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When I think of summer, I think of St. Louis. It’s true of winter, too….I guess because we don’t have “real seasons” in that way in California. I think of the smell of sunscreen, the overwhelming humidity and the pounding heat, the lush green trees and the unexpected thunderstorms. Here in Houston, I find it’s similar – that feeling of summery-ness. I put on a shirt today that I’ve had since high school, since those days of cornerstone and missions trips with youth group and it made me so nostalgic. For swimming in rivers and lounging on beaches, days spent doing nothing but waiting for the cool of evening, splashing in the random downpours and picnics in the park.

It’s funny, how things like that don’t seem the same to me if the space looks different. We went to a beach here in Houston that was decidedly not a Pacific Beach. It had something about it that i can’t quite pinpoint – the sand was different, the grass was different, the light was different – that made it look definitively like a midwest beach (like the beaches on the great lakes) or even an East Coast beach, but absolutely not a West Coast beach. Suddenly, it was nostalgic, and I could enjoy it more than I can enjoy California beaches. It’s a flaw in my system, I think.

At any rate, summer is here, and it is also in San Jose. Whether the nostalgia is there or not. So when I get back, I’m gonna get in that summer – I’m going to splash in it and bike in it and run in it and get that summer all over me. And it’ll be some good times :0).

summer1

summer2

summer3

summer4

summer5

summer6

 

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Well, on Sunday it had been decided, rather suddenly, that on Tuesday I should go to Chacha to photograph cows.

Let me back up a minute. I’m not going to get into all of the details, because there isn’t a whole lot that I understand or that has really been figured out, and it stressed me out to think about it. BUT, suffice it to say that somehow it came about that I would be working with another team member on a long-term project: making a photobook about Project Mercy. Or…well, something like that. One of the myriad of off-shoot projects that Project Mercy is working on is a ranch in a town called Chacha. Chacha is a farming community on the other side of Addis Ababa – about a 4-5 hour drive from Project Mercy. There, they are attempting to breed hardy, disease-resistant Ethiopian cows with American cows. American cows (Jersey cows, I think) produce almost 10x as much milk as these Ethiopian cows. The goal here is to produce a hearty cow which is both resistant to Ethiopia diseases and produces more milk.  If successful, this project could help many families improve their nutritional intake.

At any ate, this would be a great thing for me to photograph for any potential book (which may or may not happen…?) so it was decided that I would go with Sean, Bete and David to Chacha on Tuesday. What this meant, then, is that Monday would be my last day to capture the goings-on with our group and Project Mercy. So I spent the first part of the day at the school clinic (in a new location for the new week) and the latter portion driving around with Marta and Deme, taking pictures of what they felt were significant parts of Project Mercy.

It was great to spend some time with Marta and Deme and hear their stories. The end of the day was sad for me as I was thinking about leaving. Leaving this beautiful place, and the new connections I had made – leaving the new way I felt about my place in the world. But all good things must end, and I was (and am) pretty sure that I will come back to Project Mercy.

 

I’m trying something new with the images – click on the first image to see the gallery.

 

 

 

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When the snow doesn’t come to you, you must go to the snow. So the last day in Boise, we borrowed Sean’s Grandparents’ all wheel drive car and headed into the mountains. My absolute glee at the glory (the snowy, white, rich, freezing glory) which we encountered there can only be described in pictures. So here goes.

snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho
snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho

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Well…I am now 1.5 months behind, and it’s time catch up with my life before I forget everything. Thankfully, I have pictures :0)

I think our last full day in Tahoe was my favorite. Our plan initially was to go in search of some obscure tower Sean wanted to find. I won’t even try to remember what it was, but Sean is a fan of rare obscure towers, and I enjoy exploring, so off we went (Sean informs me its a “long lines” tower, which was an at&t project from late 40s-early 90s. Sean’s traveled far and wide looking for these things. He’s sort of a “collector”). It was supposed to be about an hour away from our hotel, through the beautiful hills and forests of the surrounding area. We went by Donner lake, (thus named after the Donner Party), up insanely beautiful windy (and windy) roads. The expanses are impossible to capture with a photograph, but of course that didn’t stop me from trying.

sillouette

sillouette

Sean and Donner lake

Sean and Donner lake

Sean is happy he gets to drive mountain roads

Sean is happy he gets to drive mountain roads

Donner lake in the distance

Donner lake in the distance

I was quite cold

I was quite cold

throwing a snowball

throwing a snowball

my shadow with Donner lake in the distance

my shadow with Donner lake in the distance

An hour or so later we arrived at the hill we were supposed to drive up to see the tower. Unfortunately, we were stopped by some (park rangers?) who informed us that not only do you need some sort of code to go up there (which, presumably and surprisingly, Sean seemed to have) but also, that the trail was already closed for the season. Which is silly, since there was no snow on the ground. disheartened but not defeated, we decided to take the opportunity to be out exploring and ventured off on an off-roading adventure. Well, it was really just a muddy fire trail, not anything particularly epic, except that the are had the distinctive feel of being completely and utterly uninhabited. It had been a long, long time since I had been in a place like that. Quiet, empty, unmanicured. I loved it.

We wandered down a trail for a while with no particular purpose, not knowing where it led or whether it was a loop. After a while of not coming across anything or anyone, we figured we should turn around (especially since the trail didn’t show up on the map and we had no idea where we’d end up if we kept going). We’d been going along one of the many lakes up there. Here’s us at the turn-around point:

middle of nowhere

middle of nowhere

middle of nowhere

middle of nowhere

After we got off that trail, we decided to go down another, this time into the stark landscape of a recent fire. The shapes and colors were incredible, as was that feeling of far far from civilization.

the great wide open

the great wide open

post apocalyptic

post apocalyptic

lone tree

lone tree

looking out

looking out

barren

barren

We spent a long, long time driving around and exploring dirt paths – just going down whatever road looked interesting. If you know me, you know I’m an adventurous sort, and I loved the feeling of seeing something new, experiencing something new, and even more the feeling that these places are not nearly as oft-experienced as most other places I encounter on a regular basis.

wilderness

wilderness

expanse

expanse

evening

evening

We wandered thusly until nightfall. As soon as we got back we went downstairs to the restaurant/bar which featured a “$10 burger+beer” deal on Thursdays. And considering this was the sort of place that had $15 burgers, that was a pretty good deal. We gorged ourselves on amazing burgers and beer and played cards. Because that’s just how we roll.

The following day, Friday the 19th (of November! Man, that was a while ago…) we had to pack up and leave. We were sad to go, and kind of dragged it out. We went back to Truckee and finally found a christmas ornament (a giant mouth-blown globe of swirly blues and pinks). There was a huge storm promised for the weekend, and while I really wanted to witness it, sean warned me that a storm in Tahoe is not the sort of thing I’m used to, and if we stayed too long we could get snowed in for the whole weekend. I thought that didn’t sound half bad, but our honeymoon funds were low, and it was just not going to happen. On our way out of town, it was starting to sprinkle just a tiny bit, the ittybitty little snowflakes. There was a general sense of foreboding as many people flocked grocery stores in case they got stuck at home for a while. Apparently, they did end up getting about 6 feet of snow that weekend. In, like, 48 hours. Which is insane.

our room

our room

gathering storm

gathering storm

Donner lake, on our way out

Donner lake, on our way out

train shed

train shed

(in the above photo, you can see a wooden structure along the side of the mountain – this is actually a shed built around train tracks to keep them from getting snowed in)

For the rest of the weekend, our friends the Strongs lent us their beautiful beach house in Aptos, so that’s where we went. We invited some friends over, made food, drank beer, played a brain-melting game of trivial pursuit, and had an overall lovely time. So lovely, in fact, that I don’t have a single picture from that evening. Nor from the following day, when Sean and I went to Santa Cruz to look for jeans (Sean’s been wanting to get me a pair of jeans….I could personally do without, but I’m not going to say no) and then saw Harry Potter. It was a cold rainy day, so it was nice to come back to the Aptos house, eat leftovers and watch movies.

aptos

aptos

Overall, we had a great honeymoon, and we couldn’t have had one at all without the generous gifts of our friends and family. So THANK YOU friends and family! Grandparents for the funds, Roots for lending us their car, and everyone who chipped into the honeyfund, which allowed us to eat delicious food all week. It was a trip we will remember forever :0)

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This past weekend (well, it was August 21st) I had the pleasure of 2nd shooting another beautiful wedding with Kim Mendoza: Irene and David. We were scheduled for 10 hours at a breath-taking golf course in Pleasanton.

I arrived at Kim’s a bit early, but we headed out pretty soon thereafter anyway, because having a time buffer is never a bad thing. We ended up at the venue over an hour early, which gave us lots of time to wander around and get some great detail shots.

irene+david

irene+david

The place was so beautiful! Archways and high ceilings and vistas and  pillars covered in wisteria.

irene+david

The bride, groom and wedding party all arrived a little while later. Kim was with the bride and bridesmaids, and I got to hang out with the guys while they ate lunch and hung out. It was a rather relax-pace as the guys ate and then started to get ready. I got some good ol candids and managed a couple of portraits.

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

This is possibly my favorite of the day (though it has some contenders…)

irene+david

The first thing on the agenda was a traditional (Chinese, I believe) tea ceremony.  The bride and groom changed into traditional garb and went through the process of offering tea to their family members and receiving blessings and red envelopes in return.

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

irene+david

Afterwords they changed back into their traditional American wedding fare (David looked like he was straight out of  James Bond film, while Irene was positively glowing in her voluminous fashionista gown ). There was a little bit of down time with people signing in and milling about before the ceremony began.

The ceremony was beautiful and emotional, with lots of praying, crying, laughing. It was a glorious day outside, and we had a blast capturing the moments.

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

After the ceremony there were the bridal party shots. We took some at the venue, and a few at a nearby vineyard.

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

And then, the party ensued, including toasts, slideshows, dances, and even a storm trooper!

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

irene&david

We had a blast! Please take a look at the rest of my photos from Irene and David’s wedding here: http://juniperspringphotography.com/Weddings/Irene-and-David/

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finally finished making my photography blog! check out the newest entry:

Elisa and Tito

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“How’s the wedding planning going? You must be so stressed!”

Well, I wasn’t til you said that….

Yup, thats pretty much the number one thing people say to you when you’re engaged.

it is3 months (91 days) until I get married. I just got chills as I typed that (well, it might have been the ridiculous  lightrail A/C). Still, that’s a bit daunting. Crazy, I would even say. How do I feel? I don’t know, really. Excited, I guess – but more about the fanfare, the family, the friends – everyone being in town, and then getting to go on a trip afterwords. These are familiar concepts to me – I can imagine them, even picture them clearly. Parties, family, the logistics of 100 people all trying to do the same thing at the same time. I can grasp that concept. What I really cannot seem to comprehend is that in 95 days, I am getting married. I will no longer be single, I will be married. I will be someone’s wife. Forever.

So, I can’t really feel a whole lot about it, as I have no idea what it’s going to be like, this being-married thing. If it’s kinda similar to living with your significant other (as we have been doing for 3 years now), sharing your lives, being partners and best friends in all things – well, that sounds just swell. That’s something I can get on board with, even be excited about. But I don’t know what marriage will be like, and so, as most unknown things, it is scary. Kind of like going on a trip to a foreign country you’ve never been to. But hey, at least you’re going with your best friends. That’s something.

On a more practical note, and to answer the first and most common question people ask: the planning is going fine. Stressed? A little – mostly about financial issues, though, and getting everything done in time. Not because there’s all *that* much to do, really, it’s just that you have to sit down and do it. And a lot of it involves coordinating with other people, and other people, lets face it, are entirely unpredictable variables which makes the whole concept of “planning” an event like this almost laughable.

I made a stamp, and save-the-date magnets, which went out a couple weeks ago:

save-the-dates

save-the-dates

And had an invite-making party to get started with the invites:

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites

making invites
And then just last Friday, Sean and I got to go to the venue for a tasting. I had forgotten how lovely it is – lots of trees, clean and yet not forbidding. They had some delicately laid-out tables for us couples, and served us an array of dishes and wines. It was all quite delicious, though the dishes were not off of the menu we’ll be going with. Either way, it was a nice, quiet night out, and it made the whole thing seem just a touch more real.

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

Sean looking at linen colors :0)

food tasting

It’s the claw!!

food tasting

food tasting

food tasting

We are excited :0)

food tasting

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