Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Chance for Rico!

I am very happy to announce that last night I received a third donation for my Bulgarian Stray Dogs Charity Project, from a lady I do not have the pleasure to know, but already admire and am forever grateful to!  

Thank you so much, Pamela Eastmond, for your kind contribution of $30!  This morning it went straight to a puppy called Rico, who has a terrible skin condition and is being currently treated at his foster home.  Let's hope that Rico will recover soon and will find new owners to love him and care for him the way he deserves!

You guys can help too!!!  The winter months are particularly tough on the stray animals in Bulgaria, and they can use all the support they can get.  Please use the Donate button or book a photo-session with me, the proceedings of which I will donate to the cause!

Thank you SO much!

Rico at the time he was found on the street.

Rico is being groomed and medicated.

Rico is now re-gaining his weight, slowly growing new fur, and recovering from the stress and pain he's been through in the past months :)  Shown here at a recent walk with his Foster Parents.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingle-ing...

I spent the day resting and editing these, and I also made Christmas cards, so expect them in your e-mail soon! 

The bokeh background could have been even more spectacular but we got there a bit early, before all the lights were on.  This isn't some winter fair or Christmas tree market, it's just a house in the neighborhood that's decorated a bit over the top and provides a great attraction and photo-opportunity.  Kudos to the family that loves Christmas so much, though all this energy usage surely can't be very environmental....

How about you guys - did you make and send your Holiday cards already? Are they super tacky? Are you sick of Christmas yet?  I hope not, because man, all this festive music and lights and colors and gifts and food is just great.  I think Christmas is great! 

(Bursts into a spontaneous song:)

"Our cheeks are nice and rosy
And comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together like two
Birds of a feather would be"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What A Difference A Year Makes?

Yes, I meant to put the question mark up there in the title.  Really, what has changed since last December?  Everything.  Everything is different...yet some things, I think the most important ones, are exactly the same.  And thank goodness.

A year ago I went for a photowalk around downtown Sunnyvale with my friend, then-neighbor, and fellow photographer Parisa.  The other day I met her there again, only she is now a he, as Parisa has become Paris.  This should have made all the difference, but somehow it didn't.  It was just a photo date with my friend, and although I was excited about the new developments in his life, our time together felt familiar and comfortable.  Same place, same time, same person...same fun!  And then it struck me - the trick in life is to embrace change while preserving your essential self and the things you believe in, the things you love most.  A few of us manage that balance easily, but I don't think it was ever meant to be easy.  It's right, however, and that's that.

Many people I know have difficulties understanding and accepting different sexuality and gender identity, and I am so very glad that I don't.  One less thing to worry about, I guess.  Besides, I have discovered that whatever the sexual preference or the chosen gender belonging, no one is doing anything to me, or against me.  This is not about me.  It's about the freedom of being yourself, whoever this might be sexualy or in terms of gender.  I was never a fan of boxes and labels, must be careful with these, because otherwise you might wake up and realize you have become a walking stereotype yourself.

Paris and I always have these great conversations about life and art and personal struggles and soul searching.  I wish you guys have a friend like this in your life too!  Please enjoy these portraits and have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

'Tis the Puppy Season!


Of course, every season is a puppy season, yet this December I want to really make my Christmas matter, and what a better way to be compassionate and sharing than helping those who need it the most.  Many Bulgarian stray dogs are in dire need of food, shelter, and vet care this winter, and I would like to raise some funds towards the goal of providing them with a little warmth and love.

Want to help me help puppies? HIRE ME!

From now through the end of January (yes, I'm extending Christmas this year) ALL photo sessions (except weddings) are ONLY $50, a sum which I will donate directly to an animal in need!  
Hurry up, book a photo shoot, and have fun with me and my cameras!

If you feel like simply donating to the cause, you can do so using the DONATE button you see on the upper right corner of this page.  Donate ANY amount, anytime.  Aside of being forever grateful to you, I will send you a GIFT CERTIFICATE for an indoor SKYDIVING simulation experience.  I have only two left, so hurry!


Well, for one, you could quit meat.  There's no humane way to slaughter a farm (or any) animal, and compassion is a great motivator to change your diet, no matter how badly you like burgers.  The truth is that factory farming is not just morally wrong, but also just bad for your health, considering how terribly compromised the food production chain is (think infections, disease, hormones, antibiotics, contamination).

If you want to stick with meat, please do your best to find family owned, small local farms where to buy your meat from.  Same goes for dairy, cheese, and eggs.  

Always choose free range, grass fed, organic.  Vote with your wallet!

Don't support, buy, or use cosmetics tested on animals.

Avoid Sea World, circuses that use animals for entertainment, and zoos.

Never buy, always adopt your pets.

Fur is often attained by skinning animals live.  Don't endorse such cruelty!

Choose modern, eco materials over leather and wool.

Say no to restaurants that offer Foie Gras, which is unethical and cruelly derived product.

Boycott hotels using dawn pillows.

When travelling abroad, refrain from tasting exotic meats and foods.  (In many places in Asia this means dog or cat meat, in Mexico - sea turtle meat, in Japan - dolphin and shark meat)

Don't bet on dog or horse races.

Be kind to animals, to Nature, to one another.  It will pay off, I promise!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Sutro Sunset

Another family outing, another set of beach and coastline photos, this time in San Francisco!   I braved the elements last Saturday evening to capture the sunset over the creepy cliffs near Sutro Baths, and after that we had dinner at Cliff House with friends, which was fun as far the company went, and a bit disappointing menu-wise.  I've had much better gourmet food, though I guess people go there not for the sea delicacies but really for the view.  

I threw a few iPhone VSCOcam shots in here too, and my favorites overall must be of Johnny - he made the funniest faces as the wind blew his way.

Monday, December 2, 2013

This is how I roll

Apparently John also took some photos during this trip.  Isn't it ironic how I take thousands of great images of my family but the only pictures I end up in are always the random iphone photos with ambiguous quality that John snapped on a whim.  Hay-larious!

Thanksgiving Part Three: The Mountain (and the beach again)

We had a great Thanksgiving with my in-laws and the puppies, and the only challenge I had was to accept the presence of the big giant dead bird that was sitting in the middle of the table.  The winter holidays are always tough on me as I am a vegetarian for moral reasons.  But this aside, it was a wonderfully intimate and lovely family gathering, and I hope you had a nice time with your loved ones too this Thanksgiving!

Tassajara is this enchanted place.  There's no describing it, or at least I am not ready to do so, not yet, and surely not here.  You must see it and experience it for yourself.  Reading Steinbeck might help too, and drinking lots of red wine.  I hope that these images would help you get transported and sense even a little bit of the freedom, beauty, and magic that reside there...

And on the way back we stopped at the Monterey State Beach, you know, because it was right there.  

Favorite images: the portraits of the three Johns and the flare blasting sun paired with the American flag at the beach.