Apocalypse Now

Two days ago—3:00-4:00 PM
Back roads through Woodside, Portola Valley, and Los Altos Hills
Ordinary things look uncanny in lurid light:
Tricycles, trees, kiosks, headlights, chains, fences, signs
Even a church is ghoulish in wicked light
My favorite is the No Parking sign
That, or the fence with chain
Yours?

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Creek Play

In no particular order, here are 10 photos from a recent family shoot in the Bay Area. McClellan Ranch in Cupertino never disappoints. Please enjoy!

neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area group with dog

neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area mom daughter

neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area mom fence
neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area grandma granddaughter
neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area husband wife laugh
neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area daughter family in back
neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area daughter creek play dream
neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area daughter creek smile
neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area daughter creek candid
neilson outdoor family photography mcclellan ranch cupertino bay area husband wife joy

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Pensive Is Joy

 

Faces without expression interest me.
I like the ambiguity, the pensiveness.
But clients don’t like Pensive.
Not as a general rule.
They like unvarnished Joy.
Always have.
So.
Lately I’m doing something different.
During family photo shoots,
I run participants through a series of prompts.
Together we travel from Pensive to Joy
With many waystations in between.
I’m happy with the results.
I get what I want.
And clients get what they want.
Thoughts and reactions are welcome!

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Utterly Absorbed

neilson family photography portrait outdoors grass natural light candid paige bay area photographer iceland

Flow.
Attunement.
Peak performance.
By whatever term, I’m a big fan of this kind of moment.
It’s as perfect as we can get, we nickle-plated angels and gold-crusted demons.
In Iceland, Paige is doing what comes naturally to kids everywhere:
Playing as seriously as a scientist at work.
Absorbed in a blade of grass with the insouciance of Buddha.
That’s why I take pictures.
Capturing—not perfect moments—
But the illusion of perfection in a green field with birch—
And a daughter I love intensely.

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Have Sister Will Weep

bay area family kid photography photographer black and white boy cry

Sisters.
They can be a nuisance.
Paige pushed one too many buttons.
And Gavin was about to punch her in the throat.
I saw him wind up like Madison Bumgarner.
Fast ball, all the way.
I intervened.
Dads.
They can be a nuisance, too.
When the urge to violence is muted, frustration often ensues.
Bitter, heartfelt frustration.
Tears happen.
Then—moments later—
A silent, unobtrusive camera click,
Because of course…

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