An Ode to a Small Town

Linden, Northern California is not a sleepy small town. Here is the proof. ( I did not manage to cover all events this year).


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Valley days – Waterloo School at Mickey Grove Park

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Jack Tone Ranch Historical Foundation Event

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Community Theatre of Linden Play – Death trap
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LEL Walkathon

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Halloween Stylized Photo Shoot (2012)

Last year in October I initiated and helped organize Halloween photo shoot. We had models, hair/make-up, costumes, props and of course – photographers. I was browsing through old files and realized that I didn’t have time to edit a lot of the photos last year and I never blogged about it. So here it is:

Halloween shoot was meant for Lodi Photography Group. It took us at least hundred e-mails and two months to organize for the shoot.  I believe one of the hardest parts about planing such an event is uncertainty.  Although photographers usually sign up  in  advance, the actual amount of people attending can vary considerably.  We erred on the safe side and invited  fourteen models, both male and female. Our hair/make-up team worked more than an hour to make our models camera ready.  Most models were professionals.  Of course we managed to rope in some  friends and relatives who happened to love Halloween. (You know I am talking about you, Dean!)  We even had an exchange student from Pakistan (she was a zombie).

I was pleasantly surprised to find how eager people are to participate in fun shoots.  We formed very reliable, gorgeous team of people that gave us all their patience and talent.  Thank you all again for attending and making it so much fun. I apologize if I do not have your photo here, we had more models than time.  I am certain that everybody ended up with a nice collection of images from different photographers.

We have many true masters of photography in the group.  It is fascinating to watch different photographers set up their vision with materials available. I was mesmerized watching Rick work with his models and lighting set up. He ended up with stunning  leaping vampire photo by an old horse carriage.  Many, many other photographers had beautiful, creative shots. I am not able to provide you with a link, it is a private group. If you are a photographer/model that participated and would like to add your link in the comments, feel free to do so.

We were lucky to have Jack Tone ranch as our stomping grounds. We had a lot of room to roam and plenty of spooky dark corners to photograph.  Thank you Margie and others for letting us use your ranch.

If you are interested in future shoots/collaborations with me, feel free to contact me. If you need advice to organize your own shoot, I am an open book.Template 1 Template 2 Template 3 Template 5 Template 6 Template 7 Template 8 Template 9 Template 10 halloween RT-19 halloween RT-21 halloween RT-22 halloween RT-26 halloween RT-27 halloween RT-28halloween RT-13 halloween RT-35

Chelsea And Carl Are Engaged

I have know both Chelsea and Carl since they were in high school. Chelsea was one of my husband’s first students and I  encountered Carl  while working as a bilingual aide.  It has been five years since I taught and I encounter my previous students quite often. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that my students become young adults, but I cannot help but admire the transformation they undergo in just a few years. Carl was this goofy kid and now he has become a responsible, serious young man with a steady job and big plans for the future. It may sound funny, but I feel proud for Carl and Chelsea. There has been unfair share of pain in both of their lives and I am glad to see them grow, be happy and build a new life together.

For her photos Chelsea picked my favorite local spot. I know the location inside and out. My kids and I have spent many hours collecting acorns, blackberries, rocks and other treasures there.  I think you can see my love for the place in the photos. I felt elated and peaceful (despite the fact that we lost our assistant in the woods. We found her in the end).

Congratulations on your big day tomorrow. I am truly happy for you.

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Bree and Daryan Summer Fun

Spontaneous shoots are so much fun. We got a location and our models in one day. We may have missed out on fancy hair and make-up but we certainly made it up by wonderful models who were bubbly and super fun.  I have worked with Bree before and she was so kind to agree to come and pose the same day (she even brought a friend- Daryan). I know many photographers are against friends on a photo shoot, but I have always felt that bringing a friend is an asset. It helps my models relax and be natural in front of the camera.  After all I brought my friend along. Rebecca and I share love for photography. She has been by my side for all the weddings and many fun shoots.


Despite traffic, terrible sun and fear of snakes we got some good stuff. Thank you Bree and Daryan  for coming out. Thank you all who responded to my casting, I hope I get to work with you next time inspiration strikes.Bree lightroomR Bree2RT BRT Bree lightroomR-91 Bree lightroomR-11 Bree lightroomR-18 Bree lightroomR-28 Bree lightroomR-39 Bree lightroomR-40 Bree lightroomR-48 Bree lightroomR-65 Bree lightroomR-67 Bree lightroomR-69 Bree lightroomR-70 Bree lightroomR-72Template 5Bree1

Amy and Joe Getting Hitched Tomorrow

I am looking forward to Amy and Joe’s musical wedding tomorrow. Here are some photos of them at Knight’s Ferry engaged.VASQUEZ TEMPLATE R 1







Brianna – LHS Senior 2013

The moment I heard  Brianna say” I am a fire cracker” I wanted to take her senior photos. Brianna gave an astounding speech during Cherry Queen Contest.  She is an outstanding FFA senior and I am proud to have photographed her. Enjoy:

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“Stick With Us and You’ll Go High Places.”

Four-thirty in the morning. My night full of summer heat and feverish dreams about being late.  Shower, get dressed, wolf down my coffee and a sandwich and jump into my friends car for an adventure. If you were having your coffee yesterday out on your porch in Tracy, California and you happened to look up you would see our air balloon.

My good friend’s uncle Jerry  air balloons. JoAnne and Dean often crew his take offs and chase him down after landings. I was thrilled to find out I would get a chance to go up in the ballon. Ground crew jobs were divided – two men on ropes at the top of the balloon=envelope, two at the throat, one on the fan and one supervising.  Our youngest and most excited team member was Sam. He has an impressive knowledge of aircrafts. Sadly he has to wait two more years for his first flight with Jerry. I traded my spot behind a vent to a much more familiar one behind  camera and got busy clicking. 

Within minutes the envelope was full of cold air .  About two minutes later Jerry’s burner turned into a fierce fiery dragon. Before I knew it, balloon was full of hot air and we were off. Take off is a silent and surprisingly calm affair, there are no butterflies, no jitters. Only when Jerry said we were 1000 feet off the ground I broke into cold sweat. Holy guacamole, I am floating in a basket 1000 feet  above Tracy! I knew I was in good hands because Jerry brought his instructor Larry. Guys impressed me with their shop talk about the mass, wind speed and direction, pressure, different kinds of “puffs” and other technical stuff. Their main point being – pick your spot where you want to land and hope the wind gets you there.  This was my lucky day – Jerry was going to practice landings. Gulp. First landing was smooth – just one sore eye. Up we went again. I really enjoyed myself up in the air. Larry and Jerry played in the wind a bit, practiced their long and short puffs and began scouting the next landing spot. A couple locations were dismissed because of power lines and sharp branches. They settled for an old cherry tree orchard in between railroad tracks and  a tomato field full bunnies.  Wind picked up and a couple short and frequent fire puffs later the ground was coming up fast. This landing was described as “a tad hairy”. I ducked, squeezed my eyes shut (or kept them wide open in terror ;who can tell at this point?), held on with all my might and hoped I wouldn’t be thrown out the basket. We landed sideways, my side on the bottom.  Fear is a peculiar thing. I did not know I was terrified until I stepped out of the basket and realized that my knees were shaking. I was relieved to find out that this was our last landing for the day since the wind had picked up to 6 miles per hour. I got all the adrenaline necessary for one morning. Guys deflated the envelope and we settled in to wait for our “air ballon chase team”. Hugs, champagne, special first timer ceremony, delicious muffins and happy good-byes concluded my very first air ballooning experience.

Would I do it again? Anytime!


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