Mermaids, glitter and unicorns:
BY LINDA OATMAN HIGH
At the water’s edge just north of Reading, Pennsylvania, in a quiet place by Blue Marsh Lake, mermaids and pirates frolic, captured for posterity by local photographer Laura Reiger.
Reiger, 31, has been photographing and preserving beautiful moments for over a decade, and her summer days as of late have been literally swimming with mermaids.
Working with mermaids of all ages each-and-every evening between June and August, Reiger meets her clients on Palisades Drive in Leesport, at the stilling basin for the lake.
The photographer brings mermaid tails in many sizes, and she’s thought of everything to prepare her customers for the session: sneakers for the half-mile uphill hike on the boat trail, water and snacks, towels, bug spray, a change of dry clothing for after the shoot, and headlamps for the easy downhill trek at the end.
Laura brings a pop-up changing tent in which humans transform into mystical mermaids, emerging in tails and fins.
When jet skis or boats fly by out on the lake, the mermaids have waves.
Meticulously timing the enchanting photo sessions, Reiger coordinates her shutter with the sunset for the perfect shots beside the mermaid rocks. As the summer sun sinks, mermaids pose with tails raised against the evening sky. They lie on their stomachs, they sit on the rocks, they splish and splash. When jet skis or boats fly by out on the lake, the mermaids have waves.
The last shot of the night is an evocative silhouette against the water as the sun disappears below the horizon.
“It’s so much fun,” says Reiger, whose main mermaid clientele is children. “The experience is something they’ll always remember. I just love being part of that.”
A mother herself, with a 5-year-old daughter and a new baby, Laura Reiger has the necessary patience and free spirit to interact well with kids of all ages.
And the photographer has recently added even more magic to her repertoire: pirates and unicorns. She provides the pirate costumes for lakeside shenanigans, and some families choose to incorporate both pirate and mermaid in their photos.
The unicorn sessions are in the process of development, with a pure-white Welsh pony named Chloe wearing the unicorn horn and sporting the white-clad youngster on her back. Laura is currently in the process of adding more horses and ponies to her stable of unicorns, and will soon have Silver, a miniature pony. As part of the local training venue Sutliff Performance, Laura’s equine assistants are calm and well-accustomed to children.
“I think I’m the only photographer who does photos of the children actually riding the unicorns,” Laura reports.
Laura obviously gravitates to the magical, but that includes charmed reality as well. One of her favorite things to photograph is a new life. The photographer is on call for births taking place up to an hour and a half from her home.
“It’s miraculous; the best,” says Reiger. “This is what I’m meant to be doing.”
Laura Reiger’s 2008 Associate of Arts degree in professional photography is being put to good use, documenting the fleeting and precious moments of life. Capturing and saving the memories for future generations is a passion of Laura’s, whether it be a human birth or a mythical creature. The beauty of life captured through a lens enchants Laura Reiger . . . and her clients. Grandparents are especially charmed when they hired the photographer to preserve the magical memories of their beloved Grands.
Reiger has recently added sparkly and enchanting Glitter Shoots to her repertoire, and new themes for photo shoots are constantly sparking her creativity.
“I love what I do,” says Reiger. “Being able to capture a tiny moment in time, a snapshot of life is the most amazing job. The look between a father and daughter on her wedding day. The way a newborn smiles. How siblings play when they think no one is watching. The pure joy on a one-year-old’s face when they get to smash a cake. Capturing and creating keepsakes for life; that’s what being a photographer is all about.”
FEATURED IMAGE: Grandmom, Linda Oatman High with granddaughter, Harper Shoun of Lebanon, PA.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LINDA OATMAN HIGH
Linda Oatman High is an author of books for children and teens, as well as a playwright/journalist. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College. www.lindaoatmanhigh.com