A beautiful day in Seattle

We had the pleasure of being asked to travel to Seattle recently to photograph three generations of the Barizo, Schultz clan.

It was an incredibly warm, beautiful day and everyone was in great spirits. The shoot took place in a lovely neighborhood park where a lush forest overlooked a sandy beach. (Only in Seattle, right?) Layni and her little brother Logan kept everyone entertained (and us on our feet) by busting out into some spontaneous dancing while their mom and dad did a little canoodling under a redwood tree.

I could go on and on describing this really fun photo session but the video below will do a much better job illustrating the day. Hope you like it and that you’ll spend a little time enjoying these last days of summer with your family!

Live a creative life…

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

~Joseph Chilton Pearce

Daisy & Matt’s sixth anniversary

Is it wrong to admit that I look more forward to Daisy and Matt’s anniversary than I do our own? Okay, I may be overstating things a tiny bit, but my point is, I do get very excited when I get the call from Daisy in mid-July wanting to schedule a sitting.

Every year for the past six years, we’ve done a photo session to mark the occasion. What I really love about these shoots, besides the fact that this darling couple has such great chemistry and is a total breeze to photograph, is that this is a true collaboration between all of us. Daisy and Matt spend a lot of time thinking about the story they want to tell. Wardrobe, props and locations are carefully considered and a volley of emails go back and forth until the perfect concept is agreed upon. I think they love photography as much as we do. The fact that they not only encourage but push us creatively each time, is a total blast.

This year, they were so generous in renting a horse for me to photograph from. What started out as a practical consideration (see post below) turned into a really great experience for me. It was truly the most fun I’ve ever had on a shoot.

Daisy and Matt, you know we think the world of you. We’re so grateful for your loyalty and hope your sixth year of marriage is just as magical as the first!

Click here to see images from their fifth anniversary.

All in a day’s work…

Larry and I did a really fun shoot recently. Our clients, Daisy and Matt had their hearts set on having horses for part of their anniversary photo session. We thought it would be a good idea for one of us to be on horseback too so that not all of our shots would be from ground level, looking up. Since Larry is allergic to horses, the task of riding while shooting fell to me.

 Let me just preface this by saying that I have basically zero riding experience. When I first mounted my horse, Rosie, I thought, “Oh no, there is no way I’m going to be able to hold on for dear life and snap even one photo”. Even though she wasn’t particularly big (by equine standards) or rambunctious (she was in fact, extremely gentle) For the first 5 minutes or so, it felt like I was 20 feet in the air on the back of a bucking bronco.

 Luckily by the time we rode to the beach, I had found my balance and learned to go with Rosie’s groove. The fact that our guide, Paco had us on a close tether, also boosted my confidence tremendously. When it came time to shoot, I quickly put aside my jitters and got to work. You can see from the photo that Rosie was much more interested in nuzzling Paco’s horse than with doing me any harm.

 As it turns out our plan worked great. Larry got some killer shots from below (doesn’t he look adorable in Matt’s riding helmet?) and I’m happy to say I was able to hold my own and deliver some nice shots too.

We’ll be posting the fruits of our labor here tomorrow so please come back and take a look.

If you want great wedding photos…

We all know planning a wedding can be costly and one of the biggest expenses you will most likely incur is with your photographer. In my opinion, the outlay of funds is well worth it. The work she will produce on your big day will live on for many years and truly is the only tangible thing you will have to remember this very special event by.

So what can you do to make the most of your photography investment? You may think in order to have spectacular photos you’ll need to have your wedding in a super-fancy venue or spend an exorbitant amount of money on a designer gown and elaborate table settings. While these elements are the proverbial icing on the cake, the single most important thing you can do won’t put even the tiniest dent in your budget. If you want to maximize your investment and insure that you’ll get the best work from your photographer, then the best thing you can give her, is time.

Any photographer worth her salt, will lay out a shooting schedule with the bride well in advance of the wedding. Trust that these time allotments are in place for a reason. Yes, to a first time bride, an hour devoted to just getting into the bridal gown may seem excessive but what your photographer has done is not only set aside time for the act of dressing, (which by the way, always takes way longer than most people think it will) but she’s also allowing for the wonderfully serendipitous photogenic occasions that occur if everyone is not rushed and running around frantically.

Moments such as a spontaneous toast amongst bridesmaids or the emotional exchange when Dad pops into the dressing room and sees his little girl in her gown for the first time make for the classic images that you, the bride will always treasure and photos such as these won’t ever materialize unless there is sufficient time for them to occur.

 I could go on and on with one example after another but I think you get my point. Yes, your photographer recommending you be photo-ready two or three hours prior to the ceremony may seem like a hassle, but consider this; you’ve spend countless hours planning your wedding and choosing the right artist to document your day. Why would you tie her hands by denying her the one resource she needs most?

Good old fashioned strawberry ice cream

It seems like you can’t swing a dead cat in the ice cream aisle of your local supermarket these days without knocking all kinds of exotic flavors off the shelf. While I’m the first to admit, I love salted caramel and candied bacon on pretty much well… everything, sometimes I crave something simple, classic and old school. With strawberries being so sweet and plentiful at this time of year, this is the perfect icy treat to make right now.

 The beautiful thing about homemade ice cream is that the ingredients really shine through taste-wise; much more so than the store-bought version. What I mean is, if strawberry ice cream has left you less than thrilled in the past, give this version a try. Its luscious berry flavor will fill your mouth with the sweetest taste of summer.

First you’ll want to bring out all of the berries’ goodness
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 plastic green container of fresh strawberries hulled and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon of sugar

Here’s what you do:
Place your cut up strawberries in a large bowl, sprinkle the sugar over them, stir well, cover with plastic wrap and let them sit at room temperature for about an hour. You foodies out there will know this as macerating. Whatever you want to call it, the result will be beautifully glistening berries and lots of delicious juice.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your ice cream base:
1 1/2 cups of half & half
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
4 egg yolks
the macerated strawberries you prepared earlier

Here’s what you do:
Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl set over an ice bath. Place a mesh strainer over the cream.
Heat the half & half and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn the oven down low.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Ladle a little bit of your warm half & half mixture into the eggs and beat the egg mixture vigorously. Keep adding a little of the half & half to the eggs while stirring until most of it is in the egg bowl. Return the eggs and half & half mixture back into your saucepan. What you’ve done is temper your eggs. If you don’t do this step, the warm mixture could scramble your eggs and trust me,  I’ve had this happen, it ain’t pretty!

Now you will continually stir this mixture with a wooden spoon being careful to scrape the bottom of the pan. Once the custard is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon, take it off the heat.

The last step is pour this mixture through the sieve and into your heavy cream. Add the macerated strawberries and stir until it all cools down. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I usually leave my custards in the fridge overnight).

Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker and you will have the best strawberry ice cream of your life! And if you feel compelled to fancy-pants it up a bit, drizzle some good quality balsamic vinegar into it in the last couple of minutes churning.

Enjoy!

Why suffer for beauty?

I can’t tell you how many brides I’ve seen suffer over the years from cramming their feet into too high, too tight heels on their wedding day. With stylish options such as these, flats may be the way to go!

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