Friends, fun and home.Â That is my absolute favorite thing to photograph.Â I had the chance to visit my beautiful friend Ann Madden this last weekend.Â She is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met.Â Not only did I spend time with her, but my other two friends, Katy Tuttle and Kim Turner Smith, joined in on the fun.Â We all went down to visit Ann and explore Bay Saint Louis and enjoy her gallery, Smith and Lens.Â We each had a couple pieces in her show, Wonderland.Â Really I wanted to see this place for myself.Â It did not disappoint.
Cutest family ever.
The trombone made great noises.
This is my favorite kitchen. I have photographed many kitchens and have never come across one with so much character and warmth. I need to spend more time in the south.
A story in every inch of this place.
and art everywhere
dreamiest kids room.
The drop cloths pulled us all in. It reminded me of bit of the corner Penn built… a lot less controlled. Much more imperfect, but still cool.
So much greenery everywhere. Palms and lush, tropical foliage everywhere I turned. I want this porch and the light just makes it over the top.
So much energy. Donuts eaten before photographing guaranteed laughter and movement. I highly recommend sugar before a shoot… only if you can keep smiling with the crazy that follows.
We headed to Cali in the van for our last summer hurrah. We stopped in St George for a night and before we packed ourselves back in the car, we did a little, tiny, skinny hike in the red rocks of St George. It always pays to hang with family… even ones you have never met (Zach’s cousin whom I had maybe met once a million years ago). Good times and a promise to do a summer camp out next year at Moab. Hopefully the stars align.
We even made it to Cali in time for Noah’s and the littlest Smith’s birthday celebration.
A bit of history before we look at photos.Â I knew Russ at BYU, although he has no recollection of me… I made SUCH a great impression.Â We carpooled to church in Boston, where Heidi was my makeup consultant and friend.Â Heidi is a fashion guru (I’m sure you could tell from the title) and dad writes film scores.Â Super talented people.Â People you wish you knew.Â I’m lucky to be numbered as one of their friends… and Russ remembers me now.
In 2008 Heidi, the kids and I were able to reconnect in LA when little girl was about 18 months old.Â That girl looked just like her little bro… or her little bro looks like her.Â Whatever.Â My first 2 kids were pretty close to identical; a boy and a girl also.Â Genetics.
Thanks for asking me to photograph you guys.Â I’m flattered.
Our arrival in Australia was filled with trying to stay awake until night fall. Once off the plane, we followed the polite Asian guy holding the “Smith” sign. I’ve always wanted to arrive in an airport with a driver there to greet me. We loaded the car then set off in this huge Mercedes Benz van, which would never be seen in the US, driving on the opposite side of the road. We saw glimpses of the city, but we were mostly driving under it through a series of tunnels. Once at the apartment (which would be our September home) we unpacked a bit, checked out the view and balconies then ate lunch of sorts (oatmeal from the thermos anyone?), dressed for church and headed out the door.
The view from the balcony, what we saw most days in the apartment if in the dining room, otherwise we saw the apartment building next to us.
We could see the Sydney skyline if we leaned over the balcony.
The view from inside the apartment.
On our walk to church we were a bit unfamiliar with which way to look while crossing the streets and it was steep, down hill then up! We passed a playground with an impossibly long slide down one of the hills and of course the kids had to go down it once with the promise of returning. I never did get a photo of that slide. Sorry.
We made it to church and enjoyed listening to talks in English! How nice. Although I must say I didn’t pay too close attention, since I hadn’t really slept in the last 24 hours. Ugh. We did meet a guy who had lived many places in the United States and even once lived in Fulerton, CA in the mid ’90’s. When I mentioned I was there often in ’93/’94 he said “Oh for the music scene?” I was shocked. I didn’t expect to find someone familiar with my High School haunts in Sydney, Australia. He knew about No Doubt and Sublime and was curious to know the other bands I liked back then. Off the top, and in my zombie state, I couldn’t think of any other bands. We ended up having a lovely dinner (later in our stay) at their house where I rattled off a few other names, if only for the novelty of hearing a few no-name band names. Suburban Rhythm, One Eye Open, Wash, Supernova. Supernova is actually still around and were on one of the first Yo Gabba Gabba shows, which was created and produced by a couple guys from The Aquabats, another band (Mormon even) from Utah and Cali which were popular at that time.
That first week we spent getting familiar with our surroundings. We returned to the park with the long slide that first day (which was boring for India), then set off on the bus to Balmoral Beach (“The bus stop is on the right side of the street.” “Uh, ok, I think I know which side that is.” Turned out he meant the correct side of the street. Ugh). There is a photograph right where we would sit at Balmoral Beach at this blog page, scroll down to the Balmoral Beach heading. There was a little bridge to an “island” where there are remnants of the old shark net. We learned later that we liked to be on the side of the island which had no shark net. It was amazing, people swimming the length of the beach (even without the net), back and forth, in wetsuits, swim caps and goggles (the water was freezing). Every day we would go, we saw the same man smoke his cigarette, change into his budgie smugglers (slang for Speedo), then swim a length of the beach. Swimming really is the national sport. I have never seen anyone swim like this in California. Maybe it’s because I avoided the beaches in the harbors and bays. Who knows? Sorry again, no photos at the beach we visited the most. We’ll just have to return some day.
One of those days in that first week we took the train to Circular Quay (pronounced Circular key) to see the Opera House up close. I also wanted to walk through the Botanic Gardens. To accomplish this I told Ezra he could look for snails. Well, once he started looking I got nervous about his getting bitten by some strange spider. The day was gray and a bit cold and Ezra was in a state, luckily Zed was asleep. We started to search for some lunch. We were right downtown, which looked like a tropical Boston, with signs of old building along with several modern skyscrapers. The tropical was seen in the foliage, palm trees and ferns in the parks through the city. We found a modern food court at the bottom of a skyscraper with several places to choose from. Japanese chicken teriyaki for India and a meat pie for Ez, you know, cuz it’s what Harry Potter eats. That was the day we decided to see what wheat would do to him. Three days later we found out. Screaming gas pains that came and went for about 2.5 days. Needless to say, he had wheat for those three days only.
Circular Quay with the Harbor Bridge and a Manley Ferry coming to dock behind the kids. Zed zonked out soon after this. If you look right of the Ferry you’ll see Luna Park, an amusement park on the harbor.
Opera House. That’s as close as we got, that day. This photo is a terrible mix of two images. Don’t judge me.
Royal Botanic Garden. Ezra was done soon after this.
Every February this village on the boarder of France and Italy hosts a citrus festival. They make structures out of lemons and oranges. This year each depicted either a movie genre or scene from a film. There is also a parade, but we missed that. Zach did see a posse of Cowboys and Indians twirling ropes and riding horses. Welcome to France. He says the French love westerns.
Zach bought a crepe and I bought a hot lemonade (it was cold out) along with some orange shaped candy to take home to the kids.
After seeing the citrus we wandered through the streets until we came to the Mediterranean. There were some pretty crazy signs and the sea was beautiful.
The sign with the alien wind surfer cracked me up.
That night we ate pizza, seeing as we were so close to Italy. There we were, 4 adults and 6 kids in a little restaurant with only one who can (more easily than some) speak French. We were enjoying each others company while the staff watched us intently. Then a large group of what looked like a middle aged soccer/rugby team came in. I thought for sure they would be louder than us. Nope. Not a word passed between them. Were they listening to us? Do Europeans not speak while eating with friends? What gives? I imagine that after we left they continued on with their lives. Which included speaking while eating together.