I Lost My Head in San Francisco, Pt. 3

The alarm went off at 5:40 am and David and I lazily dragged ourselves out the door and into the car, leaving the sleeping house behind us in the still darkness. We drove on the 280 as the very first hints of daylight peeked over the rolling hills, and the quiet tracks of Death Cab and Stornoway enveloped us as we made our way towards Fort Funston beach.

Soon, we arrived at a parking lot and greeted our friends, who we would be shooting with in the early morning light. A talented photographer named Damien from David's previous workshop was there, along with a model named Samantha and his assistant Summer, and my new friend Kelsey. As the world still attempted to wake up around us, we walked together to our first location. 

As David and Damien set up the shoot, I wandered over to the cliff side, wrapped in my soft maroon blanket. The gentle blues of the morning made me wish I was still in my bed, but at the same time, there was nowhere else I would rather be in that moment. 

Soon the first golden streams of sunlight began to light up the forest we had set up camp in, and it was too good to be true. The costume for our model Samantha came together perfectly, and I enjoyed watching everyone run around, shooting their ideas and bouncing ideas off of one another. This is the kind of interaction I live for, and I couldn't help smiling for most of the morning.

My new friend Kelsey Kienitz is someone you will be seeing more of in the next month or so. A few weeks ago, she generously pledged to aid our Kickstarter campaign by joining me, Rob Woodcox, and Elizabeth Gadd on our upcoming trip to Iceland! We could not be more excited for her to join us on this journey, and I can't wait to get to know her better in the ensuing months. She is so sweet and so lovely, and I can't wait to photograph her in Iceland :)

Our model for the morning, Samantha, could not have been more beautiful, and I loved taking my own series of photos of her in the warm morning light. I'd love to use her more in the future!

The location was so storybook-like, and gave such an ethereal feeling to the photos we took that morning. The beach could wait for now; this place was too good.

(The next few images are photos taken by my iPhone)

On a rainy Monday morning, we headed back into the city to visit the Flickr Headquarters! We were able to talk with the developers of the website, tell them our stories, and we got a tour of the offices.As strange as it may sound to most people, that website has changed my life in astounding ways. It has been an excellent platform for sharing my work, it has given me opportunities to travel and grow as a photographer, and most importantly, it has introduced me to some of my dearest lifelong friends. It was just an all around humbling and reinforcing experience, and made me feel like my life had come full circle in so many ways.

On Tuesday, David and I headed to Santa Cruz for the day. The drive through the mountains was dreary and misty, but we both had mini freak-outs as we winded up the road beneath the gigantic trees. It was absolutely gorgeous, and it made me so happy to be with someone who appreciated the beauty and grandeur of nature as much as I do. 

The weather was warmer in Santa Cruz, though it certainly was not a beachy kind of day. We edited photos at a local coffee shop for a while, walked into bookstores and vintage antique shops, and made our way down to the board walk. David chased seagulls and I sat on a bench and enjoyed the scent of the ocean permeating the air.

Soon we made our way up the hill to UC Santa Cruz. As we drive past a valley overlook, I quickly looked at David and asked, "Can we please stop here for a minute?" To my pleasant surprise, he was game for it and we stopped and looked over the astounding view of the rolling hills, all the way to the ocean beyond. 

(iPhone picture below)

Of course I had David model for me while we were up there. His outfit and his brooding demeanor worked out perfectly for the photos ;) hehe 

Life is definitely better when you have great people to enjoy it with, and who love adventuring as much as you do :) I'm lucky to have found that in David

We soon made our way to UC Santa Cruz and met up with David's friend Chris! He took us to the cliffs over the ocean, and it was too good to be true. The waves crashing below us and the clouds rolling above us just put me in such a good mood, despite looking like a wet dog in my oversized jacket, skirt, and sandals. Oops.

(Photo below courtesy of David's phone)

We explored the UC Santa Cruz campus for a while with David's friend Chris, and I was blown away at how beautiful it is! It felt like a summer camp, with mist hanging over the trees and walkways winding through gigantic redwoods. I will definitely have to go back there again soon.

Our last day in San Francisco was an interesting one, to say the least. It started out awesome, with a train ride from Palo Alto to San Francisco, and meeting up with some friends at a local coffee shop. They were awesome people, friends and friends-of-friends of David, and I'm so glad I got to know them a little bit during the day :) Even though I didn't know any of them beforehand, they made me feel like I belonged in their group, and I was so grateful for that.

Max

Josh

During that afternoon, something happened that completely changed the course of our day--and our week in general. At some point while we were exploring around Haight and Ashbury, David's backpack was stolen out of our car. Thousands of dollars worth of technology and equipment was contained within, including David's laptop, camera, external harddrive, and tablet, and his notebook and bible. While the natural reaction to something like this would have been to cry and scream and get angry at the circumstances, David handled the situation better than anyone could have. He remained calm and positive, and he was sure that no matter what the outcome was, it would all be all right. He certainly did not deserve to have this happen to him, but his response to it was so inspiring and it made me grateful to know someone like him.

We searched for the bag for hours, filed police reports, and retraced our steps, but we had no luck. Now, David is currently in the process of putting his life and passion back together from nothing, and he remains so positive about everything. In his own words: "Icurrently own nothing more for my business and passion than my phone, clothes, mindset, and heart, but I will rebuild. This is nothing more than a reference point...and I have even more motivation now than EVER before... I fear nothing for the future. I have everything to gain, and now, more than ever before, I have everything to give."

I am so grateful for this week spent with such an incredible friend, and for the opportunity to make new friends at every turn. I cannot say enough about experiences like this, for they teach me to be a better, happier person, and inspire me more than anything else can. I hope everyone will take a chance from time to time and learn to strengthen relationships, gain new outlooks on life, and simply enjoy the little things in life. 

Until next time, :*