That rare feeling of knowing you are in one place, but simultaneously being pummeled with the feeling of being in another. Fog like the fog we felt that Monday a few weeks ago is England: thick, dense, gloomy, damp. And beautiful. I am grateful to have been blessed with a day of my England just by stepping out of my door in California.
NYC, London, Sacramento, over the past decade. So many more where these came from, so many more that are still waiting to be taken.
“It appears to be the same rotten old wheel that keeps this country churning:
Oppression, hatred, cruelty, and fear.
We are hanging in there, tiptoeing around, then suddenly jumping full force
With our Doc Martens into the middle of it.
It’s either hide in the shadows and hope for the best or be the change you want to be for your children.
It won’t happen for us, but we can do it for the next generations.
If we don’t maintain some kind of semblance of hope there wouldn’t be any point in living anymore.
So hope pushes us forward, but reality makes it clear that Hope alone won’t save the day.
And if we don’t fight then we are no more than cowards really.
This world is so much bigger than a bar, a city, a country.
This world is so much bigger than the individual.”
(Excerpt from a work in progress with a working name of “Belonging”. It may or may not see the day).
While looking through these photos I took last year during the California Capital Air Show I found myself subconsciously singing along to the theme tune to Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines... I have never actually seen the movie, but I remember one of my grandfathers singing it and still know all of the lyrics from childhood!
This year the California Capital Air Show takes place this coming weekend (Sept 9-10) at Mather Airport in Sacramento. It probably won't be as stormy as it was last year (although those ominous clouds did make an amazing back drop). This year's performers include the Patriots Jets Team, a USN F/A-18 Super Hornet, the USAF Heritage Flight, WW2 planes, parachutists, and a whole lot of other pretty awesome planes and pilots. Definitely bring ear protection (especially for kids) if you go because the super jets can get really loud!
Here is my full collection of photos from last year, with a few of my favourites below.
Back in early 2014 my best friend organized a wonderful baby shower for me, for our first child, Luna. Knowing how I really don’t like being the centre of attention she made sure that I was, but discreetly, and also made sure some of my wonderful friends came and joined in on the fun. We didn’t have a shower or a sprinkle for Aurora, because she came so soon after Luna, and because while I loved my baby shower, I’m still not good at celebrating myself very well. It’s hard to explain, I come from a country where these type of celebrations didn’t exist before (they do now apparently), and I always feel a little self-conscious.
However, when we found out that I was pregnant again, being in California and not NYC, and because my sister wasn’t able to join us at my first one, I asked her if she would like to organize a little “sprinkle” for this baby, a little get together with friends from this side of the coast. So she got together with a few friends and organized a lovely party in the park, with food and games and balloons and a beautiful cake, and good friends… And water pistols that all the kids (and some adults) enjoyed immensely. Thank you to everyone who organized and participated – it was wonderful to see you all! (I mainly only added family photos to this blog post, but there are many more under the link a few paragraphs down).
My mother took some beautiful photos, just like she did at my first shower. It’s funny because this is the first time when I really cherish these images of me looking so pregnant and healthy and happy… I feel strong and beautiful, and at the same time a little wistful as this is the last time that I will look like this. This perfect little bump will soon be a perfect little baby, and while I cannot wait, at the same time I also would like time to tiptoe by rather than run.
If you are in the Sacramento area and would like maternity, newborn, family or baby shower pictures taken, you can check out my mother’s portfolio and website here. You can see the full gallery of the day here.
With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping (and yes, even Northern California gets colder, although nothing like the freezing NYC winters we are used to), I thought it was time to think back to late last September and to our road trip down to the ocean. Oceans and seas are my favourite places to be, sitting on a sandy beach watching the waves crashing in the distance, thinking about the past, present and future, making up stories in my end and putting other ones to rest. My best friend picked us all up in a car and we made our way down to Monterey and then Big Sur, stopping in Pacific Grove for the night. Luna took to the ocean like her parents, but Aurora needed a little more convincing, finally accepting that sand wasn't an evil force on our last stop before going home, where we found ourselves on a practically empty local beach to watch the sun set. It was the perfect family getaway and I can't wait to do it again in the near future.
(As a sidenote we also witnessed the rapid devastation that a wildfire can bring from across the bay. You may notice a huge spreading cloud on some of the Monterey pictures - this was caused by a massive fire in the Santa Cruz mountains. At night we could see the flames in the distance.). Full album is HERE.
It's no secret - I love Halloween. I love how the traditions go back centuries, originating in Celtic times and turning into a fun, albeit pretty commercial, day of celebration in today's world. I've always loved to dress up, and now, with a family, it's a million times more fun. I left my camera at home for once and let my wonderfully talented mother take shots of us as we walked around the neighbourhood, trick or treating with the kids. Here are a few of the beautiful pictures that she took of us!
(If anyone in the Sacramento area is interested in getting some family, group or band shots done before the holidays she has a few openings available over the next month. You can find out more information on her blog here (complete with easy booking tool), and look at her work on her website here.)
I will have a collection of Autumn photos up before the end of November, but I'm a little behind on just about everything so you will have to bear with me on that! I'm going to try to catch up on all the blog posts that I have been working on over the past month this week.
You can find my first state fair post with photos from the first week HERE, and a full photo album from the entire fair HERE. I can't pretend that we managed to see everything but we did get to see and experience a lot, even though the temperatures soared way over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the last weekend! If I had been alone it wouldn't have been too much of an issue, but with two small children we had to work our way around the hottest times and places and find shade whenever we could. All in all we really enjoyed the fair and I can't wait to go back next year! Here are my main highlights from the 17 day event:
The Petting Zoo: We went there nearly every day. I only wish that it were a little bigger because it could get a little crowded at times, especially where there were too many adults inside. Luna absolutely adored being with all of the animals, especially the baby goats and pigs. I loved how sweet all of the animals were, even the deer who try to eat your clothes, and how happy the children (and adults) were inside.
The horse racing: This was my favourite! The anticipation, that short moment when the horses fly by, the roar of the crowd when the winner crosses the line. It was so much fun to photograph too, trying to get them all in the frame before they are gone. I do wish that the races had been earlier in the day though, mainly due to the heat!
The fairgrounds: I'm not a big fairground ride person, I usually feel like I'm going to die and that takes away any fun for me. However, I LOVE walking around, the lights, the smells, the happiness and watching all of the rides in motion. Cesar tried the newest ride, this insane spider-like contraption that holds you upside down high in the air before whipping you down to the ground and back up again... He loved it. Luna screamed at it and I took photos of him high in the air, arms and legs spread out in glee and a look of pure happiness on his face.
The pony rides: Mainly because Luna loved it SO MUCH. I think she has developed a pure love for horses thanks to the pony ride and won't stop going on about it! Trigger was her favourite little pony, he was sweet and made funny faces. We are now going to look for a place where she can start taking lessons.
The FOOD: SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM. Even for a vegetarian there was loads. My only regret is that I didn't get any funnel cake or churros!
The exhibitions: I really enjoyed walking around all of the different art and photography exhibitions/competitions. It was wonderful to see all of the amazing work that children and teenagers had produced. So many talented artists! I may enter the amateur photography contest next year for fun.
Special mentions: the incredible motocross guys, the adorable lamas and sheep and goats, the music, and the skilift.
All in all we had huge amounts of fun and next year I will be making to-do lists so that I can do much, much more!
Horses have always fascinated me, these beautiful, beautiful animals in all shapes and sizes, trainable but still completely wild, or perhaps unpredictable, capable of understanding and caring, and literally bearing the weight of mankind. I was lucky enough to be able to accompany my mother to the Western States Horse Expo a few weekends ago and had the chance to photograph all different types of horses, from stunning Friesians, beautiful gypsies and sleek Arabians to an array of rescue horses as well as slightly trained wild horses, with many, many others in between. (I'm not too keen on the words "breaking in", so I'm just going to use trained instead). I learnt a lot over the weekend, both about horses and my own photography, take aways to improve and things to focus on over the next couple of months. I would now love to go out and take some showjumping and dressage photos, and also shoot some wild horses somewhere. The girls loved the expo too, and I have to say that the mini horses that Parelli were giving out at the entrance were an amazing touch - Luna refuses to be separated from her "horsey" and he goes everywhere with us!
I will let the images speak for themselves (a selection below and the full album HERE), but I want to mention of few notable organizations that I feel should have more coverage. Hope 4 Horses is a formidable horse rescue center in the area, as well as the awesome wild horse program that is in place at the Rio Consumnes Correctional Center. Imagine Pitbulls and Parolees but with horses instead of dogs. Horses seem to have an incredible ability to heal and love. They really are formidable and amazing and deserve our utmost respect.
Memorial Day, on the last Monday in May, a day to remember those who have served this country in the military and have fallen in combat. A day to remember people who put their lives on the line for something they may or may not have believed in, a day for us to put aside our thoughts and beliefs and to think of those who have died while serving this country (and any other country). In my mind a very solemn and sad day. We went to Mount Vernon Memorial Park and walked around right after the end of the ceremony. Bikers and veterans, children and adults, families helping their elders visit other family members' graves and lots of hushed voices paying their respects. It was already over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun was beating down, but it was lovely to walk around and contemplate the sheer amount of people who have served and died for this country in this region alone.
I've been determined to only use my DSLR on fully manual since I moved here, and I'm quite proud of how OK these photos came out, especially seeing as I was carrying Aurora in the Ergo, pushing Luna in the stroller and Taking photos with one had, adjusting my settings pretty much blindly. All photos taken with my Canon Rebel T1i (I would have used my FujiFilm XE-1 but the charger is buried in one of the boxes in the garage and I don't want to buy another).
I spent many a day roaming around NYC, snapping photos of buildings, signs, art, sometimes even people if I felt confident enough. There was always at least one camera in my bag, digital and/or film. New York City embodies art. NYC IS art. NYC is a huge, moving and continuously evolving piece of art and there is nowhere in the world quite like it (not that I have found in any case). Over the years I captured many pieces of street art on those cameras, from tags to full blown commissioned murals and anything in between. I moved to Bushwick in early 2008 and found layers and layers of amazing art during my walks, blocks of murals and tags; stencils and wheatpastes. Some work was obviously commissioned and legal, other just appeared overnight on an old wall, and left to stay. Some of the art that I photographed is long gone, other work remains in the same place today, but you never know how long anything will last in the city… Street art remains ephemeral. I have only two regrets, one being that I left shooting Five Points for too long and was too late, and the other being not capturing all of the artists names. If you recognize any please leave a comment and I will add the artist’s name.
This collection of photos spans over 6 years and three boroughs (Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens). I used the following cameras: Canon Rebel Ti1, Canon AE-1 (1978 and 1979), Holga and there are a couple that were taken with an iPhone. Artists include: Blaze, Dasic Fernandez, AWR/MSK Crew, TFP Crew, Jesus Saves, Russell King, Bushwick Collective, Goya, Dave-Foto, DYM Crew, YMI Crew.
The (large) collection of photos is up on Flickr HERE. The photos featured below are only a small example of all of the images that I have collected over the years!