Environmental Portraits of a Photographer // Oakland Hills

I am really lucky to have such a great photographer friend. It makes it even better that she's gorgeous and doubles as a pretty spectacular model. I have learned so much from Sadie. We met in a photography class, and one of our assignments was to team up with a classmate and take portraits of one another. Looking back at our portrait session from just over a year ago I didn't know the first thing about taking portraits. I used my kit lens, all the photos were take in f/5 and didn't know where to stand in relation to my model and the light, which is really the most important part. In February she generously photographed me for my website, we walked around Golden Gate Park at sunset and froze. It was time to return the favor. 

For this shoot I wanted to play around with a wider angle lens to incorporate more environment. I had a difficult time location scouting. The day before I drove around Oakland and Berkeley for about an hour getting increasingly frustrated because I couldn't find a spot that wasn't littered with background distractions. It made me want to move to the country. Immediately. So I decided we'd wing it, trust our intuition and maybe discover some place new. We drove up to the Oakland hills, winding our way up to Joaquin Miller Park. We found a gorgeous patch of eucalyptus trees on the top of a hill that was all lit up. And then she found a stump to stand on. Genius. Our second location was a turnoff off of Grizzly Peak Blvd up above Claremont. That last photo was taken after the sun had set.

Being up so high, we got the most out of the early setting sun. And there were trees but there was also so much sky, which is the beauty of being on a hill, you get light filled images. I could have shot for a while longer, it was so beautiful, but we were both freezing.  And there wasn't very much room for us on the side of the road. It was a pretty sheer drop. When I got home I made some black been and sweet potato chili. (Recipe here. It was definitely on the sweet side, but with a generous amount of salt and a drizzle of lime on top it was really good.)

Maybe for our next shoot we can be in the tropics.