Palm Springs Photo Festival 2015

It's the end of Spring so that means that it's Palm Springs Photo Festival time again!  So much happened that my post is a little later than normal.  I worked with the incomparable Keith Carter this year, there was a wolf, lots of beautiful models, portfolio reviews, late night lectures and parties, and, it makes me emotional even to type this, the last talk given by Mary Ellen Mark. 

Mary Ellen gave a moving talk on Wednesday night of the festival.  She showed a greatest hits slideshow of her work which was powerful and moving.  I've been a huge fan for a long time, but this is only the second time I've gotten to see her speak in public.  The crowd gave her a well-deserved roaring standing ovation when she finished.  She was clearly ill, and her heroic efforts to continue to teach her workshop, speak on a panel, and then stay up to 10pm to give the late night evening presentation were truly admirable.  This was a woman who cared passionately about her craft and about the field of photography.  She was a trailblazer for women photographers and she will be missed. 

Onto a much lighter topic, the workshop with Keith!  Often times workshop instructors are great artists, but they're not great at teaching.  With Keith there was the magical combination of him being both an exquisite image maker AND an articulate teacher. He had many helpful creative exercises, showed work by interesting photographers that I had never heard of, and he had thoughtful insights about everyones work.  

We started the week with a little class time at the Korakia Pensione in the morning of day one. Then moved onto a mini shooting session at a hip private home in Palm Springs, followed by a critique of attendee work, and finally a quick trip to the thrift store to pick up props for the rest of the week.    

Day 2 we went to the spectacular Blue Ranch, an in-city horse ranch in the middle of Palm Springs. We had three lovely models, a couple of horses, and a wolf (!!!) to photograph and work with as subjects.  Although I was there to assist with the organizational part of the festival, with scenery like this I had to make some images of my own--especially since Canon loaned me a 5d Mark iii plus the AWESOME 85mm 1.2!  I want it!  It was very hard to give back that lens and I've been pining for it ever since. 

Day 3 we went out to Indian Canyon.  In all of my years going out to Palm Springs with the festival it was my first time at Indian Canyon. It's like this little oasis just a few miles out of town with groves of palms and a trickling stream running through it.  It was very cool and I will be back!  We had a big group this year (see below) but the last few years I've gotten very lucky with low maintenance attendees which makes my job so much easier!

The festival is a very intimate experience and there are workshops are going on all around the Korakia Hotel.  I got a sneak peek at Ian Ruhter's wet plate workshop in action using his massive camera. Such a cool process to watch!  Also, look at that focus on the 85 1.2, daaaaamn!

The week is filled with long, sometimes challenging days with little sleep and a fair amount of stressful moments. It's also probably my favorite week of the year.  That is in no small part thanks to the many great friends that I have because of the festival.  I am grateful every year they come back and we get to hang out in the desert together.  I get to see their careers grow and our bonds of friendship are renewed each spring.  It's a very special thing. 


Until next year...

Production Shoot for Stocksy: Female Friends at the Beach

As a photographer you are always creating work a season or two ahead of when the images will be used.  Thus Christmas shoots in July and romantic Valentine's themed shoots are scheduled for November.  Famously Sports Illustrated models often have to brave frigid temperatures in bikinis to get that summertime look in the off season.  Luckily for this shoot, my models Brittany, Bia, and Amy and I had the great fortune to "endure" a 72 degree February day at the beach. It's rough.

The girls and I along with my trusty assistant Justin went out to Santa Monica for a fun "girls day at the beach" themed shoot.  The models were great and we had a lot of fun running around an almost empty So Cal beach.  You can see more images at my Stocksy page and even license them if you'd like.  Thanks so much to Amy, Bia and Brittany for having so much energy and making the shoot a blast!  

Field to Vase Florists for Edible SLO Magazine

I've got new work out this week on the news stands for Edible SLO magazine.  This was a feature on florists on the Central Coast who are involved in the "field to vase" movement.  Each of the ladies in the article create beautiful floral arrangements and they strive to source their flowers and botanicals locally. You can pick up a copy of Edible SLO magazine now, or check out the digital version at The writer of the article, Kendra Aronson also has a great blog about the field to vase movement that you can see here.

Interior Shoot for Jennifer Muirhead Designs

There's something really satisfying about shooting interiors that quenches that obsessive perfectionist that sometimes resides within me.  I find myself saying things like, "okay, one more inch to the left," and "let's take that blue book out and replace it with the green one."  It's such a great feeling when all of the elements are in balance and the scene comes together into one perfect frame.  

This shoot was for Los Angeles based designer Jennifer Muirhead and the home was a stunning modern Spanish bungalow in Hancock Park. The space was designed beautifully and felt very comfortable, yet with high-end elegant touches.  The house had great art too!  As a photographer I love when a designer uses lots of photography in their designs. 

To see more of her work visit her website at 

Jennifer Muirhead Designs

Emy Reynolds Band in the Studio

I love my ERB girls, Piper Denney and Emy Reynolds.  They are currently in the studio in Ojai   working on their latest album, due out Spring 2015.  I got a chance to shoot them in the studio a couple of weeks ago and got an early preview of some new songs.  As always their work makes me swoon.  Here are some of my favorite shots of the girls.  They have a show at the Lobero in Santa Barbara on Nov. 15th.  If you're in the area it's definitely worth checking out!

New Work with Domenique

I had the good fortune to be in Paso Robles on assignment when Domenique contacted me wanting to do a shoot.  Domenique and I had previously worked together to shoot an athletic/sportswear inspired shoot in Paso Robles and she is a rock star, so of course we made it happen.  We tried out a couple of different concepts and played around with wardrobe and scenery.  The light was spectacular, and Domenique's skin was luminescent. Here's some of my favorites from that day.      



Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Elects New President

I had the opportunity to shoot portraits of Sunni Mullinax, the newly elected President of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce to go along with a press release announcement of her appointment.  She is fantastic, and I know she'll be a great ambassador to the Paso Robles community!  


Palm Springs Photo Festival 2014

Another year, another Palm Springs Photo Festival!  I got back last Friday and I've just started to process all of the good things that came from my week in the desert.  This year I assisted fine art photographer Todd Hido in his workshop called "A Method Demystified."  I'm a big fan of his work and was excited to be chosen to assist his workshop.  We started the week with a meet and greet at the beautiful Korakia Hotel. Todd and his studio manager Jena met with the workshop attendees and we discussed the plan for the week.  The weather was great all week and we were fortunate to be able to sit out in the sunshine and chat. The first official day of the workshop was a time for Todd to discuss his work and process.  We brought in a model, the lovely Brooke Lynne, to give a demo on lighting and how to work with a model.  

*All photos shot with an iPhone.  I know, I know, I should have toted around the Canon, but my job this week was to assist and organize, not to shoot.  

Meet and greet at the Korakia Hotel.

Meet and greet at the Korakia Hotel.

Todd talking to the workshop attendees about his work on Day 1. 

Todd talking to the workshop attendees about his work on Day 1. 

Day two was where the rubber met the road.  We all (Todd Hido, 14 attendees, 3 models, 2 assistants) headed out to Bombay Beach in the Salton Sea.  It was very windy and hot, but not sweltering.  Each of the attendees got to work with each of the three models (Zoe, Ali, and Brooke) in the abandoned buildings that make-up about 50 percent of Bombay Beach.  The group made some fantastic images with the girls.  It was nice to see them experiment and grow in their ability to direct and stage the models.  

Day 2: Our vans at Bombay Beach in the Salton Sea. 

Day 2: Our vans at Bombay Beach in the Salton Sea. 

Scenes from the Salton Sea.  

Scenes from the Salton Sea.  

Stephanie and Zoe shooting at Bombay Beach.

Stephanie and Zoe shooting at Bombay Beach.

2013 vs. 2014 The Salton Sea is such a strange, ever-changing place.  The photo on the left was taken almost exactly a year before when I was assisting Roger Ballen's workshop out at the Sea.  The wind, the sun, the transient population all alter the landscape dramatically. 

2013 vs. 2014 The Salton Sea is such a strange, ever-changing place.  The photo on the left was taken almost exactly a year before when I was assisting Roger Ballen's workshop out at the Sea.  The wind, the sun, the transient population all alter the landscape dramatically. 

We spent about 4 hours at Bombay Beach shooting, and then we all headed over to the infamous Ski Inn to grab a cold beer and look at some work.  I can't recommend the Ski Inn enough.  The staff is really sweet, they have a great old-school jukebox, the beer is always cold, and it's basically your quintessential desert dive bar.  While we were there Todd showed some work that he had shot the previous day of Brooke, and then he did a mini-session with Zoe.  There was an old, beat-up piano next to a window that created a timeless scene.  The sun started to set and we headed back to the "beach" for a night shooting demo. 

Todd showing work to the group in the Ski Inn. 

Todd showing work to the group in the Ski Inn. 

Look for our PSPF dollar!

Look for our PSPF dollar!

Todd shooting Zoe in the bar.

Todd shooting Zoe in the bar.

Model shooting model.  Brooke is a great photographer and she had the opportunity to take a couple of snaps while we were out.  

Model shooting model.  Brooke is a great photographer and she had the opportunity to take a couple of snaps while we were out.  

Day three the group went out to Indio to the Western Sands Motel.  The Sands is an old motel that hasn't been renovated in decades.  It was the perfect place for us to work.  Each of the students got more time to shoot with the models and use hot lights if they wanted.  

Day 3 at the Western Sands Motel in Indio, CA. 

Day 3 at the Western Sands Motel in Indio, CA. 

Some of the guys shooting with Zoe by the pool.

Some of the guys shooting with Zoe by the pool.

Ali in the "vintage" motel. 

Ali in the "vintage" motel. 

Todd shooting with Brooke at the Western Sands Motel. 

Todd shooting with Brooke at the Western Sands Motel. 

The last day the attendees got to show the work they shot during the week to Todd and get feedback.  I must say that the images that they created were lovely.  I was very impressed. This was my sixth year working with the festival and this group was by far my easiest, most low-maintainance group. They made my job much easier than it could have been and I am very grateful for that!  

I got to see the magical Duane Michals speak, the weather was manageable, Todd was very cool, I got to see lots of old friends and make many new ones, overall it was another great year at the PSPF!    

A much needed cocktail after a night in the desert. 

A much needed cocktail after a night in the desert. 

Couples in Buenos Aires

I shot a mini-project while I was living briefly in Buenos Aires, Argentina featuring ex-pat couples (like me and my boyfriend) who were also living abroad in South America.  I shot Sonia and Adam and Gustavo and Sophie who were from Spain, the US, and New Zealand.  Like us they were enjoying the cheap pesos, good wine, and beauty that Buenos Aires had to offer.  All of these images and more are available for licensing at Stocksy United

You can view my entire Stocksy catalogue here

Test Shoot: Darrell

Darrell Snedeger and I shot earlier this week at the football stadium at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo.  We were fortunate that some workers were doing maintenance to the bleachers in the stadium, so we were able to sneak in.  Unfortunately when it came time to leave the workers had locked the exit so we had to scale a fence to get out.  Nothing like minor breaking and entering for the cause of a great location for a shoot.  

Darrell was very sweet and game for anything.  I put him to work during our shoot and he kindly accommodated.  He is moving to LA in a few weeks, so I'm glad we got a chance to work together before he heads down south to pursue a career in modeling and acting.  


Good luck in LA Darrell!  Thanks for helping me over the fence! 

Promo Time

I do my best to keep up with marketing and promo materials.  I try (with varying degrees of success) to send out some type of promo piece to my clients and people I want to work with about once a quarter. Typically this is in the form of an email promo with embedded images, but from time to time it involves printed mailers too.  It's nice to show clients what I've been working on and remind them that I'm here and able to shoot. Also, it's nice for me to step back and assess where I've been and where I want to be going.  Plus it's so nice to see printed materials!  With everything being online now I kinda miss the tactile presence of a printed piece.  Here are my newest promo pieces that will be going out tomorrow.  I taylor which promo I send to the specific client based on their needs.  


Lauren and Kylee

I had a fun day shooting Lauren and Kylee Klay last week. They are both really goofy and natural in front of the camera.  We shot several different set-ups involving a modern, technology filled morning.  Apparently we were having so much fun that Basil (the chicken) decided to escape and join us.  After her daring escape we let her model for a few photos.

Thanks to the awesome Krystal Davis for doing makeup for the shoot. You can find more information about Krystal's work here...

The girls looked fresh and lovely.  Don't all women look like that when they get out of bed in the morning?


Thanks ladies, I look forward to working with you again soon!

Harvest Project 2012: Part 1

I have been working on a personal project on the California Central Coast wine grape harvest for the past few weeks.  It's a work in progress and I am still waking up before dawn, pulling on my boots, heading out to some of the best vineyards in the area, and photographing the harvest.  I vacillated between waiting until the project was completed, and releasing it in parts.  I decided that it was best to give you small portions at a time.  This is mainly because there are way too many images that I love to only show a final 10-20 once the edit was completed.  Also, it allows you, the viewer, to see the evolution of the project and how things change over time.  These images were shot at Fe Ciega Vineyard, located in the Santa Rita Hills area of California, and Laetitia Vineyard, located in Arroyo Grande.  


 Thanks to Rick Longoria at Fe Ciega Vineyard and Jackie Ross and Dave Terry at Laetitia Winery for facilitating access to the vineyards and being so gracious and helpful!!!

Elegant Country Dinner and Tomato Tasting at Windrose Farm

On Saturday, September 15th, two lovely events were held at Windrose Farm in Paso Robles, California.  First in the afternoon there was a tomato tasting featuring over 20 varieties of tomatoes.  In the evening there was a farm to table feast paired with local wines from Tablas Creek Winery.  It was a hot summer night, but spirits were high on the farm.  Here are some images from the event and around the pastoral grounds of Windrose Farm. 


One of my favorite parts of the day was simply wandering around the expansive apple orchards.  There are dozens of free-roaming chickens that made themselves at home in the shade beneath the trees.  Windrose is in a unique location in that they can successfully grow both apples (which typically require a cool climate) and tomatoes (which love the heat) due to their warm days and cool nights.  


Windrose also raises sheep on thier property.  They have tons of room to roam about, and lead happy lives hanging out with the dogs in the pasture.  


Barbara and Bill Spencer are the owners of Windrose.  Barbara is seen here talking to the diners about the practices on the farm and what the menu is for the evening.  


Neil Collins (seen at right), the winemaker at Tablas Creek Winery in Paso Robles, paired each course with his wines.  Tablas Creek is known for being a leader in Rhone varietals, which proved to be a great pairing with the menu.  Almost all of the ingredients were sourced from Windrose, and were prepared by chef Clark Staub of Flatbread Full of Life based out of Los Alamos.  You can find out more about Tablas Creek and Flatbread here...


Windrose Farm owners Barbara and Bill Spencer in front of their sheep. 


Flatbread brought out their wood burning oven from which they prepared pizza during the day and used to cook the dinner in the evening.  Chef Julie Simon of Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles came to assist with the dinner as well as Kat from Flatbread. 


The day was a great success and I am lucky to have been a part of the festivities.  The Central Coast food and wine community is a very tight-knit group and it is nice to see people who are passionate about the things they create and who value artisinal traditions and quality ingredients.

Lake Nacimiento Shoot

Anyone who is familiar with Paso Robles, California probably knows two basic things about it: they make great wine in Paso, and it gets really, really hot there.  Unfortunately me and the team got a a big dose of the heat during our shoot last week.  Clocking in at about 105 degrees, it was a warm one.  Everyone was a good sport and we kept the water super cold in ice and we hung out by the lake as much as possible.  


Thanks so much to everyone involved!  


Linsey Milligan, Christina Diaz, Lindsey Hunt, Rob Martin, and Joseph Garcia. 

Make up:

Mikalya Anderson


Rebecca Means

Christina Diaz in Shell Beach

Model Christina Diaz is not only lovely, but the California surfer girl is also quite the academic. An aerospace engineering student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she clearly has a bright future ahead of her.  We shot at Margo Dodd Tide Pools in Shell Beach, California on a beautiful summer afternoon. Rebecca Means was a fantastic assistant and the day was lots of fun.  Chosing to shoot at high tide left all parties soaked as we waded thigh-high through the water, trying to keep the gear dry.  Note to self: check the tide schedule before booking a beach shoot!


Palm Springs Photo Festival 2012


 I love spring!  I get to plant my garden for the summer, my birthday happens, BBQs, sunshine, and the optimism that comes with new beginnings.  It's also the time that I go off the the desert for a week and emerse myself in photography at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.  This was my fourth year with the festival and I'm still trying to process all of the inspiration that I received while I was there.  This year I assisted master photographer Ralph Gibson with his workshop called "Finding Your Personal Vision."  Ralph is fantastic and infinitely quotable.

Here are some portraits I shot of him (he's got great hands and eyes) as well as some of my favorite Ralphisms...


"The best sound in the world is the sound of a zoom lens being thrown into a swimming pool."

"A photograph is a decision to decide."

"In order to succeed you must have a point of departure."

"A great photograph is an unbroken string of good decisions."

We had a group of great models for the workshop and shot some nudes by the pool of the Korakia Pensione and at a beautiful city ranch in Palm Springs. 


Our workshop was so interesting even Robert Maxwell couldn't help but swim over to watch Ralph critique an attendee's work. 


I feel so fortunate to keep returning to the festival each year where I continue to meet more great people and get reinvigorated to go out and shoot.