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I was supposed to post this last week but I have been fighting something, so I’m feeling better and back to it! And what an awesome picture to do today: Robin Hobb! But, as always, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to grab a copy of the calendar; the proceeds go to charity, so it’s for a great cause!

How do I describe Robin Hobb? She’s epic. Her stories are beloved by fantasy lovers world-wide. She’s got many books under her belt, some as Megan Lindholm, most as Robin Hobb. She’s written The Farseer trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Rain Wilds Chronicles, The Tawny Man series (The fool books) … I mean, amazing. She’s currently working on The Fitz and the Fool trilogy, the second book of which hit the New York Times bestseller list when it came out earlier this year. If you love fantasy and haven’t read Robin Hobb, definitely check her out. The fact that she’s one of the kindest, sweetest humans I’ve ever met is another reason. She’s lovely all-around.

This photo was a few years in the making. Robin passed for the first calendar, but after seeing the final results decided to join me in the second one. We talked a few different ideas and finally settled on a very practical, functional character: the herbalist! I had a lot of fun with her costume, trying to balance practical with pretty and a little bit of bad-ass. I ended up making a thick leather belt that almost acted like a corset, and it worked really well on top of the green pulled silk dress.

The initial plan was for Robin to come down to Portland from Tacoma for the shoot, as I had discovered a moss-covered stone house that totally looked like something an herbalist would live in. But due to a family emergency the shoot had to be rescheduled, so when it came time to do it a few months later I went to her in Tacoma, where there are a lot of gorgeous, mossy, fern-filled forests (gotta love the Pacific Northwest!). I found a really cool weird tree in a nearby park, and knew it would be perfect.

I love the trees in this area of America!
I love the trees in this area of America!

Of course I needed an element of magic, so I went for misting magical mushrooms (haha, yeah I know). I decided to use dry ice for the first time, which was a lot of fun. While Robin got ready I went early to get a bunch of stock pictures of the dry ice all over the tree.

Add hot water and steam!
Add hot water and voilà, misty mushrooms!

Why was this idea extra awesome? Robin has a crow family that lives in her yard, and that morning they brought her a little present in the form of a mushroom! We tried some images without it in the shot, but in the end I loved her holding it the best. I really think there was a little magic with us that day in the woods. :)

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Robin getting fluffed by her assistant, Office Kat.
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Adding some light to Robin in the dark woods by bouncing it onto her face with a reflector.
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Getting some dry ice images with Robin in the shot (the ice is in the basket). Plus, mushroom!
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Hot water on dry ice made for a lovely misty forest floor.

The final shot was pretty easy compared to some of the others in the calendar. Once the main shot of Robin was decided upon all I needed to do was composite in some of my favorite misty mushroom pictures.

I love this image for many reasons. The gorgeous woods. Robin’s beautiful face. The play of the green dress on the mossy tree. The mushroom just happening to be white, which matched the ice. It’s lovely, and I am so glad that I had the chance to photograph Robin. I hope you feel the magic in it as much as I do!

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I’ll be posting a new blog every week for twelve weeks, going over the creation of the photos. Stay tuned for next week’s reveal; it will be one of the awesome guys! And don’t forget to grab a copy of the calendar (remember, all proceeds go to charity!).

Did you miss the previous calendar stories? Be sure to check out the creation of Leigh Bardugo’sTony DiTerlizzi’sKami Garcia’s and Garth Nix’s images!

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