|| Seattle to Santa Cruz ||

When I was in my main land of the PNW I didn’t get to see the many people I love and adore. I shot a wedding, and had island get away time. It was private, relaxed, and stress free. In fact, the only time I was in the city was the day I was to drop off my friend Chuck off at the airport. We paled around Capitol Hill on May Day.


I was now headed towards Sacramento to a small town called Pine Grove, population just over 2,000. If you know where Pine Grove is, I am amazed.  Windy roads, big trucks, horses, chickens and wild turkeys are common around these parts.

A friend Lucas needed to get back down to Santa Barbara, which was perfect timing because I’ve been looking for an excuse to get back to the beautiful SB! Lucas took me around to explore Jackson, the ‘big’ town in Amador County, double the population of Pine Grove. 


Sacramento

I know that Sac-town doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to touristy things to do. In fact the capitol of California was once rated one of the worse cities in America. However, I find that to be untrue. I like Sacramento. I never have trouble finding something to do there. This time around I ate the best lamb burger you could ask for at Burgers and Brew, walked around Old Town and stumbled upon a spaceship at a park.


Mt. Diablo

I like to think I am a seasoned camper and have a good amount of knowledge when it comes to recommending some great campgrounds. Mount Diablo is definitely one of those places! On the drive up the mountain there are many signs that direct you to look out for bikers on the small windy road, and to leave your alcohol behind, because it is banned. At almost 4,000 ft, the scenery is unreal.


Santa Cruz

Beach towns. I love em. They offer a sense of lightness and clarity. When I can hear the ocean, I can reflect on my own thoughts without struggle. This time in SC was a short one. The few hours spent here were walking from the beach to eating at "Pizza My Heart"


|| Whidbey Island Getaway || Washington State ||

After shooting the wedding in Bellingham Washington, there was no rush to leave to state just yet. Chuck had one week, and so did I, so we decided to go an island adventure getaway. Whidbey Island is a ferry ride over the sound, located about an hour north of Seattle.

This included camping at Deception Pass, exploring Fort Casey, wandering around the rhododendron park and staying in the back yard of at Airbnb spot.

DECEPTION PASS

I came here as a kid a few times with the family. I remember walking up the beach trail, and then onto the bridge itself. I was a wee little human being, on this gigantic bridge. I was trying to figure what it meant to be a human was, and how come we were so small? I thought the solution was to throw my plastic bottle over the railing, you know why? Neither did I. My step dad saw this and wasn’t so happy with my choices. He was pissed, and I felt foolish.

The next time I came back to the pass was the summer after I graduated high school. This was on a surprise camping trip with a handful of friends, and a good amount of people whom I conveniently forgot the names of by now… but most of the crew didn’t want to make it to the end of the beach trail once we were half way there. A half mine to the bridge, and there was in coming rain (go figure Washington). We ran like wolves trying to get back to our campsite. We never did make it back.

But here I am, once again faced with the beach trail that leads to Deception Pass Bridge. 1 mile in, and I was going to try my damnedest to get to the very end this time. Along the beach Chuck and I were making music and taking photos, when a guy comes around the bend of a huge rock and starts taking photos of his own, of us, on the down low. Sly guy he was. We made conversation with a local photographer, a guy who scouts spots in the area for commercials.

When we made it to the end, I went out as far as I could just to say I did. Chuck just had to top it by going even higher up and further out. No broken bones, and our cameras in tack, no rain, shoes full of sand, and colorful rocks that I picked up accompanied me. I had made it back to the bridge!

FORT CASEY

Prepare to take a walk back in time, because this place is something you probably haven’t seen much before. Considering this fort stated being built in 1897, it has seem some action. On the sight there is a large lush green field, where people now fly kites and have picnics. The sight itself has close up cannons and many tunnels and concrete rooms to explore. We also decided to do an impromptu music video in mysterious looking room.

WIKI “Most of Fort Casey's guns and mortars were removed during World War I, when they were mounted on railcars to serve as mobile heavy artillery. Some of these weapons were returned to the fort after the war, and were scrapped during World War II as 16-inch guns and other weapons at other forts superseded them.

RHODODENDRON PARK

The rhodies were in bloom, and there were bee's everywhere. Not much more to see that that. Oh yeah.. and Chuck jumped in a bed of fallen flowers just for a photo. That was the real main attraction for the day!

AIRBNB ISLAND GETAWAY

The Airbnb spot included an RV onsite, loads of hot tub time, a fire pit with endless amount of wood, hammock swaying between the back yard trees, and the most delicious cheese and wine from our generous host Roger… it was pure delight and a private affair. 


|| A Blissful Baker Wedding ||

With the majority of people I meet I am never sure if I am going to see them again. Most of the time this is why I like to take photos of my encounters, for keepsakes. I never know where these photos will lead, but unknown to me, this one lead to a magical moment for them.

It was back in 2014 that I met Jeanette and Tasha, after taking a photo of them at the Pike Place Market.

A year later, while I was living my winter across the states in Texas, my inbox had an unread message from some folks back in Washington. The message I received was one that put a permanent smile on my face.

 

“Brie,

Last January you snapped a picture of Jeanette and I in Seattle in front of Emery while he sang happy birthday to my love. Later that day she proposed to me on the pier. The picture you took of us is our favorite and we both follow you on Facebook and love your photography and the way capture perfect moments and we would love it if you were the one to capture the moments on our magical day.”

 

And of course I would. These two brought in magical moments, so why would I want to miss that? So last weekend was a game changer in the photography world for me. I was invited and hired to shoot a wedding, which officially made it my first! I am honored to have been a part of Jeannette and Tasha's unforgettable wedding in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of Bellingham Washington.

After many smiles, laughter and tears, the wedding came to an end, but the moments of matrimony began. I thought it would be a good idea to pick the brains of these two newlyweds, on pre wedding jitters and post wedding spirits!

Simple enough - How did you two meet?

Tasha: After being home in November for my great grandma’s birthday, I decided that I needed to move back home to the west coast. I wanted to transfer to Western Washington University (in Bellingham) to finish my degree, so I created an OkCupid account to find potential roommates/friends/networks in Bellingham. On November 3rd, 2013 I got a message from a really cute brunette telling me I’m really beautiful and wishing me a good weekend. Because I was only looking for friends and nothing romantic (as per my profile stated) I didn’t respond to the cute brunette for a few days. But then I couldn’t stop thinking about her and I would check out her pics and want to write back but wasn't sure if it was a good idea. Turns out it was the best idea I’ve ever had. As soon as I wrote back to Jeanette, we never stopped talking.

Jeanette: I joined OkCupid in September of 2013 because I had moved back to North Dakota where there are next to no lesbians. I used it for a month and wasn’t getting any responses from women I had tried to contact. I deactivated my account and forgot about it until about a month later when I decided to give it another shot and took off all location restrictions so I was able to see basically anyone who had an account. The second I saw Tasha’s profile I had to write to her. I said, “Hey I just wanted to let you know I think you are beautiful and I hope you’re having a good weekend.” One thing I forgot to mention about OkCupid is that it tells you if anyone has visited your profile (I’m talking about any time any person clicks on your profile, so it could be the same person looking at it throughout the day). After I wrote the message to Tasha she visited my profile A LOT. I kept thinking to myself why is she looking at my profile but not talking to me? Is she shy? Am I being laughed at? A whopping 3 days later I hear back from her, and we’ve been together ever since.

Give me a word that describes pre wedding, and post wedding!

Tasha: Pre-wedding word: Chaos Post-wedding word: Bliss

Jeannette: Pre-wedding word: Chaotic Post-wedding word: Bliss (I SWEAR WE WROTE THESE SEPARATELY!!!) 

In terms marriage, what does it mean to the both of you. How are you looking to fulfill this new role as a lifetime partner?

Tasha: To me, marriage is the creation of a new life that is bigger than just myself. I’ve become a wife and partner to the person I love most. I look forward to learning and exploring all parts of Jeanette so that I know when, how and where I am needed to support her. It means solving problems together, creating a happy peaceful life with her and a family of our own.

Jeanette: Marriage to me means we are now together as one. For me, everything from this moment on is how it works for the both of us. I hope to fulfill my new role as Tasha’s wife and life partner by loving her, caring for her and providing for our family we have now and the family we plan to create. I hope we always keep adventure in our lives, and share it with our children.

A shout out and BIG thank you to my second shooter, Chuck Manley, the greatest photographer I know. Half of these shots weren't possible without the help and assistance and creative brain power from this magical being!

A closing word from the brides! - We just want to thank you (and Chuck!) once again, for all of your hard work and talent. We will cherish these pictures forever and will never forget you for it. Please, let us know if you’re ever in the area again it would be so wonderful to see you!

Love, Tasha and Jeanette Baker ;)


Love'in the Bay Area

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love the Bay area. I love being engulfed by the many neighborhoods in San Francisco, eating the best mac and cheese in Oakland, and even doing couch sailing in Sausalito. There is always something going on when I am there, and I am blessed to know so many good friends that surround the city. It’s never really hard to sell me into going on a trip to San Francisco. I always seem to come back a few times a year.

The main reason to come to the city this time was because I had won tickets to a show. This was to see the best in the world, Wild Child of course. If you have taken any sort of a road trip with me, you know I am a fan girl when it comes to Wild Child. Almost embarrassingly so. The box office at the Independent informed me I wasn’t allowed to take my camera in, so I was stuck with one job for the night, which was to embrace every lyric and beat that I knew. I did, and succeeded. I was even gifted a vinyl from their new album, Fools.

In the same neighborhood I met up with a new friend for a drink. The last time I was in town, I briefly met Dace when attending the REVEL party. A quick - How are ya? What’s your name? Good to meet you. Maybe next time you’re in town? – type of meet. This time we decided to go grab a quick drink at the Fly on Divisadero , and we spent an hour talking about life and what the quality of it means to us. The next thing I know it was over. Until next time my friend! It was a good, short lived chat.


16th Annual Burning Man San Francisco Decompression Party

I also happened to be in town the same time the Decompression was going on. Last year I attended the 15th annual Decompression, and it was a riot in all the good ways. I have now attended 3 burning man type of events in the Bay area, but have yet to go to Burning Man itself. Each of these events I attend gives me a bigger urge to make the move to get a ticket to Burning Man.

Bubbles, balloons, bananas, and burning man. Those were all part of the Decompression this year in San Francisco’s Espirit Park. This event is a place where people come to play and participate in the celebration of the previous burn. Also, it just sounds like another reason to party, so I’m down with it. Radical self-expression and body boogieing at different stages and dance floors are usually the things that go down at this event. I smiled every time I saw a child laughing alongside their ma or pa, or when these little ones were hula hooping like the bosses they are.


The Mission District

Also, known as the Mission. A place of captivating culture that is diminishing from dynamic. There are so many alleys to explore, and many pieces to capture in the Mission District. The culture of this neighborhood took over with powerful colors and vibrant messages, down many alleys and made into murals on beautiful buildings. It was clear that the Mission was changing, and the indigenous people of the mission are mostly native and Spanish origin, and by the pictures painted on the alley walls, it was clear that they felt that the change that was happening was not in their favor. 

The gentrification process started to take its place starting from the early 1990’s and still continuing to this day. The dot-com boom had brought in taken its place in more recent times, and with that comes hipsters and coffee shops. This new scene of young, urban, professional group of people hurt the local traditional businesses owners, artists, Latino American middle-class families diminished in population, and were basically moved to the outer Mission, or fully put out of the city, and into the East or South Bay regions.

Despite the Latino population dropping by 20% over the last decade, this artist friendly neighborhood is still showing love for its community, by painting up beautiful pieces in ugly alley ways.

Fun fact - The Mission is often warmer and sunnier than other parts of San Francisco.


East Bay

After eating the best mac and cheese of my life in Oakland, I was out. I wandered my way on wheels to Berkeley for a short time, mostly lingering around until making my way to the destination of Sacramento.

After walking through the campus in Berkeley, Chuck and I made our way to Peoples park, where Foods not bombs was to be provided.

I was educated about Food Not Bombs, while I stood in the line with many people who looked as if they appreciated any meal given to them. I myself was appreciating the fact that there was a collective group of people in many neighborhoods trying to feed the people, no matter who they were. This is a movement dedicated to non-violence and raises awareness to the issues on poverty and war.

Volunteers in the area that want to be of service to help out with the Food Not Bombs movement, collect food from local bakeries, grocery stores or restaurants who have a surplus of foods that are given away instead of going to waste.

It was also a good idea that I find a shower to bathe in. I hadn’t taken a shower in 5 days. There was a free shower service provided in a facility. It was for the homeless, or those living on the road.

It was like showering at the YMCA, except the ladies looked a little rougher, and you had a 5 minute limit. There was one particular lady who was showering next to me had a men’s pair of underwear on. A few minutes later I realized that wasn’t a women, it was a man with a wig. I was not trippin, I was just trying to get clean and get going.

As you can see, I didn't take out my camera for much during this time.

- Albany - 

Albany was the last stop for a photo adventure before heading out the next day. There is a beach spot called “The Bulb”. A parking lot, aligned with a path, which led to the West, which we were headed to, to catch the sunset. Along the path were rocks that had been painted with words like “Your Mother” on separated rocks that were close to each other, and even a perfect square rock that was inventively painted into a giant rubix cube. Overall, this place is perfect for a photo adventure near the golden hour. I do proclaim one day if I have a party here, it will be called Brie's Ballroom Bash at the Bulb. Mostly everyone is invited. :)