Photoset: Ayperi’s Bellydance of Fantasy

Mysterious BellydancerI’m a bit late to be sharing this, but it’s better late than never, right? Unfortunately, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in stuff to do, and making time for this blog just was not at the top of the list. Priorities, they really can suck sometimes.

But now that I do have time for this blog, let me share with you the amazing day spent with Ayperi, and the photos that came from it.

She contacted me about wanting to do a Fantasy Session, having heard about me from Zana. What was truly wonderful was that when she contacted me, she already had an idea of what she wanted to create, and she was able to communicate it to me. As a photographer, I always want to do everything I can to please my subject; so photographing to suit their vision is what I strive for. Having a subject that has a vision they can communicate makes this task far easier.

Ayperi desired to create a vintage look to her session, while capturing that subtle message that dancing portrays. She wanted to tell a story, and she wanted it to look like it was a timeless story. Lucky for her, this happens to be a specialty of mine. That seems to be a reason why she took Zana’s advice and contacted me.

Cloud of VeilShe also knew one of the places she wanted to photograph at: The Adelphi Hotel right in beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs. She ended up making all the reservations for it herself, and we got extremely lucky with it. Provided we photographed on the weekend they gave (which was not an issue at all), we could have the run of the first floor of the hotel at no cost. That’s right, we had an entire hotel floor to ourselves. It was AMAZING to say the least. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, they didn’t mind if we moved things (provided we put them back), and they even offered to section places off from guests for a bit while we were photographing. Honestly, we could not have asked for better, and it was an honor and a privilege to photograph there. Sadly, the hotel was probably going to be remodeled this fall, so it may not look as it did for our photos anymore, but that only makes them more special. We will never be able to achieve that look again. And it truly was a hotel made just for belly dancers it seemed.

After a fabulous time at The Adelphi Hotel, we wandered off to our second stop of the day: The Roosevelt Baths. We didn’t go inside for this one, but we didn’t have to. Located in the Saratoga Springs State Park (the free area), the grounds are home to a beautiful reflecting pool and old architecture. To look at it first glance, there isn’t anything too special about it. But as you start to wander it a bit, and take a closer look, you find the magic of it all. Unfortunately, we had to work with limited space thanks to the Dave Matthew’s Band concert goers who had littered the grounds something terrible the night before, but we did find a litter-free area to play in. I think the wedding photographer was having the same issue.

Gazing DownIt was interesting to run into another photographer on the shoot, too. There are so many gorgeous places to photograph in Saratoga, and by now it was so late in the day (about 3:30pm), that I was fairly surprised we did run into another photo shoot that was taking place. But it was no big deal as this was a true professional. He was very gracious to me, and I to him. Since we were working in similar locations for a bit, we were both careful to simply communicate and coordinate to make sure we weren’t interrupting each others photos. It took just a few extra moments for each of us to compose some photos for maybe all of fifteen minutes, and that was it. There was no fuss, no muss, and no one was upset. Honestly, I was very happy with the exchange. Sometimes you meet really irritated photographers who just don’t want to share the space. This was not one of them and I was grateful.

After the Roosevelt Baths, it was time to head to Yaddo Gardens. This was the last stop for us, and it was one that both my subject and my assistant were excited for, because neither of them had ever been. Yaddo is this well-kept secret in Saratoga, one that once you’ve learned of it you become addicted to it. It is a gorgeous area that is maintained entirely by volunteers, and open to the public for free. It features vast rose gardens, gorgeous fountains, and marble statues that are just breathtaking to behold. Belonging originally to the Trask family, upon the passing of the family it was dedicated to artists in their final will and testament. And it is serving the artist community beautifully.

Seat of the GoddessSo when they saw the gardens they were truly in awe. It was a bonus joy for me, because I love to share Yaddo with all I come across that I’m able to. And if you ever come to Saratoga Springs, you’ll have to be sure to visit it yourself.

I’m not sure who was the genius behind the design of the gardens, but I could kiss them. These gardens never fail to give me amazing light. It doesn’t matter the time of day, there is no such thing as bad lighting at Yaddo. Ever. Not unless you screw it up yourself. Many times you don’t even require the use of a reflector to create lighting patterns because they just happen naturally. And while you’re at Yaddo, the outside world fades away and you truly can be one with your creativity.

Of course, since it’s open to the public, your creativity is also going to be shared with others. In this case, we made a little girl’s day who was visiting with her parents. During one of the photos, as Ayperi was getting down off the railing I had her seated upon, the little girl spotted her. And she said to her mother “Look Mommy! It’s a beautiful mermaid!” Well, Ayperi isn’t exactly a mermaid, but one simply cannot help but smile at such a wonderful and innocent comment. It’s something that sticks out to me from the photo shoot above all else. And I think it always will.

Once we concluded at Yaddo though, our day was over. It was time to pack up, and head back downtown for something to eat. After all, nearly five hours of photographing works up quite the appetite!

So, please enjoy the photos, and be sure to check Ayperi out on her website!

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