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Bethany and Tommy at Balboa Lake

We photographed Bethany and Tommy’s engagement shoot on the first day of Spring and as we all know, Spring is a time of new beginnings. It’s only fitting then that their sitting be redolent of blossoms, green grass and all things Spring-y. For not only were these photographs made on that auspicious day, but in a few short weeks, they will begin their journey as husband and wife.

To say that Bethany and Tommy were a pleasure to photograph would be a major understatement. Our session took over two hours and never did their enthusiasm or chemistry wane! They gave us so much of themselves. If it hadn’t been for the ominous sounds of the park ranger’s bullhorn announcing closing time and the fear of getting locked in the parking lot – we could have photographed them long into the night.

Bethany, your beauty utterly transcends the celluloid image. You are truly one of the loveliest, warmest, women I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing. Tommy, you just ooze Texas charm. From the top of your head to the tips of your cowboy boots, your graciousness and humor shine through. We are sooo looking forward to photographing your wedding in June.

We hope you like your photos. There is lots more to come!

“Tintypes” for Bethany & Tommy

Larry and I photographed a really fun engagement session last week with Bethany and Tommy. During our shoot, Tommy mentioned how much he liked the tintypes he had seen on our website.

Well, Tommy while we may not have been able to do traditional tintypes for you, I thought you might get a kick out of these faux ones.

We’ll be posting lots more tomorrow of our session so please come on back!

Sweet words…

Just had to share what Gina had to say about the sneak peak we posted of her wedding at Pelican Hill.

“We are GIDDY over these sneak-peak photos! I can’t
believe how exciting this is- and how AMAZING the pictures are! You
certainly captured the fun of the night and I am so thrilled. I can’t wait
to see them all!”

I’m so glad you like what you see so far Gina. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Brace yourself for lots more fun, gorgeous, lovely moments!


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.
~Marcel Proust

Milk Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream? Oh My!

If this isn’t the perfect ending to your Saint Patrick’s Day feast, then one surely doesn’t exist.

Imagine if you will…creamy, luscious milk chocolate ice cream swirling on your tongue. But what’s this tangy counterpoint? Why, it’s a touch of Guinness – cutting through the sweetness in the most marvelous way.

These two flavors are so unexpected but combine so beautifully together, you may just start sipping beer with your mid-afternoon chocolate fix!

This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz’s fabulous book The Perfect Scoop. If any of you reading this are into making your own ice cream, (and considering how inexpensive and easy to use today’s ice cream makers are, why wouldn’t you?) then this is a must-have in your cookbook library.

Here’s what you’ll need:
~8 ounces finely chopped milk chocolate.
I find that one of those one lb bars from Trader Joe’s works great. Plus there’s lots left over for snacking on. 🙂
~1 cup whole milk
~1/2 cup of sugar
~Pinch of salt
~4 large egg yolks
~1 cup heavy cream
~3/4 cup Guinness Stout
I’ve tried this recipe with other stouts and none work as well as Guinness. The beer flavor is much less pronounced with other brands.
~1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here’s what to do:
Put your finely chopped chocolate in a bowl with a strainer over it and set aside.
Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the milk mixture into your eggs a little at a time while whisking the eggs continuously. You are tempering the eggs so that the heat of the milk won’t scramble them. Once you’ve added all your milk mixture to the eggs, pour it all back into your saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a silicone spatula. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir. Once the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula, pour the mixture through the strainer onto your chopped chocolate.

Stir until the chocolate is melted. Once it’s smooth, whisk in the cream, then the Guinness, and finally the vanilla. Place this bowl in an ice bath and stir until cooled.

This is where your patience will be tested. Cover this bowl of deliciousness with Saran Wrap and refrigerate until very cold. I chill mine overnight but if you just can’t wait that long, then 3 hours should do the trick. Speaking of tricks, in order to avoid your mixture developing a skin, be sure to press down the plastic wrap so that it’s touching in all places.

Once it’s nice and cold, all that’s left to do is put it in your ice cream maker and prepare your taste buds for the joy that is to come!

Hope you all have a great Saint Patrick’s Day and that you’ll indulge in this yummy treat!

I am not afraid of tomorrow…

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
~ William Allen White

My favorite iPhone apps & how I combine them…

You only have to spend five minutes with me to come to the realization that I am not a “techie” person. I still shoot film and my favorite way to connect with friends is not via a social networking site but over a latte at Barnes & Noble. But the one technical device that you will have to pry out of my dead cold hand is my iPhone. I don’t use it much for talking or texting but for image making. I don’t even mind being stuck at the DMV for hours on end as long as I have a fresh batch of shots in my photo library and a few imaging apps to play with.

Since some of you have expressed interest in my iPhone photos, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite apps and show you how I combine them to create original, artful photographs.

Do you know that saying, “the best camera is the one that’s with you”? Well, never has that been truer than now. The optics and resolution of today’s smart phone cameras is astounding and its small size makes it easier than ever to photograph on the go. Add to that the hundreds if not thousand of apps designed to enhance those photos and you have a bottomless well of creativity at your fingertips. I never leave the house without activating the camera feature on my phone. I’m often rewarded with lovely images in the most unlikely of places. For instance…

This droopy little tree sat behind a chain link fence in an agricultural field. I had often ridden past it on my bike, and one day it just called out for me to photograph it. It was a gloomy overcast day and I didn’t hold out much hope for a successful image. But after maneuvering my phone through the holes in the fence (another advantage to having a small photo capturing device) and snapping off a few shots, I was determined to try to make something of it.

When faced with a flat, dull image like this, the app I reach for first is Plastic Bullet. It approximates a plastic camera by serving up a series of random variations on your photo – sort of like what you get when you shoot a roll of film in one of said cameras. I kept rotating through different treatments until the image on the right came up. I liked that it appeared as if the soil was eroding beneath the tree.

Instagram comes with lots of great filters but the one I used here, Early Bird, is my absolute favorite. I use it 85% of the time. I love the square crop and that the tone is not too heavy. Plus it adds just the right amount of brightness to most images. I think this combination of apps created an interesting photograph of what was at first glance, a dreary scene.

I always keep my phone on me when I’m gardening and on this day, I was surprised by Tupelo peeking out at me from his lair of ferns. I photographed him with an app called Tiltshift Generator. You can see from the image on the left that it blurs the edges while leaving the center sharp. I use a tilt shift lens quite often with my “real” cameras so I really enjoy playing around with it on my iPhone too.
I felt however, that all of the leaves and branches were detracting from Tupelo’s face in this instance so I opened this photo in Instagram; cropped it and applied the Inkwell filter to it. By doing this, I am giving him more prominence in the frame and making it more of a traditional portrait.

Thinking I could still improve this shot, I used Old Photo Pro to soften it a bit and add a sepia tone. This coloring really enhances Tupelo’s amber colored eyes and brings him and his environment into balance.

So here you have a few of my favorite apps and ways to combine them. I hope you’ll download a new app today and give it a shot. Remember to layer and play until you come upon some cool combinations of your own.

If you’re just getting into iphoneography, I highly recommend you join Instagram. You’ll not only find lots of inspiration but most photographers on there are really generous with feedback and advice. My user name is isabellawrence. Let me know when you’ve joined so I can follow. If you don’t have a smart phone but would still like to see how my iPhone imagery is progressing, you can find me on Followgram.

My wish is that this post has inspired you to document your every-day life in a creative way and that you’ll discover how much fun making images with your phone can be!

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