When Mercedes asked me to photograph her and Nick again, this time with their little fur baby pups as a family session- I jumped with joy at the opportunity! Many may know that I am a total dog lover, and although they aren’t always the easiest to photograph compared to their human parents, I always enjoy a session that involves some puppy love. They always add a little bit of personality and a whole lot of fun into the photos! And these pups, Peppermint and Brownie, were no exception to this.
Have you ever met someone and instantly wanted to become their friend? Like within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, you could just tell they were awesome people? That’s exactly what my session with Saumya & John at Shell Ridge Open Space, Walnut Creek was like. Even with the skies dark, and rain falling- this couple showed up dressed to kill with nothing but the biggest smiles.
I headed out to the vibrant green fields of wine country on a sunny and beautiful afternoon. My destination was a gorgeous rental property tucked behind the stretching rooms of newly growing grapes on Comstock Wines in Healdsburg where my couples was waiting for me to begin their engagement session. This was my first Napa wine country type of engagement session- but I am so obsessed with these photos and know it most certainly won’t be my last!
We had been lucky with sunny skies and warm sunshine the week leading up to this engagement session. This had me excited to photograph my sweet couple near the ocean. However, mother nature seemed to have different plans for us. While, yes, we were still met with some nice sunshine, we also came to face some low temperatures and brutal winds that made it feel more like winter than spring! This session definitely made me realize that you can never assume how the weather is going to be in little ‘ole San Francisco- especially on the coast line at Sutro Baths.
As you have probably guessed by now, I am such a sucker for a good love story. Fueled by my passion to serve my couples, and absolutely love hearing how the two came together. So when Maggie and Simon told me they have known each other and been together since they were children- you can guess how excited I was to hear more! I was so honored to photograph their special and such rare love story beneath the beautiful golden trees at Lovers Lane as well as the stunning architecture at Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where- as it turns out- they had their high school prom photos taken together! The session seemed to bring them full circle, connecting their rich history with their present relationship, and the photos that came from it were nothing short of magical!
A cup of coffee and two beautiful people who seemed destined to be together. That’s how it started for the lovely pair I had before me that early San Francisco morning. Even at 6:45am, the pair were so warm and joyous with each other, I felt like I was photographing a couple who were already married. Dan, in a well-tailored suit, twirled his beautiful Bride-To-Be NhuNhu, her elegant blush satin dress glittering from the rising sun. We walked, laughed, danced around the Palace of Fine Arts and Ina Coolbirth Park in what ended up being a magical engagement session.
Stars, and rockets, and moons- oh my! When Lauren mentioned to me that she was having a celestial themed wedding, I was so pumped! It was the natural theme of choice for these two extremely intelligent, space-loving scientists. Nestled into a grove of giant redwoods at Pema Osel Ling Retreat Center, a beautiful wedding was about to take place with surrounding natural beauty complimented with splashes of blues, purples, plenty of glimmering stars, and a few very precious rings.
We pulled into the quiet, small neighborhood of Laura’s parent’s home. Giant redwood trees stood above us with afternoon sunlight streaming in between the massive trunks. We followed the road past sleepy little houses backing to a slow moving but peaceful stream. The house couldn’t be missed- with its beautiful white dinner tent set up out front, candles lit and market lights a glow. Soon that tent would be full of happy friends & family, full bellies, and an endless night of laughter.
I had long admired photos of Marshall’s Beach in San Francisco – a small but stunning, rugged coast line that dropped down to a modest beach with the most amazing views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge what seemed to be a stone’s throw away. So when Kristin told me that her and her fiancé John were interested in some beach photos with the bridge in the background- I was all too eager to suggest this stunning spot.
The laughing and smiling was non-stop despite the cold coastal wind muffling the sound of our laughter. Nathali & Victor showed up to the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, hand in hand, glowing with excitement for our adventure. I couldn’t help but immediately think how they reminded me of old friends- their energy so down-to-earth, refreshing, and fun!
I headed my familiar route over the pretty white bridge, cruising toward San Francisco. However this time I was taking a new exit- one towards a little island called Treasure Island. It was instantly quieter as I took my exit away from the rush hour traffic behind me, turning onto a nearly deserted road that had me think twice if I had taken the right exit.
We zoomed down the 90-mile stretch of the rugged California coastline known as Big Sur. Highway One winds along its length, flanked on one side by the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains and on the other by the rocky Pacific Coast. The turns were enough to make even the stronger stomach drivers feel a little weak, especially if you were to get a glimpse of the abrupt drop beyond the guardrail where the ocean awaits you hundreds of feet downward.
A cold ocean breeze whipped its way through the costal tree line. We hiked our way from the parking lot situated high above the beach, into a gathering of towering skinny trees, and down a dirt path in search of a place to begin. It was a Saturday at Sutro Baths in San Francisco, and it seemed just about everyone was out enjoying the spring sunshine, shaking the dust off their winter legs.
Our first go around, we found out the morning of the session that the grove was being closed for maintenance and wouldn’t be opened for another two weeks. Thankfully, Chi and Dan agreed to reschedule a month later, hoping for warm weather by then as an added bonus. You can image our disappointment when we drove up well beyond the schedule reopen date only to see that the grove was, again, closed. With some quick thinking, I suggested we try another beautiful local redwood area in the Redwood Regional Park of Oakland.
The grass was a vibrant green, still moist with the past week of rain under our feet. We could feel the warm sun shining over the hilltops, spilling into the valley below and onto our faces as we walked into Briones Regional Park in Martinez. A few timid black and brown cows nearby spotted as approaching them and slowly began to move as a heard to the hill side.
A few dark clouds loomed over head as we drove into the city. We thought nothing of it really- it has been raining here on and off for the past three months now. We pulled up to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco where we had planned to take a few quick images before make a hike down to a special little beach in Land’s End called Mile Rock Beach.
The sun beamed down on my little rental car and a circled the block looking for the best place to park. A gentle breeze ruffled the overhead palm trees and they swayed slowly back and forth. I could smell the salt of the ocean nearby. Was that the sound waves crashing down I hear? I must be close to the coast. But this wasn’t the Northern California coast I was used to….
We’ve had nearly two solid months of rain here in the Bay Area, so when hair & make-up artist Rachel Lusk invited me to photograph a styled session she was putting together up at the River Terrace Inn in Napa within a few weeks, I was crossing all my fingers and toes that the skies would behave with us.