Ewa Samples

I’m Ewa (Eva), and I’m San Jose Cupertino Family, Maternity Portrait Photographer and Videographer. In the past I’ve photographed from Concord and San Francisco to Morgan Hill and many places in between. Majority of my sessions are done in San Jose, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Stanford, Sunnyvale, and Los Gatos.As much as I love working with natural light I also can create beautiful images in my portable studio. I love to create, and limiting myself to one source of light or one style of photographing families is not the way to express myself. I don't limit myself to sunset (so called golden hour) sessions. I shot at any given time.4 years ago I pursued a project called 365 Self-Potrait Project in which I took one self-portrait a day for a year. From a project which was supposed to be about me it had turned into something that was about mothers and motherhood. I called it “Portrait of a Mother” which was featured on Bon Bon Break. Since that project I try to embrace every opportunity I get to be on the picture with my family. I know how hard it is for many mothers out there to do the same, and my mission is to change it…

Best way to stay cool in the Summer. Morgan Hill Kids & Family Photographer.

Going for hikes it’s not the best way to stay cool in the Summer. Especially not in the 103 F temperatures around here. It is fun, though. And very rewarding. But nothing, even the best hike, won’t beat the water. And we recently have discovered something my kids love even better then regular swimming pool.

WATER SPLASH in Downtown Morgan Hill. How cool is that. For four hours a day they run super fun sprinklers, and kids can run around, chase them, play with them, lay on them, and whatever else they imaginative brains can think of. Of course, everything while under supervision of adults.

best way to stay cool in the summer

Yes, water is the best way to stay cool in the Summer. Especially if it’s so fun for the kids:

I’m writing this post as I’m sitting and watching my kids run wild around the water splash. The pictures and the movie in this post are from our yesterday’s adventures here. Today, the weather is cooler and it’s overcast, but that doesn’t bother any of my kids, or the other kids here.

How is your Summer break going?

 

If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories. Even Better lets explore Pinnacles National Park together!

Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!

 

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Discovering Pinnacles National Park. San Jose Family Photographer

I have to tell you that this Summer, as a family, we did a lot of “1st time”s together. Like our road trip to Colorado. 1st time swimming in the deep end of the pool with no vests on. Cooking the whole meal without adult’s help. Visiting Pinnacles National Park.  The list can go on, and on, but for right now, I’ll focus on the trip to Pinnacles.

Seriously, I had no idea this place is so close, and SO BEAUTIFUL. With each trip we’ve been discovering more and more of its beauty. And we will be back during different seasons, that’s for sure. This time of the year the park gets HOT. Our hikes are early in the morning or close to sunset.

 

family trip to Pinnacles National Park, Ewa Samples Photography

So far we’ve been there 3 times. (and getting close to 4). All visits within one week.

The first time we went up there was 9pm to watch starts and planets through telescopes set up for their Star Party.

We came back the next day for a hike. The hike took us to the Bear Gulch Cave, and the kids loved it. Pictures below shows a little of the whole story. On that day, the girls returned their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their Junior Ranger Badges. During the entire hike they mostly talked about getting the badges, and they were excited for doing many of the activities included in the workbook. They finished some of the activities on the trail, as well as later, after we sat to have a picnic.

And after all I got to drink an iced coffee served in a beer glass. Because why not.

Second time we visited Pinnacles National Park was 2 days ago. I’ll be writing about that adventure in another post. It was just me and the girls and late afternoon sun heading to a sunset. Such an amazing hike. We made it past the Bear Gulch Cave and went higher to the Reservoir and to then back. I have to admit it was a hell of a hike but we all made it just fine. Ready for a hike number 3!

Also, I have the feeling that this is not (and never has been) the “bummer summer” our soon-to-be 2nd grader imagined.

Read more about my mission to make her Summer not so bummer:

  1. Mud Run
  2. It’s fun to be bored

How is your summer break going?

If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories. Even Better lets explore Pinnacles National Park together!

Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!

 

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Mud Run Kids Obstacle Challenge. San Mateo Family Photographer

My kids were anxiously counting down days till today. When I first told them I want to sign them up for the Mud Run Kids Obstacle Challenge, one of them started to cry. When I asked her why she’s so upset about it, she answered:

I don’t want my shoes to get dirty! 

I just couldn’t believe it. My daughter doesn’t want to get dirty!?!? As girly as my girls are, they are also pretty okey with getting quite dirty.

I signed them up anyway. 😜

From that first day, full of crying and saying “I don’t want to do it!”, I was able to make them pretty excited about it. And the last week was nothing but the same question over and over and over again:

So, how many days till the Mud Run?!?

While feeling like I’m going to cough my lungs out for the last couple of days, I was pretty happy to hear my girls excitement. Because I wasn’t having it.

But rain or heat or sickness; I think if we didn’t go there today, that would be one of the biggest disappointments of the whole #ewelinassummerbreak2017 

mud run kids obstacle challenge _ ewa samples photography san jose family photographer-10

And of course the girl who was so upset about getting all dirty… Didn’t get dirty. She found her away around it, and simply didn’t crawl in the mud, and took her jump pretty easy as well. The older one went for the whole experience.

Me on the other hand, as soon as we got to the muddy parts, I took the camera from my husband’s hands and found myself an excuse for not getting dirty nor wet. Ha!

As my daughter described it:

In my imagination I saw it as a very small event, with just a few kids running a small course. 

And she was really surprised to see the crowds, and even more excited to be a part of it.

This is definitely something we are going to do again!
Both kids agreed, myself included (hopefully feeling a little better next year, though).

 

 

If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories.

Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!

 

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Googleplex – Mountain View, California – Family Photographer

Being a photographer in Silicon Valley allows me to work in such great locations as Googleplex – Mountain View. Having so many clients who work in Google allows me to get where public can’t (most of the time). HA!

Recently, one of my clients, who’s been with me for many, many years announced her family is moving to Colorado. She had some credit left on her Annual Membership so we came up with two amazing sessions for her family. One was her 10th wedding anniversary (which will be blogged shortly), and the last one was family session at Googleplex in Mountain View.

When I arrived to the address they gave me, I saw them all standing in Google colors t-shirts and I immediately knew this is going to be epic. Well, it always was with Jen’s family, so I wasn’t surprised.

Googleplex - Mountain View, Family Photographer, Ewa Samples Photography

I love the goofiness of this family. During each session we had together they had the custom to make silly faces, and our last session wasn’t any different. (well, hopefully it’s not our last last session.lol)

Because no session is perfect without a silly faces picture.

Googleplex - Mountain View, Family Photographer, Ewa Samples Photography

It’s sad to see a family I’ve worked with for years go. From newborn and cake smash session to many fun family sessions and hosted together events I documented this family grow stronger and more beautiful with each year.

I hope to be able to get together sometime and create wonderful memories for this family in the beautiful scenery of Colorado. We just got back from a road trip to Grand Junction (where I shoot a wedding), and all I can say is, I WANT TO GO BACK THERE!

And if you’d like to get an amazing customer service and amazing nails for your next photo session shoot a message to Jen and she’ll definitely take care of you!!!

If you’d like me to photograph your fun family adventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories.

Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!

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It’s fun to be bored. Family Photographer in Morgan Hill

It’s fun to be bored, said no kid ever. However, I think after this summer break my 7 year old daughter is going to change her point of view on the matter of “being bored”. I’m on the mission to change it.

fun to be bored

 

I remember days of my summer breaks. They were everything but boring. I did not watch TV much (no cable, no much of cartoon choices back then, no electronic gadgets to play with/on). I read quite a bit, I’ve always been a book worm. What’s most important, I’d never had “special” activities planned for me or my siblings by my parents.

Still, I have amazing memories of discovering the world on my own. With a friend or two. With my cousins or without them. Getting up early to watch my aunt milk the cows. Going to the forest to pick fresh blueberries and then sell them on local farmers market. Make blueberry stuffed pierogi with what was left. Exploring the world after dark with my friend. That was the most powerful “quality time” my parents could had given me.

Being honest, I don’t really like comparing my summer breaks to my kids’ summer break. Or my times to “their times”. Times have changed, (they change with each new generation), and what was 20 years ago is no longer anything but memories. But as much as I’m aware of that, I’m also not ready to let go of the thought that it’s FUN TO BE BORED.

It’s also good for you. Especially for the kids. I have recently read several great blog posts about the importance of being bored. Here is one and here another. There are more. Many more. Just google “the importance of being bored” and you’ll find yourself a great number of articles to read.

My 7 year old daughter was pretty upset about the school year coming to an end. She anticipated end of the year means staying home and being bored THE ENTIRE TIME. She wasn’t thrilled that she will not be seeing her friends anymore. Like staying home with mom is one of the most boring things on Earth.

Then again, since the summer started I really haven’t heard much of complaints about being bored. I’m loving every single trip we have, and I can’t be more happier to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my kids. They might think I’m boring and not fun to be around, but being honest with you, I don’t think that’s the problem, AND I’m having a blast, myself. So, who cares! Right!?

On the other hand, she is having so much fun, she can’t keep up with documenting all those fun days in her journal.

fun to be bored_ewa samples photography_san jose family photographer

 

Two days ago I witnessed my younger daughter teaching herself how to swim.

I heard her yelling across the swimming pool: I’M SWIMMING!!! I’M SWIMMING!!! I looked up, and there she is, kicking and punching the water like her life depends on it… (because it did). Then, she moved, and moved a little more, and then even more, and just like that she was swimming.

Today, I have to keep an eye on her because she purposefully forgets to put her floats on. She just thinks she’s the pro now. 😂

 

fun to be bored_ewa samples photography_morgan hill family photographer

 

The other day, my older daughter had an amazing time climbing a tree. Simple thing. And yet. She’s been on that tree many time, but not as far as she climbed on that day. I was so proud of her, and the whole experience was just precious.

I made this sweet movie of her adventure. When I turned my camera on to make the video, I had no idea the whole thing is going to be so funny.

The whole adventure was the fruit of a simple picnic we decided to have in the local park. Few friends. Some food and drinks and we were all set.

The mission to change my daughter’s opinion about being bored is almost completed. Just yesterday she mentioned something about the summer being super fun and her not being very upset about being bored anymore. We are not quite yet there, but I’ve got another month or so to work on it. Right?!

How is your summer break going?

If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories.

Even better, sign up for the memberships to Ewa Samples Photography so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!

 

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Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe. For busy moms (and dads)

Today, a little not portrait related post. I’d say, it’s going to be more delicious then normal. I’m going to share with you my favorire homemade garlic bread recipe!

So,
How have you been? I hope not as busy as me. However busy is good, in some ways.
Busy in business is good, right?
Busy vacationing is also good, I think.

How about busy in the kitchen, while being busy with kids, while being also busy with some four leg companions, and then being busy having to keep it all together (because there is nobody out there to help you).

I have this suspicion you know what I’m talking about.

Even while that busy, and not wanting to have anything to do with the kitchen part of your house, you can still make this delish thing:

Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe _ ewa samples photography
Those are the days, or weeks when you look like this, every time you try to go for a walk. (this is a photo from my self-portrait project taken 4 years ago).

😂⬇️😂⬇️😂⬇️😂⬇️😂⬇️

ewa samples photography, self portrait project

I was the brave one, always trying to do as much as I could at once!!! Not always succeeding, like with the walks. They would always end before they even started.

ewa samples photography, self-portrait project

Luckily, my kids don’t need any leashes these days. But my dogs still do. All 3 of them.

So, this past week, my husband was gone. The whole week. He’s been gone quite a bit this year.

So, while running a business, and trying to still cook homemade dinners (well, some kind of meal whenever I find the time for it), while experimenting with different approaches to eating is challenging.

For example, I tried the zero sugar diet. And the time-restricted eating. Thanks to a good frined, I also brew my own Kombucha!

I think, this whole “sugar thing” is some kind of joke. I’ll share my experience with you in the future, however, I’d like to hear your thoughts on that if you have something to say!

The time restricting eating is so funny. At least in my case, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, too.

Anywho…, going back to my husband being gone, I’ve mastered some simple recipes that all of us like. I have to admit, we often have banana pancakes for dinner, or store bought cinnamon rolls. The majority of the time we have homemade and super quick to make, so-called by my kids, “milk soup”. It’s an oatmeal, really. With a lot of cinnamon and turbinado-coconut sugar mix.

This past week, my kids were gone playing almost the whole day. Coming back for a snack or two. Bringing with them a bunch of friends. And when you have to feed a bunch, you go for the easy fix. In my case, store bought cinnamon rolls. I go with these guys, becayse they do not have any corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in them. Just good old sugar! (well, not really, but still better then most of what you can find in the stores).

 

Organic Cinnamon Rolls with Icing

 

 

But today, I’d like to give you homemade garlic bread recipe!

And why do you call garlic bread a “garlic bread”?
– because it’s a bread and it has garlic in it.

A joke created by my kids. I couldn’t have made it, I’m just not that funny. 😂😂😂

The dog picture is not there by accident. The pup was seriously too cute not to throw it in the post!

Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
  1. Loaf of french bread (we love the freshly baked bread from Safeway). You can use sourdough instead. When husband is not home I use sourdough for this recipe, because it’s my favorite!
  2. Stick of butter. Not salted. ROOM TEMPERATURE, so it’s soft and easy to spread.
  3. Garlic powder.
  4. Minced onions.
  5. Salt.
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the loaf of bread leaving the bottom of the bread intact, so the slices are still attached to each other.
  3. Spread the butter inside the slices.
  4. Sprinkle inside of the slices with garlic powder, onion, and salt. ( I like a lot of garlic powder and a lot of the minced onions.
  5. Wrap in the foil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. EAT!

I eat it simple. Bread, mozzarela, pickles, wine. The wine is optional in my case, as with age my tolerance to alcohol is getting lower and lower. With this speed, I’m assuming by age of 40 I’ll be totally allergic to even the smell of it.

The kids eat it plain!

This recipe gets pretty messy with the butter. However it’s really quick. And seriously delicious!

One more thing, this bread is WAY MORE delicious than the store bought garlic bread (pre-made and ready to heat-up). I’ve tried it and the store version doesn’t get even close to the homemade one. It’s a little more work then just throw it in the over, but the love you’ll get from your kids for it will speak for itself.

What’s your favorite recipe for a quick and easy dinner?

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Portrait of a Stranger. Week 13

For the week 13th of my “Portrait of a stranger” challenge, I took pictures of not one person, but several of them. It’s a funny story how that happened. And again, as with the Santa Clara County Park Ranger, they were spotted by my husband and I was thrown in a group of leather covered bikers. 🏍👊🏻

portrait of a stranger
On that weekend I was doing sessions with this beautiful flower decorated swing.

As we were packing to go home, I heard the rumble of a huge group of motorcycles approaching. Few minutes later the picnic area filled up with leather jackets and lively conversation.

While I kept saying, “No. No. No.” my husband already was telling them about my project. So there… I had no other choice, well, beside running away. 😅

When the ladies from the group saw the swing hanging from the tree they were amazed by it. Each of them, one by one, jumped on it.

As you could see we even got one husband in the frame.

As we were leaving we talked briefly about this project, and I explained why I do it. When I mentioned I do it to become more comfortable with talking to people, one of them said: “talking is the easy part”. I think, what she said will stay with me for a long time. Because talking to people is not easy. Not for me.

And before you leave:

The flower swing will be there, with a green, lush grass for your kids to roll on, and trees to climb on.

If you have an interesting story to tell with your life, let me know. Maybe we can create wonderful memories with the story shining through, for you and your family.

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Our new family members, and how they got here. Stranger Challenge, week 12

I’m two weeks behind with posting about my 52 Stranger Challenge. So, I’m getting back to work and catching up. My super awesome stranger from week 12th was Beate. She has delivered to us our two new family members: Jitterbug and Muffy.

My husband met them both two weeks prior to their arrival back in Virginia. And yes, Beate from B’s Pet Delivery drove our four leg buddies from Virginia. Not to mention other places she was heading too, or going from.

new family members

She was on schedule an eager to hit the road as her fella pets on the back were not as patient as she was. However, she stayed long enough to have a friendly chat with us about her business. Of course, I had to ask her if she was ever hurt by any of the animal she transports, and of course, her answer was yes.

She was totally surprised when I asked her to model for me, and despite the fact that she was tired after days and days of driving across the country, she did awesome.

She told us, she works 3 weeks (3 weeks on the road driving), and then she takes 3 weeks off. She has visited almost all the states in America. She doesn’t have much time to “visit” the places she stops at, but it didn’t seem to bother her. She just loves what she does the way she does it 😀 What I totally get!

So, thank you so much Beate for safely delivering our new family members. They have already adjusted to us quite a bit, and we already see their cute personalities shining through.

Meet Jitterbug and Muffy:

If you have an interesting story to tell with your life, let me know. Maybe we can create wonderful memories with the story shining through, for you and your family.

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What is the best season for family pictures

Today I’d like to talk about something very important when it comes to planning your session. I feel like often people think the best season for family pictures is Fall. In this post I’ll show you how particular locations change with seasons.

How to plan your photo session based on the knowledge about the seasonal changes in nature (photo locations) in our area. 

In California, the Spring starts early. When most of the country experiences their first blooms, our blooming trees are already in the next phase. Most of the country has longer lasting green grass. We start to loose it around May. Our grass turns brown pretty early. When it comes to Fall, it also doesn’t last long.  The rain starts, and it’s hard to plan anything if you’re not willing to have fun in the rain, or your kids are too small for getting a little wet.

So, what is the best season for family pictures?

(This post is my personal opinion) 

best season for family pictures_ewa samples photography_san jose

The same location. The same spot. A tad different angle.

1. Locations look the best in Spring. (in my humble opinion)

In my opinion it’s Spring, which means right now. We are actually getting close to the blooming season. So, if you’d like session in beautiful orchards you better contact your favorite photographer and ask him/her to squeeze you for a session within the next 3 weeks.

Often, people don’t want to do their sessions in Spring because they think it’s too early in the year, and they want to wait. However, later in the year, it’s hard to find lush green hills and fields. The only green places are public parks, surrounded by suburban homes, and play structures, and crowded with people. With all that it’s hard to get beautiful images with nothing distracting in the background, without a heavy photoshop work (which in my case, and the case of other photographers costs extra).

As a professional I do know locations that have blooms all year long, or green grass for that matter. There isn’t many of those and they are most likely filled with other families and their photographers, which is not always the most relaxing and pleasant experience. 

2. The weather is gorgeous in Spring.

In Spring the sunset is around 7 pm (before the daylight savings time it’s 6 pm and earlier), so if you have small kids who have an early “nigh nigh” schedule, the current season is the way to go.

It’s getting warm enough for lighter clothes. Still, not overwhelming hot for kids and parents, or grandparents.

3. Your favorite photographer is not crazy busy in Spring.

You might not know, but most photographers (as well as other business owners), call the time after Christmas a dry season.

 People go on vacation.

People are recovering from all the Christmas expenses.

People think it’s too cold or there isn’t any good place to take photos in February (WRONG!)

Whatever the reason, choosing a session in February, March or April means you will have more dates to choose from (that’s my guess, of course, based on my own business).

The later in the year, the more busy photography business becomes. Fall is the worst! Often you will have to work around the photographer’s busy schedule not the other way around.

4. The late morning or mid-day sessions have prettier results (Spring vs Summer).

Knowing how hard it is to work around the schedule of my clients’ Little Ones, I am always available to do sessions in mid-day. Many photographers don’t do that because they do not work with mid-day light. (won’t go into the reasons, as each photographer has different).

Of course, the results of a late morning or mid-day sessions are different from sunset sessions (so called golden hour sessions). But because the sun is not so overwhelming and often the sky is covered with clouds in Spring, the mid-day sessions seems to be very pretty. (in my opinion!)

5. Occasional rain means you have to be ready to be spontaneous with the date of your session. 

If you’re one of those people who have to have everything planned 2 months ahead, session in Spring might not be the best way to go. Since we’re still getting some rain now and then, scheduled dates are never certain. As much as doing sessions in the rain is adventurous and fun, I know that not everybody enjoys it as much as I do.

Here is a visual calendar for whole year of locations

January – Rain, and cold (mostly in home sessions)

That doesn’t mean they have to be gloomy and boring 😉

 

San Jose Kids Portrait Photographer inspired by Gregory Heisler-7

san jose kids photographer colorful and fun studio

Bay are Portrait Photographer-1

Spring

February 

best season for family pictures

 

 

March:

uvas reservoir-ewa-samples-photography

san jose family photographer, ewa samples photography-1

If you lucky and ready to get up and run for the session as soon as you get my text, you will be able to have session in the blooming orchards with second bloom of mustard flowers – that doesn’t happen often and when it does it lasts for a very short time

san jose family photographer, ewa samples photography-12

April

Mommy and me _ family photographer san jose

san_jose_mother_daughter_photography_ewa_samples-1

Same location as the mustard flowers with my Little One dancing in the picture

 

san jose mother's day session_ewa samples photography

Early April (same location as the examples from Fall)

 

and the same tree several moths later:

Let’s go back to March/April

Late April, the same location as the yellow mustard flowers!!!

May

mommy and me sessions in san jose-1

B-day photo shoot san jose ewa samples photography

 

Summer

June / July / August

kids photographer gilroy

This is the same location as the Mother’s Day photo shoot with the heart on the tree (Mom and two daughters) – exactly the same hill just a different angle

Fall

September / October

golden hour maternity session san jose ewa samples photography-21

This is the same location as the Mother’s Day photo shoot with the heart on the tree (Mom and two daughters) – exactly the same hill just different angle

 

Exactly the same location as the maternity shoot above, just two weeks later

 

Same location as the photo above

Kids Photographer San Jose

Occasional Rain

 

Winter

November / December

stanford family portrait photographer, ewa samples photography

fun kids pictures in the rain san jose california

 

Now, most of the locations I’ve shown you in this post are secluded from public and crowds. I do like, and always highly recommend picking locations that don’t have anything that would distract kids (like the playground). If your goal is to have SUPER LIFESTYLE session with playtime documented, then the playground is definitely okey.

As one of my clients pointed out to me when I told her about the idea of this post, I was able to find a lush, green location for her in July. However, this was a public park, and during our session, we had people with their kids approaching us to play with our bubbles until we had to tell them to stop doing it.

best season for family session

 

So, this is why I try to avoid public parks as often as I can. With suburban homes and bathrooms and playground structures, it’s pretty hard to create a beautiful image without distracting things in the background.

This is why I spend countless hours on locations scouting. This is why I carefully pick my locations I recommend to my clients.

In my opinion best season for family pictures is Spring. As you might have noticed scrolling through the Spring locations provided in this post, the possibilities are amazing, colorful, and so vibrant. However, I know that each season has it’s own unique beauty.

The important thing is to be aware of what you want and what you like. It is also very important to communicate to your photographer the vision you have for your session. During all the years of my work I’ve found out that people who clearly state what they want, what is their vision for the session are more likely to be very happy with what I create for them.

If you like me, and see beauty in each season. I have the right solution for you:

Sign up for my membership and get access to up to 4 mini-sessions (or 2 full sessions) within 12 months from signing up:

 

 

FOR LUSH AND GREEN SESSION sign up for

The location is just gorgeous right now. Check it out here!!

If you still don’t believe me, go to my FB and check out the last several sneak-peeks from my very recent sessions. It just couldn’t be any greener. The sessions right now, are simply stunning! FUN for the kids, because they can run barefoot! Roll in the grass. With the light being so gorgeous in Spring, it really doesn’t what time of the day you have your session done.

 

If you’d like to receive special offers, interesting blog posts, youtube tutorials straight to your email, feel free to sign to my newsletter. And let’s chat about your dream session:

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Santa Clara County Park Ranger. Stranger Challenger week 11

It couldn’t be any cooler than to be able to photograph a Santa Clara County Park Ranger as my stranger.

Santa Clara County Park Ranger - Doug - Ewa Samples Photography

Last weekend I’d been location scouting like crazy. Posts from those beautiful places are coming. So, after going to one place I wanted to scout for a long time, and realizing it’s not that interesting or “photo shoot friendly”, we headed to our usual location. Uvas Reservoir.

My kids love this place, and it’s becoming one of my favorite spots in Morgan Hill. This time my husband was with us, and every chance he got he reminded me about my Stranger Challenge, as this place was pretty busy with people.

Do you want to want to hear a funny story? Well, I’ll tell you about it anyway.

So, at one time, I have decided to get back to our car and get my camera out to take some pictures of the kids. Walking back to the spot where my family was I spotted this couple on motorcycles. They were trying to take a selfie with the lake on the background. I approached them as offered them help. I said, “hey I can help you with that”. They handed me their phone, and I snapped several photos for them. As I was walking away from them I heard my husband’s yelling from the other side of the lake: “Stranger!!! That’s your stranger!!!”

So theoretically, I could had turned back and ask them to text me those photos… LOL

But I didn’t. It’s like I  need a special mental preparation before I ask people to be part of my 52 project. And I just didn’t have it with that couple. I don’t know. It’s weird how it works.

While taking pictures of my kiddos (I’m attaching one to show you how pretty it is there)…

uvas reservoir-ewa-samples-photography

… I heard my husband again…

“Hey, you should take a picture of him”. Who? I asked. He said: Him! and pointed to the parking lot.

And there, I saw the Santa Clara County Park Ranger, Doug. 

I started to walk towards the parking as slow as I could, so maybe, just maybe, I didn’t get there on time (before he left). LOL

I’m telling you, it’s not as easy as it sounds to approach someone and ask them if you can take their picture and then blog about it.

However, I got there before he left, and I popped the question. And of course he said yes. And posed for me like a pro!!!

santa clara county park ranger, Doug_Ewa Samples Photography

Thank you so much for helping me to get closer to my goal, Mr. Doug! And thank you so much for your work!

Ewa

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Female Buddhist Nun, Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi. Stranger Challenger week 10

I was the first person to enter the library room filled with chairs. I was excited for this speech of a

Female Buddhist Nun, Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi.

While waiting, I was able to finish and to send out my newsletter. And then I had the time to wait even more. The room was filling out. Mostly older people, women in general. I’ve noticed only a few older gentleman among the room filled with women.
I was getting more and more curious. Who is she? How does she look? How does she speak? I’ve never met a Buddhist monk, not to mention a female Buddhist nun.

When she entered the room, I couldn’t stop looking at her. Over 6 foot tall, shaved bold, in robes. A little hunched, like she wanted to make herself a little smaller, less standing out of the crowd.

Female Buddhist Nun, Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi-1

She had a very gentle voice, but with this permanent smile, it seemed like. She had a wonderful sense of humor. She made the whole room laugh quite a lot while talking about her journey to become a buddhist nun.

And I’ll tell you that, she has a quite the story.

A daughter of scientists who were as far from religion as you can think. Hard core hippy teenager who started her journey with meditation at age 15 (after having to go through 2 weeks of abstinence from smoking pot).  LOL

After getting a master degree in biochemistry and working in the field for quite sometime, she bought one way ticked to India. On her way to the mountains, to see Dalai Lama, he passed her in his car, leaving for 4 month tour of Europe.

Female Buddhist Nun, Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi-2

She also spoke about Simple Life. How not having to care of the “looks” and “stuff” made her become free. Feel free. And it just reminded me about something Elizabeth Gilbert once said: “Enlightenment almost always tastes like freedom”, which I think it’s a paraphrase of what once Buddha said.

She also spoke about this one mistake most people do. They often think about the meaning of life, and they want to seek the answer to this question. When the real question is:

How can people make their own lives meaningful“.

Female Buddhist Nun, Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi. Ewa Samples Photography

 

How can you make your life meaningful. How can I?

And I’ll leave you with that!

Ewa

Best coffee place Morgan Hill. Stranger Challenge week 9

Yesterday I googled “best coffee place Morgan Hill”. A friend’s visit forced me to think of more fun places to hang out than the good old Starbuck. So, in my google search, I found a place I walked by so many times planning to check it out someday.

When a desire for a fancier tea or quick coffee comes upon me, I almost always rely on the good old Starbucks or Peet’s. Despite being aware of the existence of different places where I could get a delicious drink from, like the one I visited today, I often pick Starbucks anyway. Because it’s safe. Because it’s reliable.

But today was different.

Best coffee place Morgan Hill tealite drink ewa samples photography

Today I visited TeaLite Drink. Place mostly serving boba tea.

I’ve walked by this place on many occasions since we moved to Moran Hill and always thought about stopping by there. So, yesterday after the google search and after some reading yelp reviews for this place, I’ve decided it’s time. Plus, a place that has “cards against humanity” on its shelves is a place worth visiting for sure!
While sitting inside and enjoying the Giant Peach tea, I told my friend I want the lady behind the counter to be my Stranger number 9. She started to laugh and said: “Mustering the courage to ask her. huh?” Well, yes. It’s something that it’s not really getting any easier to do, so far.

As we were getting ready to leave, I finally mustered the courage. And as usual, the experience was great. The welcoming smile, and super happy to help me with this project person on the other side of the camera. It always makes me wonder: what am I so scared of…

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