travel
September 18, 2016

Summer Travels, Nicaragua

We drew an imaginary circle around Los Angeles whose radius would be about a five hour plane ride in any direction. It was summer, and we wanted to find an adventure that would satisfy the surfer, explorer, culture curious traveler without the long day in the plane with a three year old. Looking at our options, we created a pretty long list of places we could possibly go, and Nicaragua fell right near the top. It turned into an adventure that included monkeys, bumpy car rides, volcanos, butterflies, warm water, gorgeous sunsets, empty beaches, and great surf. Fortunately for us, not so many people are dying to practice their english, so it was good for the Spanish speakers in our family too! We heard friends describe Nicaragua as the Costa Rica of twenty years ago, and it was a great way to explain the underdeveloped beauty of central america.  We learned that Nicaragua at one time was a passage from the east coast to the west coast during the gold rush, and that made our beach exploring that much more interesting thinking we may happen upon a treasure of sorts hidden in the secluded caves of the shore.

This trip helped me realize the need in my camera arsenal for a much more discreet tool to capture the life of a traveler. It was not ideal to have a huge camera walking around, it felt somehow out of place. Because of that, I didn’t take my camera on too many of our adventures, and opted instead to use my iPhone.
fishing village in nicaragua toddler swimming nicaragua pig on the beach nicaragua vultures on the beach nicaragua fishermen nicaragua fishing town nicaragua dad carries son on shoulders hermit crab collection brothers playing on beach nicaragua nicaragua beachocean play boy on board

And a few from my iPhone:
iphone

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  1. Gretchen

    I LOVE this post! Should have read it sooner but it is beautiful!

December 27, 2015

White Christmas

This year we decided the best thing we could give our kids was their first white christmas. It was a huge gamble, although everyone has been predicting this huge el niño winter, snow was not guaranteed. We rented a cabin up in Big Bear Mountains, and hoped for the best. On the 24th, we hopped into our Christmas jammies and perched ourselves up on the couch with the fire to our backs, waiting for the storm to roll in. No one was able to stay up late enough to see the first flake fall, but by morning our cabin had six new inches of soft white powder on the porch, and we were all elated to open presents and get up on the slopes.

Kellen informed me in the parking lot of his first day ever snowboarding that he was going to go on a box. All I could think was “so cute” and replied, “don’t worry if it doesn’t happen today, you can do it another day.” After all he had to master standing up without falling. All that worry aside, all he did that day was box looping. A new term I am coining for this kid. All it was all day was tow him up the hill on his star wars chopper to the top of the box, and watch him go down. What a nut! But at three, he is destined to be a Emergency Room regular. Maybe blame the older brother? Even though he did fall, it was as if he understood that that too, was part of the journey. This picture explains the emotion of the day to a tee.

If you are reading this, I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family, making new memories.

 

 

toddler snowboardingtoddler snowboarding bear mountaintoddler shredding snowboardingtoddler on a burton snowboardtoddler learning to snowboardtoddler grom snowboardingtoddler walking near a laketoddler on thin icetoddler in warm jacket toddler in snow jacketthin ice snow toddler snow storm snow play fresh snow young boy

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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!

seal

 

 

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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.

xoxo,

Noel

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June 19, 2015

Central Park Proposal

I lurched around the corner of a huge tree hugging the waters of Central Park’s Lake in New York City. The boughs of the tree weighted down heavily, the tips of them rested in the water. Just as I neared the water, a young couple leaned into each other and kissed. Quickly I snapped a photo with my phone. How romantic. Their kiss lingered long enough that the world around them seemed to stop, and they unknowingly drifted into the banks hitting the rocks that lined the water. When I looked at my camera, I decided I loved the picture, and thought not much more of it. Knowing they were just feet away, I excitedly walked up and told them the serendipitous event and asked if they wanted to see the picture. The young girl had a tear streaked face, she was crying! He just asked me to marry him!!! And I said Yes! I couldn’t believe my luck, and now theirs. Photography has evolved for sure. There is not a chance I could have gone home, developed my film and tracked these two down. But with the technology of a cell phone and ten digits, I could share this with them.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

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  1. Lynne Slouka

    Wow! What a treasure for them!

  2. Michele

    What a moment to capture! Only you.

  3. admin

    Thank you for reading it Lynne, I really really hope so!

  4. admin

    Haha! I could see you doing this too!

August 23, 2014

Traveling With Kids- Costa Rica Adventure

 

I don’t even remember where I was when I caught the bug. Its hard to say, but if I had to guess, I would say that it was on the second floor of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg Russia twenty years ago. At 16, it wasn’t my first museum. Everything my mom had taught me by dragging me to the museums of Los Angeles crumpled and fell out the window onto the dirty trash lined streets of this soulful city. We were standing in front of the Colorful Gauguin painting guarded by a 80 something year old sleeping guard. The painting sat two feet from an open window that blew in all the elements of the chilly air from outside. Was it the vulnerability of the painting and the huge contrast of everything I knew about protecting great art? Was it this gorgeous Tahitian Gauguin painting from an artist that was so inspired by travel. I could not say. But somewhere deep down inside planted a seed to see the world and all it might show me.

And now, there is no greater gift I can imagine giving my child then the gift of experience. Experience of love, friendship, kindness, and adventure. The adventure that we gave them this summer was a trip to Costa Rica, a beloved spot of ours from before they were born. It was an adventure filled with jungle walks, monkeys, waterfalls, warm water beaches, and some of the nicest people in the planet. I was hoping that the world would be different enough to challenge their thinking and inspire the need to see more. It was indeed a little boys playground, and it was wonderful. Here are a few pictures from our trip. Trekking a toddler through a jungle walk proved to be more complicated that I had thought, so there are very few pictures of our jungles or waterfalls with my good camera, but I did post a few with my iphone on my instagram.

baby flying in poolIMG_0988 daddy baby in pool costa rica brothers walking on the beach brothers playing in pool brothers playing at beach brothers in pool boys at beach

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  1. ashley

    oh my, that first image is out of this world. As are all the rest. You should check out Nicaragua next… one of my favorite places! xo