FAMILY, PETS AND PRECIOUS PHOTOS

A house in Malibu burns. Photo credit: Ringo HW Chiu, AP

View from our neighborhood

Point Dume in the Spring

Point Dume, Malibu

Point Dume, November 2018

Before.  A lifeguard station as a photo backdrop

After. A lifeguard station where llamas and horses were brought to safety on the beach

Before. Peter Strauss Ranch house

After. November 2018.  The house had just been completely renovated.  Oddly, the bathroom structure off to the side is intact.

Paramount Ranch Old Western Village

Before. Paramount Ranch

After.  The only remaining structure at Paramount Ranch.

In the aftermath of the recent California wildfires and the devastation wreaked upon so many in Northern and Southern parts of our state, it’s time to reflect on what matters most.  Those of us who live in areas where fires are frequent though usually not as horrific as this year, are told to be Ready, Set, Go in the event of an evacuation order.  What do you take?  Your family, your pets and your most precious memories of same.  It’s remarkable how meaningful those tangible items that evoke the past become when the present is in survival mode.  Some images from before and after here at this blog.  Many of you who’ve done photo sessions with me are likely to recall these locations.  I haven’t yet gone out to survey the damage first hand but will likely do so next week.  My heart breaks for the enormous losses. 


LOCKETS!

Antique Rose Gold

For quite some time I’ve been looking for a jewelry designer to make custom photo lockets.  I’ve found a wonderful company that makes these lockets and am now offering them to my clients. 

Originally I thought of them for showcasing a maternity-to-newborn set but images of couples, family, weddings or even a locket dedicated to your pets would work equally well.

The outer image is encased in resin but the inside two photos can be changed out if you like.  Available in three colors - Antique Silver, Antique Gold or Antique Rose Gold with a matching chain in either 16” or 24” length.  Please let me know early if you’d like to place an order for the
holidays and we can discuss which of your images will work best. 

Most likely I’ll be wearing my sample locket at your upcoming photo sessions or party so just ask to check it out. 

Three-Photo Necklace Locket                             $85

Three-Photo Key Chain Locket                            $65



SPRING TIME!

It’s a good time to plan for an outdoor session while the greens are green, the wildflowers are blooming and when the light is oh so pretty. From months old babies to bigger kids, they are happiest when outdoors.  

Weekends, as usual, are my busiest so if you have the option to book a weekday, that is great.  The sun sets later allowing for the lovely golden hues of early evening.  One of my favorite times for the beach too and weekdays are less busy. 

Planning your child’s wardrobe and your own makes a big difference.  Check out the choices in these photos for examples of wise picks!

~Susan


HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

What a nice way to spend Valentine’s Day with some of my favorite peeps and their new puppy.  Their older furry family members were not quite sure they wanted a baby sister - even her big brother Labradoodle.  But eventually we were able to convince them to pose with the baby for a brief moment.  Reminded me of all those photo sessions with human toddlers meeting their sibling for the first time.  Apprehension, confusion, curiosity.  And when is he/she going back to where “it” came from?  :)

And now Los Angeles Spring is fast approaching.  My favorite photo time of the year.  Well, one of my favorites.  The yellow wild flowers will soon be in bloom above the bluff in Malibu.  The hillsides will be that fresh grass green for a short time.  And the gardens are starting to come to life.  Tulips and Apple Blossom time.  Weekdays are more easily available but call, text or email to book. 


CUTE DECORATIONS!

It’s always a special treat to see the efforts families put into decorating parties for their little ones.  I am highlighting three recent parties - one with a Farm theme, one with a Bee theme and one with a Parisian theme.  It takes a long time to put together your parties and within a few hours the cake and cookies are devoured, the goodie bags distributed and the balloons are popped.  But I will make certain your hard work is memorialized before that happens! 


FAVORITE OLD PHOTO?

Whenever you venture into NostalgiaLand when sorting through old photographs, there’s a risk you’ll open up bittersweet emotions. I’ve been thinking about that lately.  Next month will mark twenty years since my dad’s sudden death.  Sudden, immediate, though perhaps not unexpected.  He’d endured two heart valve replacement surgeries but still suffered from atrial fibrillation.  The plumbing was good.  The electrical was not. 

The photos I’ve posted here cover a few decades of his life.  None of them are particularly “artful” but each of them is a perfect expression of my dad. 

In photo number one he stands atop his first car complete with his own artistic flourishes.  He would joke about having spent more for registration than what he paid for the car itself.  He was 17 years old.  Those carefree teenage years would soon be over when, as a 19 year-old newlywed, he would head off to the South Pacific in a US Navy Destroyer.  WWII.  “The Big One,” as he always called it. 

I’m the second born - the first girl.  My mom must’ve taken that yellowed photo of my dad holding his fat baby aloft. 

I don’t recall EVER having had any type of service people in our home.  No electrician, no plumber, no carpenters, no auto mechanics.  Definitely not a TV repairman!  On that day, my dad had dismantled the family Muntz to work on the picture tube.  (yes, televisions used to have tubes)  Whatever was malfunctioning, it was a given that he would be able to fix it.  It didn’t even matter if it belonged to us.  My dad loved trash day.  He might see a broken lawn mower, a lamp, a vacuum cleaner or whatever, and bring it home. Down to the basement with a new project.  After he’d make it work, he’d leave it back where he found it. “Granddaddy Fix-it” was what our son called him.

The family dogs were really my dad’s dogs.  We never were “dogless”.  That’s Babydoll waiting patiently on the wing of one of my dad’s planes.  He had always wanted to fly.  Tried to enlist in the Army Air Corps but they gave him Navy.  After he’d had a family of three, a home, and had built a good business, he bought his first twin engine plane.

The next photo is so DAD.  He loved Christmas and was extravagant with his gifting.  I guess he must’ve combined a flight  (shopping somewhere he could’ve just as easily have driven to) and Christmas shopping - double good times. 

Books have always been beloved in our family.  The next photo is “read me a story” time when our son was a little guy.  Looks like they’re both engrossed! I love that photo. 

The last one is of something my sister and I found when we were helping our mom clear out her household belongings.  Eleven years of widowhood and she finally agreed it was time to leave Michigan and join her girls in California.  That framed print was a prize he’d won at a golf invitational in 1990.  It hung in the basement of their home - down in his “man cave” where he did his handiwork.  My mom rarely went down there except to make sure the sump pump was working after a heavy rain.  And so it was that we were stunned when we were packing up this print and read the title: “Western Golf and Country Club; Twelfth Hole.  On May 17, 1997 my dad had a massive heart attack and passed away on that same spot.  My sister has this hanging on the wall of her home office.   

Take photos.  Print photos.  Treasure photos.  

 


SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

Woe to those with allergies because the pollen is floating through the air like snowflakes these days.  But the flowers and the GREEN!  We Californians have suffered through several years of intense drought but this winter brought rain.  And you know what showers bring - MARCH flowers!  Wild flowers and Domestic flowers. 

Yesterday I waited in a looong line to enter a local garden.  It turns out that many others had the same idea.  And why not?  The sky was blue with fluffy white clouds. The temperatures were in the upper 60s.  And the flowering trees, the bushes, the wisteria, tulips, azaleas, camellias, poppies were still spring fresh.  Everywhere was greenery and such a nice change from the burnt browns of the past few years that took such a toll on our landscape.

Now is the time to schedule May-June dates especially for those always popular Saturday and Sundays.  My weekdays are much more flexible.  Sunsets are now after 7:00 and by late June we’ll have beautiful late light until 8:40!



I’M CRAZY ABOUT THIS NEW BOOK + FRAME!

I’m in love with this option for a high end book!  They are hand-crafted in Italy, printed on photo paper and come in seven sizes  -  (medium sizes: 8x8”, 8x12”, 12x8”, 9.5x9.5” and large sizes: 9.5x13, 13x9.5 and 12x12”).  But what I really love is the ability to display the cover within a frame/box that comes with a magnetic transparent cover.  They can be displayed upright on shelf and look like a print in a shadow box.  All the details are top notch.  The medium size books with 20 pages (sides) and the shadow box frame with a transparent lid run about $350 and the large sizes are approximately $400.  

Each box/frame is hand-made in rigid HDF (High Density Fiberboard) material, then
covered in the leatherette in the color of your choice - all 40 of them are  yummy!

With company headquarters located in a castle in the Italian Alps, how could they not make beautiful heirloom quality books. 


WILDFLOWERS in MALIBU

And so much more!  Like seagulls, and sand, and sunsets. I took a spur of the moment drive to the beach late this afternoon.  After all the rain we’ve had, I was curious about how the hillside would look and if the wildflowers might be in bloom.  WOW, the hills were awash in yellow flowers.  If you’ve been thinking about doing a beach photo session, now is the time to make plans and book a date.  Even at sunset today the temperature was a balmy 65 degrees.  Sunset was beautiful.  All that was missing was Y-O-U! 


VALENTINE’S DAY TWIN BABY BOYS!

A long time family friend of ours gave birth to twin baby boys on Valentines Day.  She seems to have a thing for giving birth on holidays though arrivals were planned for her and not by her.  Her firstborn arrived on St. Patrick’s Day, also fitting since daddy is of Irish descent.  Collectively they’re calling their three children “Luck and Love”. 

It was nice to be back at the hospital where I got my start photographing babies and to see some of the nurses I used to work with.  But the real photo op comes next week when I visit the babies at their home in their own environment.  Here’s a few baby photos from yesterday with grandma, mom and dad, and big brother.

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