Monthly Archives: July 2011

Madame Sarah

Last week I did a photo shoot with Sarah Waggener at Madame Sherri’s castle in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, just across the Connecticut River from Brattleboro. Sarah is a dancer, a yoga instructor, and a recent graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts. She designed the birdcage for her senior performance. It kind of goes without saying that it takes amazing strength to pull off something that looks like a beautiful dance, but is probably closer to a gymnastic routine.

We did the photo shoot in the early evening, when the light was soft, and the mosquitoes were thick.
Madame Sherri's castle was the site of some allegedly wild parties when her high-society friends would come to visit from New York City. The castle burned in 1965, but most of the beautiful stonework remains. Her seemingly endless supply of money came from her work as a costume designer for the Ziegfeld Follies.
Sarah's love for vintage clothes, and of living in the backwoods of southern Vermont, made this location a perfect spot for these portfolio images.
This move came about 45 minutes into the shoot, and was not a transitional element. Sarah held this position while I got the right angle for the image.
A living statue amidst the pillars.
I try not to bore folks with technical details, but I want to give a shout out to my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lens. This fast lens allows me to shoot with a shallow depth of field, so just Sarah is in focus, drawing your eye to her immediately. The 70-200 is my favorite lens, and I use it almost all the time.
Yes, the hikers using the local walking trails had a puzzled look on their faces as they passed by.
One of the last images of the photo shoot, and my favorite.

Thanks to Sara for sharing her incredible gifts with us, and also for sharing her excellent bug repellant.