John-John and Mom at Avila Valley Barn

When I’m in the moment photographing someone, I don’t have much time to check the image or think deeply about the moment I am capturing.  I look for great light (or create it), interact with my subject (or just observe them), and furiously spin the wheels on my camera settings to create new and different effects as the environment and mood changes.  There are no fewer than twenty different technical and social actions being driven by my mind at any given time!  Somehow, through that miasma of creativity, interaction, and physical exertion (I move around A LOT), an image is born – an image waiting on my hard drive for the day that I sit down to do my editing.

And that is when I catch my breath.  Because for all the doubt I may have about how a session turned out (I could have done this, or that…always, any number of things), when I open the files all I see are beautiful smiles and tender moments.  The feeling I had when I looked at Jamie and John Arevalo’s mother-son portrait session was love.  Love love love love love!  One image after another of two incredible people and the beautiful bond that they share.  I will never get tired of that feeling.

I know Jamie well and have photographed her family before, so having the opportunity to reconnect with them in their new home on the Central Coast was a special treat!  I will travel anywhere to photograph my clients, but luckily this time my personal travel to the coast coincided with Jamie’s availability.  We decided to go to one of John-John’s favorite places, Avila Valley Barn, and have a little fun in the dirt.  Such a nice location, but I think poor John-John was confused about combining a trip to his familiar hangout with a paparazzi following him around!  Nothing that frequent changes in location and an ice cream cone couldn’t handle, though.  He’s an active little boy and at three-years-old is really into exploring his world.  I got a kick out of it – you can literally see the wheels in his head turning in some of these photos.

It’s those moments between mother and son that really tug at my heart though.  The love John has for his mom is so clear.  And clearly, she is an amazing mom, if these photos are any proof.  When John is older and maybe being bull-headed, maybe being aloof, you know, just going through the paces of growing up – I want him to look at these photos and be reminded of what a beautiful, selfless mommy he has.  Because Jamie, you really are.

Thank you for inviting me back to photograph you on the gorgeous Central Coast!  Next time we’ll get Drew in there for some good father-son fun shots.  Congratulations on the move to one of my favorite places in California!

Cheers,

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Arevalo Family Almond Blossom Session

The Arevalo Family picked a beautiful spring evening for their photography session at Burroughs Family Farm.  The session started with warm, late afternoon sunshine bathing everyone in a happy glow and ended with a soft blush sunset over the Sierra Nevada mountains.  It was so nice to step out into the fresh green grass and clean March air that the weeks of rainfall had brought to the valley.  From start to finish, the evening was filled with happy laughter, big smiles, and lots and lots of love.  In other words – perfect!

I really enjoyed chasing John around through the blossoms.  Once he hopped out of the car, he was ready to run – so naturally, we all followed suit!  It was so sweet to see how much he loves his mom and dad, and how much fun they all have together.  Working with beautiful families like the Arevalos is definitely the highlight of my job.

Thank you Jamie, Drew, and John for the wonderful spring evening in the almond blossoms!  And thank you Burroughs Family Farm for offering such a lovely ranch for their family session.  We can’t wait to be back!

Cheers,

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Mitchell Family Almond Blossom Session

The Mitchell Family braved bright sun, bees, and a few barking sheepdogs to enjoy the almond blossoms at beautiful Burroughs Family Farms.  I had so much fun following Owen and Amelia around on orchard roads and through grassy pastures at this organic almond ranch, dairy, olive oil farm, and pasture-fed egg provider.

After days of rainy California skies, we were treated to an unusually clear afternoon – and got to see Half Dome from the ranch property, too.  What an amazing sight!  From what mom Diana tells me, the kids had such a good time on the ranch that they are already asking when they can have another photo session.  I say, bring it!

While it is tempting to tread through any ol’ roadside orchard to photograph the almond blossoms, establishing a relationship with a rancher ensures that you are entering the land when it is safe to do so (i.e. no pesticide residue or protective guard dogs on patrol) and that you aren’t disturbing the peace and tranquility of someone else’s property.  I feel so grateful to Benina Montes and Mary Burroughs of the Burroughs Family for giving myself and the Mitchells the opportunity to enjoy this piece of paradise.

Thank you Diana, Kevin, Owen, and Amelia for sharing the afternoon with me!  I am excited to share a few of my favorite images from your session.  I’m already looking forward to the next session with these little adventurers!

Your Buddy in the Blossoms,

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Byrd Grandkids Family Session

When Madeline asked me to photograph her grandsons for the holidays, I knew I’d be in for some fun!  Madeline and her husband Gary live across the street from us and for four years we’ve got to watch Gavin, Tyler, and Jonas grow up.  In fact, our first Christmas here, Jonas was just a little baby.  So when this trio showed up in coordinated Star Wars knit sweaters, my destiny was sealed: this was going to be a stellar session if there ever was one!

I really love how close these three boys are.  Brothers Gavin and Tyler are so caring and considerate with their little cousin Jonas, and in turn Jonas looks at them like they are the coolest kids on the planet.  He kept wanting to do everything his big cousins were doing!  We laughed, high-fived, and light sabered our way through at least five settings, and the boys worked overtime to keep the smiles coming.  Honestly, I had to ask their moms if they’d had a dry run at this ahead of time, or were practicing to be professional models – they were that good!

Thank you again Madeline for inviting me to photograph your awesome guys, and for moms Dana and Angela for coming along and supporting these supermodels from the sidelines.  It was really nice to capture the beauty of a late fall day in Modesto with these ginkgo leaf-throwing Jedis!  I can’t wait to do it again, and as long as I keep the chocolate dish stocked, I’m thinking the feeling is mutual.

May the Force be with you,

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