San Francisco Urban Garden

When you love something, nothing will keep you away. 

Emily and Danny were thinking of having a different photoshoot than their last few, like shoot in the city surrounded by cool architecture instead of a garden.  Their kids, Aurora and Dex, had a different plan.

They were drawn towards all flowers, fallen leaves, and wandering petals.  They collected them on large crunchy maple leaves and held them with care, so they wouldn’t get blown away.  Even in a location where 95% of their surroundings was concrete and metal, they’d find the small patch of nature and head there with great big smiles.

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Lost in Light

Admittedly we were lost a few times while hiking on a mountain ridge that none of us had been to before — but when we arrived at the top, it was the most glorious sunlight.

So we let the golden sunset bathe us while we gathered our thoughts, took in the fresh air, and gazed at the view.

Our being lost temporarily was nothing compared to the benefits of being lost in the beautiful light.

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All My Senses

This photoshoot satiated all my senses.

  • The house smelled of waffles and coffee.
  • There were amazing lines in the architecture, colors in the backyard, and steam rising from the stainless steel equipment.
  • I could feel the coolness of the morning air and the warmth of the golden sun.
  • I could taste the fresh-brewed coffee.
  • I could hear the sounds of the kids talking, the water running from the faucet, and the dog’s paws hitting the floor.

The morning began with making homemade waffles, sipping coffee and hot cocoa, cutting fruit and cheese, and then dining al fresco.  The L Family also jumped on their trampoline Steph Curry-style, played a game called “Exploding Kittens”, and bonded with their 7-month old puppy Ripley for some final family photos.

I love when photoshoots span beyond visual beauty and into other senses.  ❤️

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Ball, Bubble, and Two Digits

My son just turned 10.  Yep, Ian entered the World of two digits.  Cue tears.

Sure, the entire month I hugged him tighter and made him snuggle with me whenever he was within arms’ reach.  That’s to be expected in my family around birthdays, Christmas, illnesses, injuries, bad days… Okay, so it may happen more often than I think!

For Ian’s birthday shoot, I thought about what represents his interests now, so that years later when he isn’t close enough — or willing (*sigh*) — to snuggle with his dear old mom, I can look back at his photos and remember what he was like when he was 10.  And this was it:  basketball and bubble gum.

Every day after school, I hear two sounds from him:  the dribbling of a basketball in the backyard and “can I have a piece of gum?”

We kept things simple and short.  We didn’t do anything fancy or go anywhere spectacular.  We headed to a neighborhood park just before dinner, and I photographed him for 20-minutes.  The focus was having fun and being together.  ❤️

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The Lake Shoot

The morning was so quiet that we could hear our own footsteps, soft voices, and pebbles splashing as they hit the water.  The air was crisp, a nice break from the recent humidity.  We were in awe of the serenity at the lake and watched the fog roll across the surface of the water.  Ducks scattered from the long grass when we approached.

This scenery set the tone of our lake shoot.

There was a certain radiance in how natural the smiles and interactions happened.  Holding hands, hugging, climbing trees and rocks, running along windy dirt paths, laughing about hot dogs on a stick… ❤️

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Rainbow Light

I try my best to shoot in good light.  After considering the location, time of the day, time of year, and weather forecast, the rest is left up to chance.  It’s like rolling the dice.  You get what you get, and you see it when you arrive!

This weekend at the beach, we started the morning with dense fog that covered the skyline.  Later, we had golden sunshine and even pink haze.  Looking at the images altogether feels like I’m looking at a rainbow of lights, and I love it!

Along with the carefree fun that is inevitable when you are barefoot at the beach, it was a wonderful morning with Olivia, Emma and their parents, Bau and Kristin.

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Luna

Her name is so cool that my youngest decided when she is older (much MUCH older, thank you very much), she wants to have twins named Luna and Moon.  After I gasped and grabbed at my chest from hearing my kid bring up the topic of pregnancy at age 7 (*shudder*), I realized she was just saying how much she liked the name, which is understandable.  Phew.

Sorry I digress.  I’m just blog-chatting while sipping my coffee.  :)

Luna is ONE this month, so we did a special shoot where we captured her stuffed animal-loving, music-playing, face plant-diving fearless personality at home first.  Then we headed outdoors after her older brother Bennett woke up from his nap to capture Luna with her entire family.  It was so much fun!

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[If you want to see Bennett’s 1 year old shoot, click here.  Both kids like to dive off furniture apparently!  haha.]

One…Two…Three

Tim and Elaine know how to roll with the punches.  Their location wasn’t open early enough.  No problem.  There was a potentially violent political rally at our shoot location.  It’ll be fine.  The morning of, there were unexpected road closures because of a half-marathon.  Let’s change locations.

And it turned out to be a magnificent change.

We had THE most amazing light (our original location would’ve had very bright sunlight), and because Elaine, Tim, Izzy and Sophia didn’t even break a sweat from our change of venue, they arrived relaxed and comfortable.

This super chill San Francisco family even played a game where I counted to three, and they’d peek out from trees in the woods in whatever way they wanted.  No one knew which direction or expression they’d make.  It was pretty silly, but it set a tone for the whole shoot.  It allowed Elaine, Tim, Izzy and Sophia to be their playful, fun, loving selves. ❤️

One… two… three!

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Renovate and Celebrate

When you are ready to buy a new house, but you love your current city, property, and schools… you don’t move.  Instead, you renovate!

When I saw Rashmi and Sat’s house mid-renovation (they were kind enough to buy Girl Scout cookies from my daughters), I had to pick my jaw off the floor!  It was obvious we have their next photoshoot location.

This tailor-made home is stylish and warm, just like Rashmi who decided every detail.  And this shoot captures — and celebrates — their family life right now in their newly renovated home.

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Commercial Photography: City Build

It was time for shoot #3 of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) adult education ad campaign.  This time, I photographed students from their City Build program.  [Here is my post about the first two CCSF shoots.]

They only need one of these images.  Good luck with that ‘cuz I love them ALL!

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