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Chelsea + Jesse // Elopement in Redwood National Park

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Chelsea + Jesse // Elopement in Redwood National Park

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When Chelsea first described how she envisioned her elopement to be with Jesse, she really emphasized that she wanted the day to be about the two of them and not about having all of the “extras” that so many wedding seem to come with. There is truly something to be said about simply spending your wedding day with the one you love. Call me crazy, but I think they are on to something! ;)

Chelsea and Jesse chose to say their vows and exchange their rings on a secluded beach in Trinidad, Ca, where they could be free of onlookers and quietly enjoy their ceremony. After a quick champagne toast that immediately followed the ceremony, we ventured to the redwoods where they saw the giants for the very first time. We explored the park (my favorite national park!), stopping only to take in the beauty of it all. It was truly a perfect day!

A few days after the wedding, Chelsea surprised me with this:

Vanessa, you are FABULOUS! You made our day EXTRA enjoyable, perfect fit, can't imagine how the day would have gone with anyone else. Felt like we were a trio the moment I dropped my robe and hopped in the bath. I LOVED that you GOT him from first dad joke. I know that made it way more fun for him to have 2 people to pick on instead of only 1.
Professionally you gave good, subtle direction. Never made us feel awkward. Created and kept the timeline with no stressing or rushing. Handled communication with the officiant. Cool with last minute ideas. Had Kacey Musgraves ready to go. Totally willing to hold the go-pro even though the battery was dead. Also willing to get down n dirty all up in the wispy bushes. Brought an extra sweater 'with tags on' cause you knew I was gonna freeze my ass off. Offered to keep going even though we tapped out. Dealt with 107493874 questions before we even met...

The first look mishap, almost running out of gas, and forgetting the rental car made the experience an adventure. Wouldn't have wanted it any other way.”

CONGRATS, YOU TOO! Your day was so special to me and I’m beyond grateful to have been a part of it <3

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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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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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