March 25th, 2013:
Blog post by Felicia
We had 5 shoots last week, one of which was M+M’s at Vasquez Rocks, the famed site of the Star Trek movies. We had first visited this location while sightseeing with friends last year, and certainly wanted to take a couple out here. Thankfully, M+M love the outdoors and immediately took the idea when we suggested it to them.
Due to an error on the park’s official website about opening hours, Rob & I arrived to find the parking lot locked, and a very apologetic park ranger. Thankfully M+M were great sports even though we had to make the half-a-mile walk through gravel and scrub to get to the rocks, and because the parking lot was closed, we essentially had the entire place to ourselves!
We had fun clambering around, then ended the night with beers and fish ‘n’ chips at a local British pub. Good times!
March 14th, 2013:
Last week, as part of our whirlwind tour of Northern California (where we visited my brother and had some photos done for ourselves), I met up with my Dad in Lake Tahoe for some epic spring-like boarding, a little afternoon drinking and evening gambling. We spent two days on the slopes together trying to out do each other, even using a iPhone app that tracks our distance traveled, elevation and speed. I topped out at just under 55MPH as I straight lined it down some black diamond runs, and Dad came in at a top speed of 52 MPH, which isn’t too shabby considering he has got a couple decades on me. It was a couple of spectacular days of father/son bonding on the slope.
While sitting on the lift on the second day, I got to thinking how I would love to shoot a snowboarding engagement session and/or wedding – so if any of our clients out there would ever be up for it, I am all game.
The morning Felicia and I had to drive home, the spring-like conditions abandoned us and winter made its return. We had to chain up the Prius and spent the next 2 hours driving through the snow to make our way off the mountain.
March 13th, 2013
Blog post by Felicia:
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you would have noticed that we’re pretty close to our two nieces, celebrating birthdays and making time to hang out with them as they grow up all too quickly.
What many people don’t realize is that we actually have FOUR nieces, not just two (+ two step-nephews who are totally awesome too, for the record). However, Rob’s brother Matt and his family live up in Northern California, so we don’t get to play uncle and aunt to these two little ones very often.
Last week we finally were able to go visit and get to know the newest members of the Paetz clan. These girls have two distinct personalities: Ally (age 3) is fearless, rambunctious, opinionated and outspoken – including yelling “Auntie ‘Fenisa’ you’re CRAZY!!!” when I did silly things to make her look at the camera – whereas Lilly, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is possibly the most mellow baby I’ve ever met.
Thanks Matt & Niki for a wonderful weekend. We miss you guys already!
March 7th, 2013:
Felicia and I rarely have photos together, despite the fact that we shot around 500,000 images together last year. There are probably about 15 of them that have us both together in a single image (and most of the time that is me holding a 24mm out at arms length and snapping us smiling). We feel strongly about creating a visual history of our lives, so each year we try to get out and have some images created with us together (check out our 1st year and 2nd year).
Although our anniversary is in July, this year we wanted to have our pictures done in the snow so we kept postponing our shoot – finally, this last week we headed up to visit my brother up near Sacramento and tapped our friend Randy January to head out into the woods with us and spend the day with us exploring gold mining country. We had a spectacular day being on the other side of the lens and can’t thank Randy enough for these amazing images (and also for the engagement photos he shot for us 5 years ago).
For some reason I started pointing and Felicia followed suit, I am thinking of having a 40″ x 30″ printed of this image for the hallway… (The wife says no)
Randy, thanks again for the wonderful day, we’ll see you and your family again soon!
February 26th, 2013:
When we first met up with Tyson and Amanda to talk about their wedding day, Felicia and I told them how we were always game for crazy new ideas for engagement sessions and not to hesitate about coming up with anything cool they could think of. A few weeks later we received an email from them asking if we were up to hike the Mt.Wilson trail – a mere 1000 feet of ascent in the first mile and a half, a whole series of switchbacks… But they offered to buy us margaritas after the hike. Bribery with booze and/or food always works.
So of course Felicia and I agreed, put on our hiking boots, and off we went on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon (always less people to contend with on weekdays), and headed into the mountains of Sierra Madre. The trail was steep, but after about an hour we arrived at First Water and started the shoot in this verdant little valley beside a creek. I may have been a little sweaty from the hike, but Amanda and Tyson kept looking beautiful and didn’t even flinch as we had them scrambling over rocks and through the creek.
After a wonderful shoot and the much easier downhill trek, we all settled down in old town Sierra Madre for a few post-hike margaritas. A great end for a great day. Thanks for the margaritas and we’re looking forward to your big day!
February 25th, 2013:
Last year one of my best friends, Daniel (and his wife Scherrie) moved to Kentucky, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. I have been meaning to visit for some time and check out the seen, but it kept getting pushed back. Finally, last weekend our schedules were able to collide with a few days off and I jumped a plane from LAX to spend a few days out in the country.
While I didn’t go crazy taking pictures, I did snap a few from Nashville and the surrounding areas while I wasn’t bumming around drinking beer or playing video games.
November 3rd, 2012:
Blog Post by Felicia (writing from JFK, 6 hours early for her flight):
What was supposed to be a quick weekend jaunt in Manhattan has turned into an 8-day adventure, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. While this has obviously thrown our neat iCal-regulated schedule into utter chaos, I’m really not distressed by the turn of events, and in fact, have found more to be happy about.
There is something deliciously liberating about being an anonymous stranger in a city that’s not your own. Every street, every corner, every turn is a novelty. Most of the time I had nowhere I had to be, nothing I had to do, no one to run into (ok, debatable point, but consider the probability…). But even more so, it is such a wonderful indulgence to just savor being alone. There’s a vast difference between solitude and loneliness, and it’s not just a matter of semantics. I greatly enjoy solitude, and this trip has certainly been a great balance of impeccable company and adequate “me time”. More importantly, such solo trips are a “health check” of sorts to make sure that my sense of adventure, independence and courage are still alive and well.
This is my second trip to New York City, after a lackluster first trip last June, where the humidity and throngs of summer tourists just drove me crazy. I’m completely surprised how I’ve grown to love this dark, brooding city during this trip. Perhaps it says something about who I really am, unalienable traits that will not go away no matter how bright & cheery California may be.
The circumstances of this visit (and extended stay) are starkly different than before, but it’s really through tragedy that we often realize all the beauty and goodness that exist if we pay attention. I am impressed by the graciousness of New Yorkers, whom I had always believed to be just gruff, cold and unfriendly urbanites (not unlike myself). But instead, I am moved to see people putting out power strips for strangers to charge their phones, the businesses that give out free food, for the orderly bus lines even during such stressful times, and for the patience and restraint in the sometimes seemingly-interminable wait for trains and elevators. I am humbled and inspired by this great city and the people who call it home.
So thank you, New York, for not only helping me see you in a new light, but for helping me see myself differently too.
[First picture: Completely empty subway station. I was the only person wandering the cavernous space.]
The show must go on: Business as usual at Times Square/Broadway.
I am currently so smitten by “Falling Slowly” from Once. If this trip had a theme song, this would be it.
Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can’t go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I’m painted black
I unintentionally ended up standing under the dangling crane, not even realizing it until I noticed that people all around me were snapping pictures. Such a daredevil, I am.
Many attractions (including the whole of Central Park) were closed in the wake of Sandy, and events were called off, but these are really inconsequential. I have more than achieved the objective of my visit.
I suppose a true crisis of this proportion excuses bad grammar?
October 30th, 2012:
Blog post by Felicia:
As some of you may know, I am out here in Manhattan visiting friends in town for the UN General Assembly. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy also decided to come along.
The day before (Sunday), I was at The Met with my friends: Hurricane Sandy seemed like hyperbole, a remote idea that, for now, was too abstract to be real. I mean, it was just something the media was TALKING about, right?
But when we left The Met, it became painfully obvious that almost every single person we passed on the street was clutching bags of groceries as they scurried home. Maybe we ought to take this seriously, I cautioned. We conceded that it would probably be wise to be prepared, so we headed over to the closest grocery store, only to be greeted by this:
Stockpiling salads? Well done. Your Mom (and nutritionist) would be so proud.
Yesterday (Monday) as Hurricane Sandy approached the Eastern seaboard, I was holed up in a 26th-floor apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan: UPPER is key here. We stayed glued to the hijinks of foolhardy CNN reporters, we cautiously kept all our iDevices plugged in, bracing ourselves for what was dubbed an “inevitable” power outage. Thankfully, the blackout never came (knock on wood).
As we ate a simple meal of pasta shells and red sauce, with CNN as a dining companion, the 90mph winds outside howled ferociously and rattled the windows. We could visibly see the glass flex and shake, bending with each gust.
It was sobering to realize that these man-made structures, in one of the most important, most iconic, most wealthy cities in the world, were vulnerable. That Nature is still THE force to reckon with, and for all that we strive for, at the end of the day, what really matters?
I was soon overcome with a terrible sense of nausea, and I realized that the entire building was actually swaying. The kitchen cabinets were creaking, and the water in the bathtub (filled in case of an emergency) was sloshing around as if we were on a cruise liner.
Hurricane Sandy was no longer an abstract concept that I spectated on TV.
The gale-force winds kept at it all night, and I finally had to make myself stop listening to the sensationalism of the news. I spent the last hour before bed absentmindedly channel-surfing before I caught a couple of shows on HGTV in an attempt to distract me from the insanity that was held at bay by a pane of glass. Ah, TV, the other opiate of the masses.
Thankfully the windows held up, and at 9am, despite the crazy howling (Sandy’s bark seemed worse than her bite by this point), it felt like the worst was over. We survived.
Triumphant, I wandered out in search of a latte (priorities, I know!), and of course, Rob was quick to instruct, “Make sure you bring your camera!”. And so it is, dear blog readers and friends: the not-so-exciting aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the Upper East Side, which thankfully was relatively unscathed.
Military convoy passing through Manhattan
The infamous “dangling crane” at W 57th Street.
Thanks everyone for all the concern. I am definitely safe, have a flight home scheduled, and I am certainly glad that at least I am stuck here with my 2nd favorite person in the world!
October 24, 2012:
After last month’s epic Belmont Shore shoot with Luis and Lucy, I was super excited about their wedding – knowing they would bring their awesome style and winning personalities with them for their big day.
When I met up with Luis, all he kept talking about was how excited he was to see Lucy dressed for the wedding and that he wasn’t worried at all about the rest of the day. When he finally caught a glimpse of her at their first look, their affection for each other was plain to see. And from that moment they kept those stunning smiles on for the rest of the day, which made it really easy for me.
Thanks again Luis + Lucy for having us as part of your day! Enjoy your new lives together!
September 14th, 2012:
So last week, as a quick post-Labor Day getaway, Felicia and I packed up the new car and headed into the Mineral King region of Sequoia National Park to find a nice little spot amongst the towering Redwoods where our phones wouldn’t get any signal. Addicted to communication as we are, sometimes we find it necessary to force our own personal retreat where we have no choice but to leave the phones in the glove box and while away our days with morning hikes and afternoons sitting at a picnic table reading our ever growing pile of unread National Geographics.
The road up to Mineral King is a twisting, pothole-filled single lane, and as we went up, the Labor Day weekend warriors careened down – we had more than one instance of swerving and slamming on the brakes to avoid a head-on collision. Fortunately, by the time we arrived up there, the weekenders had left and we were in complete solitude in a 30-site campground that contained only our tent and our Prius.
A crazy drive to get here, but for 48 hours of complete silence (well… other than my crazy wife making marmot sounds), it was completely worth it. We even got the cameras out and took a few pictures for fun. It was a refreshing and much-needed change of pace, even if only for a while.