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  • Welcome to Our Journal

    Keith is a photographer who believes that kids are nearly perfect and that great images capture a bit of that perfection for all eternity. He loves that children don’t filter their emotions. Living loud is their power. And his job is to capture a moment of their uncontained imaginations: your children, unscripted.

    Melissa is the studio manager, adoring wife, busy mom and occasional writer that believes she is living the most beautiful life in the whole world.

    Keith and Melissa have two amazing daughters, Isabella and Gabriella and a little Jack Russell named Pooch.

    This journal is our personal blog about our family, photography, travel and how we are inspired by children in all their authenticity, one beautiful photograph at a time.

From Phoenix to Lipari, Sicily| Travel with Kids | Sicily Travleogue

travel to lipari italyeolie islands liparilipari aeolian islands italylipari harbor at nightThe trip seemed like forever to arrive was now here. We were off to Sicily for 3 weeks. Keith would be photographing a wedding the last Saturday of our trip – so technically we could qualify this trip as business with pleasure – 2+ weeks of pleasure with a little business thrown in!

So the itinerary is as follows. Keith, myself and the kids set off from PHX – MXP (Milan Malpensa) with a 3 hour layover in JFK. When the alarm went of at 3:45am PST I knew it was going to be a long day. I was mentally prepared for the huge trip that we had in front of us. The flight time had been moved up by 2 hours, which meant doing this trip on 2 hours less sleep. Yikes, we didn’t finish packing till about midnight, so less than 4 hours of sleep! At least the kids were asleep by 10pm – so they would be starting the trip on 6+ hours, so they would sleep on the plane for sure I was assuming  (or really hoping!!!).

The 3 hour stop at JFK allowed time to grab a delicious stuffed portobello sandwich from Shake Shack (an old NYC favorite), grab a Tiger Beat (Isabella is growing up so fast, I remember when I loved this magazine and Leif Garrett was on the cover) and Gabby grabbed a National Geographic Kids to help the 8+ hour ride to Milan.

Oh but the ride went so well. A little late taking off didn’t matter since we had a million hours to kill between our flight from Milan to Catania. But the in-seat televisions are a god send for sure. We all watched shows, movies, did some trivia, played some games, before you know it 5 hours have flown by. Gabby fell asleep with about 2 hours to go and Bella the trooper stayed awake the whole flight. The flight couldn’t have been more enjoyable – I had packed lots of snacks, games and all sorts of things to do and we didn’t even need to tap into my emergency reserves! I even give the kids a small little wrapped “gift” for each flight we take, it is always something not very expensive that will entertain them on the flight. I didn’t even have to give them gift #2!

Getting off the plane in Milan we were facing a 4 1/2 hour layover. That hurt. We couldn’t check in for our connecting flight till 2 hours before so we were stuck in the airport check in lobby. Gabby laid down in the middle of the floor. Luckily I had grabbed a blanket and pillow from the plane and she literally slept soundly on the hard floor for 2 hours.  Oh to be young and light again! An espresso or two later and we were off to Catania.

The above photos are taken on that flight, we apparently all fell asleep finally except for Keith! It was a bumpy flight, so I’m glad the kids slept through most of it. When that flight touched down, we had been traveling for over 28 hours. Now we had to find our shuttle driver to take us from the Catania airport to Milazzo to catch the ferry to Lipari. The good news was that everyone had a second wind at the airport. So a little gelato and a few laughs and we were on the bus.

A nearly 2 hour ride took us to the Port at Milazzo, everyone cat napping along the way. One ferry already cancelled, we were lucky there was one that was willing to make the trip. Lots of bouncing, but the kids really enjoyed the ride. We were getting pretty tired at this point but knew the end was in site. A little over an hour later and we were grabbing a taxi towards Hotel Villa Enrica – the Lipari port looked beautiful at night. We checked into the hotel at about 9pm (or noon PST). A total of 32 hours door to door.

The journey was long but I have to say I don’t have much to complain about.  The kids were in good humor most of the day – Keith and I were too!! We event went out for a good dinner when we arrived. A delicious Risotto Pesto, some local Sicilian wine and a handsome Cannoli. The food, the wine and 30+ hours of travel made us really good sleepers that evening.

I think we conquered our jet lag by just missing a whole night’s sleep. Not sure I would have planned it that way, but it worked!

Summer Fun | Family Beach Session | San Clemente, California

california beach photographykids beach photossan clemente california beach photoslittle girl on california beachcalifornia beach photosrunning on the beachrunning at the beachbeach photos californiakids beach photographysan clemente beach photossan clemente beach photosbeach photography californiasan clemente beach photographyboy on the beachsan clemente beach photosEnjoy the little things in life like summer, beach, sun and family. This session does just that.

All year long, this family is separated by thousands of miles. Half the family lives in Arizona, the other half in Kenya. What is better than having a family reunion for a week near the beach?

It is such an honor for us to document these special moments in family’s lives. Three generations (all not pictured in this post) together for a photo session, creating memories that last a lifetime.

Yes, there were the posed family groupings and a large group shot – you have to have these shots in my opinion for historical record. But the most fun are the kids having a blast on the beach.

Kids being kids. Totally unscripted. Their Summer fun documented forever.

Super 8 Films | Classic Film Making with a NYC Family

 

super 8 film

Our newest labor of love: Super 8 Films.  (CLICK HERE to view this NYC family film)

What a sense of nostalgia hearing those cameras. SO MUCH FUN! Love the color, love the speed which everything is moving, love how not perfect the film is, love, love, love Super 8 for family sessions!

We started playing around with Super 8 over two years ago and couldn’t stop thinking about how the motion of this film was such a perfect fit for kids. We realized that this method of storytelling fit so well with our improvisational style.

As those of you who know us, know we love film. Film is the medium that is an everpresent part of our story telling whether it be family photography or cinematic shorts. The organic nature of film, the sense of nostalgia, the transcendence of time, our vision and artistry combine to create not the typical film – but a film as unique as each family.

We will be offering these classic films (from our childhood if you were born in the 60’s like we were) as a stand alone product or an add-on to a family session.

Ask about our Summer Intro Special!

Upcoming travel schedule:

Sicily, Italy  July 10 – July 29th

NYC   August 21st – September 2

Salton Sea | Bombay Beach | Personal

salton sea instagramTo say we have wanted to go to the Salton Sea for a bit is an understatement.

We drive to California often. Every trip, we see that sign for Coachella on I-10 and know that ‘s the turn off. But we never seem to have a few extra hours to spare.

Well on our return trip from California this time around, we made time to visit. I’ve seen the documentary. (hard to imagine Frank Sinatra and the Hollywood set making the trek out here to 200+ feet below sea level back in the day!) I’ve seen Anthony Bourdain’s trip to the Salton Sea on the Travel Channel. Curiosity for sure. Morbid perhaps?

But this is a place you just have to see for yourself.

It’s always interesting to explain this kind of stuff to your kids. The questions started right away: Why does it look abandoned yet people live here? Why is it so hot? Why does it smell? Why are there skeletons of people’s homes stuck in old dried out mud? Why don’t we see anyone? Who would live here? Where do you eat? Can we go in the water? Why is it so hot? (I heard that quite a few times) Why, Why, Why??

Funny what kids see. They see so innocent. They don’t see the big picture usually at this young age. Yet they brought up some pretty poignant point/facts/questions. Glad we had done a little research. A great lesson in supply and demand for sure.

If you have extra time, take a ride out to the Salton Sea. The back drop is gorgeous. The temperatures are hot. If this spot was in the Caribbean it would be hopping. Instead, it’s just plain interesting. Go see for yourself!

Little Miss Reader | Personal

gabby in the library

Boy oh boy do some pictures just tell the story or what???

This kid ADORES the library. Loves her books. She is always reading. In the car. Eating breakfast. On her way to school. She can’t get enough of books. And this picture just sums her up.

I sound like a broken record but there are just those pictures that will really remind you of something. This is one of them. 20 or 30 years down the road I will come across this photo and be taken right back to Gabby’s childhood. Who knows what she will be. What college she will attend. What city she will live in when she is grown. But taking one glimpse at this photo will remind me of little Miss Gabs and her passion for books as a kid.

Another photo that documents her childhood.

(Camera: Zeiss Ikon, Film: TriX)