There’s no such thing as leaving your heart in San Francisco – when you love SF, a little piece of the city embeds itself in your soul and travels with you everywhere you go. Such was the case with Amy and Tyler, who brought their love for each other to the city that they adore, making it a richer and more beautiful place than ever before.
It was Amy’s idea to do their engagement session at the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts, a place I know well and am only too happy to photograph anytime! Though the encroaching fog canceled our plans for some Golden Gate Bridge shots across the street, it did give us soft, filtered light that made for stunning photography at this classic San Francisco landmark. Amy and Tyler were resilient, weathering the quickly dropping temperature with lots of giggles and grace (and plenty of hugs! Note to self: *slightly* under-dressing for coastal weather makes for a verrrry cuddly couple, must try again).
Usually, at the beginning of a session, I give prompts to couples to encourage them to interact with each other in an authentic and natural way. In other words – hold hands, kiss, and forget that me and my lens are all up in your space! Not so with Amy and Tyler. From the very beginning, they only had eyes for each other. What I wouldn’t give to know what Tyler was saying to his fiancé to make her laugh so much! It doesn’t get much better than working with a deliriously happy, beautiful couple in one of the most striking locations in San Francisco. Architecture and landscape are the two themes that drive my photography style, and when I get to experience both with the emotions of a lovely couple…oh, it’s just magic.
Tyler’s parents are longtime friends of mine (I’ve known his dad for 15 years!), so it was really awesome to have this opportunity to get to know him and Amy by sharing this special milestone with them. Congratulations Amy and Tyler on your engagement and all the best as you plan for your wedding. It’s going to be amazing!
Happiness! That’s pretty much all I need to say about Mary and Bart’s amazing evening engagement session at the Burroughs Family Ranch in Ballico. When we started the session, I warned them that it was going to be one big love and kissing fest, but wasn’t prepared for them to take me so literally. (Haha, I’m glad they did though!) These two only had eyes for each other, laughing and enjoying some peaceful moments together on Mary’s family ranch. Aside from Bart’s constant joking that kept Mary in stitches, there were photobombing lambs and their rambunctious Jack Russell, Brodie, to keep things lively.
I met Mary several years ago on a Best Buddies cycling team, and we’ve been friends ever since. Mary and Bart are also involved with Team In Training and are avid adventurers, so it was only natural that they include something athletic in their engagement session. I was so excited when Mary told me that they were bringing vintage bikes – because what could be better backdrop for some vintage cycling than dirt roads and ranch silos?
Everything about Mary and Bart’s engagement session was perfect: the light, the location, and of course, the LOVE between these two amazing people. Seeing your friend find someone that means the world to her, and then becoming friends with that person too – understanding just how awesome he is in the process – is priceless. I can’t wait to photograph their wedding this fall.
Thank you Mary and Bart for inviting me to capture your love for one another. And special thanks to my husband Steve for providing lighting assistance and offering his flawless dog handling skills!
Love & Happiness,
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,
When Tatiana showed up for her portrait session, she declared “I’m a really bad model!” I took one look at this raven haired beauty and I said “Umm…I don’t think so.” She slipped into the role so easily and was so comfortable taking my cues, it was like she’d been doing this her whole life! I was so excited to get back to my editing desk and see that the images captured were even more amazing than the previews I was seeing flash across the back of my camera. Not a model? Pfffft.
Tatiana chose Del Valle Regional Park for the session, which I hadn’t been to before but am most definitely returning to. This large park nestled above Livermore has lots of beautiful rolling hills, a quiet lake, gorgeous old growth oak and sycamore trees, and some great country roads straight out of a Johnny Cash song. It was early December but the fall colors were still vibrant, and the sky was draped with a thin veil of clouds that allowed the most amazing autumn light to filter through. I really didn’t want the session to end!
On the way back to town we pulled in to a local vineyard for some twilight shots. It was the perfect ending to Tatiana’s portrait session. I’m looking forward to the next time I can add this Livermore gem to my itinerary – and Tatiana, the next time you feel like being a “really bad model,” my camera is ready. 😉
Lovin’ this light,
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!