November 30, 2009


Yikes! It's official.


13th bday portraits

How did that happen so fast?

Eldest Dude, may your first year as a teenager be awesome and blessed!

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Orange County Portrait Photographer

November 28, 2009

Be Ye Thankful ...


Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

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November 24, 2009

Special. -- Orange County Family Photography

This was a special session. With a very special family. A family with a very special story to tell.


It’s a story filled with faith, h(H)ope, and love. I strongly urge you to read their story (it’s long, but oh-so-good). You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll find yourself loving the Phillips family as much as I do. Your heart will be warmed and you’ll get just a tiny picture of how awesome God is.


The adoption section of their family web site begins with this beautiful Aesop-like fable …

Thousands of starfish washed ashore.
A little girl began throwing them in the water so they would not die.
“Don’t bother, dear,” her mother said, “it won’t make a difference.”
The girl stopped for a moment and looked at the starfish in her hand.
"It will make a difference to this one."

Joy and Love

This family is filled with love. Todd and Kim love each other.



They love their kids.





These sisters love their big brother.


Probably because he loves them so well.


And these sisters truly enjoy each other.


And, gosh, all this love makes for some mighty beautiful images. Which is why I’m posting an unprecedented number of them. I can’t help myself. I love these images. Because they are full of LOVE.

Phillips Family, thank you so much for the unspeakable privilege of visually documenting your love for each other. I’m so grateful.


“Love never fails ... Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13

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Aliso Viejo Family Photography

Middle Dude Turns Double Digits!!


middle dude bday

Big Dude and I are so very glad God gave you to us!

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November 23, 2009

Giddy I Am!

Any one who visits here fairly regularly knows that I'm not only [usually] short on words, but I'm also pretty non-fancy with my photos. My style is pretty spare and simple - I'm usually ecstatic to get a clean color version and a classic b/w version of any photo I love. I don't usually play around with fantastical finishes or add textures or layer multiple exposures to make incredible HDR images. Because I'm, like, simple, k? Oh yeah, and I'm not terribly technical. Nor am I terribly artistic. And creativity? Totally not my forte.

But I so very much appreciate when other photographers create these artistic kinds of images. And these other images completely inspire me. They make me want to play and experiment and ... waste spend tons and tons of time reproducing the same effect. sigh. Usually my "experimenting" comes to naught and I end up right back where I started: with a clean, straight-up, no frills color version.

So you can imagine my mixed emotions when the very talented Patti Brown generously offered all of us I Heart Faces contributors her entire Kaleidoscope Collection of Color and Light to play with, test drive, try on our Fix-It Friday images. I was equal parts giddy-ness and trepidation: hopeful I could reproduce some of her artistry; fearful that I couldn't.

I'm happy to report that her Kaleidoscope Collection is magical. Even a non-techie, texture-challenged dork like myself can use her product successfully. Her tutorials are awesome: clear enough and simple enough that even I could understand them and copy the process.

And copy her processes I did. After watching her quickie tutorials, here's what I created when playing with a couple of my recent Yosemite images. The SOOC image is on the left or top, and the Patti Brown "recipes" are included below.


Sun Flare 3 Warm (overlay mode), Dream Burst III (overlay mode), Alien Lightpour 2x (first time overlay mode 35% opacity; second time screen mode 12% opacity).



Dream (overlay mode), TRA Get Faded Winter 65%, TRA Pool Party 30%, TRA Boutwell Magic Glasses.

And on yesterday's post I used a simple layer of Dream (overlay mode) on my first picture of Half Dome.

Here's a quick example (and sneak peek from this weekend's awesome session!) of Patti's magical overlays on a portrait ...


The only thing I did to this image was add Patti's Golden Sun Glow (overlay mode). Easy, simple, glowy, and so very pretty.

Thank you, Patti!!! Your Kaleidoscope Collection is amazing!

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November 22, 2009

I Heart Flare with All My Heart ...

And since it's Flare Week at I Heart Faces, and since it's Middle Dude's birthday, the two of us went out to chase some fantastic flare. Methinks we caught the motherload...


ISO 200, 50mm, f/16, 1/40 second. Booyah!

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Orange County Children's Photographer

Praise Him, sun and moon...


Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.

Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 148

moon rising over half dome

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November 19, 2009

Sometimes Fall is a Destination ...

Southern California is a gorgeous place to live. But. We miss out on Fall. Our palm trees do NOT turn glorious, vivid, golden-hued shades of Fall (and if they do, it's not a good thing!). So it was with great delight that I found myself in the midst of all this fall splendor in Yosemite. Please forgive me the sheer number of photos [that are all of the same thing] that I'm about to post. I just can't help it. I can't condense. But if you hang in there all the way to the end, I'll include all my nitty gritty camera settings & details for capturing flare in this particular location.









Ok. Camera settings and nitty gritty on flare... so I'm shooting straight into the sun, which I'm trying to "place" either partially behind a tree trunk, or between tree branches, or slightly below a mountain. I'm intentionally manually "over" exposing (which really means I'm NOT exposing for the sun, which is the dominant light source). My aperture is stopped down all the way to f/16 (really small - I want those sun flare & rays defined and focused). Because my aperture is so small (letting in less light), I bumped my iso to 320 (probably should have bumped to 400 or 500 to get a slightly higher shutter speed). I usually only bump my iso as high as I have to in order to keep my shutter speed above 1/100 (the speed I need to compensate for my less-than-steady hands, aka camera shake). And I used my high-tech hand trick to force the camera to autofocus.

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November 18, 2009

Eastern Yosemite ...

in which we see (and explore) big rocks, granite slopes, first view of Half Dome, cold-refreshing-mountain-stream water to drink, huge trees, fallen logs, lakes and flare!

eastern yosemite 2

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November 16, 2009

Sacrifice ...

What was sacrificed in the making of this portrait ... behind and to the left of this image is a gorgeous grove of huge trees laden with brightly hued fall-colored leaves and HALF DOME!! But to have included them as the backdrop for my son's portrait would have had him facing the sun and severely squinting. So I chose a beautiful picture of Littlest Dude over the stunning backdrop. All for the sake of the Autumn Beauty Photo Challenge at I Heart Faces. :-)


Head on over to I Heart Faces for more Fall eye candy and inspiration!

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Orange County Children's Portrait Photographer

Sometimes the irony of it all ...

is enough to make me want to cry.


This cute little [european vacationers?] family was the only group that beat us down to the early morning silence that was Mono Lake. I had run into them the night before when we were all checking in to the roadside motel. They were pondering whether to stay there or go ahead and drive thru to Yosemite that night. The guy asked, "Is there anything actually to see here?" And I nonchalantly (ha!) replied, "Well, there is Mono Lake ..." and gave them all the pertinent sunrise information.

They loved it there. I loved it there. Sunrise at Mono Lake is sublime.

So, the irony? The irony is that my favorite picture that I took that morning (which was of them, by the way) walked away with them ... on their dinky little PINK camera without a viewfinder that fired off a dinky little flash. Geesh. All my expensive gear. All my research and education and time and money spent these last three years. And my favorite picture at Mono Lake, taken on a point and shoot... :-}

So my tip of the day: don't despise the equipment you have. Just go take lots of pictures!!!

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November 15, 2009

Though the fig tree should not blossom ...


Though the fig tree should not blossom,
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail,
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold,
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
YET I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Habakkuk 3: 17-19

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November 13, 2009

Tooting one's own horn ...

... never feels quite right. But that's how it works at Facebook. You invite people to be your "fans". So, here I go: wont'cha be my fans?!? Don't let me languish on the playground all by myself! ;-)

facebook fan page

Click here to become a fan!

Thanks oodles!

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November 12, 2009

Climbing in Yosemite

yosemite climbing

See them in the middle picture?!? I cropped in super close in the last one so you could see. Even with as far away and as high up as they were, we could talk to each other!! Weird, eh?

I did my thing while they did their thing. I don't do heights. :-O!


I'm such a nerd. A nerd with a big camera.


All that exertion (theirs, not mine!) called for some icicle slushy refreshment!



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