Thrilled to have been asked by Suzanne Sease of A Photo Editor to say a few words and show my Rodeo Girls photo essay!

You can see + read it here .

Growing up in ‘flyover country’ we were surrounded by the largest expanse of tall prairie grass in the world.  These are the Flint Hills, outside of Topeka, Kansas.  The wind moves through the tall grass, bending it and pushing it in waves, and it feels like you are standing on the edge of a vast green ocean.

My love for environment has always sparked my creativity, and I’m so grateful to have grown up in a family and a place with no preconceived notions of what I could or could not do.  My family and close friends have always encouraged to follow my dreams, so many years ago, I moved from Topeka, Kansas to NYC.  Lately, I find myself romanticizing my experience of growing up on the prairie.  Sometimes it takes leaving a place to realize how much it is a part of who you are.

This Rodeo series was shot in Topeka one late Friday afternoon last fall.  I had always been aware of these competitions, though I never had an opportunity to attend one, so once I found out about it, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door with absolutely no idea of what the next two hours would bring.  I’m so grateful to have spent that afternoon with these wonderful young women.  The contestants were all hopeful and nervous as they prepared for a weekend of competition.  Most of them have been riding horses on their family farms and ranches for as long as they could remember and all of them worked really hard to compete there.  Their enthusiasm was contagious, and every time I see these photos, I’m reminded of how important it is to follow your dreams.

Whether I am working on a personal project or on assignment, I always strive to make images that are honest and authentic.  Photography transcends language and cultural barriers, and my camera gives me the opportunity to share a special moment and energy in a particular space and time. My career as an image maker has allowed me to connect to so many people and unique environments…situations that a young woman growing up on the prairie could only imagine.  I’m so fortunate and so happy to do work I love, and I never take it for granted.

Nela in Buenos Aires.  Outtake from a beverage campaign I’m working on down in Argentina.

((What you don’t see here is me getting completely mauled by mosquitos on this set lol.  Dengue fever anyone?))

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

I’m BACK this week in Buenos Aires working on a beverage campaign.  I love this vibrant city.


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Vuarnet Sunglasses recently did an interview and blog post featuring some of my work from Patagonia.  You can read it here.


Primrose Butterwort. My new carnivorous bog plant.  We’ll see how long I can keep this little gal alive.

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A trek to the bottom of the world: Patagonia

Ultimately, the big take away from any travel is that we are all human and we are all connected by that.  We all feel the same range of emotions…just in another room, in another space under a different set of stars.

Below are some images from a recent trip down to Patagonia, Chile + Argentina.  Hiked to the base of the Fitz Roy, hung out in my favorite mountain village, El Chatén, trekked on the Perito Moreno glacier and hiked a few of the W-circuit trails in Torres del Paine.  Loved every minute of this journey to the bottom of the world!  In collaboration with Vuarnet sunglasses.



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Kruger National Park, South Africa, Safari with Singita

Kruger National Park is roughly the size of Israel (and is split between South Africa and Mozambique).  Stretching for 219 miles from north to south along the Mozambique border, the park is the largest in South Africa and the diversity of wildlife (147 species), bird-life (507 species), fish (49 species) and vegetation (300 species of trees) is amazing.  The park is also well known for its big 5, namely lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. Singita Lebombo  (link) lodge was our home for the week.   Our bush plane left from Johannesburg and an hour later landed on a dirt “airstrip,” which I was told, is often times blocked by wildlife.  As I stepped off the plane onto the dry earth of Kruger, I knew I was entering into another world.

We are starting to edit imagery for a photography show that will raise money to provide the anti-poaching rangers in the park better communication radios.  I will be posting more on that (and thus wildlife and landscape imagery) soon.

The breathtaking Singita Lebombo Lodge – bold, contemporary open plan lodging suspended above the N’Wanetsi River.

John Rose, barista extraordinaire / Singita Lebombo, Kruger National Park

Chef Liam Tomlin’s Vietnamese Oysters (below) I shot in Cape Town as part of an editorial for the London based magazine Monocle. Liam (owner of Chef’s Warehouse, CapeTown) is also involved with the menu creation at Singita’s Lebombo lodge as well as consulting for the chef school that Singita created.  Some of the most beautiful presentations of food I have ever seen.

“A cooking school in the wilderness may seem something of an anomaly, but there’s a good reason the stockpots are boiling furiously out here in the Kruger bush. “Communities and conservation can’t function independently, they have to co-exist,” explains Louis Vandewalle, Chef Skills Developer at SSC. “The idea behind the Singita School of Cooking was two-fold: to increase the skill level in our lodge kitchens, but also to provide opportunities for the surrounding communities.” (via singita.com)

Singita Lebombo lounge area, overlooking the park.  You are not allowed to walk to your room at night without accompaniment. The rooms are connected by narrow wooden walkways through the bush.  Because the lodge is not fenced in, wildlife can come and go as they please.  Last thing you want is to come face to face with one of the big five at night on foot.

5am call time in the bush.

It only rained once during our stay, however that was all it took for summer to begin.

During our 5 days we watched the landscape transition from brown to green.

Margaux (guide) and Lawrence (tracker). We spent 10 hours – both day and night – tracking throughout the concession. I can’t say enough good things about these two human beings.  Such dedication to the conservation of wildlife and passionate about educating others.  Hearts of gold.  In my next life, I’ll be a field ranger.  Or maybe this one…I have a biology degree…does that help? Ha!

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Cape Town, South Africa

Bongeka, Cape Town. She told me that the name Bongeka means “be thankful” in Xhosa. Xhosa is the second most common language in South Africa. There are three types of clicks used in the language, non of which I can successfully pronounce!

Giggly high school girls in Company’s Garden.

Ammaarah, Downtown Cape Town

The bustling kitchen at Chef’s Wearhouse

Chef’s Warehouse Salad. Could this be any more beautiful?


Ash Restaurant

In and around…

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