Mountain Living

Last fall, I ran family photography mini sessions in the woods above the valley. What joy! What fun! Amazing, really.

Family #1

I admire a man who carries his son like a sack of flour. That, and dresses in pajamas to please his wife who has a vision, come what come may…

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley bradley upside down

…and makes googly eyes at his boy just because.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley bradley father son

Here older brother is doing what every kiddo wants to do, always: play, play, play.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley bradley son earnest

Younger kiddo doesn’t know it yet, but this allegory of brotherhood in three frames will set the tone for the rest of his days. When in doubt, shout. Or listen, as the case may be.

Family #2

Wrinkles the canine keeps the family together like a good herd dog.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran pup

Mother and daughter square up for a shot as golden hour paints the landscape in magical tones.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran mother daughter

Only thing better than having a brother is hanging out with a brother on a fence.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran sons fence

Rim light transfigures everyone it touches.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran rim light

Family #3

With scenes like these, every family deserves at least one…

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley kinion trees

…OK, maybe two family portraits.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley kinion fence

Of course, where would Family be without Grandma? She lights up the scene!

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley kinion grandma

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Urban Chic

When I capture a candid expression like this…

bay area teen portrait photography dance graduation ring

….and a heartfelt laugh like this…

bay area teen portrait photography dance graduation laugh

…and a bookishly hip shot like this….

bay area teen portrait photography dance graduation books

…all in the space of 23 minutes, well, I’m ridiculously happy as a result.
“There’s one thing a photograph must contain,” says Robert Frank.
“The humanity of the moment.”
For what it’s worth, I agree.
Thanks for visiting.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate staff and event photography in the Bay Area.

Fields of Gold

Meaghan had a straightforward request.
Shoot my family, she said.
Not that kind, the other.
I chuckled to myself.
I admire a woman who’s direct.
To the point.
Like this.

neilson family photography photographer outdoors bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch couples

It’s a gorgeous image.
Matt wondered about his role in the affair.
How does the back of my head look, he asked.
Splendid, I said.
He almost certainly smiled.
But I got his point.
So we turned Matt round.
And then it happened.
A hush fell.
The trees glowed.
And Meaghan’s hair went electric.

neilson family photography photographer outdoors bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch couples backlight

With chemistry like that,
Matt and Meaghan are bound to have kids, right?
Well, they do.
They’ve got two of them:
Logan and Lexie.
Lexie may be Logan’s little sister.
But she’s got big-time affection for him.
Just look at that reach!
What a handhold!

neilson family photography photographer outdoors bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch couples kids brother sister

Before long, Lexie put her generous athletic gifts to use.
She free soloed the center of the tree climbing universe in record time.

Neilson family group photography photographer outdoors bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch daughter tree fun

After she safely descended,
We hung out in a field of green and gold.
And we—including, me—smiled for the beauty of it all.

Neilson family group photography photographer outdoors bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch

Thank you, Matt and Meaghan!
It was a joy and a privilege to photograph your family.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Cast a Spell

Not long ago, a man met a woman.
He fancied her, and she returned the favor.

Neilson_Family_Photography_Vasona_Johnson3

As often happens, one thing led to another.
Poof! just like that—two became four.

Neilson_Family_Photography_Vasona_Johnson2

And a happy four, at that.
How happy?
THHIIISSSS happy.

1103_Family_Photography_Vasona_Johnson4

Big sister agrees with little brother.
You can see it in her eyes.

Neilson_Family_Photography_Vasona_Johnson5

Happiness is a joy and a wonder.
Especially when you can share it with someone.
Like a cousin who drops by for a visit.

neilson family photography photographer bay area san jose san francisco vasona park campbell cousins

As awesome as cousins are, mom still has a magic touch.

neilson family photography photographer bay area san jose sanfrancisco vason park campbell mother daughter

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area. 

Stay Wild

neilson family kids teens photography bay area photographer portrait headshot freckles eyes

Between the Bay Area and the blue border of the Pacific ocean, the Santa Cruz Mountains stretch for over 50 miles. Skyline/CA 35 traces the spine of that ridge, from Fort Funston and Redwood City, through Crystal Springs and Portola Valley, to Palo Alto and Saratoga—and beyond. The country is gorgeous along Skyline. Grasslands and chaparral. Douglas fir, oak, and redwood trees. Families live in these mountains. Among them, my family on my wife’s side. They’re good people, all told. They ride quads and play soccer. They zip line among oak trees. They raise cats and dogs. That freckled teen above is my niece. She’s growing like a cornstalk in a field. I wish many good things for her. But mainly, I hope she stays wild in the mountains for years to come.

Contact me for kids, teens, families, and corporate photography in the Bay Area. 

Young Lady. Bug.

bay area san jose alum rock park family photography lady bug bokeh

Alum Rock Park.
Eastern foothills of San Jose.
Blue sky, sparse trees, yellow leaves.
A successful family shoot was in the books.
As I was putting my gear away, Young Lady squealed happily.
She showed me Bug, delighted by the creepy crawly.
I was, too: the red focal point made a good scene.
Not to mention its play with the red scarf.
At f/1.8 my 85mm came to life,
Clicking like an insect.
I like the result.
Cheers.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Fall in the West

I love my job.
I’m often outdoors,
And I get to meet new people.
Like this family from Redwood City.

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

We met at McClellan Ranch in Cupertino for a family session.
It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite locations.
Like me, Mom is a Chico State grad.
Go Wildcats!

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

Baby’s eyes are distant-mountain blue.
Stunning, just look at them.

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

Mom has a magic touch.
But Dad does, too.
Happy kiddo!

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

We wandered from one setting to the next.
Someone’s curiosity was piqued.

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

Before long, we found a fence.
Everyone knows photographers love fences.
They make great neighbors.

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

We found a clearing at the ranch.
And Family sat down and made googly eyes at each other.

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

Baby was indescribably happy, as a result.

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

As the sun was setting, Family was game for one more shot.
More than game, what a beautiful setting!

family photography in the bay area cupertino mcclellan ranch park toddler baby newborn natural light candid

We said goodbye.
Family drove away.
I went home.
A week later, it happened,
As it always does when a shoot is over.
An image in the collection stands out.
It becomes the icon by which the entire collection is known.
I love this image something fierce.
Everything about it.
And I hope you do, too.

bay area family photography toddler kid McClellan ranch baby

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.