“Formal Picnic in the Park” – Staring: The Valnes Family


Meet the Valnes Family. With the addition of their FIFTH baby, they wanted an updated family photo and creative image for a holiday card.  When brainstorming with Super Mom Megan, I asked her to think of something they all have in common.  Her first response was humor. They are a family that loves to laugh and have fun.  My personal goal was to capture Megan at the center of this family and I pictured her in red!  We came up with an idea to have a “formal picnic” in the park, with a twist.  When the Valnes Family showed up I could not believe my eyes.  Megan and Stacey styled the whole thing with pops of red, suspenders, bowties and a antique tea set!  I had 3 objectives with this shoot.  Objective#1: get one “normal” shot of the whole family together.  This photo was one of the last pics I shot that day.  Everyone was so loose, relaxed and piled on top of each other where they are all probably the most comfortable.  The sun setting behind them giving a magic warm glow was such a nice way to end the shoot.

Objective #2: get a shot of each of the kids that captured their personalities.  I told the kids they could do whatever they wanted for their pic. Love when the kids are excited to be creative and make some decisions about what they want.





Then I worked with Zack. He also had a lot of ideas but it was when I saw a sensitive side to him, I got the shot I wanted. He is a young little guy with a lot of love.




Julian is the oldest. This kid will be a master negotiator. He was able to turn it on, but he was going to get something out of it! A sweet soul that can't help but laugh when Megan got him going.



Objective #3: get a shot of pure funny. What is easier then trying to get everyone to sit still and smile at the camera? Think of a funny idea for a holiday card and tell the kids they get to do whatever they want. Genius! Just another “perfect picnic” in the park. Thank you Stacey, Megan, Julian, Lila, Zack, Sara and Clementine for letting me capture this moment of your lives.  I had a blast and loved every minute of this process. Megan, you are nothing short of a super hero and your strength is so inspiring.





Posted in Family, Uncategorized

Supper With Santa 2015 – Ebell

Supper with Santa this year was a heartwarming event.  Always a treat to see the kids interact with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  I really do believe this is really Santa!


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Zach and Molly Wedding – Ellensburg

Zach and Molly are two very special people with love that is overwhelming.  Their past lives have had extreme heartache but their future is full of promise and happiness.  My sister-in-law/photographer Becky Rish and I were honored to capture their special day and the beginning of their lives together.  This wedding day was not just an average day in the country.  It was full of sun, laughter, friends and family all gathered to honor Zach and Molly.  Each wedding has its predictable moments like the dress, the rings, the flowers and so on.  Each couple adds their own flair and unpredictable moments which makes their day special and these two had plenty!  Enjoy some of the highlights.  Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Winters!

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On a recent trip to Italy, I had a break from taking portraits and was reintroduced to my love of photojournalism.  It has been a while since I have taken photos without people as the subjects, yet
I was still able to find emotion in my photos.  When we arrived at the Colosseum, I was blown away that this ancient structure was still standing while a modern day city was happening around it.  There were hundreds of “selfie sticks” being sold in every direction!  As we continued to other cities in Italy,  I was seeing how the old world has had to adapt to new all around it for centuries.  Certain structures have stood the test of time to keep the two worlds connected.  Thank you for checking out my series “GRITaly.”

The Colosseum

The Colosseum



Venice Cafe

Venice Cafe



Duomo Florence

I love Florence

Posted in Event

EBELL Supper With Santa 2014

Click on the link below to see your photos!

EBELL 2014 Supper With Santa

You can download the files to your computer or order prints directly from Shutterfly.

I had a fantastic time capturing such great moments the Santa and the Mrs.  Merry Christmas Everyone and have a great 2015!





Posted in Event

ABC Project – Unique Auction Item

Fundraising is a huge part of many schools and my daughters pre-school is no exception.  At our school, parents are required to help the kids do a project which will be auctioned off.  This year I was contacted via Pinterest to use my skills for a photo project involving the class.  I stood on top of the play structure, had a parent help me position the kids and took individual letter shots.  The kids totally got into it and they all wanted to be a part of the letters.  You could do this with a point and shoot or even a smart phone!


After putting them together in Photoshop, we have a poster, (being printed through STAPLES for a really low cost), to auction off that the kids were so excited to be a part of.  Great item and super fun memory of the class.


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Shooting Through The Fence! (also behind it and around it)

When my son first learned how to hit a ball I knew I would be spending a lot of time with this as my view.   The annoying backstop wouldn’t stop me from taking photos and I decided to embrace it and make it part of the story.   If you have a lens with a low aperture (at least 2.8) this can be really cool!

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After a few games of shooting through the fence and by being what I call, the “lazy” photographer, it was time to start moving around.  One reason I didn’t want to move was the fear of missing something great.  Lucky for me baseball is a long game with a lot of pauses.  This field had an announcer box that no one was using.  I don’t even notice the fence in this photo because of the interesting angle.

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The following shot through the fence was a pre-game cheer and how awesome are these excited faces ready to play.  The fence is in the photo but it does not distract from the emotion of the team.  Its a little blurry but who cares!  This photo ended up being a great coach gift at the end of the season.

There are so many other things going on during a game that when I got up and started walking around I saw so many moments to capture.  Like how these kids are still so little that their feet don’t even touch the ground.  I love that here,  even though I was not shooting through the fence, the shadow is still there saying you can’t avoid me :)  It tells where these kids are sitting.  In the dugout.

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I spent a couple games in the dugout and was amazed at how much is actually going on.  Mostly just goofing around but also true enjoyment.

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But when it is time to be serious, they can turn it on.

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Besides all of the action shots there are so many other details to capture before and after the game.

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Notice the fence in the following pic?  Yep, its there.

Don’t forget all the people there to support the team like this one of little sis.

But when the game, or in this case the season ends, it is time for a celebration.  Cake it is!

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I knew from the first time I saw this face and how happy he was, there were going to be a lot of moments shooting through the fence!       Thumbs up

But I also discovered there is so much more to the game than the plays.  Take a look at the big scene going on next time you are at a sporting event.  There are many other parts of the story to shoot!

All of these photos are shot with Cannon 24-70 L Series or 70-200 L Series lenses

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Happy Family!

When families get together only once or twice a year it is such a special occasion.  This family was celebrating many blessings which meant for me there would be an abundance of moments to capture during our shoot.  There were kids, grandkids, Great Grandma, and a 40 year marriage.  They traveled from Hong Kong, Tawaiin, Northern California, and the East Coast all to spend time together in a photographers DREAM setting of a house.  I was so honored to be there.  The photos captured show true happiness and how much this family loves each other.  It was such a REFRESHING feeling just to be around them!  In this shoot I used all natural lighting.  I found shade outside (believe it or not it was in the middle of the day) and used the light spilling in the house from the windows.

Now lets get to the highlights of the shoot!

How cute was this little guy (Not to worry, I get a smile out of him later) :) I like to get pictures of kids right away during the shoot because they are still a little shy and they have been “prepped” by the parents.  It also gives me a chance to feel out the adults and see what their personalities are like.

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When kids start to get comfortable and more at ease, they tend to run away from me so I try and find a place that isn’t typical where they can’t run like a table, bench or in this case AN ELEVATOR!  I love how small they all look knowing they will never be this little again.

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This couple has been married for 40 years!  They were SO willing to take photos together and so proud of their milestone.  The ease and comfort they have around each other was so refreshing and the photos show it.

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Everyone was wanting to be in pictures that day because they all wanted memories of this special time together.  In many shoots, parents have a hard time being in front of the camera or feel uncomfortabe.  This family just embraced it and I loved that about them.  It made my job very easy and they come away with natural looking photos that show there close relationships with each other.  HAPPY!

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Great Grandma was shining with pride!  She couldn’t take a bad photo that day because her inner happiness was coming out in her smile.

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Nice photo of Mom and kids…

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BETTER photo of Mom and kids!

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The kids were having a pillow fight but eventually they slow down.  Here I caught this guy in a pause.

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Eventually, the kids get really comfortable and forget that you are there.  This little guy really came out of his shell and all of his moods were captured.

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I loved the lighting in this stairwell.  It was bouncing all over the place but especially in their eyes.

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Big thank you to these two for such an amazing day!  I had the best time and they ended up with a record of this special time in their lives.  I hope 40 years together looks this good for me and my husband.

Thanks for reading.

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Five Year Old Sun Princess

It’s hard to believe my girl is 5 today.  When we had Parker and found out she was a girl, I had an instant panic attack.  I felt the responsibility of being a female “role model.”  It was a terrifying feeling that I would have to raise another me…YIKES!  But what I am realizing everyday is that she is making my life better and teaching me how to be a better person.  She is a happy little soul that beats to her own drum.  She has many questions and is curious about life in every way.  Parker lives in the moment, has so much patience (for being 5) and is full of LOVE!  She is beautiful inside and out and I could not be more proud of my little ray of sunshine.  She is stubborn, funny and a good friend to everyone who knows her.  Happy Birthday gorgeous little goofball!  Can’t wait to see what the next 5 years brings! LOVE you sis!





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There’s an APP for that!

I was reading a blog post: http://www.merakoh.com/2013/10/25/five-types-light-look-photographing-kids-sports-beth-wendland and Beth mentioned Golden Hour.  As a photographer, I know approximately when “golden hour” is but I never keep track of when the sun rises or sets.  I am usually trying to make my way to the coffee pot in the dark when the sun is coming up or trying to find something in the fridge to throw together for dinner when the sun is setting.  After reading Beth’s blog she mentioned there was an app that calculates when Golden Hour is.  I went to the app store on my phone and downloaded Golden Hour App (http://app.golden-hour.com/) to try it out.  For some reason I had doubt that something on my phone could actually remind me when the best lighting for photos was happening.  I set a reminder in the app and when it went off I grabbed my camera and went outside.  I saw a flower we have in our backyard and took this photo.  I did not do a single edit!  This is SOOC (straight out of camera) and it was this magically beautiful because of the lighting!


My awesome daughter Parker came outside and asked if I wanted to take her picture.  I have at least 10,000 pictures of this child but of course I still didn’t believe an app could tell me when the best lighting is. I had to test it on a human.  So she put on her best pose and MAGIC!


If this were a client I might make minor adjustments in post, but the color is perfect on her eyes and her skin!  These are SOOC and I can’t get over how excited I am about this app!  Schedule your next shoot based on this magical time of day and it will be less editing after and make your subjects look beautiful.


In my head I new approximately when this time was but it changes daily.  With this app, I can schedule shoots to this time down to the minute with no guessing.  Set a reminder, grab your camera, and go outside!


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