A Day of Learning

12935194_889249281188096_1992989714_nDonkeys and mules are central to the economy of Morocco. Without them, people would not be able to easily go places, carry goods to and from the market, plow fields or just about any part of life we take for granted. They are essentially living SUVs. They are super tough little guys with a heck of a sense of humor who give much and ask for little in return.

One place we returned to this trip was Jarjeer Mules, which is located just south of Marrakech. We visited our friends Susan and Charles who run the sanctuary for donkeys and mules. They take in older equids that are at the end of their working lives as well as those who have been abandoned or orphaned. Those animals have surely won the lottery to end up in Susan’s care. They come in scared, thin and full of worms and soon bloom into lovely, shiny, happy donks and mules who enjoy nothing more than good meals, sunning themselves and chasing each other around the paddock.

Our visit this time, though, included a day of hands-on lectures. Originally we’d planned just to work with Susan’s caretakers, but along the way the entire village was invited. Most attendees were expats who came to learn more. A happy surprise was our friend Ali Raji, who we met at the National Stables last October during our previous trip, also made the two-plus hour trip to the talk. We had messaged about it on Facebook several weeks before, and he was very encouraging. Poor Ali didn’t expect we were going to rope him in to translating from English to Arabic though!

Paula and I covered everything from the basics of temperature, pulse and respiration to looking at the color of the donkeys’ gums. Using the very patient Emily, the adorable Boris (who had no idea what he was getting into when he followed Emily out the gate), the ever-keen Mary and cute Clover, we had hands-on time with wrapping (and rolling bandages), grooming, using a weight tape and more. It was a full day of learning, but it was great to see everyone get really into it, ask fantastic questions and seem to enjoy our time together. Paula even had a record sheet translated into Arabic so the guys can track the health of each animal. Without Ali’s help, though, I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful. We are very much indebted to him.

All-in-all we met some wonderful and very interesting people and had a wonderful lunch catered by friends of Susan and Charles. Ali made plans with Susan to come back soon. We were so thrilled to be able to share our knowledge, and we are hopeful that some of them will spread out through the village and beyond.—Stacey Wigmore

Back to Nature

On our travels South, we stayed at a enviromentally friendly lodge, named L’Ane Vert.   If you do not know us well by now, we  love to really “GET TO KNOW” not only the people of our travels, (staying in Berber family homes)  but also like to stay in places that are not at all typical tourism traps.     With a view of the Atlantic out of my window







, fresh ocean breezes and sounds of nature to put me to sleep.  Life is GREAT!  Not to mention how healthy the food is here.  Avocado Shake to start then dinner I will just post photos of you will get the idea!   This place was one of the first to really have access to internet, so we are playing catch up on the blog here as well.




Goats in Trees

Did you know that goats grow on trees in Morocco? OK, not really, but you shouldn’t be surprised if you see a tree full of goats when driving by a grove of Argon trees. The goats enjoy eating the Argon fruit, which is used to make a lovely oil for both cooking and cosmetics. We found these guys just outside the seaside town of Essaouira, which is on the western coast, west of Marrakech.—Stacey Wigmore

Dog Days –


After picking up Stacey from the Airport we headed over to meet up with Rachel Blech to participate in a fund raising event to help raise funds for homeless dogs. This is a statement on Rachel’s page the day after shooting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “A BIG FURRY THANK YOU to all the dogs and owners that took part in today’s GOOD-DOG FRIDAY fundraising photo-shoot. Special thanks to Susan Noeller and Stacey for donating their valuable time and professional expertise and took such lovely photos. The official photos will be on Facebook as soon as Susan gets a chance to do some downloading at a decent internet speed! Until then – here are some snaps taken on my phone this afternoon. GOOD NEWS: 4,500dhs was raised in donations from those who came and those who pledged their support. GGGGRRRRREAT! Thanks to you all!!!”   

Was great fun really enjoyed meeting everyone and their owners too  😉   We are so pleased to be able to help raise funds for such a great cause.  Stacey and I worked like a fine oiled machine, as I shot, she quickly sorted, did a quick edit and handed  off the thumb drives with loaded images to the participants.

Susan Noeller

Where, when and how

First we do a quick scouting of the place to decide where, when and how. We talk to the people envolved, models and owners, to try to understand more about them and their world, we discuss the mood and finally we decide what time to do the shooting and how to do it.

We have been doing one shooting the day, because we are also traveling south and visiting the villages and the souks.

Sunrise and sunset, specially sunrise, allow for great photo opportunities. The communication with the locals has been excelent so far thanks to our berber guide, Abdul.

Please excuse me for the quality of the photos, we have no time to do a proper editing, and sometimes we post photos shot with cell phone and iPad.

Paula da Silva


Nathalie’s horse




Ouzoud Waterfalls

I finally arrived to Marrakech, after several airport delays and having to spent the night in Madrid.  Our Guide picked me up and took me to an amazing place not far from Marrakech prior to having to pick up Stacey and Paula.   Ouzoud Waterfalls are located near the Grand Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, in the province of Azilal, 150 km northeast of Marrakech, in Morocco. Ouzoud means “the act of grinding grain” in Berber.   One thing I have noticed is Morocco is filled with amazing surprises around every corner.  This country has so many different types of Landscapes and terrains.  We walked mind you from the top to the bottom, back up ….then I had a bright idea that I wanted Coffee…. Mhmmm as you guessed other side at the Bottom!  LOL  YES I GOT MY CARDIO IN!!  But it was simply beautiful.   This Waterfall is indeed a working grain mill and the interesting thing about this is, not only is it an oasis around it, but it continues to flow at full flow even in the worst of dry weather.  One more thing … I feel very blessed.  When I spoke to the owner of a Riad’s name- Auberge Taghoulite, owner Hamid.  He told me he was sorry that I was not able to see the rainbow as the sky was not in a condition to view it, BUT he was wrong, as I got to top, looked at the falls, an amazing rainbow showed to me as you will see.   As fast as it appeared to me and I got off a few shots…. it went away.

Susan Noeller


Birthdays on the road

The first one happened to be in March 2015 when we traveled to Morocco for the first time, and it was Abdul’s, we had a nice dinner at Ayoub’s Riad with a cake and all. Second one was Stacey’s last October, lots of fun and a dinner in a riad’s terrace, in the roof. Today it is Susan’s birthday, we spent the morning at the docks shooting boats and cats, and we are now going for lunch (crabs for some of us, vegetables tajine for others). 

The afternoon will be even better, with a visit to a good hammam and a Berber massage, followed by another shoot envolving horses at sunset 🙂

It is such a beautiful sunny day, no wind, and such a nice springtime feel everywhere.

In the photo Susan this morning early, at the riad’s door.


Packing for Morocco Again!

This trip I have got rid of the BIG Duffle bag as, YES it was one, not two, but very heavy and annoying as all get out.  NOT to mention I was the “Butt of the Joke”  when trying to get that damn thing up narrow steep stairways.   These are my new travel bags.  BLUE yes easy to spot at baggage claim too!        My lil girl here Clo is going to miss me, already starting to put her nose up at me and sulk.   😦

So basically this is my TEST Blog to get me back into my Blogggggging Bliss!   Let’s just hope for Data now.  Last time I really needed Data and not one place could get me hooked up correct.    Now if Paula was there with me it would have been fine,  but as is was and will be again.   I am traveling 2 days prior to their arrival and will NEED my phones TRANSLATOR!     So… I will hope this time I have better success!

Please do check here or on our Face Book accts as we will be sharing our travels and experiences with you how ever they may turn out!   😛    Normally  we do try to have as much fun and make the stories as silly as we experience them!

Hugs for now !   Tomorrow I will finish my odds and ends shopping.  The weather looks like it will be Cool there in the evenings.  60’s – low 80’s through the week.    So yes.. packing for an army!

Susan Noeller


My suitcase

I am just not able to pack light.

I need to learn that from Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore, absolutely.

The problem with the way I pack is that I take just about everything, to be able to be prepared in case of just any kind of emergency, from an earthquake to an attack from Mars. 😉

So, I really carry everything in my suitcase and nearly as much in my BOF vest pockets, but when I desperately need something, lets say like an antibiotic, I have so much stuff that I am not able to find it. I will only find it two years later in some invisible pocket or mixed up with my sewing kit – and you can guess the reason why I only find it two years later

File 20-03-16, 10 18 33.

This time it will be different, I will try to be wiser and pack light,  but I bet there will be an alien attack or a lion hiding under my bed, or I will get lost in the desert, or some other catastrophe and I will not be able to find the tools I need because I left them at home, to pack light 😉

Keep me in your thoughts.


2016 starts with Morocco

Hopefully this year will bring me and some friends three great photo trips: Morocco ( we are leaving next week), Iceland in June and India (Rajastan) in the end of October.
It is always very exciting to prepare a trip, to organize details, to look a million times at the maps, checking the distances, checking sunrise and sunset time at the locations – but the adrenaline kicks in the moment we land in the country we are visiting. It is addicting, overwhelming.
It is difficult to explain how it feels, that explosion of feelings, ideas, hopes, and friendship when we meet and we try to put our ideas in words.
This trip next week has two amazing events happening: on the 25th Susan and Stacey will be busy shooting (with a camera) twenty dogs to fund a big vet bill, still to be paid, for some street dogs in the Medina which were injured by cars or are needing surgery.
Next day we will be holding a three hours seminar about the sustainable management of working donkeys and mules, the poorest of the poor, a rough life of hard work and a terrible death when they get older or too lame to work.
But lets get back to my next trip and its preparation. One suitcase ready, second suitcase with donations nearly ready, iPad cleaned with Phone Clean, copy of passport and copy of air tickets and insurance papers in Dropbox, I just registered with the Italian Foreign Office for this trip, and I will have to decide if I need to take waterproof shoes or not, and check if my credit card works ( last time it didn’t).
My camera is still in Milan to be double checked again, as I feel that there is something not right ( I don’t like the noise).
Then a haircut and a deep cleaning of my photographic equipment and I will be READY to go. Inshallah.