Monthly Archives: September 2013

Westward Adventuring

I am a creature of the spring and the summer. So this morning, as I reached for my fall jacket, realizing that it was too cold for a one-layer walk to the bus, I found myself daydreaming about summer and the traveling to beautiful warm places. In case you are also craving some warm sunshine, I thought I would share some pictures from our trip through the Pacific Northwest.
Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR My husband and I kicked off our trip in the City of Roses: Portland, Oregon. I didn’t realize how literally that name was meant.

  • 2013-0Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR

The Portland Rose Test garden, was one of the most beautiful displays of flowers I have ever seen. The air smelled divine. The colors and variations were astonishing. I kept wishing I had a bride and groom to photograph amidst the display.

  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR

Fully saturated with colors and a little warm, we wandered up the hill to find the Japanese garden. As we entered through the archway the cool, quiet suffused the summer air.  The entire landscape had been so thoughtfully composed in a mixture of greens, textures, and elegantly arching lines,

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

  • Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
  • Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
  • Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

We were told by the guide that every element of the garden was crafted purposefully. The bench in the far right picture (it’s tiny on the edge) was the first piece installed and it took months to determine the exact height of the center stone that would be most advantageous to the space as a whole.

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

The trickle of the water and the movement of the koi were so relaxing. We would have stayed here all afternoon, if we hadn’t gotten hungry for lunch.

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

Portland was filled to the hilt with farmer’s markets. We certainly didn’t take advantage of every market, but I think that we tried.

  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR
  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR
  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR
  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR

Once our friends, Andy and Caitlyn joined us in Portland, we had to head south. However, before we left, we visited the Portland State University farmer’s market in the morning, but made sure to leave early enough that we could get to the Corvallis farmer’s market for lunch.

PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR

Yes, we are those people. But, who wouldn’t be with warm artichoke filled tamales for breakfast in Portland, and a lunch by the river with sun-warmed berries and fresh local goat cheese.

Corvallis, ORWe were lucky enough to stay with Jason’s best friend’s parents in Corvallis (we brought his mother some of those lovely zinnias). In Corvallis, we hiked Bald Hill for this beautiful view. Truly, I found myself wishing that we could pull off and go hiking most of the time that we were in Oregon. I even tried to convince the group more times than maybe I should have (sorry guys!), but every vista was so lovely that I just wanted to see more.

Swimming Hole and Bald Hill, Corvallis, OR

After a warm trek up the “hill” (which in our parts of the country we would call a mountain), we found a local waterhole and went swimming. It felt like Michigan, with the train trellis over the water, and children floating on the water in an air mattress. We even found a baby crawfish!

View from the vineyard in Ashland, OR

As we continued south, through Oregon wine country, we stopped at a wonderful vineyard overlooking this view. We learned how to appropriately smell and taste wine. Now, we can at least look like those obnoxious people slurping their wine to “taste the notes of plum”. Realistically, I think knowing that we could will be enough for us. We then stayed in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Shakespeare Festival. I loved Ashland: the quaint downtown, the adorable houses on the hill overlooking the mountains, the free “green show” on the town commons every night. I was having images of retiring there, eating good food with friends outdoors under the twinkling lights hanging in the arbors and then taking a stroll at dusk through the neighborhood. Although, we are far from retirement, on our walk through the neighborhood, we did see two baby fawns feeding from a mother doe in someone’s backyard. We couldn’t have been more than four feet away from them. It was magical. Did I mention, I really loved it there?

  • 2013-07-18_0064
  • 2013-07-18_0066
  • 2013-07-18_0067
  • 2013-07-18_0068
  • 2013-07-18_0069

Having reached our southern most point of our trip, we turned back towards Portland. On the way, we found another river and stopped for a dip. Here, Caitlin found this amazingly cool Goliath slug. On this trip we learned A LOT about slugs. Caitlin had done a unit for her fourth grade class on snails and mollusks, and honestly, she helped us all to see the world in a more fascinated way. It is one of the many things I love about Caitlin, is her intense curiosity about the world around her and how she shares that with others.

Spencer's Butte, Eugene, OR

On the way back we stopped in Eugene, OR, where we captured the view from Spencer’s Butte. There’s a pun here, but I’ll just say that it was gorgeous. As we sat at the top admiring the stunning views of the Willamette Valley, a flight of butterflies circled around us. I feel so lucky to have gotten to see a piece of Oregon’s beauty.

  • 2013-07-18_0072
  • 2013-07-18_0073
  • 2013-07-18_0074
  • 2013-07-18_0075
  • 2013-07-18_0076
  • 2013-07-18_0077
  • 2013-07-18_0078

After another stop in Portland, we left Oregon and made our way to the Olympic peninsula and Lake Quinault in Washington. I had never seen a temperate rainforest before and was overwhelmed. The hiking trails were studded with berries in hues from amber to amethyst. The trees were dripping with moss. There was a crazy juxiposition of scale throughout the forest, from clover the size of your palm and leaves the size of Caitlin’s head, an entire forest of tiny trees on the cross-section of a log.

  • 2013-07-18_0079
  • 2013-07-18_0080
  • 2013-07-18_0081

Andy, Caitlin, Jason and I happened upon a rustic lodge restaurant after our hike, where we enjoyed a bottle of wine and a stunning view over the lake.  And what could make it more perfect?  Lawn sports!  It’s like they knew we were coming.  After dinner, we took a drive to see the waterfalls further down on the peninsula.  We couldn’t believe it when we spotted in the field a whole herd of wild elk, even a mother with two babies.

Lake Quinault, Olympic Peninsula, WA at dawnA photographer is always a photographer, even on vacation.  So, to get the pretty morning light, Jason and I woke up before the dawn so I could get the truly lovely photos.  This was the view out of the front door of our cottage.  Following are just a few of the images from our hike.

  • 2013-07-18_0083
  • 2013-07-18_0084
  • 2013-07-18_0085
  • 2013-07-18_0086
  • 2013-07-18_0087
  • 2013-07-18_0089
  • 2013-07-18_0090
  • 2013-07-18_0088

Lake Quinault and Mount Rainier, WA

Our last stop was just a quick couple days in Seattle.  The city was fantastic: beautiful, with views of city, water and mountains (above is Mount Rainier), closer together than I have ever seen in a metropolitan area.  The second grader in me still thought that the coolest part of the entire stay in Seattle was watching the salmon jump up the fish ladder.  Although it reminded me of an elementary school field trip, I loved it.  The struggle, the victory, the defeat as the fish swam and then hurtled themselves against the current up to the next step of the ladder to make it home to spawn.  Those fish were working way harder than I ever work in a Baptiste Yoga class!  If they broadcast that, I just might watch it.  Although, I was cheering too hard to photograph the fish, I do have a few images from the lovely botanical gardens next door.

Poppies in Carl English Botanical Gardens in Seattle, WAI am so grateful that Caitlin and Andy came adventuring with us.  We listened to lots of NPR podcasts; had wonderful conversations and saw a new part of the country that I cannot wait to return to see again.  This is one of the many reasons I love photographs, because this way we can return again and again whenever we choose.


Celebrate with the Bride and Groom

First DanceRina and I became close friends when we met freshman year at Tufts University. It was probably not much more than a couple weeks into the semester when she and her roommate welcomed me into their room to sleep on their aerobed, because my room was occupied. Sometimes I think I spent more nights in their room than my own.  We spent many long nights talking and laughing together.
Hora! Each time, they treated me like a welcome guest, we ate snack food and watched old episodes of Saved by the Bell, like it was a middle school sleepover. This is how I first saw Rina’s tremendously gracious, generous and warm heart.
Brother/Sister Love
Loving Speeches The first time I visited Philadelphia was after my sophomore year, when Rina invited some of her friends to her hometown to stay the week. She spent five days showing us the city, which was beautiful. However, what I remember most was going to each place that Rina said had “the very best ______ ever”. From Hope’s Cookies, to Rita’s Water Ice, to Wawa, to Jamba Juice, we literally ate our way through Philadelphia.

  • 2013-08-19_0044
  • 2013-08-19_0045
  • 2013-08-19_0070

I remember the kindness of her family welcoming us into their home. Rina’s mother’s best friend was visiting the house when we returned from an outing to Longwood Gardens. This woman greeted us as if she knew us. Their authentic connection to their community makes everyone feel a part of each others lives.  We saw that in Philadelphia and in every moment of the wedding.  This Sobel hospitality comes so naturally to them.

  • 2013-08-19_0055
  • 2013-08-19_0046
  • 2013-08-19_0056
  • 2013-08-19_0048
  • 2013-08-19_0049
  • 2013-08-19_0047
  • 2013-08-19_0050
  • 2013-08-19_0052

Once you touch this family, you are part of this family. They want you to feel comfortable and to give you the best of everything. They cannot help it; this warmth just radiates.
Parental LoveSophomore year, Halloween was on a weekday night. Having a huge stack of reading to do, I didn’t think I should go out. Rina wouldn’t take no for an answer. She found me a costume from friends on her hall and told me we wouldn’t be out late.

  • 2013-08-19_0058
  • 2013-08-19_0059
  • 2013-08-19_0060
  • 2013-08-19_0061

At this party, a young man came up to me and for the next twenty minutes Rina sat patiently by my side as I spoke with this handsome man dressed like a hobo. She didn’t rush us, even though she must have been bored out of her mind. That is just the kind of friend she is. That man is now my husband.
Details: papercut ketubah and a matching cake Rina always encourages people to step out of their comfort zone, to explore, to be daring, to enjoy life, because that is exactly what she always does.
Cut the Cake!Rina never does anything half way: from ballroom dancing, to playing the flute, to getting a joint doctorate (because let’s be honest, one specialty just wouldn’t be enough), and now to scuba diving.

  • 2013-08-19_0066
  • 2013-08-19_0065

She does everything so well and with such gusto, because she’s passionate about each thing she does. She loves well, deeply and truly. Amazing things are drawn to her because of this.
Parent dance: celebrating 30 years of marriageEvery person in her life has Rina stories just like these. They are about the ways that Rina picked them up when they were down, how she helped them to be their best selves, by seeing them and treating them that way.
Everybody Dance!
I am so grateful that she has met a man who sees all the best parts of her. You can see it every time he looks at her and the way he has opened her up to a whole new set of things that she has discovered that she loves. He has helped her to be her best self, a self we have seen in her all along.
Bride and Groom, with the photographerRina is one of those people who will love you no matter where you live or when you last saw each other. Although I wish we weren’t on opposite coasts, I am so grateful to know we will always be in each others lives. Here is to a stunning wedding, and a beautiful filled-to-the-brim life for Rina and Jason.
Meant to Last

A Fox’s Wedding

In many cultures, Japanese, Nepali, Brazilian, Bangladeshi, to refer of a fox’s wedding is to speak of a sun shower. What a beautiful image: a sun shower where everything is made fresh and the world quite literally sparkles.



As we know, Americans say that rain on a wedding day is good luck. So, it seems to me a sun shower, which also guarantees a rainbow, must be doubly lucky just about anywhere.  I can only imagine that the wedding of Jason Fox to Rina Sobel, quite literally a Fox’s wedding, could by definition only be an incredibly beautiful, shining and lucky wedding. Without a doubt, it lived up to its name, and then some.


Rina was such a classically elegant bride.  Though their day ended up being perfect blue skies without a drop of rain, there were certainly more than a few tears sprinkled throughout the day.


What made the wedding truly special was the authentic display of such deep emotions of love, exalted joy, and tenderness. A bride who literally jumped up and down when pronounced man and wife and a groom whose bride wiped away his tears of happiness.

2013-08-19_0036Every moment was completely personal and bursting with emotion.  From the brothers carrying the chuppah, to grandparent’s blessings, to the family and friends whose love was palpable throughout the ceremony.  Every detail felt like them as individuals, and a couple.


Their reception held at the Warwick Hotel in downtown Philadelphia, Rina’s hometown, was an afternoon of dancing, speeches, and laughter.  There are many more images of this festive affair in the next post, but I just couldn’t resist including just a couple.  2013-08-19_0039

  • 2013-08-19_0037
  • 2013-08-19_0040

These two are made to last.


Congratulations to Rina and Jason!