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!
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!
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,
Some adventures are just waiting to happen. It’s just…some adventures have to wait longer to happen than others!
Adriana and Jeffery’s Yosemite adventure had to be rescheduled twice on account of some pretty epic weather. When it’s winter in the Sierra’s you have to roll with the punches, and Mother Nature was certainly throwing them – first with a white-out storm that crippled the park with icy roads and pea soup visibility, and second with a deluge that flooded the Valley Floor and triggered a total park closure. So it was with elation and anticipation that we looked at the forecast for their late January session and saw nothing but white snow and blue skies. And those thundering waterfalls, of course.
Little did I know how special of a place Yosemite is to Adriana and Jeffery! As we roamed around the Valley they filled me in on several fun facts: that first date hike to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls (oy!), their wedding at the Ahwahnee (majestic), Jeffery’s solo winter ascent of Half Dome (wow), and many other fantastic moments that they have experienced in this beautiful place. Without a doubt, this is a special setting for many of their memories. I was so excited to be with them to document one more!
From waterfalls to rivers, rock walls to granite bridges, we made quite the circuit in our two hours together. I could have photographed them all day. Thank you Adriana and Jeffery for choosing this fabulous place for your portrait session! Here’s to many more Yosemite moments for you two.
Your Wild(erness) Photographer,
I’ve been lucky to know Janet and Mark for several years. Having cycled on many a bike ride with them through the backroads of Oakdale, I knew that they were the outdoorsy and athletic type. (If I can manage, I sometimes get to snag an easy ride by drafting off of their super-fast tandem!) So it was no surprise to me when they wanted to have their anniversary photo session in one of my favorite places in the world: Yosemite National Park.
The attraction to Yosemite was natural: Janet and Mark were married there in the little red chapel on Southside Drive, just a stone’s throw from the Merced River. Making the chapel our first stop was no question, as we wanted to begin the session by returning to the very spot where it all began. It was so special to share this moment with my good friends and see how much happiness it gave them to relive the memories of their wedding day.
An afternoon snow storm was building, giving us an amazing couple hours of dynamic, yet atmospheric light. Believe it or not, sunny clear days can make capturing the beauty of the Yosemite Valley AND your subject very difficult. Those bright granite surfaces are like big sun reflectors! A light cloud cover can work wonders to reveal the many waterfalls, cracks, and crannies that line the rugged rock walls while at the same time capturing the beautiful smiles of the happy couple in front of the camera. I was so excited to have these moments of quiet winter weather to capture Janet and Mark celebrating their special milestone.
Thank you Janet and Mark for inviting me to celebrate with you in Yosemite! And thank you Steve Tallman for your most excellent assistance with gear and lighting. Here’s to many more years of love, happiness, and ADVENTURE for us all!
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,
There’s nothing like photographing people in one of their favorite places. Last week’s family session in Yosemite Valley with the Beels was certainly a prime example of that. Brett and Lindsay Beel share a love for Yosemite, born of their passion for rock climbing, so it was only natural that they introduce their new little man to the mountains as soon as possible!
Nolan made his first national park visit at the tender age of 1 month and 1 day. Yes!!! You heard that right. For a newborn, he weathered the outdoors unbelievably well and was quite content to be held by Mom and Dad as we played around in Cook’s Meadow. Judging by how comfortable and relaxed he was, I’m thinking this is just the first trip of many! Babies everywhere: the bar has been set, and it is HIGH. 🙂
Congratulations Brett and Lindsay on the new addition to your family. I know you’ll miss Yosemite when you move to Pennsylvania, but here’s hoping that these photos remind you of your special time in California. Thank you for inviting me to share in these memories with you.
Katie and Brent’s shared love of nature inspired them to pick Point Reyes National Seashore for their maternity session, which was just about as perfect as you can get. It may have been 100 degrees in Modesto but it was a balmy 72 on the seashore – something that any woman at 38 weeks can be thankful for!
Katie was an absolutely glowing mama, a natural beauty surrounded by the beauty of the sea. I had so much fun capturing her and Brent’s love – both for Baby B, and for each other – in some very special places within this national park. There’s nothing like the calm serenity of a quiet oak grove or the gentle lapping of the ocean waves to center us and bring out all those happy smiles! Nature is central to my photography, so I love it when I get to work with people like Katie and Brent who share the same love for the outdoors that I do.
Congratulations Katie and Brent on the upcoming arrival of your little one! I can’t wait to see him in all his cuteness. Thank you so much for inviting me to document this special event in your lives. And thank you Steve for being my assistant – you did an excellent job of keeping my gear sands-free!