Lydia got her nose pierced before her portrait session. Not like literally that day, but recently enough that she had to explain to me the reason she was sneezing a lot. This was actually pretty funny because I got a ton of fantastic sneezing pictures, and also pictures of that moment when you *think* you are going to sneeze but it refuses to actually happen. (Hate that feeling, ugh!) But here I'm going to stick with the lovely ones, because you know, that's my thing.
Lydia buys a Vitality Bowl every day. I had to ask, "Really? EVERY DAY???" Yes. So I was like, "That must get expensive!" To which her mom piped up: "it sure does!" Anyways, that's not the interesting part. The interesting part is that Lydia recently found out that a secret admirer put $10 onto a tab for her at Vitality Bowls. And she doesn't know who it is.
Of course I was like, "So did you interrogate all of the employees? Or maybe if they won't tell you, ask their friends? Also, who knows that you buy these every day? Maybe you could make a list of people and start narrowing it down!" But she's so chill. She was like, "It's no big deal..." NBD!?!?!? Sorry, I just get excited by stuff like that. If it were me I would launch a full scale investigation.
Lydia is really into children and into helping people. She volunteers at the Open Heart Kitchen where she serves the elderly. She also works with kids on a daily basis at Pump It Up and is student-teaching in a first grade class for credit during the school day. She ultimately would like to major in education but is looking to take a gap year before college and do a program called YWAM where she would do missionary work in other countries. She actually just got back from her second volunteer trip to Haiti. On this trip she was helping to build a library, Habitat for Humanity-style.
The funny thing about Lydia, and her mom Keelie actually, is that even though they are religious, and that religion is important to them, I would not describe them as umm...reserved at all. See, I had figured that I needed to be on my very best behavior on this shoot (it was at *their church,* after all!) but somehow the conversation turned to alternatives to the word "crotch" and that pretty much set the tenor for the entire evening. Ha!
Lydia, I can't wait to see you back in front of my lens in the spring for your Cap & Gown mini session! I want a full update on the Vitality Bowl mystery and on all your latest adventures!
"Prosthetics Design." That was what Megan said when I asked what she was interested in studying. And I said, "...Really? That's a major?" Well it turns out that if Megan gets into Georgia Tech she can major in biomedical engineering and focus on a career in prosthetic design. Which, when you think about it, obviously must be a thing. Someone has to design prosthetics. It just never occurred to me before that there were college courses on the subject. Fascinating. But that is, by no means, the most fascinating thing about Megan...
Actually, it's going to be hard to narrow that one down. During her photoshoot she kept name dropping various plants. And not the obvious ones like the sunflowers and dahlias. She talked about the true-blue cornflowers, the hops. I happen to be a not-so-secret huge plant nerd and I meet precious few adults who have even the slightest interest in talking about gardening with me. So listening to Megan talk about this was nothing short of astonishing. When I finally asked her, "how do you know all this about plants?" she just casually mentioned that she worked in a flower shop. But I don't think that's the half of it. At one point I complained about I had never managed to find a great vineyard location for a photoshoot because I wanted to shoot down between the rows of vines and have the sun setting behind them. To which she replied, "well you're never going to find that because that's not the orientation that makes sense for growing grapes." If biomedical engineering doesn't work out, Megan, could I suggest horticulture?
In addition to working at the flower shop (which, by the way, she makes custom corsages that are beautiful) and also playing water polo, Megan competes on a drill team. And if you ask her or her mom what that is they will tell you "it's like synchronized swimming, but with horses." Let me pause here. I finally got to see some videos of what drill team actually entails and I can tell you that it's nothing like sychro.
For starters, you aren't trying to make your own body movements match up with other peoples'-- you're trying to make a jittery, feisty, possibly neurotic horse's movements match up with other horses. You're moving really, really fast. And while you are doing this you are also holding a flag aloft, which means you only have one hand to deal with the horse.
The craziest thing I saw was a video of some insane choreography called a "pinwheel" where a line of horses is split, with half facing one way and half the other, the line is spinning in a circle and all of the horses are actually leaning inward onto one another. The rider's legs look like they are getting crushed. I asked Megan if it hurts to do that. She said it sure can.
So Megan brought along one of the horses that she rides for drill team to her photoshoot. Diamond arrived via trailer driven by Megan's drill coach, Shauna. (Shauna was a big help, not only with Diamond, but also by telling scores of dirty jokes to get Megan to crack up. This was nice because I usually have to be on my best behavior during shoots. See my next blog post which will heavily feature me breaking this rule.)
Shauna brought along some spiffy horse-jewlery (silver reigns!) and had already polished Diamond's hooves. That too is a thing: horse hoof polish. You know what else is a thing? Horse makeup. Also horse earplugs, which are the size of golf balls. Shauna also mentioned the possibility of horse drugging...but I don't think we ever got to that point. Diamond seemed pretty chill to me.
Horse people care about one thing, and pretty much one thing only when it comes to horse pictures: the ears. Yes. They want the ears "up." This confused me because the horses ears nearly always look like they are up. But what they mean by that is that the ears are facing forward. So during the horse part of Megan's shoot Shauna, Megan's sister, and Megan's mom stood behind me jingling keys and making other noises to try to get Diamond to swivel those ears forward. I think we got a few. But at the time I really wasn't focused on the ears, myself.
I also wasn't focused on what Megan kept feeding diamond. I'm pretty sure they started out with a tupperware of baby carrots. But then I got home and started editing and discovered this.
"You can feed horses peppermints????" I asked at the gallery reveal. "Sure," said Megan. "You eat candy, right? Why not them?" So out of everyone there, who would have guessed that the horse had the freshest breath?
As a complete non-sequitur, if you happened to be as obsessed with Megan's pink dress as I am, I'll let you know that it can be had on the Free People website. You're welcome.
Megan, I seriously cannot wait for your Cap & Gown shoot in the spring. If this shoot was any indication, it's going to be *amazing*.
In her A.P. Econ class Arianna was supposed to craft a fictional life for herself using actual current job and real estate listings. Since she is considering a job in teaching (high school A.P. history, maybe?) she found a teaching job open with Redwood City Unified.
But with that salary, and the added obligation of finding a 2 bedroom house, the fictional Arianna bought a home in Tracy. To which I said, "Dang, now that is a terrible commute!"
Arianna is also taking African American Lit and a class called Lit & Social Justice where they are going to read my favorite book, 1984 by George Orwell (which, if you haven't read it, is both exceptionally timely and terrifying.)
She said that her favorite class and likely major is History because she enjoys how it helps explain how the world works.
We were interrupted during this photoshoot not once, but twice by random guys. The first time was in this cozy little alley next to a taqueria (which smelled like they were doing something *amazing* with chicken by the way)...
Shooting in downtown Livermore means that you can't entirely avoid onlookers. This bridge is an overpass and while we were shooting there (which we literally RAN to in order not to miss that last rays of the sunset) we had our second interruption. Some random guys driving under us shouted that they, um, would like to see more of Arianna... Never a dull moment!
Arianna played soccer for many years and is thinking about applying for a job with Kidz Love Soccer. So if your little one is signing up for it in the spring, you might be seeing her. And you'll also be seeing her back here for her Cap & Gown mini shoot. I can't wait to find out where you will be studying history next year Arianna!
Hayden is a competitive sailor, which I found a bit confusing at first because she lives in Pleasanton.
So naturally I was like, "Where do you sail around here?!?!??!" It turns out that all summer long she commutes every day to the Richmond Yacht Club where she is a sailing instructor.
During the school year she makes the trek there on the weekends for regattas. She's currently racing a 4-person boat. So if you don't see her around town much, that's why!
But when you do see her around town you might wonder why she's wearing scrubs. Hayden is interested in becoming a vet and is in a program where her first two periods of the day are spent in a medical setting. She's really hoping that will be with a veterinarian, but at the time of her photoshoot she hadn't been placed yet.
Hayden is applying to UC Davis (which has the top vet school in the country, btw). I went to UCD for grad school (not the vet school) and sincerely hope she gets in because I can speak with experience when I say that it would be a wonderful place to spend the next 4 years. People there are *so nice.*
Hayden, I'll cross fingers that you get to work in a vet clinic this year and that you'll be wearing an Aggie t-shirt at your Cap & Gown mini session in the spring. Keep me updated!
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.