I thought it would be difficult to match the excitement of the first day from my week-long horse photography adventure, but I was wrong (see Day One here).  We went to a spectacular beach location called Loon Point, not far from Santa Barbara, and were treated to a whole assortment of gorgeous horses and models.  I was able to shoot everything from candid and natural shots to more stylized photographs; it was like several shoots in one.

First, I took a few candid shots as people were having fun and getting the horses used to the environment:


Next, I was able to photograph a variety of people riding up and down the beach in casual fashion.


We also set up a number of more traditional romantic scenes…


Lastly, I was able to play around with some more stylized shots, according to my vision of what would suit the subjects…


Stay tuned for photos from Day Three!

  • Trudy Kilian - You saved the best for last, Eden! :-)Seriously, these are soooo good! I need some time to digest all the various images, styles, models, horses, etc. So, you might see more comments from me, later.ReplyCancel

  • Denise Spielman - These are great shots Eden. It was good to get together and hear about your trip. I look forward to seeing the rest!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Weisberg - Wow! Gorgeous horses, locations, light and models and you did an amazing job of capturing it all. My favorite is of the horse who’s tail is backlit with dust on the ground and in front of the canon-like rock in B&W. That is truly spectacular. it looks like a waterfall.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer canning - Absolutely amazing Eden!!!ReplyCancel

I spent last week photographing some of the most beautiful horses in the world, at some of the most incredible locations in California, courtesy of renowned equine photographer April Visel of Visel Photography (thank you April!).   This was a complete change of pace for me, allowing me to push my photography in new directions, explore my creative and fine art side, and simply experience something new and wonderful with other people who love photography and love animals.

Day One of my exciting week started off with a bang.  A group of us were invited to Varian Arabians, to meet the owner Sheila Varian, have dinner & wine, tour the grounds, and photograph horses as well as cowgirls riding at sunset (more about that in a minute).

First, I got to fall in love with some new foals and their mamas, and to meet them up close…


Next, it was on to watching a couple of gorgeous gray Arabian geldings frolic in a small paddock.  They looked beautiful both coming and going…


Next, we got to see a wonderful proud young stallion, all flared nostrils, rippling muscle, long neck, and high tail — he loved having his own paparazzi, and would do wonderful showy moves like running toward us and skidding to a halt in a dramatic way, like here…


Toward sunset, at the end of what was already an incredible day, we got a real treat.  Four talented horsewomen rode for us and showed off their skills.  Two of them are actually inducted in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Sheila Varian herself, and Audrey O’Brien Griffin.  They rode and did tricks while we photographed them in the dust and the sunset light.

Here is the incomparable Sheila Varian herself:


Here are the three other women joining her in showing us how cowgirls really ride…


This shot is of Audrey riding by after demonstrating that she can spin her horse using no hands.  Look at that smile — that is a woman who belongs on horseback!


Then, as the sun sank, these women rode and performed in the last light, with the dust as a backdrop, creating a beautiful blur of motion and light…


There was so much to take in, and it was only Day One of my week-long horse odyssey!  The next post (Day Two) will have shots from a gorgeous beach…  But before I leave you, here are two shots that I’m really proud of.  One of my goals this week was to push my artistic expression further into the fine art realm, and to access a more creative space.  Here are my first results — the first of a lovely Arabian mare, and the second a head shot of one of the gray Arabian horses pictured above.

  • TraTraci Matkoski - WOW! Absolutely beautiful and a different side of your photography talent that I have not seen before. I can’t wait to see more!

    I can’t believe that was only one day!ReplyCancel

  • Denise - Beautiful work Eden, your affinity with the subject shows.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Vinez - I admire Sheila Varian and what she has done over the years to contribute to the Arabian Horses. Thank you Sheila Varian
    Thanks for the photos you shared. I loved your photographer. I especially liked your photo dressed western!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Morrison - Beautiful work, Eden!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Weisberg - Yee haw! Every single one of these photos is amazing. It just gets better and better. That first image was a great way to start this blog post, it has an emotional quality to it. Truly spectacular.ReplyCancel

  • Equine Adventures, Day Two: The Beach » Sierra Luna Photography - […] of the first day from my week-long horse photography adventure, but I was wrong (see Day One here).  We went to a spectacular beach location called Loon Point, not far from Santa Barbara, and were […]ReplyCancel

I recently photographed an entire litter of chocolate lab puppies and their mama, here in Placerville.  I quickly realized that I should have had more puppy-wranglers in my employ!  These little bundles of joy ran amok, doing what puppies do:  putting their mouths on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, not holding still for a second, tumbling all over the place — it was wonderful!  They played tug, nursed when mama would let them, chewed on sticks, toys, and anything else handy, and they “helped” with some gardening, and at the very end, near sunset, they started to slow down.  I knew we were done when one of them lay down and stuck her tongue out! (see final photo)  Here are a few shots of them having a wonderful time on their first outing away from home.  Enjoy!

  • cindy smith - great pictures Eden, so cute.ReplyCancel

  • sierraluna - Thanks, Cindy! They were a lot of fun to work with, as you can imagine!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Morrison - Marvelous! The client must be overjoyed with your pics, Eden.ReplyCancel

  • Nadine Rozowsky - I love the pictures. You truly captures the heart and souls of these Labs.ReplyCancel

Kip has a perfect border collie life.  It didn’t start out that way:  he is completely deaf, and was in rescue searching for his forever home.  Luckily, Erik Grendahl, an excellent dog trainer colleague of mine with a big heart, adopted Kip and brought him home.  Erik runs the dog rescue portion of Hartsong Ranch, along with his own dog training business, and he taught Kip a wide repertoire of hand signals.  Now Kip spends his days running around the ranch, swimming, chasing sticks, playing with dogs, checking out the farm animals, and living an idyllic life.  I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful dog in his element recently, and here are the results…


Kip adores fetching sticks in the water and on land.

Kip is watching his owner Erik closely

Kip swims daily, so he has turned shaking off water into an art form.

Kip gets ready to bite into a stick.

Kip fetches another stick

Kip strikes a pose.

Kip chills out after hours of play

Kip looks beautiful in the sunset light

  • Erik Grendahl - Wow. You did such a great job of capturing both Kip and the scenery. These are amazing photos. Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Denise Spielman - I love the ones of Kip shaking the water off, seriously nice work!ReplyCancel

  • sierraluna - Thanks, Denise — I love watching the “shimmy” travel down a dogs body, and how they can isolate different parts. Kip swims a LOT, so he does the shimmy a lot, too. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • sierraluna - I’m glad you like them, Erik; I had a lot of fun spending the afternoon at Hartsong with Kip.ReplyCancel

  • Liz Kleine - These are great, Eden! Your photos are getting better and better. I am having trouble getting the right focusing, especially with action and/or with wide aperatures. Would love any tips.ReplyCancel

  • Holly Morrison - Eden, these photos of Kip are excellent! Great eye.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Weisberg - Beautiful captures & a touching story. I also was moved by the story of #37. I’d love to visit Hartsong Ranch!ReplyCancel

  • sierraluna - Yes, Julie, the story of #37 (on the Hartsong Ranch blog here http://coolfeedstore.com/hartsong/2012/03/the-story-of-37/ for those who haven’t seen it) is very moving!ReplyCancel

  • sierraluna - Thanks for the compliment, Liz! Your photography is beautiful — what I’ve seen of it. The only tip I can really offer is to practice the things you find most difficult. The only thing making me better is getting out there and learning my camera and lenses, learning the light, learning what works for me, etc. I try new things, and when I do, they may be terrible at first, but then I figure out why and try again. I’d love to chat with you about what you’re working on these days, and we can brainstorm some ideas. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • lisa norman - thank you, Lisa Norman RVTReplyCancel

  • Chich - I just love the photos of Kip .. .. . . what a special dog and you did a great job on the photos. .. . thanks eden!ReplyCancel

  • Nadine R - Beautiful shots!!! Heartwarming story!!!ReplyCancel

It doesn’t snow often in Placerville, but when it does, no one enjoys it more than my two siberian huskies, Luna and Vesta.  They are truly in their element in the snow, and it shows.  It snowed unexpectedly yesterday, and I rushed to take a few photos before it melted today.  This is the first time my new camera really got a workout; the lighting conditions were very challenging since we shot while it was snowing heavily.  I protected the camera with a ziploc bag, bundled up in warm clothes, and photographed the dogs until my fingers were too cold to shoot any more.  

Vesta the husky looks so pretty with the snowflakes falling all around.

Vesta looks like a wild creature in the snow

Luna and Vesta played all afternoon in the snow — happy huskies!

Luna can look so regal. Typical husky — she lies in the snow like it’s a throne!

Luna becomes as playful as a puppy in the snow.

Snow is guaranteed to put a smile on Luna’s face!

  • cindy smith - Wonderful pictures. You got the lighting just right. The expressions are priceless.ReplyCancel

  • Traci Matkoski - Eden, I think these are my favorite pictures of Vesta & Luna ever. I am so excited for you as a pet mommy that you have this magical moment captured. The girls are so beautiful in the snow and they are so happy!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Weisberg - Best yet! Love them!ReplyCancel

  • sierraluna - Thank you, Ladies! I’m always happy to take photos of my dogs that capture their personalities and expressions and moments. I think everyone should have photos of their pets that do this. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Nadine Rozowsky - Fabulous shots!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - Wonderful pictures! I too have a husky mix. She’s 14 now and hangin’ in there and still LOVES a good romp in the snow. I always try to get all the pictures I can of her!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Morrison - Two of my favorite canines. Love these shots of the Girls in the snow. You captured their wonderment of the environment.ReplyCancel

  • John - Love these shots, particularly the first one of Vesta in profile. I just dig how you captured the snow and her wonderful coloring.ReplyCancel