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Category: PERSONAL

LA Photographer in Alaska: Eagle River Valley, Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park is one of the largest state parks in Alaska, and it’s only about 40 minutes from downtown Anchorage.  We took a short walk along the Iditarod Trail in Eagle River Valley inside the park and came upon this glorious view.  We even saw a moose grazing not more than 15 yards away!  All in all, we were very lucky with seeing lots of wildlife on this trip: moose, a black bear, and lots of dolphins and whales.

San Gabriel Valley family photographer (Burbank, Glendale) travels to Alaska Chugach State Park, Eagle River Valley, hiking Iditarod Trail

LA Photographer in Alaska: Hubbard Glacier

Evan and I recently took a fantastic trip to Alaska.  We loved it so much that we already want to go back, but alas, there are such things as jobs and responsibilities.  Over the next few posts, I’ll share some photos from our travels.

This first photo is of Hubbard Glacier, which stretches 76 miles long.  We were so lucky to get absolutely gorgeous weather that day.  I just love the cloud formations and reflection of the mountains on the ice.  Hubbard Glacier lies in Disenchantment Bay and Yakutat Bay, and you wouldn’t believe how the temperature dropped between the ocean and the bay.  It must have been 20 degrees colder in the bay!

San Marino, La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena child / baby photographer travels to Alaska, Hubbard Glacier, Yakutat Bay, Disenchantment Bay

Food and Stuff

This post is mostly about food, and not too much about stuff.  But I had to give a quick nod to one of my favorite characters, Ron Swanson, on one of my favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation.   “Food and Stuff” is where he buys all of his food…  and most of his stuff.

I can’t overemphasize the fact that I love to eat.  Most people are surprised when they find out exactly how much I eat.  In the interest of full disclosure, I once ate most of four orders of beignets in New Orleans in one sitting.  I often eat ice cream for breakfast, and I always order the extra-large bowl of Vietnamese pho and usually don’t even feel that full afterward.

Anyway, here’s a recent exquisite meal that Evan and I shared.  We started with beef carpaccio layered with dijon aioli, arugula salad, and parmesan shavings.

South Pasadena, Arcadia wedding photographer food photography (beef carpaccio with arugula salad), Glendale / Burbank wedding reception

For the main course we had pan-seared black salmon glazed with barbecue sauce.  Served with sweet yellow corn chive mashed potatoes with crispy shoestrings, spinach, and horseradish demi glace.

South Pasadena, Arcadia wedding photographer food photography (bbq glazed black salmon with mashed potatoes, spinach), Glendale / Burbank wedding reception

Finally, for dessert we finished with a pastry cigar filled with diplomat cream.  That cream was seriously sinful.  Really, one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

South Pasadena, Arcadia wedding photographer food photography (pastry cigar filled with diplomat cream), Glendale / Burbank wedding reception

And because two desserts are better than one, we also had a biscuit croustillant with dark ganache.  The crunchy bottom layer was made of white chocolate and praline, the top layer chocolate mousse.  Yum.

South Pasadena, Arcadia wedding photographer food photography (biscuit croustillant with praline, white chocolate, chocolate mousse), Glendale / Burbank wedding reception

Evan - My compliments to the chef and the awesome photographer for making my tummy rumble.November 1, 2011 – 6:27 pm

Astrophotography at Palomar Observatory | Los Angeles, Alhambra, Monterey Park Family Portrait Photographer

Today we have the third guest post by my resident astronomer, Evan, the other half of Bamboo Shoots Photography.  Check out our other Palomar Observatory astrophotography post and our Los Angeles astrophotography post here!

Two centuries ago, searching for comets was all the rage.  The European well-to-do would try to see who could find the most comets.  As a service to other astronomers, Charles Messier kept a list of fuzzy objects in the sky that did not move from night to night and therefore were not comets.

We took this photo of the eastern sky from Palomar Observatory.  You’re looking right at the center of our own Galaxy, the Milky Way.  It sometimes helps to orient your view of the night sky if you know where the constellations are, so we’ve drawn lines showing pieces of a few constellations: Serpens Cauda (the snake’s tail), Scutum (the shield), Sagittarius (the archer), and the tail of Scorpius (the scorpion).

The Galactic center is a busy place, so there’s a lot of cool stuff in the sky when you look in this direction.  For example, this image contains five Messier objects.

Los Angeles, Burbank, Arcadia, Pasadena family portrait photographer astrophotography from Palomar Hale Telescope / child & baby portrait photographer

Messier 67, and 23 are open clusters, the birth places of stars.  Almost all stars in our Galaxy formed in loose collections of stars like these.  Our own Sun formed in an open cluster, which dispersed billions of years ago.  Some astronomers make it their life goals to find “solar twins,” stars that were born in the same cluster as the Sun.

Messier 8 is also an open cluster, but it contains a nebula.  Nebulae are the Galaxy’s recycling bins.  When some stars die, they blow up into gas clouds.  Pieces of those same clouds can collapse to form brand new stars.  This cycle has been recurring for the last 13 billion years.  Nebulae are also some of the most beautiful objects in the night sky.  If you have binoculars or even a telescope, try to find M8 in the summer evening sky.  You will see the Lagoon Nebula.

My own favorite object is Messier 22.  It is a very tight group of stars called a globular cluster.  Unlike open clusters, globular clusters are not stellar nurseries.  In fact, the stars in M22 are nearly as old as the Universe.  Globular clusters can be somewhat boring because all of the stars are made of almost the exact same stuff.  For example, one star has just as much iron as the next.  However, M22 was very recently found to be an exception.  It’s a very rare globular cluster where all of the stars do not have exactly the same composition.  One of my scientific goals is to figure out why some globular clusters, like M22, show some personality!

Glendale, Pasadena, Alhambra family portrait photographer astrophotography from Palomar Hale Telescope / astronomy / night sky

Kim - Not only I do enjoy stargazing through Evan’s photos, but the combination of the light on the street, the golden light in the sky, and so many stars is amazing. I love the contrast! Also, thanks to Evan for your astronomical interpretation. Please continue to do more of these!June 23, 2011 – 2:43 pm

May - Very neat!!June 8, 2011 – 6:55 pm

Marci - Beautiful!!! And thank you for explaining in more detail what is happening up there with stars and symbols. Now when I look into the night sky, I will remember to see the “more that is there”!June 8, 2011 – 5:33 pm

Astrophotography at Palomar Observatory | Pasadena, Glendale, Los Angeles Baby Portrait Photographer Guest Post

Today I’m presenting the second guest post by my resident astronomer, Evan, the other half of Bamboo Shoots Photography.  If you missed our first Los Angeles astrophotography post, check it out here!

I sometimes have the privilege of using the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory in southern California.  When it was built in 1948, its 200-inch primary mirror made it the largest telescope in the world by far.  I took a short break from my observing to step outside and snap this 30-second exposure of the Milky Way with the telescope dome.  Isn’t the Milky Way gorgeous?  Many of its 10 trillion stars are hiding behind the dark bands, called dust lanes, that you see in this photo.

Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank baby & child portrait photographer astrophotography astronomy night sky at Palomar Observatory

Both of these photos were taken in the middle of a pitch-black, moonless night, so it’s amazing that San Diego’s city lights were able to illuminate these clouds.  Want to help an astronomer?  Turn off your lights at night!

Los Angeles, San Marino, Arcadia, Alhambra baby & child portrait photographer astrophotography astronomy night sky at Palomar Observatory

Chi - These photos are mind-boggling. Evan, congrats! I never imagined that with some real skill and patience you could actually capture the night sky without an absurdly specialized astrophotography star-tracking contraption.April 25, 2011 – 7:11 pm

Kim - I always enjoy looking at the night sky and especially the Milky Way, but I usually haven’t had good luck except when camping. These photos are so amazing! (Did the second photo show a shooting star?)April 23, 2011 – 9:48 am

Larry - Truc – Awesome Photos. They remind me of the beautiful photos I used to enjoy looking at so much in the photography books and magazines I used to have.April 14, 2011 – 10:58 am

Peggy - You actually took that second photo in San Diego? Wow! What an awesome site. I don’t live anywhere near a city that large and I’ve never seen so many stars at once. I guess the key to being a great photographer is knowing where to look and how to see what’s really there. Great job.April 13, 2011 – 4:53 pm

Marci - Really great shot of the Observatory against the star-lit sky with the Milky Way…really good! It’s amazing how well it shows up considering you take in the pitch black of night.

The second photo reminds me of being on a farm in the country and looking up into the night sky. Very peaceful feeling.April 13, 2011 – 3:11 pm

Dale - Great jobApril 13, 2011 – 1:34 pm

Dan - That beautiful Milky Way can be observed near the city of San Diego? You’re such a talented photographer! I really like the observatory in the corner of the first photo contrasting with the Milky Way above it. Good work!April 13, 2011 – 12:38 pm

Xiaoting - Yes it is an amazing place!! I sang the song of exiting all the time. I like the first picture!! ^o^April 13, 2011 – 12:13 pm

May - Amazing!!April 13, 2011 – 10:09 am

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  We usually keep Valentine’s Day pretty low-key, but I’ll take any excuse for getting my favorite flowers—purple tulips—and a nice romantic night out with a cute husband.

Burbank, Glendale, San Marino, Arcadia family & baby photographer says Happy Valentine

As always, I love blogging about food, and this dish was truly exceptional.  It had probably the tenderest beef I’ve ever tasted and a sauce flavored to perfection.  Grilled prime beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon in a sherry wine sauce, served with caramelized shallots, roasted potatoes, and sautéed spinach.  Yum.

Burbank, Glendale, San Marino, Arcadia child & family photographer says Happy Valentine

And grilled shrimp, scallops, and calamari in a paprika-garlic sauce.

Burbank, Glendale, San Marino, Arcadia family & baby photographer says Happy Valentine

Chi - Oooh, bleghhhh. (obligatory response from the sister/sister-in-law)March 19, 2011 – 11:35 am

Marci - aaaawwww….Truc, you resemble that remark from Evan. And YES, you both are ‘too cute’!!!February 22, 2011 – 5:29 pm

May - You guys are …too… sweet : )February 14, 2011 – 10:24 am

Evan - Happy Valentine’s Day to the cutest photographer ever!February 14, 2011 – 9:27 am

LA Photographer in New Orleans: Moonrise over Lake Pontchartrain

For this last post featuring our New Orleans trip, we leave you with a photo of the moonrise over Lake Pontchartrain one day after a full moon.  You can see a few stars dotting the night sky, and I love the way the moving water looks from this six-second exposure.

San Marino, Glendale, Pasadena family & child photographer in New Orleans - Lake Pontchartrain moonrise & night sky

Chi - Absolutely gorgeous. Makes me want to visit New Orleans again, though I fear the pounds I’d gain by even a short trip there.January 25, 2011 – 7:09 pm

Marci - It looks like the water is moving as the moon is shimmering on it! Amazing photo!!January 20, 2011 – 1:05 pm