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california destination photographer

Caitlin & Casey // Straus Ranch

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Caitlin & Casey // Straus Ranch

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Grab your tissues, friends. This one might have you feeling all the feels. Mid-September along the west coast, just south of Bodega Bay, Caitlin and Casey made it all official in some serious style. With rolling hills, scenic views of Tomales Bay, and a restored farmhouse, the Straus Home Ranch was truly the perfect backdrop for their perfect day.

Every single detail of the day was well thought out and perfectly executed. It’s not often wedding days go off without a hitch, but I can sincerely tell you that this was one of them. It was a non-stop party with all of their favorite people flying in from all over to celebrate with them and I was overjoyed to be a part of their day.

These two (along with their amazing planner, Jessica, with Joyeux Events) sure know how to throw an unforgettable party. I can promise you, I’ll never forget this unbelievably perfect day.

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Kelly + Florian // Elopement in the Redwoods

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Kelly + Florian // Elopement in the Redwoods

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Kelly and Florian contacted me all the way from Belgium back in March about photographing their elopement in Redwood National Park. They were planning on spending two weeks in California and wanted to start their trip off in Northern California by tying the knot. I immediately felt like we were long friends and was so excited to capture their special day.

We started by exploring around Patrick’s Point, then headed over to Redwood National Park to stand under the Redwood Giants while they exchanged vows. We finished the day frolicking amongst the ferns and it was pretty darn magical. <3

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Engagement Session: From the Sierras down to the River

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Engagement Session: From the Sierras down to the River

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We've had Lauren and Jason's Engagement Session on the books since January. They picked a day in late April, hoping for some blue skies and the chance of wild flowers. We went over location ideas and Lauren settled on both the Sierras and the American River. 

When the day finally came, we set off for the mountains in Jason't truck, not realizing he was on E. When we got to the next gas station, the pumps were down (What??!!). We were baffled but at the same time it was a completely laughable scenario. We made the safe choice to go back down (losing about 35 minutes of time) and fuel up at the last gas station. Once we were finally back on the road, Jason started talking about a super cool look out spot. Normally, I have the general locations more or less picked out, but the way his eyes lit up when talking about this amazing spot, I knew we had to go.

As we pull off the highway, I was beyond excited to realize that this was a place I've always wanted to go, but never really had the chance to explore. It was fate! We hopped out and got started shooting right away, having the spot to ourselves.

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From the epic view of Lake Tahoe, we drove all the way down to the river in Coloma - one of their favorite places to spend time together.  Even with the gas mishap, we still had plenty of light left and hiked up to get a good view of the sunset over the river. 

We literally ran around in the wildflowers and chased the sun going down. If this doesn't epitomize adventure, I'm not sure what does. 

Cheers to Lauren and Jason. I canNOT wait until your wedding next year; I'm already counting down the days.....only 525 to go....

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The Channel Islands on a Sunny Spring Weekend

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The Channel Islands on a Sunny Spring Weekend

Raise your hand if you know next to nothing about the Channel Islands? Me, too. And up until my most recent National Park visit (if you're keeping tracking, this is stop #3) of the Channel Islands last weekend, I had little to no knowledge of this majestic wonderland. There are eight separate islands, but we only had time to visit two of them: Anacapa and Santa Cruz. 

The first island we visited was Anacapa. We boarded a boat out of Oxnard, California with Island Packers at 9:00 am. It took us about a half hour longer than it was supposed to because we kept seeing whales and dolphins and, of course, had to stop. 

It had been foggy the whole ride over on the boat and for the first two hours that we roamed the island. When we finally pulled up, the first thing I noticed was the seagulls. Seagulls EVERYWHERE. There's no freshwater on the island and for whatever reason these seagulls just absolutely love Anacapa and are basically the only life on the whole island. They were so fun to photograph and had no aversion to humans. They ignored us most of the time, but, man, were they up close and personal when we were snacking on our lunch. I could've watched them for hours. But just after 1:00 p.m., the fog finally lifted to give us more of a view of the rest of the "banana" shaped island.

I could've stayed there all day with the sun out and the birds flying all around me, but, alas, the boat arrived at 3:00 p.m. to take us back.

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The following day, we left out of the Ventura harbor. Thank GOODNESS I had taken plenty of Dramamine because it was the roughest boat ride I've ever endured. And if you've ever been on a boat or kayak with me, you know how terribly sick I get if I forget to take it, Unlike the start of the previous day, it was warm and sunny for the get-go. Thankfully, we packed the sunblock (SPF 100 for my ginger self). It was going to be a hot one. We had a solid seven hours to explore, so we had a packed lunch and lots of water. The first thing I noticed was the similarity to landscape found in Northern California, so I felt right at home. 

We chose the longer of the hikes since we had pretty much all day. Not far into hike, we started seeing a sprinkling of caterpillars right on the trail. A few hundred yards of that, though, drastically morphed into a solid mile of THOUSANDS of caterpillars. So much so that we had to focus so hard on the ground to watch every single step we took to avoid stepping on them. I've never seen anything like it. 

For lunch, we made a pit stop down at a gorgeous sandy beach to take a little break from the sun and sit under the Eucalyptus. After about a 2 hour lunch break, we headed for the boat since we had quite a bit of a hike left. All in all, I think we did a 9 mile hike - lots of hills and sunshine.

Fun Fact: The Island Fox is found on the Santa Cruz Island (and a few of the other Channel Islands) and they exist nowhere else in the entire world. Another tourist asked one of the National Park Naturalists if we'd be likely see one of them. She chuckled and told us the only way we wouldn't see them was if he kept our eyes closed. Sure enough, we rounded the corner and one (of many seen throughout the day) was right there. They were so precious. Very petite and quite clever little creatures.

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