun,¬†¬†even if the¬†weather¬†is sometimes freezing cold.¬†Here are some of my favorites:

 

In October I decided to create my first Horse Calendar for 2017 and it kept me busier than expected. From sourcing the right printing company, pricing & deciding on a specific design to choosing the quality of paper, it was definitely an interesting learning curve. At the end I was very happy the way it turned out and received really great feedback, people loved the spiral top and the glossy heavy paper it was printed on. I also decided to make a desktop calendar. There is still a limited amount available on my website.

 

I got extremely frustrated with my¬†7 year old¬†laptop¬†during that busy time¬†because it just couldn’t keep up with the work load and the speed I needed to use my editing programs. Oh and it ran out of space! It was time to¬†get a new one! So I asked Santa for a new one and he delivered!! Woohoo…so now I am in the middle of transferring my photo shoots,¬†Photoshop and Light Room¬†presets and everything else over…talk about time consuming!

I can’t wait what 2017 has in store for us, my family and my horse photography!¬†I truly love what I do and am fortunate enough to have someone by my side that supports my vision and ideas 100%!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

What happens after the shoot?

In an effort to make the entire photo shoot memorable, I am always looking for new and creative ways to enhance the experience, from beginning to end. I added a new feature for my clients that I would love to share with you, because I think it puts the icing on the cake and makes the entire photo shoot experience complete.

It always amazes me with how many photos I come home with. For an 1.5-2 hour shoot I have anywhere between 300- 450 photos, depending on the different poses, action photos, horse’s cooperation, etc. As I go thru and edit them I rate them 1-5, 5 being the highest. I LOVE when I have 5 star photos, because they are pretty much perfect straight out of the camera. They need little retouching, maybe a little more exposure, cropping or color. Three star photos would require more work like fixing shadows, touching up eyes, cropping, adjusting brightness and so on. Here are some examples:

I didn’t have to retouch a lot on that image. I simply cropped it slightly and added a little contrast and done! And I do love the shadow of leaves showing on the horse’s coat. I was actually going back and forth in my head and not sure if it looked good but at the end looking at the entire shoot I love the way they turned out.

Another image that didn’t need much work. A simple crop and zoom, some contrast and done! Sometimes it is the crop that decides if the image is worth keeping or not.

Here is an image I worked on quite a bit. At first I didn’t pay much attention to this photo, it was too dark and the background just didn’t work, so I gave it one star. But looking at it again I just loved how he his ears were perked up and how she hugged him with her eyes closed.

Thanks to Lightroom and Photoshop I was able to save this image and turn it into a “5 Star”! I really love the finished photo.

Once the entire shoot is edited, the photos are downloaded to my client’s page onto my website http://www.creatememoriesbyanett.com for review. My package includes a personalized USB Card with all digital high res photos and a customized photo book with your images, great for your coffee table or gift!

So, what did I add? I truly believe your photos should be looked at, loved, felt, touched and seen by your friends and family when they come into your home. How many people have thousands of photos on their iPhone and computer and never look at them again? Sound familiar? I personally have canvases and framed photos ALL over my house from the Flume Trail, Lake Tahoe, my son, US- our family, memories. People always comment on how many pictures I have up. And I just love looking at them and remembering that moment!

I now offer wall art for all clients AND I will create your personal in home design.

All I need is a photo of your space, your room, hallway or bedroom and I will show you what a canvas or photo on the wall would look like in your house! Even if you are not a client you can purchase any of my horse photography for your wall! Existing and new clients receive 20% off on any wall art.

Here are some examples:

 

Here are some client images:

 

I mean, isn’t that really cool? No more hassle trying to figure out if it fits or not! And you know what it looks like before you buy anything! And the possibilities are endless.

I can show you different designs with your photos, if it is one canvas or several in your hallway or over your fire place! I think that is pretty darn good!

I am really super excited about that feature! I will post more about it on facebook and also add it to my webpage shortly.

I would LOVE to hear your feedback about my added feature and what you think about it!

You can also leave a comment!

“The Forgotten Breed”

I took a long ride out to the dusty Palomino Valley last week to visit Michelle Winans-Gomez with¬†“Trinityglen Highland Ponies”. A friend (thanks Michael Artemis) told me that she was¬†breeding a special type of pony that is quite rare to find. So I was all ears and wanted to find out more!

When I arrived at her 40 acre ranch, Michelle had all her ponies, four mares and two stallions, groomed and ready to go! ¬†I was amazed by their beauty and couldn’t wait to take their photos and tell everyone that she’s got something really special. She told me that the Highland Pony originated from the Highlands of Scotland and that they are listed as vulnerable on the endangered species list. There are less than 100! on the Northern American Continent, and around 3500 in the world.

 

Michelle is a big advocate in promoting and preserving this breed. With less than 70 registered stallions world wide, she has two in stud! She loves to educate people about this strong, sturdy and compact pony and tells me they love to pull carts, are used for low level hunter/ jumpers and show well in dressage. They are great with kids and can carry adults with no problem.

We first go into the pasture with her four mares.They all chill and look like the are chatting about their day until…

 

Looks like they didn’t quite agree on something ūüôā

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Here are some very interesting facts about the Highland Pony!

  • In the 1300’s in the days of the “Braveheart” era, the Highland Pony was ridden by King Robert the Bruce!
  • Queen Victoria was known to have ridden this pony during her excursions where carriages couldn’t access the land.
  • The Scottish cavalry used them in World War I and World War II to carry the soldiers to the battle lines. The wars severely depleted this beautiful breed.

I must admit, I absolutely fell in love with this mouse dun mare. Her rich colors just showed beautifully during the sunset, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Sandby Opal. I never seen a “mouse dun” pony before!

 

This is her beautiful mare Brownbread Queenie.

 

Some more pictures of her foal and mare. And the hawk is a hobby of Jose’s, Michelle’s husband.

 

This is one of her stallions, Lieutenant of Whitefield and comes straight from the well respected Whitefield stud in Scotland. What a pretty boy to look at!

And this is “Whiskey” her cream dun stallion: Ch. Circle H Glen Livit

 

This weekend Michelle is traveling with her companions to the Draft Horse Classic in Grass Valley, NV (Sept 22-25) to showcase her very special breed. If you see her, please stop by and say hello.  You will see that she always has this glow in her eyes when she talks about them! Good Luck Michelle and thanks for welcoming me at your ranch!

For more information please visit her website http://www.trinityglenhighlands.weebly.com and check out her facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TrinityglenHighlandPonies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My photo shoot with LeAnn

As I am writing this blog, LeAnn who will turn 19 yrs on Sept 5th, just joined the U.S. Airforce and is now going through the rigorous 8 week BMT- basic military training, located in Texas.

I truly love taking pictures at the beautiful¬†Bartley Ranch, which offers a great diversity of backgrounds for portrait and equine photos. Along with LeAnn came Garrett, her boyfriend and Amanda, who assisted me behind the camera. Unfortunately LeAnn wasn’t able to bring her 11yr old mare “Bella” so I decided to bring my horse Broker so that we could still do some equine portraits.

Usually I arrive around 30min before my session to scout out the location, get some ideas for some shots, check out some background motives and see how the sun sets.

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LeAnn brought plenty of outfit options

After discussing our ideas for photos and deciding on the outfits, we started with simple head shots and full frame shots. By then it was 5pm, I just really loved how the sun set over the mountains and how it offered the perfect warm light.

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LeAnn was extremely easy to work with, a dream for every photographer. Her poses were just flowing and natural.

Then we moved down to an old historic shed with some farm equipment where I discovered an old wooden stand¬†and thought we could use that for some cool couple’s shots.

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LeAnn, native of¬†Reno now living in Fallon, NV just loves everything about horses. She follows “Buck” Brannaman’s training methods, has a heart for dressage, and enjoys the outdoors. Sometimes you might see her on a snowboard. Her goal is to go to Tech School for Fire Protection while serving in the Airforce. Garrett is currently enrolled at College in Walla Walla, WS and studies Applied Animal Science to become a Farrier.

To get certain poses and images with couples I like to tell stories to give them some ideas or ask them to imagine a specific scenario. In the top image, I used a bench and asked them to get comfortable as if they were alone and to dream into the sunset.

On the bottom left picture, I ask what they love to do together and they said dancing. So Garrett sweeped LeAnn off her feet ūüôā I loved that!

Now it was time for some equine shots! The sun was getting lower behind the mountains, so time was of the essence!

I must say, LeAnn really impressed me with how she handled Broker who is a 15yr old QH. He was the opposite of being relaxed for a shoot, even after some work out in the arena. For some people, it might be intimidating when a horse gets pushy and dominant, but she just had her natural way of staying calm and after a while he picked up on her energy and behavior. As we progressed through the photo shoot, I could see how Broker and LeAnn became a pair and shared a special connection. That was just amazing to witness. I just loved taking their photos!

 

 

As I shoot, I constantly check my camera to ensure all images are sharp. To get the best results for moving objects my camera is always set on continuous shooting, al servo with a high shutter speed, and back button focus! These are my secret ingredients to get great shots! I do take around 10-15 shots per pose or frame to ensure I have the perfect image.

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Now it was time for some pretty sunset pictures! I also tried a silhouette picture.

 

I think, they all three rocked it and looked like stars in the pictures! I hope, one day we can do a shoot with her mare Bella, that she adores so much! And Amanda was a trooper behind the camera, helping me with getting Broker’s undivided attention.

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Any questions about a photo shoot? Leave a comment here!