no words needed

so many images to work through from sunday's company, i must work and finish... but some of these make me so purely satisfied that i must take a moment to post.
meet summer.

swan lake

we arrived before the park ranger, matthew and i. we arrived before the sun, and before the warmth of day. they arrived shortly after and braved the cold of the wilds of the livermore hills. with the help of an entourage of parents hustling jackets and blankets, 2 1 /2 hours later we had a cache of imagery and a group of very wet dancers. they astound me. every time. swan lake is generally viewed on a stage with the backdrop of a lake and full moon. considering this mood and our lack of night conditions, i chose to experiement with the idea of infrared as an ethereal, emotive element. the images are saved in color as well. other experiments as well, as you'll see. every time i learn something new in these large sessions, finding details in composition, light, and posing to refine and improve on. improvements to details of the person included: next time i will remember to bring an extra change of clothes as i shot the subsequent event soaking wet from the knees down.

movie making

the kids are on their 4th video, this time a 'short', instead of a full length film. 'BOBERTA' is a comedy, full of unfortunate mishaps and colorful characters. at the beginning of each short they put their names into cups to fulfill certain job requirements, from director, choreographer, costumes, camera operator, editor, sound effects, behind-the-scenes filming, music, actor, etc. it is a co-op in every sense. looking forward to seeing the end result.

victoria = almost home

it has been just over a week. it seems like ages longer that she has occupied the house, and yet just yesterday that her taxi van sped off, leaving nothing but a memory in its wake. this is her picture from victoria, taken today. do you know what that means? that means the end of shore excursions and ports of call. it means one more day at sea and home again to san francisco and california. i'm so excited to see her and hear about all of it in person. when her ship comes in i will be running a photoshoot on a nearby lake with ballerinas. how will i stay focused?! it is probably good. her dad will pick her up and she will have space to be in her home again. and then it will be my turn. :) 

september 11

friend sarah's blogs are always full of wit, perspective, warmth and grace. she has started working on her photographic skills which makes me so very glad to not be the only one with a camera. friend lauri's birthday is september 11, and in light of the events of a decade ago, her birthday tends to be overshadowed by the gloom of what happened in new york. at some point i want to see how and where new yorkers have taken back their skyline at 1 world trade center. i want to hear the fountain, and see what has overcome the ugliness of the actions of a few. but for now, lauri celebrates and i am so thankful to be a small part of her celebration. friendship is important. i can only hope i bring them as much as they bring me. photo credit: sarah mero

goodnight, juneau

another shot of juneau from sarah, on the way out. i love seeing a glimpse of my mom enjoying the sights before her. so glad she is truly away from it all, in the wonder of our nation's last frontier. thanks, sarah. :)

view from a blog

ole norhavn, ( a travel agent friend of gayle's is on the same ship as sarah, my mom, dad and grandmother. how fun to look through his viewfinder and read his daily musings. juneau orca image courtesy of his current travel blog at:


the view of juneau from sarah's cell phone. feeling so thankful for her service there and the simple camera attached to it. i remember watching eagles soar in and out of their nests right over the ship as we waited to leave the port. she's heading to dinner then to the movie, "water for elephants"...
and...she's off! my girl left this afternoon for alaska with my parents and grandmother. my heart aches for her already but with equal portions of happiness for her time with her grandparents, and the ability to begin to stretch into the world independently. she knows the ship and the tour, and will do one excursion on her own, the zipline in ketchican. 
we tried to catch her ship from the golden gate, but the fog would have none of it. we headed home, cold, after spending all day in the city waiting for that moment. :( at least matthew caught a glimpse of the ship for us as we crossed the bay bridge. and chinatown was a good place to spend time with him.


the sum of a gregarious, easy going, *willing* family, plus gorgeous weather and (few) equipment issues is equivalent to a fantastic evening of work, in my opinion. having already captured the high school senior earlier in the year,we worked to get head shots of the dancer and the recent college graduate as well. although this was intended to be a "family" session, it all started with a couple, the wedding of which took place 26 years ago. it's only fitting we should start with them, don't you think? (thanks don, for agreeing to stand under a parasol. :-) )
thank you l*nsinger family. your full gallery is uploading to my website:

3 rules

this one is for the photographers.
when most people see the (end result of an) image, the response most desired by the creator is that of enthusiasm. hopefully miss riley's parents will enjoy these. but it's the back story that makes it entertaining and all the more rich, in my book.
a couple of happy baby shots... 

seemingly easy enough, right?
not entirely.

rule #1: know your equipment and how to use it
rule #2: arrive with a plan
rule #3: be prepared to improvise at short notice

why do i mention these? because they can change everything.

for starters, i'd judged the lighting in this restaurant all wrong for the shoot. so i quickly made up a new 3 light set up. (first light: left of the baby, a large window facing the street. second light: speedlight set in the same area but pointing to the ceiling providing some bounced hair light. and light #3: another speedlight positioned at the baby's right, with grid and gel for seperation in the shadows. there otherwise would not have been enough light for clear images, even at a high iso. blah blah blah. so anyway.)

did i mention props? yes, of course i had a plan for that. last summer i commissioned beautiful raw silk pettiskirts from an amazing artist in sonoma county miss teapot, purchased half a dozen balloons from canada, borrowed a vintage inspired party hat from another fantastic artist gina at tangerine, and brought a well-loved raggedy doll, an antique store find "just in case."


twice the balloon got away from the mama. twice the sous chef climbed a ladder in his apron armed with tongs to retrieve it from its lofty heights. ultimately, this is what little miss thought about the balloon...

the party hat was rejected with emphasis. and speed.
raggedy ann held her interest for only the fleetest of moments.
and the pettiskirt never made it out of the bag. i do like her raised hand here, and the angle we see her lovely head and hair. and cheeks.

when raggedy ann found herself languishing on the table, it was time to shift the direction. instead, we made ourselves useful by helping the daddy inventory wine (as well as blooms up the street at the local florist.)
citrus always makes yummy door stoppers
and sometimes you just have to get some fresh air and wave at the passersby.
then you can go back and try things from scratch. sometimes a new perspective is all that is required.
"how many in your party?"
light caught from another nearby window. contemplative is good. and a curled pinky finger? love.
a light snack can change a questionable mood into a giggly one.
visiting the candy store up the street will always brighten a day,

"helping" makes everyone feel important
celebrate when you've finished your session
and find comfort in the liberties taken with found props and impromptu locations, knowing mom and dad own the restaurants.
photographing toddlers can be an invigorating way to spend part of a day, if you remember the 3 rules. :) oh yes, and remember to laugh a lot, especially at yourself.
full gallery here: