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Behind the scenes of a beach photoshoot in Costa Rica.

Michelle &Merlin’s photo session is a combination of elegance, exoticism and beauty wrapped in soft pastel colours pleasing to the eye. Two amazing women are behind it. Sue McDaid is a beauty and lifestyle photographer. Michelle is an entrepreneur and horse owner.  Merlin is the muscular, deep torso build white horse. We were very curious to learn more about these ladies and share our conversation:

How would you describe yourself  to our readers?

-My name is Sue McDaid and I am a beauty and lifestyle photographer. My passions include yoga, traveling and food and combing those together can’t be beat! I believe in seeking happiness and shining your light in this world is the most important thing anyone can do (however that looks for you)

What made you decide to visit Costa Rica?

-My Husband and I were looking to take a wellness trip and Costa Rica, especially Santa Teresa, is a hub for exactly that. Nature, Ocean, Beautiful Beaches, Yoga, Healthy Food, surfing and the laid back vibe.

How did you meet Michelle and what made you want to do the shoot?

-I put a post on “What’s On Santa Teresa” and she responded. Not only does she have horses but she is gorgeous and also became my model!

Was it your first time doing this type of shoot and how well did Merlin do with his poses?

-I have done some shoots in the past with horses but never on the beach. Merlin was cooperative for the most part and I think we got some Fantastic shots of him with Michelle.

Is there any particular shoot that you would really like to do next and if so, what is it?

-My Husband and I travel a lot so this opportunity to shoot a creative fashion story while traveling was pretty fantastic, I would like to explore those types of opportunities more. Being able to put all the pieces together with such fantastic results was very satisfying!

What is next on your travel bucket list?

-Having met so many wonderful and friendly Argentinian people in Santa Teresa, South America is definitely high on the list right now! New Zealand as well!

Michelle, how would you represent yourself?

-I am a free-spirited entrepreneur seeking all the joys this world has to offer! I am currently living in Manzanillo, Costa Rica and together with my partner, we are running horseback riding tours on the beach @horizontehorse.st.

What made you decide to move to Costa Rica and how do you sustain yourself?

-My Father is from Sweden and my Mother from Spain and growing up in Sweden I never felt settled there, it never felt like home.  I felt like no one understood me & as the years went by I still felt like I didn’t “fit in” and was getting very depressed, so I started traveling! I was always filled with joy when I traveled but then coming “back home” I felt more depressed and misplaced than ever.  So, one day I just decided things needed to change! Broke up with the boyfriend, sold house and hit the road with only my backpack.  After traveling for a while, I found and fell in love with Costa Rica!  I did everything I could to survive in Paradise and it was not easy.  Finally, I met a local guy who had 8 horses and we joined forces and now we have 36 horses and run horseback tours in Manzanillo, Costa Rica.

What is your best memory in Costa Rica so far and what has been your toughest moment?

-I have so many great memories here but I’d like to share my biggest achievement and that is that I just bought land in the mountains here and have my own little farmette! My toughest moments are always when I am missing all the people I love most, especially my Family since they all live so far away…

How long has Merlin been a part of your life?

-Merlin and his best friend Billie came into my life a little over a year ago when their owners had to move back home after living in Costa Rice during Covid. They asked me to provide a more loving life for them and it has been my pleasure to get to know their personalities and care for them in the best way I know how.

Have you and Merlin done other photoshoots together, or was this your first?

-Yes, Merlin is so beautiful that many people ask to photograph him, especially running on the beach!

Do you feel Costa Rica to be your forever home, or would you like to move to a new country at some point in the future? If so, where?

-For sure this will be my forever home, I would love to raise my family here.  But I am not opposed to living somewhere close to my family for a few months a year, probably Spain.

What advice would you give to anyone who wishes to find a home away from home?

-Be open and respect other cultures, do not compare whatever you are experiencing with your old life.  There is a reason you left.  Also, what you see on social media isn’t always as it seems.  You will have bad days in Paradise, you will have struggles but it is all worth it.  Follow your dreams, with a lot of risk comes a lot of reward!  Be Curious and Understanding!

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Discover more about: Photography- Sue McDaid @suesstudiocreative, Model- Michelle Lundh @michellelundh, Horse- Merlin @horizontehorse.st, Location- Manzanillo, Costa Rica

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