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 🙂 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”? 🙂

Mega Liz FeliceMega Liz Felice big smile

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 🙂 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 🙂

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!