One of the best things about being a professional photographer is that you get to work with a lot of people. Actors, company heads, doctors, lawyers, entertainers, artists, etc., all of whom are interesting. You get to learn new things about their respective professions, learn about them as people, and most importantly, you get to meet someone new, someone interesting, and you get to take their photograph. When you add all these qualities up and wrap them up in a family, especially your own family, it makes for an even more special session! As was the case this past weekend, as I was asked to take the family photos of my own cousins and uncle, in beautiful San Diego, a place that I hold dear to my heart, as I spent a lot of time there growing up back BEFORE the internet! (Yes, those days DID exist!).
Now, if you ask any of my cousins, they’ll all tell you that I rarely get to see them. Or that we only see one another (sadly and as of late) at funerals. So I was definitely DUE to go back down and visit everyone. I was there a month ago for the funeral of my Uncle Ben, and for only one day, so getting to go down for a weekend for a “happy” occasion made for a great time.
I got there Saturday afternoon around 2:00pm, after leaving L.A. at 11:00am, thinking that it would ONLY take me 2 hours (yeah right!; note to self: don’t drive to SD on Saturday at 11:00am). But once I got there, it felt good to be around everyone again. Felt like old times I relaxed a bit, got something to eat from an old mexican food haunt, and hung out with my new nephew Andy, affectionately nicknamed “Guppy”. Sure, I may sound like I’m being biased, BUT, Andy is one of the happiest babies I know! Seriously always smiling, laughing, and in a good mood! Sure, he got fussy here and there, but a lot less than a lot of other kids. This kid is just one happy baby! A true joy to be around!
Soon after, we packed up the entire gang, along with my other cousins Tod and Johanna (designated assistants to M Palma Photography for a day), and headed to downtown S.D., to the New Children’s Museum. There’s this really cool play area with a chalk wall where kids and families draw pictures on. My cousin Marianne chose this location cause she wanted an urban look to the photos, and you know me, I love urban backdrops!
The cool thing about Marianne (Mae as we call her) and her family is that they’re fun people. Especially husband ‘Pen (Stephen). He fits in well with the Palmas with his wit and sense of humor. Plus, Mae’s dad, my Uncle Pete, is a fun guy too! If you ask him, he’ll beat you at every game or endeavor ever created! (Probably will too!). We always have a lot of laughs with him. He’s easy to hang out with cause he’s down with everything.
So what you’re about to see are the fruits of our labor. Some silliness, family warmth, funny faces, but most importantly, their love and closeness. I had such a great time photographing everyone, that I forgot to get into the picture! (Darn it!).
At one point, when I decided to photograph just Mae and Pen, a group of tourists (or seniors) decided that they wanted to be in the photograph as well! I think they thought I was doing an engagement session. We definitely obliged! After that, a dog happily decided to walk into the frame as well. I made sure I was going to get that photo! You’ll see Pen’s reactions and playfulness in those photos as well as in the other ones as well.
Most importantly, I like to think that in the future, when the “Guppy” grows up, he’ll see these photos and think to himself how cool Uncle Mike was for taking these photos (LOL). If not, he’ll get to see how we all spent a beautiful afternoon in San Diego, a long, long, time ago, when he was young.
(A side moral to this story is: Get your family photos done! If not by me (LOL- darn it!), then find someone to do them for you! And when you do, PRINT THEM!!! Make canvases, acrylics, enlargements, keychains, coffee cups, t-shirts, blankets, etc., you name it! Cause you can’t experience or relive the memories of everyone, or that special day if you have to turn something “on” just to view them! Just do it! (Okay, forgive my soap-box moment there, I just want you all to have some amazing photo memories all over you homes).)
A huge thanks to my cousins, Mae, Pen, Andy, Allie, and Uncle Pete; and to Tod and Johanna to helping out as well Love you guys mucho!!! Let’s make this an annual thing, shall we?
See Pen in the background? He’s really shy.
I’d say the entire clan are introverts. It was tough. LOL!
The “Guppy” himself, Andrew (Andy).
I guess that makes Pen “the Big Fish.”
We had that sign especially made for this portrait session.
From these two…
… came these two!
But not before this guy (and my late aunt, Tita Becky )
Hey! Who let that dog into the picture?!!!!
In the end, this is what it’s all about
Or is it this?
Thanks again guys Glad I was there to do this for you. Till next time!
Technical info: Nikon D810, SB900 strobe in umbrella, controlled via Nikon CLS. Available light; reflector where applicable. Thanks Thaddo for the extra hands (you too Johanna!)