Swimming Senior Portraits

Tracy Senior Photography | Jason

This family.  I adore them so much.

Eddie and Lori were were one of my first Tahoe wedding clients.  They were wed in a beautiful and intimate Tahoe beach ceremony at theTahoe Beach Retreat.  To this day, they remain some of my most vibrant and vocal supporters.  I would do anything for them, and anything includes visiting their beautiful family in the Bay Area for some Tracy senior photography for their son Jason.

Jason is a talented, smart kid who intends to continue his pursuits of water polo in college.  He really wanted to showcase his love of the sport in his session and as I am a former competitive swimmer myself, I was excited for the session!  We spend the morning wandering around Tracy, CA with Jason’s guitar at various locations that Lori had previously scouted for me.  I must say: Lori was an exceptional location scout!  It was high noon almost when we shot and I didn’t want to leave Eddie without a job so we employed his services as umbrella man.  He also did an exceptionally great job assisting!

Tracy CA senior photography

Exceptional umbrella holding by Eddie!

I am constantly amazed by the folks who come into my life thanks to my job.  One of the best things about it is the lifelong relationships I forge with clients who I come to consider friends.  This family warms my heart in every way and I’m so happy I was able to photograph Jason to celebrate his high school graduation.  Here’s a few of my favorites from our Tracy, CA senior portrait session.

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Musings on a New Year

I do athletics.

Some years, I do a lot of athletics.  The last two years, not so much.  I tried to make it a priority to exercise more last year, but let’s just face it: I was overworked and tired most of the year.  Somewhere in the last year I realized that maybe I should quit my job and just be a photographer.  And so I’m going to do that.  I worked REALLY hard last year at both my jobs to get to the position I’m in today and I’m pretty proud of myself.  If some exercising went by the wayside, well, that’s what this year is for.  Right?

Among other informal goals, I try to visit at least one foreign country a year (didn’t happen) and one new ski resort a year (did happen).

In Steamboat Springs for Music Fest with my bff Liana.

My goals for 2013 were as follows.  Here’s how I fared:

1.  Become more proficient at Photoshop.

Success.  Not a total I’m-a-Photoshop-wiz and I no longer scream and want to throw my computer when I’m trying to super-impose my face to Olivia Newton John’s, but better.  I took an online course through LTCC and while the first half of it went really well, things went a bit wayside in the 2nd half while I was shooting multiple weddings, running a marathon, vacationing, fighting with my old landlord, traveling for work and moving.  I’m glad all that is over and I still have the textbook which I plan on going back through and spending some loving quality time with.

2.  I thought I wanted to take on another photo project for the year.  Last year I started a project through a website where you took one shot a month based on the word they chose.  They lost me in August though when they started having a different word for every day.  That was too much.  I thought that perhaps I might want to take on a self-portrait a month project, but I think I’ll just end up over-extending myself.  Instead, I think I should focus my energy into committing to photo sessions at least once a month during the winter with Megs.  It will help both of us reach our mutual goals.

Success.  I’m not sure if we managed EVERY month, but we did have a pretty good run of photos from last year.  I would really like for it to snow so that we can go out and get some amazing photos THIS year.

3.  60 days on the mountain.

Um, no.  Most underwhelming winter ever.  Until this one.

Tahoe Backcountry, Tahoe Backcountry Skiing, Waterhouse, Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Telemark Skiing

4.   Pay off the credit card.  I am the WORST at this.  Most of the time, I feel like life is too short to be ridiculously responsible.  I do things like pay it off and then put a really awesome trip on there.  There will always be more money.  There will not always be fun trips with your friends.  But for real, I really want to pay it off.  Kinda.

EPIC fail.  Pretty sure I put more stuff on there.  Well, hell, there’s always money in the banana stand.

5.  Legitimately train for the marathon.  Perhaps run more than 30 miles in the six weeks leading up to it.

Ha!  Just this week, my marathon running partner wrote a very eloquent post about why she puts herself through the torment of running a marathon every year.  I didn’t actually realize it prior to reading it, but our feelings towards it are the same.  Although I totally improperly train or fail to train at all or just stop training or whatever throughout the course of my marathon training season when push comes to shove there’s this: I run marathons because at the end of the year if I have completely and totally failed in some partial or entire sense of my goals for the year, I always have the marathon.  And you know what, marathons are fucking hard.


6.  Consistently: swim more, run more, ride my bike more.  Make sure that I schedule in time to exercise, time to work and time to learn and frankly, time to do nothing.  Time to veg on the couch is sometimes needed and I think the only days this year that I had literally nothing to do where the days that I was on vacation.

None of this happened.  At all.  At any time this year.  I’m just going to leave it at that.

7.  Read more non-photography books.

I actually did fairly well with this one.  That being said, it wasn’t quite as many as I would have liked but still a reasonable attempt and moderately successful.

8.  Photograph more music festivals.  Seriously!  Two of my most favorite loves: live music + photography.  So awesomely fun I wish I could do it full time.

This happened.  I photographed a LOT of music this year and it was rad.

Snowglobe Music Fest, Snowglobe, Tahoe South

My goals for 2014:

1.  Read 20 pages a day.  One of my wedding clients started a group on the FB to help keep her accountable for a promise to hike for 30 days straight.  It piqued my interest and I decided I would join in on her goal, but instead read 20 pages a day.  It’s been such an enjoyable experience, I think I’m going to keep it going all year long.  I haven’t missed a day yet.

2.  Exercise 5 days a week.  I have to start making time for myself a priority again, regardless of how many hours a week I am working.  I sleep better and my stress levels are lower if I just force myself out the door in a timely manner to sneak a little cardio in.

3.  Stop interneting in bed in the morning and after 6 PM.  I have a tendency to wake up and bring my coffee and laptop into my giant cozy amazing bed in my big dark wonderful bedroom.  This keeps me from wanting to get out of bed in the cold to go run or swim or ride my bike.  I need better work-life balance and keeping myself to this along with a commitment to exercise and a pledge to read every day is going to get me there.

4.  Run another marathon.  Because after all, I always have that.

5.  24 weddings in 2014.   My calendar is filling up fast – 11 dates are already taken!

6.  Go to Moab with the Purvis-Daniels clan.  For years I have been promising to tag along on this trip and this year I’m going to make it happen.  You can hold me to it friends!

7.  Cook more.  My boyfriend is the most supportive boyfriend in the world and all last summer while I worked 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, he would make me dinner.  It was an amazing relief in a summer that was super stressful.  I appreciate it, but I also don’t want to work that hard this year which means I get to spend more time in a place that I love: our kitchen.

Here’s to another awesome amazing super crazy insane fun filled adventurous year that only I know how to do.  2014, lets do this! 


Tahoe Kids Tri | Tahoe Event Photography

“Mom, I want to beat all the boys,” allegedly declared one competitor.  This was no normal competitor, mind you.  She is a very ferocious child under the age of 10.

Fist pumping since he’s in the lead!

The 2nd of the the three event series that comprises the Tahoe Kids Triathlon Series occurred this past Sunday and this event was no different than the others but just as special: two year olds kickin’ butt and taking names on strider bikes, races for the finish, aggressive cornering, and yes, a few tears.  But mostly, it’s all laughter, smiles and high fives when they cross the finish line.

The youngest competitor, a 2 year old, starts to the bike leg on his strider.

If your kids participated in the event, a link to the gallery will remain under the EVENTS selection in the PORTFOLIO tab or you can also view the entire gallery via this link.

Coming to visit Tahoe?  The Tahoe Tri Club will be holding kids’ triathlons at the Parks and Recreation Department on Rufus Allen Blvd again on Sept 8.  The event starts at 1:30 PM and you need to show up early to register.  You can find more information at their website.  Each kid receives post event grub and a raffle ticket for awesome swag from local sponsors.

If you are looking for photos from previous Tahoe Tri Club Events, you can view them via these links:

2013 Tahoe Kids Tri #2: August 18, 2013

2013 Tahoe Kids Tri #1: July 21, 2013

2013 Tahoe Kids Tri Mini Event: June 30, 2013

2012 Tahoe Kids Tri #3: Sept 9, 2012

2012 Tahoe Kids Tri #2: Aug 12, 2012

2012 Tahoe Kids Tri #1: July 7, 2012

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.


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).

Tahoe Kids Tri | Tahoe Event Photography

Sponsoring our local Tahoe Kids Tri Series as a photographer is a no brainer for me and not just because I get to listen to parents yell at their kids to go faster or hurry up or take their helmet off (serious competitors, those parents) or because sometimes the kids break down in tears when they don’t get 1st place (happens) but mostly because I love swimming, running and cycling myself.

Montage-3The 2nd event of the summer was held this past Sunday at the South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department on Rufus Allen Blvd, which is where all of the events will be held from now on.  The new venue makes it much easier for me to grab action shots of the race itself and all the finish line shots, which is awesome.

Overall, it was an absolute delight to attend, as always, and a great way to volunteer my time.  If you have a kid and they haven’t yet participated in this awesome home grown local event, get them out there at the next one!  The kids LOVE it and they are all smiling ear to ear after they finish, regardless of any tears spilled mid-race.  These events are nothing short of fantastic and there are age group awards for every single age increment, which means more kids get the feeling of accomplishment from standing on the podium.  A 2 year old competed for the second time this summer – if he can do it, any kid can do it!


 If your kids participated in the event, a link to the gallery will remain under the EVENTS selection in the PORTFOLIO tab or you can also view the entire gallery via this link.

Coming to visit Tahoe?  The Tahoe Tri Club will be holding kids’ triathlons at the Parks and Recreation Department on Rufus Allen Blvd again on Aug 18 and Sept 8.  The events start at 1:30 PM and you need to show up early to register.  You can find more information at their website.  Each kid receives post event grub and a raffle ticket for awesome swag from local sponsors.


If you are looking for photos from previous Tahoe Tri Club Events, you can view them via these links:

2013 Tahoe Kids Tri #1: July 21, 2013

2013 Tahoe Kids Tri Mini Event: June 30, 2013

2012 Tahoe Kids Tri #3: Sept 9, 2012

2012 Tahoe Kids Tri #2: Aug 12, 2012

2012 Tahoe Kids Tri #1: July 7, 2012

MSS Hellraiser V

Every other year, my friends rent a huge houseboat on Lake Shasta for five days. This year was the fifth anniversary of the trip. I had a blast the last time we did this and oddly enough, we ended up with the same exact boat that we’d rented in 2010. Unfortunately, my work schedule this summer has been hectic x a gazillion so while I really desperately wanted to bail on the trip entirely, I made a concession and went for two days and two nights only. I’m glad I went but it wasn’t without it’s own amount of stress.

Loading up the boat at MSS Hellraiser V!

Basically, 20-25 of my friends and I get together on a houseboat. You each bring a handle of liquor, there’s five kegs, one hot tub, seven highly sought after cabins to sleep in, a third story deck to huck off, two grills, loud music and a lot of fun. As my friend Josh said on the first night, “Houseboat is just a series of naps:” there’s always someone up partying, playing music, dancing, raging, jumping into the water, laughing. You sort of zen out at night and then, at 4:30ish AM when the speakers finally go quiet and every one settles down there is a moment of peace in your heart where you know for a fact that you will have uninterrupted silence for at least 5 hours.

The liquor, day 1.

My favorite time at houseboat is the early morning. I like the quiet. I like cleaning the mess in the kitchen and wondering what the hell happened when I was asleep: making coffee and starting breakfast and waiting for the hungover troops to rise. All is calm.

Trout, fishing for trout.

We made the mistake on the second day, thanks to a bit of alcohol probably, of thinking that we could motor over near the Shasta Dam and climb the scaffolding and jump off it. I like jumping off things into water. I jumped the Shasta Bridge with the boys in 2010 and to this day it is one of the most daring and fun moments of my life. I’m usually the voice of reason on the boat. Reno calls me “Boat Mama.” Why it didn’t occur to me that the dam that keeps water from flooding the majority of the central valley of CA would have security on it is beyond me now, but hindsight is 20-20. Long story short, they didn’t like us parked near the dam. And then, they didn’t like the fact that the boat wouldn’t start.. And then my drunk friends started to fight over what to do and sheriffs were called and well, the boys got in the water and tried to swim our houseboat. Whatever you are imagining as the outcome of this process: yes, and that too happened.

Swimming the MSS Hellraiser V.

When the Sheriff came he told us everyone on the damn clearly thought we were “domestic terrorists” and then was like, “what the hell are you doing by a damn on 9/11?” We had no idea. Seriously. We were drunk! On a boat!

Our starter was flooded. The Sheriff pulled us away from the dam. The boat company came and fixed it. I got sick with a head cold. There was lots more dancing, drinking and partying. There was lots of hucking. Overall, successful few days on Shasta, though I wish I’d been able to stay the whole week.

Night on the boat, Lake Shasta, CA.

These are the rest of my favorites from the trip, but you can see them all here.

Tahoe Kids Tri #3

The last of the series of Tahoe Kids Triathlons was held on September 9th, which happened to be the same day as the annual Tour de Tahoe. I usually ride Tour de Tahoe every year since my store sponsors the event, but had promised to volunteer at the kids tri as the finish line photographer again. I was pretty happy to sleep in until 9 that morning!

Once again, the event was a joy to watch and assist with. There were kids from all over and more than one close race to the finish line.

Here are some of my favorites from the day, but you can see the rest of them via the link below.

This girl was so adorable in every photo I took of her.

Child determination.

Look. At. Her. Helmet. How can that not make you laugh?

These kids competed in each of the three events this summer. Awesome!

If you are a parent and I photographed your child being awesome, you can find the photos available to download 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!

Tahoe Kids Tri #2

August 12th was the second in a series of three kids’ triathlons being held here in South Shore. My camera and I went out to cheer on the kids and my future customers in the first one and I had such a blast supporting the event that I went out again. I got a bit of a late start that morning and missed the Five and Under start and the group talk, which yielded some fantastic shots the last time. I did get quite a few I’m happy with and was the official finish line photographer. Congrats to all the kids who competed! They had almost 1/3rd of the competitors attend from outside the Tahoe community! Awesome!

This post features just a few of my favorite photos from the morning. You can find the rest here. If you are a parent and I photographed your child being awesome, you will find them available to download through the link.

Little tykes cheer on their older sisters.

There was an accidental and hilarious mass start of both older groups of kids.

Girls duke it out on bikes!

Getting ready to head out on the run.

This kid is pumped!!

Huge race to the finish line!

Post Race Paddleboarding.

The youngest age group winner! I think he is three!

Tahoe Kids Tri

One of my customers, a Tahoe local, has started something wonderful: a series of kids’ triathlons. The Tahoe Kids Tri Club had one event last summer and 100 kids showed up! This year they have three events and I was thrilled to have my store sponsor them. In a show of support, I went out to watch the first one and took my camera along for fun. It was a BLAST!

The 5 and under swim start.

In addition to running three kids triathlons this summer, Jason and his crew of helpers are bringing two new adult events to the community as well: The Sierra Recon obstacle race and the Haulin’ Up Hawley Grade Run.

The older kids get briefed on their course.

Butterflies in the stomach?

Jason’s mission is to help foster a sense of community in Tahoe and I both respect and want to encourage his efforts. We need more people in our community to step up and help do things like this. We simply can’t leave the iniative to the same few folks over and over again. Look at how many awesome things happen when we come together to put on events and make changes: TAMBA, Lakeview Commons, and the really awesome Race the Lake of the Sky Stand Up Paddle Fest held last weekend (post to come on that one).

I love this one for some reason. It makes me giggle.

It was SO fun to watch 100 kids race around a beautiful park under the watchful eyes of the Sierra Nevadas on a bright sunny day. What’s better than listening to parents scream at their kids to pick up their feet and go faster while the kids are drowning their way across a lake? Awesome! That’s my idea of a good time!

An under 5 starts the run portion of the race.

A group of older boys awaits the start of their event.

I can’t wait to go watch the next two events. I had such a blast. The under 5’s swam about 25 yards, rode their bike one mile and ran about 1/2 a mile. The under 12’s swam about 75 yards, biked 2 miles and ran 1 mile. The over 12s swam 100 yards, biked 3 miles and ran one mile.

A tiny tot waits for his older brother.

Race for the transition!

I can’t say again how stoked I am to have some new events in town. I love bikes, I love running, I love swimming and I love kids being active. In a small town, small things make a big difference. I can’t wait to go photograph the next one.

Fact: kids in full face helmets are awesome.

This post features just a few of my favorite photos from the morning. You can find the rest here. If you are a parent and I photographed your child you will find them available to download through the link.