I literally went on a day trip to Mammoth. After graduation I went home to San Diego, and my dad asked if I wanted to drive up to Mammoth where he had to do some measurements on a cabin and other general contractory stuff. I was in a car for a total of 14 hours to spend half a day there. Was it worth it? Of course. Got to spend some quality time with the pops, and I was able snap the most delightful picture of a chipmunk stuffing his fat little cheeks. I was no kidding, 2 and a half-ish fee away from him. Obviously he knew he was cute, and knew I was there to capture his cuteness (I would have actually captured him and taken him home if it wasn’t, you know, against the law…). Aside from the chipmunk shot, which was easily the highlight of my day, the rest of Mammoth was gorgeous. Everything looked so crisp. The place was just begging for snow, and I can only imagine how beautiful it is with a white blanket. The air was still and sounds were seldom. I felt small in such a vast landscape. It’s strange how nature develops, where everything, the rocks, the trees, the mountains, are perfectly placed.
After a bit of adventuring with my good high school friend, Ian, and his Grandma (my dad was working on their cabin), we set out for lunch at the Yodler Restaurant. Boy do I appreciate a pretzel larger than the size of my face paired with a cold beer, especially after a bit of walking. The place was right next to the ski lifts, which looked weird hanging above a grassy slope. But I hardly paid attention to my surroundings as I was too busy stuffing my face. Did I mention my friends call me chip (short for chipmunk…) Thanks Tara.
Lastly, we arrived at the cabin, and I was greeted by a fat dog named George, and a wiggly little guy named Bob. I fell in love with both. Just look at George’s underbite. Can you handle it? I can’t. If it were up to me, I would have happily left Mammoth with two dogs and a chipmunk. But all I have are these pictures…sigh. Maybe one day…
You cannot fully understand the phrase “two peas in a pod” until you meet Matt and Tania. For as long as I have known them they have been attached at the hip. She makes him watch Teen Wolf (though secretly I think he enjoys it), and he makes her…accept and love him. And she does whole-heartedly. When they got engaged, I knew I was taking their engament photos. I wouldn’t take no for an answer. The day of the shoot I made them hike a little (sorry guys!), but they happily let me drag them around to different locations because they knew that I was excited for this shoot.
As I was organizing and editing through the images today, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. The whole shoot was unbelievably adorable. Capturing moments like these makes my heart so so happy!
Isn’t it funny to recall the way you thought a few years ago? The things that made sense to you, and the things you were so sure of; sometimes you look back and think “wow, I was so weird/ I was such an idiots sometimes.” But maybe you look back and you miss that mind. I miss my high school mind sometimes, because I took on challenges I created for myself with that “why not?” mindset. The photographer in me was obsessed. I asked everyone I knew to model for me. I would have them come over after school, and then I would do their makeup and dress them in clothes I splurged on at the salvation army (40% off Wednesdays whooop!). I craved the bizarre. The more out-of-the-box the better. Art for art’s sake, and art because I loved it.
Then you get to school and you learn the do’s and dont’s of photography. You learn wonderful things and you fall in love with light. You learn all the technical things you thought were once so out of your capacity for understanding. But you have to be so careful to not lose a once motivated mind. It’s still there, but it’s scared to come out because the last time you used it, you overexposed, you had uneven lighting, and you were out of focus. You realize you neglected that side of you to be correct. You need to be a perfectionist. I get it, you artist you.
But remember, you can only be so correct in the technical parts, and then you are just as good as the other people who have mastered the technical parts too. You only get better when you push your creativity further than technically correct. Sometimes your own guidelines are the most important. When you are finished with the school’s guidelines, do some shots for you. Even if it isn’t photography. Maybe it’s writing, cooking, decorating or building something. You know you more than I do. Didn’t you know you are still allowed to play? 🙂
When I left San Diego for school, I left a best friend. She is a beautiful soul who found a passion for photography before I did. In sharing that love for seeing the world composed behind a lens, she sparked inspiration in me to follow this artistic path. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her. She was the matchmaker of the camera and I.
I had the chance to come home and photograph her for a change. We took a trip down to a local winery on a beautiful overcast day (yes! I love that overcast!). I don’t even know how many times I made her jump in between those rows of grapevines. I can tell you it was a lot. Of course, she was willing. She understands the persistance that has to be behind every shot, just so you can get that perfect one. She also knew I was lying every time I said, “Okay, okay. Last jump. I promise. Alright step back a tad, make sure your arm is more at your side…okay onetwothree jump!” She is the best.
I bet you haven’t heard of Hayfork. Its in Northern California, an hour into the mountains from Redding. You drive on this crazy winding, barf inducing road, but other than that the drive was beautiful. There were trees upon trees, and the endless green was a nice change from our Santa Barbara environment. I went with my boyfriend and we stayed at his Grandma’s house, which was a lovely cabin-like place. She must have thought I was crazy, because I had my camera up to my face the whole stay, capturing the random sights around her house. A bathtub in the yard. Come on, why would you not want to shoot that?? So bizarre, so cool. I also have a whole memory card just filled with images of her dogs, Charlie (the small one) and Mable. A few days in the mountains was incredibly refreshing, just adventuring with a camera in hand. No rules and guidelines, only capturing life because I love to.
I go through phases where I really miss home. There are moments where I’m like, “What are you doing Lex?! Don’t you miss snuggling with your dog and being with your awesome (and insane) family?…BANANA BREAD LEX GO HOMEEE!” And so I pick up the phone, call my mom, and go “yo, I’m coming home.”
Every time I come home I feel like my siblings grow up SO MUCH! What is this?? WHY DO YOU HAVE FACIAL HAIR?! Aren’t you supposed to be 13? No, Zeno is 16, and my younger sister Oni is 15. I hardly have to pack clothes to go home because we are the same size. Time flies when you are off at school chasing a dream, and you forget that the life you left at home doesn’t wait for you. So last weekend was a catch-up period. I needed to make time stop for a moment, so what did I do? I made Oni and Zeno model for me. Not that they needed much convincing, seeing as they are obviously comfortable in their own skin. A couple of handsome buggers. I love em so much 🙂
My blog posting needs to be less sporadic. Trying to organize an artist’s mind is fruitless. Too many ideas and too little time to sort them. But hey! A new post yay! (finally…) In my Creative Digital Imaging class our assignment was to create five black and white images cropped into squares. They didn’t have to be cohesive, but I took this as an opportunity to create some images that really encompassed my love for bizarre things. I think it’s important to push the limits of your creativity, as weird as the work may be. When you are not afraid to create art, you let go of that impulse to edit your work, and the art really become something that is entirely your own. I approached this project with the phrase “I am at home…” Some people say that they are more at home in the water than they are on land (think swimmers, surfers…). But the overarching idea is that everyone has a place they feel most home at, and it does not necessarily need to be a house. Personally, I am torn between my little art room and Costco (especially during PRIME sample time mmmm). Your home, your sanctuary, and your place of peace; they are very important. They are essential for artists.
My model Lauren Spooner was such a trooper. Even with the small window of time to shoot, the waves we had to fight through, and all of the props she had to work with, she was incredible. At one point we lost the mug. But then we found it. And by that I mean she had to dive underwater and get it. I was hoping to get some actual portrait shots of her, but we ran out of time 😦 So expect those portraits at some point in the future posts!