Okay, well, it’s not a true boardwalk per se, but the song fits. 🙂 A week ago Sunday in Orange County, we got our first cold and blustery-at-the-beach day of the season, right after our (hopefully) last heat wave of the late summer/early fall. But, the sunset and smell of salt air imparted the feelings of true peace and happiness in me that being at the beach at sunset ALWAYS imprints on my pysche.
I was so happy to get an email from Paula several weeks ago, asking to schedule holiday portraits with her family. I worked with Paula in 2008 for several months while I was freelancing as a graphic artist on-site for a direct-mail firm, and ended up taking their holiday photos last year. It was such a charmed day that we not only got a ton of wonderful portraits, but a ton of amazing candids of her 2 daughters. Her older daughter had just turned 6 last year, and was adorable with an upper front tooth missing, which adds a modicum of impishness and innocence to all the pictures in such a natural, fun-loving way. Paula’s younger daughter was approximately 6 months old and so sweet and mellow.
So I couldn’t wait to see her girls again this year! Lila is now approximately 18 months old, walking, quick to smile and full of curiosity. Maxine just turned 7 the day before our shoot, and her hair had grown out soooo long; I had a glimpse of the elegant girl she was growing into, but while I sensed more maturity, she still had the carefree, slightly awkward movements of a growing girl who is still a free spirit, unhampered by worries that can plague us as maturity threatens to squash our creativity and ability to imagine what we can do in this great big wonderful world we’ve been given to grow in.
Paula suggested we take pictures at the San Clemente Pier in South Orange County, and the second she mentioned it, I knew it would be perfect — I love this place! (I actually went on a date there last year and couldn’t believe I’d never been there before then… the sunsets from the pier are so calming there. Plus the vibe of San Clemente is not the same as every beach town… this city retains a small-town feel, low-key and pure. It doesn’t strike me as “OC” as other beaches I’ve visited… it’s like they remain unaffected by outside influences. But — what a shock — I digress). 😉
Paula and her husband John walked up with the girls on the afternoon of our shoot, and as soon as Lila was let loose (and even before, while she was still in her stroller), I started snapping pictures of her:
I love how the light catches Lila’s eyes here… they absolutely glow in the sun!
Then, it was time to do our first costume change… and Maxine and Lila became the cutest gosh-darn cowgirls west of the Mississipi! These are their Halloween outfits too… how adorable are they?!
I love this image, and although you can sense Lila’s frustration (“Let me get up and be FREE! I need to go explore!”), I adore the serene, peaceful quality of Maxine as she envelopes Lila in a gentle hug…
It really was getting cold, so I got a picture of John cuddling with Lila as he wrapped her up in warm fuzzy blankety goodness…
One more wardrobe change; Maxine is channeling her retro-50’s look with a white t-shirt and hot-pink poodle skirt, she’s so adorable!…
And last but not least, this picture holds special significance. Lila was born very premature, and at her time of birth, her torso was the same length as the little bear she’s holding in her hand. They took pictures of her in the hospital next to the bear, as a frame of reference to just how small she was. But as you can see, she’s WAY outgrown the bear! She’s a vibrant, happy and healthy little girl. I love seeing how great she’s doing; it’s a scary way to start life as a preemie, but I especially love hearing the stories of children with strong spirits and a will to live that is strong and powerful, and they supercede all expectations. What can I say? I’m a sucker for happy endings!
Tomorrow I’m going to try to post some additional pictures I took after Paula and her family left. As the San Clemente Pier is right by the train tracks, I had fun hanging around on my own and snapping pictures of the RR crossing, as well as surfers silhouetted in the water, bathed in a golden purple-ly twilight. I didn’t want to leave, so I found excuses to stay as long as I possibly could!!