beach sessions
September 30, 2015

Ocean Love- Mermaid sessions

Laguna Beach waters are so amazingly beautiful. There is a whole world down there, and it is yours for the exploring. With a little bit of courage, and a few hours time, you can find a world waiting for you to discover less than 100 feet off shore!


diving swimming mermaid sighting

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September 15, 2015

Ocean Portrait Water Sessions {A mother and her sons}

toddler in the waves mother toddler pacific mother son in the waves mother son in the waves ocean mother and sons playing in the ocean mother and sons at beach mom and sons in the ocean cover email option brothers playing in the pacific brothers playing in the ocean boy in the ocean boy in the ocean wavesSalty waters, warmer than ever, sunsets with cloudy skies, this is the perfect season for me! This water session celebrates Mateo and his newly found skills in duck diving waves. The mom began telling me how she almost now regrets teaching him this skill, and I too remember the feeling of having a boy out in the waves just learning of their power and unpredictability, worried sick for his safety. With mama back in the white water with the three year old, I set the camera down, and grabbed Mateo’s hand as we charged through a few sets together, ducking under the bigs, and floating over the mid sized waves. What a joy it is to celebrate the gorgeous ocean, precious boy, and glorious new skill than to photograph him with his mom and brother. I am so lucky!


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August 27, 2015

Beauty Beyond, Family Portraits seaside

family portrait girl yelling family portrait on tidepoolsfather and daughter near the oceanfather on the beach with daughter family playing secret cove couple kissing young boy green eyes girl and the ocean father daughter pacific swimming familly portrait in the pacific body surfingAt first glance you might look at this family and think, “Are they for real?” And yes, I will have to say, they are ridiculously good looking, in my best Derek Zoolander voice. But to me these four are so much more than that. The gorgeous mom got me through some really long toddler days back when our oldest boys were young. We are those friends that start off hanging out because you simply like each other, and then you slowly feel your hand squeezing tighter and tighter and then you realize your friendship is a lifeline of sorts, and you treasure it in a way that cannot be measured. I owe so much to this gorgeous family, and adore their babies like they are my own. Dylan is the one friend that I can say has known Cj since bottle daze, and the one friend I hope he grows old with. This sweet Cami is just bound to make waves in this world, and if you can keep up with her, you will have the time of your life, no doubt.

So yes, on the surface they are gorgeous, but to me so much more. They are gorgeously kind, and loving, and my treasured friends. I am so lucky.


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August 17, 2015

Family Ocean Photographer {Water Sessions}

child photographer ocean ocean child photography mermaid ocean phtography ocean photography father kids ocean photographyLast year I began a quest that took me on a whole new journey in my photography. I decided to move forward and offer sessions that end in the water. The kind where we would all be duck diving and splashing and having fun. These sessions are not for all families, but there are families out there who can relate to me.
A water session might be right for you if:

1. It is hard to get your kids out of the water at the beach.

2. There is almost a bucket full of sand in your car at the end of any given week.

3. You own more than just two wave riding boards, most likely you have one of each size.

4. You have surfline ap on your phone, or follow tide and swell charts online.

5. You want to remember this time in their lives when your children could play all day in the waves.

So this week I was lucky enough to have THREE families sign up for this kind of session. It was a dream of a week.

Let me know who is next. :-)




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August 3, 2015

Texas Family Visits the Pacific

boy running in ocean seagulls family on the beach with baby father son snuggle in grass mother and son looking at each other mother and toddler laughing salt creet beach toddler on grassNothing could be sweeter than reconnecting with a dear friend. This family stopped by their old stomping grounds of California all the way from Texas. The kids were obviously cute enough to eat, and had a blast playing at the beach. The mama, well she was an old roommate from college, and it was a joy to connect with her once again in person.

Facebook likes have nothing on a real live hug!!!

I asked the oldest son to sit down on a rock, and he asked me “what is that?” Thinking he didn’t know what a jetty was, I said, “people moved these big rocks here to keep the sand from eroding. Now can you sit on it please?”

He still didn’t move, “no, that!”

What skipped my eye was a VERY Large seal sitting right next to the rock I asked him to sit in. Haha! So glad he was paying attention. I would have died if he approached it!




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July 22, 2015

Capturing summer vacation using your phone camera

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset IMG_5426 IMG_5593 IMG_5743 IMG_5796 Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset IMG_5962

It all starts with grand plans pinning away photos of warm water or gorgeous pools, and your mind starts imagining a wonderful week on vacation. You start to get excited, even when the day is just around the corner you can’t stop thinking about this wonderful break in your usual day where you get to enjoy a week filled with fun and games with your family. No obligations, no appointments, just spending time together hanging out frolicking in the sun. And then the thought hits you, you still have a toddler. That adorable yet stinky kid knows nothing of this so called break, and has not made a mental note in his attitude. As it turns out, on vacation, toddlers still throw major tantrums when they don’t get their way. They still think it is funny to run away mid diaper change and try to pee on something. This destination has not suddenly made going out to eat ANY easier. Pool time and beach time? Wonderful! Yet instead of chasing them around the park, you are now chasing them from the “cold pool” to the “hot pool” about every five minutes. Worse yet, nothing in this new so called home is toddler proof, and so a few basic minutes of checking instagram has become a monumental task so as to keep the toddler from jumping…off the balcony.

Years from now I know I will look back and be thankful we did go away and do things, and the memories will be good ones of spending time together. But the main reason I will be able to look back and even remember this trip is because of pictures I took with my iPhone. Toting out to the pool two diapers, sunscreen, snacks, floaties, towels, hats, drinks, AND a camera would have been way too much for me. There are moms out there who I am sure this would be no thing, but for me, the only way I was able to relax was to leave the camera back at the room. Heck! I even made sure the phone was in a water proof case every time. Do you know how long it takes a scheming two year old to toss a phone into a pool? I’ll save you the brain power, its about 10 seconds. Not long enough to get to him and catch him mid throw when you are waist deep in warm water overlooking the pacific.

So here are a few images I was able to get using my iPhone.

My underwater casing was from Optrix.

The rainbow ocean shot was taken at La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

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  1. Wendi

    Oh thank you! Seeing your beautiful pictures of the kids always playing and smiling leads me to think you live in a ‘perfectly adapted”, “aren’t they precious” dream land. I don’t wish difficult times or hard situations on anyone (usually) but I appreciate you taking time out to set the record strait. Parenting can be super hard and far from relaxing, so thanks so much for being real. Love you guys.

  2. admin

    haha! so nice to know that my pain eases yours! just kidding!!! we have tons of hard days, and I agree, super hard is a good way to put parenting, and relaxing on the opposite end of what i usually feel. i would love to see you guys!

July 10, 2015

Balboa Fun Zone, California Adventure with Famlies

balboa ferrybalboa bars  balboa fun zone  girl and her pinwheelbalboa fun zone ferrybaby boy and family girl playing in the waterfamily with kids kids and sail boats

This is the photography sessions I want to be known for. The session that starts with a grand plan to have fun. Where we gallop off into one happy event after another of pinwheel flying, boat sailing, Ferris wheeling, ice cream eating kind of fun. The one that always ends up with kids in the water, getting wet, and having a blast. One such place to do this is to start right there on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, watch the sail boats go by, hop on a ferry and head to the Balboa Peninsula Fun Zone. Eat a treat or two, maybe take a whirl on the Ferris Wheel, and then head back for splashing in the water by the boardwalk. And of course don’t forget your bubbles.

The best part about a session like this is that the kids don’t even know what hit them. No stuffy sit-in-the-chair while the lady gets the shot kind of task, just good old fashioned California Adventure fun. And the most fun thing about it is, there are so many adventures to be had in Orange County. You can Hike, Tide Pool, Kayak, Swing, Ride, Explore, so many places, and I am excited to go find them all.

This family comes from far far away in a land called Norther California. And although there are adventures up there too, I am glad they always save one adventrue a year to have with me. Watching these two grow up has been one of my most treasured blessings on the job. Thank you sweet family for including me on your adventures.



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June 23, 2015

Love can take you anywhere

When I was a teacher, one of the perks of the job was the excuse to read children’s books all day long. There were so many beautiful stories that you could read aloud to your students. One of these books was called Grandfather’s Journey. This was a sweet tale of a man who made the huge choice to immigrate to America from Japan. He told the tale and the theme of the story was that once you move from one place to another, you have a huge problem. You fall in love with where you moved to, but you long for that place you once called home. If you moved back “home”, you would long for the distant land you were once new to. What truth! Even just moving counties I can see this to be true. I long for the bustle and energy of a life lived right outside of Los Angeles, but know I would miss the quiet and beautiful outdoors of the place I now call home.

One of my past students contacted me about photographing her and her new husband. What an amazing gift that social media has brought to me. It has the ability to bring people from your past back into your life. I remember this student so well, she was amazingly thirsty to read, learn and write! This brave, beautiful, intelligent girl also made the move to live with her husband in Europe. She was traveling back to the US and asked me to capture them as they are now, young, in love, and with the whole wide world as their blank page to write upon. If you read any of her writing, even as a second grader, you would know that she will have lovely stories to tell. I cannot wait to read them. young couple at beach

ocean couple follow mekiss on tidepools  engagement photos couple at beach beach weddingsecond grade

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May 10, 2015

A letter to my mother on Mother’s Day


Do you remember when you used to fight with me? I would say I love you more, and you would say, “that’s not possible” or something along the lines of that. It didn’t make sense to me, me so small in the world, depending on you for so much. In reality, you were the first one I learned to love, you were the one and only love in my life at the time.

One afternoon I hid behind the hallway doorway peeking into the kitchen while you cooked. I was crying. I told you I would hate you, and you told me it didn’t matter, you would love me right back. I imagine this hate was due to you limiting my access to something I wanted, but I thought if I tried hard enough, I could go at least three days hating you. So I watched. I watched you cook, I watched you unworried of my hate plans. It must have hit me hard right there. You not caring about my hate. You didn’t care, because it didn’t matter to you, you loved me right back. As I remember back, i think my so called hate must have lasted all of 10 minutes. It didn’t stick. I came in and hugged you and went back to my day. This day is how I learned to love the way I do today. This is how I felt true love for the first time, unconditional love. Thank you for teaching me that.

A few hours, plus a decade or so later, I snuck up on you once again. Different house, different hallway. It must have been 2am or so. You were in your sewing room. Do you remember? You had a full time job during the day, and it was a few weeks before school would start. With five kids you were determined to see that we were dressed well, in our desired style as the school year started. You were working on four picky girls outfits torn out of the recent Seventeen magazines. It must have been around 12-20 different pieces of clothing if I do the math. You were frustrated, you were tired, you were determined. There is a chance I didn’t even bother you. I just watched, then went back to bed. I hope I wasn’t thankless, but in case I was, thank you. Thank you not because of how cute I might have looked in my bubble skirt the next day, but thank you for teaching me about hard work. Thank you for teaching me how to finish a task no matter the effort.

Now that I am older, you are not my whole world. I now love friends, my husband, my own kids, my siblings. It feels sad that you got pushed to the side like you did, but I know that is how it was meant to go. I love you still, even if I don’t call you enough. I promise to call today.

Truth is, it isn’t that I am a better mom because of you. That goes without saying. The truth is, I am a better person because of you. I am a better everything because of you. So now that I have kids of my own, I wonder some days about that love fight. I hug my kids tight, and they are my heart. I devise plans to never let them grow up and leave me, and find others they love as much as they love me. I love them so so much, and I am their everything. I now know how it felt for you, and why you fought to hold the winning love. It is a strong deep love that I couldn’t understand as a child. And now I can say without a doubt “I love you more, mom” More than anything.



 baby blanketbaby at beach mom kissing baby at beach mom and toddler beach mom kissing baby seagul baby tickles

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  1. Carli

    Tears, Noel. So much beauty. Please write more. Don’t be afraid to write more– we need your words! Your heart!! Xo

    Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Gretchen

    Noel, This is the most beautiful, wonderful tribute a mom could have. Thank you for all you have become, all you do and for inspiring me to keep going. Some days I just want to give up but when i get words of encouragement from the Lord through others it makes it all worth while. Love, Mom

    PS I love these photos of you and Kellen!

May 7, 2015

College Graduate {Chelsea of the Sea}

beautiful woman college grad girl and ocean girl on the ocean tide pools out to sea woman blue eyes woman tide pools wonderTime moves fast, faster than you even think it is moving. You turn around and the ones you once called babies, are all grown up. Chelsea once was a toddler in my life, a girl who’s mother I adored for her spirit and huge heart, and she was only on my radar as a small wee one. Then I watched from afar, watching this confidant woman go off to college, and play volleyball for Biola, and have dreams of her own. And now here she is closing a chapter of her life that is boxed into the name of college years. She embarks on a mysterious future of challenges and choices, and we talked the whole time about the ideas she had of her future. Isn’t it wonderful to sit at the edge of possibility?

I wish my best to this beautiful soul! Love to her mama too….

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