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All images are ©KandylaneEnchanted2014 by Kira Sanoja with Kandylane Photography. They are all personally inspired scenes that I have designed & created with the help of friends and family in real life....not in Photoshop (with the exeption of lighting, color, contrast, and small details) . I do not offer these as "session" to the public as they are meant to be Fine Art Photography in hopes of showcasing in galleries and one day when the project has matured, publishing a Fine Art Photography coffee table book showing "never before seen" pictures for some projects... (to read on about the summary [click here]

The Enchanted Aeon (#45, #46, #47)

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” –Eckhart Tolle

Albert Einstein also once said time is an illusion. That’s not something that I’ve ever really stopped to think about (like REALLY think about) but it has become such a powerful statement to me over the past year. Dealing with pain, fatigue, and sometimes just straight laziness, I often feel like time is flying away. I’m not getting as much done as I want. I keep thinking of what I need/want to do over the next few months – that’s where the dread sets in. I’m not one to panic or stress (I’m really not) but when I have deadlines to meet and people who are counting on me, I just don’t feel like I have enough time. Something I said in one of my previous enchanted blogs was, “We need to find tranquility in the cracks of our spinning clocks.” That inspired quote has always stood out to me. It’s so important to find ways to use time to our advantage – to take this universal gift from the cosmos and let it carry us gracefully through life as a tool versus a burden.

We watch ourselves, our children, and our loved ones getting older as our “biological clocks” keep ticking, but when I realize I only cross a date off my calendar because the earth has done one full rotation, I feel a sense of relief. I know we learn this as young children but as we get older we worship the clock as if it’s ticking just for us. Clock time is a tool used to create order in our lives but beyond that, it, in and of itself, shouldn’t be ruling over us.  

It’s obvious this costuming is steampunk inspired. Steampunk is a fashion movement but is exponentially more meaningfully. It is a bridge between the past and the future so everything can be connected to this present moment. It’s a way of expressing an infinite amount of time periods through costuming and lifestyle. Because this movement involves travel and time – clocks, gears, and compasses are a staple part of design. Even temperature gauges can be used because steam can help push forward. It’s a means of transportation.

I knew I wanted steampunk wings to best express the story and concept, but struggled with how it all represented a story? How could my character conceptually control time? I finally saw a way: she would melt clocks down to molten metal and pour that into a handmade “cast iron” mold for wings. She would become an artisan of flight made from time. If time flies, why can’t we fly along with it?

I had been back and forth with titles not really happy with anything. Yes she's steampunk, shes time, shes a creator of freedom and shes infinite, but that wasn't satisfying me. I asked my brother what his thoughts were and within the next half hour we began to research and quickly he mentioned Aeon which is the greek word for eon: an indefinitely long period of time. But originally: a power existing from eternity; an emanation or phase of the supreme deity. That was it. I just felt it. We even high-fived! So without further ado...


The Enchanted Aeon 

Behind the Scenes - The Creation

The Wings

As you can see, these wings were not an easy task to accomplish. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, but it was going to take a lot of help. I started thinking that I could just find a few gear designs I liked online and “easily” Xacto blade through the paper printout and then through some cardboard but, ummmm….no. Wasn’t happening. I’m crazy. Then I thought…well maybe I can ask my awesome neighbor who has a die-cut machine to at least cut them into stencils THEN I can trace and cut them from poster board, but ummmm…no. Wasn’t happening. To my rescue came The Worthen’s from Hobbyholica. Billy is talented with all kinds of saws, and this was going to take his scroll saw. I tried myself and ummm, no. Without his help, these wings would have been super sloppy and I’m forever grateful!

The frame of the wings were just PVC pipe! I cut and connected them into the shape I wanted and then hot glued each piece together. I left the two separate as to make transportation easier. I found a few other gadgets like large cardboard keys, ship wheels and dial clocks to fill in some of the blanks. Then I found a three piece steampunk clock at the store!! It was a perfect large addition to each wing. I carefully hot-glued all those things together in the placement I thought looked good. I originally didn’t draw these out with feathers, but when the gears were all there, it just worked. I used leftover feathers from “The Enchanted Guardian” shoot and a boa from the store as the fluffy filler. I cut curved pieces of poster board and glued them to each PVC pipe end to create the bottom shape and a place for the feathers to stick in to.

Once completed, I took them outside and sprayed with textured bronze, metallic gold and sparkle paint. When I went back outside to get them after they finished drying, I picked them up and the summer heat softened the hot glue and pieces started melting off!! I took them back inside in quite the panic but glued them back together with ease. I continued to have problems with several pieces, but it was nothing some electrical tape on the day of the shoot couldn’t fix!

I was in such pain from sitting on the ground so much and you can see my sweet 8 year old Jordan helped massage some life back into my shoulders!


I burnt my finger pretty badly on the hot knife so I had my finger in ice milk. Kitty was obsessed.

The "Cast Iron" Mold

Next was the “cast iron” mold for the molten metal. I was totally at a loss for how this was going to get done, but my talented friend Jordan Dube who was the Shadow Ridge High School Theater student stage and lighting manager and set designer (yes big title but it’s all true), suggested that I just get thick sheets of Styrofoam from a craft store and hot knife my design into it! Genius! It was not easy and I made a MESS but it worked!! Once it was done, I used several silver spray paints and textures to get the look I wanted. I knew how I was going to create the look of the molten metal pouring out (which I explain below), but I decided that maybe…just maybe I could use fluorescent acrylic paint on the inside edges to achieve the glow and it worked better than I could have imagined. 

The "Molten Metal" Bucket

Then it was onto my bucket. It was not exactly what I pictured, but it worked. I took a silver metal bucket, painted it flat red, then I used spray glue around the edges and sprinkled rocks and dust around, then painted black over that to show wear and tear. It was an interesting process and one of those things that I was ok with it serving its small purpose. 

The most incredible part of the bucket was how to fabricate the molten metal! Steve, my mom's hubby came up with the idea of finding florescent beads online and using a slow shutter speed and a black light to capture them falling in motion! We only messed with it for a few minutes before getting the perfect shot at their house. I am so grateful for his idea!

Test shot

The Full Look Finished!

The corset was found online on Yandy.com. The skirt was a hand-me-down from an old bridesmaid dress of a friend and the pocket watch necklace was a stunning antique belonging to my mom’s husband Steve’s grandfather who collected them. The other pocket watch she is holding in the second image also belongs to him. The other large clocks in the bucket were found at thrift stores and other random places and were surrounded in a couple dozen battery powered tea lights to create the beautiful glow. The hairpiece was different steampunk trinkets found at a craft store glued together and onto a clip. 

The Hair Piece

My room when all is said and done...

My room was out of control!

My Model

Here comes the part where I tell you about my beautiful model, Lisa! She is my cousin but we have never met until this year. I believe that my grandma is her mom’s aunt. I met her mom at one of my 1st cousins wedding several years ago. She said…”You live in Vegas? My daughter does too! You should connect!” Well…we connected on Facebook and figured out that we literally live off the same street but 3 miles apart – IN ALL OF VEGAS! Still, 2 busy moms never actually got together. Flash forward to a couple months ago when I was really starting to orchestrate this shoot. I was yet to be inspired with my model until Lisa posted a photo or something on Facebook. My shoot flashed through my mind – I kind of brushed it off. Then again it happened! Anytime she would post something or comment on something of mine, I would visualize this creation. It was at that point I knew she was the one. I called her up and asked her if she would be willing. Not surprising at all, she told me she in love with the steampunk movement and costuming. She had even planned on dressing up like that for Halloween! In the stars, right!? So the story doesn’t end there! Only a few days after talking to her on the phone and beginning to collaborate, I was at target with my brother. I noticed the shirt a women was wearing from a brand I love called Electro Threads. I pointed to the shirt without looking at her face and said to my brother “I love this brand! It’s what Andrew bought me for Mother’s Day!” I then hear the women’s voice say “Kira?” I looked up and there she was! After 6 years living that close and never meeting or bumping into each other, we happen to connect so serendipitously less than a week after taking on the phone. How bonkers is THAT!? Anyway, we clicked immediately!

The Day Of

The Hair & Makeup

I’m never good at planning timing! No pun intended. I told Brittany (one of my BFF’s and incredible makeup artist) that I wanted to start makeup around 5:30. I was thinking that I needed to be shooting by 7:30 but I was all wrong. At least that was wrong according to what I originally had planned for lighting. They were finishing up the stunning makeup which was primarily bronze and gold, but still needed to glue the gears and glitter to her face. I asked if we could just run out the door and finish up in the van at the shooting location. We did that but I forgot the glue! Brittany ended up using hairspray and chapstick!! Hahahaha!!! It was not working like we needed but it was working for long enough to capture the pictures.  She looked so gorgeous and as always Brittany brought this vision to life!

Close up of makeup details

Shooting Adventures

So many elements needed to be taken care of and we weren’t actually set up until 8:30 or so which by that time was DARK. I was stressing but continuing to tell myself that it always works out. A while back I found out that an old friend of mine Rick Onsgard from Junior High lived here in Vegas and is a champion with videography and editing. We connected and decided it would be fun to get some footage of this shoot. He was so great and generous to help out, not only with video and behind the scenes footage, but with lighting and props and anything extra that I needed.

As the night got darker…the moon started to rise and light the northern mountains behind us. Andrew hooked up the black light to the car engine with a power converter and we fired that up. It was time to photograph the “molten metal”. When I set my camera shutter speed to F/5 which means it opens up and lets light in for 5 second, I was completely focusing on getting the motion of the beads, but with that the whole sky lit up. Stars covered the image and I fell in love. It wasn’t what I planned for, but the infinite universe needed to show its freckles. We had a few visitors from the shooting range down the street come by and ask what we were doing but everything happened pretty smoothly. My off camera lights worked how I needed them for the most part and Lisa held those heavy wings up like a champ.

I had so many hands helping to pull this off. Huge thanks to the team of Andrew my hubby, Brittany my makeup girl and friend, my cousin Lisa, my Brother who assisted during the whole thing, my friend Rick who captured behind the scenes footage (which I will post soon) and assisted in many ways and Billy from Hobbyholica for meticulously cutting those gorgeous gears for me! Thanks everyone!

Camera & Settings:

Canon 5d MarkIII
Yungnuo Flashes & Triggers
Lume Cube light

Sigma 24-105 4.0 lens
1st image: F/5, 1/4 shutter, 2000 ISO (high side manual pop flash)
2nd image: F/4, 1/6 shutter, 1250 ISO (front manual pop flash, back camera triggered flash)
3rd image: F/4, 1/5 shutter, 1250 ISO (front manual pop flash, back camera triggered flash and black light)