Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens



I consider myself to be a pretty responsible person. I meet my deadlines, respond to emails in a timely fashion etc. but once in a while I get the urge to run off and play hooky. Nothing refreshes and revitalizes me quicker than a dash to somewhere fabulous even if it’s for just an hour or two.

I keep a running list of spots I call my “happy places”. Some are far flung and require lots of planning but most are just a short drive or bike ride away.

One of my favorite and frequently visited happy places is Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. As soon as I step past the ticket booth, any cares I may have carried in quickly fall away. Around every turn there is something lovely to behold – a new flower blooms, a gentle scent soothes. I always intend to check out the latest exhibit in the museum but before I know it, I’ve wiled away all my time in the gardens and the guards are calling closing time but that’s okay, that just gives me an excuse to return again on another day.

Summer hours: (May 31 – September 6) 10:30 – 4:30 Closed Tuesdays
www.huntington.org

A Lazy Monday

Mondays are my day for being lazy. I love nothing more than to stay in my pajamas all day and putter around the house. Eventually I’ll get around to labeling the film we shot over the weekend or tidying up the office for the coming week but nothing can distract me from these tasks easier than leafing through the various photo journals I keep lying around or sifting through my collection of travel and portrait images. I can lose hours reliving the moments and places these photographs were made in. So I hope you’ll be lazy with me. Steep a cup of tea and stay awhile.

Be idyll.

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”
~Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Closet Project, figure 1

I’m married to an extremely patient man. Over the years he has indulged my every cockamamie whim and gone along with any and all creative endeavors I come up with. I wanted to turn our miniscule garage into a wet plate darkroom – no problem. If I need to have double-sided tape at 11:00 at night, he’s on it. There are no limits to his kindness and willingness to make me happy. So when he demanded I clean out my art closet, (insert gasp here) I was stunned!

This is no ordinary closet mind you, to the casual observer it may appear to be brimming with paper scraps, old bottles of ink and an assortment of soiled and rusted items but to the trained eye (namely mine) it is clearly a collection of super awesome art objects and supplies. I have to admit, over the years my collecting compulsion has overtaken my creative ability so he may be justified in this matter but being the kindhearted soul that he is, I have been granted a reprieve – on one condition…I must utilize the contents of the art closet or it will be relegated to storing winter coats and rollerblades.

So with that, I present the Closet Project. Every Friday I will be unveiling a new art piece featuring objects from said closet. I’m hoping it will open some new creative channels – he’s hoping he won’t have to go to our storage unit every time he needs his ski jacket.

The Bruno Family at Griffith Observatory

Lincoln is a very good-natured little boy. He sits quietly while his mother strips him down on a park bench, he thinks nothing of having not only one but two cameras hovering inches from his face. Even when he is dying to go to sleep, he finds his light and poses like a little rock star.

We have never heard him cry or fuss. He may drool a little but hey, teething will do that to you. Getting him to smile is the easiest thing in the world. All we have to do is put mom and dad in his line of sight. Come to think of it, that’s a sure fire way to get mom and dad to smile too.

This is our second photo session with the Bruno family and Larry and I are so looking forward to documenting all of Lincoln’s milestone events, like his first tooth, first steps and birthday.

As members of our Photo Family Club the Brunos receive an increasing discount for each session they book over a two-year period, earning a completely free shoot after ten sessions. This incentive ensures that they will carve out some time every few months to chronicle the changes in their baby boy. Also, even though the baby is certainly the star of the show, one of the things we like best about these shoots is not just photographing the child but also documenting mom and dad’s changing relationship with their baby in both stills and video (mom and dad get to be in some photos as well, rather than stuck behind the camera). Plus, it makes for a fun, memorable family outing. Please contact the studio if you would like to become part of our Photo Family Club.

Vizcaya

The day after Larry and I photographed Bruce and Cherie’s wedding outside Miami, we decided to unwind by checking out Vizcaya a gorgeous mansion with sprawling gardens built by James Deering in the early 1900s. We spent the afternoon ambling along gawking at the fossilized stone pillars and incredible fountains. Our day ended blissfully with us sipping Oranginas under a canopy of wisteria.

Black Hands

One of the things I love most about the tintype process is being in the darkroom with Larry mixing the chemistry. We stand side by side, me reading out the exact directions and he carefully measuring each grain or drop into a beaker. The look on his face is one of sheer concentration, I can’t help thinking he must have had the same expression as a little boy tackling a particularly difficult math problem or affixing a tiny wheel to one his model cars. Our “recipe” book is covered in so many splotches, it’s becoming difficult to make out some of the words. The air hums gently from the whirring fan and all of the day’s demands remain outside that darkroom door. At the end of it, our hands are stained, and we’re a little woozy from ether fumes. For those few hours we remember why we became photographers but most importantly reaffirm how much we love doing everything together.

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