Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rich and Typh's Wedding, UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, Berkeley, California

The first Memorial Day Weekend wedding I shot was Rich and Typh's, at the amazingly beautiful UC Berkeley Botanic Gardens. These two are just so, so rad - I was almost sad to leave the wedding. I get the best clients, really; I kind of wanted to say, "okay, but we'll hang out again soon, okay?"

They seem to be the perfect balance for each other. Typh and I gabbed and gabbed all the times we met, and Rich is more quiet and subdued but obviously has a kind, genuine heart and was also a blast to meet. Their families and friends had come mostly from out of town, and mostly from the South and Midwest, and they were so kind and fun to talk to as well. What a fantastic group!

Typh made her own wedding dress, which was gorgeous, and chose the loveliest shade of bright yellow for the bridesmaids' dresses. I wasn't sure what to expect from her description of "neon yellow dresses", but what I got was a bunch of stunningly beautiful women with awesome hair, shoes, accessories, bouquets, dresses, and personalities!

This wedding just flew by. The day started out at about 80 degrees, but by the time we left the dark Redwood Grove (where the ceremony was held), the sky was overcast and the hills were shrouded in fog. This was very romantic and pretty, but COLD! None of us were expecting that kind of weather (even those of us who had grown up in the Bay Area) and poor Typh just had Rich and her veil to keep her warm!

We did some crazy cool vintage 4x5" shots, and the two of them were great sports while we did the set up. I'm pleased to say that Devon and I have it down to a pretty good routine! We also had a self portrait setup, and their guests braved the cold to give us all kinds of great shots.

My favorite moments of the day included the very sweet ceremony (officiated by a friend and the bride's father, with readings and song from all kinds of friends); getting the bride and groom portraits despite the cold; the stories and toasts shared by various friends and family (who obviously ADORE these two!)...

Other highlights - besides the beautiful, though foggy, venue - included the food, yet another delicious vegetarian meal, this time by Trumpetvine Catering;

the gorgeous bouquets, which were done by Loop Flowers - who I worked with a long time ago (their stuff is amazing!);

(check out the crazy Dr. Seuss-esque bits that go with the weird plants from the gardens themselves!)

plus the fact that Typh and Rich took a workshop to smelt their very own wedding rings (!); and the dancing.

(this one was taken during Van Halen's "Jump" - these guys were great sports about, you know, jumping)

Their friends and family all braved the chill to get their dance on after the cake cutting, and I was rocking out with them to hits like these:


This is a long post, I know, but I've got a lot of gushing to do about these cutie pies and their wedding...

Check out their slideshow here.

We also did a self portrait set up for their guests to use, and though it ended up being quite chilly, they were all terrific sports about using it. That slideshow lives here.

edited 1.2.08 - the slideshows have been taken down for server tidiness. Please let me know if you're interested in seeing them.

Thanks again you two! Hope the honeymoon is amazing!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wondertime Magazine photo spread

Last September, Labor Day weekend, Devon and I had the privelege of traveling waaaaay out a long dirt/ gravel road in Willits (in Mendocino County) to visit Emandal, "a farm on a river".

We were on assignment for Disney's Wondertime Magazine, a mag aimed at parents of babies and toddlers. They are a great publication (I found myself interested and I don't even have kids), with lovely, natural photography, tips on child rearing from a child psychology kind of perspective, and fun activities and ideas.

I wrote about it in my blog at the time, but have had to wait patiently until now for the photos to be published (for seasonal shoots, magazines have to often schedule stories a year or so in advance).

I'm very happy to share part of the spread with you here!

You can read a little more about our visit back in September's blog entry.

This simple photo assignment resulted in one of the most perfect days I've had - being with my wonderful husband, doing what I love for a living, in the beautiful sunshiney heat in the middle of nowhere, eating the most amazingly fresh produce, and swimming in the Eel River at the end of it all.

Just perfect!

The writer's family (the story's about his kids at the farm) was great fun, as well, and I've compiled a slideshow of all my favorite shots here.

So go grab the Summer 2007 issue and flip to page 123 for my stuff!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Santa Cruz and underwater photography with the Frogeye!

Devon and I spent the weekend in Santa Cruz at my (best in the whole wide world) mother in law's "chill pad" by the beach, while she's out of town. Thank you, Toni! We have the most amazing times there. I got stressed driving down on Friday afternoon, and it took a little longer than normal, but by Saturday evening, after pigging out on all the delicious vegetarian, organic food we could handle, I couldn't wipe the big, relaxed grin off my face as we walked down the beach at sunset. Sigh.

We get to sleep under a starry skylight on a super comfy bed in a redwood house; we can hear the waves crashing from a distance; there's a hot tub ensconced in a little thickety thing of jasmine, honeysuckle, roses and nasturtiums; a 5 minute walk to an uncrowded, warm and safe beach... I mean, it's really hard to beat this place!

We even swam in the ocean! Last year Devon got me awesome wetsuit booties for my birthday, and this was FINALLY my first chance to use 'em. We got wetsuits of our own at the O'Neill factory sale in Santa Cruz in the summer of 2005 (and they were having it again this weekend, but we were too lazy to go).

This was also my first chance to use the underwater toy "Frogeye" camera I had bought in December for our trip to Hawaii - it didn't arrive in time (I ordered it much too close to the trip). I was so excited!

Lomo is a company that makes a bunch of really fun toy cameras. I could play with all of their offerings but have been able to narrow it down to just two for the time being.

I just took some photos of the surf, and Devon swimming and so forth, because I was a little nervous to go all in, and by the time I was ready, the film was out. Oh, well. I put the camera back on the beach and swam out with Devon. It was so lovely to just bob and float about... sure, I got a little bit (or a lot!) of water up the nose on the way back, but it was definitely worth it. I just need to keep practicing to get over my hesitation...

Anyway, lots of fun with this camera (which promptly broke upon returning home - but today I took it to my handy friend Jeremiah at Photo Supply, totally skeptical that he could do anything, and he fixed it in like 10 minutes! This is the same man who once repaired the window crank of my old Volvo by using the lid to an old stew can to fashion some kind of gear... it was insane. But it worked!). It's nothing fancy, as you can see, but it is giving me LOTS of shoot ideas - swimming, floating, Trash the Dress sessions, and, above all, a return to Hawaii or elsewhere for sweet snorkeling snaps!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

my old photo blog

I started a different photo blog at some point in, I think, 2005, and I've been trying to figure out for a while if I should delete it or what. I had trouble keeping it updated for some reason. It was more personal than this one... well, it was more about weird, random photos that I took, and this one is a little more about my clients' photos. Plus I am chatty on this one!

Here it is.

I've decided not to delete it, and even to call attention to it, so check it out if you'd like.

And here are some random shots from it:

Gallery showings

Something else I need to do today, or very soon, is to go see if my artwork is unsold from a few shows I had it in recently. I wasn't able to go to either opening, so I didn't have a chance to take photos until some of it was already sold - oops!

Here's a duo of small prints from a show at my friend's consignment clothing store, Moxie:

See that big white space? That's where the other ones were, but... I was too slow, and they sold before I got the photo.

Even better than my art was my friend Martina (the store's owner and my frequent model) was trying on some sweet gear:

The other show I was in was at Free Mind Media, an independent, non-profit collectively run community center (phew!) that a lot of friends are involved in. I missed the event that doubled as the art show opening, but I hear there was some great music and a rad shadow puppet show!

Both shows featured work from these shoots and Mendocino from last year.

busy little photo bee!

I am crazy busy, though unexpectedly, not with shooting or editing (that comes in the next few weeks). I set aside almost this whole week to work on office and computer stuff, which is less fun than shooting, and therefore gets put off forever. So a lot of what I'm busy with involves sitting around while various things upload/ download/ have actions performed on them in Photoshop, etc. And hence I still manage to have time for blogging and emails. But I am definitely on my toes this week!

Here's what's on the agenda:

-catching up on office work
-cleaning said office, and house and office spring cleaning involving getting rid of unneeded stuff and scrubbing needed stuff!
-updating photo archives and database (boring but has to be done)
-continued client communication and marketing
-catching up on blogging! fun.
-getting all gear and info prepped for TWO weddings this weekend (I'm so excited), as well as one each weekend after that for a few weeks.
-maybe thinking about getting ready for my trip to chicago in mid June, as well as other trips I want to take this summer (camping, back to Santa Cruz, LA, maybe NY), as well as the MANY other weddings I'll be shooting in July, August, September and October. we've got an extra long season here in NoCal...
-updating my gear stockpiles a little bit (getting rid of outdated stuff, ordering and maintaining new stuff, etc)
-filing, filing, filing...

and, on the more fun side of things, updating my wedding samples a bit; sending out photos for vendors I love working with to use for their portfolios; and finding time to work on my non-weddings (editorial/ lifestyle) portfolio and impending website.

This is a taste of what that looks like:

I'm so excited to get this thing really going!

Back to work.

Monday, May 21, 2007

assisting at Auberge du Soleil

Phew. I just got back from assisting a wedding photographer friend shoot at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford (in the Napa Valley). What an amazing place! Great views, impeccable service, and amazing food.

The couple were very sweet, and the bride gracious and adorable. I forgot what hard work assisting is - a strange combination of carrying things, rushing around, being invisible and being friendly, and sitting around doing nothing.

I got to second shoot a bit, as well, which is great because when there are beautiful people/ places/ details to shoot and I can't, my fingers just itch for the occasion.

Auberge is a very exclusive, elegant place for a wedding, and I can't wait to book my "own" wedding to photograph there! A lovely, highly recommended venue.

Just a quick update for the day - posts with actual photos from actual shoots, coming very soon. I hope everyone's enjoying the hot, clear weather!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Super small music world!

So these guys from Jennifer and Scott's wedding and I have been emailing a bit - I emailed them to say, "you rocked!"; they emailed me to say "thanks and can we see photos!". Then I let them know the photos are up and got this response:


By the way, I forwarded to the rest of the band the link to your blog.

Take a look at Dan's response (he's the guitarist):

Hey Michael,

Thanks for this. I looked at her blog, and it turns
out that I did some "Vickie gigs" with her brother
Austin. He's an AMAZING jazz drummer. He can play
anything, but if you want jazz, he can really deliver
the goods. You should really try to get his number to
get him in the circle. You won't be disappointed. I
tried to e-mail her to say hi to him for me, but I
didn't see how I could do that.



So, Michael from the Shtetlblasters (and a few other bands) emailed his band member, Dan, who took a look at my blog and checked out the post about Austin's senior recital, and had just the nicest things to say about my all grown up baby brother!

It's wonderful to hear, cause I think he's phenomenal of course, but I don't know if I'm biased a little... It's hard to beat this kind of recommendation though!

Yay for Austin! Yay for music!

Thanks again, Dan; you totally made my day!

a visit to ye olde Curiosity Shoppe

Yesterday I had one of those "I love my job so much" days, where I HAD to drive in to SF on this gorgeous Spring day, I HAD to meet two awesome women for lunch to talk about a super fun wedding over delicious Mexican food, I HAD to wander around the beautiful SF Ferry Building Marketplace on one of the most gorgeous days of the year, I HAD to drive around one of my favorite cities to visit a rad friend I haven't seen in years, etc etc... You get the idea.

I know, poor me! : )

I got to talk with Meeghan and her sister about her wedding and it was one of those meetings where I would catch myself thinking, "am I talking to much? This is so fun that I just can't seem to shut up!". They were great lunch dates, and I am so excited to return to the Outdoor Art Club for Meeghan's fall wedding! It's always a treat for me to work with couples who grew up in the North Bay, too.

If you haven't been to the Ferry Building, I can't recommend it highly enough. I love taking the ferry over from Marin and snacking on the marketplace's artisan breads, cheese, chocolates, meats, produce, olives, caviar, wine, pastries... Heavenly.

Yesterday I tried one of Mijita's delicious Quesadilla Mijita, and a Lime-Cucumber aqua fresca. It was... interesting. It tasted mostly like pickles but in a really unique, refreshing way. Still, a whole cup of it was a bit much.

After our meeting, I drove over to Bernal Heights to visit with my friend Lauren of
the Curiosity Shoppe. I called her spontaneously to say, "hey, I'm in SF and haven't seen you since your wedding in 2004 - what are you doing today?". She said, "it's my birthday!", so of course I had a fabulous excuse to buy cupcakes from Miette. Yum!

(by the way, Lauren, I forgot to tell you - on the way over, I heard on the radio, "If you're celebrating your birthday today, you share it with Janet Jackson". How exciting!)

It was lovely to catch up. She let me photograph the cupcakes to my heart's content before we dove into them. The one that kind of looks like a boob had a marshmallow frosting that was actually yummy (not gross like marshmallow can be), and the "nipple" was not a red hot as suspected - leading me to say for probably the only time in my life, "if you can believe it, the nipple was a Boston Baked Bean!".

Lauren is the big sister of my family's family friends (did that make sense) going back to when I was teeny tiny. Her younger sister is near my age and my older sister was in the same class as Lauren, so I always looked up to her as a big sister. I remember being about 9 and Lauren saying, "check out this cool new video on MTV!" (hey, it was the 90s). She's always been the coolest big sister-type.

Anyway, she and her awesome husband recently opened their online store, The Curiosity Shoppe. The best part is that I've had several friends email me the link, like, "check out this awesome shop I found!" and I get to say, "they're my friends, I know! It's great!"

These photos are just of the office, since their store exists only online:

And, really, it is great. They have the coolest stuff! I tried to narrow down my favorites (still quite a few):

Ceramic Party Cups

Acorn and Leaf Necklace

Porcelain Log Vase

Countertop service Bell

Winging It Notecards (don't be surprised if you get one of these from me!

this gorgeous Antique Crown - please get more, I need it for, um, a prop, yeah, that's it...

Mechanical Music Box kit - write your own music for a music box...

Pinhole Camera Kit

Sunprint Kit (remember these from elementary school?

Matchstick Garden

Okay, I've gotta leave a little room for you to explore, but, seriously, check out the shoppe! It's so fun.

They also have a great blog at

Thanks again, Lauren: