Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Escape to Santa Cruz

This weekend we visited Santa Cruz.  It was like coming home - suddenly I didn't look like the odd kid on the playground, but blended perfectly in the crowd.  The weather was magical, be it a little ominous in light of the snow blizzard that's engulfing the East Coast.  Temperatures in the low 80 confuse the heck out of my biological clock but I admit I enjoyed it.

Santa Cruz is an amazing place!  It is the land of the fifty year-old skateboarders.  There are beach bums, regular bums, and just people who look like bums but aren't.  Nearly everyone has tattoos and their hair is a bit too long, and they wear weird clothes.  Tie dye is very popular here.  So are VW vans in bright colors.  I saw an actual open top military Jeep pass by full of teenagers who were listening to Sublime as loud as they could.  The rich drive their vintage cars on Highway 1, and the not-so-rich ride bicycles and carry all of their earthly possessions on their backs.

There were a billion dollar view villas overlooking the Pacific, piercing parlors and record stores, liquor stores and cafes, souvenir shops, cotton candy and deep-fried everything on the Boardwalk, calliope music and arcades, yuppies and hippies, yoga moms, youths looking like gangsters, people smoking cigarettes and other stuff at street corners, beach goers and surfer dudes, and sunshine - lots and lots of sunshine!

And honestly, as crazy and unusual all of this seemed, I feel it's still more natural and organic than the wastelands of Suburbia.  In Santa Cruz there's a real sense of culture, of community.

We arrived at high noon so I resorted to taking photos countre jour.  I was shooting while pushing a stroller, so don't judge my composition technique too hard!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!









Tuesday, January 20, 2015

iPhone 6 Showcase - Half Moon Bay

Things are busy and I haven't had the chance to feature many images from my iPhone yet.  Well, here are a few - we took a short last minute trip to Half Moon Bay this weekend and we had a wonderful time at the beach as the sun was setting over the ocean (one of the last images is from Foster City Lagoon).








Sunday, January 11, 2015

Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.

~Duane Michals

Portraits of my mother-in-law, Muoi, who is a beautiful person, inside and out.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Smiles, Puppies, and Levitation

As you can guess from the title, I had a very fun shoot this weekend!  Thanks, Deb, for opening your home for me and sharing your beautiful family.  Here's a little preview - enjoy!




Boys Will Be Boys

Johnny, John and Julian in the good light during the golden hour.

Oh, and Julian finally got his first tooth!!!

Enjoy and happy weekend, peeps :)







Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

In the last day of 2014 I rented an 85mm Nikkor, f/1.4 lens and went down to Mountain View to test it.  Shooting candid street photography and taking portraits of strangers is one of my favorite pastimes, but between hanging out with my kids and doing family sessions I haven't had the time to indulge in proper improvised photo walks....

As you can see, the lighting conditions were not perfect; at high noon the sun beats very harsh even in the Winter.  The lens is a bit narrow for my taste, through its sharpness and speed makes up for it at least partially.  Next I really want to try one of the ultra-wide lenses, 24mm or so (or even a fisheye), again with such a large aperture.  Stay tuned!

P.S. My favorite image must be the jumping shot - thanks Jeff and friend (sorry, I'm terrible with names...)!








Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fun With Grandma

We drove up to Coyote Point Marina yesterday, took a nice hike in the sun, and had an improvised photo session with Grandma and the kids.  The morning winter light is amazing; the portraits I took with my DSLR, and the landscapes are from my iPhone.






Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Bokeh Galore

Eucalyptus Street in San Carlos is a magical place this time of year.  There are inflatable Santas ten feet tall, there are Nativity scenes, there are reindeer pulling sleighs, huge blown glass ornaments, snowflakes, Grinches, glowing gift boxes, bows and angels and elves and glitter, and there are hundreds upon thousands string lights adorning every house and tree and car.  It's a very good photo opportunity for one's Holiday family portraits...if, of course, your kids are willing to stand still for even a second instead of running amok, trying to destroy the place.

We left the baby at home so that Johnny could enjoy some Christmas spirit, but I only managed to take one proper photo of him.  I compensated with capturing the amazing bokeh!  Merry Christmas, peeps!





Monday, December 8, 2014

At Santa's House

I love Christmas but when it comes to decoration, I keep it simple.  A stocking or two under the mantelpiece, a small living tree, a dozen ornaments in classic red and gold...and that's pretty much it.  But life is interesting because people are different, and there's a family in our neighborhood who's literally obsessed with holiday lights.  We went to their house last year to take the photos for our Christmas cards and we returned again yesterday for more bokeh and glitter and toddler fun.  Most of the portraits here are fuzzy on the focus - I was tired and the light was fading fast, and I was not able to keep up with the speed Johnny was running around.  Still, seeing the way his face lit up when we got there made up for all my technical failings.

P.S.  This is Johnny's NO face.  I get that face every time I try to photograph him...





Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Family Affair

Today I share a photo collection of my lovely friends N&J, who also happen to be my most loyal customers so far.  This is the fifth time I take their family portraits, and every session seems to include one more kid than the previous!  And let me tell you, getting everyone to look at the camera at the same time is the best kind of practice I need for my craft.  Luckily, they are all very photogenic and good looking, so the fun is always greater than the work.  Thanks, guys, for sharing your happiness with me, and letting me try and capture it!

P.S.  The next session will be exclusively for goofy faces and poses.  You rock at it!