California

Coffee with a cop. Building bridges.

This event was in my calendar for a week or so, however I really wasn’t sure if I’m going to attend. This morning I was asking myself, what am I going to talk about with a local police officer? Keep it in mind, I had no previous knowledge about “coffee with a cop” initiative and didn’t know what to expect.

coffee with a cop, morgan hill, ewa samples photography

Right before I left this morning, I mentioned it to Hailey from Archer Inspired. She’s s local photog who I like to hang out with, and who is the only person (except my husband) who shamelessly makes fun of my English. Even in front of the police officers.

She’s the adventurous one who I knew will probably say “I’ll be there”, and I was not mistaken. Haha

The “coffee with a cop” happened at our local coffee shop, Coffee Guys.

While more and more officers were showing on, Hailey and I debated how to approach them. Hailey came up with an idea to put more of “a real human face” into those uniforms. When times get rough people often tend to look for things that divers them from each other. Instead they should do more of an effort to find the similarities.

So we went out and asked about the “one personal thing” they would want to share with us about themselves.

And here is what we got:

Detective S. Woodland

She has three furry kiddos,

Does a lot of gardening and canning, and she said, she might share with us a recipe for her fig-pomegranate preserves. So, keep your fingers crossed… 😀

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Officer M. Zen

Loves French bulldogs. (and in my opinion has a killer smile!)

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MSO V. Benitez

He love sports, especially football. 

 

School Resource Officer J. Brandon

My and Hailey’s competitor, really. 😜

Own Photography business. He takes care of all the department portraits and forensic CSI team.

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Photo credit @Archer Inspired Photography

 

Chief D. Swing

An outstanding soccer goalie. Die hard NASCAR fan.

 

Sergeant B. Norman

He likes high school football mostly because his son plays in it right now.

However he’s hopelessly addicted to golf.

 

Captain S. Palsgrove

Was very concerned about me getting his “right profile”. I hope I did… LOL

He played soccer at San Jose State as left halfback defense.

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Officer Ch. Woodrow

Here we had a hard case of European blood

He’s from Ireland and I forgot to ask if he drinks like, well, Irish.

Somebody also mentioned that he’s a seamstress. Oh shut… a tailor… sorry… darn my English. If that’s not enough he also has a degree in theater. 

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Corporal J. Broyer

Used to race in motor cross. And officer Woodrow didn’t like the fact that while officer Broyer got to be the motor cross races, he will be remembered as the seamstress… sorry, tailor. 

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Corporal S. Silva

Children are his priority. He tries to be a normal person in society when he’s not working. 

 

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J. GoGo

Community Prosecutor with DA. Came from Guam. Born in my neighborhood, Germany, in American hospital.

 

 

Don’t forget to head over to Hailey’s blog. 

And don’t forget to see through your biases when you look at a police officer next time.

Thank you for your services, hard work, and the time to be available for the community today.

 

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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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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.

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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.

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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. 😂

 

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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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Why you shouldn’t skip Maternity Portraits Session

Doing Maternity Portraits Session might not seem like the best idea when you don’t feel like doing anything else but munch on pickles and chocolate…

However… I’ve spoke and worked with so many mamas, sad and disappointed, because of this one decision. Especially new mamas. The changes that happen in a woman’s body during her pregnancy are not always the most pleasurable. Lets admit that. Every woman is different and each of us goes through and experience pregnancy differently.

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However… These changes, later in woman’s life will be the most precious discussion starters with the little ones. I’ve experienced that first handed.

I used to have few of my pregnancy pictures showcased on our walls. My kids would talk about them all the time. The dissuasions they were having were simply priceless.

It’s also so wonderful to be able to look back at those days. To look back through beautiful photographs of your growing family. Pregnancy is a big part in this process, and you really shouldn’t skip documenting it.

Find the right photographer. There is plenty of fish in the sea these days. You can find someone whose style you truly like and with whom you’d like to work on documenting those precious fleeting moments. Don’t pick your husband. PLEASE! Don’t say, you can do your own documenting because it’s really not the same.

Treat yourself to something special, because you deserve it. Within a few months your life will turn upside down, and you think you feel tired now… Wait… Just wait till the lil one gets here. You think, you don’t look (and feel) beautiful enough while being pregnant… Wait… Just wait till you barely have the time to get in the shower ONCE A WEEK.

Because of the different experiences in how we go through our pregnancies, I would highly recommend not to wait till the very end to create your maternity portraits. I know, that often women are advised to wait till their last 2 months to do the session because of the very big belly and dramatic look it helps to create.

However, if you see your belly growing enough for being noticeable pregnant, go for it right then…  If your pregnancy is especially difficult and uncomfortable do it as soon as you can, too. Especially if you’re on the edge of not being sure about the whole thing. In my case, the last two months of my both pregnancies I wanted nothing but pickles washed down with Sprite, fuzzy warm socks on my feet and a good tv show. I looked nothing like this gorgeous mama I worked with two months ago, but I was lucky enough to have a photographer friend who took some wonderful images of my pregnant self, and I cherish those pictures to these days.

Now off I go to finish working on this gorgeous family’s newborn video, and a new post from their newborn session. And it’s all just precious!!!

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Midpines Yosemite Falls Family Camping Trip

Before I go into any further details of our Midpines Family Camping Trip (second camping trip this year), I have to admit, the further away from tourists, the better. Period. You want to know why… Take this for example…

In this one hour of sitting in the Yosemite Falls traffic I had witnessed so much of human nastiness, I was shocked.

I’m not antisocial, I just like to enjoy my space and my peace when I want it, and Yosemite Falls are the last place to get it. Well, probably if you go there in December you’ll get it. But you’ll also freeze your butt off.

I know you can get it in Yosemite. Long time ago, I had visited this place with friends and we even went skinny dipping in a freezing cold lake with not a soul around. There are places out there that you can get some privacy and enjoy the beauty of this place in peace.

Our camping trailer is one of these that needs to be set up first before we can use it, and by “set up” I mean “a lot of arguing about what to put where and why, and even more whispered cursing, everybody around you hear, anyway”. This kind of setting up where at some point you comfortably sit at a safe distance and just watch while the other half work in peace. We were the ones that arrive to a camping site at 11pm and spent an hour or so making all kinds of noises, and shushing each other. Fun stuff. 😉

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The camp site was super kid friendly. We woke up to a view of a playground, which we didn’t see the night before.

Our girls just loved it. They made all kinds of friends and cried a river when it came to packing and leaving because of the new friendships they’d made.

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mariposa california

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After we got dirty and muddy first thing in the morning, we headed to Mariposa to meet with grandparents, and from there take a short road trip to Yosemite Falls. We walked around a little the “downtown”, which seemed very cute and interesting. I wish we had more time to spend there and to visit all the old style buildings and antique stores.

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visiting mariposa california

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This place was empty and peaceful compared to Yosemite! But we had other things planned, so we couldn’t really stay any longer than we already did.

At the end we also witnessed some police work, 3 cars pulled up to a museum we were at to a call to someone locking themselves out. Looked like busy day in Mariposa. 🙂

Living for a while in Fresno, well, seeing three sheriff’s department cars pulling to the parking I was expecting something totally different.

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On the way to Yosemite Falls we even spotted the famous Mystery Spot sticker. I think, it’s pretty funny. Those are all over the Bay Area, and now I saw one in Yosemite!

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The scenery along the way was amazing. At this time of the year, the hills bloom with orange poppies, and along the road there are beautiful purple trees. If we were not following the grandparents I would definitely had requested more stops to enjoy them, as well as to try shove my kids into them somehow. 🙂

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Also, right now the water flows there like crazy. You can spot a waterfall almost on every mountain. The mountains glow in the sun with the reflecting water that flows down. Kids were also excited to see the snow. It was high on the mountains, so they didn’t get to touch it.

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The route to get to Yosemite Falls is very scenic. Well worth the drive, and the car sickness. Although I would think twice about the Yosemite Falls itself. The place is more crowded then Campbell’s Farmers Market on Saturday. We had spent more then an hour in traffic and we got nowhere close to the parking spots. It is something worth doing once in your life, but in my opinion after that there is no point of coming back

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Seeing waterfall for the first time:

Midpines Yosemite Falls Family Camping Trip

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I would recommend to take as many pictures as you can during your first visit there, and from there run as fast and as far as you can.

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Midpines Yosemite Falls Family Camping Trip

This is exactly what we did. As soon as we were able, we came back to our camping site, and spent the rest of the day hanging out there.

The next morning, we had roasted marshmallows smothered in chocolate pudding for breakfast. You’ve never tried it? Well, you don’t know what you’re missing. 😉

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I added an extra twist of roosting the marshmallows with grapes. Delicious.

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and some randomness:

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camping at yosemite

For all interested, we camped at Yosemite West / Mariposa KOA – great place for families with kids, and very close to Mariposa downtown. Both the camp and the town seems very friendly and helpful.

Husband accidentally locked us out of the camping trailer by loosing the key, and the people that run this place were really helpful. They seemed very concerned about us and helped us made all the necessary calls to get some people to our camp site to open our trailer. Luckily, after more then half of the day, we found the darn keys. We found them where they were left in the first place.

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We’re already planning our next trip. Probably somewhere close to Redding. Will see.

Have a wonderful week!!! And feel free to share your family adventures with me. I’d love to hear them.

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“Mrs.AOK,

February Family Camping, Porterville

I left for the camping trip not really in a mood for much more then to throw my own computer into a wall, and then do the same thing with my phone, and after that a few more things could follow. The technology is good, but sometimes I can’t deal with it, especially in moments when all the gadgets stop working, AT THE SAME TIME.

Anyway, we left, and we got to the camping ground in Porterville, around 3am. In the deep darkness we set up the trailer and went to sleep. Got very cold that night, but we survived, well, barely.

Got up to the sound of singing birds and people taking. It was 7am. When I opened one side of our “bed” I couldn’t believe my eyes. The view was spectacular, especially after not really knowing at 3am how the surrounding looks like.

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We all got up and went to get breakfast and do some basic shopping for food and other supplies we didn’t have and couldn’t get through without, like a heater. Yeah, that’s right. We didn’t have one.

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For the whole two days I did not hear once about adults or kids being bored. We explored, got stuck in mud and danced in fields of mustard flowers. However the most funny thing was, while being in a place that’s a “dream come true” to a photographer, I was not able to incorporate or make my kids interested in doing much in those fields.

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The mud and mountains made out of rocks was something they couldn’t stop playing with. Flowers were out of question. They were ok for one quick picture, and then it was “mission mud”. “mission get dirty”, “mission fall down”, “mission climb up”, etc. All my tricks to make them cooperate failed, and I simply let it go after a while. There was a small heart ache while doing so, but sometimes it’s just better to let it go. I can feel, there will be more mustard fields in my future, and for those moments I’ll be prepared better.

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I think, I never before had photographed a kettle so many times in one day. I took tens and tens of pictures of this darn thing. It was looking so pretty. And the light was so playful on it. It was like a magnet to my eyes, and to my camera. I won’t post all of them here, but just a few.

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We also attended a field trial, and I was able to take some great photographs for their community. I think that was pretty neat.

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Our dinner was pretty simple, yet delicious!

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Yeah, you got me, I like mustard!

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The kids’ and mine fist roasted marshmallow

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February Family Camping, Porterville

February Family Camping, Porterville

February Family Camping in Porterville

February Family Camping in Porterville

During this trip the kids, as well as myself had our first ever roasted marshmallows. And as much as I don’t want to admit, they were pretty darn delicious!

 

Did you have any interesting adventures this past weekend, or maybe planning something for the upcoming one? Feel free to share. 

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Location Scouting for Photo Sessions {Kids Photography, San Jose, CA}

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Those two are my inseparable companions whenever I go location scouting.
When a potential client proposes a location I am not sure about or have never been to before, those two are the first models I take to that place and see if it could work or not.

In this case it was only a refresher, because it appeared I have been to this place and had done some shots there in the past. (Ugh, my poor memory!)
It is definitelly a YES for my future sessions and it got definitelly approved by my two models as a place to go and play whenever we are bored by our regular playgrounds and parks!

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Julian {Newborn/Family Photography, San Jose, CA}

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I meet with Julian not once, but twice.

The second time his grandparents were in town and I could not pass the opportunity to capture 3 generations.

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Here is more picture from both sessions:

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An Au Pair Extraordinaire {Portrait Photography, San Jose, CA)

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Vibrant, natural, happy, brave, energetic with a wonderful sense of humor.

She will make you smile – that’s for sure.

She left Poland to become an Au Pair in cultural exchange program.

She just flew over San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge (for the second time), and because of that she is the happiest person in the world, or because of the handsome flight instructor 😉 .

Her blog is on the 4th place in the 2013 International Exchange Blog Contest.

In a few months her adventure with the U.S comes to an end and asked what’s next, she said, “probably Germany”, but before she leaves  there is a cross country road trip to be crossed out from her bucket list!

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