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Friday, July 26, 2013

Sequoia Family Camping Trip

It is summer and for me it is one of the busiest times... Wedding season is here and I do work almost every weekend shooting weddings and engagement sessions.
The rising moon is tiny in the middle of the gorgeously tall sequoias and redwoods, captured from the river bed.

However, this is never an obstacle to a well planned family trip.  Those of you following this blog or my wife's blog are familiar with our love for camping.  Well, I must say that my daughter is way more experienced than I am when you take the ratio of the times one camps and their age.  She is a few months older than two now and this was her fourth camping trip!

Sequoia National Park is a region where bear activity peaks in these warmer months.  The campers are required to keep all the food items (including items that may smell like food to the wild animals-deodorants, toothpaste etc) locked in the bear boxes.  Not in your tent, not in your car, not outside...

All food and food-like smelly items should be kept in the bear boxes.

So, unless I was cooking or cleaning or organizing, this is how our camp ground looked at all times.

One of the biggest joys whenever we go camping or hiking, is to watch my daughter explore.

Her insatiable curiosity, her willingness to try, her sponge-like mind, her hunger for fun and her love for nature are a combination of characteristics coming from her mom and dad and it is fascinating to watch her develop into a smart, caring and creative individual.

A few years ago, I saw an old George Carlin stand up where he talks about "Diaper-smelling mothers", criticizing the society (I know, Carlin criticizing the society? Shocking!) and he finishes the segment with something along the lines of kids during his childhood playing in dirt with a stick and have a good time...  Well, true Mr. Carlin... As usual, you were right.  Here, not only Vivienne is having fun, but she is also entertaining the photographer, the very talented member of Kerem Hanci Photography, my wife Jennifer.

Speaking of whom, Jennifer organized this trip.  Not only did she get up early in one January morning to reserve 3 campgrounds thinking about our friends who would join us (and they did), but she also planned out all the meals.  I helped her out with the shopping.  She prepped and pre-marinated everything in zip-lock bags.  I took over at the campground taking care of cooking and cleaning.  Team work peeps, that's the key to a successful marriage. Team work in everything.
Well, the results were delicious, easy, and it required less work and we had more relaxing and bonding time... 

Delicious Kebabs cooked slowly over the hot ambers

The trio that kept us company in the beautiful nights under the stars...

Burnett's Vodka, Bulleit Bourbon, Efe Rakı
Well, OK, not always under the stars....

Well, this could have been a Yeni Raki Commercial indeed!

Speaking of food, here is how my daughter ate her apple... She gave it to me telling me she was done...

We did have a few little hiccups while we were there...  Now, before we got the air mattresses, we would built some kind of cushion to have a minimal comfort level.  Than we bought our air mattresses and it was a whole new level of comfort!
In the middle of the first night, I noticed that I was on the hard soil.
The next morning, I found out that both of our mattresses had hole(s) in them.  One of them was a single big hole which I repaired to some extent, the other one had many different small leaks and it was impossible to repair so I had to inflate it everyday.  Jen was quick with the camera (because it is so hard to capture this incredibly fast action of me taking the deflated air mattress from inside a two zipper-door tent, walk to the car, inflate the mattress and walk back to the car -- #SarcasmRocks).

Overall, I can say that this was the best family camping trip.  We had a few great friends and Uncle Joe and Aunt Jen were there too... Uncle Joe took some time to show Vivienne how to skateboard.... So Vivienne skateboarded for the first time in 6700ft in the High Sierras.  Awesome.

Uncle Joe is teaching Vivienne how to skateboard.

While she was not skateboarding, hiking, playing with a stick and all that, Vivienne also had sometime to make some friends...

Let's finish with daddy's little helper.  While I was undoing our tent, Vivienne came to me and told me she wanted to help.  Although she was clearly upset about leaving the campgrounds, I explained her that in order to appreciate our experiences more we should always do different things.  And in order to say hello again, you would sometimes need to say goodbye...

I do have a few night painting pictures from this trip, but I will share them in a future blog... It is time to say goodbye until next week! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Chang & Mehul on Abbot Kinney

After a rejuvenating 5-days in the Sequoia's, yours truly is back.  Although I have tons of material to share with you, the Sequoia photographs will have to wait a bit.  This week, I would like to introduce you Chang & Mehul.

A colorful store on Abbot Kinney, Venice CA was the backdrop for this picture of Chang and Mehul during their Engagement Session

The couple wanted to enjoy a light stroll on Abbot Kinney Blvd.  We took our time and stopped in order to use several different storefronts as the backdrop.
Abbot Kinney's colorful storefronts were the backdrop for the photographs

Engagement Session for Chang and Mehul on Abbot Kinney Blvd.

It was a gorgeous and breezy day and I took advantage of being close to the ocean and once we walked along the boulevard and got our lemonades, I took the couple to the beach which was a few minutes away.
Venice Beach is a gorgeous location for photo shoots!

I look forward to spend a fun day in October shooting Chang and Mehul's wedding, which will incorporate traditional ceremonies and rituals of their respective cultrures (Chinese and Indian). I can't wait!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Do you need a break?

We are right in the middle of the wedding season and meeting so many couples and spending their most important day with them is incredibly gratifying.

I truly enjoy and love my job and it is a bliss to be able to make a living by doing what you love to do, so I am very appreciative of that.

Some of you my wonder and ask whether or not I need some time off, some vacation... "Don't you need to unplug every once in a while?" you might ask...


Unplugging for a few days, I  acknowledge the need for a break

After a much needed break in the nature under the sequoia trees, I will see you next week.

Be well!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vivienne on 4th of July

A short and sweet one this week...

We had a nice time with the family for the 4th of July this year.  We all drove up to grandma's place by the beach, Uncle Joey and Aunt Jen were also there.

Vivienne played on the balcony with the sand and water table grandma bought for her.  She had a lot of fun and grandma was extremely patient when she decided to paint the screen door with wet sand.

Then Vivienne had a wardrobe change with the help of her Aunt's hat and the sunglasses grandma got for her.  She is ready for some classy beach day.

Following some play time in the waves with Uncle Joey and baba, she was ready for some köfte that baba made for her.

Than some cuddle time with baba...

Although I chose to share only my daughter's pics this week, I had a lovely time with my family and I hope you did too.

Happy Independence Day America!