Quick Summary...

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 Guardian (#18 & #19)

Sometimes I have an experience and from that experience, I want to create an image or 2 that will help express the story and emotional background. But other times......I have random, but beautiful visions and ideas come into my head while day dreaming and night dreaming and it's as if my mind wants me to figure out the subconscious story and memory that helped paint this picture.

At the beginning of this full project, I had dreams about different enchanted shoots all the time. This one in particular really struck me as sweet and interesting. As I drew up its plans, I began to see the clues.

This picture came to me almost in full right about when I started this project back in June. I haven't added much to what I saw in my little brain except for some small details. I saw a huge bird nest nuzzled into some warm colored trees in the forest with a golden bird-women goddess sitting on her side nurturing & protecting 3 golden glitter eggs. Maybe even reading some books to them. At first I just thought 3 eggs because it's more visually pleasing in my opinion. 2 would sit awkwardly side by side & 4 were too many for the space so my mind decided 3. But a month ago as I began planning this out more, I made the connection between this and my 3 children. This really pulled on my heart strings.

Just a couple weeks ago, I had a little bit of a breakdown questioning my abilities as a mother. I cried for almost an entire day. It was like a little secretary was sitting in my brain going through files upon files of everything I do wrong or can't keep up with and shouting it out through a megaphone over and over again. I was feeling like a failure (and no, this is not the first time this has happened.) My hubby was so sweet and comforting to me. He was really trying to pull me up out of my pit. Many friends expressed how much they could relate to this and my mom in particular came into my heart so much. She has had major struggles with wondering if she did things right or if she was good enough. Knowing her battle and seeing the outcome helped pull me up. No matter what she thought, she was and is an incredible mother. I couldn't have asked to be raised any different.

I saw this golden goddess mother-bird character with huge golden wings, nurturing her 3 eggs that weren't just any regular eggs.....they were gold as well. They were beautiful, bright & vibrant. They stood out, and they were already this way before they hatched. Our children are all made golden by our creator, before they are physically in our arms. Love is what keeps them shinning bright and with that love, everything else will eventually fall into place. Sometimes the burdens of this world will dull our perspective of the shine, but know that it is still there. Believe that it is still there with your children; with everyone you meet and MOST OF ALL.....it is still there with YOU!


The Enchanted Guardian




Making a huge life size nest did not sound easy! I looked online for tutorials and there was seriously nothing online that looked like anything I wanted or needed. I was talking to me brilliant niece, Taylor (“Pixie of Peace”) about it and she said…. “What if you used a kiddie pool to shape it??” This was perfect!! I still didn’t exactly know how to construct it though. I went onto a Facebook garage sale page and asked if anyone in my area had one of those pools. I immediately got a response from someone I go to church with!! When I finally picked it up, I spray painted a bunch of it brown to cover up the blue and then headed with my boys up the mountain to find thin branches. I posted a picture from our trip up there and another friend of mine that I go to church with said that they had a bin of branches almost the same size!! I was thrilled because I was almost positive that we wouldn't have enough. I snagged those from them and headed home. I had my 5 year old boy Jordan, his 4 year old cousin Mayson, my 9 year old son AJ and also my wonderful sister in law Amy helping with the nest!! At first, I had no idea how I was going to shape this thing and get it to stay. I just started stacking wood! THEN the idea came to me; drill small holes in the bottom of the kiddie pool, then tie fishing string around the wood that was already there, and begin to add to that space. I tied about 10 fishing sting loops around it. It worked like a charm as we strategically placed the branches. It took us several hours, but it really turned out amazing! Then I spray painted the nest with a beautiful metallic gold paint. I used a really soft fuzzy blanket as the bottom so she had something nice to sit in!
Here are some pics from the nest adventure!!

This “dress” was the easiest part of this project. I literally found the LONG piece of fabric at a thrift store called Savers for $3.99. I played around with it on my body, wrapping it into different shapes until I landed on this one. The gold just reminds me of a Greek Goddess! Especially with these golden wings!
That brings us to the wings!! I have my brilliant husband to thank for these! I knew I wanted golden feather wings that could naturally curl forward with a very embracing feel, but constructing them correctly is not something I’m naturally good at, but Andrew (my hub) is very technically talented. He said that we could use thick poster board for the shape and attach feathers to it with hot glue. Now I was on the hunt for feathers! Thanks again to my Facebook buddies, I was told that there was an awesome feather shop here in Vegas called “The Rainbow Feather Company”! I went down there a few weeks back and figured out what I would need. They were so helpful and I ordered a pound of turkey round feathers along with a feather boa for the fluff at the top.

We started by cutting the base wing shape, both back to tip (2 pieces each side), then we individually glued 2 layers of feathers, front and back. I used a strong multipurpose utility wire for an easy back mount attached with electric tape. Once the base feathers were done, I added the boa to the top. Then I took it outside and went to town with the metallic gold paint! Every spray was making it better and better and bringing it all to life!! When I got it upstairs and attached it to my mannequin with the gold fabric, I just about fell over with excitement! Later that night….I attached the wings to myself and danced around singing “I BELIEVE I CAN FLY….!” –R. Kelly. Bhahahahah!! I wish someone was capturing that on film lol. Andrew was for sure thinkin I had lost my noodles!

Some pictures of how all that was done!

Now the plan I had for the eggs started off a lot more complicated than they ended up being. I first wanted to make paper Mache eggs. I made one with my son AJ and left it outside to dry. That night it got really windy, knocked my egg over and the balloon underneath popped ruining it. I wasn’t too upset, but I didn’t re-make anything right away. I later decided that just doing regular balloons painted gold would work just fine! The turned out great!

You can’t see the books as well as I had hoped, but I was still so excited to use them because they were given to me by Grandma Peg. Some of them are very old vintage books with copyrights dating back to 1895! I thought it would be special to use these and they added a beautiful touch to what I was trying to portray!

The location was very interesting! The first location I planned on fell through when I learned of a permit I would need. Then I decided to find another spot up in Mt. Charleston. I went up there and found something that would work well and it was still pretty warm there surprisingly. That has been the plan all the way up until this last Friday when it started pouring down here in Vegas which means that it’s most likely snowing up on the mountain. I figured we could work around the rain, but I didn’t want snow in these particular pictures. So I opened my heart up for some inspiration and it came to me! I went over to Floyd Lamb Park to an area I’ve only been to one other time when we first moved to Las Vegas. I had completely forgotten about it. My heart was racing as I slowly trekked through the slippery mud in the rain with Jordan (my 5 year old). I had a smile from ear to ear because this place was even more perfect than either choice before! Sometimes things just work out that way!! I would have knelt down in gratitude right there, but it was several inches deep of mud, so we waited til we were back in the car and I let down a few tears and a prayer of thanks! “He’s” got my back!

My gorgeous model was a no brainer for me. Right around the time that this creation started forming in my mind, I did a beautiful maternity session for this woman, Andrea & her husband Joe, who were referred to me by another amazing client of mine. While we were shooting, she was telling me about the nursery which was ready for their beautiful baby-to-be, Bella. She said that she has had an obsession with birds since she was younger. Friends always nick-named her with bird names, as she has been collecting for years so birds were a huge part of the nursery d├ęcor. The light went on in my head and I asked her right away if she would be willing to model for me. She excitedly said yes!!

The hair and makeup done by my beautiful Brittany was a compilation of a few different styles mixed with our own twist. I wanted her hair to almost be in a messy mohawk so this awesome inside-out French braid was a PERFECT look! I wanted lots of bronze and gold glittery makeup on her eyes and temples leading up into her hair. I really wanted this to be part of her. I wanted her skin to be radiant and glowing and WOW did Brittany pull this off!! I can’t stop staring at her!!   I found so many different bronzers, glitters, spray glitters, etc., and we just worked with everything we had. I am so happy with how it turned out!! EEEEK! Although you can’t see them well, her nails were painted with a gorgeous sparkle metallic polish called Luxe by Orly from Sallys. I loved it so much that I’m wearing it now too!

It really has not stopped raining for 3 days, which is a long time for this Las Vegas soil. Believe me…I LOVE the rain, but it made our situation a bit difficult. The mud at our location was so thick & slippery and we had to carry a heavy ladder and nest, along with camera equipment and other supplies back into this wooded area. We were for sure slipping around a ton, but no one fell thank goodness! Andrew and our cousin Erick put a large tarp high over the top of the area we would be shooting. I am so thankful for that because the rain didn’t ease up one time! My wonderful sister in law, Amy was helping once again with transporting things, fixing wardrobe and taking behind the scenes pictures!! So happy when I have extra help!!  Once we got everything up, we grabbed my little birdy Andrea from the toasty car and with an umbrella, got her safely over to her nest.

I am so excited about how things turned out despite the fact that earlier that day, I kept sneezing, when we started setting up, I could feel my eyes and throat start to itch, and then I started noticing that I could see my skin swelling around my eyes without even looking in a mirror, lol. Another nice little curveball thrown my way, but we survived!! Andrea even said that while she was sitting in the nest getting into character, she got a little teary-eyed thinking about the little baby bird she just had 12 weeks ago and also thinking about her mom as well. Such a sweet experience!

I am so grateful for all the helping hands!! I hope you have enjoyed reading!!  

my poor Uggs!


  1. Kira, you've outdone yourself - AGAIN! This shoot is simply stunning! Gives me chills. GREAT JOB! I loved reading the story behind it too, very interesting. It looks like it may have been one of the most difficult to put together, but worth it in the end. So great that you have all your little (and BIG) helpers with all their different talents to help you pull it off. The pictures of the boys helping with the wood are priceless. And the model is gorgeous, and Brittany did her make-up beautifully. WOW. Congrats again on a successful enchanted shoot. Love...

    1. Thank you so much mom!!! This one was pretty complicated, but so much fun! I love seeing everything come together in real life rather than just my little vision!! I'm so glad you liked it!!

  2. Kira you have such an awesome, creative mind!!! I absolutely love your "Enchanted Shoots" so much. Always looking forward to the next one. They are so breathtakingly beautiful. Keep them coming. Can't wait to see the book. I will be so proud to say I am friends with the photographer and author.

    1. Oh Lura!! You are awesome! Thank you!! I at least have my next 1 or 2 planned!

  3. This is SO awesome, love all the behind the scenes info.

    1. Heather I'm so glad we found each other!! I love following your work!! I'm happy you like the behind the scenes stuff!! It's fun sharing the story about why it was created!

  4. Kira, my amazing talented, enchanting daughter! Wow again! You keep coming up with such amazing, spectacular concepts that you so magically translate into the most breath taking fine art photos! Having your hubby Andrew and the boys and other family & friends to help out is priceless and a testament to how much you are loved and especially a great mom! These experiences will be with them forever! Love you!!!

    1. Awe thank you daddy!!! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family and amazing friends!! This really has brought us closer! Love you so much!!!

  5. You have surpassed yourself by an order of magnitude! I am flabbergasted!! You are an artist extraordinaire! I love that you turned a simple, plastic, kids wading pool into a stunningly beautiful and masterly constructed eagle's nest! And the wings are amazing, too. As is the make-up, and, well...everything (even the harmony of color throughout)!!

    Watch the exposure to toxic chemicals -- an artist often is exposed to noxious materials in their work and it's tempting to not take precautions ;)

    1. hahaha!!! I did feel like I was gettin a little high on the spray paint!! I do it all outside at least!! Thank you Steve for all of your amazing feedback!!! I cant wait to keep showing more!!

  6. Oh my simply wonderful. I adore these photos. I am just in awe. Your work is just so beautiful and I love all the attention to detail. Thank you so much for sharing them with us and for blogging about your process. I have been wanting to make similar wings as part of a costume project I am working on for my volunteer theater troope but I am having trouble finding the right sized feathers in the quantity I need. Where did you find yours at? Do you have any helpful tips? Any help you would be wiling to give this beginner costume maker would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Teresa! Thank you so much for writing! It really really was a fun project, this whole project is been incredibly fun, inspiring, and his give me a Thone of creative release! I talk a little bit about the feathers and how we made the wings right above those pictures. I got them at the rainbow feather company here in Las Vegas. They were 12 to 14 inch white turkey rounds! And then I just used golden metallic spray paint to get them the color I wanted. It took a while… But it wasn't too difficult. I'm trying to remember how many. I probably used about a half a pound