This is the world seen through my camera. Weird, wonderful and wholly original.

mkp website

Posted on Oct 25, 2017
Posted in Art!, My Life

Meet my nephew Elliot.

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How freaking cute is he?!! It’s just too much! He and his older brother are the bomb. I am a lucky woman to have them in my life.

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While we were up at my parent’s annual Brew and Pie Fest this year, Kevin and I had a whole 2 hours to hang out with them almost all by ourselves without adults. It was way fun. At one point, Elliot wanted to explore the chicken yard to pick flowers for me. It was too much cuteness I tell ya!

Our flower picking gentleman of a nephew was born with a disorder called PCD. It’s actually way longer of a word, but let’s just refer to it by its abbreviation. PCD affects the lungs, ears, sinuses and fertility. In PCD, impaired ciliary activity (cilia are microscopic organelles that line the airways and other parts of the body to sweep out dust and germs) results in lifelong respiratory disease with chronic infections of the lungs, sinuses and ears. Over time, these debilitating infections results in permanent damage to these areas and, in the case of the lungs, possible respiratory failure.

The pluses of PCD are that activity and an active lifestyle are the best things for it, so it’s not an affliction that demands he stay indoors cooped up in a bed or something. The negatives are that it’s effects are progressive which means that’s its likely that he, and others with PCD will need a lung transplant at some point in their life.

Another bummer is that it is so rare. There is not a ton of funding and researchers out there to push the stages of diagnosis and treatment further along.

While PCD is not a household name, the condition itself is actually not as rare as it appears because so many people are simply not diagnosed. I know that this day in age that the word “awareness” is a bit oversaturated, but PCD is something that needs more awareness. The more people that are properly diagnosed, the more the researchers and doctor’s can do clinical trials and push the understanding of the disease and how to treat it forward.

My sister started a fundraising platform called Breathe For PCD. She makes really cool shirts and calendars that raise money for the PCD Foundation while also spreading awareness about the disorder. This is her second year making a calendar. She curates a collection of her favorite photos of mine and sells them for a finite period. The ordering deadline is October 31st this year.

Check out her Breathe For PCD website, and since you’re here, why not buy a calendar? Today’s blog post features pretty nature images that you could adorn your walls with for the coming year. I am so proud of my sister for her strength and determination to not get bogged down by the negative, but to keep calm, breathe deep, and do her part to make a difference. One tee shirt and calendar at a time.

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6 mkp for pcd February

7 mkp for pcd March

8 mkp for pcd April

9 mkp for pcd May

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12 mkp for pcd August

13 mkp for pcd September

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15 mkp for pcd November

16 mkp for pcd December

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GET YOUR 2018 CALENDAR HERE!!!

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Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Do you need a new headshot, but don’t have the time or the money for a full session?  I offer shortened, discount headshot sessions at my studio in DT LA on the Second Sunday of every month.  Click here for information.

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

Posted on Oct 12, 2017
Posted in Los Angeles, Weddings

One of the perks of my job is that people will just walk into my life; seemingly out of nowhere, and just thrust the most amazing moments in front of my lens for me to document. One day, I got a message from this beautiful bride who had found me on Yelp.  A week later she, her fiancé and their two kids met me for a meeting at my studio DT, and then just a few weeks after that I shot their most amazing wedding at the Beverly Hills Courthouse!  It all happened so fast and with such ease.

Their super intimate wedding at the courthouse was one of the most stunning weddings I’ve ever shot.

First of all this family is beautiful inside and out. The bride quite literally oozes joy naturally, like all the time. Emails, on the phone, at her home on a random day in the middle of the week when I learned we were practically neighbors… Not just her wedding day.

Second of all, the Beverly Hills Courthouse is seriously gorgeous. I had no idea how beautiful it was, even as I walked up to it to meet my clients. The halls had a total Mad Men vibe with big floor to ceiling windows and really cool light fixtures that produced some really stylized effects. Inside the actual room where couples say their “I Do’s”, photos of old Hollywood decorate the walls displaying the building’s famous history.

Finally, their two kids were freaking adorable. So cute. It was as if they were animated cartoon characters and not real. Sometimes they were beaming with joy and full of activity, and sometimes they got a bit grumpy in their tiredness, but they were always a delight to be around.

It was such a special day! I love it when I get to fill my days with love and beauty. Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

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The little girl’s face just kills me.

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The front of the courthouse had these super bitchin’ pillars that I wanted to get a picture in front of. Their friend and fellow photographer did a little wrangling/styling for me as he assured his friend that it would be okay.

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Look at the bus!!! Are you kidding me?! I did a silent happy dance when it pulled into my frame.

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I had the idea to have the newlyweds stand in the middle of the street while cars passed them on either side. I barely got off this one test shot to check my exposure when a cop car flipped around behind me and flashed his lights and siren.

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Now normally hearing the woop woop of a police siren behind you instantly fills you with dread and anxiety but I had a bride and groom with me.  A bride and groom is kind of like having a hall pass where just about anyone will let you do just about anything. It’s awesome. I did another silent happy dance when I heard the screeching tires as the officer flipped around to confront us.

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Woot woot!! The kind man blocked traffic while we took this shot.

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We left Beverly Hills to take some photos in Santa Monica. The bride loves the Santa Monica Pier and really wanted to take some photos with it in the background.

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This is the time when the kids got a little bit grumpy wanting to be done with it all.

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Their insanely cute grumps lasted all of like two minutes. This is not staged, none of the running shots were. It was just too much cuteness for my heart to handle.

I love my job.

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Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Do you need a new headshot, but don’t have the time or the money for a full session?  I offer shortened, discount headshot sessions at my studio in DT LA on the Second Sunday of every month.  Click here for information.

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

Posted on Oct 04, 2017

Because I live in sunny California, I do not have seasons to mark my year, but rather, I have a couple of annual golf tournaments I shoot that do the trick. The Pasadena Police Activities League, or PAL, held this year’s golf fundraiser at the beautiful Brookside golf course. I started shooting early when the competitors check in for breakfast. After the coffee had been drank, the breakfast burritos eaten, the practice swings and speeches, I got to drive a golf cart around to get some action shots on the course.

You guys.

Why is driving a golf cart like the most fun activity ever? I mean really! There’s a meditative quality to it… soothing even. I freaking love it.

Okay, I’m getting off track here.

Back to my favorite charity! This year’s tournament had many of the same cast of bitchin’ characters I’ve come to love and adore… Supporters of the organization, the people on the ground running the day to day operations, members of the PPD and the incredible individuals on the board. One of those superstars is Laura Berns of The Berns Team who was this years’ top sponsor.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from this year’s event… The annual marker indicating to me that summer is over and fall is now upon us.

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Just look at that good lookin’ group!

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Some of the awesome PAL board.

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Look at these ladies!!! I love them so! They are really this fun, cool and gorgeous all the time. They do a chipping game with the buckets on one of the holes where one can win great prizes!  I heart them.

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Ha! This truly outstanding parking job was brought to you by yours truly. I said I love driving a golf cart… I didn’t say I was good at it.

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The Pasadena PAL is such a gem of an organization, it continues to shock me that more people don’t know about them. The Police Activities League is a national organization that came to Pasadena in 1997. It partners the youth of the community with the men and women of the Pasadena Police Department in a fun, safe, and nurturing environment while providing academic and cultural enrichment. PAL offers homework assistance, various sports, and a wide variety of special activities such as robotics and arts classes that give students an opportunity to build character and form a positive relationship with our community’s law enforcement. Currently, the PAL program serves an average of 120 children a day in grades 4 – 12 with over 200 more on the waiting list.

The more supporters of the organization, the more kids they are able to let in the program. At a time in our country full of fear, unrest and division; programs like this that truly nurture relationships between those in the community and those that serve them, creating a dialogue that goes both ways, is absolutely imperative.  To get more information on how you can support the Pasadena PAL, click here.

Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Do you need a new headshot, but don’t have the time or the money for a full session?  I offer shortened, discount headshot sessions at my studio in DT LA on the Second Sunday of every month.  Click here for information.

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

Posted on Sep 20, 2017
Posted in Art!, Explore, My Life

In this case, the subway is a 9-mile hike in my home states’ Zion National Park. I love having friends that ask me to go on these adventures that require permits and an experienced guide. Why did we need an expert you ask? Because this hike through a slot canyon involved 3 rappels! 3!! It also involved swimming through parts of the slot canyon that filled up with water.

A true adventure you guys. Holy shit. I’m already sad it’s behind me.

I’ve been rappelling a handful or more of times over the course of my life and I’ve always found the experience thrilling. I’m not sure if it’s because there was no belay the bottom of the ropes this time (an actual person serving as a back up to stop the ropes if you make a mistake), or if it’s because it’s been a good 6 years since my last time bounding down a mountain attached to a rope, but this time it was scary! I don’t mind confessing to y’all (look at the slang I’m picking up from my trip to Memphis!) that I don’t like being as scared as I was. I definitely need to re-familiarize myself navigating heights like that on a more regular basis.

This awesome hike had some other scary elements.

#1 scary thing: Slot Canyons.

For those of you that aren’t familiar, slot canyons are usually narrow spaces in between rock faces. Sometimes they are just small enough for a person to squeeze through. My BFF and I had a memorable experience with another one in southern Utah last year. Feel free to read about that adventure here.

This slot canyon was not the claustrophobia inducing one we navigated in Escalante, but because it was still a slot canyon, there is always the “point of no return” element.

I am not being dramatic here. Should a flash flood come while you are anywhere in the “point of no return” zone, you will most certainly die. Now, I know the likelihood of death from a car accident is much higher than drowning in a slot canyon, but try telling yourself that when you cross that “these might just be your last steps” threshold… Especially if you see rain clouds, or even think about how quickly rain clouds can swoop in out of nowhere. These quiet, almost meditative moments that come with these kinds of adventures are some of my favorite moments in life. That connection with your breath you feel as you make the conscious decision to go forward forces you into a state of being completely present. The possibility of death seems to do that no matter how small that possibility actually is or how seemingly silly.

# 2 scary thing: My camera’s wellbeing.

There was NO WAY that I could do this trip and not bring my camera. I decided on one camera body and one fish-eye lens (Look at how far I’ve come!). I put it inside a gallon-size freezer bag, and put that inside of a dry bag that upon the touch seemed just as susceptible to water absorption as a delicate linen. I was freaked the fuck out you guys.

It was like Schrodinger’s Cat when I fully submersed myself in that first pool. The camera might be the fully functioning piece of equipment needed for my livelihood or it might be a water soaked antique trinket. Who knows?! It’s too late now! Keep swimming!

It made it through okay. Woot woot!! Thank you magic fabric for protecting my camera. I feel I should also pay thanks to the REI guy that patiently gave 4-minutes of his life answering the same question…

“THIS fabric is waterproof?”

“Yes.”

“Waterproof, like if I put something in it, dunk it in water and it will be dry inside?”

“Yes.”

“THIS fabric.”

“Yes, that fabric.”

“Waterproof, like the contents inside will be completely dry?”

“Yes.”

“THIS fabric, are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“You’re sure that if I put something valuable inside, completely submerse it in water, that what’s inside will be okay?”

“Yes.”

“THIS fabric?!”

“Yes.”

… And so on for a solid 4-minutes.

I also decided to buy a GoPro camera for the trip since I would not have access to my real camera for a good portion of the hike. It was a good purchase.

Here are the pics from my Subway adventure. Special thanks to my friends who let me tag along. I’m one lucky girl.

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My hosts. We camped out on some nearby BLM land the night before the hike. Sleeping under the spectacular Utah desert sky was worth the drive from LA on it’s own.

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I had to press the shutter with my left hand since I needed my right hand to rappel down. I still like this shot even though my hand covers half the frame.

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One of the many slot canyon swims! Oh my god it was so fun!

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I did NOTHING to this picture in post. It came out of my camera this way. It’s so cool!

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This was the third rappel and the scariest. You really had to take it slow because the rock was kind of slick and it curved in, so it wasn’t hard to kind of smack into it as you worked your way down. As soon as I made it down, I wanted to do it again but do it better.

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I’m so glad I got the GoPro. The underwater shots are my favorite from the trip.

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Come on!!! Look at all those sunbursts reflected in the water! I love it so.

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Epic staredown.

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The tiny frogs were so cute!!! I just want to squeeze their little bodies. I had a dream about them the other night I liked them so much.

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It’s safe to say that this is my favorite picture from the trip, but it might be one of my most favorite pictures ever.

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Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Do you need a new headshot, but don’t have the time or the money for a full session?  I offer shortened, discount headshot sessions at my studio in DT LA on the Second Sunday of every month.  Click here for information.

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

Posted on Sep 14, 2017

In this case, said battlefield is a fun one. The Pasadena Police Activities League, or PAL, took the kids lucky enough to be in the organization on a paintball outing this summer. I put on my best crappy clothes, loaded up my camera gear and met them at Paintball USA in Santa Clarita ,on what might have been the hottest day ever. Like EVER. Oh. My. God. It was so hot. I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to document the field trip since I didn’t want to put my camera gear (and myself) in the line of paintball fire, but it was worth a try.

It turned out to be way more fun than I had anticipated! It was pretty hardcore. The quiet tactical efforts of the warring teams kept you in a constant anticipatory state, making you very aware of your surroundings. You could feel and hear everything… The sweat dripping off your body, the snap of a twig 50 yards away from a soldier trying to gain position; the breeze as it moved the dirt around you. The quick, bup bup bups of the guns as they fired, spraying paint and dirt when they made contact and the “I’m hit! I’m hit! Hold fire!!” really made it feel real. While I don’t think I’d like to risk the inevitable welts that come with being a competitor, I’d document such an outing again in a heartbeat.

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One of the BRILLIANT chaperones got the incredible idea to wet a paper towel with some ice water and put it under his hat to cool down. So smart.

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The Pasadena PAL is such a gem of an organization, it continues to shock me that more people don’t know about them. The Police Activities League is a national organization that came to Pasadena in 1997. It partners the youth of the community with the men and women of the Pasadena Police Department in a fun, safe, and nurturing environment while providing academic and cultural enrichment. PAL offers homework assistance, various sports, and a wide variety of special activities such as robotics and arts classes that give students an opportunity to build character and form a positive relationship with our community’s law enforcement. Currently, the PAL program serves an average of 120 children a day in grades 4 – 12 with over 200 more on the waiting list.

The more supporters of the organization, the more kids they are able to let in the program. At a time in our country full of fear, unrest and division; programs like this that truly nurture relationships between those in the community and those that serve them, creating a dialogue that goes both ways, is absolutely imperative.  To get more information on how you can support the Pasadena PAL, click here.

Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Do you need a new headshot, but don’t have the time or the money for a full session?  I offer shortened, discount headshot sessions at my studio in DT LA on the Second Sunday of every month.  Click here for information.

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

Posted on Sep 06, 2017
Posted in Portraits

It’s funny how we as people move about our professional and social circles. We can just navigate our whole lives in our little orbits, brushing by others who are maneuvering in similar circles and not even know each other until one day, BAM! You hit! Or in this case, hit it off. This incredible woman and I have A LOT of mutual friends and colleagues in common. We’ve briefly met at a couple of functions over the years, but it never really sunk in until she called me looking to do a professional headshot session. I seriously can’t remember ever NOT knowing her now she is so much fun! Like so much fun, our session almost didn’t seem like a session at all. She comes from a kid’s camp background and is still involved in that world, so it was important to her that we got her outside in nature. Although outdoor on-location pics are always nice, I am a strong advocate that one should also just have a super simple, plain background shot to accompany those outdoor shots, so we came back to my studio in DT LA. Your face is the star of any good headshot. We want to see the intricacies and the personality up close and personal. This fun-loving gal did not disappoint. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the session.

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She climbed a tree for me!! God, she’s so my people.

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Just admit it… This face just made your day as it did mine.

Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Do you need a new headshot, but don’t have the time or the money for a full session?  I offer shortened, discount headshot sessions at my studio in DT LA on the Second Sunday of every month.  Click here for information.

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

Posted on Aug 25, 2017

Scott and Tony have been together for 16 years. They had a very intimate wedding ceremony last year that a friend and colleague of mine had the pleasure of shooting. The couple had a reception for friends and family a few months ago, an event my friend Cam was not available to shoot so he sent them my info. I am so happy that my friend was busy with another job!!! This event was so crazy awesome, I’ll never forget it.

Everything about this job was lovely from the start. They held it at the very beautiful Women’s Twentieth Century Club in Eagle Rock. The decorations where simple, pretty and emotional. The food catered by Romega Catering was delicious and stunning in it’s presentation. The guests all seemed to have a loving, sincere, kindness to them… I sensed a hint of wildness in all of them almost immediately, which is always exciting. I like those people that cross the line from relative normalcy to shenanigans without much urging. The stress-free lightness in the air and the unmistakable feeling of spring made me feel like I was in a movie, or commercial or something.

The main event was a program where the couple’s actor friends took turns reading letters that the newlyweds had written to each other over the course of their relationship. IT WAS THE BEST! It was deeply personal, funny and entertaining all at the same time. Brilliant boys.

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Seriously people. This is this couples card! They made business cards that say “Professional Fun-Havers”! Remember what I told you about the hint of wildness just under the surface? This is a perfect example.

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The sister giving a speech made her brother and his husband put on these glasses so that she wouldn’t cry when she was speaking.

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For real. They had to keep them on the whole time she was talking. I love this group so much.

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After the program and the speeches, the stage manager (yup, they had a stage manager) asked if anyone else had something to say. Scott surprised his husband with a production number. He lip-synced Crazy For You from Dreamgirls.   He killed it.

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He followed that up with actually singing a ballad to Tony. It was a song about sailing. At the song’s climax, 16 people in the crowd raised blue flags above their heads symbolizing waves on the ocean. There were 16 flags representing the 16 years that the couple has been together. I don’t need to tell you that there was very few dry eyes in the room. It was so special.

22 mkp wedding photojournalism

23 mkp wedding photojournalism

24 mkp wedding photojournalism

25 mkp 20th century womens club

26 mkp first dance

27 mkp wedding photojournalism

28 mkp wedding photojournalism

29 mkp cutting the cake

30 mkp wedding photobomb

Epic photo-bomb.

31 mkp thespians

These ladies cracked me up. There were a lot of thespians at the party. I think I gave them “The Witches of Eastwick” as motivation for this sequence.

32 mkp thespians

33 mkp wedding photojournalism

34 mkp la wedding photographer

35 mkp la wedding photographer

36 mkp la wedding photographer

37 mkp la wedding photographer

This shot makes me so happy.

38 mkp la wedding photographer

39 mkp la wedding photographer

40 mkp la wedding photographer

41 mkp la wedding photographer

42 mkp la wedding photographer

43 mkp la wedding photographer

44 mkp groom portrait

45 mkp groom portrait

46 mkp groom portrait

47 mkp groom portrait

48 mkp la wedding photographer wedding details

49 mkp groom portrait

50 mkp groom portrait

When I took this job I had no idea that such a quick event would be so much fun and so special. Congrats Scott and Tony! Thank you for choosing me to capture your love and your special day.

Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

Posted on Aug 10, 2017
Posted in Art!, Explore, My Life

I have lived in L.A. now for 18 years, and this year was finally my first trip to Catalina Island. YAY!! Finally! Catalina is a magical little island only an hour boat ride from either Long Beach or San Pedro. My BFF and I planned to backpack the Trans-Catalina Trail, or TCT. The length of the trail is about 37 miles, but because you have to hike back from the end back to where you’d catch a boat back to the mainland, it’s really more like 51 miles.

The most common way to do the TCT is to start in the city of Avalon and work your way to the other end of the island at Starlight Beach. Because of the heavy rains California was hit with this year, the last leg of the trail from Parsons Landing to Starlight Beach was virtually inaccessible. Technically we could have tried it, but should something happen and require assistance from the park service, they would not have been able to access it. Needless to say we decided against doing the entire trail. Instead, we decided on a three-day-backpacking trip. Here was our plan:

Day-1

Avalon to Black Jack campground: 17 miles

Day-2

Black Jack to Little Harbor campground: 7 miles

Day-3

Little Harbor to Two Harbors: 5 miles.

Although our hiking trip was three days, our actual time on the island was 5 days. We traveled from the Long Beach Harbor to Avalon on a Wednesday afternoon and stayed the night at Hotel Atwater. This gave us time to swing by the Catalina Conservancy office to pick up a map, walk around the city and grab dinner and a beer. Avalon is beautiful!! There are very few vehicles allowed on the island. Transportation is all pretty much on foot of by golf cart, which added to its charm.

1 mkp Avalon Harbor

2 mkp photographer selfie

3 mkp Hotel Atwater

When we were planning the logistics of the trip, everything we read told us to check in for our campsites at Hotel Atwater, which is why we picked that hotel for our accomodations. We booked our campsites at Reserve America and were able to print out our reservations from home and have them on our person. When we checked in at the hotel, they basically told us that things have changed a bit and that checking in with them per se there wasn’t necessary like it once had been.

4 mkp backpacking the TCT

5 mkp backpacking the TCT

When we checked into the Conservancy to get our map, we decided to work our way up to the TCT via Wrigley Botanical Gardens which shaved a couple of miles off of our first day. I think it was supposed to be around 15 miles from the hotel to Black Jack instead of the originally planned for 17. I feel I should say that going through the botanical gardens required a fee for entrance. Kristen and I were the only ones in the park that early in the morning and thus we were able to talk our way into not paying, ensuring them that we were not there for the park, but only for the access to the Trans-Catalina Trail. I think if it was later in the day and there were more patrons that we would not have been so lucky.

6 mkp backpacking the TCT

7 mkp backpacking the TCT

8 mkp backpacking the TCT

9 mkp backpacking the TCT

10 mkp backpacking the TCT

11 mkp backpacking the TCT

12 mkp backpacking the TCT

13 mkp backpacking the TCT

Foxes are the islands apex predator. They were pretty stinking cute… Except when they cried at night. Their cries didn’t have the terrifying element that the howler monkeys in Costa Rica did, but the fox yowls were loud and lasted quite a while.

14 mkp backpacking the TCT

15 mkp backpacking the TCT

16 mkp backpacking the TCT

This is the spot where we experienced our first setback. We were on a very clearly marked trail. The path narrowed a bit and then we saw a TCT sign with an arrow clearly pointing toward the trail we were on that ran parallel to the fence you see in the right of the frame. We followed it until there was basically no more trail… Only a steep mountain face that a skilled hiker could traverse without a backpack. Doing it with a backpack would have been near impossible. Where could we have gone wrong? We could see the trail on the other side of the fence and down a ways. We decided to backtrack a bit and eventually opted to hop the fence and work our way toward the trail we saw in the distance. Once we did, you could see where the TCT was and it went right THROUGH the fence. This fence had no gate mind you. We were like WTF? This is something that could have been communicated to us at the Conservancy Office when we got our maps. You know, something along the lines of “Hey ladies! Once you come up on Haypress reservoir, you can either opt to stay on the service road that accommodates vehicles, or if you choose to stay on the actual TCT like you intend to do, you’re going to have to jump a fence!” Either option would have been preferable to adding a mile to our longest day, but oh well. What’s one little extra mile? We’re tough chicks.

17 mkp backpacking the TCT

18 mkp grump face backpacking the TCT

We felt that the best way to alleviate our frustration was with a faux grump-face selfie.

19 mkp backpacking the TCT

20 mkp backpacking the TCT

IT’S JUST SO PRETTY!!!

21 mkp backpacking the TCT

22 mkp backpacking the TCT

This image pretty much marks the point when I stopped taking photos on Day-1. This is when the real adventure riddled with tears, disbelief, fear and triumph took place.

We had put the bulk of the day’s journey behind us… Or so we thought. We had just over 3 miles left to go to Black Jack Campground. We were tired, but in good spirits. Our bodies were sore, but there was that sort of numb euphoria that I like about backpacking. We began up a mountain that DID NOT LET UP. Holy shit. I am guestimating here when I say it was probably a good 1.5 miles with no reprieve and at a significant grade.

I’m not a big Justin Bieber fan, but his song, Let Me Love You, was on REPEAT in my head. Specifically that part where he goes “don’t you give up na na na, I won’t give up, na a na, let me love you, let me love you”. I’ve heard that song a lot on the radio and at various events but is that song in any playlist of mine? Nope. How that song and specifically that part just forced its way into my consciousness at that particular moment in time is a mystery. Would I classify myself as a Justin Bieber fan? The answer to that question would have been a pretty hard NO before this backpacking trip. I can’t say that anymore. I am a fan of yours Justin Bieber… You got me through that hill and that was no easy feat. Thank you sir. I am forever grateful.

Once we made it over the crest of what is the highest slope on Catalina Island, we were in the home stretch. Only a mile and half or so left. We got to a point in the trail where it opened up at the crest of a hill. We noticed several orange flags marking the only unquestionably clear part of the trail. It veered to the left. Straight ahead were only grass, rocks and weeds. Clearly that sharp left turn was where we were supposed to be. We were appreciating the beautiful terrain that rolled up and down as it led us down toward the waterline line in the distance where we assumed we would be setting up our tent soon.

The sun was getting lower and lower in the sky. It was breathtaking in its ever-quickening softer light beauty. We were almost jovial as our level of exhaustion was coinciding perfectly with our arrival time. We kept going.

And going…

And going.

Surely we were supposed to have come across the little pond that was only a mile away from the campground. We had gone about 2 miles before we could not ignore that sick feeling in our gut. We stopped to pull out the map and saw that our guts were indeed right. We fucked up. Big time. But how? It didn’t make any sense!

The sun was really starting to set now and we had to go back the 2 miles we came in error, and still had another mile and a half to the campsite.

Our eyes moistened from the tears that wanted to eek their way out. We were at the point of complete exhaustion. Our 15-mile day, which had already become a 16-mile day, was now shaping up to be a 20-mile day… If we were lucky!! We weren’t earning any gold stars for our accuracy so far. On top of it, Kristen’s feet had begun to hurt so badly from her shitty shoes that we were already discussing just how many toenails she was going to lose.

And the sun was sinking lower and lower. It was dusk now.

I have experienced a number of very physically challenging adventures, but this was my first ever experience with real adrenaline. Something clicked in my head and body that made me keep a pace that would have been fast with no backpack.

All I could hear was the quick pace of my steps as I got to as close to a run as possible. I felt strong. I was focused. We were going to make it. We had to.

We made our way back to the fork in the trail where the eye catching orange flags mimicked the “COME THIS WAY” kind of sign used by aggressive salesmen. This had to be where we went wrong.

Sure enough, we walked though the grass and weeds to edge of the hill where we could see down. There, far out of the sightline from where the trail split was a sign marking the TCT trail.

While I did not love the situation at the time it was happening, I will say I am glad it happened. I am going to start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail next year and that trail is nowhere near as clearly marked as the TCT. We will be relying on compasses and maps a lot more heavily. This was a good lesson to double-check our path even, and especially in those times of certainty.

Our 15-mile day had turned into a 20-mile day. We made it to camp just after the sun had set. We put our tent up in near darkness, made dinner, and promptly went to bed. As we lied in our sleeping bags before sleep overtook us, we spoke about being more responsible hikers the following day. We would not make the same mistakes on Day-2.

I told you we were so tired that no photos documented the epic experience we had endured. I didn’t even pull out my camera to shoot our tent the next morning! I did get a few shots of our food prep and gear packing.

24 mkp backpacking the TCT

Look at that amazing woman making breakfast! God love her.

25 mkp backpacking the TCT

Out of all of our backpacking excursions, this one marked a turning point in our food planning. We still over packed a bit, but nothing crazy like our first trip in the Grand Canyon.

26 mkp backpacking the TCT

(Insert angel music effects here) Look how beautiful our campsite was! Too bad our time at breakfast was our only time where we could see it since we got there in almost complete darkness the night before.

27 mkp backpacking the TCT

I had to take a picture of this bungee-hook thing because they are the bomb. They are so useful!! Never leave home without them.

28 mkp backpacking the TCT

After recommitting ourselves to doing what was necessary to stay on the Trans Catalina Trail, regardless or what the trail markers communicated, we began Day-2 with studying the map, packing up our gear and hiked out of Black Jack campground. Once we got to the main road/trail, we promptly took a right when alas, and this will probably come as no surprise, we should have taken a left. This little error was not super costly and only added 2-miles to what was supposed to be a 7-mile day to the Little Harbors Campground.

Way to go us! My BFF and I don’t call ourselves “Team Hard Way” for nothing. That title is earned dammit. Over the course of our lives, we have worked very hard to subconsciously make the more difficult choices, especially when the situation does not warrant such character building. That’s how we roll people.

29 mkp backpacking the TCT

We like to think that had we gone the correct way that we would not have been in a position to be right under the airplane flight path. That’s what we told ourselves, but truth is, maybe we would, maybe we wouldn’t have.

It was on this paved road to the airport that we met a couple whose flight had just landed. They chose to walk the “10” miles back to their home in Avalon rather than have someone pick them up. We talked with them about the island for a few minutes and we of course could not help but express our grievances with the way the island marks the trail. They casually informed us that all signs should be thought of as more of a suggestion, or an approximation as opposed to actual fact. Do you see a sign that says 10 miles? That could actually mean 9, 11, or even 13. Who knows exactly, but it’s for sure in that general area. Maddening piece of information noted.

31 mkp backpacking the TCT

We officially made it back to the Trans Catalina Trail! Woot woot!!

32 mkp backpacking the TCT

Catalina Island is home to a herd of Bison that have roamed the island since 1924. A film titled “The Vanishing American” was filmed on the island and one of the scenes required bison. 14 bison were transported from the Great Plains to Catalina Island with the intention of being returned upon completion of the film. That obviously never happened. Since their arrival on the island, the herds’ population has fluctuated from it’s original 14, to its peak at 527. The number now currently on the island is around 150.

They are really impressive up close. I believe we were encouraged/instructed to not approach the bison for obvious reasons. When we caught our first look at them, they were pretty far away. As we got closer they promptly ran in the opposite direction.  Great!

33 mkp backpacking the TCT Catalina bison

As we approached this group of bison, they didn’t really seem to move away from us as soon as the last group did. We didn’t expect that this herd would be different from the last batch of giant shaggy beasts so we stuck to the game plan. Keep calm, move slowly and don’t look them in the eye. I don’t know if that’s really a thing, but it felt right. Like, really right.

By the time we realized that they were not going to run away it was too late. We had committed to our game plan. It seemed like they would read our changing course as an act of fear, or danger in some way. Again, I don’t know what was going on in their buffalo brains, but rather than shuffling off (only my fellow tap dancers will appreciate this marvelous pun), we stayed calm and carried on.

We got through okay, but there was one giant muppet of a buffalo who appeared to be the leader. He didn’t trust us. We could see it in is eyes… Peripherally of course since we were adamant about not making eye contact. He started to slowly follow us and when he moved, the rest of the group moved with him. We kept going, cool, head down keeping the same steady pace. They followed us for probably 30 yards or so, seemingly establishing a perimeter daring us to step back in. We did not accept the dare and he finally relented.

Once we were a good ways away from the pack, we stopped to eat some lunch. We watched another set of backpackers approach the herd in the distance. How would they choose to navigate the beasts? They walked WAY FAR AROUND. Hahaha! What pussies! (Totally kidding, this was the correct maneuver.) Not long after said couple passed us on our break, a ranger drove up and spoke to us from his truck. He asked if the herd was on the trail when we came through and how we went around them. His facial expressions did not hide his surprise and horror when we explained to him our oxen-traversing method. He explained that they can get a bit grumpy at times to which we informed him that 15 minutes ago was in fact one of those times.

34 mkp backpacking the TCT

35 mkp backpacking the TCT

We made it to our destination at Little Harbors campground with plenty of time to put up our tent in broad daylight and enjoy the sunset on the beach. It was stunning.

36 mkp backpacking the TCT

I love this woman. She and I have been best friends since 7th grade when my parents moved our family to my Dad’s hometown in Carbon County Utah. It’s small town with its roots in coal mining… A town where everyone knows your name. She and I have been through more life experiences and adventures than we can shake a stick at. This moment enjoying the sunset after the bison-gods gave us the “thumbs up” was a great one to add to our ever-growing list.

37 mkp backpacking the TCT Little Harbors sunset

38 mkp backpacking the TCT camp dinner

We prepared and ate our dinner by the light of our headlamps. I love this picture because her hands are all blurred and positioned like she’s a magician magically making macaroni and cheese appear.

39 mkp backpacking the TCT Little Harbors campground

40 mkp backpacking the TCT

This is my very high-tech method of airing out my t-shirt. You gotta make sacrifices when you backpack. One of those sacrifices is overall body freshness.

41 mkp backpacking the TCT Little Harbors campground

By Day 3, Kristen had decided that she was going to call for one of the islands Sherpa companies to take her to the final campground. Her hiking shoes had wreaked havoc on her feet and her ability to use them. The third and final hiking day was supposed to be the shortest day distance wise at 5 miles from the Little Harbors campground to the one at Two Harbors. *

*5-miles is a mere approximation due in part to both the inaccuracy of the trail signs, and our personal unwillingness to follow a physical map.

We decided that if the cost of shuttling us to Two Harbors was more than $25 per person that I would hike it and meet her there. My comparatively inexpensive Solomon Trail Running shoes had taken such good care of my feet! They were so comfortable that I never even felt the need to take them off upon reaching camp both days. I cannot say enough good things about them. Solomon, I love you. Thank you for a product line that allowed me to keep all of my toenails.

But I digress. While we were breaking down camp, the same ranger who we had frightened with our Buffalo-Whisperer ability made an appearance to check the campground. We asked him about the frequency and cost of the Sherpa shuttles. He gave us the information we were after and added that he was heading over to Two Harbors in ten minutes. If we were ready to go in that time frame, he would be happy to take us.

42 mkp backpacking the TCT

We were ready!

43 mkp backpacking the TCT

RANGER DAN THE MAN! He rocked. He totally gave us a tour of the island. We learned so much!! The conservancy did good when they hired him.

44 mkp backpacking the TCT

It’s a good thing for Ranger Dan The Man that I had implemented the use of my high-tech shirt freshening technique.

45 mkp backpacking the TCT

46 mkp backpacking the TCTTwo Harbors official greeter

This is the official greeter of the city of Two Harbors. Between the bitchin’ Ranger Dan The Man and now this cutie, Day-3 was already shaping up to be a great one.

47 mkp backpacking the TCT Buffalos milk

Ranger Dan The Man educated us on a vast array of all things Catalina Island. One of which was Buffalo’s Milk, a cocktail that was concocted by Harbor Reef Restaurant bartender, Michael Hoffler, back in the mid-seventies. It’s an island version of a white russian. Ranger Dan The Man is so smart.

48 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors general store

The very small city of Two Harbors has a general store, a restaurant, a hotel, a campground, a visitor center and that’s about it. We decided to have a couple of drinks at the only bar in town before making our way to our final campsite.

49 mkp Two Harbors general store

Check out this little wooden buffalo tchotchke on top of the register at the Two Harbors general store!

50 mkp Two Harbors

51 mkp Two Harbors

52 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors campground

53 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors campground

54 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors campground

55 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors campground

56 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors campground

We really enjoyed our stay at this last campground. It’s about a half-mile hike from the harbor itself where the visitor center is located. The road there was kind of wonky from this year’s heavy rains. If you’re car-camping (not backpacking), you can pay the camp to transport your gear from the dock to your site by truck. I think it would be super fun to start an annual camping weekend with friends here.

57 mkp backpacking the TCT Harbor Reef Restaurant

We headed down to the dock with enough time to spend a couple of hours in town… And by town, I mean the Harbor Reef Restaurant.

58 mkp backpacking the TCT Harbor Reef Restaurant

I have no idea what these sketches are of, but I found them delightful. They were all over the restaurant.

59 mkp backpacking the TCT Harbor Reef Restaurant

Only a few beers on tap and one of them was a Utah beer! Uintah Brewing! Go figure!

60 mkp empty glass

61 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors

62 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors

63 mkp backpacking the TCT Two Harbors

64 mkp backpacking the TCT Catalina Island

You can see from a distance just how steep some of the mountains are. When I look at this picture, my eye goes right to the highest one. (Queue Justin Bieber verse.)

65 mkp Catalina Island boad ride

Our boat ride back to L.A. was from Two Harbors. When it made a stop in Avalon this cutie boarded and sat in the seat right across from me. She had a fun time with the wind blowing her hair. I had a fun time witnessing the joy it brought her 🙂

66 mkp Catalina Island boat ride

67 mkp Catalina Island boad ride

Although we are collectively going back with fewer toenails than we came with, hiking the Trans Catalina Trail was an amazing experience. It was harder than expected, but also more beautiful. I feel like I really got a sense of the island, both the urban element and the backcountry. The people were welcoming and kind, the views heart-stirring, I experienced my first shot of real adrenaline and the bison were accommodating in their willingness to let us live. I look forward to going back and hiking it without any extra miles added on, going against the “Team Hard Way” credo. We can do it! We have to go back to symbolically burn and ceremoniously drown Kristen’s shitty shoes anyway.

Here’s a list of resources we found useful when planning our this trip:

Blog featured on SoCal Hiker

Blog featured on Modern Hiker

Boat ride to and from

Hotel Atwater in Avalon

Catalina Conservancy

Campgound bookings

City of Two Harbors

Part of the trail we omitted

Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!

 

 

 

Posted on Aug 04, 2017

Graduation days are so special! I still remember how it felt to be ceremoniously leaving my junior high for adulthood… High school. Yeah I called it adulthood! It was our first step out of our childlike existence into a world with more responsibility, choice and freedom. It was so exciting! I still get excited when I walk into what my high school called the “Grand Canyon”. It was kind of like a commons area that connected the classrooms to the big fancy gym. I mean a place to congregate with peers that didn’t involve having to sit on the floor or in the cafeteria?! (Okay, okay… Truth be told, we still mostly sat on the floor in front of our lockers, but we didn’t HAVE to. Choices people.) We were adults I tell ya!

I was hired to shoot the Beverly Vista Class of 2017 and it was so much fun. Many of the families were personal clients of mine so it was a little emotional watching kids I have spent a bunch of time documenting for their bar and bat mitzvahs over the last 2 years don their green gowns. The planning committee did not hold back any awesomeness. After the seriousness of the ceremony, the kids partied it up until late. It was the perfect mix of sentimentality and shenanigans.

1 mkp graduation day

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24 mkp graduation day

25 mkp graduation day

26 mkp schools out

27 mkp graduation day

28 mkp graduation day

29 mkp graduation day

30-mkp-celebrate

31 mkp Busbys East

32 mkp wild parents

33 mkp magician

34 mkp graduation party

 

35 mkp graduation party

36 mkp graduation party

37 mkp party life

38 mkp bond, james bond

39 mkp la event photographer

40 mkp la event photographer

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44 mkp dance party

45 mkp la event photographer

46 mkp Amanda Christine Stuart

47 mkp la event photographer

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54 mkp la event photographer

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57 mkp la event photographer

58 mkp la event photgrapher

59 mkp Busby's east

Posted on Jul 28, 2017
Posted in Mitzvah's, Portraits

People often approach doing a portrait session on the beach with trepidation. They think it’s cliché or cheesy for a number of reasons that are different for everyone. You know why the beach is such a popular shooting location? BECAUSE IT’S BEAUTIFUL. End of story. It’s beautiful in the harshest of sunlight, and it’s beautiful in what we professionals call the “magic hour”. The magic hour is basically that time of the evening when the sun is so low it’s nearly set or it has already, but the light is lingering for a little bit before it goes dark. It’s also called twilight or crepuscule. I love magic hour and I love a beach location shoot.

This bar mitzvah client of mine decided on a beach in Malibu for a pre-mitzvah portrait session. Of course the young man was the first priority, but it really is a big event for the whole family, which makes incorporating the entire immediate family into the shoot even more meaningful. It’s also nice for my shooting style to have more people involved to encourage action and discussion amongst each other… Things that help to get people out of their “oh my god there’s a camera on me” heads. Here are some of my favorite pictures from this super fun session with one way-too-photogenic family.

1 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

2 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

3 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

4 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

5 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

6 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

7 mkp la mitzvah photographer

8 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

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10 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

11 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

12 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

 

14 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

15 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

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18 mkp la photographer family portrait

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21 mkp la mitzvah photographer family portrait

Like what you see here?  Want information on my professional services and availability, or maybe to discuss a creative collaboration, click here!

Also, did you know I have a book out?  get your copy here!