Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

This is the famous Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills, just outside of Lone Pine in the Eastern Sierras. This is perhaps the third time I've photographed it at sunrise. It is always a very moving experience, watching the first light on Mt. Whitney and then, with patience, waiting for the sun to light up the arch itself. It never gets old for me.

Happy New Year. May your year be filled with magical moments, just like this one was for me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Zabriskie Point

We're back from our annual desert sojourn. We've never gone to Death Valley at this time of the year, so with the boys in Canada and Japan, we decided it might be a good time to develop some new holiday traditions.

We camped for two days at Hole in the Wall, a beautiful spot in the Funeral Mountains just a few miles from Zabriskie Point. It allowed us to be there for sunrise on the morning of the 26th. Rather than photograph it from the viewing area, we climbed a ridge leading toward Manley Beacon and from that vantage point I was able to photograph with both Manley and Telescope Peak in the frame.

But the photos I'm publishing with this post were taken by Bruce with his cell phone. I especially love the first where he captured the first light behind us and somehow managed to get both me and himself into the shot. I don't know how he did it, I was petrified of our perch up there on the foot wide trail at the very crest of the ridge which fell away on each side. When we found the "wide spot" on the trail I relaxed enough for him to shoot this second one.

Yup, that's me....December 26th, with my back to the spectacular view of Manley Beacon in Death Valley.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feed 100 - the little white bag full of love

I just bought myself an expensive new bag. No, not a designer handbag….a shopping bag. But I didn’t mind spending the money. Whole Foods have joined a campaign to feed hungry children in developing countries. My donation of $25.00 will feed 100 children a school lunch, making it possible for them to concentrate on their studies and it may even be the only food they get to eat that day.

We’re pretty fortunate in this country to have neighbors who can help, through programs and just reaching out through our community institutions, to feed the hungry here. I’m not na├»ve enough to think we’re doing everything that we can right here, right now. But every little bit counts.

This nifty little burlap pouch opens up to convert to a 100% cotton reusable shopping bag, which I’ll be using regularly on my future shopping trips to Whole Foods.

I love the staff there. I even scored some free chocolate this time because they didn’t have my favorite brand in stock, even after a second visit. Their kindness inspired me to return the favor by buying the bag which is way more than just a little shopping bag. To me it represents the helping hands needed to make this world a little more united.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Out Walking

We got out today for a lovely walk on the reservoir. The earth is beginning to return our step, giving ever so slightly to our footfall. No longer hard and unyeilding. The rains are beginning to transform the landscape.

I picture the rains we received yesterday being hungrily devoured by the soil. Even on the slopes, the first rains are quickly absorbed and the earth puts the bounty to work. If the rainfall had been more generous, the earth would release some if it to roll downhill, joining other drops in seeps and seasonal creeklets on their way to the low point, the reservoir. But for now, the reservoirs only reflect the few drops it has captured along with the water which has been impounded from the last raining season.

The ravens gathered for a quick meeting in the oak quitting their agenda abruptly at the sound of our clapping hands.

The buckeye is right where it has always been, and I fancy it enjoys the appreciation. I've photographed it dozens of times.

With the last rays of the day, a flood of sunshine low and mellow slips through the pass and bathes the landscape while I stand astonished, forgetting for a moment that I was at this place at this time simply to admire the graceful leaves of the grapevine.

A beautiful day.

Happy Thanksgiving aka Playing with my Food

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Leftovers for us, by choice. But we did cook up this beautiful stuffed squash to go with leftover turkey. And, of course, half the fun for me is photographing my food.

We have much to be thankful for in our lives, not the least of which is that we have our health, we have each other, our boys are well and happy, our parents are doing ok, our siblings seem happy and we continue to see much beauty in the world, despite the challenges.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a Vineyard

Saturday afternoon we got the chance to attend DeRose Winery's New Release Party, in full swing by late afternoon. It was fun to taste the newly bottled wine and get out to stroll in the vineyard. The light was lovely.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby Roberto

I got to meet Baby Roberto and his very sweet parents yesterday. This little guy is now 6 months old but he jumped into the world at 24 weeks gestation giving his parents quite a scare. He's doing wonderfully. Thanks mom and dad for allowing me the privilege of taking Roberto's first portraits.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Working with little ones like this just make my heart sing. And yes, she's the same Madeline in the portrait below. She's a big girl now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Poppy Jasper Film Festival

I got to be a member of the press on Saturday and covered the Saturday events of the Poppy Jasper Film Festival, including the Women Filmmakers Panel on Saturday and the keynote address later that evening. I even got to see a few films and had a photo published in the Morgan Hill Times today from those I took at the Festival.

I love what this kind of cross-polination does to an artist's ideas. While I was watching a short film on the 100th birthday of a female matriarch in a Filipino family, it occurred to me that one of the personal projects I want to do this year is multi-generational portraits. So I'm giving away four portrait sessions between January 1st and March 1st to four families who step up to accept my offer. The families chosen will receive an 11x14 print and each member of the family participating will receive an 8x10. Entries will be drawn the last week of December. So drop me a note and let me know why this is important for your family.

I'll announce this competition again in the coming weeks. You heard it here first.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Need Rain

I've been out walking today. Walking on the Coyote Creekbed in Coe Park. The creek is just beginning to show the first sign that the water table is rising. Nothing's flowing yet. That's how I got to visit and sit next to one of my favorite snags in the park.

Yes, I love trees in that last chapter of their life. This Sycamore grows in the middle of the creek on a small bar of gravel. When the river rises, its feet get wet. I love its form and the two raised branches and gaping hole just makes it funny and animated. This time I imagined the tree making a plea for the winter rains...bring it on !!

On the knot that you see on the left, small ferns grow during the rainy season. They are just beginning to show up. Next time I get near, if the creek allows, they will have grown enough to be photographed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Madeline and Max

I love this time of the year, I get to see a lot of my favorite clients as they get portraits or Christmas cards made from late fall sessions they book or from previous sessions they had me do during the year. I love them all, but this family is truly special. I worked with them photographing Max during his first year of life and had the pleasure of meeting his big sister, Madeline when she was about two years old. They are now three and five. How fast they have grown!!

Madeline’s grandmother chose a perfect time to have a portrait of Madeline made, right around the time Maddy was turning three. I agreed with the family that this is the time when our little ones are beginning to mature into their looks but also, they retain that sweet softness of babyhood. Viewed from behind or in profile, the baby is still there but they are stepping out into the world with growing maturity.

When they commissioned the portrait of Madeline, at the age of 3, Max was a newborn. They were planning ahead and wanted me to photograph Max, at the same age so that they could hang the two portraits together. They purchased beautiful matching Strasburg outfits for each of the children and put away the romper for Max.

As part of the deal, I put away the canvas I used for the session with Madeline to be used again when Max was ready for his portrait. And we waited for Max to grow into his outfit.

I photographed Max this past summer and we are just now having the second canvas prepared.

I can’t tell you how much I love these portraits of Madeline and Max and how delighted the family is to have these to hang together on their wall. I’m delighted to have helped them preserve these images of their children at this wonderful developmental stage and look forward to being there to capture more moments as we watch them grow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

San Benito County

When I'm not photographing people, I still have the camera in my hand, most often photographing the landscape.

We always enjoy visiting the Cienega Valley in San Benito County. It is a beautiful drive along oak-studded grasslands with mountain vistas. This image was taken from the Calera Winery picnic area, a favorite stop. Great wine and great people at all of those wineries - Calera, Pietra Santa, DeRose.

One of the reasons why the wines are so great in this area is the prevalence of limestone, as can clearly be seen from this vantage point.

I thought this photo deserved a sepia approach. It captured the remote, open, wild nature of the landscape.

Monday, November 10, 2008

First Family

Meet Rossi. His family was the very first family to enter into my "Watch Me Grow" program way back when I first began my business in 2004. You gotta love how much time they have given me over these past four years. Even allowing me to use Rossi's image for my marketing campaign. The photo of him with Ribbett the frog is quite well known as I've been using that image for my print advertisement off and on for the past three years.

I continue to follow him, catching up with the family a couple times each year and I always try to catch up with them in the fall, around Rossi's birthday.

It's such a pleasure watching him grow and I've become very fond of this family.

Rossi's four now and he and I had a grand outing adventure to Mt. Madonna County Park this past weekend to mark his birthday. It was so much fun to watch him explore the redwoods.

Here's a little trip down our memory lane with him.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Holly and Kaitlyn

It is always great when a family comes back to me again and such fun to watch these children grow. I'd not met big sister, Holly, but Kaitlyn came to me for her four month photo session and she's already a year old !!

They sure gave me a workout that afternoon, but everyone enjoyed the session.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Another beautiful weekend in Henry Coe State Park. The weather was cool and breezy this time. A big contrast to the weekend we spent at the Dowdy a couple weeks ago.

This weekend we checked in on our plant recovery sites on the way to a day of visitor center duty at the Dowdy. We were delighted to find a bumper crop of Mariposa Lilies both on one of our plant sites but also all over the Blue Ridge, both in the fire affected area and on the eastern flank as well. What a treat.

On Sunday we did Visitor Center duty on a very lightly visited morning and afternoon shift. We broke up the day by stalking and photographing the quails and photographing the old ranch fences and grasses.

This is another season of dramatic change at Coe. Grasses are golden and the days are longer, more challenging for the hikers out there, but still full of beauty and grace.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Aaah...a long weekend stretched out in front of us without a lot of obligations. We headed down to Los Lobos State Park south of Carmel late in the afternoon with the plan to stay through sunset. Point Lobos used to close before sunset which was a true vexation to photographers. I'm really looking forward to seeing what other photographers produce there over the months to come.

We also enjoyed watching the cormorants on Bird Island in the south end of the park and spent a delightful half hour on Hidden Beach watching the waves toss the tiny pebbles, which make up this beach, into the air as each wave crashed on shore. I even found a ready-made necklace to enjoy.

A delightful afternoon and evening.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Volunteerism has it's privileges!!

As a uniformed volunteer at Henry W. Coe State Park, I get to spend a few overnights in the backcountry, a little off the beaten path. Bruce and I spent a lovely evening and moonlit night at the Dowdy Ranch Visitor Center this past weekend. It was a lonely outpost. Not a single visitor on Saturday. But the temperature climbed into the mid-90's for the fourth day in a row, so I can certainly appreciate why hikers and cyclists stayed away.

We enjoyed it, nevertheless. A little too warm for wandering around taking photo but these are from just a few steps away from the VC.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Maternity Portraits

I have to say a big thank you to my lovely client, Mrs. B. who has given me permission to post photos from her maternity session. I think pregnant women are beautiful. Mrs. B. wanted to have a formal portrait session with "classic" shots done in black and white. Here are a few we both liked.

These portraits are a lovely way to honor and remember the joy we felt during our pregnancy...the anticipation of the new addition to our family. A way to say I loved you before I knew you.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

In a garden

This lovely garden has been the site of many successful portrait sessions. But, of course, only tiny bits of the garden show up in those portraits. To make a successful portrait you need to keep the background secondary to the subject. It does make a wonderful backdrop for children and family photography. It belongs to a wonderful couple I met through a wedding client. I feel so fortunate to have access to it from time to time.

In the course of my friendship with the owners, I have begun documenting the garden in the various seasons and moods. Here are some from the other misty morning, mid-Spring in the garden.