If you are ever presented with the opportunity to go snowshoeing, do it. I can't recommend it enough. We didn't make it all the way to Castle Peak, but it was beautiful and exhilarating none-the-less. The woods were so peaceful, insulated with snow, the only sound was our footsteps. It made me sad for the years when there isn't enough snow, and grateful that from the looks of it, this year won't be one of them. And I love that we only live an hour away.
We went hiking in the Tahoe National Forest last Saturday, and it was nice starting off without a destination. All it took was the suggestion of a couple passing us on the trail to motivate us to keep going. Penner was gorgeous, definitely worth the 90 minutes it took to get there. After four hours in nature with friends my head was more clear than it's been in a long time. It was beautiful out, perfect temperature and clear skies. I am so grateful for this vast and varied California landscape that I get to call home.
We could not have asked for a more perfect fall day. Jack London State Historic Park is gorgeous. When Michelle and I started talking about an engagement session, she knew exactly where she wanted to do it. It was my first time visiting the park I was a little overwhelmed. It just kept getting better.
Michelle and Trevor are amazing. I like them so much, I want to be their friend. I say it all the time, but I feel lucky that I get to photograph such incredible couples. We had a great time exploring the park with their beautiful labrador, Ash. These two bring out very fun and endearing sides of one another. At one point they were goofing around and I was standing back trying to work with the light coming through the silos, and I told them, "you guys are ruining my beautiful photo!" I was kidding. They made every photo what it is. I can't wait to photograph their wedding this summer. They're getting married in a redwood grove and it's going to be gorgeous.
Kalin and I have been friends since middle school. We both played dwarves in a Willits Young Actors Theater production of The Hobbit. During production he dated my friend Amber (who played Bilbo Baggins). In high school we were both active in our school's Peer Counseling program and there were a few memorable Halloween parties in his honor (his birthday being the 1st of November). So there's a bit of history there. We have also maintained relationships with multiple mutual friends and we have stayed in touch over the years.
Separately and coincidentally, Jennifer and I met in San Francisco before these two were an item. Back when I was working the buying counter at Crossroads on Market Street, Jennifer and I had a handful of long conversations, and they were both memorable and easy. I liked this girl, I liked talking to her, and I knew I wanted to get to know her better. But it isn't so easy to just ask someone to be your friend. Lucky for me fate stepped in and these two started dating.
Fast forward and they're engaged! Congratulations again! Together, they created LoveWorks, "[a company that] serves men and women who are ready to navigate their relationships in ways that support their higher selves. Through experiential retreats LoveWorks facilitates deeper connection, growth, and love within the container of partnership."
When Kalin and Jennifer asked me to photograph the two of them for their website (and their recent engagement!) I was SO excited! Though the website is still in the works, their facebook page is awesome and provides regular reminders about how we can be better partners and lead happier, more fulfilling lives. We planned for a sunrise shoot at Rodeo Beach, and we were completely fogged in, but it was so so beautiful. It was just us and the surfers and some dog walkers, and I think you can tell we had a lot of fun.
I met this beautiful creature in the parking lot. After our shoot I decided to take the scenic route home. I felt invigorated, both from spending time with Jen and Kalin and from getting up so early and still having good light to play with. So I played, and it was fun.
A couple of weeks ago I went for a run after work. It was a Monday. I was in Piedmont at the top of a hill, up above Oakland and I could see everything. Lake Merritt, downtown Oakland, the port, the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, Alcatraz, Mount Tam. The fog was pooling over the Golden Gate and had already engulfed San Francisco, only the Sutro Tower was poking up and through. The sun had just dipped below the horizon and the sky was putting on a show. Florescent pink, purple and orange lit up the clouds and were reflected by the bay. The city lights were starting to twinkle, and headlights were snaking a river of light along hwy 24.
I didn't have a camera or I obviously would have taken a picture. I focussed on allowing what I saw to imprint itself in my memory. I stood there and watched the colors change for 10 minutes and felt lucky to be alive just to witness the beauty around me. I couldn't fathom how any person in the presence of such a vision would not stop and think "wow." I decided that the next night I would get somewhere spectacular in time for sunset, I would invite a friend, and I would have my camera with me.
I'm so glad Nicole and Edie could join me.
These two at Rodeo Beach. First we broke the rules and climbed up the cliff face. I had never been there before, but the California coast does not disappoint. What you can't tell from the photos is how cold and windy it was. Chelsie was a champ, laughing off the cold. And then she took her shoes off! I don't know if I've ever felt more envigorated during a photo shoot. These two are seriously fun, their wedding is going to be a blast, and I'm lucky to call them friends.
When Chelsie reached out and asked me to be her and Chris' wedding photographer I was elated. I cannot imagine having a more incredible couple (or a more stunning bride!) to photograph than these two. I mean look at them! They are so excited about their love for one another and are amped to spend their lives together. They radiate happiness and it's contagious.
We returned to the trail where Chris proposed to shoot their engagement session, and then trekked through the grasses and climbed the side of the mountain. I think you can tell how much fun we had, romping around with their pup Sadie, laughing the whole time.
Congratulations on your engagement, Chris and Chelsie! I cannot wait to photograph your wedding next year.
Stay tuned for part two!
We celebrated the birthday of a dear friend at the Russian River a couple weekends ago. I didn't pick up my camera until it started to drizzle, and I wish I had gotten it out earlier. We headed to a brew pub nearby and were able to sit outside at picnic tables under the protection of leafy green trees. We played dice and enjoyed some fried food and beers, because our picnic of bread, cheese, olives, grapes, salami, potato salad, cupcakes, chips, and salsa obviously wasn't enough.
My pace of life has slowed down, and after a very busy May and June I am grateful for the breathing room. I find myself mistaking contentment for boredom and I have to remind myself that it's temporary. The last couple years have felt very charged. There have been a lot of high highs and invested emotions, sometimes leading to disappointment. I've stumbled upon an anxiety-free period of peace and I don't want to take it for granted.
Our 4th of July weekend was enjoyed up in Willits with good food, great friends and lovely surroundings. I was lucky enough to photograph a friend's expansive garden in the evening, morning and afternoon light, and that was pretty much the best.
In the morning, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the garden in my pjs when everyone else was still asleep. The bees were making their rounds to the poppies, which had opened overnight. I watched their wrinkly new petals change in the light as the sun made its way through the trees. Poppies may be my favorite flower to photograph. I love them from every direction, in any light, in focus or as a speck in the background.
That the afternoon I returned with Christa to water. She proved to be a lovely subject. As were the chamomile and the sunflowers.
I'm appreciative of good friends who cook up delicious breakfast feasts, make ice cream sandwiches with cookies warm from the oven, play multiple games of ping pong and Settlers of Catan, and share their bounty.
I'm anxious to have our own garden, where I can watch the bees dance from flower to flower and study the light on petals and greens.