Friday, February 27, 2009

Vintage Family Photos #3 - the Allen Family

So, tonight at midnight is the deadline for entering the engagement session giveaway contest! I forget, every time I run a contests, how terribly hard it is to choose a winner. Who am I to pick one idea out of so many rad ones?! I'm not totally sure I'm going to decide, and I am so grateful to everyone that sent me such fantastic ideas. In any case, I have the weekend to choose the idea I most want to photograph, and I will be emailing everyone on Monday (though you won't know who won until we shoot the photos and get them up on the blog!).

Anyway, to help us all with the suspense of the big decision, I figured it was time for another installment of "Vintage Family Photos". This one, of my mother's family, the Allens!

I find many things interesting about these first few photos. Both of my grandfathers were great amateur hobbyist photographer. On my mother's side, my grandpa "Howdy" (short for Howard, as in Charles Howard Allen - mom, why did so many Allens end up going by their middle names?), was a realtor, a painter, a sculptor, a hunter, and an avid photographer, too. I have many rolls of photos that he shot between the 1940s and 70s... from photos of his family, of duck hunts, of the Bohemian Grove, and of manly things like airplanes and cars. These are some of my very favorite of his shots though: his four children, dressed up for, presumably, a Christmas card shoot.

You can see the bossiness of his posing (the whole "look admiringly up at your older brothers" thing isn't exactly the most natural pose in the world!), and the strictness of 1950s matching outfits for the little girls; but I also see some lovely composition both indoors and out. By all accounts, this was not a super sturdy man working with the most advanced of camera gear (my mom does a great impression of him kind of bobbing around and fidgeting with his old Brownie camera), but I think he got great results! Just another example of how it's not the gear, it's what you do with the gear.

On a more superficial note, I like seeing my mom and aunt and uncles way back in the olden days. I like laughing at how ridiculously tan Peter is; how young uncle Wheat (yes, Wheatley) is; how cute mom and Susie are, even (or especially?) matching. I like seeing the happy hunting dog (what breed is that?) that was one the precursors for the Jenny-doggie that I knew in the 1980s. I love how the black and white film and the square format creates such a unique, vintage feel for the images. I like thinking that I got my photographic interest from the grandfathers I knew but wish I could've known better.

And, best of all - I LOVE the adorable, Stinson Beach-inspired outfits of this mid-1960s image! :)

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Engagement Session Contest - Deadline is Friday!

Don't forget to send me your awesome Engagement/ Newlywed/ Couple Photo Session idea to enter to win the contest for a free session! Details are here, deadline is this Friday!

I'm getting lots of great ideas from all of the country. But the SF Bay Area is a little underrepresented, so, come on and think up some cool locations, ideas, etc!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Some rainy day photos

We had a wonderfully cozy rainy day weekend, mostly relaxing at home and vising with family. During the wedding off season, I have time to do things I normally don't do, like take weekends off (ahhh), do lots of portrait and personal shoots, and lounge around with Devon and the kitty while it pours outside. Though I love summer and sunshine, I also enjoy the rain (especially when it hopefully will help us avoid a drought!), and did a little self assignment of random, fun photos taken around the house. I shot for about 10 or 15 minutes, just wandering around and looking at stuff, which is a really fun way to appreciate our home (and how much work we need to do). Here are some of those shots.

Ashes in the fireplace:

Sculpture thingy Devon made on our mantle, with candle stick:

Sleepy kitty watching the rain:

Front step:

Neighbors' trees seen from guest room:

1980s- and 1990s-style accessories:

Guest room projects:

Neighbors' chimney, two ways:

My green corduroy Puma sneakers (I'm so sad I can't find another pair! I never want these to fall apart...):

Bedroom peek at raindrops:

Sunny, surprise daffodils:

Miscellaneous office ceiling:

A living room that needs to be cleaned, a cozy fire in the fireplace, and too many electronics:

And a couple more kitty shots - because I can't help it!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Eternal Champions' first show! Private holiday party

Devon's new band played their first show - finally! - in December, at our friends' office holiday party. His band, Eternal Champions, along with the band Loma Prieta, rocked the house. But that wasn't all - there was also a massage therapist, a caricature artist, a fortune teller, a craps table, and lots and lots of snacks! It was the most fun holiday party I've ever been to.

Here's Dev before the show - looking nervous yet drinking more coffee:

The warehouse location (top secret, sorry) of the party is filled with arcade games and other fun stuff!

Everyone loves Olympia the dog:

This is one of my favorite recent music purchases - in the age of the mp3 digital download, some of our friends decided to release their most recent albums on cassette tape. Everything is totally true to the old school style of tapes. I bought two, one to listen to and one to keep in mint condition, because I am a HUGE geek, but then Devon knocked the "mint" one over and the packaging ripped open. So, if anyone wants the 5 tape collection and missed out... let me know ; )

First was Loma Prieta, with Devon's best friend for over 15 years now, Sean, singing and playing guitar. Loudly but beautifully!

Josh Staples of the Velvet Teen and the New Trust guests for a few pretty phrases on one song:

And then Eternal Champions hit the floor! I am biased (it's true) but people seemed to really like them. I've tried to describe them, and the closest I can come is "video game inspired music with metal riffs".

What do you do when your guitar strap falls completely off? Just drop to your knees and keep jamming!

Everything is really, really grainy (and out of focus) because it was extremely dark in there. During the Loma Prieta set, I was like, ok, cool, this is fun to experiment with. Then someone turned out even MORE lights, so I was basically shooting by the light of really-far-away Christmas lights and Devon's laptop screen. Something like ISO 3200, pushed in RAW processing, at f1.4 and 1/20th of a second.

OK, I'm off for the weekend, so have a lovely weekend, don't forget to enter my engagement shoot giveaway contest (or inquire about your discounted portrait session), and stay tuned for more photos soon!

In the meantime, enjoy the sun (SF Bay Area only, I guess - and we're supposed to get rain, so enjoy it for about another hour). Our daffodils (which we didn't know we had - yay for moving into a house with new mystery bulbs planted!) popped up out of nowhere yesterday, so vibrant and yellow. Hooray for spring!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

official launch of the redesigned! - plus published work

What an exciting week! I'm gearing up for a ton of portrait shoots in the next few months - including a free engagement session given to a lucky couple, plus a limited number of discounted portrait sessions*, some personal work, and more. But what I'm currently most excited about is the official relaunch of!

(*the mini portrait sessions available are: $175 for a half hour's shoot, online hosting, and a 5x7" print. Email me at for more details!)

If you didn't get the email newsletter, and would like to, just drop me a line ( and I'll forward it to you. Besides the engagement shoot giveaway, the portrait session discounts, and the web relaunch (phew!), I also announced a 10% discount on all final albums through March. So, this is a great time to order your album design!

In addition, there is a profile of my photography business, approach and style in this month's Rangefinder Magazine - "the magazine for professional photographers". Click here to see the article, but please know that it's a pdf link, so you will be asked to download the article.

Finally, my very favorite wedding style blog, Style Me Pretty, just featured yet another wedding that I shot - this one is Joelle and Chris's lovely autumn Santa Cruz wedding. I am so lucky that SMP enjoys my work so much, and that I get such crazy cool and creative weddings to shoot! You can see the feature on SMP's Little Black Book Blog here, and watch for more!

I am really happy about all of these, but I feel that in my excitement, I bumped Jeannette and Hoover's wedding a little too quickly - normally I would've let it hang out as the first blog entry for most of the week. And I really love looking at the photos of Jeannette and Hoover, so happy and in love in the warm, sparkling sunlight of Orange County. So, here is one of my favorite shots from there day (again), and a link back to that post - if you haven't already seen it, please check it out now!

Stayed tuned for photos of my husband's new band's first show... coming up soon!