Wild Wolves, Wolf Woman, Mountain Snow Storm

15 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

My next art project/portfolio shoot will take us to elevation. The quest is to photograph all around California. I want to make a series that uses our “backyard” of varying scenery and geography here in California. However, I don’t necessarily want any of the images to look as if they were actually shot in California. In any case, a major geographic feature of California is the Sierra Mountain range. That is where we are headed next. I really want to work with our friend Kasey Wicker on this project, because she is a fantastic wardrobe stylist. I know she’ll bring many cool ideas to the shoot. Kasey is represented by Artist Untied in San Francisco.

The second commonality in this series, in addition to being shot in beautiful California locations, is the animals. I’d like there to be animals in all the shots. For the Sierras I decided to have wolves for the shoot. This turned out to be the hardest animal to source, so far. Eventually we found Debbie Valenta. Debbie runs a wild wolf rescue operation out of Nevada in the high desert. We contracted with her to bring two wolves—Nina and Suki, up into the Sierras for our shoot. Suki is somewhat domesticated but, Nina is a completely wild wolf.

On choosing the talent, I decide that it would be visually interesting to create an Asiatic feel to the setting. I was thinking of the mountains of northern Japan, where I had heard they typically receive a tremendous amount of rainfall every year. We find Ashley Ying, a beautiful female model from the Look Model Agency in San Francisco.

For makeup I am able to secure Meaganne McCandess, a fantastic artist who is also represented by Artist Untied.  We get a permit from the Forestry Department of the Lake Tahoe National Forest, find a house to rent and work out our dates. A few days before we leave, a big storm begins to roll through Northern California. It’s April, but it looks like it is going to snow, even this late in the season. I almost decide to scrub it, but after taking a close look at the storm, I determine it should work out pretty well with our timing and should not affect our ability to get around. It might even make it possible for us to have some real snowfall during the shooting, which would be really cool. We get on our way to the mountains and check into the house.

Everyone arrives. We make a meal and hang out.  The wolves are so cool to watch.

On shoot day we wake up to a mild snowstorm and everything looks good. We decide on shooting in an area that is not too high in elevation and is not too far from the house. Kasey starts her work with wardrobe at the house.

We head out to the shooting location and start setting up the lighting.

As Larkin and Sarah are helping with set-up, Meaganne works her magic with great makeup and theatrical ice crystals.

While Kasey takes a break and adds some humor…

Time to start shooting…

Nice job everyone!  Thank you!!