March 31, 2014



business trifecta 800px

If I were to offer a two-day workshop, these three books together encompass everything that I would want to teach: 1) how you CAN be as savvy a business person as you are a talented photographer; 2) how you can begin your business and look totally professional AND not break the bank or go into debt to do so; and 3) everything that's involved with and specialized about creating a beautiful business around the genre of "lifestyle" or "documentary" photography.  Each of these books is available for sale singly and described more in depth below (with links).  Or you can buy all three together, discounted, for $115 (plus $6 shipping for Beautiful Lifestyle), essentially receiving one of the Business workbooks free.


I wrote this book to collect together the bits of wisdom I’ve gained along the way as I’ve honed in on Lifestyle as my preferred genre of photography.

“To me, photography is an art of observation.
It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place …
I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
(Elliott Erwitt)

Full Description of Product Here.

BEAUTIFUL BUSINESS, savvy pricing strategies

pricing strategies 001 (Side 1)

Full Description of Product Here.

BEAUTIFUL BUSINESS, budget-friendly beginning

Budget Friendly Business Beginnings

Full Description of Product Here.

If you would like to purchase my book, the above "add to cart" button will take you directly to Paypal.  If you prefer not to use Paypal, just email me to arrange alternate payment:

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Little Dude. In the Canyon. With Weapons. In B&W.

orange county child lifestyle photographer
Go see more B&W goodness this week at …
Photo Challenge Submission
ps.  There's not even a hint of sepia in my pre-uploaded image.  Does anyone happen to know why Windows Live Writer imported b&ws regularly turn sepia?!??!  Inquiring minds would like to know...

March 28, 2014

Documenting Life … One Second per Day

This may be surprising to those of you who know me and my passion for documenting real life, and especially my own family’s everyday real life, but … before this year, I’ve never undertaken a 365 Project. I must admit, it’s with a healthy, humble dose of fear and trembling that I’m undertaking one now. And the ironic part? I’m not taking a photo per day. I’m taking a 1 second video each day.

I don’t particularly see the world in “video” form, so this is a challenge, indeed, for me. In fact, the first month of my project was so challenging that I found that I took very few “still” photographs on a daily basis – all my attention was being sucked in by this new video thing.

I’m happy to report that by the second month, I’d found a workable groove.

Here are the details of my project and my best tips for getting it done!


Firstly: I’m using the 1 Second Everyday App on my phone ( It’s available for both iPhone and Android now. It’s the app that pulls up my daily videos and allows me to choose which video and which 1 second splice I want to use. The app also mashes all the 1 second videos and presents you with a single .mpeg4 movie file.

Secondly: I’m taking all the video on my phone, not my big girl camera. I’m keeping things simple here. I’m also not using the video feature built-in to the app; I just use the video feature of my phone camera directly. The app will keep track of all the videos regardless which function I use to create them.

Below is a picture my son took of me when I was enticing (with a “treat”) my dog to run to me while taking video with my phone.  The phone screen shows the 1 Second Everyday app screen as I pull in the video and choose my 1 second splice.



Each day I try to think of what is a potentially unique moment of this day. And I make a mental note to grab video of it.

Movement is important!!! I choose my 1 second based upon which 1 second has the most interesting movement. (note: 1 second is NOT a lot of time. Many of my fav moments get cut off before they’re done.) I film longer than one second, but try to keep all videos under 10 seconds (for the sake of space, and for the sake of ease of editing/picking my 1 second)

For the “boring” days when nothing new is going on, or when I forget til the last minute, I keep a few “generic” ideas in reserve: like, grab a second of a tv series we’re all enjoying, or flipping pages of a current book, or cleaning or cooking something (yah, right …), or a snippet of scenery while out driving from point a to point b, and weather is always fair game.

Film ONLY in landscape mode, not portrait. You’ll see why on my “day 3”.

And have fun with it!

I’ve found in the short time I’ve been doing this project that I’m catching bits and pieces that I wouldn’t otherwise probably photograph. Like the Teen coming out of driver’s ed class. Or Skyping with long distance friends. Halo explosions. The coffee that keeps us going. Walks. Repetitive, hum-drum, daily doings. And there may be embarrassing evidence that, yes, the dudes do wear the same clothing on successive days. It’s all in there in 1-Second splices. And it all kinda makes my heart happy

March 27, 2014

In Actuality … Nesting


noun actual existence, typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed.

"the building looked as impressive in actuality as it did in magazines"

synonyms:   reality, fact, truth, real life


This lovely little lady kindly set up her teeny tiny hummingbird nest right outside our front window.  We’re enjoying the show.  Perspective: hummer + nest is slightly larger than a bougainvillea bloom.

March 26, 2014

In Actuality … School.

noun actual existence, typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed.

"the building looked as impressive in actuality as it did in magazines"

synonyms:   reality, fact, truth, real life


March 24, 2014

In Actuality …


actual existence, typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed.

"the building looked as impressive in actuality as it did in magazines"

synonyms:   reality, fact, truth, real life

The hot bucket is back in service …

March 22, 2014

How Much More?

IMG_7053Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Consider how the wild flowers grow.
They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
how much more will He clothe you—you of little faith!
Luke 12:27-28
IMG_7056 IMG_7054

March 12, 2014

Certain privileges …

… come with having not-small kiddos anymore.  Kiddos that are big enough, and responsible enough to stay home alone.  Without a babysitter.  Well, ok, sometimes we joke about the Xbox-babysitter.  But Xbox aside, having older kiddos means Big Dude and I can have dates whenever we like.  And we like.  Dates.  And each other.  I’ve always been a pretty cheap date.  This particular Saturday morning we made our own coffee (Big Dude makes coffee way better than any Sbux), threw it in thermos cups, and hit the road for a meandering drive up the coast after the big rain storm.  For the mere cost of a couple donuts, some parking fees, and gas, my heart was full.  Great date morning.

morning date all pictures courtesy Samsung Galaxy III

March 10, 2014

Books, books, and more books.

Gosh, it’s been way, WAY too long since I’ve put out a book list.  This is the stuff I can vaguely remember from the last year or so (please excuse my lack of details; I am quite capable of forgetting a book’s specifics within two weeks of completing. sigh) …
The Good …
Davita’s Harp by Chaim Potok – this was a re-read for me.  I still love it.  It’s a very well told story.  It’s a deeply melancholy story.  The Teen read it for one of his classes and wrote an essay in response.  He described the book as “a challenging examination of how personal experience affects one’s beliefs and how those beliefs are or aren’t always mirrored in one’s deeds…Davita’s Harp is actually an exhortation for readers to consider what makes a person truly “religious”, beckoning them to juxtapose faith with fellowship, belief with acts, and to thoughtfully contemplate the reasons why people gravitate towards or fall away from any god.”  Good stuff (the book AND my son's essay)

At the risk of sounding “duh” … The Bible.  Reading thru in a year.  Using reading schedule (beginning to end).  I like this simple, read-3-to-4-chapters-per-day, from beginning to end WAY BETTER than the schedules I’ve used in the past that incorporate 2-3 OT chapters + 1-2 psalms or proverbs +1 NT chapter per day.  I feel way less “scattered” when I'm reading, better able to concentrate on 1 narrative at a time.

It Happens in the Dark by Carol O’Connell – I love the whole Mallory series, and I very much enjoyed this latest installment.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (yes, the author of 101 Dalmations!) – totally delightful coming-of-age story. the first person diary-driven voice was ever so likeable.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian - "The Slaughter You Know Nothing About".  Hitler in 1933, chillingly said,  "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"   This is a worthwhile story to read about the little-known Armenian Genocide.  I have some niggling literature/writing complaints about this book, but they pale in comparison to my feelings that this is a history lesson to be inhaled, remembered ... in much the same way that we should never forget the lessons of the Holocaust.

Folly by Laurie King – I really enjoy King’s Mary Russell series.  Folly isn’t part of that.  It was, perhaps, a little darker. A good, stand alone “suspense” novel.

The Squire’s Tales series by Gerald Morris – these are young adult re-tellings of Arthurian tales (with a mix of faerie world thrown in for good measure).  Superduper enjoyable.  Gives you characters to cheer for.  I’m pretty sure I’ll read these again.  Middle Dude has read the whole series 2 or 3 times.

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline – this is not great literature, per se, but it was an interesting story.  I liked it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – not my usual genre (fantasy?, modern fairy tale?), but very well-told.  Must admit, I don’t think I totally understood it.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – LOVED. 

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – thoughtful, superbly crafted story that leaves one thinking …

Son by Lois Lowry – finally.  the last book in The Giver series.  totally worth the wait.  beautiful, beautiful story.  and a very satisfying conclusion to the series.

In the Image by Dara Horn – another good story, well told.  I liked it.

Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman – again, not “great” literature, but an interesting, unusual story filled with well-developed characters.  I liked it.

The Bad …

Divergent – Let me just say up front:  as a reader, I am very happy to extend the courtesy of suspension of disbelief to authors when they are creating a “not real” world.  This courtesy does not extend so far as to embrace nonsense.  I really enjoyed the first 60ish pages of Divergent.  The rest of the book was obliterated with stupidity.  And hokey Twilight-esque romance.  And total implausibility.  I will NOT read the subsequent books in this series.  And I want my Saturday back.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – bleck, phtooey.  interesting beginning concept.  pictures are intriguing.  writing is abysmally bad/immature, as is the story, ultimately. 

I know I read a few other stinkers, but they're not coming readily to mind (thank goodness - y'know how sometimes it takes a long while to "wash off" a bad book???)

And the Book Club selections:

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte – I’ve now read works by all three Bronte sisters.  Jane Eyre remains my uncontested favorite.  Wuthering Heights was ridiculous – not sure why it was a classic.  Agnes Grey was just ok.

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – Characters well-drawn.  But I sort of remember being irritated by the author hitting me over the head with the details – show me or tell me, but don’t do both.  Gaskell does Both with a capital B.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – oh, the narrative machinations.  I have so many grievances against this book, I don’t even know where to begin.  Let’s just sum it up by saying something you NEVER hear me say:  I liked the movie (and the major changes it made to the story) better.

Silas Marner by George Eliot - ‘twas good.  George Eliot has an amazing dexterity with words.  Glad I read it.  Tho, can’t say it was enjoyable

Ethan Frome & House of Mirth by Edith Wharton – Ethan Frome is dark dark DARK and depressing, but fascinating.  House of Mirth is melodramatic, filled with scathing social commentary, and ultimately sad. 

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – I think I would have enjoyed this book ever so much more if I hadn’t known the punch line.  Knowing it took all the wind out of these sails…

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – so good.  one of my all time favs.

And the Photography books...

Photographically Speaking by David duChemin - a very thoughtful breaking down of elements of composition.

Ballerina by Bob Carey - a super fun & quirky photography project of a man in a pink tutu in support of his wife going thru chemo.  Book can be purchased at the Tutu Project.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer (edited by Maloof & Dyer & Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows (edited by Cahan & Williams) - her personal story is intriguing and her prolific photography is awesomely fabulous...

March 8, 2014

A Land of Hills and Valleys

  … a land of hills and valleys,
drinks water from the rain of heaven,
a land for which the LORD your God cares;
the eyes of LORD your God are always on it,
from the beginning even to the end of the year.

Deuteronomy 11:11-12

March 5, 2014

Sand Dunes – the unabridged version

This was my “makeup” roadtrip.  Big Dude and the boys went to Joshua Tree on an overnight camping trip without me.  Big Dude mumbled something about needing me to dogsit at home, because they all wanted to hike more than 100 ft off the road (territory where National Parks do NOT allow dogs).  I think this was his way of saying, “YOU suck at camping.  Thus you cannot come.”  So anyway, this was my makeup trip.  I chose the Sand Dunes.  No quick, easy way to get there.  You gotta go over a mountain.  On our way there, we chose the mountain with good pieorange county family lifestyle photographer-1
Hmm.  Here’s the lens I was planning to primarily use at the dunes.  ‘Til I dropped it in the sand.  Now it’s the lens I’m taking to Canon to fix.  [sigh]orange county family lifestyle photographer-2
Pie consumed (yum).  One hundred miles down.  One hundred more to go.  Time-lapse GoPro’d.  100 miles & multiple terrains all in 3 minutes.  Worth the watch.  I promise.

Music:  Drive By by Train.  Can purchase here.
 orange county family lifestyle photographer-3 orange county family lifestyle photographer-4 orange county family lifestyle photographer-5 orange county family lifestyle photographer-6 orange county family lifestyle photographer-7orange county family lifestyle photographer-9 orange county family lifestyle photographer-10 orange county family lifestyle photographer-11 orange county family lifestyle photographer-12 orange county family lifestyle photographer-13 The Teen was pretty insulted that I didn’t include his Lindsey tribute in my sampling post.  Here’s just for you, son.  You’re county family lifestyle photographer-14
And because I couldn’t begin to post all the pictures I love from this short 2 hours at the dunes, here’s my 165 favorites in a quickie slideshow…

Music: Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Can purchase here.

March 4, 2014


Here’s what you need to know about this photo.  My camera – with fisheye lens – was in the hands of a nice man that we met at the sand dunes.  This nice man was bold and fearless with my very quirky lens.  In this picture, he was not more than 6 inches from Big Dude’s nose.  Which amused all of us greatly.  Thus, the smiles.
orange county family photographer

Go see more great smiles …

Photo Challenge Submission

March 3, 2014

Galaxy-ography: February edition

Our not-winter weather continues (note: the shorts), low tides and sunsets coincided at the beginning of the month, I “built” a stepping path at Little Dude’s school, clouds happened …
galaxyography feb1
Middle & Dog Dude are the best greeters, flowers are blooming everywhere (especially on bouganvillea vines and at Trader Joe’s), most awesome fog-sun-show at the Dana Point Harbor, walks, Valentine’s Day, and “Everything is Awesome!” …

galaxography feb2

The dudes did an overnighter at Joshua Tree, more flowers bloomed, Big Dude worked, leaves are still falling, we drove out to the Dunes (and ate at Pipe’s on the way), rain FINALLY arrived.

galaxyography feb3