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Tahoe Wedding Photographer | Eddie + Lori

I’ve been keeping this one to myself because I knew it belonged on a wedding blog because this gorgeous marriage of two families at the Tahoe Beach Retreat and Lodge in South Lake Tahoe was completely and totally Pinterest worthy.  I’m so thrilled to finally share it with you and can happily announce that it will be published in not just one but TWO different blogs in the upcoming month!

I am so thankful Eddie and Lorena found me and even more honored that they chose me to be their Tahoe wedding photographer.  What an amazing family this is.  It was so clear to me from the get-go that they both are making their new family a priority.  Lorena is clearly a loving, patient, encouraging mother and it showed in various ways throughout the day, including the ceremony during which they took turns jointly combining multiple colors of sand into a shadowbox, signifying the unity of two families into one.

I always ask if brides have Pinterest boards, just so I can get an idea of their personality and aesthetic before I meet them.  All too often, I don’t meet the bride until the wedding day.  When I saw that Lori’s shabby chic board was full of fall colors, muted tones, bell jars and burlap, I was thrilled.  When I arrived on the wedding day to find their amazing wedding coordinator Amanda Mason setting up a CANDY BAR, I was nothing short of ecstatic.

From start to finish, I felt right at home with Lori and Eddie.  Lori warms your heart.  On her wedding day, she was positively glowing, as any bride should be, and her spirit has stuck with me since then.  Their friends were fun, full of laughter and raged the dance floor.  Her teenage sons stood up and made speeches, thanking Eddie not only for their relationship with them and welcoming him into the family.  Eddie and Lorena gave me full reign and no instructions, trusting me completely to capture their awesome day.  I hope they are as thrilled with their photos as I am.  Four months later, I am still awestruck at how wonderful they are, how special their day was, how grateful I am to be a part of it, and how beautiful it turned out.

If you were a guest of Eddie and Lorena, you may see the full gallery of photos and order prints via this link.

Venue, Reception Site and Catering: Tahoe Beach Retreat | Wedding Coordinator: Amanda Mason | Cake: Flour Girl Wedding Cakes | Florist: Enchanted Florist | Dress: David’s Bridal | DJ: Ascent DJ Productions

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Marginal is the New Epic

I’m taking a cue from my friend Court Brock who has coined a fresh new term for the winter of our discontent: “Marginal is the new epic.”

When I said I was only going to ski instead of snowboard until it really snows, I didn’t know that meant forever.

In the meantime, my buddy Blaine cruised through Tahoe on his way from Canada to Bishop in his killer Sprinter van that I’m super jealz of.  He brought my favorite dog in the world (other than Sierra) with him.  She’s a cuddle machine with Sierra sized personality.

If there had been snow, I probably would have made him go snowboard with me on his visit, but there isn’t so we went to the beach.  It’s like that.  Junuary.

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Tahoe Beach Wedding Sneak Peek | Lori + Eddie

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I have so many unbelievable images from Lori and Eddie’s gorgeous wedding celebration that it was seriously difficult to choose just one to share.  You know what’s even harder not to share?   All the stories from the day that involve how unbelievable awesome this family is, not to mention their friends.

Oh, and one more thing: they had a candy bar.  BOOM!

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3rd Annual Angora Lakes Tri

Every year, my bff Meghan Kelly throws an awesome unofficial tri called the Angora Lakes Tri.

And by “throws” I mean she: tells people to show up, sorta of wrangles volunteers, and forces her husband Pat and usually Boyfriend to write down our finish times and suggests that people write things on their legs in permanent sharpie.

It’s the best day ever.

The starting line of the third annual unofficial Angora Lakes Tri (photo by Gretchen Eicher).

The tri is a bit unorthodox and once again the order of events suited me: we ride our bikes from Kiva Beach to the Angora Lakes parking lot, where a volunteer with a car has our running shoes and swim stuff.  Put your running shoes on and run power walk UP the steep hill to Angora, swim across the lake, get a 2 minute time bonus for jumping off the cliff, swim back, run back, ride back, celebrate, drink beer.

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Here I am, swimming with style (photo by Court Brock).

I have a tendency to pass people on the swim and make up a lot of time and this year was no different.  That being said, I had zero chance of catching up to the overall and men’s winner Lee who had 10 minutes on me.

Competitors cliff jumping for the 2 minute time bonus (photo by Court Brock).

You can read Meghan’s write up and see the official results via this link.

Read about year 1 here.

Read about year 2 here.

The finish line (photo by Sheriff Underhill).

One Wilshire, Los Angeles, Visit LA, Travel Photography, Reno Tahoe Photographer

LA Rendezvous

Every few years, my best mate Haley and I start missing each other and plan a little weekend get away to travel together and catch up.  We call them our “Rendezvous’”.  It just so happens that this year, Haley is marrying a wonderful man and she asked me to travel down to LA for a little rendezvous to celebrate her birthday and take engagement photos of them.

I hadn’t been to LA in years and had a blast drinking “rosé all day” with Haley, her fiance, and Anne, whose been staying in So Cal these past few weeks.  We had our toes done, drank wine while watching the sun go down at a gorgeous house in Palos Verdes, caught up with other old friends, and did a lot of daytime drinking, my favorite vacation activity.

My photos of Haley and Dave’s engagement session are still to come, but in the meantime, you can check out their sneak peak.  You can check out all the photos from my weekend in LA via this link.

Standard Hotel, Daytime drinking, Los Angeles Activities, Travel Photography

Dancing on the rooftop at the Standard Hotel.

If you want to visit Los Angeles, here are my recommendations.  In general, I like to stay away from LA and Hollywood and hide out in the coastal towns of Venice and Santa Monica, where you can totally do without a car. 

STAY:  This studio rental on Airbnb for two exudes beachy-ness from it’s pores: clean, comforting, and colorful!  Better yet, the stay includes the use of two cruisers, perfect for avoiding the LA traffic and cruising around Venice, Santa Monica, and the Malibu boardwalk.

EAT:

  • Gjelina is the type of place I could eat at three times in one day and not be tired of spending time there.  It’s overwhelmingly comfortable, yet sophisticated and the food is amazing.  The pizzas all sound so delicious it’s hard to choose and the salads are inventive.  It’s best to go as a group and order plates to share.  Word of warning: trust the chef because there is a very strict no substitutions or changes policy and they mean it, even if you’re a celebrity.
Gjelina, Venice Beach Restaraunts, Food Photoraphy, Travel Photoraphy, Visit Los Angeles, Visit LA

Gjelina’s food is to die for. Just don’t ask to be treated special because you aren’t.

  • Intelligentsia may take their coffee a bit too seriously: the employees are pretentious and over-the-top hipsters but damn, that is a serious latte.  Don’t tell them I said that though, it might go to their heads.

DRINK:

  • It’s a shame that The Tasting Kitchen seems unable to bring the wow factor to their dishes in the same way that their atmosphere and bar does.  Reviews on Yelp for their food are hit and miss, which is exactly how my friends described their menu.  Regardless, skip the overpriced food fare and cozy up to the bar for some killer cocktails or our favorite, a bottle of rosé.
Engagement Sessions, Reno Tahoe Engagement Photographer, Tahoe Portrait Photographer, Tasting Kitchen, Venice Beach,

The Tasting Kitchen’s ambiance is personal, rich in texture, with clean lines with an interesting twist that brings outside, inside.

  • Oscar’s in Venice has a killer happy hour and amazing food and apps to boot.  Sit outside on the deck to take in the SoCal sunshine.
  • Act like you’re richer and cooler than you are and take the rail line to downtown LA and drink on the rooftop by the pool at The Standard Hotel.  There are often DJ’s on the decks on weekends.  With panaramic views of Los Angeles and the mountains beyond, there’s no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than here.  Also, don’t forget your swimsuit: the pool is heated.
Standard Hotel, Travel Blogs, Los Angeles, Things to do in Los Angeles, Travel Photography, Reno Tahoe Photographers

Champagne on the rooftop of The Standard, downtown LA.

  • Areal may not have the most amazing food around but it does have a gorgeous outdoor patio and more importantly, bottomless mimosas with the purchase of a brunch entree on weekends.  Don’t get me wrong: our food was solid and tasty, just not overwhelmingly memorable.  The experience however, was.
bottomless mimosas, brunch at Areal, Areal Restarant, Areal Venice, Los Angeles Travel, Reno Tahoe Photographer

The over-the-top Belgian Waffles at Areal in Venice.

PLAY:

  • The beach and boardwalk shouldn’t even have to be mentioned!
  • Get a glimpse of Hollywood without having to deal with Hollywood and tour Sony Studios in Culver City.  Afterwards, head over to downtown to wander and eat.  Culver City is so quaint and adorable it almost feels like you’re not in Los Angeles.

GET CULTURED:

  • Bergamot Station in Santa Monica was originally a trolley stop, built in 1875 for the Red Line Trolley, which ran from LA to the Santa Monica Pier.  Today, it features art galleries, museums and cafes.

Winter Beach Party

My oh my it’s been a busy weekend.  I’m still not done editing photos from Texasfest.  On top of that, I just spent all weekend taking photos with my friend and Volcom wearing shredder Tim Roberts and my b.f.forever and inventer of partial acronyms Megs.  After a morning hike and photo session with those two, I spent the afternoon taking photos of the Kirkwood SheJumps! Get the Girls Out afternoon.  In short, I’m a little back logged but I do have these for you and it involves the most hysterical and ridiculous photobooth yet: Winter Beach Party.

Winter Beach Party, Dad's LPs

My wonderful backdrop mastermind (my mother) was unable to find something appropriately beach-y so I decided to use a green screen and put in a beach backdrop.  I figured that it would be a solid test of my limited Photoshop skills.  It was a total success minus a few Photo-shopping mishaps (there are definitely some photos with missing hair and sides of heads and feet here and there).   I didn’t spend a ton of time making them perfect because frankly, it took awhile.  If someone wanted to hire me to do a green screen photobooth for an event, I’d definitely charge upwards of $2,000.  There are 132 photos in the set and they took me 12 hours to half-ass edit.   By comparison, the 500+ photos in the Masquerade Ball photobooth took me less than 3 hours.  The ones where all the people in the photo were within the confines of the green screen were super easy (30 seconds, max).  Anytime the alligator, Corona bottle or people bled into the room and were outside the green, the photo took significantly longer to edit.

Regardless, the booth was amazing.  These are a few of my favorites from the night, but you can see them all here.

2nd Annual Angora Lakes Tri

Participants in the 2nd Annual Angora Lakes Tri

Last weekend was the 2nd Annual Angora Lakes Tri. The first one was held on the same weekend last year and we all had so much fun we couldn’t stop talking about it. It’s an unsanctioned, unofficial race with no fees, no bells and whistles, run on one or more volunteers with a bit of an unorthodox course: you ride your bike from the beach to Angora Lake, run from the parking lot of the lake to the lake, swim across the lake, jump off the 20 food cliff and then head back to the start line in reverse.

Angora Lakes Tri Course Map

Last year, I was the first one up the hill climb on the bike and sort of assumed that whoever led the race at this point would always win. We had more contestants this year (11 instead of 4!) and I had a formidable opponent. Adrienne is a killer bike rider and she was probably about 5-6 minutes ahead of me on the bike leg and already in the lake swimming by the time I arrived.

I was sure Adrienne had this race in the bag! I was SO wrong. In a normal triathlon, where the swimming comes first, cycling second and running last, a fast swim leg hardly ever wins the race. In our unorthodox race, my swimming abilities really gave me the advantage. I was across the lake and back before Adrienne even reached the cliff. I then sprinted back down to the last transition area to hop on my bike. I knew that if I could get enough distance on the downhill on the bike, that MAYBE she would get stuck behind a car and I would win the race.

Coming into the last transition area. Thanks Will for being our awesome volunteer and a photographer!

I ended up winning for the 2nd year in a row at a time of 1:15.45, only two minutes faster than last year! It might have actually been considerably faster I had I not crashed on my first bike leg. That’s right – our unsanctioned race is so extreme that I crashed and continued to race.

You can read Meghan’s account of the day over at her blog. Thanks so much to all our amazing volunteers: PK, Boyfriend, Gretchen and Will! Also, big thanks to the Angora Lakes employee who somehow knew what we were doing and was high-fiving and cheering us on!

Forrest Day at Live at Lakeview

South Lake Tahoe’s Live at Lakeview continues to bring fun, sun and music to our summer shores. This week’s band was Forrest Day, a Bay-area band that considers itself to be a “melting pot” of genres.

As always, you can check out all the photos from this summer’s concert series here

Congress at Live at Lakeview

The first Thursday in August, Live at Lakeview hosted rock band Congress. Originally from Virginia, Congress now calls Denver, CO home. They played a slew of original music peppered with classic rock covers. Once again, no complaints here about free music!

You can see all the photos from all of the summer concerts here.