Author Archives: connect@sarahunderwood.com

Samantha and Allen’s Maternity Session

In early April, before any greenery was out yet, Samantha and Allen wanted to do maternity photos in Barriere (ok, Samantha wanted to, and convinced Allen he should come too 😉 ). The great thing about the mainly coniferous forest on our acreage is that it is green year round, so with some strategic framing, I can make it look like spring any time. I thought about seeing if Samantha wanted to wait a bit for the leaves to come out, as her due date wasn’t for a couple weeks, but good thing we didn’t, as she went into labour only three days after these photos were taken! She delivered a healthy baby boy, O’Shea, on April 10th.

Samantha is a multi-talented hair dresser, makeup artist, and waxer, who runs The Sugar Shack in Barriere. She posted on her page that she would be working right up until her due date, and would then be taking some time off until July. I had a hair cut with her on April 9th and after my appointment, she had two colours to do. While she was cutting my hair, she was telling me that she had been having small contractions since that morning, and by 1:25am on the 10th, O’Shea had arrived! So she wasn’t kidding about working right up until she was due. :p

Barriere maternity photos
Barriere maternity photography

Johvale Cross Country Jumping Clinic – Julie and Monty

Anyone who knows me knows that I love draft horses and crosses. I have two myself! When I met Julie and Monty at the Johvale cross country jumping clinic last year, I was tickled to see a Shire cross eating up the jumps. Julie was in my lesson group though, so I didn’t get to take any photos of her jumping. This year, she was in a different group, so I made sure to catch one of their lessons. Monty was easily one of the steadiest horses out there, and always seemed to take off at the right point for the jumps, making everything look effortless. I mostly took videos of them jumping, but there’s a few few photos of them hacking and galloping below too. Isn’t he fantastic?!

Balanced Horse Bodywork (Equine Photography)

My friend Katie recently launched her equine bodywork and structural integration business, Balanced Horse Bodywork (give her page a like!). Back in late December, when we amazingly still had no snow, we used my horse Theo as a model to create some photos to advertise her business. Theo very much enjoyed his treatment, falling asleep and letting his rope hold up his head, leaning into her touch, yawning dramatically, and even resting his head on her shoulder when he was untied. What a ham!

You can check out Katie’s website to learn more about the fascinating art of structural integration and see how it might benefit your horse: https://balancedhorsebodywork.com/ She has special introductory rates for spring 2019, and services the Kamloops area as well as travelling within BC — she’s recently done trips to the lower mainland and Pemberton.

Equine bodywork in Kamloops
Equine bodywork in Kamloops
Equine bodywork in Kamloops
Equine bodywork in Kamloops
Equine bodywork in Kamloops

Kirin and Kirsten – Monte Creek Ranch Winery Wedding

I had the privilege of photographing the wedding of two wonderful friends this past weekend. Kirin was one of the first friends I made after moving to BC, and I’ve enjoyed watching his relationship with Kirsten blossom.

 

Although I have lived in BC for seven years now and worked at many Kamloops wedding venues, this was the first time I have photographed a wedding at a vineyard! Monte Creek Ranch Winery certainly provided a stunning backdrop for this special day, filled with love, laughter, family, and friends. In addition to a beautiful couple and bridal party, I also had Kirin’s restored Volkswagon Beetle to use as a prop. 😀 He’s had this car since he was a teenager and his goal was always to include it in his future wedding day. He just finished it this summer, although it ended up needing an engine replacement rather last minute, as in the last month! I’m so glad everything worked out, though naturally we had to do a silly photo of Kirsten pushing the car. 😉

Their winter engagement photos are also worth a second look!

 
Ceremony venue: Monte Creek Ranch
Marriage Officiant: Sherin Jensen

Kirin and Kirsten opted to do a reveal, where they see each other before the ceremony, and do most of their portraits beforehand too. The reveal was in Kirsten’s parent’s lovely backyard garden in Barnhartvale.

Ashley with Levi, Milo, and Catniss – Horse and Rider Portraits (Equine Photography)

When Ashley, the Executive Director of the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association, asked me to photograph her with three horses, I knew I was up for a bit of a challenge!  Multiple horse photography is not an easy task, so I thought I would share some tips for anyone who might be attempting it.  🙂

To start, we had the two geldings, Levi and Milo (on the left in the photo below) stand next to each other, because they live together.  Does that mean they always get along?  No, because Milo can be a bit of a grouch to other horses, but there was a better chance of him behaving next to a horse he knew.  😉  Because mares and geldings sometimes have “opinions” about each other, we had Ashley’s mare, Catniss (on the right, below) stand across from the boys.

The boys stayed in roughly the same spot most of the time, but Catniss turned away from the camera at one point and had to be repositioned.  I instructed Ashley to look at me the whole time and not worry about what the horses were doing or where they were looking, because otherwise, when they finally all looked at the camera at the same time, she might not be!  Once the horses were in place, we had our helpers Crystal and Hannah shaking grain buckets and jumping around to try to get their attention, and it worked until they realized they weren’t going to get any treats right away.  What didn’t work to get their attention?  My app with horse whinny sounds, goats walking by, and airplanes flying overhead (KTRA is by the airport, so the horses are actually quite used to low flying aircraft).  I kept joking that her horses were TOO desensitized.  Luckily we got this shot within the first couple minutes, and while I took a few extra just in case, this was a favourite of both Ashley and I.  She chose to have this along with a couple other of the shots made into gorgeous metallic prints!

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Ozzy and Dom – Horse and Rider Portraits (Equine Photography)

In my 10+ years of equine photography, I have been lucky to capture the relationships between many special horses and riders.  Unfortunately our animals are not nearly as long-lived as us, and several of the horses I’ve photographed have since crossed the rainbow bridge, including one of my own.  I am so grateful that I have many photos of my horse Santana (who lived to 27), including several professional photo sessions.  Whenever I hear the news that the loved companion of one of my clients has passed away, my heart breaks a little alongside theirs, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to document the beauty of these animals and their unique relationships with their owners.  I’m often told that the photos from these sessions are one of the owner’s most treasured memories, as they were for me in my time of grieving.

This post is about a recently passed horse who was thought of as indestructible for all he went through, which was a lot of adventures (and mis-adventures!) with his girl, Dom.  Ozzy the Standardbred was quite famous on the internet, with his tales and others chronicled at Dom’s aptly named blog, A Collection of Madcap Escapades.  From a difficult birth as a foal to getting stuck in a swamp and being rescued by the fire department as an adult, he often seemed to be the centre of attention.  Dom wrote in his bio: “Ozzy has also done everything from pulling skiers in the winter to cross country jumping to swimming in the lake in the summer. He is an extremely versatile and pleasant horse, and he does a long list of tricks including smile, kiss, hug, back rub, and bow. My former co-worker and partner in crime, Erin, and her horse Willie have accompanied us on countless adventures, including trick-or-treating in town and giving pony rides to MIT students for hack weekend.”

Dom and I became friends through blogging in the mid-2000’s and in May of 2014, I decided I needed to meet her, Ozzy, and the rest of the cast of characters on her blog.  3600 Air Miles later, I was in New Jersey.  Dom lives in a beautiful part of the state, but likes to joke about the stereotype that NJ is full of oil refineries and smoke stacks.  All I got to see was rolling countryside, lush spring growth, and beautiful creeks and lakes.  I spent a few days tagging along with her as she traversed the state for her horse training clients… we even ended up in Maryland one day!  You just never know what will happen in a Dom day.

We also made sure to fit in a photoshoot with Oz the Great.  Dom doesn’t get dressed up all that often, so I was tickled when she agreed to wear a dress for the photos… but first we had to find one that could get wet and dirty, because some of the photos were going to be taken in the creek!  Off to the thrift store we went, but the only dress we liked was a little too small.  Not to be deterred, we purchased it for $8 and I carefully stabbed some holes on either side of the zipper with a pair of kitchen scissors, and threaded some ribbon into a criss cross pattern.  Voila, we had a stunning black and white, corset back dress!

After swapping out Ozzy’s signature lime green bridle for a more fairytale-portrait-appropriate leather bridle, I applied some makeup to Dom in the barn aisle (the only place I’m really comfortable pretending to be a makeup artist).  Then Dom pulled the dress over her pants and put on her pink helmet, because the photo location was only accessible via horseback, and we’re both champions of safety… and it’s not that comfortable to ride with bare legs!

When we got there, we pulled off Ozzy’s saddle (and Dom’s pants…), and let the magic happen! 

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Clearwater / Wells Grey Engagement Session – Kirin and Kirsten

I started this blog when I moved to Kamloops in 2011, but after a few posts, I realized my time was better spent networking on Facebook, as I needed to connect with my new community, and social media was the way to go.  I have long since successfully re-established my business, and always meant to get back to blogging… before I knew it, seven years had passed and now it’s 2018!  Facebook is now making it harder and harder for followers to actually see the posts on the pages they follow, so I am giving the blog another try.  I’ll be linking to my posts from Facebook, but feel free to bookmark this site.
It seems fitting to re-start the blog with a post featuring one of the first people I met when I moved to Kamloops.  Kirin and I became quick friends, having world travels in common, and he proved to be a reliable, generous, and easy going friend.  I’m sure these are just some of the qualities that his fiance Kirsten appreciates.  She is kind, loyal, and motivated and these two compliment each other so well.  I’m glad to now call them both friends!  I’m honoured that they’ve chosen me to photograph their wedding this September.  We had so much fun doing their engagement session photos in Wells Grey Provincial Park, near Clearwater, British Columbia.  Below is their engagement session slideshow, and Kirsten also answered a few questions about their relationship to make this blog story-rich as well as photo-rich… enjoy!

 How did you meet?
The new world way – online dating.  They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, but it lead me to find the only man for me! Our first date was at a Starbucks. I showed up wearing heels, as I always dress up for a first date, and he showed up on a street bike in leathers. At first I thought he was chach and he thought I was prissy and didn’t believe my love of the outdoors and camping – just goes to show you that first impressions aren’t everything and are often proven wrong. We sat for hours and talked until they kicked us out of Starbucks, by which time our true personalities had come through. On my way home, I called a friend and told her I may have just gone on the last first date of my life… and the rest is history!

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Pine Tree Riding Club Clinic in Barnhartvale (Horse and Rider Portraits)

This will be my last blog post before I start focusing on posting my new work on my Facebook page instead.  For the time being, I feel more people will see photos on that platform, which is my goal at the moment as I restart my business in my new city, and make new connections!

Last weekend, on May 28th and 29th, I photographed a dressage and jumping clinic at the Pine Tree Riding Club in Barnhartvale, which I am realizing is a real hub for horse activity in the Kamloops area. There are many beautiful acreages out there as well as lovely residential areas, and in the middle of it all is the Pine Tree riding grounds (I have a feeling they were there first, and the houses ended up surrounding it!). Some participants were able to simply ride down the road to the grounds. :)

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I was recently at Sun Meadows Equestrian Centre in Barnhartvale (just east of Kamloops).  I had the pleasure of photographing an adorable new foal, Finnegan. He was only a week old when I met him, but already so independent! He came over to investigate the camera promptly, and galloped around his paddock with no concern for his mother’s whereabouts, only returning to sample the milk bar at regular intervals. ;) What a cutie!

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Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association (Horse and rider portraits)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I moved to Kamloops. I have been running around putting up posters, designing new promotional materials, and networking with local people and businesses. I’ve driven about an hour in each direction from the city, scoping out my new territory and getting the lay of the land. I would like to show some photos from my visit to the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association. From their recent spotlight on Social Fire:

“The Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association (KTRA) is a charitable non-profit that offers horseback riding to children and adults with a wide range of disabilities. KTRA’s riding lessons benefits the riders by using the motivating medium of horse care and riding to draw an individual’s attention to their strengths, successes and most importantly build self-confidence.”

In the past, I have volunteered with the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association, and it was a great experience to see the positive impact that the horses had on the riders. I encourage you to support your local therapeutic riding association, as the work they do truly makes a difference in the lives of their clients!

The horses in the programs must, of course, be very gentle, calm, and tolerant. I could tell that every horse I met had these qualities just by looking at them from a distance — you can tell by their kind eyes and relaxed stance. :)

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