heather van gaale

Day of the Dead In Tijuana – Learn How to Party with Your Now Departed –

Dia de los Muertos is a fall celebration in Latin America dedicated to welcoming the return of the dead. Ooooh don’t be scared, its really quite beautiful. In fact, I am so in love with the traditions of Day of the Dead as opposed to the gore of Halloween that I vow to never “Trick or Treat” again (yes I am 45).   Even though they are both harvest celebrations and share many similarities in theory,  I totally love that Mexico’s Day of the Dead isn’t scary or fear based. It’s all about family, humor, love, festivity and honor.  Rather than wearing spooky costumes & carving pumpkins to scare away spirits and all of the other frightening traditions that Halloween has morphed into;  families in Mexico invite the dead to stay for a feast and have a party! Woop Woop! No tricks just treats! For it is the only time of  year when the gates of heaven open up and allow the dead to return to earth for a quick visit!!! The dead are greeted with flowers, candles, photographs, fruits, toys for the children, dinners, and maybe some of their other favorite things. It might be a pack of Marlboros, a deck of poker cards, her favorite lipstick and even Mezcal, if thats what they like!

fashion editorial tijuana mexico by  fashion blogger heather van gaale

To see, if only a small portion of traditional Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, we headed to Tijuana for the day with “Pancho & The Boss” (pictured above with Beva the Zebra). Shhh she doesn’t know she is really a painted donkey.

dia de los muertos celebration tijuana mexico november 2Pancho (aka Andrew Hussey) is wearing green velvet vintage Prada trousers with a silky 70s button up featuring a saguaro cactus print with a Tequila sunrise on the back…so Baja!

The Boss (aka Amber Flowers) is wearing a traditional Mexican gauze dress that we purchased locally. We chose orange because orange represents the marigolds (cempazuchil) that attracts the dead to the altars. We also chose it because orange is fall!  Come fall everyone flocks to orange. Suddenly it is everywhere; pumpkins, autumn leaves & the glow of campfires have us embracing orange. Orange is enthusiastic, inviting and it stimulates the appetite! Face it, there is nothing bad you can say about orange. Well, fashionably speaking it had its hey day in the 70’s and although you may opt out of getting an orange carpet with an orange sofa and matching orange curtains, as soon as October approaches the orange/fall wardrobe desire strikes. Finally, one can wear a long orange dress and perfectly rustic brown leather wooden platforms (Hecho en Mexico of course) and embrace the change of seasons without looking like an inmate in the state penitentiary.
tijuana mexico fashion editorial by fashion travel bigger heather van gaale and model amber flowers

OK I’m ranting I know… its just that Im feeling really passionate right now with a severe case of the warm and fuzzies. Maybe I’ve had too much orange…or perhaps its the Mescal (that was served with an orange). Either way I love this holiday!

Pictured above Amber drops flower petals on the ground in honor of the Mexican tradition of creating carpets with a mosaic of dried flower petals, colored sawdust and other natural materials during religious holidays.
flower petal dia de los muertos celebration tijuanaMexican religious holidays always include traditional dishes & festive foods. Market places are energized as families and businesses prep for the holiday with seasonal displays of exotic spices and rainbows of colorful produce, thus we headed to my favorite place in Tijuana, El Mercado Hidalgo. Mercado Hidalgo is Tijuana’s historic open-air market that appeals to all your senses. Approximately 80 vendors are centered around a chapel and a parking lot which hosts elaborate holiday displays.

heather-van-gaale-photoPlan on spending a couple of hours here roaming through the maze of produce and homemade sweets while interacting with the welcoming vendors who are happy to practice their English on you. The people are genuine and the prices are plenty affordable that even the toughest haggler will surrender his sparring match and gladly pay the low prices.

During Dia de los Muertos a symphony of decorative paper flags rise from the center of the parking lot which features a massive altar covered with marigolds & offerings in anticipation of the souls returning. Framed photographs of the departed, candy skulls and seasonal fruits are placed on the altar with generosity and good humor.

catrinas katrina fashion dress cultural for dis de los metros tijuana blogger at hidalgo mercadoSkeletons dressed in clothing that feature the hobbies, occupations or characteristics of deceased loved ones poke fun at the inevitable and clearly show the Mexican cultures acceptance and relationship with death.

Mui fashionable are the lady skeletons with the large fancy hats called Katrinas. Katrina’s are inspired after upper-class Spanish women and I must say the dresses these slender skeletal ladies wear is all I want for Christmas (size 4 please). Talk about fashion inspo! Minus the fact that the ones pictured above are made out of paper mache and not velvet or dupioni silk, I can see myself in any one of them..strutting the catwalk for my favorite label…(ok maybe next life). But I do think the black & white outfit would be perfect for my upcoming art show.dia de los muertos children skeleton

I love watching the children at Mercado Hidalgo with painted faces and starry eyes selecting sugar skulls and candied trinkets to place on the altars to welcome back their ancestors. Sugar skulls are intricate little folk-art forms decorated with dyed sugar and colored foil. Pinatas in all shapes and sizes greet you at the entrances to the candy stores that sell Mexican sweets by the pound. Lets just say, if Willy Wonka (bless his soul) were a Mexican, I would expect to see Oompa Loompas helping customers with their selections of which chile & salt covered lollipop to purchase (tamarindo is my favorite). Hey, maybe Willy will make a guest appearance.

scull candy sugar for dia de los muertos celebration in tijuana

Store owners set up altars in their shops such as the one below during the week leading up to Dia de los Muertos. I too will be making an altar with marigolds, incense and chocolates in hopes that my grandpa will pay me a visit. I might need to add some Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch to the list of gifts in order to lure him out of heaven for the day.
dia de los muerots november 2 tijuana by blogger heather van gaale

There are so many cool things to see and taste at the Mercado Hidalgo that my camera and my mouth were at war fighting for my attention. I’m a foodie, but in this case… my camera wins.

mercado hidalgo market in tijuana vendors flowers and produce

fashion editorial photographer tijuana mexico couple shopping int he marketproduce fruit mexico food blogger tijuana hidalgo mercado mexican-food-blogger-tijuana

vintage clothes models mexico couplevintage fashion editorial in tijuana retro couple long hair model

It was a wonderful day at the market where preparations for the honored ‘out-of-town’ guests begin, but we also wanted to see where the actual celebration Dia de los Muertos takes place…the cemetery.

street vendors tijuana selling marigold for dis de los metros

couple fashion editorial with sunflowers and retro fall fashion in mexico baja california

marigolds dia de los muertos fall halloween mexico travell blogger

Flower vendors and trucks selling marigolds galore are on every corner in Tijuana. We purchased a bouquet of 15 large sunflowers and some marigolds (for only $3.00 USD) to place on some lonely gravestones as we wondered around.

dia de los muertos at the cemetary in tijuanadia de los muertos tijuana cemetary travel blogger mexicoAttention Gringos: There is nothing scary about this cemetery, not even at night. It is like a Sunday in the park. There are musicians, children running around, families picnicking with Mexican blankets spread out on the lawn while they adorn the grave sites with their gifts.  Upon entry we were asked not to take pictures without permission so out of respect we kept our shots to a minimum and just took it all in.
altar-tijuan

cemetery tijuana dia de los muertos

 

 

orange dress fashion mexico bloggerCredits & Info

We divide our time between California and our beach house located just outside of Rosarito Beach in Baja California Mexico. We have a great appreciation for the culture and love to share information about Mexican food, travel & fashion with our fellow gringos from the states.

We are available for all  your photo needs throughout the country or the US.  Message us, (our Spanish isn’t too bad).

Photographs & story: Heather Van Gaale @photohussy

Male Model: Andrew Hussey @andrewthehussey

Female Model: Amber Flowers @ambersflowers 

Mercado Hidalgo: Corner of Blvd Sanchez Taboada & Independencia Tijuana Mexico

 

Magic Carpet Vibes

Model Amber Flowers takes a magic carpet ride back in time wearing treasures from our vintage clothing trove! We are Rock n’ Roll bohemes and we loove jewel tones, rich textures and mixing it up with pieces from the 40s thru now!

bohemian fashion ideas fall rock and roll hippie chic with miink stole shot by bohemian blogger heather van gaale

Amber is styled in all vintage and thrifted finds. “Eek” you say…”but those poor wee minks”… Well.. before you throw red paint on my furry friends with their precious little faces.. talk to your great grandma..because its antique. I know the heads weird people out, I suppose I could alter it and clip them off so we aren’t reminded that it was once a living breathing creature with feelings too, if that makes you feel better. But really we are essentially being “green” and we are actually helping the planet by shopping vintage.  Everything in our shoot is recycled fashion, handmade and sourced from local charities. The 70s striped ruffle blouse with gold metallic threading and off-center buttons that extend high on the neck is bold, feminine and handmade. No-one at the party will be wearing the same shirt. It looks great mixed with a floral skirt of the same tones and a suede color block mod/hippie era belt.

speaking bohemian, heather van gaale, bohemian fashion blogger, model amber flowers, jewel tones, vintage inspo, fall

bohemian fashion style blog jewel tones with rock and roll flair all vintage treasures

vintage bohemian hippie fashion with mink stole

bohemian fashion blogger photographer heather van gaale in vintage editorial with model amber flowers

Below Amber wears a 1950s genuine leopard fur coat. Yes, it’s really real. We are Bohemians, we love authentic! We don’t do fake or “faux”.  Maybe you weren’t that upset over grannys petrified varmint accoutrement pictured above; everyones grandma had a fur stole. When it comes to big cats though..whoa.. watch out. I understand, it ain’t right! I don’t support hunting cats nor do I long for exotic furs. I inherited the coat from my grandmother and because of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) it is illegal to sell even vintage leopard furs. Sooo… I’m stuck with it. Oh poo. Rather than have a medium perform a seance and try to bring it back to life or release my hoarding tendencies and actually give it away, we store the heirloom lovingly… in 1 of my 7 closets. Amber rocks it with 90s purple crushed velvet leggings, a vintage Kiss tour tee, a tangle of silver and antique glass bead necklaces and a delicious pair of 1970s glam rockstar platforms.

leopard coat vintage rock and roll bohemian fashion with purple velvet

rocker goddess leopard and purple velvet bohemian fashion tips

topless hippie girl 70s boho style janice joplin festival fashion

hippie bohemian fashion tips topless janice joplin style shot by photographer heather van gaale

 

bohemian rock and roll hippie blogger photographer heather van gaaleFor this look,  Amber wears a slinky green slip dress, and to make it more rock n’ roll glam and less “night at the theater dahling”, we added contrasting red fishnets, a green leather and brass studded blingy belt and a glass bead choker that we embellished with a gold star.

 

vintage slip dress 90s fashion glam grunge blogger style photographer heather van gaale with model amber flowers

 

slip dress 90s grunge bohemian glam style guide

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60s twiggy bohemian vintage style looks by photographer heather van gaale at speaking bohemian

Photographer: Heather Van Gaale

Model: Amber Flowers @ambersflowers

Hair and Makeup: Amber Flowers

Wardrobe: Speaking Bohemian. Contact us for purchase or rental.

Amber is also available for makeup and styling.

If you would like to shoot at our Orange County bohemian lair, it is available for rent. We can accommodate small and large crews.

 

The Emerald Triangle


The “Emerald Triangle”, the triad of Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties in Northern California. This is the home of BigFoot herself and secluded StarWars filming locales.  The forests are a hyper-saturated green with carpets of lacy young ferns and cushy vibrant moss clinging to rocks and dripping from the branches of giant ancient Redwoods that extend over to the rocky coastal cliffs. Drive further inland and there are endless rows of “emerald” colored grapevines undulating over hillsides, weaving striking symmetrical patterns like something straight out of M.C Escher’s mind. With all of its green-osity, no wonder its nicknamed “The Emerald Triangle” right?? – Wrong!  Because unless you’re following Prop 215 and have a lifetime subscription (or should I say ‘prescription’) to High Times, you will likely think that “The Emerald Triangle” is the latest OZ iteration or someplace west of Bermuda. The average tourist has no idea of its nickname which stems from being one of the worlds most abundant marijuana growing regions.

Check out our vibrant fashion  story of California’s ultimate laid back hippie utopia on our 3 day road trippin’ camping adventure to Glass Beach, Avenue of the Giants and the Russian River.

 

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Shot for C-Heads

Model Amber Flowers @ambersflowers & Andrew Hussey (Next Models LA)

Wardrobe: Photographers personal vintage collection & models own etsy.com/shop/AintYoMommasCloset

 

Photos with my lover: California desert road trip


biker hippie man from the 60s cool senior citizen


The desert always centers me. There is something really wonderful about cruising on the open road with the windows down listening to classic rock. I love the approaching clouds of a desert storm and  the otherworldly landscapes.

americana remains in the desert of route 66 vintage gas station

Random relics of days gone by are always perfect for impromptu photoshoots. Even though it’s extra super hotttt with the temperatures reaching 115+, the washed out lighting at high noon is my absolute favorite time of day to stop and take pictures.

vintage fashion gym shorts budweiser on model torso in the desert

When I wear my cut up half tops and vintage mens budweiser swim trunks rolled at the waist, then you know i’m ready for a mid-summer-desert-road-trip-photo-adventure.

 

american folk art by photographer heather hussey of installation in the desert

Long down the road we stumbled upon the socially interactive installation of the shoe wall. Smack dab in the middle of nowhere, passers-by stop and contribute to the ever evolving collection of mostly tennis shoes. They’re strung from remaining fences, poles and wires. I found a great pair of vintage 80s Nikes spray painted kelly green that I would have loved to have grabbed but my conscience said “no”.  Instead I contributed a woven pink easter hat with a polka dotted ribbon that my man found earlier on the side of the road.

cool biker hippie man with short shorts in desert

He’s always finds the most awesome shit just laying on the ground. I grabbed this shot of him while he was roaming around searching for treasure. He looks so cool with his red tinted aviators and a grungy old Harley Davidson tee. Also, if you have the balls to sport them, I’m seriously diggin’ on the cut off denim shorts as a sexy ticket for men.

 

 

Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival

hot air balloon over lake skinner with reflection by heather van gale

 

In love with photographing balloons!! They are so magical. I took this photo at the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival. I have many shots of the vibrant balloons that filled the air against the contrasting backdrop of the deep blue summer sky. However, Im more drawn to this subdued atmospheric and dreamy image where the boundaries of earth and sky melt together and my thoughts get  lost somewhere in between.

Erotic Landscape Photos – Mother Nature

 

I started shooting suggestive landscapes in response to my work getting censored for being “inappropriate”.  It was nudity in the purest and most beautiful form. Its absurd that it was considered offensive. It wasn’t porn,violent or meant to demean. It was simply art for arts sake.

heather van gaale black and white erotic
Natures mother

Since the 1500’s artists have been commissioned to render nudity in scuplture and painting to illustrate biblical stories. Those masterpieces are on display in many churches and cathedrals. Still people, especially here in Temecula, who claim they are “christian” or “biblical” are afraid to display art that shows body parts even if its entirely innocent or abstract. To me its a small-minded fear based way to view life. It is feared that a child will see it or feared that an adult will be offended, but it is ok to listen to violence on the news and in the theatre for entertainment. Something is wrong with the picture when parents cover their childrens eyes during the sexual scenes yet allow the violence and killing to be viewed.

Amorous palms

I don’t display my nude work in Temecula. I was banned from facebook once for showing artistic pics of a topless man (who someone thought was a woman and reported me). A posse of five cop cars tried to arrest me for shooting a topless two year old with her clothed pregnant mom in a field near my home.  They wanted to confiscate my equipment and evaluate the images  as well (I was shooting film). Luckily, a friend in a high place saved me.

erotic landscape photographer
Adventurous limbs

Most of my nude work is personally commissioned portrait sessions by couples and women.  I also enjoy occasionally photographing shapes in the landscapes where mother nature exposes her parts.  Its fun and its my way of telling the pious conservatives to fuck off. What are they gonna do? Not let me show my work of a tree in public because its suggestive?!  Or maybe they’ll cut the tree down when they notice its trunk resembles a vagina.

 

 



Del Mar Race – Opening Day Fashions – San Diego

In celebration of Del Mars 75th anniversay, I wanted to capture photographs with a timeless appeal. I love  looking at nostalgic pictures of times gone by when ladies and gents dressed to the nines for mid-day affairs. In order to portray classic fashions in a year where flourescent has made a huge comeback, it was absolutely necessary to shoot black and white photos.

 

mens horse race fashion opening day del mar vintage style by san diego event photographer heather van gaale

del mar fashion ideas for opening day hats and vintage by san diego photographer heather van gaaleopening day fashion with crazy hats on opening day in del mar photograph of alakazia by san diego photographer heather van gaale

The theme of the event was vintage. Although I didn’t spot much vintage fashion amongst the ladies, I did photograph a few classic beauties and some hats that were over-the-top fun. I seem to be attracted to any hat that has feathers or stripes on it!

Pictured above is the extraordinary hat maker Alakazia with models Christelle Tachon and Kelly Lenahan modeling his wonderous creations. Almost everyone wore hats in recognition of the tradition on opening day.opening day del mar in san diego 2012 black and white photos by artisitic photographer heather van gaaleI loved all the crazy hats but I couldn’t take my eyes off of the thoroughbreds. Number 10 was gorgeous. I spotted him in the paddock and had a hunch about him. I loved his gray mane,dappled coat and rebellious energy. The lines were long and the race was starting so I didn’t have time to place my bet.

artistic photographer events society and travel heather van gaalejockey on a horse black and white photography by san diego heather van gaalevintage black and white horse race art photography by heather van gaale

As you can see he  won! I wished I would have placed my bet..but atleast I managed to get a shot of him crossing the finish line.

 

If you liked this story you may like my photos of opening day at Rancho Santa Fe Polo Club here.

Feel free to repost and please email me to inquire about purchasing images for personal or commercial use.

xo

Heather