A few weeks ago we flew to the Bay Area to shoot for a landscaping design company called Landsystems, which creates beautiful backyards like the ones below. Landsystems is based in Redwood City, CA with landscapes all across Silicon Valley.
This kind of photography is a little different for us. But I think they came out beautifully and really showcase the client’s work! I love the various elements that make up the sense of flow in these spaces. Sometimes we shot details: a column, or a plant, or a feature. But the wider shots really capture what is awesome about these properties: the combination of lots of carefully-chosen elements together. The company really knows what they’re doing.
Anyway, enjoy, and maybe you’ll feel as inspired for your backyard in as we did for ours in Arizona!
The desert is a beautiful, extreme and often volatile place. This weekend we spent the weekend in Southern California enjoying a much needed little getaway. We spent some time with family in the San Bernardino mountains and also had the chance to spend some time on the beach in Santa Monica. I’ll post some photos of our travels soon but first I wanted to share our trip home. We managed to skirt around the edge of what may be one of the largest storms we’ve had in my hometown in years. You can visit the news story at ParkerLiveOnline. We were hoping for a little adventure and boy did we get one. We ended up spending a couple hours on the I-10 due to part of the right hand lane being destroyed by a running wash. We debated spending the night in the first motel we could find because of the weather. When you grow up in the desert you appreciate fully the dangers of a running wash. We were lucky though and the washes were mere trickles by the time we arrived. The drive was absolutely stunning though. I’ve never seen clouds quite like these in my hometown, so low. We arrived home to a town without power and will probably be out for quite a few hours yet. Tomorrow is the first day of school and there’s the chance it might need delayed. Power lines down, bridge closed, Highway 62 shut down, nearly ever wash running and plenty of home damage from this storm. Go big or go home should be our storm seasons motto.
Quick iPhone camera snap of the damage to the I-10 as we passed by.
We spent a whirlwind weekend in San Francisco to photograph some amazing homes for a landscaping design company (photos of that coming later!). The last time I visited this city, I was about 14 years old and I always wanted to go back but somehow just haven’t found the chance until now. It’s a bit of sensory overload at first and while walking around after arriving I whispered to John “there’s so much to photograph that I can’t take a photo.” Sometimes I just need to soak in a place before taking out my camera. I need to let the feeling of it wash over me until I find its groove.
And find it I did! John has visited San Francisco a couple times this past year and his one wish for me on this trip was to rent bikes and cycle to the Golden Gate Bridge. I knew it was a good idea, probably the best one, but after a day of traveling and finally arriving to our hotel room late in the afternoon (and that bed felt sooo good) it was hard to drag myself out. John has a way of knowing what’s best in these moments though. Much like when it’s a bazillion degrees in the AZ desert and he wants to take the wave runners out on the river. It’s an awful lot of work getting everything together in the heat but once out on the water… well I end up with the biggest smile and I’ve never once regretted it. This bike trip was exactly the same. We cycled from the Fisherman’s Wharf right over the bridge. It was quite windy and cold for my thin desert blood but it was also invigorating. The fog had already started to roll in so everything had a bit of a gloomy feel with these magnificent rays of sunshine pouring through now and again. It was stunning. I have vowed that for every trip we take to San Francisco from now on (and there will be more), we will rent some bikes and go explore.
After a couple hours cycling we were completely famished and ready to be out of the wind. We met up with my cousin and she took us to Chinatown at my request. The colors! The lanterns! The food! Oh goodness the food. It was some of the best Chinese food I’ve had in the oddest little basement restaurant. Somehow we ended up with a waitress that seemed rather disappointed with our food choices and actually narrowed her eyes at us when we asked for water. I promise we were the best of customers and we couldn’t figure out the scathing glances but regardless of that we had a great time and yummy food.
That night was the last of my photos for pleasure since Saturday was a really long day of shooting but we managed to meet up with friends for drinks and brunch again the next day and still make it home to AZ before dark on Sunday evening. I would have preferred a bit longer, but I suppose this has left me with a thirst that needs quenched by the city of San Francisco.
Most of these photos were taken on the last leg of our trip, back to Arizona, but there is a smattering of other randomness because I forgot to post a few fabulous photos somewhere along the way. I’m warning you… there are a lot of photos! Haha! It’s been amazing sorting through them. Normally, the editing process can be a bit tiring for me, but with every photo I opened, I relived the moment I captured. That’s the sign of a photo well taken.
We headed south from Taos and took the Turquoise Trail. We were told that we just HAD to stop in this little artist community called Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid). Absolutely adorable with a shocking amount of galleries and shops for such a small town.
We took the 40 home for a very short while and then turned off onto a smaller highway and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. It was about an hour longer according to my maps program on my phone, though because of the stunning beauty we kept stumbling upon, it probably added an extra 4 hours. I think it was maybe 4 hours of driving and during that time we passed maybe 10 vehicles. That’s my kind of road.
The sandstone cliffs were remarkable. It was one of those random moments where we just turned down an unknown road. I almost turned back because I felt guilty about driving the Miata on a dirt road (you didn’t just read that John). I promise it was a VERY well kept dirt road and I drove VERY slow. We had many moments like that on this stretch. We just happened upon great turnout after great turnout. The best part of any trip is when you wander down a road you didn’t even know existed before that moment you saw the turn for it. I’m not one to really do too much in the way of self portraiture but when you’re in the presence of the self portrait queen it kinda rubs off. This was my first official test using the remote triggers and I’m fairly pleased with the results! I hope to work on this more in the future. I did need rescued at one point as I managed to get myself out onto one of the cliffs and couldn’t manage to get myself back. Jillian gladly helped and it’s beyond me how she just hops over the deep crevices without even flinching. It’s enough to make my stomach turn.
While driving we realized we were following the same storm west that we had photographed in Taos (remember that amazing lightning?!). This made for dramatic landscapes, colors and shadows and not to mention the odd burst of rain. It was breathtaking. As we crossed the border into Arizona the sunset was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. It’s almost as if Arizona was welcoming me home.
This is the last of my New Mexico posts. It’s quite the doozy right? I hope you enjoyed following our adventures. I’m already trying to figure out what our next adventure will be.
“A journey is a person itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America
Here’s to being taken again soon.