Monthly Archives: August 2004

The Giggler

Elizabeth and John, Canon EOS

My friends Elizabeth and John just got engaged recently. {Congratulations you two!} I had the pleasure of photographing them in all sorts of sweet romantic poses, but this one is our favorite in the end… the one where they are laughing with each other and being silly. Isn’t that really the best part of being alive?

I know that before I found Matt I was always keeping copious lists of all of the qualities I wanted to find in a partner. Every time I was on a long bus ride or waiting at the doctor’s office I would make a new one. “Makes me laugh til I pee my pants” seemed to make it on every list.

Well, I got my wish.

During the first week we were dating, I happened to have paint chips in my bag. We invented a game where we made up stories according to the names of each color. The rule was that you couldn’t look at the names ahead of time, but had to slowly reveal the next color as you were spinning the tale… “This is a story about ‘Cameron’s eyes’ and it’s a very, very, strange story. He woke up one day to find that his eyes were ‘blue rivers’ and whoever he gazed at would get washed away in them…”

You get the picture.

Needless to say, we laughed so hard at each others’ stories we could hardly get through a meal on our dates. This game was a big part of our initial connection since the traditional getting to know each other/dating stuff made us nervous and feel awkward. The paint chip game gave us access to each other in a strangely intimate way. In honor of this, our friend Sasha designed our wedding invitations to look like paint chips.

Making each other laugh is still the biggest part of our relationship. Even at our hardest moments, we have found humor. And somehow there is a refuge in this.

Years before Matt and I started to date, I started a photobooth project on the web. I asked people to take photobooth pics and answer a series of questions. One of the questions was, “If you were a superhero, what would your power be?”

Matt responded with, “I would be The Giggler, and you would giggle.”

Little did I know he would be my Giggler forevermore.


Photo Friday – Tranquility

Tecolote Beach, Yashica T-4

Photo Friday’s theme this week is “Tranquility.”



hot pink petals, Canon 300D

Busy building my photography portfolio site. Coming soon!

“Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life.”
– Evening chant


dahlia creatures

dahlia, Canon 300D

It’s dahlia season again at Golden Gate Park. If you are anywhere near San Francisco, you must see them! Calling them flowers seems like an inadequate description. They are more like brilliantly painted creatures, with their many petaled heads like crazy mathematicians. You must see them for yourself.

And if you have always wished you could wear flowers on your fingers, now you can! The brilliant Angela Gwinner and her company Omondieu have made it possible.


The Weepies

Steve, Deb, Malcolm, Canon 300D

Imagine your favorite singer songwriter. Imagine listening to them over and over again on your CD player. Imagine singing along to them {inexpertly} and wishing that for just one day you could have that voice. Imagine that the next best thing to being them, would be to have them in your home singing to you and all of your friends. And wouldn’t it be great to have them for your husband’s birthday celebration? Imagine that…

Well folks, that happened to me last night. The Weepies played in my living room.

The Weepies are Deb Talan & Steve Tannen and if you give a little listen I think you will crush out on them as hard as I did. (Pictured above, you will see our amazing roommate and old friend of the Weepies, Malcolm Gold who accompanied them on bass.)

Happy Birthday Matt! and thank you Steve, Deb and Malcolm. Life doesn’t get much better than this…

P.S. We are already looking forward to continuing the house concert tradition by having our dear friend Martine Locke perform this fall. She is another artist that will blow you away with her talent. (If you are in the Bay Area and would like to be invited to this show, let me know!)


pincushion flower

Flower experiments.


Photo Friday – Perfect

Lauryn, Canon EOS

Photo Friday’s theme this week is “Perfect.”

On the tail of our discussion about the judging mind, it amazes me that I chose this photo for the theme of “perfect.” When did we stop believing we are perfect?


red roses

red roses, Canon 300D

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
– Edward Abbey

At the dharma talk I attended the other night, the teacher brought up the topic of the “judging mind.” We all immediately groaned and smiled in recognition. He said something that surprised me though: “Whenever you place yourself above, below, or equal to someone else, that is the judging mind at work.”

I had only thought of judging as putting someone else down, but we are constantly (without realizing it) placing ourselves below others as well. The point of all of this is that none of it is true! and we can’t help but do it anyway. We judge. We are judgers. We are human. That’s what we do. All we can do is begin to notice it. We can begin to separate ourselves from that which is judging and say, “Oh, there I go again doing that judging thing I do.”

The problem is when we buy into it and believe our own insanity. You are never above, below or even equal to anyone else. You just made that up (with likely very questionable criteria). You just are. And the rest is an illusion.

I have been letting this one sink in all week…


flower girls

flower girls, Canon 300D

“It is true, we don’t know what is happening in the deepest sense. And if we can stay with that not knowing, and trust it, and enjoy it, we will be able to experience our life in some fundamentally different way. That’s our miraculous power.”
– Katherine Thanas


green cake

green wedding cake, Canon 300D

Thank you to everyone who voted for my site for Photo Friday’s Challenge on the Mother theme. I am so delighted to have won my first noteworthy photo!

Some of you asked what I learned at my first wedding shoot. So much I don’t know where to begin!

First, I have a great respect for wedding photographers. I think it is the single most challenging scenario for anyone to shoot. You have absolutely no control whatsoever! You are shooting documentary style photos, portraiture and still lifes all with the looming cloud of “This is the most important day of my life so don’t f*ck it up” hanging over your head.

There are hundreds of people to capture who are all doing different things, and if you blink too long you might miss the kiss or the toss, or the funny thing that little cousin Billy did. If you have to go to the bathroom you might miss the best man’s speech or the cutting of the cake, and your roll of film will inevitably run out during that really cool moment when the groomsmen start doing capoeira flips and no handed cartwheels on the dance floor. (This actually happened to me the other night, I swear.)

You have also been shooting for God-only-knows-how-many-hours and you are struggling to be inspired by the flash photography and the gazillionth toast.

All that said, you are at a wedding and what could be better? Witnessing that kind of love, ritual and celebration is such a gift and privilege. There were many moments when I would forget to shoot because I was so moved and spellbound by the look in the bride and groom’s eyes.

My tips? What I learned?

Shooting wedddings isn’t easy. (I was happily the second shooter at the wedding over the weekend.) I look forward to doing more because I am convinced it is the most excellent training any photographer can have. I was discussing this with two friends of mine who are very successful and accomplished professionals. They challenged themselves to shoot weddings years ago simply for the training. One continued to do it and the other didn’t, but both feel like the experience helped them tremendously in their career.

I say, start shooting at weddings you attend as a guest. Get some practice when there is no pressure and then start assisting a professional. You might do this for years before you take on clients of your own. No matter if you ever do it professionally, you will grow and learn as a photographer. You will also get to eat lots of green cake and occasionally ride a scary rollercoaster afterwards.