March 31, 2011

Adventure Camera - Heat Wave

In less than a week, we've gone from near-record-setting rain and cold to near-record-setting heat and sun here in the Bay Area.  It looks like we'll slip back down to more normal temperatures by the weekend, but in the meantime, we're taking advantage of the sun and getting outside as much as possible.  Yesterday, that meant a relaxed evening paddle in the local lake, and today, well, Moira and Rob, we'll have gorgeous weather for your engagement shoot!  Here are a few photos from yesterday's paddle to celebrate the warm weather!

March 30, 2011


Spring seems to finally have sprung in the Bay Area, and riots of California poppies are popping up (get it?) all over the place!  Corny humor aside, poppies are one of my favorite flowers.  I love the bright, vibrant colors and simplicity of their blooms.  They seem to announce to the world that winter is done, and warm, sunny days have arrived, and I have to say, after weeks of rain, I'm really ready for some warm, sunny days!

Happy, sunny Wednesday!

March 29, 2011


Last night, as I was driving to a consultation, I heard I song on the radio that always inspires me-- Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten.  It's one of those songs that just speaks to me about being yourself, following your dreams and living life on your own terms, and I'm all about that.  When I graduated from college with an engineering degree almost a decade ago, I had no idea that life would lead me to where I am now, living in California, married to the man of my dreams (ok, I may have guessed that would happen...), and following my dreams.  I've always loved photography, but when I started shooting weddings, it took on a whole new level of passion for me.  It's so amazing to see and capture the love and connection between a couple, and I'm truly honored to be creating images that will bring couples back to all the love and emotion and wonder they experienced on their wedding day.  Just thinking about it all makes my heart feel full!

"Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten."

Have an inspired Tuesday!

March 28, 2011

Crazy Weekend!

Wow.  Time flies when you're having fun!  It was a crazy weekend, with a gorgeous wedding Saturday, and a fun wedding fair on Sunday.  So, while I'm recovering, here's a nice tranquil image to get you (and me!) through your Monday.

I'll be back in full blogging force tomorrow!

March 25, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Cooking For One and Happy Reunions

Cooking is not my forte, and never has been.  I can bake some delicious desserts, but when it comes to basic sustenance, I'm not what you'd call talented.  Fortunately, I have Josh, who is excellent at grocery shopping (I'm pretty pitiful at that, too!) and makes delicious, healthy meals for us.  Unfortunately, he was out of town on other business most of this week, and I had to fend for myself in the kitchen.  Rather than resort to my usual MO when cooking for one (I hold that both popcorn and ice cream can be the sole constituents of dinner), I decided to live it up and go grocery shopping.  I'm pleased to say that I managed to make three delicious meals that did not come primarily from the frozen aisle, and were nutritious and delicious.  Go me.

I am, however, totally relieved to have Josh back at home now, and not just because of the cooking.  When he's away, our house seems big and lonely, and I miss our conversations, hugs and snuggling up to watch our TV shows together.  Part of my heart goes with him whenever he travels without me, and even though we had a long-distance relationship for five long years, it just doesn't get any easier with time.  So, hooray for happy reunions and being with your loved ones!

Diamonds to...
- Being reunited with the ones you love, even if it is only after a few days apart.
- Triumphing over your lack of kitchen skills.  I still wonder how I survived living by myself all those years ago, though I'm pretty sure I could have been the poster child for Campbell's soup.

Coals to...
- Lonely, rainy days.  Rainy days are great for curling up on a chair and reading, and for some great stormy sky photos, but it's always nicer when someone else is around to share it with.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

March 24, 2011

The death of the telephone?

I read an interesting article yesterday, entitled "Don't Call Me, I Won't Call You."  It talked about the change in the telephone's role in our culture these days, how many people would rather use text messaging or email instead of calling someone on the phone.  Now, I'll admit, I may be a little biased on this topic.  I grew up in the Age of the Telephone-- before email, when "text messaging" was done on a pager (do they even make pagers anymore?).  If you wanted to get in touch with someone, you called, and the advent of call waiting was a Godsend for teenagers like me all over the country.

These days, even my family prefers electronic communication to the phone.  My sister operates almost exclusively off Facebook, and I haven't heard her voice since December, when we all met up for Christmas at my parents' house, in person.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all about electronic communication (this is a blog after all!), but I still have to say that there's something about hearing a voice on the other end of the line that email, texting, Facebook and Twitter just can't deliver.  I'll tweet the latest news, post hellos and lunch invites on my friends' walls, and email till the cows come home, but for me, phone calls are simply more personal, and they allow your conversation to take twists and turns that it couldn't possibly maneuver around in a text message.  This is especially great when talking with my wonderful clients-- all the delightful details of their weddings come to life during our conversations, and it would take a novel of emails to describe the excitement and magic of their wedding day vision.

So, call me old-fashioned, but I still love the telephone.  :)

Happy Thursday!

March 23, 2011

The best camera...

...Is the one you have with you.  Many people have heard this saying, and it's one that's gaining popularity lately.  It's a great idea, encouraging you to capture the moment with whatever camera you have handy, instead of missing it completely because you don't have the "right" gear with you.  If something catches your eye, and all you've got is your iPhone, go to town!

I carry the Adventure Camera on all of our expeditions, but there are a few places that I drive or bike by almost every day, and keep saying to myself, "I'll come back later with my big camera," rather than just grabbing the shot with what I've got on me.  So, yesterday, I decided to change all that while out on my bike.  The storm rolling in over the pastures caught my eye, and I stopped on the shoulder of the road, whipped out my Blackberry, and got the shot, all while another cyclist rode past looking at me like I was on glue.  (Is it really crazy to appreciate beauty wherever you happen to be?  I think not!)  Now, I generally hate shooting with my phone-- the delay between pressing the shutter and it taking the shot, the lack of any sort of exposure control, the darn trackball that always jumps to the wrong button at the last second-- it all drives me nuts.  But I'm glad I stopped, because not I have this moment to share.

By the way, I don't in any way condone talking/texting/web surfing on your phone while riding your bike.  It's dangerous, especially when you're on the road.  I ride some rather deserted roads and always take my phone in case of emergency (or photo ops!).

Happy hump day!

March 22, 2011

Wedding Trend - Custom Guest Sign-In Albums

Susan and Watson's custom guest sign-in album arrived yesterday, and it's one of my favorites to date!  A custom guest sign-in album is a fun and stylish alternative to the standard lined sign-in book, and it's a great way to add more personality to your wedding day.  Instead of blank, lined pages, a custom guest sign-in album contains images of you and your honey (usually from your engagement shoot), laid out with a lot of white space around, so that your guests can see photos of the two of you, and leave a message on their favorite page.  Because they're not confined to one or two lines, guests tend to leave longer messages, instead of just a signature.  Custom guest sign-in albums are a huge hit with guests, and they make absolutely amazing keepsakes-- I designed one for my own wedding, and every time I read through it, I get teary-eyed.  (Thanks, Aunt Kelly, for your advice!)

Here are a few of my favorite pages from Susan and Watson's album.

Happy Tuesday!

March 21, 2011

Andrea + James - Blackhawk Plaza Engagement Shoot

Andrea and James met because of bowling.  James happened to bowl on the same league as Andrea's mom, and when she introduced Andrea and James, they hit it off right away.  They started off as friends, and quickly grew into something more.  It's easy to see why-- James is always making Andrea laugh, and they care for each other deeply.

It didn't take long before Andrea knew James was the one, and she gave him a promise ring.  James had something up his sleeve, too, though, and not long after that, he took Andrea on a trip to Heavenly Ski Resort, since Andrea had never seen snow before.  As they were walking around, admiring the snowcapped mountains, James suddenly "tripped" onto one knee and proposed to Andrea.

Andrea and James both grew up in the Tri-Valley, and love the area.  So, for their engagement shoot, we headed to one of Andrea's favorite places, Blackhawk Plaza.

Andrea and James, it was so great to spend time with you two, and I'm honored to be capturing your wedding memories this spring!

March 18, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Daylight Savings Time

Each year, switching to Daylight Savings Time throws me off.  During the switch, we're inevitably in the middle of something that doesn't really lend itself to losing an hour of sleep-- vacationing, visits from in-laws-- things you don't really want to be tired for.  Now that I'm recovered, though, I'm absolutely loving the extra hour of daylight in the evening.  It's perfect for shooting sunsets, and all of our local parks are now open an hour later, which means we can even go for a short kayak paddle in the evenings.  Hooray!

So, this week's diamonds go to....
- Daylight Savings Time.  That extra hour in the evening means we get outside more, and don't eat dinner after dark!
- Caramel-flavored coffee.  A delicious way to kickstart those blustery, tired mornings.

Coals to....
- Daylight Savings Time.  Somehow, losing that hour always seems more painful than it should be.
- This weather!  Can't it get all the rain out of it's system in one shot, instead of two weeks of on-and-off storms?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

March 17, 2011


Spring is almost officially here, and over the last couple weeks, I've noticed more and more wildflowers blooming, with wide swaths of yellow flowers on the side of the roads, and the occasional pop of white, pink and purple blooms.  I love this time of year-- the temperatures warm up during the day, but still have that little fresh chill in the morning, and everything feels renewed.  It makes me feel like going for a long bike ride and photographing wildflowers along the way.  Happy Thursday!

March 16, 2011

A Coffee Sort of Day

Occasionally, I wake up, look out the window, and declare it to be a coffee sort of day.  I'm not usually a coffee person, but there's something about rainy days that just makes coffee seem inviting.  Maybe it's the aroma, or that it's a heavier drink than tea (I'm all about the flavored coffee creamer.  Irish cream?  Yes, please!).  Yes, today is definitely a coffee sort of day.

Usually on these days, my gut instinct is to sleep in, go out for a hot breakfast, and then curl up in my favorite chair with a good book.  In practice, though, that's rarely in the cards for me, so instead of a lazy morning involving IHOP, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some at-home coffee, complete with caramel flavoring.  So, as I sit here typing, I'm sipping away at a delicious cup of caramel-and-Irish-cream flavored coffee, and day-dreaming of stacks of french toast and vegetable-laden omelettes.  Not a bad way to start off a drizzly Wednesday morning at all.

March 15, 2011

Adventure Camera - Half Moon Bay

Lately, one of my favorite places in the Bay Area has been Half Moon Bay.  Sandy beaches, artsy shops and good restaurants-- the perfect place to spend the day with visiting company.  So, we took Josh's parents to Half Moon Bay during their visit, and had a blast.  A little shopping, some wine tasting, a late lunch, a walk on the beach, and beautiful weather to boot.  We're back to rain for the next few days, but here's a little sun to cheer you up!

March 14, 2011

The King's Speech

Josh and I watch most movies on DVD these days.  In fact, we've had an ongoing debate about what the last movie we saw in the theaters was.  It had been so long we simply couldn't remember.  Today, however, I have an answer-- we went to see The King's Speech a few days ago.  It was a really good movie.  Colin Firth plays King George VI, who is struggling with family relationships and a debilitating stutter, while Geoffrey Rush plays Lionel Logue, the king-to-be's last hope speech therapist.  The dialog is witty but heartfelt, and King George's wife (Helena Bonham Carter) embodies both in her quest to help her husband.  Throughout the movie, the tale of the king-to-be's somewhat troubled past is unravelled, and by the end, you're rooting for him to let bygones be bygones and stand up and succeed.  Overall, a wonderful movie movie that I definitely recommend.

Happy Monday!

March 11, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Clean Houses and Garbage Disposal Warranties

Right at this very moment, Josh is picking his parents up from the airport and bringing them back to our place for a weekend visit.  Both of our families live back in the midwest, so visits are a relatively big deal around our house.  Speaking of houses, visits also mean we have to clean ours in a very serious way, and that's been this week's mission.  This isn't to say that our house is an absolute mess or anything, you can always see the floors, and we're worlds away from anything you'd see on that TV show about hoarders (yikes!).  It's more that we've been really busy lately, so things that get used frequently haven't gotten put away, and we've only had an hour or so each day this week to straighten up.  So, the week pretty much flew by in a flurry of consultations, guest sign-in albums, image processing and, of course, vacuuming.  But, the house looks great, and that's always a good thing.

Diamonds to...
- Clean houses!  I love it when everything's put away in it's place!
- The Coffeehouse station on Sirius.  I've been the car quite a bit this week, and the acoustic singer-songwriters have been very soothing in traffic.

Coals to...
- Our garbage disposal.  It died last week, a few short days after the warranty expired.  Doesn't that always happen?

Have a great weekend!

March 10, 2011

Sentimental Values

We've been doing some spring cleaning this week, inspired partly by our closet incident a few weeks ago, and partly by the fact that my in-laws are visiting soon.  As I've been going through things, I've come across a lot of items that bring back so many memories for me-- photos from our first trips to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley together, sign cards from my first art show, a bracelet that belonged to Josh's grandmother.  This all got me thinking about how some things are worth more than just what they physically are.  It's that extra sentimental value full of memories and emotion that really counts, and makes you hold on to things that you'd otherwise have parted with long ago.

One of my favorite sentimental items is the Shoe Pin.  Way back in high school, Josh and I started dating ten days before Christmas, which meant, of course, that we suddenly had to exchange Christmas gifts after having been out on a single date.  So, I did what every midwestern high school girl with no income would, and gave him a huge box of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  He gave me the Shoe Pin.  It's a rhinestone-covered Converse All Star, in brooch form, and he chose it because I was a runner.  I've never worn it, but have always kept it close at hand, and every day when I look at it, I'm reminded of how far we've come together since high school, and how much the future holds for us.

March 9, 2011

Foggy Mornings

I awoke this morning to a thick layer of fog blanketing the Livermore valley, and it reminded me of another foggy morning, a couple years ago.  It was Thanksgiving weekend, and both my and Josh's parents flew out to California to spend the holiday with us.  I've always been a daddy's girl, and one of my favorite parts of that trip was spending time with my dad.

My dad and I decided pre-trip that we would go running each morning together, so he brought his running shoes along.  The first day, we did run, a little, until it became painfully clear that neither of us had really run much up to that point, and then we had a little incident where one of us nearly launched headfirst into a stream (I won't mention names).  So, for the rest of the trip, we decided that we'd go for hikes instead of running.

The next morning, the whole valley was socked in with fog so thick you could only see a couple feet in front of you.  Not wanting to give up, we drove slowly to one of my favorite local parks, Del Valle, and proceeded to hike up to the top of a ridge overlooking the lake.  As we climbed up the mountain, we broke through the fog, and were able to see across the landscape for miles.  It was gorgeous, and I couldn't have imagined a better moment to spend time with my dad.

So, here's to remembering all those little moments with your loved ones, and creating new moments together each and every day.

March 8, 2011

Wedding Trends - The McWedding

I read an article today about an interesting new wedding venue in Hong Kong-- McDonald's.  Turns out the fast-food king is now offering budget engagement party and wedding services overseas.  Guests are served burgers and fries, stacks of apple pies make up the "cake", and toasts are given with milkshakes and soft drinks.  It's an interesting concept, especially in contrast with the more formal local wedding traditions. Some couples say that it allows them to enjoy their wedding day more than they would have during a traditional wedding, while others aren't quite buying it.  I'm all for creating a wedding day that fits your style and personality, but I'm not much of a fast food person myself.  What do you think?  And will this trend make it to the US?

March 7, 2011

Anne + Erik - Palace of Fine Arts Engagement

Anne and Erik met while living in Arizona, and they hit it off right away.  They complement each other in every way, and make a fabulously fun couple!  They're also amazing troopers-- both Anne and Erik had business in Arizona to take care of earlier that week, and they ended up driving back from Arizona late into the night before their shoot to make it in time!  

Erik proposed to Anne on the beach, so we headed to San Francisco on one of those warm, sunny, winter beach days last month for their engagement shoot.  We spent some time touring the Palace of Fine Arts before heading to the beach at Crissy Field, and then to one of my favorite San Francisco shooting locations, the Presidio.

Anne and Erik, it was wonderful spending time with the two of you-- you're total troopers, and I can't wait for your wedding next month!

March 4, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - My Job and My Bicycle

One of the things I absolutely love about being a wedding photographer is the wonderful, wonderful couples I get to work with.  My clients with are some of the best people you'll ever meet-- they're kind, fun, and madly in love.  Being with them on their wedding day, capturing the memories they'll cherish for a lifetime to come, is just plain amazing, and I couldn't ask for a better job! 

This week's diamonds go to....
- My amazing clients.  Truly awesome people, and I'm so excited to be working with every single one of them!
- Sunrise Mountain Sports.  They let me hang out and ogle kayaking gear while I'm waiting to pick Josh up from the train.  Plus, they're really nice folks.

Coals to....
- My road bike.  For skipping gears on me while I was climbing a huge hill so that I had to stop and walk.  Bad bike.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

March 3, 2011

Jodie + Al - Hayes Mansion Engagement

Every so often, I sit down to blog a shoot, and I have the toughest time choosing which photos to post because there are so many that I simply love.  Jodie and Al's engagement shoot at the Hayes Mansion is one of those shoots.  The location was amazing, and when you have a positively gorgeous couple to work with, the photos practically take themselves!

Jodie and Al are truly beautiful people, and their love for each other shows in everything they do.  It's the quiet kind of love that you can feel, a strong current flowing just under the calm exterior.  Peaceful, yet passionate, and utterly wonderful to capture in photographs.

I absolutely love when a couple will play a little during a shoot, and Jodie and Al were up for anything, no matter how cheesy it may have sounded at first!

I just love this moment.

We shot through sunset, and into twilight, and the result is one of my favorite photos of all time. 

Jodie and Al, I had such a wonderful time spending the afternoon with you, and I'm honored to be able to call you my friends!  I can't begin to tell you how excited I am for your wedding!

March 2, 2011

Adventure Camera - Kayaking in the Delta

One of the things that continually amazes me about the Bay Area is just how far the San Francisco Bay stretches inland.  Some 45 miles from the Pacific Ocean, there are still tidal waters to be paddled.  Since we've been on a paddling kick lately, we decided to explore more of the delta, and headed up to Antioch and the Sherman Island Waterfowl Preserve.  What a find!  There's a huge reedy, marshy area that's great for exploring in a kayak, and tons of water birds-- egrets, cormorants, ducks, and of course, seagulls.  It reminded Josh of the east coast, where we first started paddling, and overall, it was really a beautiful and interesting place.  I can't wait to go back and explore more!

Ever since driving our moving van over the Altamont Pass when we first moved to California, I've loved windmills.  Somehow, they just fit here.

The local residents kept a keen eye on us as we explored the reed trails.

March 1, 2011

Good Reads - Three Men in a Boat and the Geography of Bliss

I like to read.  A lot.  Growing up, I spent my summers reading through the local library.  Both my parents worked, so my main mode of transportation was my bicycle, and I plotted out a route that wound through three miles of neighborhoods, avoiding major roads, so that my folks would let me bike to the library every couple days.  I'd load up a backpack with as many paperbacks as I could, and I'd sit outside in the backyard and lose myself in the adventures of faraway lands, often finishing a couple books a day.

These days, life is a little busier, and though I don't get quite as much time to read as I did during my childhood summers, I still pick up my Kindle for a little while each day.  Lately, I've been on a travel and adventure kick, and have found a couple good books along the way....

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) - Originally intended to be a serious travel guide to the English countryside, Jerome K. Jerome's classic tale of three aristocratic friends undertaking a boating holiday is pretty darn funny.  Though it's over 100 years old, the humor is still fresh, and the characters are relatable, right down to Montmorency, the fox terrier with a mind of his own (who happens to remind me of several dogs I know).  Jerome points out the comicality in every day events, and I found myself laughing at and along with George, Harris and J.

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World - I love a good travelogue, especially when it includes a taste of other cultures and lifestyles, and Eric Weiner didn't disappoint here.  The author and narrator is a perpetual grump who stumbles upon a new research topic: happiness and what causes it.  He travels across the globe, spending time some of the happiest and unhappiest countries, living like the locals, and interviewing people along the way.  It's an interesting peek into what makes other cultures tick, and got me thinking about how we relate to other people in this increasingly technology-connected world.