Today.

Before now. 

I woke up at 7am raring to go. From our study I could see the sun was just beginning to peek out from behind the giant parking structure on the hill behind us. Lance asked me why I woke up so early today because it's so rare. But I just simply responded that I went to bed extra early last night so I could wake up extra early today. There's a ton to do before Christmas. I am in a fog. A Christmas fog. Is anyone else in a Christmas-chaos-lots-to-do fog? 

But anyway.... Thanks to the early-rising I finished a wedding this morning while watching two Bravo reality shows (seriously-guilty pleasures). I also managed to prep three lightroom catalogs and three galleries. And I watched the latest blog post/video from Negative Feedback, my current obsession. 

Now.

I'm considering a quick nap-break, but a quick half-hour knitting session while watching The Holiday seems to be calling me instead. 

After now. 

I need to get working on addressing my Christmas cards, which I ordered early/mid November and am only just getting around to sending them out to my fams. I meant to hand them out personally when Lance and I went to visit them in California for Thanksgiving, but I got massively sick, so I abandoned that wishful thought. So here I am needing to address some Christmas cards. 

My goal is to also finish at least two more weddings before I go to sleep tonight. I'm thinking it's pretty doable, right? Eeee.The running tally of editing I've just received/shot this week is as follows: 6 weddings and counting (but 3 finished) and one session (and some more to shoot). Cross your fingers I'll finish all my work and housework and cleaning work and life work before Christmas. yikes!

That reminds me... I also have to pack and send my film (and chocolate) to my fave lab, the Indie Film Lab. I'm hoping I get the scans back before Christmas. What do y'all have going on today? 

 

Caprices by Sophie, New York, NY. March 7, 2015 | Canon 5d markii 50mm 1.2


How to Drive in Birmingham

Stockton Street San Francisco Street Photography

Let me start off by saying, I'm not the best driver. I've had my driver's license for almost two years and been actually only driving for a year, so I'm definitely not a seasoned driver. I am, however, fairly knowledgeable of the California DMV driver's handbook. I read that book front-to-back several times in preparation for my written test and to familiarize myself with the rules of the road. I know the driving laws for California. 

I've only driven in California once, but I can tell you Alabama drivers and driving is nothing like California. You'd image that since the Bay Area is a much larger area with a larger population that the traffic would be crazier than Birmingham, but it's not. I can say, hands down, that Alabama drivers are the complete worse drivers I have ever witnessed, and I've been to places like China, India, Boston, New York, LA...etc--places with notoriously aggressive and chaotic traffic. Well, they've got nothing on Birmingham and here's why:

If you want to drive in Alabama you just need to do the following to fit in:

Ignore all emergency vehicles when their lights are flashing.  Do not stop or pull over. This is probably the worse thing drivers do around here. I live in about a 10 minute driving radius to at least four major hospitals, so there are constantly ambulances with their emergency lights on on the road. You'll often see ambulances with their sirens on getting stuck behind cars who just won't pull over.  Because it happens more often than not, I honestly wonder if they know they're supposed to let the ambulances through. Lance once pulled over to the side of the road for an ambulance and the car behind him honked him!

Drive at least 10-15 miles over the speed limit in the slow lane and about 20-30 miles over the speed limit if you're not in the slow lane. I'm not sure why but everyone here seems like they're in a rush to get somewhere. Why? I don't know. It takes about 5-15 minutes to get everywhere in Birmingham, but yet a lot of drivers speed. In my neighborhood, I'll sometimes find that people drive 35-40 mph where it's a 25 mph speed limit. And that leads me to my next "tip".

Tail the car in front of you like you're glued to their bumper. If you're driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I completely understand driving that close to the car in front of you, but drivers in Alabama will tail cars regardless of whether traffic is going 20 mph or 90 mph. I have no idea why people do this. It's so unsafe. I prefer to drive with at least a car's length distance in front of me. When we're in California, everyone maybe be speeding or driving fast or whatever, but everyone has a reasonable distance between them and the car in front of them (i.e. the faster the speed, the larger the distance between cars.) 

Tail and pass everyone in front of you. Make sure to also weave through traffic, too. If you don't don't drive at least 10-15 mph faster than the speed limit, you'll most likely anger the car behind you. They'll come up really close behind you, pass you, then purposely cut you off. And this is in 40 mph roads and 70 mph roads; it doesn't matter to them. Seriously, the drivers are pretty reckless. They need to slow their roll.

Speed up when there's a yellow light, no matter how far you are from the intersection. Bonus points for running the red light. I know this is pretty common everywhere, but it seems especially commonplace here. I feel like at most intersections this happens. This is particularly crazy to me because it's pretty obvious that yellow means slow and red means stop. Didn't we all play "red light green light" as a child? 

At a four-way stop go when it's not your turn. I've been at countless four-way stops and people often disregard the laws where the first one who arrives at the stop gets to go first or if you arrive at the same time, the car to the right has priority. Here drivers go after the car the in front of them. It boggles my mind. 

Park wherever you want. I don't really see this anywhere else in the country, but drivers will park literally anywhere. It doesn't matter if it's a grass island in a parking lot or the fire lane or loading zone, people just park wherever they want. One time I was parked in a parking spot and another car parked behind me boxing me and the car next to me in. 

Do not let drivers in. I see this happen both on the freeway and the streets. If there's a stoplight or stopped traffic, drivers will block intersections or entrances to parking lots, preventing other drivers from pulling onto the street. On the freeways we have spots where the freeways converge with other freeways and you need to quickly change lanes to get where you need to go. There are also some, what I think, wacky on-ramps that end quickly. In both these scenarios I see cars speed up so those merging cars can't come into their lanes.  It's crazy. 

Finally, do not use your blinker, ever. This is one of the scarier things for me. I never really quite know where someone is going or if they'll stop suddenly to make a turn. People will not turn on their blinker to exit, change lanes, turn, indicate a turn at intersection...etc. So I never really know where people are going. It puts me on edge.

I should note while these things are pretty common here, obviously not everyone drives crazy. Birmingham is a great place, and I absolutely love it here. I am just always shocked at how unsafe and not-so-nice some of the driving is here, more so than any other place I've visited. While talking about this with friends, someone once mentioned it could be because people are coming into Birmingham from the country where there's less enforcement of rules. So maybe that's it. Either way, Birmingham has really great, amazing people, but just, you know, generally awful drivers. :D 

 

Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA. April 15, 2015 | Canon Rebel XSN. Kodak Gold 400 film processed by Richard Photo Lab


Kimberly & Dominic

I was so excited when Kimberly contacted me about shooting her wedding. Kim did my bridesmaids and my makeup for my wedding so I liked how it was almost full-circle to photograph her wedding. I love that she and Dominic married early in the morning in a short and sweet ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, followed by a lunch reception at The Commissary at the Presidio.  You really can't go wrong with the San Francisco City Hall. It's absolutely gorgeous with beautiful architectural details and light. 

Throughout Kimberly and Dominic's wedding day, I kept thinking, "This is how weddings should be done." The focus of their day was getting married and celebrating with their family and friends, which was refreshing. Nowadays I notice how a lot of weddings are productions, filled with entertainment and details that have nothing to do with the couple or even getting married, really.  But I loved how Kimberly and Dominic's wedding was so fun and unfussy.. Let's get married. Let's celebrate. And let's have some really good food.  (The food was amazing, btw. I got a little fan girl when I realized Top Chef had one of their "Quick-Fire Challenges" at The Commissary. eeee.) Their wedding was minimalist, yet so beautiful both in the details and the celebration of their marriage. 

City hall ceremony + lunch reception ftw. 

p.s. Fun fact: Kim is my sister-in-law, Alison's, sister, and a couple days before the wedding I found out that my brother, Ryan, was going to officiate the wedding!  (If you thought the officiant looked a bit like me, now you know!)  I may be biased, but I was impressed by his officiating. His words were wise and beautiful. High fives to him! 

 

Ceremony Venue: San Francisco City Hall
Reception Venue:  The Commissary
Floral Design: Ha Rue Floral

Coordination: Monica Gon
Dress: Reformation

San Francisco, CA. September 23, 2016 | Canon 5d markii assorted lenses


thankful thursday 25

1497 iceland dc plane.jpg

My long hiatus from blogging deserves to be resurrected for a "thankful thursday". I can't tell you where the fall has gone, or even where the year went; time just flew by. It seems pretty good to reflect on everything's that been happening to me. Without further ado, I am thankful for...

Lance's job. When I was in college it never occurred to me that I'd have a job where I could travel; it never crossed my mind, and if it had I probably would have dismissed the idea of having that kind of opportunity. Funnily enough I ended up with an unconventional job that afforded me the luxury of traveling a lot for both fun and work. Right around the time Lance and I got married, though, I was growing tired of traveling. I spent those seven years when I was single traveling every month. I loved it and all, but I was getting older and enjoying being a homebody. I was excited to settle down with Lance and save my traveling for visits home and occasional work trips. Turns out marrying Lance is the main reason I'm traveling nowadays. Thanks to him and his job, we've gone on several trips (like the Grand Canyon!), with a big one coming up! I'm so thankful his job has given us so many opportunities. 

Editing. I've always loved editing. I like to edit when I'm stressed or sad. It acts as a wonderful decompressor for me. I'm so thankful for those editing classes in college and learning lightroom when it first came out. It brings me so much joy to edit, especially for other photographers. Recently I've gotten some new clients and have been working with some amazingly talented photographers. I love the challenge of it all. And with the big move, I'm still trying to grow my Alabama client base, so I appreciate all the editing work I've been getting. 

Knitting. Since high school I've been knitting here and there. At some point I exhausted all the scarves I could ever want and started selling my excess scarves. I usually reserved my knitting to the winter months whenever I was watching a movie or bored. This year I joined a knitting group and it opened up so many possibilities. Recently I've loved experimenting, learning and practicing my knitting skills. I even finished two blankets (one was queen-sized!) and countless more scarves. Knitting can be very mathematical and all about problem solving, so I feel like I get a mental workout figuring out how to read new patterns and make my own. I would have never tackled a blanket or these new techniques I learned without this knitting group. And thanks to my long talks with Lance I knit a lot. I feel so accomplished with all the little projects I finished and techniques I learned. 

People. I always wanted to live somewhere where I knew people in town, and I have that here. I'm friends with my coffee people and my smoothie people and my librarians.  I like living in a community that feels like community, where people will stop and talk to you about your day. It seems so cliche, but having lived in the Bay Area where I routinely ignored crazy people on the street, it's nice to live somewhere where I don't always have to do that. 

Marriage. Of course I have to put something about being married to Lance on this list. I am so thankful for Lance; for every flaw and imperfection and bad habit I have he's still always willing to forgive and love me. I never thought being married would be easy, but I honestly never had a gauge as to how much work it would be or how incredibly selfish I actually was. But that's what marriage does, I suppose, it highlights the weaknesses in people, while also bringing out the goodness. I'm so thankful to be in this marriage, which is constantly teaching me to be a better person and pushing me to overcome my faults, while building up my strengths. There's nothing like knowing you have your best friend to live through life's ups and downs. 

 

DC 3 Abandoned Plane, Sólheimasandur, Iceland. June 9, 2016 | Canon 5d markii 16-35mm 


The Vaughn Family

A couple weeks back I had the pleasure of photographing Katherine & Jordan and their adorable son, Will. We were originally planning on shooting at the Botanical Gardens, but last minute Katherine suggested we shoot at Samford University. For all the years that Lance has worked at Samford University, I've never shot on campus; I'm so glad I finally got to for Katherine, Jordan, and Will's shoot. It couldn't have been more perfect; Samford was covered in fall colors, the flowers were in full bloom, and the light was gorgeous. 

I had so much fun photographing the Vaughn family. Will was simply the most adorable little guy. He'd give the sweetest little expressions, including a why-is-strange-lady-pointing-a-camera-at-me face. I love seeing how families interact with each other, like the way Will's face lights up when Jordan talks to him or the way Will gives Katherine kisses. It's just sweet all around. 

 

Samford University, Birmingham, AL. November 18, 2016 | Canon 5d markii 50mm 1.2