This time last year we were in Iceland (or, if you want to be really technical about it, we were on airplane home after a stop over in Iceland). For two and a half days we were very serious tourists. We rented a car at the airport and drove straight to the Blue Lagoon for a soak with the other tourists; we left with soft skin and light hearts and limbs that felt elastic. We wandered around Reykjavik on foot past inviting store fronts and assorted restaurants, painted buildings and vibrant street art . The sky was gray and the clouds hung low but the city was bright and colorful.
We woke up early and explored in our running shoes–weaving through city streets before joining some bunnies on the trails around the Perlan and looping back around a park. We drove the Golden Circle, visiting Þingvellir, Geysir and Strokkur, Gulfoss and Kerið. It rained off and on throughout the day, but we had raincoats. In the evenings we ate our way through Reykjavik: stir fry, Greek food, and large bowls of noodle soup; we drank local beers and got ice cream even though the summer air felt chilly. At night we went to bed while it was still very, very light out; outside people gathered at bars while we slept.
In the mornings we ate cereal and made coffee in our hotel room. We drove to Jökulsárlón: through black lava fields and fields of yellow flowers, past shaggy sheep and friendly Icelandic horses in every horsey hue, over bridges and under the shadows of volcanoes, and along glaciers and coastline to an enormous bright blue lagoon of floating ice. The drive was long (very, very long) but we saw Iceland in all it’s varying forms (it is a land of contrasts). On the way back, we stopped and looked up at Skógafoss (one of three major waterfalls along our route). From the road we saw more waterfalls. We listened to a playlist named “Icelandic Roadtripping” and dreamed of geothermal pools as the steam from power plants billowed in the distance.
We said good bye to the city from the top of Hallgrimskirkja: goodbye to the rainbow roof tops, the silver sea, the short green trees and the distant mountains; to horses with long bangs and sheep that stared into your soul; to hotpots and warm springs, waterfalls and geysers, glaciers and icebergs, volcanoes and blue lagoons. Back on the ground, we lingered in shops, browsing postcards and t-shirts, and filled our stomachs with hot dogs and coffee. Then we loaded into our tiny car with the nearly burned out clutch and thought, “We’ll be back”.
I hope we will be. There’s so much more to see.
On an overcast afternoon in June, I drove up Highway 1 to the small town of Davenport to take portraits of my friends Keith and Leigh. Our itinary went as follows: we started at St. Vincent DePaul Church and then meandered through town, where we made a stop at Slowcoast, before heading down to our final photo destination: Davenport Beach. In between photos, I asked them about how they met and we swapped Santa Cruz restaurant recommendations and generally got caught up on eachother’s lives. It was a perfect little excursion with two people I’ve genuinely enjoyed getting to know.
I’ve known Keith and Leigh for a couple of years now, but I can’t recall when (or where) exactly we first met. This is because I remember hearing about them before I met them–all good things of course! Essentially we met through friends, at a get together of mutual friends. And they lived up to their reputations. Keith and Leigh are hardworking and successful and completely down to earth. They are friendly and funny, interesting and smart.
Here are some other things you should know about Keith and Leigh: she’s from a small town in New York and he’s from the area (Aptos) but they met in Philadelphia, moved to California, and were married in New York. Leigh loves kale. Keith loves to surf. Leigh has a standup paddle board named Khaleesi. Keith made it for her (and it’s beautiful!). They have a good looking cattle dog who they named Coach (and Coach is an energetic, playful, and very well behaved dog). Leigh does crossfit (she is strong!). Keith takes photos. Leigh travels a lot for work (and somehow still manages to do a million things whenever she’s home). Together they travel to places like Costa Rica and go camping in Big Sur. They own a beautiful home with a view of the bay and they recently renovated their backyard. They enjoy having friends over to their place for celebrations–barbeques, birthday bashes, and super bowl parties. And when they do, they’re excellent hosts–the food is always delicious and the company is always good.
It may have taken awhile for our path to cross, but I’m glad I eventually met Keith and Leigh in person. And I feel very lucky that they let me take their photos on that gray day in June. I love how their portraits turned out. Here are some of my favorites of Keith and Leigh from our afternoon in Davenport:
For more information about my portrait project go here: 29 Portraits Project.
Happy Fourth of July!
Champex / Santa Cruz / Tahoe