29 Portraits Project
Portraits 21 – 23 / 29: Sam, Meg & Sammy

Posted on: Monday, September 28, 2015

On a Sunday morning towards the end of August, I hung out with Sam, Meg, and their little boy, Sammy at their home in Soquel. Their dog, Dusty made a few appearances, too.

Sam started grad school the same year as Christian. He and his wife, Meg moved up here from LA. I first met them at our friends’ house and instantly felt at ease. Both Sam and Meg are originally from North Carolina and they have that southern charm. But even back then (almost five years ago!), they were also at home in California. Sam surfs, and outside of work, Meg found time to be a Zumba instructor and now kicks ass in CrossFit. They are funny and kind, laid-back and lively, smart and generous, easy to talk to and fun to be around and full of outrageous stories. And these days they are loving parents to an adorable and energetic little boy who was a total ham when I arrived with my camera bright and early on a Sunday morning.

I had a great time visiting (and photographing) these three at their place. They live in a house full of natural light on a sprawling property which is abundant with vegetable gardens and home to some chickens (and a goose!). After goofing around for a bit, Sam read Sammy his favorite book and then we adventured outside–watering plants, taking a wagon ride, playing with chalk, visiting the chickens, and feeding their sweet old dog, Dusty some treats. It was a lovely morning with two wonderful people I feel so fortunate to call friends and one hilarious little toddler who kept me on my toes, but who was a total breeze to photograph!

Below are some of my favorite photos from my morning with Sam, Meg, and Sammy:

PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_001_1 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_003 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_004 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_005 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_009PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_010 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_012 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_013 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_017 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_018PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_023PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_024PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_027PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_028PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_029PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_031PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_032-altcropPortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_035PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_037PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_039PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_040PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_042PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_044PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_045PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_047PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_048PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_053PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_055PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_059PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_060PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_061PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_062PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_063PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_065PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_066PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_067PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_069PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_070PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_071PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_074PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_075PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_076PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_079_1PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_081PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_083PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_084PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_086PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_087PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_092PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_093For more information about my portrait project go here: 29 Portraits Project.

29 Portraits Project
Portrait 20 / 29: Kate

Posted on: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

After a relaxing vacay in Hawaii and a wonderful birthday celebration (I’m officially 30 now guys!), I am back with the rest of my portraits from my portrait project. I ended up taking 30 portraits before I turned 30. Goal accomplished! So now it’s time to share.


These are my portraits of Kate. Kate is someone I find hard to summarize in a blog post, which is maybe why it’s taken me so long to post her photos. Kate and I lived together the first semester of my senior year at Whitman (the second semester she was studying abroad and living in an apartment in Paris being très chic). Our house together was called the Byrdcage and it had amazing old wallpaper and chandeliers, and we filled it with vintage furniture from the thrift stores of Walla Walla. She had lived there over the summer and I when I moved in, she had just started dating Gabe. This last May the two of them got in engaged. They’re currently living up in Humboldt but before that they lived in San Francisco and Seattle and we met up whenever we were in the same area.

Kate calls herself an introvert (I feel I fall into that category as well) but I always love my conversations with her; she is wicked funny and smart. She is also grounded and driven and fun. For awhile she kept a weekly blog documenting Gabe’s outfits, which if you know Gabe, is a pretty hilarious premise for a blog. Mostly though, it was a place for her to share her writing. And Kate is a great writer. I appreciate her humor and insight.

Anyway, towards the end of July, while Gabe was away in France, Kate drove down from Humboldt for a visit and some portraits. She arrived on a Friday night and first thing Saturday morning, after grabbing some coffee and pastries from Verve Coffee, we headed to the Boardwalk.

I love the Boardwalk in the morning–before the crowds, when nothing is running or open yet. It’s technicolor on mute. I’d been wanting to take portraits there for years; Kate humored me and all my ideas. We started by making our way down the nearly empty but vividly colored Boardwalk. Next, we hit up the main beach. As the crowds arrived, we made our way back to my car and drove over to one of my favorite murals in Santa Cruz–a big black and white rendition of the Santa Cruz coastline on the back of a building off of Swift. We ended our photo adventures near a wall of graffiti behind the Jack in the Box. But not before an impromptu photo shoot with some beautiful flowering Oleander shrubs (I think?) that I spotted in a nearby parking lot.

Kate was so much fun to photograph. But mostly I enjoyed catching up with her. She arrived in the evening and we settled in on the couch with Buckwheat and talked about our lives–what we’ve been up to, friends, travel, work… The next day, after portraits, we met up with Christian and talked over a tasty lunch at the Picnic Basket. It was a wonderful reunion with someone I feel I can now call an “old friend”. C and I are planning on visiting her and Gabe up in Humboldt this fall and I can’t wait.

Here are some of my favorite photos of my morning with Kate:

PortraitProject_Kate_008 PortraitProject_Kate_010 PortraitProject_Kate_011 PortraitProject_Kate_013 PortraitProject_Kate_015_016_M PortraitProject_Kate_019 PortraitProject_Kate_018PortraitProject_Kate_020 PortraitProject_Kate_027 PortraitProject_Kate_028 PortraitProject_Kate_033 PortraitProject_Kate_034PortraitProject_Kate_037 PortraitProject_Kate_039 PortraitProject_Kate_040 PortraitProject_Kate_042 PortraitProject_Kate_044 PortraitProject_Kate_047PortraitProject_Kate_048_duplicatePortraitProject_Kate_049 PortraitProject_Kate_051 PortraitProject_Kate_053 PortraitProject_Kate_054 PortraitProject_Kate_056PortraitProject_Kate_057 PortraitProject_Kate_058_1 PortraitProject_Kate_060 PortraitProject_Kate_061 PortraitProject_Kate_062PortraitProject_Kate_065_1 PortraitProject_Kate_067 PortraitProject_Kate_070 PortraitProject_Kate_071 PortraitProject_Kate_074 PortraitProject_Kate_079PortraitProject_Kate_080 PortraitProject_Kate_081_colorblocks PortraitProject_Kate_082-ab PortraitProject_Kate_085-ab PortraitProject_Kate_086-abPortraitProject_Kate_088 PortraitProject_Kate_091 PortraitProject_Kate_092 PortraitProject_Kate_093 PortraitProject_Kate_094 PortraitProject_Kate_095For more information about my portrait project go here: 29 Portraits Project.

Adventures in Backpacking
Ansel Adams Wilderness Area

Posted on: Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It’s September. Labor day is just around the corner. Another summer is ending. As usual, I do not know how this is possible–how a season composed of days which feel so warm and lazy always seems to pass at the fastest clip. Still I am eager for the change–for raindrops and drops in temperature and trees to drop their leaves (although I doubt Santa Cruz, or the rest of California, will comply with my desires).

When Christian was little, his family marked the end of summer with a backpacking trip to Warm Lake in the Goat Rocks. He took me there in 2010–right before we moved to California–it was my first backpacking trip and I was instantly smitten. This is in spite of the fact that I was eaten alive by mosquitoes (photos of me from this trip show comically large red bites running up and down my brown legs); in spite of the fact that Christian led us up some literal goat paths before finding the correct path to our chosen campsite (consequently adding a mile or more onto what was already a 10 mile hike). It didn’t matter. I loved passing the day in almost complete solitude–maybe seeing one other human besides Christian, maybe not. We had an entire lake to ourselves. Sure, it was a very, very cold lake, but it was crazy blue and beautiful, surrounded by wild flowers and totally remote. In that remoteness, my mind emptied itself of its usual anxieties and I felt immersed in the moment. We read next to our lake, sprawled out on sleeping pads; we plunged into its cold waters; we hiked to waterfalls and pumped water at the creek; we cooked over a tiny flame and played gin rummy until the mosquitoes drove us into our tent. And at night the black sky cracked open and a million brilliant stars spilled out above us. Being there felt extraordinary.


This summer, Christian and I joined five friends for a three day backpacking trip in the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area (near Mammoth Lakes, California). We hiked seven miles in to Lake Ediza. We went up: across creeks and alongside waterfalls, vistas rising up behind us. At Shadow Lake, we sat beside the shore and ate lunches–peanut butter and jelly, bread and cheese, salami and trail mix. Then we climbed on: under trees, over rocks, on a path that cut through wild flowers of every color and hugged the rushing creek before jumping over it, departing from and then returning to its winding waters again (and again). Eventually, we rounded a corner and Lake Ediza spread out before us. It was stunning. In the distance you could make out a tent or two but it felt empty–big and isolated; crazy blue and beautiful.

Once again I fed a small army of mosquitoes (I counted 37 bites, mostly on my legs but I’m sure the actual number of bites was even higher). It didn’t matter though. Once again my mind emptied itself of the customary concerns and I reveled in the moment and marveled in that place. Daily tasks are often more difficult in the wilderness (cooking, hygiene, even sleeping all take on a particular effort) but life feels much simpler. I read Vonnegut next to the lake and when I felt hot or dirty, plunged myself in its frigid waters; I played card games on the large rock we used as our kitchen before and after dinner and cooked over small flames (instant coffee at breakfast, grilled cheese at lunch, mac and cheese and other backpacking fare at dinner); I day hiked up to elusive alpine lakes and watched the sun color the sky and pour onto the waters of Lake Ediza as it disappeared behind the surrounding mountain peaks at the end of each day. We explored and talked and stared off into space and splashed around and even celebrated a birthday. And at night the sky split open and stars flooded the darkness. The place was new but the experience was just as I remembered. Five years later and I’m still smitten.

A mix of iPhone and DSLR photos from our backpacking trip to Lake Ediza below:

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