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here comes the cake

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Recipe: chocolate bourbon cake

Ask any of the people who know me well or even a little bit and they’ll tell you that I am rarely silent. It’s just that I had a marathon session of photo processing to finish before the snow storm arrived. YES. There is a snow storm dumping snow in my yard as I type and I intend to ski the bajeezus out of it come daybreak. As some of you know, after Jason and I visited Yosemite, we photographed a wedding in Northern California. I don’t typically shoot weddings… I’m not a wedding photographer. But this nice young woman – a long-time use real butter reader – asked so sweetly and her wedding sounded so cool that it was hard to say no. I later learned it’s not just me! No one is really capable of saying no to Selina.


mother of the bride looks on while the bride’s maids adjust the wedding gown

bridal party



The wedding took place at Capay Organic Farm west of Sacramento and was catered by gourmet food trucks: RoliRoti and Volks Waffle. How fun is that?! Selina and Dean are incredibly nice people. More than that, they are super chill in that awesome geeky way. No bridezillas. No Drama. Their families and friends were delightful. Everyone was so supportive of these two that it made the job a true pleasure.

selina got many honks from passing cars

a token “peace out, suckers!” shot because selina had read my blog post that morning!

the lovely couple



I am actually the last person anyone should consider to shoot their wedding because I don’t even know the basic logistics of these events. Jason schooled me on how weddings typically go down. “What about the speeches?” he asked me, to which I replied, “Speeches?” Yeah, it was like that. I could not have done this without Jason’s help (thanks, man!). And a huge thanks to my friends at Pro Photo Rental for outfitting us with additional lenses and bodies so we could both work the double-slinging action.

flower girls waiting for their cue

selina smiles at her dad as he escorts her to the aisle

an intimate and gorgeous venue

checking out the ceremony



And yes, there were speeches. Both fathers spoke heartfelt words that brought tears to many eyes. As the sun dropped behind the mountains, the maid of honor lit Selina’s father’s speech with her smart phone so he could read it in the waning light of that special day. First he spoke in English, then he spoke in Chinese. Even though my Chinese sucks, I understood what he was saying. It was getting tough to focus the camera on the bride, because my vision was blurred with tears.

dean’s father jokingly unfurls his “speech”

selina dabs at her tears as her father speaks

toasting the happy couple



Congratulations, Selina and Dean. Thank you for allowing us to document your special day. Thank you for sharing yourselves with us and letting us into your circle. Also? I especially loved how you exited the altar to the Star Wars theme. Rock on.

may your road lead to every happiness together



Are you ready for some cake now? I hope so. And booze. This is a boozy cake! Please don’t ask me what liquid you should use to substitute for the bourbon, because then it won’t be a chocolate bourbon cake anymore. If you don’t like bourbon, don’t make this cake. Make some other cake. I wouldn’t make this for children either. It’s got a lot of bourbon in the cake AND the icing. Booyah.

flour, butter, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, sugar, bourbon, vanilla

melt the chocolate



**Jump for more butter**

business trip

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

I’m in California right now for a work trip with my shooting partner and buddy, Jason. We flew out a couple of days early since Jason had never been to Yosemite National Park. I thought we should remedy that. We even ran into my friend and mentor, Michael Frye, at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining after we figured we wouldn’t be able to meet up! I love it when that happens.

Jason and I spent just over 24 hours seeing many of Yosemite’s popular attractions before heading back north to shoot a wedding this weekend on a farm near wine country. We also made a quick detour to Reno – a pilgrimage, you might say. So here’s our trip (thus far) in photos, some on iphone and others with the D700. Hope you are all having a great weekend!


the giant bunny at the sacramento airport is about to pounce on jason’s head

requisite stop at taqueria la estrella in manteca (carnitas taco and chile relleno)

made it to yosemite just before sunset

sunrise over half dome

“peace out, suckers!” at glacier point

fallen giant sequoia at mariposa grove

checking out the tree rings

“peace out, suckers!” at the grizzly giant (sequoia tree)

“peace out, suckers!” at el capitan

“peace out, suckers!” at olmstead point

“peace out, suckers!” at tuolumne meadows

self-portrait in my tent

“peace out, suckers!” at the whoa nellie deli/mobil gas station

we made a detour to the patagonia outlet in reno

“peace out, suckers!” at the patagonia outlet

lunch at in-n-out burger


rolling solo

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Dear readers, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your comments on the giveaway post. You people are fascinating and hilarious and awesome and sweet! These interesting little tidbits you have shared with me (and the rest of the interwebs) have been a true joy to read while I’m on the road. My readers are THE BEST. Thanks for the smiles and laughs and all around fabulousness. If you haven’t entered yet, please do so! Lurkers, I’ve got your back!

So I’m writing from the great Colorado mountain town of Crested Butte. It’s a former mining town, but today the gold in the hills comes in the form of aspens. This is my eighth season shooting the fall colors and it never gets old. In fact, it just gets better because I feel like I know these places, these hillsides, these trees. It’s just me, the road, and Colorado.


and construction



There is a lot of construction going on in that last minute rush to beat the winter storms that are sure to arrive any day. This means a lot of waiting in your car with views of the mountains through the smoky haze of wildfires (from states to our west) and someone’s tailgate in your face.

also a good time to eat the sandwich i packed (iphone)



But most of the drive west is lovely, dotted with brilliantly yellow trees along creeks (cottonwoods) and roadsides (some aspen). And then you drive along the flanks of the tallest mountain in the state and a lump develops in your throat because it is just incredible to behold.

mount elbert and the forebay (iphone)

i never tire of roads like these



Traveling mid-week means a hefty reduction in the typical leaf-peeping traffic and I mostly had the roads to myself. But whenever and wherever I stopped, I almost always encountered other leaf enthusiasts. They were all there to relish the fall colors. These people were incredibly friendly and full of joy, with huge smiles on their faces. Some asked technical questions, others asked for local tips (where to go, what’s good to see), but everyone was super nice. One young couple pulled into an empty trailhead parking lot, jumped out of their car, threw their arms in the air and whooped and hollered. When they left they waved and I waved back. “Have an awesome day!” they shouted as they sped off. Colorado can do that to people.

me and my trusted subie, road trippin’

ah yes, more construction (this one cost me an hour)



Last year was the best display of colors I had seen since I started shooting fall colors here. And 2012… looks like it’s giving 2011 a run for its money. We are on the early side of peak, but peak colors are fast approaching and it’s all just unbelievably glorious. There are big swaths of green and yellow punctuated by a good showing of reds and oranges this year. Some patches are brown or spotted or dull, some patches are bare. It’s a complete mix.

finally arrived to see mount crested butte in the last hour of daylight (iphone)



**Jump for more butter**