Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays! Its truly American! I love all the people and children in their red, white and blue fashions. American flags blowing in the gentle breeze are always photogenic. Picnics, pool parties and bbq’s are such a blast; It’s so perfect that it falls in mid year. What better time of year to sit outside on a warm summer night and watch the fireworks from the back of a pick-up truck or perched up on a roof.

americana photographer



There are so many photo opportunities on July 4th that I wish I could photograph them all. Kids eating watermelon &  time-lapse shots of fireworks are images that come to mind when I think of Independence Day. They are all so beautiful and so very storybook “American”.  It’s an absolutely fantastic time to do family portraits in a relaxed environment with people being natural and having a great time.

My kids, my camera and I will be attending the Van Gaale family annual Fourth of July Horseshoe Tournament in Temecula on the compound. I think tomorrow I will be using my old Canon a1 film camera. It’s probably going to get crazy and that camera is so sturdy that it’s the perfect choice. Plus, I love the way film handles bright afternoon light.  Cowboy boots, jean shorts, kids with dirty faces, slip n slides, kegs of beer and a pig-in-the-ground for dinner, all call for the beautiful aesthetic that film offers.

In honor of the holiday I’ll share some photos from my Americana series. The Americana series isn’t necessarily the apple-pie vision of America.  They are absurd and somewhat surreal pics  that say something about the state of our society today. Some are lighthearted and have a sense of humor and some are a bit more heavy and symbolic of economics, politics, transportation, technology & government. Most of the images were shot in southern california desert regions and are featured on my other site

Dear Jager
Faux dear head in classic dive bar with checkered floors sits atop a table with american flag in background

Have a safe holiday

P.S  I love sparklers, flag print bikinis & ice cold beer.


Categories All

Pechanga wedding Karen & Charlie

Karen & Charlies’ wedding at Journey’s Pechanga Resort & Casino

Temecula, California

this is my first blog post of a wedding!  there were many interesting things about karen & charlie i thought theirs would be the perfect wedding to begin blogging with. first of all, when i met them and saw how much they loved each other i was convinced there is no “appropriate” age to get married and couldn’t wait to photograph this adorable couple. i absolutely loved karen’s enthusiasm in planning the wedding and equally loved her creativity in incorporating their personalities with design elements.

charlie is quite the entertainer & owned many radio stations back in the day. they made the k-luv sign in honor of his passion. the red light even turns on & blinks!

karen aka mrs oz to her elementary school students, wore “red ruby slippers” for her dancing shoes at the reception.

fifi from finicky flowers in murrieta designed the flowers for the wedding. aside from being a talented florist, she is a die hard romantic! all the extra cute details she did made me say “awwwwwww”.  pictured above is one of her striking arrangements featuring exotic white orchids, yellow roses & brilliant peacock feathers overflowing from a rustic copper pedestal.

the wedding took place indoors at the magnificent journey’s golf clubhouse at pechanga casino. the decor there is earthy meets modern rustic. by using natural elements of fire, water, earth & sky native traditions are woven together to create a compelling atmosphere.

karen & charlie’s wedding took place indoors overlooking the golfcourse, sacred oaks and rocky hillside. typically rain panics the bride, but the sixty foot windows flooded the venue with the raddest natural light & the stormy sky became a magical backdrop in the cozy clubhouse.

they wrote their own vows and told each other they were very hip.sundance chief & well known spiritual advisor john funmaker performed a  native marriage blessing.  sacred traditions have been passed down for over 1000 years from the original lakota people. it is important to have the 5 elements present as well as the young & old. the 5 elements are the necessities of life & the young & old represent the transition to the spirit world. the bride & grooms hands were tied together symbolizing their  unbreakable bond. then they were covered with a blanket as they were cleansed with the burning of sage.

the color yellow was carefully chosen by the bride & groom. charlie’s pet name for karen is sunshine; so they adorned the place in a cheerful sunny palette of golds. usually a color scheme chosen only for a summer or fall wedding, the unexpected yellow provided a welcoming warmth for a wintery day.

karen & charlie love to dance & have a good time. pictured above is karen groovin’ with her ruby slippers on. if you look closely you can see the yellow petals referencing the yellow brick road.

after the toast they told a wonderful story on how they discovered temecula and of their love for the valley. on the cake, provided by jodee’s bakery, was a wine country motif and the k-luv tower as an artistic touch.

the couple was so sweet they invited all the vendors to stay for dinner as their guests.

the reception was filled with family & long time friends. karen’s maid of honor was the maid of honor in her first wedding in 1965!! and charlie’s best man was the best man in his wedding  in 1963!!



valentines day

i love valentines day! many women come to me at this time of year seeking that extra special gift to give to their lover. most of the women are moms and women over the age of 30. its so cute to see them all giddy & nervous as they get dolled up for their man. we do beautiful portraits, something a bit sexier and then abstract body shots of his favorite parts. warning! not for the faint at heart. this is not your average boudoir photography. haha just kidding.  really though, we do push the limits a wee bit but our clients are always surprised with how comfortable they were and extremely pleased with the results.

our  private studio off a dirt road near temecula wine country is the perfect setting for your secret boudoir photography session or we can come to your home.