When I saw the subject line of Amanda Johnson’s (the mastermind behind Butterfly Petals) submission, I knew I was in for something special. How could I not be excited by the idea of a Haunted Desert photoshoot? To say that the photos met my expectations would be QUITE the understatement…take a look for yourself at these ridiculously dreamy photos of her jaw dropping floral creations and then read all about the inspiration for this shoot at Scorpion Gulch below.
Photography by Mike Oblinski Photography
I wanted to create a design experience that embraces the stark beauty of the Arizona desert. I used elements such as cactus skeleton, cacti, succulents, and other desert materials. I’ve done many styled shoots and we usually have the bride and groom models and staged vignettes–for this piece I really wanted it to be all about Arizona–from the floral creations to the location. No people, just cool desert pieces dressed up with a little bit of pretty flowers.
To create an ethereal and haunted effect, we shot at dawn The light coming through the windows onto the table created an amazing atmosphere. I also loved that it seemed equally remote and private. A couple dining there would have the place to themselves, with only the desert creatures looking on.
We chose Scorpion Gulch as the location for the shoot- it is an abandoned house and store created in the 1930’s, and built using supplies found in the natural desert in which it stands. The original rooms of this uniquely Arizonan venue are mostly intact, but wear and tear from decades of blistering Arizona summers has taken it’s toll and created a definitively aged and rustic patina that can’t be fabricated. It’s popular for photoshoots and I’ve been drooling over images of the place online and dying to do something there for sometime.
The table scape was built on a base of claimed elk antlers, shed after the previous elk season of Northern Arizona.We created the chandelier above the table using 150-year-old barbed wire, from a working ranch here in Arizona. Antique deer and antelope antlers also make an appearance; the antelope horns form a one-of-a-kind handle for an elegant and whimsical bouquet, while a set of matching deer antlers also made a great branch-like support for orchids in another. The harsh, sun-bleached antique deer skulls were softened with ranunculus, spray roses and succulents.