Crew: Don Gianino, Pat Morgan, Jeff MacKay, Mike White
Photos by Rebecca MacKay
Step back in time with a visit to a real western ghost town: Shaniko, Oregon.
The town’s heyday was the first decade of the 20th century, when Shaniko served as a transportation hub spurred by the presence of the Columbia Southern Railway, a subsidiary of Union Pacific Railroad, which built a branch from Biggs Junction to a terminus in Shaniko. That branch was completed in May 1900. At the time, the city was known as the “Wool Capital of the World”, and it was the center of 20,000 square miles of wool, wheat, cattle and sheep production, with no other such center east of the Cascade Range in Oregon.
Today Shaniko is known for its charming western ghost town as it contains several historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
The Shaniko Historic District includes the Shaniko Schoolhouse, the Shaniko Jailhouse, and the Shaniko Historic Center. Many of the buildings in the historic district have undergone restoration.
These buildings provide a wonderful backdrop for an authentic western photo shoot. This is precisely what we did on our visit to the ghost town at the end of March 2013.
Jeff, Wilde and I were accompanied by our very good mates, Sandy Foster, Christin Colson Alvarado-Wendt and her husband Jordan Alvarado and the renowned Randy Foster of Foster Photographix we set out with a trunk full of period clothing, props and weapons to recreate a day and a life in the streets of an old western town.
We strolled through the empty streets and admired the architecture of buildings that were long past their prime. Just as one would imagine in a true “ghost town” no one was to be seen. The only friend to be made was a very large cat that accompanied us the entire day and generously played town host. He even took the time to play a tune on the rustic piano that sat outside the saloon.
We took care to choose our set location with purpose, creating characters for each of us, and a story that would unravel in the streets as we moved from the bank, to the saloon and into a paddy wagon that took us straight to the jail.
We have had the privilege of working with Randy and Sandy Foster on numerous photographic adventures as models, set designers, costumers, collaborators and have traveled to many locations and created many amazing photographs together. However, a photo like non other was created in the streets of Shaniko by Randy. Randy had this brilliant vision to create an action packed story photo using the length of one street and each of us models as different characters appearing multiple times in different period clothing to create a dramatic story.
Photo art is Randy’s specialty as he is a master at creating and manipulating a photo into a masterpiece. Hours and hours of editing go into the creation of just one photo.
Together Jeff and Randy set out creating the story and characters and then placing each model in the right location along the street and giving them an action and story to recreate. Jeff was particularly accomplished at positioning us with the weapons and giving us the correct “look”. Randy would then capture the photo.
Christin, also an inspiring photographer, captured several amazing candid shots throughout the day. Christin seemed gifted at capturing raw, honest emotion and her work truly reflects the “Old West”.
All this while the models ran back and forth from the wagon to the shoot changing costumes. I think each of the models had at least three costume changes. Many of the costumes were creations of the models themselves. Sandy and Christin are clever thrift store shoppers and creatively turn fantastic finds into remarkable clothing. I created several of the vests, coats, scarves, corsets and bustle dresses worn during this immense shoot. Jeff made all of the leatherwork, including the chaps, gun holsters and belts. It was enormous creative effort on the part of each participant.
And as with any photo shoot with this fun group of characters, we had a fabulous time, laughing and joking and enjoying every minute of our adventure and truly enjoying the art & talent of each of our mates.
As the sun began to set we drove out of the old ghost town feeling very accomplished – it’s not every day you get to rob a bank, drink with saloon girls, handle bags of loot, take a ride in a paddy wagon and end the fun in the jail house, only to get caught kissing the sheriff.
To end the evening we bellied up to the bar in the infamous “Baldwin” Saloon, built in 1876, located in The Dalles, Oregon.
More on the history of The Baldwin Saloon: http://baldwinsaloon.com/our-history/
Visit Foster Photographix on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FosterPhotoGraphix
See the full photo gallery of Randy Foster’s Photos at:
Visit Christin Colson Wendt Photography on facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ChristinColsonWendtPhotography?fref=ts
See the full photo gallery of Christin Colson Alvarado-Wendt’s Photos at:
Photos by Randy Foster and Christin Colson Alvarado-Wendt
Article by Rebecca MacKay
American Trail Boss Outdoor Adventure:
American Trail Boss in The New Mexico Desert
Another Adventure Coming your way…..
One of the most beautiful places in the USA, is The New Mexico Desert and it’s many panoramic scenes. The colors and lighting are just amazing and spectacular, rather it is morning afternoon or evening, you will completely enjoy the whole adventure journey.
Awesome Mountain Peaks and Trails all over New Mexico.
FEATURE STORY: Come see the second largest Poplar tree in the US. Come fish the trout streams and hike the trails. The Nantahala River is probably one of the best known attractions in our area. Most folks associate the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) and the section from Patton’s Run to the NOC as the Nantahala River. But the modest beginnings of this river provide some incredibly diverse recreational opportunities with a small fraction of the crowd.
The section of the Nantahala that is popular with the whitewater enthusiasts, actually originates from the bottom of the Nantahala Lake. This section is controlled by the scheduled releases from Nantahala Dam. This is one reason why even in the heat of the summer the water is so frigid. But the headwaters of this river are surrounded by thousands of acres of Forest Service lands and are loaded with back country opportunities such as hiking, driving tours, camping, fly fishing, horseback riding.
THE UPPER NANTAHALA as it’s known by most is a true wild trout stream. In its modest beginnings below Mooney Gap it supports native Brook Trout along with Rainbows and Browns further downstream. One of the unique features of this river is that it flows north to Nantahala Lake. A single road (F.S. 67) winds along the banks of the Upper Nantahala from the entrance of Standing Indian Campground until the road intersects at the Coweeta Hydrological Experimental Forest.
According to Highroads Guide to the North Georgia Mountains, the Nantahala Watershed has an extensive system of trails of different lengths and varying degrees of difficulty. There are at least three horse trails in a special horse camp called Hurricane Creek Horse Camp. There are fascinating plant communities including bogs, and some virgin forest. Some of the old growth timber still exists today. For those looking for an excellent driving tour with a few short hikes, you can visit the second largest yellow poplar in the country and two waterfalls in a half day.
Take US 64E toward Franklin. Turn right on Wallace Gap Rd. Turn right to enter Standing Indian Campground and Back Country Area. Go .04 mile to a parking area on the left. It is directly adjacent to the Appalachian Trail (AT). This is also the trail-head for the short (1.4 mile round trip). Walk on a graded trail to the JOHN WASILIK MEMORIAL TREE, which is the second largest Yellow Poplar in the United States. It is eight feet in diameter and twenty five feet in circumference and was a hundred thirty five feet until topped by a storm.
The tree is gigantic in comparison to surrounding trees. There is a fenced area around the tree and a memorial plaque stone. Continue about 1.1 miles on FS 67 to a fork; take the left fork about .02 mile to the Back Country Information Center. Continue 4.7 miles on FS 67 to the parking area for BIG LAUREL FALLS (1.2 miles round trip), an easy hike for the whole family. Continue on FS 67 for .08 mile to the pull off area for MOONEY FALLS. The trail is a .02 mile round trip to the falls. This waterfall is beautiful and can be heard from the small parking area next to the trail-head. As you drive along FS 67 to the afore mentioned destinations you will see many trailheads for hiking as well as horse trails. Some of these connect with the AT. Some follow along PARK CREEK and HURRICANE CREEK. But one thing will become quite evident: There is a lot to see and do in this beautiful area.
While you are enjoying your adventure travels to these locations don’t miss WWW.RIDGERUNNERZIPS.COM in the beautiful valley town of Andrews, NC. You can also cut loose on the dance floor and hear local musicians at WWW.JIMMYSPICKNGRIN.COM
|Land and Sea Photographers Randy Foster & Greg AmptmanThe Rogue Mermaids and Pirates were captured both by land and by sea this last weekend in a Vancouver, WA. swimming pool. Randy Foster of Foster Photo Graphix snapped photos from the pool’s edge and Greg Amptman of Undersea Discoveries shot from below the surface.Randy Foster is one of the most talented photographers in the Great Northwest. He is a master at the art of photo manipulation and graphic design. He has become very well known in the pirate & mermaid communities as a celebrity photographer. His photos are true works of art, however his greatest talent is in making his models feel comfortable and relaxed as he captures the most candid and natural poses.
He is the perfect land photographer to capture all things magical, mystical and fanciful.
Greg Amptman is a renowned underwater photographer who has been published in many great works, including “Shark Diver Magazine” and “The Discovery Channel” to name just a few. Greg has been diving for over seven years and has logged over 1000+ dives. His primary focus has been capturing sea life. “My photos enable me to share some of my undersea adventures with divers and non divers alike…. In doing so, I hope to show the beauty and majesty as well as the mystery of our worlds oceans,” says Greg.
Recently Greg has been branching out and capturing more of the underwater mystery and magic as he has gone from sharks to mermaids and pirates in his recent dives.
This is not the first time these two talented photographers have paired up. They both had cameras aimed at pirates and mermaids in Lake Chelan WA. in the month of September.
The photos from deep in the lake and those taken from shore all captured some of the very best pirate, mermaid photos by these two talented photographers.
Greg Amptman of Undersea Discoveries
Joy, Love, Laughter, & Gratitude,
In 1112, a Gypsy Pirate sailed the Sea’s. Long before Columbus, Cortez or any of their like. A man of great unbeatable and powerful, mesmerizing character. Feared and loved by all around him and all who knew him. Women died to be by his side, always the adventuress and always seeking danger. His journeys were always carefully chosen to produce the most extreme excitement and dangers that one could ever possibly imagine. Just from the very mention or sound of his name, men’s hearts would tremble in great fear. While the hearts of women would begin to beat rapidly with passion and desire, longing to be near and around him.
But you see, 900 years ago. A beautiful Princes joined his Pirate crew, disguised as a Pirate. She battled the Sea’s and the enemies by his side. Then one day it came to pass that she realized her deep passion and love for this Gypsy Pirate, and she revealed her self and her true identity to him.
They fell deeply in love with each other, vowing to each other never to part. The King of the land she was the daughter and Princess of, in his search for her, discovered this news.
Angered by it, he called up on a Witch to cast a spell on the Gypsy Pirate and his crew. To send them to the bottom of the Sea for 900 years, never to die. But, the King also demanded that his Princess daughter not be cast into the Sea with them. But, demanded for her to be returned home safely.
As the ship went down in a raging storm that night, the Princess was able to swim to shore and found a Grotto for refuge from the storm. There in the Grotto the Witch was waiting for her and told her, your father had me cast your lover into the Sea for 900 years never to die.
The princess asked the Witch, please, please cast a spell to have me reborn and alive again for him 900 years from this very date and hour. So that I can call him back from the Sea, and our love together shall be united again. Write me a spell, to chant and call him back from the depths of the Sea on that night. And we shall hide it here in this Grotto until then. And cause another spell that 900 years from now, I will mysteriously find my way again to this grotto and discover the diary with the spells in it and remember everything from the life before. There fore I shall cast the spell and chant the words to call my lover, my Gypsy Pirate back from the depths of the Sea to be with me for ever more.
The witch did exactly as the Princess asked and so now, the return of the Gypsy Pirate begins. Now, they shall be reunited and sail the Sea’s side by side again. With the Skull and Cross Bones raise high in the winds, carrying them into the greatest and most adventurous journeys together ever to be imagined.
One month and 3 days from now, he will rise again and return. Hidden in a Grotto, along the Sea in a secret place. Deep within its caverns, unseen for 900 years, the Princess has found the secret Diary and the spell within it. She now chants this spell day and night, to recall him from the Depths of the Sea. She desires him, and has already began to call him back. On 11-11-2012 at 11:12 pm, Exactly 900 years later. He will be here and as powerful and mysterious as ever before. Mystical and intriguing and taking his rightful place as the most feared and loved pirate of all time once again.
Aye Mate’s and lady’s, Ahhhhrrrrrrr. Prepare your self for the Gypsy Pirates return.
Prepare your self for…………… 11-11-12…11:12 pm…….. You will feel him coming with the Wild Wind’s that very night. As the night wind whispers the beautiful maidens chants, Rise up from the Sea.
(C) 2012 Don Gianino All rights reserved.
The Largest Gathering of Mermaids in the Northwest
The Rogue Mermaids founded the Northwest Mermaid Pod with the desire to invite others to play, get their fins wet and follow their dreams. The Pod born only a few months ago started with the founding Rogue Mermaids: Rebecca MacKay, Sandy Foster, Jenny Rose, Carol Bisbee, Thandiwe Curtis-Gibson and like ripples in the water the pod quickly grew to over 40 beautiful Northwest Mermaids.
The pod has gotten together for several fun functions including tail making parties and charity events with many more events on the horizon.
The pod just held the largest gathering of Mermaids in the Northwest at Peninsula Pool in Portland Oregon. Where over 20 mermaids swam together splashing and diving with absolute joy and merriment. The mermaids ranged from seven to seventy with the addition of one, six year old, shark (MerKid Wilde MacKay) who joined them in the festivities.
Many of the mermaids were excited to be debuting their tails for the very first time. Most of the mermaids handcrafted their tails themselves with a few sewing tips from Rebecca MacKay and Sandy Foster who created the first swim tails in the area. The mermaids got together to shop for material, sew and craft tails and make tails that represented their individual mermaid persona. Adding trim, shells, sequins, and other sea treasures the tails are as colorful and unique as the mermaid swimming in them. The unique quality belonging to the tails in this pod is that each tail is designed with a professional mono fin for swimming. Each mermaid is fully equipped to swim like a real mermaid in the ocean, lake, river, fountain, or in this case the local pool.
This event was such a splashing success KATU News photographer Chelsea Sherier took a dip with the pod. See the news clip here → Chttp://www.katu.com/news/local/Avast-There-be-mermaids-at-the-local-pool-166780566.html?tab=video&c=y
This isn’t the first time our pod has appeared in the news. Mermaid Pauline Long was featured last week on KATU & KGW and will soon appear on Anderson Live.
Colorful tails jumping, diving and swimming in the Peninsula Pool was a beautiful and magical site. Laugher and joy filled the air and for at least one warm summer evening in Portland Mermaids were real.
A special thank you to Jeff MacKay of The MacKay Pirate Family (videographer), Randy Foster of Foster Photo Graphix (photographer), Dev Staneart and the Peninsula Pool.
Mermaids: Rebecca MacKay, Sandy Foster, Carol Bisbee, Thandiwe Curtis-Gibson, Dev Staneart, Pauline Long, Renee Shaw, Heidi Roggenbauer, Tamara Trotter, Jena Werven, Her Royale Hinie, Lissa Melite, Christin Colson Wendt, Kat Walesby, Talia Walesby, Ariela Walesby, Anali Gomez, Wilde MacKay.
Rogue Mermaids: http://www.RogueMermaids.com/
For Photos from this event visit Foster Photo Graphix on facebook:
A woman who transformed into a mermaid at a Portland pool earlier this month now has some company now – a lot of company. The Pod
Mermaids are making a big splash in the great North West. Women of all ages have begun swimming with a pod called North West Mermaids, recently founded by Mermaid Rebecca MacKay and Mermaid Sandy Foster.
These two are pirate reenactors at heart, but have gotten their toes wet as professional mermaid models and entertainers. They can be hired for birthday parties, charities, festivals, celebrations, photo shoots, promotions and other events. These women are beautiful and entertaining on land and in the water. Their fins are completely outfitted for swimming and splashing in pools, aquariums, fountains and the sea.
Mermaid Rebecca also writes a column in the famous Mutiny Magazine called “Mermaids in the Wild.” She interviews beautiful sirens around the world and records their stories for Mutiny readers to enjoy. Mutiny is a new FREE online magazine and can be enjoyed athttp://www.MutinyMagazine.com/.
Not only do these girls have big bold, beautiful tails, they have large hearts as well. The women feel that being a mermaid is a great opportunity to help women feel beautiful, confident and strong. With open arms and flipping tails Rebecca and Sandy have invited women of all ages and sizes to jump in and get their fins wet.
The pod is growing rapidly in the Pacific North West. Their mer-sisters range from 7 to 70 and are all extremely excited to be making their dreams come true in tails. The pod is getting together for tail crafting, swim parties, photo shoots and charities. Up next on the calendar Mermaid Rebecca and Mermaid Sandy and a few of their mer-sisters: Thandiwe Curtis-Gibson, Carol Bisbee, Jenny Rose, Dev Staneart, and Karen Vogt will be entertaining at a Wine and Wearable Art Show in Ocean Shores, WA to debut Mermaid Fashion on the Cat Walk. The pod will then be fighting cancer at the 24 Hour Relay in Portland Oregon, accompanied by Foster Photo Graphix and The MacKay Pirate Family. The pod is also planning the largest ever gathering of mermaids in the North West in late August in a beautiful Portland Pool. With events like this on the horizon you can see that these mermaids really know how to splash up some fun.
These enchanting mermaids even have their own calendar with photos by the very talented, Randy Foster of Foster Photo Grahix. Randy is a celebrity photographer in the pirate and mermaid community and his work his very much sought after. To purchase a Rogue’s Mermaid Calendar visit
(This calendar will be updated each month until January 2013, so that you will always get a full twelve months use ).
You never know when a mermaid might be sighted in a pool, pond, river or fountain in the North West. It seems that one of the North West Mermaids, Pauline Long a.k.a. Myst, was captured by the local news swimming in a Portland, OR pool (watch herehttp://www.kgw.com/video/featured-videos/Mermaid-spotted-in-Portland-pool-164545456.html) and not long ago Mermaid Rebecca and Mermaid Sandy were caught swimming in a famous downtown fountain drawing large crowds of amazed on lookers. These tails seem to really catch the attention and fascination of all that see them.
It’s wonderful to see so many confident women, in tails, making waves and laughter in the Pacific North West. Watch them swim on their YouTube Video: “Mermaids, Sirens of the Sea” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBwasqEGdSA ).
If you would like to learn more about Mermaid Rebecca and Mermaid Sandy you can visit there website Rogue Mermaids:http://www.RougeMermaids.com/ and to meet the wonderful mermaids of the North West Mermaid Pod look for their facebook group page.
You can also visit Rebecca Mermaid on facebook at Rebecca The Pirate:http://www.faceboo.com/RebeccaThePirate and Sandy the Mermaid on facebook at Sandy The Pirate:http://www.facebook.com/SandyThePirate.
For more photos of these beautiful mermaids visit Foster Photo Grahix on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fosterphotographix .
All Photos taken by Randy Foster of Foster Photo Graphix.Joy, Love, Laughter, & Gratitude,
Jeff, Rebecca and Wilde MacKay are known as The MacKay Pirate Family, a distinguished family within the pirate community. They are pirate reenactors, living historians who educate people about the Golden Age of Piracy by living a pirate lifestyle and representing that at pirate gatherings in exotic locations around the world. They enlighten and educate the public and give them a historical representation of Golden Age Pirates. “We do this at piratical events, festivals and fairs, book readings, community gatherings, and special events. In addition, we introduce them to the tools of the sweet trade: knives, swords, axes, flintlocks, and cannons. We show them the authentic attire of the time and answer their questions about pirates and history, says Jeff MacKay.”
The MacKay’s are also artisans who make a living with their several pirate related online businesses. Jeff is the Master Hatter of Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats. He handcrafts authentic pirate hats from the 1700’s, each one an original. Rebecca, in addition to being a pirate model and mermaid entertainer, writes and illustrates a series of books called “Little Pirate.” Together they own and operate The Pirate Trading Co. LLC, outfitting the pirate community with pirate attire and tools of the sweet trade.
Pirate themed businesses are just the beginning of The MacKay’s Pirate lifestyle. They also spend a great deal of time doing charities with piratical themes like: Booty for Boobies, Relay for Life, Dragon Slayer, and Treasure Our Children to name just a few. “We know not all treasure is silver and gold and we try to do our part within and outside the pirate community to give back,” says Rebecca.
In 2009 Jeff finished his first Screenplay “The Buccaneer”, and is currently developing two more screenplays also focusing on Pirates.
This pirate couple has also taken prominent rolls within their community. In 2010 the pirate community elected Jeff as on of the Devils Dozen. He was inducted into the Order of Leviathan, a benevolent organization, where he now serves as the Grand Leviathan. “It is my great honor to hold such a prestigious title,” says Jeff. Rebecca has also taken a large leadership roll in the development of the North West Mermaid Pod. “It’s wonderful to see the excitement and desire of so many women in our area willing to get their fins wet as mermaids,” says Rebecca.
The little red head pirate that follows these two active pirates around is a ball of fire himself. Wilde, who is only six, has been completely immersed in the pirate sub-culture form day one and is one creative, active, and adventurous little pirate. Sword in hand he will surely entertain you with his wit and bigger than life personality.
The MacKay’s are an extremely unique, talented and entertaining family of pirates. To learn more about this family of rogues visit http://www.MacKayPirateFamily.com and be sure to visit Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats http://www.captjackspiratehats.com,The Pirate Trading Co. LLC http://www.thepiratetradingco.com, http://www.roguemermaids.com.