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    Napa Wedding ::: Under the Oak Tree

    The weather has finally changed, at least temporarily here in LA and there's a much welcomed chill in the air. The leaves don't quite turn into rich fall colors, but the wind blows and I love how my face feels cold and my nose resembles a beloved reindeer we all know. Seth and Megan's wedding was gorgeous, up in northern California at Megan's parents house, where in fact, seasons do exist.

    One of my favorite things about weddings is that no matter what kind of positive impression I have of the bride and groom before the wedding, more often than not, my admiration for the couple grows after being a part of their big day. This was especially true of Seth and Megan. They both share a spirit of quiet confidence and show genuine concern and care for those around them. It was beautiful to be a part of such a special day for them, their family, and friends. Happy upcoming Anniversary Seth & Megan, I hope it's one to remember!


    Lucky We Live Hawaii

    Wait, what? So I may not live in Hawaii anymore and it's really weird to come to terms with the fact that I've lived on the mainland for the past 7 years. It makes me feel old and the feeling is intensified by the fact that my birthday is tomorrow. I'll be a quarter of a century old and the rite of passage of renting a car without the inevitable underage fee is on my side and quite frankly, nothing else except that I am definitely in my mid-twenties. Aside from my ill-placed insecurities of getting older, for those of you who don't know, "lucky we live Hawaii" is a phrase that we say when we see the sunset or the daily dose of rainbows, when we get to swim with honus, where the ocean gives us comfort and the sun gives us life. Though I may not be able to say "lucky we live Hawaii" anymore for now, I am very lucky that I get to visit so often. I'm grateful and humbled that my friends are supporting my craft and hiring me as their wedding photographer.

    I was in Hawaii this past weekend for my third wedding this year on Oahu. It's been such a treat and, to be honest, somewhat of a necessity to be able to see my family this much. It's been a difficult year for my family back home and I'm thankful that friends have seen something special enough in my work to fly me out for their biggest day yet.

    Here's to Jon & Hope, may you have the best honeymoon in Maui, getting lucky in our beautiful Hawaii ;) 


    Pineapple Fields Forever

    A few of my favorite shots from a shoot we did months ago on the North Shore of Oahu. We didn't have time to do a day after session, so we opted for a "day after session" a few months later the next time I was in town. Don't these make you want to skip work and book the next plane to Honolulu? It sure does for me. It's true what they say, the older you become the more you appreciate where you came from. It's obvious my love for Hawaii grows each year, isn't it?

    Thank you to Chris and Mel for traipsing through the red dirt with me, I had a wonderful time. I'm looking forward to being in Hawaii at the end of the month to shoot Chris' brother's wedding at the same location I was married at! I think it's safe to say it will be an emotional day for me :)

    If you'd like to see more photos, this session was featured on Style Me Pretty a couple months ago, enjoy!


    Little Islands

    I was born with an unusual birthmark on my left arm. It begins on the top of my hand, travels its way up my arm in sporadic splotches, and if I crane my neck far enough I can just see the last little mark on the back of my shoulder. It's one of those things that never really bothered me though. As a kid I would tell people they were the Hawaiian Islands because there are eight little "islands" on my arm.

    I have a memory from when I was seven or eight playing at a friends house. I could feel her eyes staring at my left arm and could tell she was trying to figure out what it was. I responded to her looks with, "no, I didn't get burned, it's just a birthmark." Caught off-guard, she mustered up some wit and courage and said "it looks really good on you."

    Don't be ashamed of those little physical inconsistencies or "islands", allow them to take on a little role of what makes you, you. Don't hide those birth marks, freckles, beauty marks or whatever your "something different" is, because honestly, it looks really good on you.

    Fell in love yesterday with Kate's freckles


    Let Go

    This was one of the best moments I've had at a wedding, as simple as it was. The flower girls just decided to go for it. They giggled together and with a burst of adrenaline started running down the aisle in a full sprint. The crowd started laughing and I wondered if anyone or everyone was thinking and feeling my same emotions as we witnessed this joyful and unplanned dash or escape from the pressure of petal tossing.

     When's the last time you've done something spontaneous? I definitely wish I had more of a carefree outlook towards life. I wish I had the guts to grab my pal and hop on a plane, or get in the car and drive 2,000 miles to who knows where. Spontaniety has never been my strong suite. I'm careful, I plan, I make pro/con lists, I do my research, while relying on structure to help me complete my tasks since my artist brain doesn't naturally lend itself to organization. I hold on to the what if's, always wanting to be responsible and being fearful of letting people down. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the responsibilty jacket that I wear so often, it's a part of me and I'm proud of that fact that I'm reliable, and can be counted on when it matters and even when it doesn't, but sometimes, much of the time, I wish I could just let it go, take off the heavy coat of "mulling over the consequences of my actions" and just take a risk. I want that rush of adrenaline, I want to feel my hair blowing in the wind as I take a chance. I know I'll get there one day, I plan on it.

    P.S. I may or may not have been listening to Frou Frou's "Let Go" while writing this :)


    On blogging, or the lack thereof...

    So, it's true...

    I'm not very good at blogging, especially weddings. And by "good" I mean, I don't update frequently and I take forever to blog a full wedding. I feel this pressure when posting photos of a wedding that the goal is story-telling. It almost becomes more of a slideshow, a chronological approach to documenting the day. If it were up to me (who is it up to, btw?) I'd just post my favorites, in any order. But instead of sharing the images that move me, the ones that give me that quiet excitement in my chest, I end up taking months to post because the pressure of "perfect story-telling" has become the finish line. If photographers really wanted to be great story-tellers, wouldn't video be a better medium anyway?

    I read the artist statement of my photo professor at Biola and it resonated with me in my approach to blogging.

    "Photography is not good at very many things- it is a poor storyteller if what you want is a didactic or linear narrative. You can read a book for that. Rather, photography is uniquely suited for addressing the 'ever-passing present moment' - which really means it's more akin to poetry. It is good at emphasizing certain notes, tones, elements, and emotions - and lingering on them in time and space long enough to feel awkward, compelled, agitated, soothed, or simply paused... even struck... urged to reconcile with the moment that you are viewing." - Kurt Simonson

    I realize this isn't that best business tactic and it's probably on a no-no list for ways to get more followers, nor is it a good tip to share with other photographers, but at the end of the day I have to enjoy what I do and I want to share those things, even if the order is non-sensical and it takes a few more moments to understand what's going on.

    As Sam says in Moonrise Kingdom, "Poems don't always have to rhyme, you know. They're just supposed to be creative." With that said, enjoy a few snippets, a poem with no rhymes.

    Morten & Tanya. Los Angeles, CA. April 2012

    Josham & Ali. Vero Beach, FL. March 2012

    Ed & Jesse. Canyon Lake, CA. June 2012

    John & Alex. Highland Springs Resort, CA. April 2012.


    Starry Night, Starry Kitchen

    I know I've been a bit MIA, but rest assured, I have lots to share in the next few weeks!

    But today, I was able to attend Creative Mornings and the guest speaker was none other than Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen! If you haven't been to SK and you live in LA - SHAME ON YOU! It's one of our favorite places to eat and my husband, David, even ate there when it was still operating "illegally" back in 2009. The talk today was honest, hilarious, and inspiring with the message essentially being work hard, play hard, take risks, and do what you love. The thing that tied it all together for me as a "creative morning session" was that Nguyen doesn't do things the most conventional way and typically, a more complicated way, but by doing that he's able to connect with more people to build relationships. He loves people and food and has found a way to marry the two in a fun and surprising space, Starry Kitchen.

    Back in March, I was scheming up a plan for David's birthday. Since it's our first year of marriage I felt some sort of unspoken added pressure to make it special. It's tough because David can be a bit reserved and doesn't like the spotlight and as an introvert myself, I understand. I thought of doing something just the two of us, but I really wanted others to celebrate with us. I decided we should go to SK with two of our food-loving friends. Then, I got a little creative. I emailed SK and asked if they'd be up for making a special dinner for us. I gave them a budget and said, create whatever you want, I trust you completely! Sure enough, they took on the challenge and made us an amazing feast. David still talks about the pork belly, I rant on about the dessert and our friends always bring up that "subtle, yet full of flavor" soup. I emailed David the day of, telling him to meet me there and that Phil (his boss) said it was okay. Since David works in the film industry he tends to work long hours and I always tease that Phil said he could leave early :)

    It was such a special birthday to remember for David and myself. The Kitchen Ninja was amazing, we were in awe each time a new course came out. They even brought in their special Zojirushi rice maker from home just for us! Of course Nguyen took the time to explain the process and ingredients of each dish and made sure we were lovin' it all. Everything was so so so good, I don't know if I've even been that full!

    Thanks again to SK for making our night one to remember, we love ya'll, balls and all! (If you don't know what I'm talking about, just go visit SK for yourself!)