In this next installment of the Vivify Workshop wedding inspiration shoots, I've got some amazing vendors to feature today! For starters, how cool is this table design by Mariee Weddings with the artistic elements of Pleasanton Rentals, flowers by Bloom Bar Coand stationary compliments of The Idea Emporium?!Read More
Filtering by Tag: nature
It's always funny when you meet someone and you just click and later you find out, you could have met them a long time ago through some mutual connection! That's actually how I feel about meeting my own husband. We grew up in the same church and even though we went there for years, our paths never crossed until one unique Sunday morning.Read More
I've finally reached the end of my series of my Costa Rica travels! This post is full of adventures through our stay in Monteverde & Santa Elena and was definitely the highlight of our trip! We started off on a Cafè de Monteverde coffee plantation tour (which deserves a whole post of it's own really) and it was full of information not only about coffee, but of the town itself. It defnitely was all very interesting to learn! As coffee lovers ourselves, it was nice to see the creation and life of a bean from birth to final product. Gives me that much more respect for daily cup of coffee (ok more like 2-3 cups). Besides our coffee tour, we indulged in a zip-lining canopy tour which was amaaazing! Unfortunately most of this experience lives only in my memory as I did decide to leave my valuables back at our place. Sorry, I got scared I'd drop my precious DSLR! Another big highlight of our stay here was of course the family we stayed with. Teresita and Eli were such gracious hosts! Their property is a like a forest of its own, complete with trails, plenty of wildlife and plants of all kinds. We ended up staying just down the road from their house in a little apartment above Eli's mother and sister's house, known for it's view of the sunset (Spanish: atardecer). It was perfect. Private, quaint, and included a giant delicious breakfast handmade for just the two of us every morning! The best part was the sense of community at the main house. People from all over the world were staying in the cabins on the property and we got to meet a bunch of fellow travelers! If you read through my last post, you know how much I love meeting new people and how it makes the trip so much better and the memories that much more valuable to me. I'll keep this post short, as I know there's lot of photos below! Just a forewarning, our trek through the Santa Elena Reserve was in the heart of a cloud forest (persistently moist and foggy terrain) and it was something out of a movie to me! There was all encompassing green. Everywhere. Bright green leaves, moss, ferns, bushes just surrounding us. I feel like my photos don't do it justice, but hopefully you still get a sense of the sheer variety of flora and fauna and ethereal beauty that lives in Costa Rica! Pura Vida!!
Teresita and Eli's adorable son Esteban showing us around the property and showing off his tree climbing skills!
Visited this little cafe on more than one occasion! Below is the traditional way to brew Costa Rican coffee. Got one of these as a souvenir as well!
As an avid craft beer drinker, Nick definitely grew weary of seeing pretty much only three varieties of beer everywhere we went. My husband was a happy camper when we found this little gem in the heart of Santa Elena!
Our lovely host family! Huge thank you to you all!!
I'm a people person. I always have been. I want to connect and relate and really get to know people. When I travel, of course I love taking photos and seeing all the wonderful sights, but one of favorite things about traveling the world is meeting people! That's where the soul of the country comes from anyway, right? There's no denying there is vast beauty in Costa Rica and I'm so glad I got to witness it all driving around the country in our little Suzuki Jimny rental car, but more than that, I'm happy to have met such warm and hospitable people! When we were booking this trip initially, we thought we would use a timeshare and stay in a gorgeous resort on the Pacific Ocean. I imagined a swim up bar at a pool and tanning in the sun. Sounded like a great way to relax! Then we found out, the timeshare was a no go, so it was back to the drawing board. Trying to keep costs low was a big thing for us, so instead of springing for that luxury resort on the water, we scoured Air BnB! Honestly, I'm so glad we ended up going that route. It suited our traveling style so much better! With the places we found, we got to know ours hosts and not just a front desk clerk who may or may not have been the same each day. Air BnB allowed us to meet local people, as well as fellow travelers, instead of cooping us up in our hotel room. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against hotels or resorts! But since this was my first experience with Air BnB, I got to see another side of traveling that I really loved!
In my last post, I introduced you to La Fortuna and our adventures at the volcano and waterfall. Our trip then took us around Lake Arenal and then to a little town called Los Tornos. Literally, a very small place with a tiny shop and mostly just the land and it's community. It was about 20 minutes outside the main tourist town of Santa Elena, which was no easy trek. I likened the drive into town to the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland...a bumpy ride indeed, but I digress! Los Tornos is home to our sweet, sweet host Ermida! She owns a huge farm (finca in Spanish) complete with coffee beans galore, bananas, plantains, lemons, starfruit, chayote and a ton of other produce. She's definitely a self sufficient woman! Upon arrival, she was making her own cheese and in her hospitable nature, brought us over not only the fresh cheese, but also milk from her cow, eggs from her chickens and lots of fruit and veggies from the farm. It was an incredible start to our stay! We had our own little cabin on the property, but she was only a few minutes walk away in her own house. The next day we spent the majority of it with Ermida in fact. Being that she spoke almost no English, it was a true test of our very little Spanish, yet also a testament to how cultures and languages can blend when everyone is willing to put in the effort. It really was a wonderful day. She made us a hearty lunch, took a drive with us around town, and then showed us her expansive farm, pointing out each and every different kind of plant she has. It was our very own private tour and it was lovely! I could go on and on about our stay here, and it was only two days, so you can see she left a big impact! I'm so grateful to have met her and glad we exchanged emails so we can stay in touch. Sorry for the long post guys. I can get carried away when I'm on a roll! Enjoy the photos from the farm!
I could go on and on about how wonderful Rodney and Allisha are! Seriously, these two are so sweet, hospitable, hilarious and all around fun! I was introduced to this couple by one of my past brides (thanks Erin!!) and I'm SO glad I get to shoot their upcoming wedding in August at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club. Allisha was actually a bridesmaid at Erin's wedding, so I've already got a taste of how much fun she is out on the dance floor. That's my kind of girl! Every interaction with these two has been nothing short of wonderful. I had the best time shooting their engagement session. It was full laughter from the moment we started and that's when I know the photos are going to turn out genuine and full of life! Rodney and Allisha didn't disappoint. I can't wait for their big day!!
I'm so lucky that I have a job that takes me to so many cool places! I especially love the opportunity to shoot at new places because it's always a chance for me to explore and find new favorite spots to suggest to my couples. Cat and Josh now reside in Rhode Island, but have family in the Berkeley area, which worked great for a winter break engagement shoot! These two were in the Bay Area for the holiday season and I jumped on the opportunity to conveniently schedule their engagement photos. Being that they are from out of state, this was actually the first time meeting them and what a joy it was! They are such a cute couple and so down-to-earth. We had a great time walking around the botanical gardens and finding unique places to shoot, all the while getting to know each other better. I love how much joy and laughter they exuded during the whole shoot. They were so natural with each other and made photographing them a breeze...always a plus in my book! I'm really looking forward to their wedding this June at the beautiful Monterey Plaza Hotel.
Such a beautiful and rare engagement ring! It's actually a cherished family heirloom, which makes it all the more special!
Say what you will about Facebook, but personally, it's been a great way for me to connect with friends, family and even clients! Thanks to my lovely sister being friends with various ladies from our high school, Lyra reached out to me for a family photo shoot because she had seen lots of photos of my work that had been posted over the years. Thanks social media! For the shoot, we found a spot just off the beaten path that had these beautiful eucalyptus trees. We had originally planned the shoot for Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, but Lyra found a picture of this location about 10 minutes from the park that looked great. I came a little early to see if I could find the same patch of trees she had seen in the photo (since it was literally just a trail off the road) and to my surprise, I found it! The backdrop of the trees, the dirt path and the light at just the right time of day was perfect for this shoot. Little Aiden had a blast running back and forth on this trail and it kept his spirits high. I bet he slept real well that night after all his running! Enjoy my favorites from the shoot below!
In the final set of images from my mini shoots this year, I've got another darling family of three with SUCH a cute little one year old girl! Emily was so stinkin' adorable, I could have photographed her all evening! She was a mover and shaker and loved my dinosaur friend from Shutter Huggers. She mostly wanted grab it off my lens and play with it though, haha! I had a wonderful time with the Smolen family and just kept shooting till we lost our last bit of sun behind the horizon. I met so many friendly, fun and loving families this year and I'm so grateful to have made new connections with them all. I'm definitely looking forward to next year's round of mini shoots! Follow my blog to be the first to find out when they'll be!
Here's my second session of the week that I shot at Holbrook Palmer Park! Such a cute family with the sweetest little girls. I can tell Addy is a great big sister already to her 6 month-old sister Emily. It was darling watching her try to get her to smile for the photos, even though baby Emily seemed a little camera shy. I love big sisters, since I have two amazing ones of my own! Both of them had such beautiful blue eyes and blonde, blonde hair. Darling girls and I hope I get to photograph them more over the years as they grow up. It was another quick session, but full of giggles and big smiles. Glad I had the opportunity to meet another wonderful family during the holiday season. Big thanks to the Hughes family for connecting us!
The second installment of fall mini shoots is here today! I can't get enough of this hidden gem just outside of Alum Rock in San Jose. I wish this trail had a proper name, but maybe it's best I keep it as my own little secret :D It's the perfect spot for some fall foliage and has enough space to roam around to mix up the background. It was a great location for my session with the Hughes family! They were such a loving bunch with the sweetest little kids. Tanner was full of life and Allie has the brightest blue eyes! Loved our shoot and hope we can do another next year!
I just love fall. The colors, the brisk air, the excuse to wear boots and scarves! Now I have a new favorite thing to add to my list... fall mini sessions! This was my second year offering them to clients and it turned out to be a hit! It was such a great way to meet so many new families and their adorable little kids. Hopefully I'll be able to photograph these families for years to come! First in this week's series of mini sessions, I'm featuring Kate, Mike and Greyson: A fun-loving couple with their sweet little 2 year-old boy. Greyson was a bit of a tough shell to crack at first, but he sure did love when his daddy threw him up in the air! We got the timing down just right...throw him a couple times, laugh and giggle and then click! It's always funny how when I put my camera down, the real smiles always come out. Sometimes I get lucky when we call it a wrap, but then I keep taking shots on the way back to the car. I have my tricks ;-) Big thanks to Kate for setting up this shoot with me. Hope to do more with you guys in the new year!
Can I just say, Katie and Cam are adorable! I think it's so funny that they said they are normally awkward in front of a camera and not very photogenic. Ha! First of all, they are such a good looking couple no matter the face they were making they made it look good ;-) But really what it comes down to is that they are so in love, every photo shows that authenticity and adoration for each other. That's all I care about anyway...showing off their love in a snapshot! Between their giggles and embraces, I think we got some great photos from the shoot. Rancho San Antonio was the perfect spot for a fall engagement and we got there at the perfect time of day before our light hid behind the hills. And you all know I'm a sucker for some epic golden light! I'm really excited for Katie and Cam and am so happy they asked me to be even just a small part of this special time in their lives!
The next installment of fall mini sessions is here! I got the pleasure of photographing this adorable family last fall and now a year later, I get to see these little boys grow into...taller little boys! :P I love their spunk and energy and those cute little faces melt me! So maybe it was hard for them to sit still, but I just used it as an opportunity for them to run free and play. Grabbed my telephoto lens and snapped a few quick shots! I love working with this family. Nate and Diane are such sweet people and great parents and I can't wait to do more shoots in the coming years with them!
Photography is fun and I love creating images, but my job is even better when I have easy-going, enthusiastic clients who are so obviously in love! Megan and Stefan were exactly that! All I had to do was place them in a spot, and within seconds they already were laughing and smiling at each and I didn't even say a word. It was perfect! I just kept snapping away at all their natural, loving interactions. We photographed at one of my favorite places, Picchetti Winery in Cupertino and truly had a great time. Unfortunately we were followed by flies the entire session (I swear we didn't smell!) but luckily the flies were a source for lots of laughs! Megan and Stefan were awesome to shoot with and I can't wait for their wedding next year at Bargetto Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
I love seeing couples in love. I love the beauty of nature. And I love combining the two into a whimsical engagement session! Nicole knew that she wanted to take some photos in a creek, which I immediately thought was adorable! But here in the Bay Area in the middle of a Californian drought, we were unsure of what spots still had water! Luckily we found the perfect nook for the shoot in Sunol Regional Wilderness. It was just a small section off the Little Yosemite trail, but perfect for what we needed. It was a refreshing start to the shoot. A cool dip in the water before heading up the golden hills on one of the hottest days of the year! Christian and Nicole were awesome though. We literally ran up the steep hills just to catch the last rays of the sun! Hot and sweaty, yes, but totally worth the views! I can't wait for their wedding next May at Pageo Lavender Farm, a place that is near and dear to my heart since I too got married there! Hence the lovely lavender sprigs that Nicole brought for the shoot ;-) Clever!
I'm so excited to finally share this blog post from this awesome high school senior shoot I did this summer! Natalie and her parents had a trip planned from Minnesota to visit family in the Bay Area and thought, what a perfect opportunity to take senior portraits with some gorgeous California scenery! Natalie's mom scoured the good ol' Internet for photographers out here and to my surprise, chose me for the portrait session :-D Luckily I had availability the week they came to town and we choose the beautiful 4 Mile Beach in Santa Cruz as our location. The day of the shoot I was a little worried the coastal fog would drown out all our sun, but just in time for the shoot it peaked it's golden rays through the sky and lit up Natalie perfectly. She was an absolute natural in front of the camera; it was hard to stop shooting! Her blue eyes and fun-loving spirit made my job so easy. It was editing all the photos down to a reasonable amount that was the hard part! I had such a fun time and hope to do more senior sessions in the future. Thanks for the great shoot and good luck in your last year of high school Natalie!
If you were like me, you grew up watching all the Disney classics...Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White...the list goes on! As a little girl, you probably dreamed of the day your "Prince Charming" would come and you'd have the rest of your lives to live happily ever after. I can imagine Lauren was this very girl who fantasized about her beautiful wedding day and dressing up just like those beloved princesses in the movies. Fast forward years later to the day that dream became a reality! She wore a gorgeous princess ball gown, iridescent heels that shined like glass slippers, and her mother's wedding pearls. Needless to say she looked radiant! The ceremony was held in Portola Valley at the beautiful Valley Presbyterian Church, with a giant window at the alter that looked out into all towering Redwood trees surrounding the sanctuary. After the ceremony we got some great shots with those Redwoods as our lovely backdrop and headed off to the reception at the Sheraton in Palo Alto. Each table had a different Disney themed centerpiece, each handmade by the bride herself! It all came together so nicely and was a wonderful beginning of a new chapter of Lauren and Alex's fairytale love story!
It brings me such joy to be able to capture the true moments of bliss between two people in love. Whether it's on an engagement shoot or a lovely wedding day, it's such a pleasure to be a part of those moments. I have the unique opportunity to capture the love between not just one couple, but two on a special wedding day coming up this month! Two sisters will marry their best friends in front of all their family and friends. What an event! It's gonna be one big party, I can already tell! So in preparation for the big day, all five of us headed out to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park for a fun-filled engagement shoot. Rosario & Jose lit up the camera and Chuy & Lupe were just so sweet together! Enjoy some of my favorite moments below.
One of the best parts about living in California is the proximity to so many beautiful areas! From the beach, to the rustic golden hills, and the lush Redwood forests, the Bay Area has way more to offer than just high-tech cityscapes! For this family shoot, we went up to Sanborn County Park, not far up Highway 9 past the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. There were some great spots to shoot with natural light streaming in through the branches of the towering Redwood trees. They were such a fun and flexible bunch, ready and willing to climb a few hills to get to just the right spots. Thanks for such a wonderful shoot!
If a photographer isn't challenged, their work becomes monotonous, stale and uncreative. If you follow my work, you know how much I love natural lighting, especially at sunset, working with the sun flare and golden rays. Well, not every sunset ends up looking like that...especially in foggy San Francisco. Annalise suggested the beautiful coastline for the engagement shoot, specifically the historical Sutro Baths. I love shooting in new locations and was super excited to meet this couple for their shoot. The afternoon leading up to the shoot was a beautiful day, sunny and bright! As I got closer to the Bay, typical San Francisco fog started creeping in and I knew this was going to be a different kind of shoot! Annalise and Tariq were just amazing though. She braved the cold and breezy coastal winds in her dress and Tariq kept her snuggly and warm (as best he could!). Yes it was overcast and cold but their positivity and sweet smiles kept the shoot flowing beautifully. Besides, gray skies make for some dramatic photos! I'm really looking forward to their wedding, just around the corner in May. They are going to make an adorable bride and groom!