Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm finishing up my last wedding of 2009. Congratulations to Christina and Zander, and their fun-loving dog Einstein, seen here in front of Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.

If you haven't noticed, Polka Photos is also sporting a brand new logo. More exciting news to come! Happy 2010!

Santa Monica wedding photographer

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Wishes Do Come True!

Chicago, Illinois
I thought I'd catch up on posting family and baby portrait sessions from this fall.

This is Ava. And yes, she is that cute.

Los Angeles baby portrait photographer

I met Ava's parents, Sandy and Albert, when I photographed their Vegas wedding. I also met Ava's grandma, who wrote a special wish for the couple.

Los Angeles wedding photographer

Well her dream came true, and Grandma loves her new grandbaby.

The photo session was very relaxed and we talked about life and photography and even movies. This photo was unposed and I love the casual aspect of it. When I look back on my favorite photos from childhood there's one of my grandfather and me in his backyard. As a photographer I want to create photos of real memories, not just poses.

Grandma calls Ava a perfect angel, and I'm inclined to believe her. Ava is the perfect model.

I met the family in the Grandparent's home. It was a special treat to photograph Ava with her Great-Grandparents as well.

Great Grandma holds happy Baby Ava.

Then we went in the backyard for some more photos. I treated this photo with a vintage 70's look.

Isn't she adorable?

I love all of her funny faces.

Here's the happy family.

Ava loves her doggie!

She's starting to get sleepy....

Daddy and baby...

Time for good night!

Thank you Sandy and Albert, and Grandma and Grandpa, and Great Grandparents, and of course Ava! It was so much fun to meet your little bundle of joy!

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
Our family usually has a big dinner on Christmas Eve. In the past few years with the addition of new husbands and wives and lots of children, the family has expanded, much like our waistlines at holiday time, and the clan no longer fits around the dining room table at my mom's house for the traditional dinner.

This year we decided to celebrate early and have Sunday brunch at The Barn of Barrington with all of our extended family. We even had some family fly in from Poland and my cousins surprised us by driving all the way from South Carolina.

Here's the youngest, Ella, preparing to give a concert.

Mini-Chopin concentrates on the keys as her hair flies around à la Paderewski.

Then the moment we've all been waiting for - no, not dessert (although the mousse was exquisite, if I do say so myself)... Presents!!!

I love giving presents. The best part is watching the recipient open his or her gift. Sara is happy with her present, a pink purse made by my sister Alicja.

Opening presents can be tiring!

Olivia sneaked off into a corner to finish looking at her gifts but was soon joined by her curious cousin Sara...

... who was going on and on about something or other.

My grandmother would have loved to see everyone together. She passed away last December at the age of 99 but her presence was certainly felt today. My aunt brought a framed photo of her taken a few Christmases ago to place on the table.

My mom, sister, Michael & I opened our presents to each other the next day. Mom, Alicja & I used to watch Alias together every Sunday night so we got her spy-themed presents including an Alias book and...

night vision goggles.

Even Saba, the dog, got presents. Who knew she was on the Good List?

Chicago may have snow and freezing temperatures but our hearts were warm as we headed back to LA early the next morning.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Sandy Paws...

On our drive back from the Bay we met Kim and Ryan for lunch at Cilantro's (yummy!) and a beach engagement portrait session. Their beautiful Pit mix Gixer joined us.

Gixer was the perfect canine model. Kim and Ryan have been taking him to obedience classes and he was very well-behaved...

although a bit distracted...

but he still sat patiently...

probably wondering what his parents were doing...

instead of running with him on the beach.

Thank you guys for a great lunch and a fun shoot! We'll see you in Yosemite!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

City Slickers 7-7-7
Polka Photos goes to Wyoming

Howdy y'all! I'm back from a short vacation in southeastern Wyoming. My husband Michael & I met up with my Mama & sister Alicja in Denver and drove to Brush Creek Ranch near Saratoga. It rained on the way, which was fun for us LA residents as it rarely rains here.

We got to the ranch late but the cook had dinner waiting for us (a yummy Cornish hen with glazed sweet potatoes and chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting!!!) I should've taken more photos of the food but I was too busy eating - it was all so delicious! We finished off the night at the local hot springs. We slept very well in our quiet log cabin. Quite a change of pace from bustling city life.

We were up early the next morning for our first ride.

We met all the ranch dogs, including a new stray named Dog who was skilled at herding horses.

All of us were well matched to our horses. My horse was Wally and he was such a good boy. I've ridden a few times before and I either got the slowpoke horse or the ornery one that doesn't listen.

Wally's ears would swivel and perk up every time I clicked my camera. Wally indulged me when I stopped a few times to take a photo and when I asked him to hustle he would quickly trot to catch up. Taking photos while riding was a bit of a challenge. I shot in manual mode so I guessed the aperture and shutter speed and tried to bracket. I also took some photos without looking in the viewfinder so the results were a bit unpredictable.

My sister's horse Stomper was laid back and in no hurry, ever. He greeted us with sleepy eyes in the morning. I guess neither he nor my sister are morning people.

Michael's horse was a beautiful black horse named Afrika. On the first ride out he got a cell phone call --- Michael may have grown up in Wyoming, but he is so LA now! I mean, who takes a cell phone on a horseback ride in the middle of Wyoming??? Not surprisingly, he was nicknamed Billy Crystal by the staff.

Although all the horses were well-behaved, they did like to stop and eat the roses, or thistles, or whatever this plant is called.

Friday night we all went to a barn dance. We joined in some country line dancing with the guests and staff and later danced some cha-cha to country swing music.

Saturday was 7-7-7 and we convinced my mom to go riding with us.

We made shirts with our cowboy names --- Righty, Tidy, Lefty, and Lucy.

Sunday we went on one last ride. And then it was time to say goodbye.

Thank you to Kinta, Kayla, Billie, Karine, Karlene, Saskia, Kristo, Thomas and to everyone at Brush Creek Ranch who made our stay wonderful! We really do feel like part of your family and plan on coming back soon!

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