Modelling real fur

Our recent icy weather spawned an idea and I acted quickly to put the details of my photo shoot together. A little water, a little ice and a beautiful model could make some magic.

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This is what happens when I try to tell a model what to do!

I arrived dressed for the occasion in a comfortably warm down jacket and I noticed that she flaunted a politically incorrect thick fur coat. It looked so natural too!

I was hoping for a model with that timeless slick-back look preferably complemented by an ample girth and some distinguishing features. I wanted a beaver but the beavers’ model union had forcefully declined and, alas, I was stuck with the muskrat they had offered up instead. They claimed I had made some disparaging remarks about beavers in the past. What a sensitive bunch! I tried to hide my disappointment but the shoot must go on.

Initially, I was put off by the muskrat moma’s big feet, untrimmed nails and yellow teeth. I also noticed her whiskers could have used a trim but I’ve learned not to make any suggestions about these matters with temperamental models. One wrong word and the pouting begins and the next thing you know she’s locked in the underwater dressing room!

As we started to work together to make photos, I gained a new appreciation for Melicia the muskrat. She moved with poise and grace and wasn’t afraid to slide her large body in and out of the frigid water.

Melicia posed like a pro and I had a great time capturing all her amazing looks. She seemed unaware of her natural beauty. She was so comfortable with me that she stopped regularly to eat. Then she’d go back to posing and just generally showing off.

We worked well together that day and I’m pleased with the results. I just sent the photos to the beavers’ union to show them how good Melicia looked. That should teach them a good lesson! Score one for me on the beaver feud.


Melicia seemed to have a voracious appetite and stopped regularly for vegan snacks.


They know when they look good!






Latest Comments

  1. panhirsch says:

    What a wonderful post, excellent writing and amazing photos! I’m going to follow You because I need more of those ☺ cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    That is one sexy model you have there. I have to ask: did you pose her, or was she a natural?


  3. Cindy says:

    The only one making that coat really look good!


  4. Alison says:

    What a beauty that Melicia is! You were lucky to find a model that knows her angles so well. Were the reflection shots her idea? They are gorgeous!


  5. Dalo 2013 says:

    A fascinating creature, great post Lyle – I’d take a beaver over a muskrat as well but you do this beauty well (I suppose being out in the lonely wild after a while, everyone tends to look more beautiful). 🙂


  6. Inger says:

    Awesome captures Lyle – the reflections are just perfect! Melicia is quite a beauty queen;)


  7. hannele says:

    Marvellous blog post, yet again. It’s always a joy to read your posts and pure happiness to see them!

    There are also side-effects to reading your posts, though, and not always of the appreciated kind. Like now, I’m walking around singing “The shoot must go oooooon!” to myself… and everyone around me. Thanks.

    Thanks for sharing your muskrat meeting! 🙂


  8. Steve Gingold says:

    Great opportunity that you made the most of, Lyle. Great story as well. Truly a series of glamour shots with a gorgeous model. She’s a natural.


  9. MJF Images says:

    I didn’t even know you were feuding with the beavers union! Love the water and the shot where she’s got her feet up on her head is adorable.


  10. David says:

    Really great photos and story. I enjoyed both very much.


  11. Mike Powell says:

    I loved (and laughed at) your story line, Lyle, and your photos are simply spectacular–the details you were able to capture of the fur and the rest of the muskrat’s body are incredible. The scenario you imaged with temperamental models is one of my personal nightmares and one of the reasons I don’t like to photograph people–imagine how much work you would have had to do in Photoshop if this mode had been human!


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I completely agree with you when it comes to the potential nightmare of dealing with temperamental models. It definitely fuelled the inspiration for the story. I think I’ll stick with wildlife. Your comment about PhotoShop made me chuckle. Happy to hear you enjoyed the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Janes Heartsong says:

    Love the attitude. Is that Tony Orlando and Dawn that I hear singing in the background?


  13. allthoughtswork says:

    Notice how he turns to the side and dips his chin slightly to hide his problem areas. And if I’m not mistaken, that’s how a muskrat makes duck lips.


  14. westerner54 says:

    Sorry, Melicia, but your hands are really creepy. Especially when that photographer dude managed to capture them upside down in the reflection of the first shot. Really, get a manicure! Your feet are nothing to write home about either. Nice coat, though, and the camera does seem to love you! 🙂


  15. Birder's Journey says:

    What a look. What a face. What a coat!!


  16. Vicki says:

    What a superb series and that wonderful light.
    Love the DOF too.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I knew the ice was partially covering the lake so I hoped to find a beaver or muskrat and was so pleased to get some time with one. The good light helps especially with that wet fur. Glad you enjoyed them.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Seenorway says:

    There is a striking resemblance between mouth and claws on its front legs? With a bit of fantasy (and a little good will) you’d be seeing two animals sitting on the top of each other?


  18. Susan Portnoy says:

    Hilarious post, Lyle. OMG.. she’s so cute! Great read. 🙂


  19. Adeline Berg says:

    Those are amazing!!


  20. Dick Trew says:

    Looks like we could all take a lesson from Melicia–she seems to be “very comfortable in her own skin”! Smart the glamour photographer who could see past the “issues” and accent her natural beauty, highlight these and let the other stuff just diminish in significance. I hope to see you work together sometime in the future! You have brought out the best in each other!


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m certainly game to work with her again but we’ll have to see if she is willing. I am quite intrigued by her unusual features – it’s hard to make things like that up.


  21. Lavinia Ross says:

    Now that’s a real muskrat, and a beautiful one! You are too far north for Nutria.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Interestingly I had never heard of nutria so I had to look it up. Looks like an interesting creature.


      • Lavinia Ross says:

        I just happened to post a photo of a nutria as the feature photo this month. Although nowhere near as nice as your photos, it shows a young nutria wandering through the orchard at night. We don’t see them very often here. I posted a link back to your post so people can see the differences between muskrats and nutria, as at least a couple of people thought the visitor was actually a muskrat. The muzzle is the first dead giveaway.


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