July 31, 2012

Summer Morning Meandering …

through downtown Laguna.  Before the crowds arrived.  (I only tripped over a couple photography shoots in session – grin).  Before the sun came out.  I might even have meandered through a couple stores and bought some clothes.  A not unpleasant way to spend a morning. 

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And a little Laguna via Instagram …

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July 30, 2012

Newport Vacation :: Orange County Family Lifestyle Photography

Such a fabulous summer vacation!  C-Family was celebrating their one year anniversary and the merging of their two beautiful families into one beautiful family.  It was my distinct pleasure to hang out with them as they recouped from their fun day at Disneyland and got ready for their sunset dinner on the beach.  From the happiest place on earth to one of the prettiest places on earth.  We snapped away until the Beachcomber Bistro had their dinner table ready...

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Ok, so here’s the deal.  I think it’s time I lay my cards out on the table.  Yes, I take “portrait” pictures.  Yes, I even do some loose “posing” – meaning, I’ll move you into close proximity and see what unfolds from there.  And yes, back in my beginning photography days, my website originally promised 25-35 images from each session.  Now my website promises a minimum of 40 images. But, here’s the real low-down:  I’m unabashedly a “lifestyle” photographer.  I provide a *boatload* of images from each & every session I photograph.  I shoot your family the same way that I shoot my own:  to tell a story.  To capture the details, the stuff that helps you go right back to that moment in time, smell the smells, see the sights, feel the feelings, remember the love.  All the pictures, they go together.  They belong together.  As a whole, they tell your story.  It's why I always encourage my clients to buy the digitals or to get an album that has all the pictures together.  

C-Family, I know some of the pictures I took might seem downright silly, inconsequential – “why would she take a picture of that?”  Here's my intent:  that you would look upon these images and always remember that darling-baby-girl was constantly in motion as she approached her 2nd birthday.  That she was adored by all and rarely not being held and loved on by someone.  That bougainvillea bloomed abundantly everywhere in Orange County. That grandpa, after 50+ years of marriage, unabashedly carries grandma’s purse and is none the less manly for his service.  That grandma is one stylish lady (I love the bling on her jacket!).  That the fireplace in Newport came in handy to ward off the chill of the July marine layer (a not uncommon phenomenon during “summer” in SoCal).  That Dad is eminently at ease behind a bar and loves to serve up a tasty drink to one and all.  That there was joyful exuberance in jumping.  That the sun rays burning through the clouds were awe-inspiring.  That the silly songs sung on the shuttle made everyone laugh.  That grown-up "children", who didn't grow up together, carved time out of their busy lives to come hang out together and forge new family ties.  And Mr. & Mrs. C, that on the eve of your one year anniversary, you are not only still deeply in love but that you are clearly best friends.  I hope these pictures help you always to remember this lovely moment in time.  Thank you for allowing me to be a witness to it all.  

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Newport Beach Family Photographer

July 28, 2012

How Much More?


If then God so gloriously arrays the flowers, 
which are today in the field, and tomorrow are cast into the furnace; 
how much more will he clothe and care for you, O ye of little faith?
Luke 12:28


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July 24, 2012

Summer Yum: Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

honey lime chicken

I found this very yummy recipe here.  I made a couple substitutions.  I used the cheese mix I already had (cheddar, jack, asadero, queso blanco - not lowfat).  I used Trader Joe's Salsa Verde instead of green enchilada sauce.  I used fresh unbaked tortillas (cooked them up first, of course).  I've never seen nonfat half & half, so I used the real deal.  I used super awesome chili powder from Penzeys.  It was quick & easy.  And it was DELICIOUS. And perfectly summerly.  I would serve it to guests (btw, this is our highest compliment. Our rating system goes like this: 1. Do you like it? 2. Would you make it again? 3. Would you serve it to guests?).

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July 23, 2012

Summer Tradition: Tie Dye.

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This is our best batch yet, methinks.  So in order NOT to forget the steps we took, I’m taking notes that I can revisit next year …


1.  We used a Tulip kit this time.  But now that I have all the bottles and instruction packets, I’ll just buy the small dye packets next year.  Each bottle will simply need about 1/2 t. to 1 t. dye powder.  Add hot water & shake to dissolve.


2.  Dampen t-shirt *before* adding dye.  (way better for letting dye soak in.  otherwise, dye tends to puddle up & spill off)


3.  Wrap dyed t-shirts up in plastic grocery bags and let sit for 7-8 hours.  (next year I might try leaving them to soak for up to 24 hrs)


4.  Important:  *before washing* in machine, rinse t-shirts thoroughly with cold water until dye stops bleeding off.  This helped hugely to keep the white parts of the t-shirts white (instead of turning them all pink, or whatever the dominant dye color is).  All our efforts in the past have created not-white t-shirts.  Then wash shirts in washer in COLD water, no soap, with a little bit of vinegar.  Hang to dry.  2nd wash will be with light soap.

 5.  Wear t-shirts til you all outgrow them.  And then pass on to younger cousin.  Winking smile

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July 20, 2012

Life is kinda messy.

Literally.  And cluttered.  And grimy.  And in the summer, full of games, puzzles, bionicles, and down time.  IMG_5772


Someday, I’ll have a neater house.  With less clutter.  And certainly without grimy oak coffee tables, and fingerprints on the microwave, and hand/dirt/smudgemarks on all the walls 4’ and down, and disgusting bathroom … (ewww, let’s not go there) … Someday.  Someday in the not too distant future; probably within a decade.  And I’m probably going to get all sentimental and miss these things.


Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m not gonna miss the sticky fingerprints or the dirty walls or the bathroom disgustingness.  But this cluttered coffee table with life happening all over it?  I’m gonna miss it.

July 17, 2012

Let’s Talk Instagram.

The pluses.  The negatives.  The convenience.  The dangers.  Instagram vs. real camera pictures…

My First Mistake:

I’m new to IG.  Just dipped my toes in the water last Friday.  I immediately dumped a bunch of pics in my feed.  And thus from the get-go, broke one of the biggie “etiquette” rules of IG – don’t bog down your followers’ feeds with a bunch of pics.  But hey, I’m new.  And don’t have followers.  So I’m not bogging.  Much.  [sheepish grin]

Why I Avoided It So Long:

I’ve stayed out of IG waters til now for a variety of reasons.  In the beginning, because I didn’t have an iphone (still don’t, but IG is now available for android phones).  In the middle, because I didn’t really want another “social media” outlet.  And more recently, because I’ve feared becoming one of those photographers who seems to favor IG over real camera photos.  (I have good friends – you know who you are!! – who have begun taking almost all of their personal pictures on their phone – because it’s super simple, fast, & convenient – instead of going to the trouble of using or bringing along the “real” camera (y’know, the one where you actually have to choose your focus, set your exposure, compose, shoot, import, edit, export? – I know, it’s a pain!  But, hey, at the end of the day, you actually have a great picture that has better than 2” resolution!).

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Why I Caved:

Dare I admit it?  I really like the simple Instagram filters.  And the tilt shift.  I love the tilt shift.  I wanted to “fancy” up my phone pics.  And sometimes and some places, I just don’t feel like hauling along the real camera gear.  I wanna travel light.  I just want simple phone pics.
But.  Back to this whole Instagram etiquette thing.  I’m not supposed to post a bunch of pics.  So my typical storytelling-by-taking-a-bunch-of-pictures-that-together-show-the-day style isn’t going to work on Instagram.  (after all, that’s what a blog is for)   Ok.  So I need to restrain myself and post only one (or maybe two, grin).  But I still want all the phone pics edited similarly …

A Tip:  How to Use Instagram Edits Without Posting to Instagram

I learned that I can apply all the IG filters I like and just not upload to my feed by … putting my phone in airplane mode (turning off the wireless) so that the upload fails.  But still saves to my phone.  Win-win.  I get my edits.  I don’t bog down the IG feed.  And instead I can make a big ol’ collage that tells my “story” and post it right here on my blog.


1.  Have you fallen prey to shooting with your phone instead of your real camera?  How do you find the balance?
2.  What are your favorite apps that play along with Instagram?  I’m looking for one that will allow me to post a full vertical or full horizontal with white backdrop (to fill out the square).  I’ve yet to find such an app that works with android.
3.  Are you guilty of over-posting?  Or do you only post every once in a blue moon?
4.  How often do you check your IG?  Continuously?  A couple times a day?  Every once in a purple moon?
5.  Is your feed public?  Or Private?  What drove your decision?
6.  Did your other social medias (ie. blogging, Facebooking, Pinteresting, twittering, Flickr-ing) take a backseat to Instagram or just come right alongside?
7.  Is Instagram here to stay?  Or just the “flavor” du jour?

The end result that I want from Instagram: 1. cute edited phone pics that I can include in my annual family album and 2. to feel like I’ve had a quick daily interaction/“conversation” with my favorite photographer friends.  Instagram could be just the ticket for those two goals.  Feel free to look me up:  shortonwords .  I promise not to bog down your feed :-).

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July 13, 2012

My foray into Instagram-land.

So I did it.  Yet another silly, fun, addictive “social media” outlet.  All my friends are doing it, so ….


I got myself a moniker.  Opened an account.  Took photos.  Applied filters.  And posted.  Here I am, joining the tom-foolery.  With my not-phone.  My glorified solitaire game (true story:  Big Dude got a little exasperated with me using up his phone battery playing solitaire.  So he found me a broken Droid on Ebay.  Fixed it.  And told me to play solitaire on that.  Not kidding.  And I’ve been happily wasting time playing solitaire on it ever since).   My sometime dinky camera.  My trail tracker.  My new Instagram toy. But never my phone. 


I must admit.  Those Instagram filters are quick, painless and fun.  And just like any new photographer who applies way too much contrast to every single photo, I think I’m going to be a little out of control with tilt shift for awhile.  It’s just the way of things.

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Anywhoo, we’ll see how long I stick it out with IG.  I’m way less married to my not-phone than I am to my computer, but gosh those tilt shift filters are fun… Feel free to look me up and say "hi"; I'm shortonwords there, too.

July 12, 2012

Pictures of Hope. Meet Baby Ry-Ry.

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I met Baby Ry-Ry (the name his big sister calls him) and his family through my affiliation with Pictures of Hope, an organization that shares the gift of photography with families who have babies in neonatal care units.  I never fail to be awed and humbled by people's willingness to allow me into a very vulnerable part of their history, to photographically document their time in NICU.  A time that is filled with fears, hopes, pain, prayers, victories, set-backs, sacrifice, love, and lots of waiting.  It's my desire to authentically capture this fragile time with its plethora of tiny details:  the multiple tubes that deliver life-sustaining fluids, medicines, and oxygen.  The amazing, caring nurses that the family will remember forever with gratitude in their hearts.  The darkness.  The quiet.  The tiny cotton diaper wraps that Ry-Ry is big enough to finally fit into.  The electronic data that continuously informs with immediate feedback.  The tiny toes and fingers and bright, alert eyes.  The darling weekly placards made by grandma, announcing Ry-Ry's new milestone age.  The cuddles.  The LOVE.  

Thank you, A Family, for the honor of witnessing your love.  I will be praying for Ry-Ry's continued growth, strength, and ever-improving lung function. No need to pray for any additional cuteness or preciousness - he has those qualities in spades! 

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Orange County Newborn & Baby Photographer