• Salvation Mountain

    Lately, I have been SO busy with photo sessions and Starbucks shifts (Yep, I'm also a barista. Would you like room for cream? ), that I decided a day trip was in order. There's no use in letting my brain explode, right?

    My lovely partner, Rome, and I set out early in the morning to a place I have always wanted to go, Salvation Mountain and Slab City. 

    Salvation Mountain was everything I thought it would be. It would have been great to meet the guy who made it all, Leonard Knight, but sadly, he passed away earlier this year. 

    This guy used a LOT of paint. I was pretty mesmerized by his efforts to promote the love of Jesus. Regardless of what anyone believes, and whether you agree with his religion or not, you have got to have a certain type of respect for someone who has that much passion. 

    After Salvation Mountain, we made our way up the road to Slab City, and by accident we happened upon East Jesus. It is kind of the same as Slab City, in that they are neighboring communities both made out of "slabs," and both places are dripping with artistic creations and political statements, but as the lady who gave us a brief tour explained, they are very different places. Either way, they both have the same concept: They are experimental communities, striving to live off the grid. 

    If you want to know more about Slab City, click here

    If you want to know more about East Jesus, click here

    We had one more planned place to stop- an abandoned town called Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea. If the Salton Sea sounds familiar, it's probably because it is. It has been the inspiration for movies, documentaries, and even a Michael Jackson music video. It is a sea that happened by accident, due to an engineering mistake by the California Development Company in 1905. With its increasing salinity, however, it kills almost every species living in it, and it smells AWFUL. Dead things everywhere. We were gagging the whole time we snapped photos and explored the ruins. 

    We hit up a couple more photo opportunistic spots on the way home, and we made it back by 9:30pm--not too bad for a day full of adventures, if you ask me.  

    *All photos taken with the iPhone 5c. *Photos of me taken by Rome.

  • Mara & Mike

    Mara & Mike

    The level of love this couple has for each other quite possibly surpassed any amount of love I have ever seen between two people. Of course, I don't really believe you can measure love, so that was my attempt to put into words the feeling I got every time Mara and Mike looked at each other. 

    I am going to cut the mushiness short though, since no one likes a sap. Let me tell you about what happened at this photo session instead. 

    First of all, it should be noted that our location, Sunset Cliffs, is where Mike proposed to Mara. I would tell you the story, but that would make me get all sappy again.

    So, anyway, we decided to hike to the spot where he proposed. I always try to shoot close to sunset, in case you haven't noticed, so we started to run out of time on our way there. I mean, the sun got LOW really FAST. We were close enough when we decided, ok, let's do this

    Leave it to me to ask a pregnant lady to walk down a steep incline. Mara, being awesome, did not hesitate, of course. Then she fell on her butt about, oh, half way down the hill, until she slammed into Mike and nearly took him out. I was the jerk at the bottom of the hill taking photos and laughing. What is wrong with me? 

    Don't worry--no one was hurt. In fact, there was a lot of laughing afterwards, so I'm off the hook... I think.

    Then, quickly after the two-person-slide, without missing a beat, we ran out of sunlight, but miraculously, the photos, lit by the sun's afterglow, turned out quite nicely. 

    Mission accomplished.

    You guys are going to be amazing parents. I have no doubts whatsoever.

  • Atavia & Latisha

    When it comes to business, I prefer to communicate via email or text messaging. I get to see the conversation, rather than just saying or hearing something over the phone and forgetting what was said right away. (Blame it on my generation.) So, consequently, sometimes it is tough to tell what type of personality I am going to be working with during photo sessions.

    When I got Atavia's text, however, I knew in an instant I was going to be working with someone who was laid back and cool. She wrote me, "Good morning Sydney like Australia." Boom, I knew she was awesome. I was right. 

    On their one year anniversary, I met Atavia and Latisha at one of my favorite coffee shops in Hillcrest, (insert advertising plug for Filter Coffee) where the setting was perfect for our first photo. 

    Typically, I take pictures at the beach, but the beach is getting old. I was hoping they wanted to try something different. Something urban. They did. Score. I think this was my best photo session ever. 

    I am convinced all you have to do for good photos is be in love...

    ...which they are.

    During our session, we were taking all of these urban images, and they were working really well with Atavia and Latisha's style. Then, we come across a random pile of hay. Yes please!

    Shout out to the guy at Rich's who helped us move the barrel! Thank you!

    After we got our feel for Hillcrest, we drove over to one of my favorite spots in San Diego, where the views are killer.

    Have you ever taken a photo and been so so proud of it? When you look at it, you think, "Wow, I took that." That's what this photo does to me. We probably tried four or five attempts before we got this shot. Perfect!

    Ladies, it was a privilege to work with you both. Thank you again for the wonderful memories. Can't wait to see you again!

  • Theresa & Steve

    Theresa & Steve

    Sometimes I get a chance to photograph some really gorgeous people, like these two: Theresa and Steve. My gosh, what a perfect, flawless couple. 

    Not only were they extremely beautiful, but they were also really nice. You know what I mean? Not boring "nice," but just very genuine. They are the type of people that could be rude or entitled because they are beautiful, in love, successful, happy, etc.; but instead, they are real, charming, and inviting. I felt at ease the whole time I was with these two (or should I say three?).

    That is saying a lot, considering after about 12 minutes of photographing them, I discovered Theresa used to be a runway model. Oh my gosh, are you serious?

    *I didn't airbrush these. She really is that stunning.*

    So of course, after that, all I could think about was how she must be used to lights and makeup and tons of cameras in her face, and here I am with my one camera and natural lighting. Howww intimidating. 

    Despite this intimidation, I tried to not let it show, and it took about another 12 minutes before I decided they were not comparing me to anyone or judging me. They just were making a memory, and I was the one lucky enough to be there to document it. Congratulations you both on your first-born. I can't wait to know the name!

  • Jake & Mike

    My last photo shoot was one of the best ever, like Top 3, without a doubt. Within the first two minutes of meeting Jake and Mike, I was being poured a glass of red wine. I mean, best clients ever? For sure. 

    Here is Jake:

    Here is Mike:

    Jake contacted me a few weeks ago about getting headshots done. He asked me what he should wear, suggested a suit, then quickly said, "Well, that wouldn't be me." Jake and Mike just moved to San Diego from San Francisco, and right now Jake is looking for a different kind of job, something that suits him better.

    At the beginning of the session, I was trying to photograph him in the traditional way you would shoot someone's headshots. I quickly learned, though, that he just wanted to be silly, because that is who he his and that's the kind of job he wants. See next two photos:

     The photos above were Jake's idea. They're my favorites. 

    Jake and Mike are engaged. They said they needed some practice taking photos together before the wedding, and I kinda see why... They are SO ridiculous, which was REALLY entertaining.

    We ended the shoot on the beach, just as the sun set. They finally stopped being ninjas and let me take a couple of engagement-worthy photos. You guys will do just fine on your wedding day. That photographer won't have a problem. Promise. ;-)

    You guys are awesome. Congratulations on your engagement, and may San Diego be a wonderful home for you both. Oh, and good luck on the job hunt!

  • Gina & Adam + Rout + Kezzie

    Gina contacted me recently and asked me to take photos of her, her boyfriend and their two dogs. Sometimes I am skeptical of bringing pets to a photo shoot, because you never know what they are going to do, and a lot of pets are not so well-behaved. But, I was really impressed by how awesome these puppies were! Rout and Kezzie were both named by Adam after some members of a couple of heavy rock bands he follows. Boys are funny, but I mean, those are great dog names, right?

    Anyway, what a great photo session! All four of these guys were really mellow and up for anything. 

    I asked them to place their beloved pets upon their shoulders and walk to the edge of a cliff, and they were like, "Sweet, no problem."

    I said, "Hey guys, this would be really cool to climb down." They were like, "No problem."

    I asked them to jump off of things. After a lot of laughter, I got a "No problem!"

    Gina and Adam, thanks for not looking at me like I was out of my mind when I asked you to do crazy things like a rocker stance at the top of a hill. HA!

    If you are wondering just why Gina is standing this way, it's because she's wearing her friend's band's T-shirt, and she wanted a few photos in it to show her groupiness. If that is not a word, it is now. Oh! And Gina, I checked out your friend's band (Pleasure Fix). Girls rocking out with loud instruments? AWE-some!

    Seriously guys, this was one of my favorite photo sessions of all time. Thank you for being so flexible and awesome. When you finally get engaged, you know who to call. *hint hint!

  • Marissa & Leota + Casey + Even

    And the cutest family award goes to..... these guys. Ok, ok, I think a lot of families are cute. So what? I can do what I want; this is my blog. Anyway, this is Marissa & Leota and their twin boys, Casey and Even. These moms have been together for seven years. 

    Obviously, they all like to skateboard. "A family that skates together, stays together," I always say...starting just now. 

    Anyway, more photos:

    They were all in San Diego on an annual vacation, by the way... all the way from Las Vegas. 

    The boys are both five and not very shy. I thought about stealing Casey, but since Marissa is a cop, I thought it would be better to leave him alone. I've never been arrested before, but I imagine it would happen if I decided to kidnap.

    Ladies, it was my pleasure taking your family photos. I wish your family prosperity and happiness. Thanks for putting up with my crazy ideas and letting me interupt the last day of your vacation.

  • Edith


    Meet my friend, Edith. She is probably the most spirited individual I have ever met. She's got the best sense of humor, coupled with a thick Mexican accent, since she was raised partly in Tijuana. The first time I hung out with Edith, she took me to her friend's mother's piñata store in downtown San Diego, where she raided the baskets of candy and insisted we try the spicy, crunchy chains dipped in an even spicier sauce. Who else would go for the "spicy" in a candy store? Probably just Edith. 

    She then discovered/insisted I had never had a "real" taco, which she swore could only be bought in Mexico and on the street corner in her part of town. So, as a result, we went to the taco cart and proceeded to try "real" tacos. I ate chitlins (chitterlings: pig instestines) that day, something I had always managed to avoid while I was living in the South. To be honest, they weren't half bad.

    I ran into her yesterday, and she looked like she had just crashed a 90s party, so of course I insisted she let me take photos of her. She was not a fan of being photographed, but I think the photos ended up really capturing her sarcastic and feisty personality. Yeah, I said feisty... so what?

  • Divya & Anish + baby bump

    Divya & Anish + baby bump

    Take the cutest couple you have ever met, and think about that... Divya and Anish are THAT cute couple, times 10! Oh, and it's a boy in there in case you are wondering. But before you ask, they have not yet picked a name. I love mysteries. Well, most mysteries. Not like mystery meat or anything weird like that.


    These two carried a magical vibe throughout their entire photo session in Balboa Park. Either they are just two really happy people, or I am just that ridiculous, because I feel like they never stopped laughing. Well, whatever the cause of the laughter, it made the photos AWE-some!

    I told you they smiled the whole time. =)

    Divya will be such an awesome mom. I have a sixth sense about these things.

    Ok, serious question: Why do pregnant people glow?

  • Andrea & Monty + Jacob + Matthew + Alexess + Lucas

    Andrea & Monty + Jacob + Matthew + Alexess + Lucas

    It is my personal opinion that the BIGGER the family, the happier the family. My theory has been a pretty good one so far. Take this family of six, for example. Don't they look SO happy? It might be because that wave, just moments ago, sneak-attacked them, but who am I to say?

    These guys are from Idaho! I have not been there yet, but now I officially have a place to stay when I visit one day. Score!

    Above: These boys look way fierce, right?

    Below: Commencing fierce face melt. And, go.

    Four kids later, Monty and Andrea are still in love. Ah!

    He was hesistant to let me see his teeth. Then, he just dove in and big cheesed. I'm glad, because this is my favorite photo.

    And then, this happened. Melt my heart guys, geez.

    We decided to do the classic "jump shot" before we finished up. I have never seen anyone, much less six people, jump so high simultaneously. Mind blown.

    Seriously guys, big families are tough to photograph. Thanks for making it easy and fun.