Picchetti Winery Engagement – Mel and PJ


The older I get, and the further I grow into my marriage, parenting, and just life in general, the more I appreciate the simplicity of things.  A quiet morning.  A cool breeze.  . . . The smell of fall with a light drizzle.  Even the lack of a radio as I listen to the engine in my car purr.

And so as it is, I enjoyed spending time with Mel and PJ for so many reasons.  But the greatest of these is their simplicity.  And it would seem that they ooze this simple nature about them, even onto their surroundings.  So much so, in fact, that when I arrived home and began flipping through the images, I kinda’ just let out a sigh and went . . . “This is the good stuff.  No distractions.  No craziness.  Just love.  Cut away the unnecessary and get to the reality of why we’re here.”  A gentle touch.  The grazing of finger tips on a cheek.  A little smile or a nervous laugh and the world made sense again.  At least to me.  And I’m pretty sure since Mel and PJ met all those years ago the world has always made sense to them because it’s plain to see, and entirely undeniable how destined for each other these two truly are.


Northern California Family Portraiture – The W. Family


So it’s Monday morning.  And I’m sitting here with our lab asleep at my feet, and gearing up to write this little blog post.  I’m listening to the rain hit my roof top and the concrete outside of my window.  And I realized . . . How lucky am I ?  !  Yesterday it was supposed to rain.  And I mean really, really rain.  But for the love of beautiful California sunsets, The W. Family and I held off locking down a time and location and checked the weather reports religiously right up until Saturday afternoon.  And look . . . just LOOK.  Look at what we ended up with ? !  Our patience was rewarded.

So as I sit at my desk, listening to that wonderful downpour we need so much, it occurs to me that I’m blessed – not lucky.  I’m blessed to have had the weather we did.  I’m blessed to do what I love so much.   But most importantly, I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to work with one of the coolest, most awesome families ever.  So full of love, laughter, and joy.  Add to that a 2 year old that was so well behaved, I think he may have ruined me for family sessions for the next 20 years, and the whole evening just rocked my socks off.   We threw grass.  They cuddled up.  The little man held on tight to mom and dad, gave them kisses, and smooshed (yes, that’s a word) up between them with a million grins and smiles.  The perfect way to end a weekend.  Perfect.


Embarcadero Engagement – Monique + Matt


Yesterday I met Monique, a beauty in a red dress, and Matt – the Navy boy who loves Monique somethin’ fierce.  After a quick change of plans (thanks Ferry Building security), we wandered up and down the Embarcadero finding some of my new favorite places to photograph.  We talked about the wedding, the moves they’ll be making all over the world (Matt, can you take your Jeep overseas?) and Monique’s new favorite movie – a film we all agreed is an instant classic – “The Rock”.

So, at this point, if you couldn’t figure out that Monique and Matt are my kinda’ people, what I’m going to say next will confirm it: These two love each other in a real, truly genuine way.  Something you only get a glimpse of from time to time, like a breath of truly fresh air.  They way these two talked about their beginning was like when Matt and Monique first met they looked at each other and went, “This is gonna’ work.  And we’ll wait for each other.”  And wait they did, because for the next 6 months after their first date, they became pen pals – yes, the long lost art of writing to one another (and, okay, it’s the 21st century, so maybe they Skyped, too).  And through the lens, and my own two eyes, this created a foundation that is going to last them the rest of their lives as they’re married together, no matter what continent they land on.


Kathy Kleine - November 1, 2015 - 1:53 pm

Great pictures and can’t wait to see the ones they pick!

Susan Giello - November 2, 2015 - 1:54 pm

Everyone of these is just beautiful and captures how much you two are in love! It’s going to be hard to pick they are all so great!

San Francisco Engagement – Christine + Rey


Christine and Rey and I ran around San Francisco this past weekend in what can only be described as “WTF is this amazing SF weather in October?”  Then again, you could also describe our entire morning together as “WTF – how can two people be this happy together!?”  Because, truthfully, I was a little worried that Christine and Rey might explode and ooze their joy and love all over.  Gross?  Nope.  Awesome?  Yep!  In fact, I kinda’ just wanted to put my camera down and watch them smile and be so wonderful to one another.  But, well, I wouldn’t really be doing my job then, would I?

Am I in the family yet?  I hope so.  Can the Ballesteros folks just adopt me?  Would I be so lucky?  I think it’s time we make it official.  Michael James Ballesteros – at your service.


Private Santa Cruz Beach Wedding – Naomi + Mike


As is common in this wonderful industry we’re in, things change, and they change rapidly at a pace most would believe crazy.  I, on the other hand, call it anything but insane.  “Wonderful” and “energetic” and “beautiful” at the words that come to my mind.  And all that is made possible because sometimes, if we’re just lucky enough, we start to feel like part of the guest list. . . part of the family.  So when our bride, Abby, called me just last week, I was a little shocked.  We’d only photographed her wedding two weeks before, so why the email so suddenly in my inbox?   “My sister is getting married on the beach, at sunset.  It’s a private wedding, only a very small handful of family and friends.  We want you there to capture everything”  And without hesitation, I rearranged my schedule to make sure I could be there.  Because for friends and family, that’s just what you do.

So with 11 chairs, flowers tucked into their places, the sun lowered itself into the ocean, while the sand glistened in the sun.  In a mere moment Naomi and Mike were officially married – husband and wife – with a stunning ceremony reflecting their simple ways.  Two people destined to climb many a rock wall together, or walk barefoot in the sand, or run carefree off the edge of a dock while jumping feet first, hand in hand, into a lake.  As free spirited as two people can be, these two have found their soul’s other half.  They are complete.  They are whole.  And this family that I’ve grown to know so well over the past month grows yet again, and increases in love even more.