So, my girls love Harry Potter. Well, Chloe and Emily do. They've read the books seven and five times, respectively. Omi is, but not as much. She hasn't finished the books yet.
We've been asking them what they want for Christmas for quite some time now and they didn't want anything. Nothing. I had no ideas either. We have always liked experiential gifts over actual gifts. So, we decided to take them to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando for their (early) Christmas present. I couldn't just give them a box with the tickets, couldn't just write one letter each. I got a little obsessive and over the top. It took some time (sorry clients who are waiting on images, but, my kids needed magic). I found the parchment, wax seals with the Hogwarts crest, and everything online. I made 46 letters, with the help of my friend Heather, who is a fantastic graphic designer. I also only burned three fingers.
If you read the books or saw the movie, you know Harry had a hard time getting his letters. After a few attempts, they came falling from the ceiling and there were hundreds. I tried to recreate that. Here is the video of the girls getting their letters.
I think they are a bit excited.
Roots and Rocks at Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
24x30 print, mounted, and matted on Fuji Crystal Archive Pearl Paper . $250
I couldn't help this. I know I should be working on weddings and engagement sessions, but I just got back and couldn't help but look at my personal photos first from my trip to California for a wedding. Every time I travel (almost every time), I take one of my girls with me on the trip. I really, really, really, really love to travel and want to be sure that I instill that passion in my kids too. Plus, we get a little bonding time and that is also very nice. This time, Em came with.
When I give a description, it will be under the photo.
Obviously, the Golden Gate Bridge. Although, I've crossed this bridge dozens and dozens of times, this will be the first time I had stopped to take a photo. Quite honestly, I never noticed the turnoff because I was too busy staring at the bridge. Em didn't realize how big it was from photos and was properly awed. That was my favorite part, her awe of engineering.
The first day, we got off the airplane and went straight to In N'Out for our grilled cheeses (they are excellent) and headed north. Side note here: I grew up in Southern California. I didn't move away until I was 17 and I have never actually had a burger from In N'Out. Never, only grilled cheeses. I am a disappointment to pretty much everyone from the region. I know. I actually never had Mexican Food while living down there either, I subsisted completely off Asian Food and pizza.
After eating our grilled cheeses, we headed to Bodega Bay. I got lost a couple of times, because I will do whatever Apple Maps tells me to do. I almost went down some gravel alley going inland (ew, inland). Since this trip, I have switched to Google Maps, for your information. We pulled into our campground really late, around 11pm Pacific Time and went right to sleep. This was our view when we woke up.
We drove up PCH (Pacific Coast Highway to you East Coasters), which is on my top three list of favorite roads in the country. It is slow and windy and slow (did I say that already?) but we saw wild marine life!!!!!!!! I'm a total sucker for sea creatures! So, harbor seals and a sea otter. So cool. Jelly fish are my favorite of the animals, but the water was way too effing cold to go looking for them. That I leave for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. But, seals and otters!!!!
The next day, we headed even further North to Humboldt Redwoods State Park (and getting closer to our wedding destination). There we camped with one of my favorite people in the whole wide world and hiked, waded in the river, and just talked, talked, talked and talked. Monica and I have been friends for 17 years??? I love her. Anyways, she schooled my daughter on all things about the State Park and took us to see an ALBINO REDWOOD TREE. I have never heard of one before. It was pretty cool. Then down to the river. I don't get wet unless it's 80 degrees. Notice my jeans and a t-shirt.
We woke up the next morning at Big Lagoon State Park and went out for an early morning walk on the beach and collected agates. They are these rocks that have a high amount of quartz crystal in them, and are super pretty.
Then we headed to Fern Canyon. This is by far my favorite hike outside of the redwoods. It is so gorgeous that the shot Return of the Jedi (the part with the ewoks) and Jurassic Park Two there. During most of the trail, the 30 foot high canyon walls are covered in ferns and it is my happy place. This was at the top of my list for my daughter to see.
The next day we camped at Patricks Point State Park. Did I tell you that I rented a 1989 VW Eurovan for the trip? Well, I did. It was awesome because all I had to do was pull up, pop the top and go to sleep. I highly recommend it. The company is called California Campers. This was the day of Sydney and Ronnie's wedding, so we had to hit up Wedding Rock.
Our final night camping and my daughter had decided that she needed to camp amoungst the redwoods one more time. I agreed because I wanted this to be HER vacation, since we are going back to her birthplace that we left when she was just a mere one year old, but also, because it was on the way.
So often I arrive early for my shoots, with every intention of getting inspired, only to sit around and play World of Goo on my phone. Yesterday, I did the opposite, took a minor detour to Duke Gardens and got inspired for real, the old fashioned way, by nature. Duke Gardens was rocking yesterday.
Just a little break from the usual, because last night I needed to go for a hike. The light was just amazing. The trails behind our house are just so much fun to walk and so pretty. I can't wait to start photographing families and couples right in my backyard.
Also, my daughter is almost a teenager. She's huge. She's wonderful.
You guys. I daydream. A lot! I daydream about lots of things, traveling the world, living on a boat in the Mediterranean, eating everything I love all the time, having a pet cat (except I am allergic to cats), winning the lottery, my kids keeping their room clean and having a little office/studio space all of my own. Well, the last one has happened!!! Yesterday was the best day because I got to move into my own office in the best location. I am now working inside my own little office inside The Parlour at Manns Chapel, in Chapel Hill!!! It's adorable and I share the building with the owners of this wonderful wedding venue, Yvette and Aimee, Krystal Kast Photographers (my dear, wonderful friend) and Kast Events (Cheryl-Anne is just an amazing wedding planner)! I feel like we are all going to be great friends in no time at all because they are all the kindest, sweetest people, and I am just over joyed with my new space. OVERJOYED!!! It's beautiful! I especially cannot wait for some bits of furniture to arrive to give it that finished feel. I had this moment of total elation when I turned off the lights and locked my door yesterday. It was such a good feeling.
I am going to be doing all my edits here as well as all my future meetings and consults! No more coffeehouses!!! I am so thrilled about every single bit of this news! Feel free to come join me and chat. I'll be here Monday through Friday from 8:20 to 2:15. Just pop in and say HELLO!!!
The only downside: I cannot stay in yoga pants all day.
It was a beautiful foggy evening so we went out back and got a few frames of the girls and the "boy' dog on film. Your wondering why I put boy dog in quotes, right?
Pentax K1000, Fuji 400H, pushed one stop.