John and Dalisa are some of our favorite people!  They are so much fun, super creative, and extremely giving.  In addition to everything they have going on with their studio, Alt F Photography, they also started the Roadside Families Project in response to the void they saw in the lives of many photographers.  As important as photographers know photography is, they rarely have even a single image with all members of their family in it and so John and Dalisa traveled around the country last summer photographing photographers and encouraging all of them to do the same for other photographers.  This is why I was surprised when it dawned on me that I saw no family photos of the Coopers hanging in their house when we went to visit them last fall!  As of last week, things have been set into motion to make sure that will no longer be the case! :o)

We planned the shoot for the dry lake bed in the desert which we were SO excited about!  Beautiful blue skies, the cracked texture of the lake floor and a light breeze with the mountains in the distance sounded amazing!  The vision shifted slightly though as we pulled up and saw this:


This massive dust storm was incredible we couldn’t have possibly had a better family to propose getting out in it to! :o)  Do you want to walk right into the biggest dust storm John has ever seen out here in his 20-something years in Vegas?  Yes please!

Off into the middle of that huge cloud of raging dirt we went.  It was pretty challenging to shoot in because most of the time, it looked like this:


But, when the wind died down for a minute or two in between the large gusts, it looked like this!



…and this…



…and that was just so unbelievably worth the sand blasting our skin received and the 3 showers it took to remove the dirt!

I realize it’s totally contrary to the kosher way in which to build a blog post to show you my favorites first but it worked better that way for my story!  Anti-climatical or not, here are some non-dust storm images that I really like too. :o)




JMC and Sam…


Dalisa and Ros…


The beautiful couple and their other babies – Bachi and Visa Marie (the boy :P)


Oh yeah!  I almost forgot this one – another favorite…


A quick one of our disheveled selves by John


Some fun randomness…


and lastly, the whole crew.


Thank you guys so much for playing in the dirt with us! :o)  We truly are getting spoiled by seeing you so often lately and we miss you already!  Come visit Tennessee soon!

Thanks for looking everyone! :o)

– Mel and Sean


  1. Becka Knight on April 8, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Completely kick ass. I love them and I’m sure they do too!

  2. Phil Thornton on April 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    L337 p|-|0705. L0/3 7|-|3//!

  3. Wes Hope on April 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Awesome! Looks like great fun. And wonderful idea putting the geniuses behind PayItForward in front of the lens!! The Coopers+McClellans rock!

  4. chris. on April 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Yeah, what Phil said… only I love them in english.

  5. daryl brewton on April 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Awesome Images! I love those guys to death and what better enviroment for the Coopers. A dust storm! Love it! Awesome job!

  6. Lisa Thomas on April 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I love, love, love all of these! Beautiful job, guys! Really! And I am so lovin’ Dalisa with blonde hair!!!!!

  7. Dalisa on April 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I seriously LOVE these – you two are SO awesome – how do we thank you?? AND you went into some crazy ass freak storm to do it – we owe ya! BIG TIME!


  8. Dana & Jeremy on April 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Love the Coopers and these pictures! Sooo good!

  9. Dana & Jeremy on April 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Love the Coopers and these pictures! Sooo good!!

  10. rich on April 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I DO want to leave a comment – what a great session with an awesome family! I’m a pretty big fan of you guys and JMC, so this is like the best session ever :)

  11. john michael cooper on April 8, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    super super! you two kick ass… ! love them.. i was so jealous i wasn’t shooting…. like dalisa said you guys rock! love you guys!

  12. Tara K. on April 8, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    f’in awesome!

  13. Leslie Gilbert on April 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Love these!! Dalisa, you are too freakin hot! John, your not so bad either. ;)

  14. meggie velasco on April 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    JEALOUS MUCH?! Yes, yes I am. These are awesome and SCREAM ALT F

  15. meggie velasco on April 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    JEALOUS MUCH?! Yes, yes I am. That sand storm was perfect. These SCREAM ALT F.

  16. Genevieve on April 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Coolness amplified with a killer combo of subject and shooters. Nice images

  17. Jennifer on April 8, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    How cool are those photos?????? Love it that the pets were included as well!

  18. Rosilyn. on April 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Woo! McLellans ROCK!
    You guys did an awesome job on our pictures & left me with a memory for life!
    Thanks soo much, can’t wait to see you guys again. (:
    (share your radness with everyone.)

  19. Rhonda Hendricks on April 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Freakin’ awesome! Props to ALL of you for getting out there in that mess….I’m a wuss and probably would’ve gone with plan B. I always love seeing ya’lls new stuff :)

    Rhonda Hendricks
    (Joe Hendricks Photography)

  20. Lindsey on April 8, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Freakin’ A W E S O M E !
    I’ve always loved their photos and now I love their style.
    Great work!

  21. Vanessa Soares on April 8, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Wooww Very gooodd. amei lindoo!! Voces são demais!!!

  22. Elizabeth O'Neill on April 8, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Awesome variety! Everyone of these images are so nice to look at.

  23. Mary Marantz on April 9, 2009 at 6:03 am

    these are KILLER!!! awesome job guys!!

  24. anna crane on April 9, 2009 at 6:20 am

    i am in awe of these…and adore that you shot such a deserving family (and those rockin’ dogs!) :D

  25. Julie on April 9, 2009 at 8:34 am

    WOW you guys! These are incredible!! The dust storm is just awesome.

  26. mindy on April 9, 2009 at 9:25 am

    So fun! These are awesome!

  27. K. Crafton on April 9, 2009 at 10:40 am

    What a fun shoot! You guys did such an amazing job!!! Love them!

  28. BLOG INTERRUPTED @ AltF on April 9, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    […] […]

  29. jane cato on April 9, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Absolutely amazing.

  30. Jenna on April 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    What a perfect family for this to happen with. I hate sand in my mouth, so I think I would have been huddling in the car. Some gorgeous images came out of that though.

  31. Zach Gray on April 9, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Awesome stuff guys! No one pulls off the direct sunlight shots like you guys! The sand storm made for a really unique look!

  32. Zach Gray on April 9, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Awesome stuff! No one pulls off the direct sunlight like you guys! The storm made the shoot have such a great look!

  33. Ashley on April 9, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Visiting from AltF and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this shoot! Getting covered in dust is totally worth it for these amazing images! Very inspiring!

  34. Kelley WC on April 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Gorgeous!! What a hot family (duh ;-) And I love the blonde hair Dalisa! Great job McLellans :-)

  35. Samantha Cooper on April 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks for enduring the monstrous sand storms (you and your cameras!) lol. I love them! :)

  36. Chaz on April 10, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Totally elite shots, dude.
    I’d just be terrified of the insides of the camera being totally soaked with dust.. ugh!

  37. Angela Hubbard on April 10, 2009 at 12:37 am


  38. johnwaire on April 10, 2009 at 5:28 am

    kick ass session!

  39. Cathy Crawley on April 10, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Wow, these are awesome! You totally captured JMC and his family authentically. I hope you didn’t change your lenses in that dust storm!

  40. Nicole Wolf on April 10, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    These are RAD!! What a hip family, Love em!

  41. Amy-Jo Tatum/Bride Chic on April 11, 2009 at 9:22 am

    You’ve really captured the beauty of the desert here. Great work!

  42. Amy-Jo Tatum/Bride Chic on April 11, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Youve really captured the beauty of the desert in these pictures. Great work

  43. Amy-Jo Tatum/Bride Chic on April 11, 2009 at 9:24 am


  44. Lesli Emmetts on April 11, 2009 at 10:26 am

    You can even make dirt pretty… Awesome, guys!

  45. Scott on April 11, 2009 at 11:12 am

    The best familt photos ever. you guys rocked it!

  46. Ricky Gulati on April 14, 2009 at 3:12 am

    Dalisa & John are one of my closest friends, and they look amazing in person, but in these pictures they are in a word, STUNNING!

  47. Rita Wiebner on April 15, 2009 at 6:27 am

    These are awesome – love you all!

  48. Stephanie Ash on April 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    WOW WOW WOW! I loooove these! So fresh to see awesome imagery despite the crazy weather. Now THAT is inspiring.

  49. ohana photographers - david & kimi on April 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    ok a few…
    the one of john and dalisa. wow.

  50. jo @ allegro photography on April 19, 2009 at 7:47 am

    wow- these are so beautiful! I love the dustiness.

  51. Rain on April 20, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    What a awesome shoot!

  52. Dalisa on April 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    is it bad that I keep coming back just to look at these…lol. your right, that’s pretty bad…

  53. mel on April 22, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Thank you thank you everyone!! We had so much fun and it was such an experience! :o) You all make our day every time a new message comes in! :o) And Dalisa – you come back whenever you’d like! ;o)

  54. […]  I dream about that kind of stuff, a wedding during a storm – right on!  After all, we had our family photos taken during a wind storm on the dry lake bed.  I told her that I’m more than willing  and […]

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