Blue Maternity

Maxi dress + Maternity pics, always! At the Palace of Fine Arts, on only what could be a winter day in California, the combination was beautiful and elegant.

Babies Left and Right

Many babies have arrived in the last few months, and many more are to arrive in the upcoming months. I am far behind on my baby-gift crafting. I have a long list of baby projects in my head, we'll see how many come to actual existence, before carpal tunnel from my own pregnancy renders my hands useless.

I'm still very fond of the name bunting, in shield shapes. The shield shape fits letters better than triangles. The fabric is double sided (single sided, or inter-facing backed single sided buntings look flimsy), the letters are felt, placed with iron-on inter-facing and then stitched along the edges. They're strung on 3/4" cotton twill tape folded in half, and sewn the entire length. Looped the twill tape on the ends, for easy hanging. Cotton twill tape is so useful. It's not soft enough for baby blankets or clothing, but can otherwise be used to easily cover up raw edges, and comes in great colors.

I assume the mom of the recipient baby is too busy with her newborn to check my blog and see his surprise bunting.

Photos with Ginkgos

This row of ginkgos is a fantastic backdrop for a cloudy winter day. You'd hardly notice that it's grey and cold, with all that saturated golden amber. The fallen leaves are a bonus for instigating fun; I find that grownups also delight in fallen leaves.

Shortly after this shoot, I brought my own kid to this location in hopes of having some ginkgo photos for my own family photo collection, but most of the leaves had fallen by then. She would not be still, except when gathering leaves to throw at me - and in all those instances she strategically had her back turned. Thus, an action shot.

New Year, New Projects

It's been so long since, well my last post, and since I'd done illustration of any sort. I realize I miss having a drawing/ painting implement in my hand, and the freedom and control that these media offer - very different from photography. I felt rather rusty at first, my hand taking a moment to interpret what my head instructed; my lines uncertain as I reacquainted myself with the brush. I feel like I've not used that part of my brain in years. Which I haven't! I've recently been inspired because my daughter is finally old enough to wield a brush with control, painting with intention and focus unlike her earlier days when painting consisted of mashing globs of paint on paper and everything else in close proximity.

We started with holiday ornaments, snowflakes cut from rolled polymer clay and decorated with glitter glue. Sculpey III rolled to 1/4 inch thickness worked well with cookie cutters, and the glitter glue, Target Up & Up brand, was of surprisingly good quality - even flow and dense with glitter. Both my kid and I were addicted - we huddled over our snowflakes, together squeezing little tubes. I am very fond of her abstract snowflakes.

I switched to Sculpey Original polymer clay for the animals, it being more cost efficient. It is not as white as Sculpey III and was softer before baking, but served its ornament purpose just as well. Craft acrylic paints for the even opaque color.

In this upcoming low season of photography, I aspire to (1) Post more art blog posts! and (2) re-expand my art horizons with non-art projects. Everything I come across in my inspiration browsing is so enticing to me right now - paper cut art, illustration, sewing... I don't know where to begin.

San Francisco Autumn

The most reliably sunny time of the year, and best for photos! Though direct light does make it challenging for portraits, the sun does make Baker Beach all the more glorious, a very dramatic background for very cute one year old pics.

Lining the beach are woods of wind-gnarled pines. Trees with great personality and texture, lots of low limbs for little ones to explore, and a unique place for a family portrait.


Miko Fogarty is the most amazing dancer I have photographed. She's only 16. You might recognize her from First Position, a documentary about young people training for ballet competition. Her entire body with all her movements are beautiful and photogenic. She did three dances, including this: Esmerelda,  for the Bay Pointe Ballet Fundraiser, which I photographed probono.


These were all just so darn cute, I posted a whole bunch. This took a little more prep than my usual shoots of course. The backdrop paper had been in my closet, waiting for this very opportunity. Baloons were strategically arranged for an asymmetrical yet balanced composition. Light came primarily from a large window, supplemented on one side by a lamp - to reduce the shadows on sides and behind; and a reflector opposite, to do the same. Next, place cake and birthday boy on floor and let him at it. A very fun shoot indeed!

Newborn + Textures

It's visually interesting to contrast delicate newborn skin with fabric textures. We experimented with this mohair, loose-knit wrap as well as some other knits. Lots of wonderful arm and hand folds in the 2nd photo. This little man did like to keep his hands up by his ears.

How do you get three young sibs in one pic? Sometimes I have to photoshop my feet out of these pics. Would definitely be easier if I were taller, to get right above the faces.

New Project

Summer is the season to try something new. I've started doing a little teaching at a new, local art community center called Creative Canopy. Just getting off the ground, the director invited local artists to teach and hold workshops. Of course, advertising is a big deal for a new company. While there was a big pile of artists' business cards, she lamented that it would be nice to have a hand out for people who dropped by expressing interest in classes. She did have a newsletter - I checked it out and found it to be a rather unexciting word document.

I'd been wanting a reason to teach myself InDesign, and here it was! With a background of Photoshop and Illustrator, InDesign was not very different. I wish I hadn't been daunted for so long. It certainly is great at dealing with text and layout. It was actually fun, thinking about font types and sizes, spacing, placement of titles and images. I volunteered to do a little artist spotlight, to further pep up the newsletter, and interviewed Ayoung Kim, an acupuncturist and Qigoing artist.

While I love photography of course, it is refreshing to apply my art skills to a different medium and purpose. Keeps my brain happy.

Bay Area Dance Week

My annual dose of dance photography, which I love. I was invited back to work with the Kathy Mata Ballet company, for their performance in the Bay Area Dance Week. Not just ballet, but also ballroom and modern styles. I felt a bit out of practice at first, feeling a little slow with the shutter, but got back into the swing of it, anticipating the apexes of movement. It's not, as some guess, clicking the shutter away at rapid fire; shots are timed and intentional. I use a 50mm prime lens with manual settings to optimize light and speed (f/2.2, 1/400), the disadvantage being the lack of zoom which means if the subject is too close, parts may be cropped. However, most of the action takes place a few yard from the audience where I squat, so mostly it works out. The advantage of the prime lens is of course, high speed under low light.

I kind of hate watermarking, because it is so distracting to the picture. Like it's the title, or something. But I watermarked these because they will be posted relatively far and wide, and I've found in the past that dancers don't know where to look when trying to find me for hi-res versions, or to credit me. I recognize all the dancers from having carefully observed them, they of course don't know me from any other face in the audience.

Spring in San Francisco

It's Cherry Blossom Season, and it's a beautiful spring day for photos. Here's a happy set of playful candids taken around the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.

Back on the Blog

It has been a long time since my last post. A few weeks ago, my computer crashed. Completely died, hard drive non-retrievable by the local mac repair company down the street. I had all my original photos backed up, and my most recent edits had been burned to CD to mailed to clients. However, I hadn't backed up those edits yet and so, I didn't have any photos to share. I've since created more stuff, and so I'm back to blogging.

A few months ago, Creative Canopy opened a mere block away. Owner/director Elia, saw the spot available for rent and jumped on it to start this art and craft community center. The place is proving popular with the school-aged set, and she's running a summer day camp. She asked me to design the flyer, and given that I've not done design for years now, I was very happy for the chance to do some drawing, as well as play with my NEW computer, and cloud-based Photoshop and Illustrator. Here's what I came up with, given 3 days to put it together. I wanted to be as time efficient as possible, but the hand drawn element, thought time consuming, adds that inviting element. It might be a bit more toddlery than K-5th, but what really matters is that it's attractive to parents. My life is immersed in toddleriness right now, it's hard not to let it affect my design. At first the kids looked more like toddlers, but then I shrank their heads and they look maybe like kindergarteners. Why yes that IS my kid and her friend!

I'm excited to be one of the Featured Local Artists who will be a Guest Teacher for the Summer Camp. Making a mental list of things I can do with the kids, such as paper airplane design, shadow puppets, something with papier mache...

Bright Eyed

There's a rumor floating around that newborn photos should be taken while the baby is asleep. Perhaps, if the baby is to be posed in one of those unnatural head-propped-on-hands positions. I prefer newborns to be awake; eyes taking in the world and always curious. Yes yes, sleeping babies are cute, but open eyes give us a little insight to personality and reminds me - this teeny tiny person has so much potential.