Saturday, August 21, 2010

Our Sideways Trip through Wine Country

Santa Ynez Valley, California
I went on a weekend getaway with one of my best friends. Kim and I both love the movie Sideways, so we decided to recreate some key moments in Miles' and Jack's trip - minus the debauchery.

The best meal was at Hitching Post II in Buellton, which is worth a trip from LA just for their dinner. If you go, book reservations ahead of time as walk-ins can take several hours to be seated.

Los Olivos Cafe was also delicious. They were full but less busy, and a lot more relaxed.

Since I was the designated driver, Kim was the designated oenophile. We visited three of the Sideways wineries: Foxen Winery, Fess Parker, and Firestone Vineyard. My favorite wine however, was the olallieberry wine from the Royal Oaks Tasting Room in Solvang. I know Miles would scoff at my taste. But at least I can say I never drank wine from the spit bucket.

Thanks Kim for a fun getaway! Here's a slideshow from a mini-album I designed of our trip. Warning: contains a quote from the movie that's not family friendly.

Where's Polka Now?

Time for another Where's Polka? contest. You get one photo clue from my trip in May.

This trip was inspired by a movie. Name the movie. First person to leave a comment on my blog with the movie title wins. One guess per person per day. Previous winners not eligible. Good luck!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Family Four Photos

Southwest Chicagoland, Illinois
You met the lovely Elise in the blog post below.

This is her little brother Nolan.

Los Angeles children's portrait photographer Polka Photos

Nolan likes to walk...

and crawl.

He doesn't like to sit still.

Los Angeles family portrait photographer Polka Photos

Nolan loves his big sister, even when she's being silly.

And Elise loves her brother.

Los Angeles family portrait photographer Polka Photos brother and sister

Although I love the photo of the siblings in color, I like the black & white, too.

Here's mom with her two little cuties.

And dad.

And more silly sister.

The rain chased us away and we went indoors for an outfit change. Then we went back out for a few quick photos.

Thank you Stacy, Craig, Elise and Nolan!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Southwest Chicagoland, Illinois
Meet Elise. She has so much personality I thought she deserved her own blog post.

Los Angeles children's portrait photographer Polka Photos

Like many kids, Elise was shy at first.

In no time she was smiling for the camera.

And made faces...

She's a natural!

Time for me to go Elise!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Portraits in the Park

Chicago, Illinois
I love going back home to Chicago. One of the best parts is seeing family portrait clients again, like Kate, Nora, Patrick and Chris (left to right in the photo below).

Los Angeles portrait photographer Polka Photos

Since our last portrait session, baby Patrick has started walking. And boy does he love to walk! One of the reasons I love photographing in parks is because there's lots of room for kids to be kids: to walk, run, even goof off a little. That also allows me the chance to capture some candid moments.

Patrick wants to show his big sister that he has a dandelion.

Patrick and his dad.

Los Angeles children's portrait photographer Polka Photos dad and son

I like both the color and the black & white. Which one do you like better?

Los Angeles portrait photographer dad son black & white

There's the little guy running off again.

Nora is not going to be outdone by her little brother. She's as fast as a rocket ship.

Nora is still a little shy for photos, but she forgets she's being photographed when she's running.

Quite possibly my favorite moment from the whole portrait session. No one is looking at the camera. It's as if I'm not there. It's just Mom and Dad smiling with their kids.

Los Angeles family portrait photographer Polka Photos mom dad son daughter

I took a few individual photos of the kids as well. Here's the handsome Patrick.

Brother and sister.

Nora with her shades (all the cool kids know you wear them upside-down).

The serious and beautiful Nora...

and the silly Nora.

I think Patrick might be a little pooped out from all the running.

Los Angeles children's portrait photographer Polka Photos boy son dad

Thank you Chris, Kate, Nora and Patrick!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Postcards from Playa: Shipwreck

Playa del Rey, California
The ocean can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. The same waves that lull you to sleep can spit you out with broken ribs and torn sails to your final resting place in the sand. Every so often, I’ll see a new sailboat that suffered the wrath of the ocean. I’m not sure why, but the boat sometimes stays there for months. Perhaps as a reminder to all who dare venture into the deep sea of its power.

beach ocean Playa del Rey California sailboat photographer

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waking Up In Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada
I took a quick trip to Vegas last week where I met one of my best friends. We drove out to the desert at 5 am for some sunrise photos.

 The sun was so bright I wish I had a graduated neutral density filter for these photos.

We continued on to Red Rock Canyon, where we were greeted with a morning drizzle.

The rain went away but the clouds remained. And it grew hotter and hotter. Time to get inside.

There is always something new to learn about photography, but I never expected to learn about photographing an atomic bomb. This was only a small part of the Atomic Testing Museum which was informative, fun and scary all at the same time.

The Photographic and Optics Division at Los Alamos invented specialized cameras to photograph atomic bomb explosions. This photo contains 8 frames from motion picture footage taken during the Trinity test on July 16, 1945. 

It wouldn't be a trip to Vegas without some sort of night shots. Since I wanted some new photos for my night photography lesson, I photographed the lights in Sin City.

Who says Vegas is only about gambling?