cristie.

Cristie is a lovely and exuberant girl — so full of energy and always taking life by the horns. She is the catering manager at The Tea Gardens and is training to be an opera singer. Cristie and I met up for a quick portrait session at the beginning of last week. When asked what she was hoping for out of the shoot, she shrugged and said, “Pretty pictures?” I did my best to follow those guidelines, and I’m fairly certain we achieved just that. It was a very simple shoot, but so much fun. It was also my first time shooting with a 5D Mark II, which I borrowed for the shoot and for Watson and Mindy’s party. I am hoping to be able to use it for several more future shoots, and eventually get my own. The combination of the 5D with my 50mm L is just amazing.

But enough about that. Let’s look at some pretty pictures of the stunning Cristie!



I love this location so much. These were taken not 20 feet away from where I had my shoot with Clare, but you’d never guess. So much versatility in look, feel, and lighting, and in such a small area. I like to call this particularly spot my Terabithia.

Is this girl a natural in front of the camera or what?









The lighting here was so beautiful. I love it when I can catch the sun at just the right spot in the sky.


I can’t even handle how beautiful she looks in these. Those eyes!



She brought so much personality to the shoot. So many simple little poses and facial expressions, and they all worked out so well.


Oh, lens flares… how do I love thee?





And the last few frames of the day before we packed up and she went off to her singing lesson.



I am so happy with how these shots turned out, and I’m thrilled to have finally gotten a chance to try my hand at using the 5D! Thanks for a fantastic session, Cristie!

watson & mindy – happy 1st birthday!

Yesterday was Watson and Mindy‘s 1st birthday! We wanted to celebrate this red-letter day right, so we threw them a party. Call us crazy, but I have to say: it was pretty awesome. There were pink (Mindy) and green (Watson) decorations, doggy-themed desserts, and even a cake for the dogs! Enjoy these photos of our ridiculous tribute to the best puppies ever.

Poop cupcake anyone?


The doggy cake consisted of over 5 pounds of meat (ground beef and lamb) with mashed potato frosting. Mmm… tasty…

Watson knew there was food being prepared…

… but was unamused when told he had to wait to eat it.

The cake looked awesome, as did the decorations.



Mindy and family!


Cake time!





And finally, a quick picture my mom took of me and my puppy. I love him so much. I can’t believe he’s already a year old! I am so very much looking forward to celebrating many, many more years of Watson.

keep calm & drink tea – the tea gardens.

School has been so completely insane. I have a few exciting posts I would like to put up, but I’ve been so lacking in time. I take my last two midterms today and then I will be done with school until January. I have so much to say about all of that, but for now, let’s talk about The Tea Gardens.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of this place is “warmth”. It just has such a warm and comforting vibe. Such charm and whimsy from the moment you walk in the door. Then, of course, there’s the tea. I love, love, love tea. There are so many different kinds with so many different flavors. From the light and refreshing iced teas, to the rich and soothing hot teas, The Tea Gardens really succeeds at providing something for every mood and every taste.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to take a few photos for their brand new catering menu. It was a very quick shoot with very little prep time, but I think we pulled it off.

This is their boxed lunch, which gives you the option of a sandwich, wrap, or salad, with a side of fresh fruit and a scone. They opted for the egg salad sandwich for the shoot, which happens to be a favorite of mine.

Next is their dessert gift wrap, which you can add on to any box of their tasty desserts.

Lastly, their scone box, which you can get with an assortment, or choose any two types of their scones.

Such a fun little shoot. I love opportunities like this. Last weekend, I went back for Clare‘s birthday party (I got croissant french toast, which was awesome) and got to take a look at the new catering menu. It’s so much fun to see your work in print. Such an amazing and satisfying feeling.

Speaking of print…

The holidays are fast approaching, and with it, a new year. What better gift to give than my Puppies! 2012 wall calendar? It’s full of fluffy cuteness, and 10% of the profits go to ACT V Rescue & Rehabilitation. There are some other totally adorable puppy products here, and my art prints can be found here. After you get a calendar or print, you should go get some tea and croissant french toast (oh my goodness it was so good).

Thank you, Tea Gardens, for this totally fun shoot and all the tasty food and drink! See you again soon!

The Tea Gardens
www.theteagardens.com
Santa Clarita, CA

clare.

In the first play I ever did, there was a girl. She had an amazing laugh, a powerful singing voice, and an adorable smile. She was ever so talented and ever so sweet and ever so… strange. Let’s face it: she was really, really strange. So naturally, we became friends.

It’s been six years. Six years of laughs, tears, countless inside jokes, numerous random walks, and late night phone calls. We are avid Harry Potter fans and we solemnly swear we are up to no good. We survived my grand Minnesotan excursion and now that I’m back, we will continue to put up with each other. -sigh-

She was the first person I ever had a photoshoot with (back when I still had my Lumix!). She’s always been incredibly easy to photograph. She was born to perform and she takes that same presence from the stage to the camera. And she’s purrrrdy.

I am pretty sure I am posting way too many photos from this session, but I can’t help it! I am so proud of them and had so much fun with the shoot. I can’t believe this is the first time Clare has been on my blog. It certainly won’t be the last.



This next one is one of my favorites. How freaking beautiful is she!?

Couldn’t resist a hipster photo to show off her Deathly Hallows necklace.





Another favorite. Her eyes are amazing.




These next three are so very Clare. I can’t help but laugh every time I look at them. Once a theatre kid, always a theatre kid.



Always up to something.







I am so happy with this last set. The lighting was pretty much perfect. Plus, I decided to play around with some editing techniques on a few of them, which is always fun.





That smile!



Yup. Way too many photos. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did, though. Thanks for an awesome evening, Clare! Can’t wait for our next shoot!

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

doctor watson.

So, speaking of puppies…

I really feel the need to talk about my Watson for a bit. I spend approximately 420% of my time every day thinking about him. He’s been such a weird and wonderful thing to watch. And when I say thing, I really do mean thing. Some of you may recognize this photo of the three little orphans about a week after they came to us as fuzzy, wiggling worms.

He then proceeded to grow…


And grow…


And grow!



While he has been growing, so has my adoration of him (cue studio audience ‘awww’). I don’t know how to explain the joy I feel when I come downstairs in the morning to be greeted by my Watson. My day hasn’t started right unless I’ve had a couple of minutes to sit down on the floor with my (over 50 pound) puppy in my lap. He rides with me in the car on my way to school and is sitting in the backseat waiting for me when my mom comes to pick me up. He just makes life good.

I’ve been spending some time taking him to the park nearby to work with him on modeling paying attention to me even when there’s lots of other stuff going on around us. Lately, I’ve been combining that with some photo time, because he quite frankly has become a truly handsome specimen of a dog.



This next one is really just an outtake… but I’m sharing it with you all because it makes me laugh every time I look at it. Watson is generally such a zen dog. Curious, but not spastic… well, that’s a lie, but you get my drift. However, there was a game of catch going on behind my head while I was taking these photos and at one point, he apparently just couldn’t take sitting still and watching it anymore.

The last few are a bit more personal. Their main purpose is to provide more puppy-filled fodder for my profile picture on facebook, and are therefore not really my best work. They mean a lot to me, though. They are really a perfect display of why I love photography. These are moments, captured. Frozen in time forever. These are all moments I find myself in several times a day with my dog, and now they have been documented. Just the way they should be.




I kinda, sorta love him.

Okay. I’ll stop obsessing over my dog now. Thanks for reading. =]

julia – the getty center.

Howdy, folks! It’s been a while. I’ve been sick for over a month. I tried to tell the germs to go away, but they just wouldn’t listen. Not very obedient little buggers, are they? Luckily, I was able to have more than my fair share of fun before being bedridden. My friend Julia came to visit for two weeks in June and we paraded all over LA. We spent some time in my town, went cherry picking, hung out at the Getty Center, did some shopping in Hollywood, and spent an entire day at Disneyland. It was a pretty great trip, up until I got sick. We then spent the rest of her time in LA watching Doctor Who, but hey, that isn’t bad either. I didn’t take quite as many photos as I had planned to, but Julia and I did have a little photo day while we were at the Getty.



The Getty Center is really one of my favorite places in LA. The exhibits are beautiful, the architecture is stunning, and the garden is magical. Julia and I spent some time looking around one of the touring photography exhibitions (of course), grabbed some lunch at the cafe, and then spent the entire rest of the afternoon in the gardens. At first, we napped. I don’t think that was on purpose. Like I said, the garden is magical; it probably cast some sort of sleeping spell on us. After our brief moment of narcolepsy, we had a mini portrait session!



Isn’t she stunning?
Julia even took a few photos of me! It’s weird to be on the other side of the camera, but I have to admit: it’s kind of fun, too.

But we switched places again. I really can’t go too long without having my camera in hand.



Be sure to check out the rest from this session here!

The new school year is starting, so I’m going to be pretty busy settling in to that for a while. However, I do have a few posts that I would like to make, so I will be getting on that in the not too distant future. I’ve also been making some more adjustments to the blog (scroll up to the header and refresh the page a few times ;D). Plus, I’ve got a senior session coming up soon, as well as what I hope will be a fantastic artistic fashion shoot… thing. I’m not really sure what it is yet. It’s a little pet project that I’m still working out the details of. I hope you are all as excited as I am to see it come to life!

Ciao for now!

jaden.

Two weeks ago, I had a mini portrait session with my good friend Jaden. We’ve known each other for 12 years, but I haven’t seen her in almost 4 years. It was so nice to finally get to see her again. It was a day full of laughs and nostalgia and general good times. We only had about 20 minutes for our shoot, but we still got some pretty photos!






Check out the rest here! Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out my print shop. The 10% off code (GRANDO10) is still in effect until July 4th!

Hey guys! I’m back online!

The trip was pretty wild. When we left Minnesota, it was snowing. At our first hotel along the way, we were met with bitter cold and high winds. We had to unload two cars of luggage and animals into the room, knowing that we’d have to lug it all back to the parking lot the very next morning. The weather continued to be a force to be reckoned with until we made it to Las Vegas, where it was a balmy 70 degrees. Of course, that meant we first had to get through the Rockies, where we encountered a thrilling blizzard and a highway that had been entirely shut down. The highway we were supposed to be taking, of course. Good thing we were able to stop for lunch beforehand. We found this fantastic barbecue just off the 70. If you’re ever anticipating getting stuck in a snowstorm in the Rockies, make sure to stop at Smokin Yard’s BBQ first. We strongly contemplated just living there, but instead ate too much food and continued on our way.

It was pretty smooth sailing once we found our detour and made it out of the mountains. My dad and I spent the ride in the Prius making fun of various road signs and listening to Black Eyed Peas, while my mom and my grandma road with all of the animals in the SUV. After 2,000 miles of insanity, we are finally home. All humans, felines, and canines have made it safely to LA. We arrived a few weeks ago and have been slowly settling back into our old house. Feels weird to be here again, but it sure does feel good. Everything is so familiar and it all just feels like home. In my head, time has stood still for a lot of this world, so it’s pretty strange to see what all has changed. It is so great to be back with my old friends, going to my old restaurants, and biking up my old street again, though.

I have a few more things from Minnesota to post, but I can’t wait to start getting into the photo scene here! If you’re in the Los Angeles area and are interested in any kind of photoshoot, drop me an email and let’s get planning! In the mean time, keep an eye out for more updates and make sure to follow me on twitter. Very soon, I’ll be getting a new phone with actual texting capabilities, which means I’ll finally be able to tweet from the field on a regular basis. Also, check behind the cut for a few photos from my crazy road trip.
That’s all for now!
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