A Sun Set Moon Rise Moon Set Sun Rise Shoot at Oakwood Gardens. Oh, and alpacas. Yes, alpacas.

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The strawberry moon. That’s what they called this one. And that strawberry moon gifted me the opportunity of a lifetime.

But let’s start at the beginning.

About a year ago, I first met the founders and owners of Oakwood Gardens when I was assigned to photograph one of their cottages for Airbnb. When I drove onto that property, I did NOT expect to be greeted by a field of alpaca.

Alpaca have long been one of my favorite animals simply for their uncanny ability to coax a smile, and often an out-loud-laugh, out of me, no matter my mood or condition.

They just do that.

Apparently, Michael and Julie Saffley are some of the foremost experts on alpaca, being amongst the first to bring them to the states back in 1984. Since then, they have helped build the now thriving alpaca industry and started charities such as Quechua Benefit, in Peru to help the disadvantaged and poverty stricken indigenous peoples of the Peruvian highlands (which I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more about as there are a few projects involving Quechua we are currently discussing).

In any case, during that shoot, I asked the owner if I could come back one day and shoot the alpacas in 360 video (Virtual Reality) and she agreed.

Well, that didn’t happen immediately, or even soon after, as Oregon sees actual seasons and wet winters aren’t exactly the best time to try to take expensive optical electronics out into a pasture.

As luck would have it, a couple of months back I was assigned to shoot another one of the Airbnb units, this time a converted barn, and best of all, the season was Spring.

Perfect! The reunion hath be upon us!


During that shoot, Julie Safley indulged me and put me in the midst of a pasture of alpaca to capture the Greatest 90 Seconds Of 360 Virtual Reality Video In The History Of Life - Alpaca Therapy at Oakwood Gardens.

And it was glorious!!!

Which brings me back to the strawberry moon of June 17, 2019.

It was during that shoot that Julie asked if she could hire me to stay the night on the property, in that very converted barn I was now familiar with, to spend the sunset, strawberry moonrise, strawberry moonset, and sunrise shooting photos around her impeccable gardens.

Some things you just do NOT say no to.

While we were a bit unfortunate in that the moonrise and moonset were mostly obstructed by low-lying clouds, the light was still incredible and had me meandering excitedly around the 7-acre gardens to play and shoot and pet alpacas and play and shoot and feed alpaca and do it all over again.

Here are some of the images captured during that night & morning.

And click here for more information on the VR video.

Finally, go buy some alpaca stuff from Alpacas.com. Proceeds go to Quechua Benefit, the non-profit they founded in 1996 to help break the cycle of poverty amongst under-served communities in the highlands of Peru.

It’s all good.

All of it.

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