Along the Suisun Waterfront...Turning 16!

Just a few weeks ago the weather decided to take a break from all this rain, and the long-awaited sun came out. I, of course, could not wait to get outside and take some photos. Luckily for me I had a session already lined up I just needed the weather to cooperate which it did. I have a dear friend whose daughter wanted photos taken for the first part of her birthday celebration.

We met up in Suisun and walked along the waterfront finding spaces that would accommodate 5 happy, beautiful teenagers. We giggled…a lot and saw some great opportunities to enjoy the location and the comradery. Here are just a few of the shots from that day. Happy Birthday, Amaree! Thanks, Shenay for including me on this milestone celebration!

Tower Bridge Dinner

Earlier in September, I was asked to do photography for the Farm to Fork Dinner event on the Tower Bridge. It is always exciting to work with Savory Cafe, and I was again asked to assist them this year with photography. My time spent with Juan, Kristin and Toby is always a blessing to me. Their teamwork, love for the community, and work ethic are something to admire. They are true community leaders, and I'm grateful for their friendship. In addition to working with Savory Cafe, I did product photography for the Capay Valley Ranches. CVR produces premium olive oil, nuts, and honey and they partnered with Visit Sacramento to provide olive oil for this event. To capture both parts of this event, that of restauranteur and product provider was exciting as it gives a full picture of what makes this day so incredible.

This year I began at a Meet and Greet for renowned Chef Jeremiah Tower at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel. Savory Cafe chef Toby Barajas was invited to meet Chef Jeremiah along with several other special guests. While waiting for Toby to arrive, I was able to get a quick photo with Denise Reinnoldt and her daughter Lauren with Jeremiah. Denise is the owner of Capay Valley Ranches, and it was great to connect with her before going to the dinner on the bridge. Just before Chef Jeremiah left to prepare for his time with all of the chefs preparing for the dinner, he graciously stopped and allowed me to get a photo with Toby. I then was off to the bridge to capture meal prep for the evening.

I arrived at the commissary kitchen to find Kristin working away preparing for the appetizer that Savory was providing for the meal. What I enjoy the most of about participating at this end of an event like this is the amount of collaborating and teamwork among all of the restaurants. An event like this can't come together without this type of effort on everyone's part. For me, it's the best part of this evening. I enjoy watching people connect and have fun while serving the community. I appreciate the various gifts and talents each person brings to present each course. But the part that is the best is that we live in such an agriculturally productive region and all of the farmers and ranchers who bring their unique piece to the menu. I had the pleasure to represent Capay Valley Ranches and the unique part they played as product sponsor and the provider of olive oil for the dishes that were prepared by the chefs.

It was a day celebrating all the richness, and bounty of the region in and around Sacramento. Thank you, Juan Barajas, Kristin, and Toby for this fun opportunity and Capay Valley Ranches and Denise Reinnoldt. Such a fabulous day celebrating what our various cities bring to the Farm to Fork way of life.

The link below is from the 2017 Tower Bridge Dinner.

Raelin (Rae) James the 4th and Final 8/5/18

It always makes for a fun day when I can go and spend time with a momma and her kiddos. It's even more fun when a newborn is involved and I get to take photos with all of them. Here are a few shots from my time with Little Miss Raelin. Loads of cuddles, yawns and wide eyed looks. All the while as her brother and Rae's sweet sisters look on. Thanks Vanessa for taking some pics of me too. I love watching kids be excited about photography.

Photography as my Canvas...Painting My World

It was four years ago this last week that I wrote the following post on Facebook:

"I have been thinking a lot about this season that God has placed me....from leaving a job that has been the source of ministry and connection for me for over 12 years, to a position that stretched me in ways that I did not think possible....being allowed to spend time with a dear friend before her home going, to feeling the emptiness of not only the holidays but many areas of life without that dear friend....visiting my ailing parents, return from that visit only to have my mom fall and injury herself, celebrating the holidays with my husband and kids, turning around and going back to my parents only to return to say good-bye to my father in law...Monday I step into a new job...with new possibilities and opportunities that are far reaching...Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!!! I am very grateful for this time that God has reached down and given comfort in a way that has changed me.

Those life events set me on the path to photography as I began taking lessons and to see the world through the lens of my camera. It was honestly a hard season. I had no firm purpose. I was without direction. Many of those feeling came from a place of fear...lack of experience...and pride. I was starting a new job and a new hobby both of which I lacked the experience but my enthusiasm was unbridled. I have never gone into situations where I didn't have some knowledge of what I was doing and although I had a great deal of experience with my new job the environment was new and unexplored by me. My thoughts in that were I can love people anywhere so as long as I had that mindset I'd do my very best to love people. How could I go wrong??? The photography was just something I thought I would do to pass the time. To be reflective and it didn't cost much but time and brain matter. I jumped in with both feet and I've not looked back.

Which brings me back to the original Facebook post...Evan has been gone 1 year, 3 months, and 4 days ~ my Dad 1 year. During this time but really just recently I've felt a lack of purpose and direction. Reflectively, as I look back at that post many of the same feelings of that time come back to me as I've taken this "pause" to just ponder what God is calling me to do in this season of grief, loss, and reflection??? I know that there are several things that have been made clear in regards to both my vocation and photography but until that time that it is all made clearer I will continue to pause, ponder and pursue. How are you seeing your world???? What canvas are you using??? I'd love to hear from you.

Super Blue Blood Moon 2018

It has been over a month since my last blog, more about that at a later date.  Each time I do one of these astronomical shoots I glean a bit more experience and see so much of the challenges it gives me. I didn't really start to see the red until it got nearly covered by the Earth. I have a full day ahead of me so I hope you enjoy these photos of the lunar eclipse.  

Look for a blog post soon.

David Michael at Lagoon Valley

Just recently I was asked to do the one year photos for a little guy whose newborn photos I did. We ventured out to Lagoon Valley on a day that started out warm almost hot to overcast and for a brief time it rained while we were shooting. David was a bundle of energy and it was hard to keep up with him. He is such a deep thinker but also has such a sweet and infectious laugh. I love to see how much the littles I photograph as newborns change and how much their personality as newborns really follow them as they grow. Thanks Jessica and Ian for sharing David with me. Such a sweet boy!

Pastor Appreciation 2017

Every year Vacaville Christian Schools opens up the pathways of their school to all of the clergy in the area. These folks come are served a lovely brunch and are encouraged by the love and support of the students as they walk the hallways. The students invite each of their pastors to come and have breakfast and enjoy a student lead chapel. I personally have had the privilege of being at many of these events and they're such a blessing to the wonderful men and women who serve in our local places of worship. Enjoy these snap shots of the day. 

 “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"  

                                                                              Romans 10:15 NLT

Solar Eclipse of 2017

Summer always brings a trip to see my folks in South Carolina. This year, as in years past, I went to our family reunion in Pennsylvania. I went this year without my parents and my Dad's absence was felt by all but especially by me. I was fortunate to have my dear friend go with me and we sang, and joked, and dodged massive thunderstorms. 

One of the highlights of my visit to see my mom this year was the fact that the Solar Eclipse of 2017 was passing through South Carolina and was less than an hour and half from my mom's house. So I had to choose whether I wanted to drive 10 hours and countless traffic jams to go to Oregon or drive an hour and half on the country road of South Carolina. So I extended my stay in South Carolina so that I could be a part of something that I will not be alive to see when it happens again.

I spent every available moment researching to find the right place to capture this event. When I went out the Saturday before the eclipse I found a little city along the path of totality. The city of Clinton is just southwest of Charlotte and was close to my brother's home. I didn't want to have to deal with all of the people going to the larger cities in the path of totality such as Greenville, Columbia or Charleston so this little town was the perfect fit. 

When I ventured out Monday the plan changed slightly cause I was trying to out run the clouds that threatened the skies. I started my way to Clinton but ended up in Whitmire which is right off of the highway just before Clinton. I set-up all my gear and just as I did that a large cloud came overhead and it began to drizzle. I decided I still had time (about 20 minutes) to move further southwest closer to Clinton proper. I headed down the highway and happened upon a little country church where I saw another group of folks watching and the skies were clear. I parked and set-up my gear and determined that this would be the spot for me as the eclipse was beginning. A few of the folks I met were on their way home to Vero Beach, Florida and they had stopped to watch. One of the parishioners of the church came by just to say Hi! The locals had heard that people had stopped by their church so they were curious about the people who had camped out in the parking lot. 

As I began to photograph this spectacular event just before totality began a crazy storm cloud approached and covered the sun. I was so disappointed as I thought I had missed the biggest part of the event. I kept shooting although through clouds I didn't want to miss anything. This was a difficult shooting opportunity for me as there was so many different elements and weather conditions to accommodate. Many of the shots aren't focused well as the clouds and changes cause camera shake. As I reviewed and edited the photos my thought was that I did capture some great moments and although not perfect I did my best and I know that my husband and my sons would be proud of what I accomplished. 

I hope that you enjoy these photos it was such a great adventure. Thanks Zachary and his family for sharing the day with me and to my brother Shawn who helped me scout out my location and to the people of South Carolina thanks for the hospitality.                                                           

.......The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.   Psalm 19:1

The Places You Will Go........

Last week was filled with much celebrating as many friends that I know had their children graduating. There was a variety of ages as we had the future Class of 2029 graduate from kindergarten and the next generation of young adults graduating from high school, the Class of 2017. In between these two graduations I also was a part of a 6th grade promotion ceremony.  It was a weekend filled with bittersweet memories and just a few tears as friends and family gathered to cheer their graduates on to the next chapter of their lives. To the families who I had the pleasure to capture these moments for you...Thank you! I've loved that you have included me in your journey. I wish you a summer full of new adventures and fabulous memories.

I love this quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt.....The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. 

Congratulations and Best Wishes!! Go live your dreams!!!

Snapshots and Memories.....

Today as I do every day I'm always looking...watching to see what the Lord has for me. Sometimes it's something very small. Sometimes it's more of a feeling or a calm that comes to me in the midst of a crazy day filled with busyness. The thing that I find so comforting is that there is always something. This last weekend has been filled with running. Graduations, proms, parades, celebrations and BBQ's. As I've moved through all of these "life" events I was amazed at how often you came to mind, Evan. It was as if you traveled with me to all of these events. If you had been here I know you probably would have had your own things that you would have done. You wouldn't have gone to all of the same things I did but the great thing about now is that you're ever present with me. Even in places that you wouldn't normally be. As I stepped on to the field to watch the graduation of a dear friend from Vacaville Christian Schools; I couldn't help but sense....the senior sunrise and all of the other things that I was so privileged as your mom to experience with you. How lucky I am that I was available to be in those moment with you and Alex. So thankful for your Dad who has always allowed me such freedom to be fully engaged with you guys as you were growing up. To walk along the pathway were your name is forever placed with your class. It was a bundle of emotions and tears but Jesus met me and carried me. He placed me in the path of those who knew you and had fond memories of you. It was a great comfort.

From there to kick off the Memorial Day holiday with the Fiesta Day Parade.....again not someplace you would have hung out with me but I saw and connected with so many people and in those moments of connection and friendship I saw you there. I can remember so many parades you would have been marching for band at VCS and I would walk along with the group screaming and yelling. Such great memories....I treasure them...holding them so tightly. I went from the parade to Prom to photograph some of the seniors as they embarked on their last formal gathering before graduation. It was filled with silly traditions and beautiful guys and gals and it brought about such feelings of nostalgia for me that I thought my breath would catch. So many great memories I have from your high school rides....gathering of friends...laughter that was heard through out. It was rather melancholy. I was glad that Dad took me out for dinner at Mikunis so I didn't spend too much time in my head. 

One thing that is always certain with you and Alex is that when it comes to family you always are present. This weekend was no different. On Sunday we celebrated your cousin's graduation from high school. Interestingly when I looked up to see people arriving I thought for a split second that I saw you....same hair color...same facial hair...even a shirt the same color as you had but to my great disappointment it was not you. It caught me for a moment and in the hope that others not deem me was only my mind taking me to places that it often does only to slam me back to the world in which I am here and you are not. I like for just that brief time to be in that moment of thinking maybe....... After we got home I went out driving as that is always when I find the most beautiful things...just before sunrise or sunset. Earlier this month Alex took me out to see the sunflowers and although they hadn't bloomed they had sprouted. I was checking on them to see their progress. Just a few more weeks and they will be ready.

Monday was a day of remembering...Memorial Day. We went to see grandpa at the cemetery and I can't help that when I go see him that a piece of you is also with him. The services at the cemetery were lovely...moving...honoring and I'm grateful for all who gave their lives for our freedom. So many emotions as I thought of my dad and really thought a lot about you. I think of so many similarities between you and my dad. As I come to the end of this month I am really filled with a lot of emotion. I've cried so many tears and I don't really see an end to that anytime soon. I keep them in check more...the world is not ready for all this emotion...when tears are tied to sadness and grief there isn't much room for that in this world.  So for now I will continue to be looking...watching....and waiting for the God of comfort to give me purpose in my pain. 

Justin | Class of 2017 | VHS

How can it be Justin that you are going to be graduating!?!?!? but alas time does not stand still as much as I would love for it to. I remember when your family first arrived in Vacaville and driving all of you around to help find housing as your family was moving from the Redding area to Vacaville. We have spent many days riding around since those early days and I am thankful to have been able to watch you grow and mature into the kind of person who values relationships and family. We had the best time running around the Sacramento....from the Capitol to Tower Bridge...doing Senior photos. I'm so glad Hannah came with us and that we could spend these precious moments together before you enter college.

I can't wait to do prom photos next week....Justin I am so proud of you...and all that the future holds as you embark on the next chapter on your journey. I love you and best wishes!!! 

Emma | Class of 2017 | VHS

So much could be said about Emma that I'm unsure where to begin. She is involved with theater at her school, she has been accepted to the University of California, Davis that means she will soon be an Aggie and will be pursuing Electrical Engineering as her major. She is hardworking, soft -spoken and it was a delight to work with her. I know that her family is so proud of her. Thanks Emma for trusting me with a few final photography moments of high school. It was fun chatting and discovering downtown.

Best Wishes and Congratulations, Emma!

Libby | Class of 2017 | VHS

Libby and I had the best time as we walked around last week in the heat of this crazy weather of May. We giggled and she was such a great model as I switched and turned her in all kinds of directions. I've known Libby for many years so it was an honor to be asked to capture such an important time in her life as she embraces the last few weeks as a high schooler. Your eyes tell a story that is rich and beautiful.....much love to you and enjoy these moments as they are fleeting.                             

Now on to college and beyond!!

Best Wishes and Congratulations, Libby!!

Easter at Valley Church

The last 4 years our church has done Easter at the Mondavi Center, in Davis. This year we switched locations for our Easter service and these photos are a glimpse into the main service that was held at Sunrise Event Center in Vacaville. Enjoy!!