Stormy’s Foal – Genetic Calculations – Champagne Possibilities

Note:  *** For anyone just joining us, the blog is being taken over right now for the Countdown to Stormy’s Foal’s birth.  We are streaming live video in a few days to start monitoring, so anyone who wants, can watch the birth live.  To read everything about Stormy’s Foal, click on Categories above, and scroll to Stormy’s Foal.  To contact or browse J. Otte Photography Portraits/Weddings, etc., click on the side bar or above to the galleries.  Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook as we will be giving a “play by play” of any birth activity!


Well, it’s day 308 (ideal date to get to is 320 and beyond), and we just noticed that Stormy’s udders are starting to change.  They are becoming thicker and denser all around the area, so this is feeling like we are starting to really countdown…..   I will be setting up the camera shortly and releasing the video feed for anyone who wants to watch.


The big question on all of our minds – what is this foal going to look like?

Can’t wait to find out….. let’s look at the basics.



Here we have Stormy……

  • Breed:  Tennessee Walking Horse/Paint
  • One blue eye, one amber eye
  • Color:  Champagne and White with Black/Brown through her forelock and tail
  • Her base skin color is pink with freckles
  • Her father was that champagne-ish color, and her mother was a bay paint (see below)


And here we have Taser…

  • Breed:  Friesian/Paint
  • Dark eyes
  • Color:  Black and White
  • His base skin color is black
  • His father was black, and his mother was a bay paint


Where does this leave us?

We did the best genetic calculations we could, using several different calculators and here is what we have come up with….

75% chance the baby will be a paint (a color and white)


or there is a 25% chance we will see a solid black, bay, champagne, or classic champagne with possibilities of white blaze on face or white socks.

Then, there’s the eye color variable.  We have black/brown eyes like Taser or blue eyes (one or two, although two is fairly unlikely even though Stormy had a baby with two blue eyes in the past), or even amber eyes (this is a trait of the champagne gene).

Many of us at Muddy Creek Meadows think that the light color will be dominant (although of course we hope it isn’t light as light horses are so hard to keep clean! ;)), but the genetic calculators are really split right down the middle between light/dark.   We will soon find out, won’t we?

Here’s a photo of Stormy as a baby with her mother (and with Trisha – her original owner – hope it’s okay I posted that image… it shows Stormy’s coloring so well ;)) .  Since her father was champagne, the champagne gene diluted her mother’s coloring perfectly.  That gene is very strong.


CHAMPAGNE HORSES:   When we first had Stormy, we thought she was a palomino paint.  She is not a palomino paint.  Palominos have a base skin color of black.  Champagne horses are very odd in that they have a lot of freckling on their pink skin.  They also have amber eyes.  Check out THIS LINK and see more about champagne horses.  There are quite a few varieties of them.

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Baltimore Newborn Photographer – Family

Another on-location family/newborn photography session. 

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Newborns needed in Baltimore/Hunt Valley Maryland

This opportunity does not happen very often…  We are looking for two newborn babies, under the age of 2 weeks (as of Monday, April 14th).  I am teaching a small one-on-one type of mentoring with another photographer, and we need two newborns to come to a studio in Hunt Valley Maryland.


  • Must be under 2 weeks old as of Monday, April 14th.
  • Must be available to come to studio in Hunt Valley Maryland on Monday, April 14th
  • You will receive free photos for your time.

Send us an email at for all details!

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Equine “Maternity” Photographs | Maryland Equine Photographer

Note:  *** For anyone just joining us, the blog is being taken over right now for the Countdown to Stormy’s Foal’s birth.  We are streaming live video in a few days to start monitoring, so anyone who wants, can watch the birth live.  To read everything about Stormy’s Foal, click on Categories above, and scroll to Stormy’s Foal.  To contact or browse J. Otte Photography Portraits/Weddings, etc., click on the side bar or above to the galleries.  The live video is ALMOST ready….  We have streaming periodically, the chickens… just for fun…  CLICK HERE for streaming video.  You probably won’t have to, but if you do have to sign up for an account there – I promise, they don’t spam you… so far, everyone has said they can see perfectly fine with no account.  Let me know if you find differently.  We will update when Stormy shows signs of labor… more on that later…

We decided to do some “official” maternity images just for fun.  The original goal was to take an old cheap lighting set and “rim light” Stormy’s belly by closing off as much light as we could in the hall here….  Stormy was not at all pleased with this situation.  I decided not to “strobe” the light but instead just use the modeling light as bright as possible.

as you can see… Stormy was very worried about that light.

Erynn’s friend, Haley, held the lead rope while Erynn held a treat just out of reach so Stormy had to reach her face back toward her belly.

The next day we decided to take Stormy out toward sunset and do some clear outdoor images, again, just to document this pregnancy.  She is due in one month  - she is at day 301.  Horses tend to foal between days 320 to 340 but have safely delivered from day 300 to day 360 depending on when nature decides the baby is fully cooked.  We originally rode out and realized she is just too spirited right now (she decided to jump a four-foot embankment suddenly, with no warning *sigh*) and we’d rather keep her a bit calmer, so out to the field on a lead….

We found our spot… loved the light here….. (do you know how hard it is to get a horse to “pose”?  It’s pretty tough! 

Obvious pregnant belly.  

We managed this shot with the help of a deer in the woods that kept snorting at us.  Can’t wait to see the color of this baby…. one of our next posts will be on the genetic possibilities….


My favorite of the day….. She closed her eyes when she looked back, and looks like she has a bit of a smirk on her face.  :)

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Sire (Father) of Stormy’s Foal.

Note:  *** For anyone just joining us, the blog is being taken over right now for the Countdown to Stormy’s Foal’s birth.  We are streaming live video in a few days to start monitoring, so anyone who wants, can watch the birth live.  To read everything about Stormy’s Foal, click on Categories above, and scroll to Stormy’s Foal.  To contact or browse J. Otte Photography Portraits/Weddings, etc., click on the side bar or above to the galleries.

Stormy is a Tennessee Walking Horse/Paint.  For those who know about TWHs, she’s not gaited.  She is quite the athletic jumper.  She can jump high, and she’s fast.  She’s very versatile.  We decided we wanted to bring Friesian into the mix.  We were worried about breeding to a 17 hh Friesian, so we started searching out Friesian Paint crosses.  We happened upon Molly’s Taser near Scranton, PA and on a whim, I contacted the owners.  We seemed to click right away, and they agreed to breed.  Our plan was to breed Stormy to hopefully get a nice sport horse out of her.

Breeding wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be.  Stormy was not showing signs of being ready (looking back, maybe she knew it was going to be a terrible winter and didn’t want to birth her foal in the freezing cold mess here in Maryland!), so after the first failed breeding attempt in Spring, we went through uterine flushes, giving her shots of medicine, and finally, our vet told us to take her on a trip for one more try.  He specifically said, breed her once.  No more.  To breed her more would risk a uterine infection/reaction again.   Fathers day, June 16, 2013, we drove the four hours, took her off the trailer, watched the deed take place, packed her back in the trailer, and drove four hours back.  Whew!!!  Two weeks later, another ultrasound revealed it took.  She was pregnant!  Not too long after that, we had our vet do another ultrasound and tell us if he thought she was a filly (girl) or a colt (boy).  He said filly, so I guess we will see here shortly, huh?


Ready to see the beautiful and majestic Taser?  Beautiful, isn’t he?  (Picture from Serendipity Farms)  50% Friesian, 50% American Paint.  He is also quite the gentleman.  Gorgeous and well mannered.   So the big question – what is this foal going to look like?   We have done some genetic calculations, and will share in on of the next posts!  Tomorrow’s post will be our official “maternity shoot”.  :)

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Blog Takeover! Stormy’s Foal

I’d like to take a moment to announce a bit of a blog takeover.  We have exciting news.  We are down to the last month of pregnancy for our horse, Stormy!   We want to share this with all of our readers and social media followers!  We are currently setting up to stream LIVE video of Stormy through  You can help us watch her and identify when she is going to be ready to deliver, AND you can watch the birth LIVE!  We are currently setting up with MareStare and have two video cameras ready.  My son, Barrett, will be helping us with the tech issues and setup, but I’m very excited to get this show on the road!

For those who haven’t followed up until now, we decided almost 2 years ago to breed Stormy Girl Surprise.  This is my daughter, Erynn’s, horse.  We bought her quite a few years ago from our riding instructor, Trisha, at Muddy Creek Meadows.  Stormy was meant to be shared by the family, but Erynn quickly bonded with her, and that was that.  Stormy was not always an easy horse to work with.  In fact, I’d have to say she’s never been for the beginner.  She has her quirks…. but she has grown to be quite a big part of our family.  Quirks – yes…. She loves to run.  Even 10 months pregnant, when Erynn hops up on her bareback, she waits for a cue to run (which of course Erynn is discouraging just to remain on the safe side).   This image here is at Erynn’s first fun show where they took off at a full gallop – of course, we did not want her at a full gallop, but see that smile on Erynn’s face?   We were done for at that moment.

Stormy is an all around athletic and versatile horse.  She is currently 18 years old and is probably about ready to settle down to being more of a pleasure horse.  She has shown hunters, jumpers, western pleasure, western gaming, as well as hunter paces, judged trail rides.  She has shown locally in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Erynn has a wall in her room covered in ribbons.

 Settle down?  Who are we kidding – she will always be this Stormy, our rearing Stormy *sigh* but as you can see – this image was shot in August, and by Erynn’s relaxed body, you know she expected this to happen.  Erynn manages Stormy’s excitement very well….. Here, she is pushing her forward, so she doesn’t pop up too high.  Stormy was pregnant here, but only by about two months.

In the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing all kinds of things about Stormy.  Come back in a day or two.  We will be setting up the video cameras and discussing this foal’s sire, figuring out the genetics – what color will this baby be?, and I will even post the “official” maternity photos.  Stormy is due May 14th-29th; however, this Monday marks the 300th day.  That means that she can potentially give birth safely any time from then on.  Most horses will deliver between day 320 and day 340, so it’s time we start keeping a close eye on her and look for signs of impending labor.

Please join us in this adventure.  We are so excited to be sharing all of this with all of you! 


Baby Boy | Newborn Photographer

Babies and more babies…. just seems that time of year that I’m getting mostly newborn inquiries and bookings.  While I adore newborn photography, don’t forget the high school seniors and family portraits too!  We are booking for them as weather is getting nicer.  We do have limited session times, so please contact to get on the schedule.

This little one was so sweet and calm…. I can’t wait to see the beautiful coffee table book that we are putting together of this little guy.


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Baby Girl | Newborn Photographer

Hello all, is winter finally over?

I’ve got a surprise to share on Friday…. something that is going to be a lot of fun, and hopefully all the readers will get to be a part of it.

In the meantime, as you may have known, we closed up the “brick and mortar” studio in August of 2013.  Since then, I’ve been out on location, and to clients’ homes to photograph them.  One wonderful thing about photographing newborns at home as it is so much easier on the parents.  We can also customize the session more toward their decor and personalize a little more than we could do at the studio.  Here’s a precious little girl.  I photographed her two older brothers previously.  She is such a little angel.


To learn more about the lighting here, please go to (Books)


Viewers:  The piano image was done with safety precautions in place.  Consumers:  Never allow your photographer to put your baby in an unsafe situation.  You are the parent, please feel free to stop your photographer or tell them “no” if you ever feel your baby is unsafe.  Make sure that your photographer is professional, legal, INSURED, and vetted at

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Broken Hearts


We are huge animal lovers in this house. They are a lot of working keeping up with, but we love each one of them. Last week, our hearts were broken. The best cat we have ever had, Boss, died suddenly and too soon. Boss was such a big part of our lives. He bonded really close with our son, Barrett.

Boss was an extraordinary cat. Nothing phased him. He loved strangers – especially guys. We had paramedics come to our house, and Boss was trying to get into their bags. My stepdaughter, Ally, would bring a boyfriend over, and Boss would jump in his lap and look at him like “I’m here. You love me.” Boss used to settle our kids’ arguments when they were little. Barrett and Erynn would look at him and say something like, “Should we watch Rugrats? One meow for yes and two meows for no. ” Boss would look at them, wide eyed, and perform his duty immediately and settle the argument. I had never seen anything like it.

Do you get another pet when things like this happen?When is the right time?  No one can tell for sure.  I tend to react fairly quickly and go by when something comes up in your path and it makes you emotional, it’s meant to be….

Yesterday, I saw an ad for a kitten with the same coloring as Boss. Though we do not have any intentions of replacing him – no one could replace Boss – every time I walked by Barrett’s room, my heart would sink. It was lonely in there without Boss. When I was sent a picture of this kitten, I cried…. Erynn and I picked him up last night, and left him in Barrett’s room to surprise him.

This little guy is very timid, and will definitely need to warm up to his new environment, but I’ve seen a few smiles, and it helps us to move on, but Boss will never be forgotten.

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Photography Reality TV Show – Cast of Characters

I’m an observer.  I’m a people watcher.  I take in everything around me through my senses and try to figure it all out, and categorize – I’m really good at organizing and categorizing haha.   Some people go through this world completely oblivious, and others go through this world completely aware.  Being aware, these are my personal observations….

This is all typed up in fun. There are some sweeping generalizations here that are meant in a joking way.  I sometimes believe that a photography reality TV series with a cast of characters that fits every one of these categories would be very entertaining.

I guarantee you that if you are a photographer, you will fall somewhere within these categories, even if you cross over several categories at some point.

In reading the following, on one side, laugh a little, but on the other side realize – what creative and interesting people we all are.  There are opportunists that see a need and fill it.   Soooooooo interesting to watch things evolve….

The Blissful Hobbiest.   This person just loves photography.  She takes many pictures and puts them up on social media and dabbles in different areas, maybe even selling some prints here and there.  It’s fun, income is not relied upon, and she never claims to be a business.  She doesn’t really care about the photography industry.  She enjoys what she enjoys and lives life oblivious to much of the following.

The Purist Artist.  The purist artist tends to only produce an amazing gorgeous WOW image every once in a while to show the audience.  The image was staged, well thought out, styled and composed beautifully.  He can be all about photoshop editing or he can be all about film and darkroom.  He represents something specific.  This artist stands proud, not usually caring about profit or any of the industry bickering unless he wants to yell from the mountaintops, it’s all about ART and art only.

WAC (i.e.,Mom, Dad, Teen, Cat With-A-Camera).  This is generally someone who enjoys taking pictures but probably just acquired a DSLR.  She is new and starry eyed and loves this fresh taste of being a photographer.   She’s PROUD to say she is a photographer.  If she is annoying to “oldies”, you have to admit the innocence and newness is very sweet.  She posts some of her images on social media, and her friends love the them and “You should go into business.  You are amazing!”   She considers it and who wouldn’t.. “Wow, yes, maybe I should.  I’m pretty good.”  She “goes into business” and starts charging, but usually does not have insurance, does not pay taxes, is not registered as a business, and only advertises on social media.  What little money she does charge, does not cover any of her business expenses, and either she doesn’t realize she is not making money, or really doesn’t care because she doesn’t need the money as her spouse or sometimes even a “day job” supports her.  The reason we call them WACs is just because they haven’t yet defined their purpose but usually find their way out of this category fairly quickly.  (And let’s face it, many of us started right here….)

Needs-Confidence.   This is generally someone who may or may not have started as a WAC but really wants to help out financially in her household and wants to be a genuine business that turns a good profit.  This photographer generally follows the rules, is a legal business, and wants to eventually raise prices.   Eventually is the key, as this process of finding her worth can take YEARS, and not because years are necessary, it is because she just can’t find her confidence.  She is  really talented and definitely plenty talented enough to command good prices.  She usually workshop hops from one to another, enjoying the social aspect, but seeks that one thing that she can’t seem to find, that magic button that is going to give her the confidence or flat out tell her she’s good enough to raise her prices.  (if this is you, I want to say- feel your worth! you know deep down inside you have the talent! :))

Business Owner Straight Up.   This is the photographer who is all about business and turning a profit.  He does what he loves, but needs to support his family and many of these photographers get a bit cranky that the industry is not what it used to be.  Others, are die hard believers of certain things and are very vocal like  ”In person ordering” or “only sell prints” or anything else that they feel strongly about because it works well for them.  These are the ones most concerned about whether this industry will survive and are usually polarized into two groups – the ones over here are bitter about the industry tanking, and the ones over there are happy with their profits and can’t stand that their fellow business owners are bitter. (Or anywhere in between).

The Do-Gooder.  This one can come in all varieties.  It can be from a Hobbiest to Business Owner but they are always willing to work overtime to do free photography for a cause.  Some are really good causes and Do-Gooders are very much needed in our society to fill a wonderful area of charity… however, some don’t quite grasp business concepts and leak a  ”my client canceled because she can’t afford me, should I give her a free session?”, and frankly, those sometimes leave the Business Owner scratching her head.

The Workshopper.  The workshopper realized where much of the money went —-> teaching.  Some are business owners turned workshoppers (or maybe they do both to supplement their income) or their phones have stopped ringing completely so they begin to teach.  This doesn’t have a barrier to entry sadly.  There are great photographers workshopping and then there are those who have been in “business” less than 1 year teaching by regurgitating what they learned in other workshops that past year.  This sometimes can get a bit icky.     And yet another strange phenomenon of the workshopper, is some actually aren’t even teaching photography to photographers but yoga and relationship counseling to photographers.

The World Tour Photographer.  This is an offshoot of the workshopper.  Some take it a step further and tour the world selling out large auditorium seats to photographers.     Some tour and have wonderful things to teach while another may try to convince the audience that she has a full time studio filled with clients, homeschools her six kids, hubby has a dayjob/career, and she cooks dinner every night while world touring – wow!  I want some clones of me too!.  But I will interject with one thought – please let’s leave the face off the side of the tour bus.  It gets a little obnoxious.  ;)

The Prop Seller.  This is an offshoot of anything from WACs to Business Owners.  Not making enough photographing clients or had some free time, decided to make a prop, it turned out great, let’s sell it…. now let’s open up an Etsy store and sell lots more.  Hats, wraps, you name it, you can buy it.  It’s out there.

The Reseller.  This individual is a good shopper.  She spends hours online finding things that she can resell to photographers from wholesale or importers and puts them together beautifully at high prices for photographers to covet.  Most commonly, there is a Big Cartel or an Alibaba site involved, but being innovative, they have bridged the gap to get these items in masses to photographers.

The Designer.  This is usually a former photographer that found a knack for designing things – marketing packets, calendars, design templates – they have a talent for making ordinary items into beautiful designs that look “yummy” and sell these to photographers, and photographers can’t get these things in their hands quick enough even if they end up never using them at all.

The Affiliate Master.   This person usually has positioned herself in the industry a certain way – maybe a popular blog that is for photographers “by photographers” type of situation that has captured an audience waiting to see what the next new product on the market will be.  She sells anything and everything that is her own or is something that was created by another photographer, and she will market it fantastically, as long as she receives her affiliate kickbacks (sometimes the kickbacks are 50% of the product owner’s profit – that’s bold, but she commands it).  Big launches create hundreds of thousands in revenue for the Affiliate Master.  Marketing works, that’s for sure.

The Motivational Life/Business Coach.  This is someone who is telling others how to live the dream, find their happiness, and be a success, and now you can sign on the dotted line so you owe me $900/mo for the next year.  Sometimes these work well for photographers and other times, they need an intervention once they start parroting exact phrases from the coach like a robot.  Many of these coaches have never owned their own photography business or have never worked in the trenches with other photographers and still fill seats.

You-Tube Star or Starlet.   This is the photographer who is the cute stylish preppy girl who posts videos of her perfect life, her perfect business, her perfect hair and makeup tips in a cheerful happy, you-know-you-love-me way….and “I don’t know how to light people, I just do it this way… cause I like it…. I’m bored, whatever… “.  Some sit back and say “what does this have to do with photography?”  Doesn’t matter.  It sells.

The Mogul.   This is most often times an ex photographer who has special “mind-control powers” (haha) in the form of genius marketing techniques that has found that selling certain products to the masses is going to get him $100,000 cars and imported marble bathrooms.  He usually tops out at a few million in revenue per year.    He makes judgments and gives advice about the industry but has not a clue what it is like to be one of today’s photographers that relies on clients to pay the bills.  He creates catchy phrases, and his followers chant those phrases over and over and if you don’t do the same, you aren’t part of the team…. Usually it’s a bit of an absurdity when he puts his foot in his mouth publicly or discusses giving back but the give back is when YOU enter your credit card info right here to be one of the cool kids…. no one cares, they are happy to pay whatever the price.

So there ya have it…. a fun look at the photography industry.  Humor is so important in every day life – I had to learn that from my husband – guess who picked out all of this pottery?  ;)

I love to sit back and observe…. and I always will.  :)   I hope you understand, that nothing was meant to be derogatory – we should all be able to poke fun at ourselves.  This industry has changed so much, and sometimes, even if one of these categories annoys me, I realize how inventive and adaptable people are.  It’s fascinating.  It truly is.   You have to hand it to some of these innovators and opportunists.   Some of these people need to be plucked out of the photography industry and into major businesses internationally as I will call it how I see it – they are truly BRILLIANT.


and then there’s this…… a blog comment I received, “Hello,
This blog is well furnished with wood flooring.The designs and descriptions are excellent.Very nice post…Thank you…”     I’m not sure what that means.  But okay.  Here’s to blogs well furnished with wood flooring!