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A day trip to the snow in Tahoe

One of the best things to recommend Sacramento is that it’s almost equidistant between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe – ocean and city 90 minutes in one direction, lake, and mountains 90 minutes in the other. Before I got pregnant and my body got all wonky on me, the husband and I used to love going up to Tahoe in the winter to ski. I’m a winter girl and I love ice skating and skiing and hats and scarves and gloves and hot chocolate and fireplaces. I love the awakeness you feel with the cold wind in your lungs. I’ve missed all that due to hip issues and knee issues and now foot issues and, I admit, my dreams of my girl skiing down the mountainside with me egging her on, have not materialized. In the absence of the ideal vision, there hasn’t been much in-between either.  Which is how my girl got to almost 8 without seeing the snow. (sadface)

Sometimes, in fact, 90 minutes can feel like a lifetime away.

We have bought snow gear almost every year for my girl (and then not going and having to donate it because she grows out of it before the next snow season) and so, when we finally mustered the time and commitment to make it up the mountain a few weeks ago, I had to buy her new snow boots, and she had to wear last year’s ski pants that wouldn’t fasten around the waist. She’s a summer girl that likes bare feet and flappy, barely-there dresses. To say she was less-than impressed with all the layers and bulk would be an understatement.

But we were undeterred, forging out into the snow-covered rocky outcroppings of Sand Harbor on the Nevada side of the lake, laying in the snow, and making our first family snowman. Ok, really, the husband made the snowman, my girl thought it was too hard and gave up early on, and I just took pictures. What!? I couldn’t find my ski gloves. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

This stuff just isn’t like they script it in the movies, is it?

Day trip to the snow in Tahoe

Day trip to the snow in Tahoe

I’m on a mission to take and photograph more day trips this year – my own and yours. Let’s chat about your plans for family fun in lakes, mountains, beaches, cities, deserts, or anywhere in between.

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Sacramento Zoo day trip with the Rogers family

What is more classic than a family day out to the local zoo? For the Rogers family it’s a favorite spot for little Nicholas and I got to join them plus grandma and grandpa for their first trip of 2017 in some beautiful Spring weather.

So many of my favorite memories of my own childhood were of day trips with my parents to zoos and parks and castles (growing up in England there are a few more of them there.) I’d love to do more family documentary sessions like this, whether that’s at local favorite spots here in the Sacramento region or somewhere further afield like San Francisco, Tahoe, or a long weekend away in Monterey. Get in touch if your family has something planned for Spring or Summer break and have me tag along! The coolest thing about not being responsible for the pictures is not just that you’ll be in them but that you’ll be able to forget about having to document everything yourself and just have a blast.

Sacramento Zoo day trip family photography session

sacramento-zoo-day-trip-with-the-rogers-family

Sacramento Zoo day trip family photography session

sacramento-zoo-day-trip-with-the-rogers-family

 

Get in touch here to book your family day trip photography session in Sacramento, Roseville, Folsom, Auburn, Davis, or even the Bay Area and beyond!

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A Day In The Life of the Pattersons

If you’re a parent, you know one totally cliche thing without question: that kids grow up way too fast. You know that phases are fleeting and that yesterday’s cute Fireman outfit is tomorrow’s slam dunk in the front yard. You know that coloring around the kitchen table is all-too-soon met with a turned-up nose and a closed bedroom door, and that little hands and feet, so soft to the touch, eventually become big and dirty and not-so-nice smelling. If you’ve spoken to anyone whose kids have grown, you’ll also know that almost all of the things that we complain about when our kids are little, are problems and moments we yearn for when they walk out the door to college, leaving us in our tidy homes with all the free time we ever wanted to go workout and look cute in jeans and watch our favorite tv show undisturbed.

My daughter is only eight and I remember holding her hand on the way to the first day of kindergarten, purposefully memorizing the way her sweaty little palm felt against mine, small and soft and holding on tight. Now she’ll hold my hand to cross the street only if I ask but will quickly whip it away once we reach the other side. It’s little moments like that and so many more where we feel the pull-and-tug of past and future working through us.

And so a Day In The Life session is a way to freeze all those little tiny things of ordinary today, that seem insignificant or annoying or imperfect right now, to preserve them for those moments when we’re sitting on the couch in a quiet house wishing we could hear tiny feet running down the hallway.

This is a Day In The Life of The Patterson Family. Four children, two busy and tired parents, cats, dogs, and chickens. Sleepy, dark mornings, dance parties on mom and dad’s bed, a park date so mom can take a shower, and a kitchen table that doubles as an art space and a kid sofa. God, I wish I had photos like this of my own childhood.

Sacramento day in the life session

Sacramento day in the life session

Day In Your Life sessions are my favorite sessions to shoot. Everyone has time to relax and forget about the camera. Beautiful, real life doesn’t need fancy outfits or planned activities; it just happens.  Get in touch if you want to learn more.

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Waiting for baby Reid – a lifestyle maternity Session

Almost three years ago, I photographed Alicia and Josh’s foothills wedding. Late last year, Alicia emailed me to let me know that she was pregnant and expecting a son in April. And not just on any day in April but on the same day that my own daughter had been due on: April 10th! I was so excited to see them again to celebrate this next chapter in their lives and am so looking forward to photographing their son, Reid, after he is born and again as he grows, since Alicia purchased my First Moment’s Package. {pause for Michelle to do little happy dance}

Our session took place at Alicia and Josh’s newly-redecorated Rancho Cordova home – which is gorrrrgeous – and in the fields nearby. They both wrote a letter to their new son, Reid, sharing their hopes and dreams for him once he arrives. They kept their words secret from one another until the day of our session and then read their letters out loud for the first time, sitting on their bed. The cutest thing about each of the letters was that they were so similar, talking about how excited and thankful they were that the other person was going to be baby’s mom or dad. The only ones thoroughly unimpressed were their dogs, who I suspect already feel the winds of change coming.

T-2 months and counting…

lifestyle maternity session sacramento

lifestyle maternity session sacramento

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Zhengzhi and Yifan’s Winter Wedding, Sacramento Chinese Bible Grace Church

January weddings are always going to be fraught with weather concerns. For Zhengzhi and Yifan, however, the previously warm Januarys of the past few years here in Sacramento, were exchanged for a very wet-and-wild lead-up to their big day, complete with Weather Advisories for flash flooding and gale force winds. The day of their wedding, it said, was going to be the beginning of the worst storm we’d had in years. And I’ve seen some pretty crazy storms here in Sacramento so I didn’t take the warning lightly. Zhengzhi and Yifan, however, were calm and resigned to whatever weather they received, simply excited to get married in their church, with their closest friends and family watching.

In the end, it did rain, but on-and-off and not really very heavily at all until later in the evening. We managed to get outside a little with both of them, and without ruining their clothes. Zhengzi happily trotted out in a light drizzle with an umbrella and her bridesmaids holding her train. I was so proud of her. It rained on my wedding day and I refused to go outside; something I’ve always regretted.

This couple are so sweet, I found myself internally saying “awwww” throughout the day. The way Zhengzi looked at Yifan, her tears as they said their vows, the proud way he stood straight and crooked his arm so perfectly for her to hold, and the devotion with which they sang hymns in Chinese and English to end their ceremony… so many awesome moments.

Thank you to my good friend, Joy, for connecting me with this lovely couple. Congratulations and a lifetime of happiness to Zhengzi and Yifan!

Venue: Chinese Grace Bible Church | Second Shooter: Samantha Shapiro | Assistant: Vickie Horvath


Winter Wedding, Sacramento

Winter Wedding, Sacramento

1 Comment

  1. Joy

    I enjoy these pictures so much. They’ve captured the sweet essence of this couple so much, very true to themselves, and I can just see them looking back at these and being able to recount the little details for years to come. Congrats to the couple again! I’m so happy to be a part of this day, and seeing my bestie was a bonus!!!

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