hello, seattle.

Between trips, I forget just how much I love this city. It has one of the best atmospheres of any city I’ve ever been in. Maybe it’s the smell of the rain, which is intoxicating to me. Maybe it’s that I was born there. Regardless, getting to drive up for a visit this winter was a blast.

The actual drive was hectic. The weather was not agreeable at all, but we made it through. It was my first long road trip where I actually spent a good chunk of time driving. After driving straight through Oregon to Seattle in the pouring rain, I pretty much feel like I can take on anything.

I spent a lot of the trip exploring with my aunt, Maiya. We drove, bused, and walked all over the place.




When we weren’t exploring, we were probably on campus at the UW, studying and drinking lattes.



After such a great trip, I hated to leave… but I have to say, flying home on Virgin America was awesome.



During my visit I had a wonderful portrait session with the adorable 2-year-old Erica! There will be a full post on that later, but enjoy the sneak peek, and make sure to check out the rest of the photos from my trip on my facebook page.

annie & greg.

I’ve known Annie from theatre since I was 10 years old. During fall of last year, I got to take her headshots. Last month, I was lucky enough to get to take some gorgeous photos of her and her husband.

Annie and Greg tied the knot at a private ceremony in December, but they still wanted a few photos together for their reception. So, we arranged for a shoot near one of their favorite spots: a climbing rock in Camarillo. We arrived at the rock just as the sun was rising over the water. It was ridiculously cold and windy, so we only managed a few shots before we had to move on to another location. Before we left, we got to see a whale, a pod of dolphins, and a couple of sea lions. I wasn’t able to get any photos of them, but it was a pretty awesome sight.



After we left the rock, we wandered around Point Mugu State Park.


Finally, we went into town for a few whimsical urban shots. And hey, check out those rings. Gorgeous, no?


I’ll be uploading photos from their reception as well, but make sure to check out a few more of my favorite shots from this session on my facebook page.

under the sea.

My mom tells this story of taking me as a little kid to see The Little Mermaid in theaters. I had watched it countless times at home and had always loved it. But for some reason, that day in the theater, I completely melted down. Ursula scared all the sense and composure out of me. To this day, none of us know why that happened. Ursula is now my favorite Disney villain, and life under the sea is totally fascinating to me. So, when the offer came to go on one final field trip as a high school student, I was thrilled; we were going to Aquarium of the Pacific.

I do still have one problem with aquatic life, and therefore aquariums. Looking at the various tanks of fish, I start recalling what I have eaten, and wondering if the things I haven’t eaten would taste good sliced up and put over rice. Seriously. Being a sushi addict in front of a tank full of Yellowtail is dangerous. Other than that, an aquarium is one of my favorite places to be.



I really love taking pictures of jellyfish. These were so tiny, I had to use the macro attachment for my Lensbaby.

My love for jellyfish pales in comparison to my love for penguins. The day of the field trip, I was wearing one of my three penguin hats. I follow Avery, one of the Aquarium penguins, on twitter. I really, really, really love penguins.



This was such a fun day. Make sure to check out the rest of my aquarium photos on my facebook page.

I am starting my last semester of high school today. I’ve got an intensely heavy workload, but I’m so excited. I got straight A’s this past semester, so I just have to stay focused and do it one more time. Also, I’m taking Advanced Digital Photography, and I plan to post my photos from the assignments. Keep an eye out!

vedera – the farmhouse.

A little over 2 years ago, I went to see the Plain White T’s at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. I only had my dad’s little point-and-shoot (which I didn’t know how to use very well and kept accidentally firing the flash — oops), but I took a ton of photos during the show. I also took a ton of photos during the preshow, when an amazing band called Vedera played. I had never heard of them before, but there was no way I was ever going to forget them.

On Wednesday, my mom called me into the kitchen to ask me if I thought I’d be busy that evening. She went on to say that Vedera was doing a free house show at The Farmhouse. That night, as the sun set on Hollywood, I found myself under a giant avocado tree with 20 other people, listening to… well… magic. There’s really no other way to describe their music. It’s just magic.

The yard was amazing, and when I say ‘giant avocado tree’, I really do mean a giant avocado tree. We all stood under the canopy of leaves, surrounded by a string of lights and some tiki torches. It was beautiful.


There was a slight problem when Jason Douglas was tuning. One minute, there was sound and light…

The next, everyone was wandering around with flashlights, trying to figure out which fuse blew.


Once we got the power back on, though, things went swimmingly. Everyone finished tuning, they finalized the set list, and the show began. Someday, I hope to get a press pass to a show with stage lighting and the ability to get whatever angle I want on the band. However, this was a truly unique experience that I would not have missed for the world. The show was amazing, the band was incredibly nice, and I am extremely happy with the photos I got, given my lighting and positioning circumstances. Also, I kind of fangirled out and bought a t-shirt and a CD, and then got the band to sign them both.

Thank you Kristen May, Brian Little, Drew Little, and Jason Douglas for an evening beyond all compare. Hope to see you all again soon!















Vedera
www.vederamusic.net
twitter.com/vederamusic

kira.

A couple weeks before the move, I met up with Kira in Uptown for a portrait session. She was one of the first people I came into contact with when we moved to Minnesota, and yet through some strange set of circumstances, we had never actually gotten a chance to meet until the day of the photoshoot. Kira is so gorgeous and charismatic and she’s always doing cool stuff with her hair and make up, so I sent her an email to see if she’d do some modeling for me. I really wish I had emailed her sooner. She was so much fun to work with and it wasn’t long before it felt like I was just hanging out with an old friend! We wandered all around Lake Calhoun looking for places to shoot. It was nice and cloudy, but it was also 40 degrees with gusting winds. We had to bundle up and seek shelter every once in a while, which is just ridiculous for mid-April. Five days after that, it snowed. Crazy! Still, we got some photos that I’m pretty happy with, and I am so glad I got a chance to meet Kira.




With her awesome hair, I couldn’t help doing a little bit of crazy editing to highlight it.




I told her to pick a bench, any bench. The one she chose was beyond perfect!

Thanks for hanging with me, Kira, and I hope we can see each other again soon!

See more from this shoot here!

emily.

Last month, I had the pleasure of taking Emily Trempe‘s maternity photos! Emily and I worked together on a play in winter of 2009 (her on stage and me in the tech booth), and my dad and her fiance, Jude worked together at Activision. We’ve all been able to keep in touch pretty well and I am so glad to have been able to do a shoot with her! She has a steady career in acting and modeling, and it shows. She just belongs in front of the camera! Jude was out of town, so we weren’t able to get him in on any of the shots, but we still had a delightful and successful session.

We started out with a few of the more classic maternity photos. She had the most perfect ultrasound photo for the shoot, so we utilized that for a few shots.





Check out that engagement ring. Beyond stunning, is it not? And there’s nothing cuter than little baby booties.


Emily brought almost her entire wardrobe, plus a ton of jewelery and accessories, so we were able to do a lot of fun, stylized photos that really brought out her personality. The shots I got from this rockstar outfit are some of my favorite!



I used my 50mm f/1.2 L for most of the shoot, but I also got some more artsy shots with my Lensbaby. The Composer optic with the heart shaped aperture disc was a must, but the Fisheye optic I had ordered arrived just in time for the shoot as well! That made for a couple of really fun shots.

For our last set, we headed over to the lake for some shots by the water. The wind was out of control and we were all shivering a bit by the end of it, but Emily looked totally ethereal despite the cold.



Thank you so much, Emily, for doing this shoot with me. I had a great time working with you and I hope you like your photos!

Take a look at more of the photos here and tell me what you think!

adrienne & ian.

Words cannot describe how happy I was when Adrienne first contacted me about taking her and Ian’s engagement photos. I was also a little nervous, considering I had never done anything like it before. I’ve taken a few shots of my parents together, but most of my knowledge of couple-photos consisted of browsing through them on flickr enviously. I had heard horror stories of wedding and engagement photography, yet I remained intrigued. So when the email came in, I was bouncing off the walls. I immediately wrote back and we started planning. We chose two locations and two days — Loring Park for day one and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for day two. I gave them some hints on how to prepare for the shoot and then we were off.

I have to say, I am a huge fan of Loring Park. I had never been there before, but Adrienne had worked at one of the restaurants in the area, so she knew it pretty well. The park itself is gorgeous, plus there is some really cool architecture nearby. Also, if you take a walk across a bridge, you can explore the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. We utilized all of this for our first day of shooting.
The weather was perfect. We had a nice layer of clouds, giving our play-space a wonderfully natural diffused light. My mom came along to act as my chauffeur and assistant. We brought a small step-ladder, a tripod, and a reflector, all of which proved to be quite useful during both sessions.

We started out behind Nick and Eddie at this adorable little table. I first asked the couple to just sit like they would if I wasn’t there. While they did that, I started adjusting my settings and trying out different lenses. I switched between my 50mm and my Tamron 18-270mm multiple times throughout the day. Once I had settled on some basic settings, I started asking for more specific poses. A Lunalux employee came out at one point to see what we were doing. Apparently, the table was owned by them. The woman seemed a little miffed (whoops!), but she gave us a card for the place and asked us to email them the photos.

As the day went on, we all began to relax a bit and just started to have fun with stuff. We got some great shots by the fountain and some in the sculpture garden, but one of my absolute favorites of the day was of the two of them in a dance pose next to a sign that says “dance here”. They went salsa dancing for their first date, so along with just being kind of hilarious, I thought it was a cute play on how their relationship has grown and how it has stayed the same. I would’ve gotten a few different ones there, but my camera died. Definitely a sad moment. However, I was confident in the photos I had gotten and we were able to pack up and call it a day.

My set up was basically the same for the session at the arboretum. The sun was a lot harsher, though, so that made things a bit of a challenge. Also, the arboretum is huge and unfortunately, we did not have nearly enough time to go through it. However, we still got quite a few shots that I’m proud of. There were lots of amazing colors to work with and, as the sun started to set, some great flares.

There was one spot in particular that I really wish I had managed to get some better shots of. When she was in school, Adrienne went to the arboretum on a field trip and there was one spot that she remembers thinking would be a perfect place for a wedding. Unfortunately, the lighting on the hill was too harsh and my mother’s valiant attempts to block the sun with our reflector were fruitless. Still, we left the arboretum with over 300 photos to go through.

My parents and I went to the reception, which was held in Adrienne’s dad’s backyard. It had been completely transformed into what my dad remarked looked somewhat like a roofless club you might find in LA. It was beautiful and the food was delicious. The newlyweds looked so happy. As they took to the dance floor, I got my camera ready and, with the help of my Lensbaby Composer, took one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken.

The whole experience was so rewarding and so much fun. Getting to know Adrienne and Ian better was great and I am so happy I got to work with them. They are now living in Singapore, as Ian works his post-doctorate job as an entomologist.
Congratulations, Adrienne and Ian!

Take a look at all of the photos here and tell me what you think!