Shelley Paulson Photography Blog – Minnesota Equine, Wedding and Portrait Photographer
  • Archives
  • September28th

    088_lanie_2011.JPG

    On a beautiful late summer afternoon, I met up with Lanie, Angelina, and mom Maureen at a beautiful farm near Hudson, Wisconsin to photograph Lanie’s senior photos. The weather was perfect and my subjects were beautiful, gentle and very comfortable in front of the camera. The resulting images are honestly some of my favorites to date!

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_02.JPG

    Mmm, I love window/doorway light. :)

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_03.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_04.JPG

    These two are such a great fit for each other.

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_06.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_07.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_08.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_09.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_10.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_11.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_12.JPG

    110_lanie_2011.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_14.JPG

    Whenever I photograph seniors with horses, I usually also include some photos of just the senior. Lanie was such a joy to have in front of my camera!

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_15.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_16.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_17.JPG

    I love it when nature acts are my wind machine. ;)

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_19.JPG

    171_lanie_2011.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_22.JPG

    153_lanie_2011.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_24.JPG

    mn_senior_portraits_horse_25.JPG

  • September21st

    cavalia_052.JPG

    Yesterday was a CRAZY day! I woke up and went through my morning routine like usual. I put my hair up in a pony tail, dressed in “I don’t have to go anywhere today” clothes and sat at my desk to start getting caught up on photo editing. Then I saw my friend’s status on Facebook, that she was headed to the media preview for Cavalia. I had been tossing e-mails back and forth with Jennifer Willey, the local contact for Cavalia PR about the event, but hadn’t landed on making plans to be there. My schedule has been very full lately, and it fell to the back burner. I sent her a quick e-mail to see if I could still be involved in the event, and she encouraged me to come down.

    I hesitated. I’m not sure why. My thoughts drifted…I’m behind on my work. It’s a long drive. Is this my kind of thing to shoot? My very responsible head was telling me to stay home, but my heart was screaming, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? GOGOGOGOGOGOGOOOOOO!!!

    So at the very last possible minute for me to get up from my desk, get ready, get in the car and get to the venue, I did it. I almost didn’t back out of the driveway, but my heart kept chanting – GO, GO, GO. You may think at this point I’m being overly dramatic, but seriously, this really happened this way! In spite of getting behind slow drivers on 2 lane highways, I got there just in time. I was shaking and nervous. I calmed down a bit when I saw some friendly faces and sat next to my friend Sandra. Whew! I made it. I was in. With my camera. Oh my word, I really get to photograph this!

    The media preview was a 45 minute introduction to Cavalia, not the whole show. Normand Latourelle, the creator of Cavalia got up before it started and shared his vision and how Cavalia came to be. For those of you unfamiliar with this show, it is like Cirque de Soleil, but with horses as the main theme. Latourelle was one of the original creators of Cirque, and when he introduced just one horse to a Cirque show, it stole the whole scene! After that, the wheels were set in motion to create an entire show with horses.

    The lights went down and the preview started. I was still shaking. Taking deep breaths to calm down. Sharp photos are hard with shaking hands. Within 5 minutes of shooting my heart out, I realized my cheeks were wet with tears. This was one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed. Dancers, acrobats, horses and live musicians, creating beauty that I’ve only experienced in my dreams. I turned to my friend Sandra and told her I was crying. Telling her that made wet cheeks turn to full on sobs. I love horses so much, it’s almost embarrassing at times! I recomposed myself, and went back to capturing this beauty with my camera. I was in my element, enjoying every single minute of it.

    The show was exciting, heartwarming, breathtaking, funny, and most of all, a feast for the eyes. There aren’t a lot of tickets left, but if you can get tickets and go, I can’t recommend this enough. Today, I’m going to be finding a night to attend. I want to see the whole show with just my eyes. I do love experiencing things with my camera, but there are times to put the camera down and just soak in the moments unfolding in front of you.

    I posted some additional photos on my Facebook Business Page.

    I did do a short interview with one of the performers, which I’ll share near the end. I asked her a few questions, and I’ll share with you the answers. :)

    Cavalia Web Site – The show is going to Portland next, and then Montreal and Atlanta. If you love horses, give yourself a gift and go see this show!

    cavalia_02.JPG

    This girl had crazy good rope skills!

    cavalia_03.JPG

    This was the part where I started to cry.

    cavalia_04.JPG

    I’ve never been to a Cirque de Soleil performance, but it’s been a dream of mine to go to one. The beauty just takes my breath away!

    cavalia_05.JPG

    cavalia_06.JPG

    Not a mirror!

    cavalia_07.JPG

    cavalia_08.JPG

    cavalia_09.JPG

    cavalia_10.JPG

    cavalia_11.JPG

    cavalia_12.JPG

    cavalia_13.JPG

    cavalia_14.JPG

    cavalia_15.JPG

    Just jumping over a pole off of two horse’s backs, nbd…

    cavalia_069.JPG

    Oh yeah, and then landing back on the horses. Did I mention they were galloping?

    cavalia_16.JPG

    In one scene, the horses came out one by one. These two were playing with each other, it was so cute!

    cavalia_18.JPG

    A woman came out and moved the horses in really difficult patterns. There was a lot of clapping from the horse-people in the crowd who KNOW how hard this is to do.

    cavalia_17.JPG

    Do you see the musicians in the trees?

    cavalia_19.JPG

    cavalia_20.JPG

    Both equine and human performers are amazing athletes. Amazing!

    cavalia_21.JPG

    That’s high!

    cavalia_22.JPG

    Don’t miss the second rider!

    cavalia_23.JPG

    This was my favorite scene. I guess there’s a reason I live in MN, I like snow. ;)

    cavalia_24.JPG

    cavalia_25.JPG

    cavalia_26.JPG

    cavalia_31.JPG

    Taking a bow!

    cavalia_27.JPG

    Afterwards, the performers stuck around and we could talk to them an asked questions. Here’s MA Rosco from Channel 9, interviewing Katie and Cisco. It was fun to watch, and MA is so pretty!

    cavalia_28.JPG

    After MA was done, I was taking photos, and my friend Mahlon, her friend Chris, and I asked a few questions. I don’t have the answer word for word, but I’ll give you the gist.

    First, I asked what kind of horses they look for, and she told me ones with very outgoing personalities. They should LOVE people and love attention. As she’s saying this Cisco is rubbing his teeth on Chris’ hand and just being goofy. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that these horses are also gorgeous, but personality seemed to be the most important thing. She told a story about how Cisco got out of his stall and headed right for the stage. He stood there like, “where are the people?” He’s found his perfect job. :)

    She also told how the horses get to go on vacation from time to time. They have a farm in Canada where the horses get to relax, get dirty and just be horses for awhile. One thing that really struck me about Cavalia was the love the staff and performers displayed for the horses. That makes this show even more appealing to me.

    Then I asked if she had ever been hurt. She said “not seriously,” but at the last city they were in, she did fall and hit her head on the edge of the stage. When I asked if the crowd gasped, she said, “Yes, and some screamed!” She said you just have to get up gracefully and exit when that happens.

    After the interviews, I was able to go back to the barn where the horses were kept. I took a few more photos of Katie and Cisco. They were in good light and stuff. ;)

    cavalia_29.JPG

    cavalia_30.JPG

  • September15th

    willmarwedding_nelson_01.JPG

    This new thing happened to me while editing this wedding…I cried…again…at all the heartfelt moments and emotion on Joel and Ashley’s wedding day.

    Ashley’s parents are old friends of ours. They were friends of my husband first, and then they became mine through marriage. :) It’s kind of a crazy thing when my FRIEND’S children start to get married. Now, granted, my husband is a bit older than me (10 years!), but still. The parents of these couples just keep getting younger and younger. ;)

    I was so, so excited when Ashley contacted me about photographing her and Joel’s wedding. She shared with me that they were getting married in a small ceremony at her home on Eagle Lake in Willmar, MN. Then, they would jet across the lake in a boat to their car, and zoom off to Joel’s family farm for the reception. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE both lakes and farms. I’m a Minnesotan (land of 10,000+ lakes) and a farm girl at heart!

    What I didn’t expect was how much I would come to adore this couple in just a matter of a few days. Their love for each other and for their friends and family, and especially for their God, touched my heart deeply. I knew this day I was a part of something special. These two, becoming one, creating something altogether wonderful. I feel the emotions again, just in writing this.

    I had a new second shooter with me this day. His name is Luke Sankey and he is the son of another couple of friends of ours (oh dear, now I’m really feeling old!) Luke picked up a camera a few years ago and is growing by leaps and bounds. I’ve mentored him a little and hope to continue to have input in his life and creative work for many years to come. He is close friends with Joel and Ashley and created their engagement photos, so it was natural to ask him to accompany me this day. He did a fantastic job and I’ll share some of his photos here.

    Ashley and Joel had this to say about their photos:

    We absolutely love love love the photos! We are very pleased! My mother cried at almost everyone and my dad looked over them again and again! Thank you so much we just keep looking at them because they are so wonderful! :)

    To set the scene, we’ve had a very, very warm and humid summer. A week before the wedding, the forecast for this day was 75 and dry. All that changed as the week progressed and by the wedding day, it was in the 90s, with dewpoints in the mid-70s. Everyone handled it well, and I doubt it’s the main thing anyone will remember from the day.

    willmarwedding_nelson_02.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_03.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_04.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_05.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_06.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_07.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_09.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_08.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_10.JPG

    First sight. So many smiles and tears…

    willmarwedding_nelson_11.JPG

    Ashley’s bracelet was made of pearl necklaces from her grandmothers.

    willmarwedding_nelson_12.JPG

    How else do you get a bride in a hammock?

    willmarwedding_nelson_13.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_14.JPG

    Ashley has a low tolerance for the heat (come to think of it, I do too!). After we did their first sight and a few portraits, we retreated to the house and there was much fanning…

    willmarwedding_nelson_15.JPG

    And soaking…

    willmarwedding_nelson_16.JPG

    And grape feeding…

    willmarwedding_nelson_17.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_18.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_19.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_20.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_21.JPG

    Luke stayed with Ashley and her dad and captured these great moments between them.

    willmarwedding_nelson_22.JPG

    The moment in the day when I cried was when Ashley’s mom did. I could feel her heart just melting with joy over her daughter getting married.

    willmarwedding_nelson_23.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_24.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_25.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_26.JPG

    Luke’s photo.

    willmarwedding_nelson_27.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_28.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_29.JPG

    When I showed this photo to Ashley’s mom, she said something to the effect of, “It’s so amazing to work so hard to plan something and then see it all come together just like you envisioned it!”

    willmarwedding_nelson_31.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_30.JPG

    The dad’s drove them to the other side of the lake in a speed boat. Luke’s photo on the left.

    willmarwedding_nelson_32.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_33.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_34.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_35.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_36.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_37.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_38.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_39.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_40.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_41.JPG

    Big fans helped keep people cool at the reception. I actually plopped down in front of it a little bit later, just like this girl. :)

    willmarwedding_nelson_42.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_43.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_44.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_45.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_46.JPG

    The bridal party did a fun choreographed dance!

    willmarwedding_nelson_47.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_48.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_49.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_50.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_51.JPG

    Heeeey, Macarena! (sorry that’s in your head now!)

    willmarwedding_nelson_52.JPG

    Melts my heart…

    willmarwedding_nelson_53.JPG

    Such a daddy’s girl!

    willmarwedding_nelson_54.JPG

    I didn’t catch the whole story, but there was some connection between Joel and Ashley, and the song “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias. Joel surprised her by singing it karaoke style.

    willmarwedding_nelson_55.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_56.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_57.JPG

    Just as Joel was about the throw the garter, someone grabbed my assistant Luke and told him to get in there and that she would hold my light. He’s there in the light blue shirt and blonde hair.

    willmarwedding_nelson_58.JPG

    At this point, it looks like Ashley’s younger brother is going to catch it.

    willmarwedding_nelson_59.JPG

    Then suddenly Luke comes up with the garter!

    willmarwedding_nelson_60.JPG

    Victorious! I guess he’s getting married next! ;)

    willmarwedding_nelson_61.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_63.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_64.JPG

    willmarwedding_nelson_65.JPG