American Martyrs Catholic Church | Thanksgiving Baptism Manhattan Beach Family Photos

Angela-Elisabeth-Portraits-Manhattan Beach Family Photographer

Based in El Segundo, I meet people from all of the Beach Cities in the South Bay. This big, loving, personable, fun, close-knit family lives in Manhattan Beach. We met at American Martyrs Catholic Church in Manhattan Beach to celebrate the baptism of a new baby to this wonderful local family. When so many family members get together, I make sure to take some family photos. I’m glad we got the whole group together on the steps. Sounds of children running and laughing and a family greeting each other – hugs and smiles, laughs and giggles and he glee that comes from holding a new family member….what better way to spend Thanksgiving?

Angela Elisabeth Portraits Manhattan Beach Family Photos

The church steps were overflowing with the family as they arrived and talked before the service. The baby, who slept happily in her baptism gown – warm and protected in the arms of her aunt – noticed nothing amiss. To her knowledge, this sounded much like Sunday dinner with the grandparents.

As the kids played and the parents talked I took a few photos outside and tried as best I could to get a peek at the littlest of all. She, with her eyes tightly dreaming, could not have been sweeter to see. I am a proud aunt myself, and this feeling is known well to me:

Manhattan Beach Family Photos


Once inside I took advantage of the sanctuary’s beautiful light, lovely angles and understated ornate details. What a pretty space to pray, to worship, to join together as a church, to be in the love of God. Even if you aren’t Catholic, and I am not, the beauty of this place is something that brings a deep peace. I enjoyed having a view into what will become the most important day of this little lady’s life, until she marries, if she chooses. From the looks of her, I expect world domination and total rule. She’s amazing.

The ceremony was heartening, the children were allowed to be children and the families were allowed to enjoy the service with a casual formality that fit them perfectly. Monsignor was a delightful character, he delivered the sweetest of prayers for the baby, for her support and for her fortitude in this world – a place of much challenge.

What a Thanksgiving. It filled my heart the whole weekend. This video captures the morning with images and beautiful music by Caity Copley.¬† Enjoy ūüôā


Photographer El Segundo | Newborn Fresh 48

The Kramers are celebrating a 1st birthday

As a family photographer, I see families at the very beginning. A son blessed the Kramer household June of 2016. The family asked me to come over to the hospital to document the baby’s first days. What a beautiful world. Now Jeremy isn’t quite so outnumbered at home! Also, Jessy can revel in the joys that are what the #momofboys hashtag are all about. Crew is a sweetie. His sweet little coos and tiny hands and feet remind me that we all begin somewhere. So tiny. I’m reminded that becoming takes your whole life. Projects like newborn sessions are fun:¬† I get to bring champagne! Alexa – restock my bottles!¬†I hope to see this Crew for family photography soon!

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Moving someplace new means you are asked about your life and who you are a lot as you meet new people – and this is fun for me! I enjoy getting to know a new place very much. In the last few weeks I’ve been asked a lot of things – but here are the most common:

  1. ¬†Would you like to meet for coffee? Yes! As long as where we go has iced tea ūüôā
  2.  Where do you love going to dinner? Anyplace that has a pet-friendly patio and a great beer menu.
  3.  Do you have a family? I am the eldest of 2 children, and I do not yet have children myself.
  4.  Do you travel a lot? Work takes me a lot of places and my downtime is spent exploring California.
  5.  Why do you want to live in El Segundo? So far, this is the quietest of the beach cities to me. I like the people and the chill vibe here.
  6.  What made you become a photographer?  A long time ago I fell in love with the ability to communicate without using words.
  7.  What brought you here? Life changes and winter weather meant a move from Minnesota to California.
  8. ¬†Who is the dog I see in your studio?¬†That’s Eloise. She’s part Mascot and part Muse. Full-time nap-taker.
  9.  Can I call you Angie? Nope. Only my dad calls me that.
  10.  How do you see yourself in 5 years?  Hopefully with a margarita.

By now people are getting used to my Texas accent, open studio door and huge laugh. It’s how I am – I can’t help it.

Imperfection is Beautiful

One of my friends recently said to me, “You know, that photo you printed of my wife sits on my desk. It’s the most I’ve seen of her in a while.” So I asked him, “Do you see her for dinner everyday with the kids?” – and it hit him. He wasn’t allowing the imperfect to be beautiful.

Connecting with your loved ones can be as simple as engaging for a second, telling each other one thing you love about the other, telling them one thing you are proud of them for that day.

See each other. Take a selfie with each other every morning with your coffee or each night as you brush your teeth. Your photos and snapshots don’t need to be taken when you are your best-dressed or when you don’t feel like you just ate pizza.

If I could have anything in the world it would be a Facebook feed filled with my friends and family – all 900 of you – in a selfie with your bestie, your spouse, you with your children, you with your cat, you with your whole family, your hairdresser – whoever it is that makes this life special for you. Photograph each other. Remember the good things. Celebrate little tiny moments.

Allow imperfection and become happy about how yours are accepted.
In this little snapshot from about 2009 I am wearing a clown head. I am also dressed in 4 layers of sweats and sweaters because it was winter. This photo reflects the mood I was in – that day was completely and without equivocation a farce. I had hoped this would never surface – I mean you can’t tell it’e me, but I know. I will always know. LOL! I’m glad the person I was with took this. Photos of things on my head became a tradition because of this photo.

What traditions will you start?

Monthly Feature : Artist on Art – January 2016

Being the eclectic mess I am, I enjoy all kinds of art.

I love sculpture,¬†oil and watercolor paintings and I love photography.¬†I find that the quirkiest of minds create the things I like most. In my last feature I discussed what I like about Edward Hopper’s paintings. For instance, what I love most (sometimes) is his inclusion of things in ways that were not necessarily apparent to other people when the painted scene was compared to the real-life site. Today I am adding on to that idea with the artist I’ve chosen to share.


Meet, Nic Nicosia. This guy blew me away back in the day with his surreal concepts and the shots he’d design around an idea, a thought or a moment he’d only envisioned – possibly a fleeting second or two he saw. One of my favorite memories is watching him set up his shot for this.¬†¬†The little girl looking back at the camera is the younger sister of a girlfriend of mine from TAG Magnet and Cary Middle School. Nicosia lived next door. His daughters and these girls knew each other well. I think it makes perfect sense that LC (I am not going to place her name on the Internet without her permission) is looking so sure she’s doing something wrong, but unsure what it might be.

Mr. Nicosia has long been a source of inspiration for me because I knew that he got his ideas from his own curiosities. I have no shortage of those. What I have yet to learn is how to single one out at a time to explore with depth and sure clarity. ¬†Someday, when I can do that with any measure of success, I may actually make things I have to explain. Which will be nice. Portraiture is my first love, but like love, sometimes I like my portraits to be a little less surface-level. I like to show emotions that are behind the eyes, under the image of “self”.

Over the decades (and through many life changes for he and his family) he’s managed to really hit a stride with his projects. He explores his curiosities so completely. It’s a lot of fun to see. ¬†An image that I have done a few derivative works because of is “Domestic Dramas“. ¬†When I first saw that image I felt as though I could hear and feel the sense of “family” and that a soundbite of “domesticity” was actually being layered over the narrative in my own mind while I inventoried the details in the picture. Work that shares that much is interesting to me.

The three photos I’ve made (that have that sense to me) are of bikes and tricycles dumped at the edge of a playground, of a dining room turned kid’s playroom and a collection of creations made by a four year old boy. I’m still deciding on how I want to package these. I think they’ll end up here soon. ¬†That I made them at all is a wonder as I am not a mother. Understanding fully what the noises and scenes were took time. In fact, I am still sitting with them as I have not fully explored my own experiences in making them.

At any rate,¬†I’m looking forward to the next things from Nic Nicosia. If the world must be without David Bowie, Lou Reed, B.B. King, Yogi Berra, ¬†Wes Craven and Natalie Cole then I hope to be able to enjoy art and artists that explore life as differently as they all did.

If any of you won the lottery you may celebrate my birthday by gifting me one of his works. And Nic, if  you are reading this, I hope you are well.

*note: images of the artist’s works were provided via e-mail on 1/14/2016. Re-use and redistribution permission should not be assumed. Images are credited to Mr. Nicosia.¬†

My Life Has a Soundtrack 12/2015

I promised to let you know what music has been swirling around my mind all month and here it is. I also promised no Chipmunk Christmas and I did not disappoint. Most of what’s here has a very calming feel. That’s because I am in a mini-mester class and working full-time and still shooting sessions (and traveling to do it) at the same time. I could use some calm around here. And some beach. But I digress. I hope this gives you a relaxing background to enjoy the start of the new year with.¬†

See you in 2016!

Monthly Feature : Artist on Art

Thoughts on Edward Hopper – American Painter


Very few painters intrigue me the way Edward Hopper does. The quality of life and light in the things he painted is unique, of course, but there’s something more to it that makes his paintings somewhat timeless. Maybe it’s the relief in his worlk. Maybe I like all the yellow and rust tones in the skin, landscapes (are these the same to him?) and the hair colors he painted. It’s possible that the reason I like these colors is because of how he placed them and used them: they are generally in the picture with a counterweight like sea blue or indigo. Everything seems to be balanced in some way. Rocks are featured with a sea scape. People with ample and simple softness are in rooms with hard angles and painted with lots of contrast. Shapes of homes and buildings are placed in soft flowing fields of grasses, bent against a soft breeze. Why? Why bother balancing? Was it to calm himself? Calm us? Calm the place altogether? I can look on his paintings for the rest of my life. I simply love them all. There are some I’d never hang because I don’t understand them, but I love those, too. Something about the irreverent way things are shared and how plainly the details are included makes me feel like I could have dreamt what he painted. I love that transcendant aspect of his work.

Image credit:
Edward Hopper, Blackhead, Monhegan, 1916-1919. Oil on wood, 9 1/2 x 13 in. (24.1 x 33 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1317. © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photography by Geoffrey Clements


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Super Moon 2014

This is July 2014’s Super Moon. It rose over the corn fields as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and it was VERY BRIGHT.
So, I drew with the moon. It was almost super. I think this image basically sums up my googly-eyed expression and silly smile I wore while doing this. If you look carefully you can make out the eyes easily, but the grin is less pronounced.

This is a 30 second exposure and I basically just made circles with the camera at intervals. It was fun to actually color a face with the moon, instead of the other way around for a change.


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Out & About

Watermelon is a Parrot.

All manner of birds are of fascination to me. The physics and the voices and the colors – all amaze me no end. This guy is terribly sweet and tolerant of visitors.  His people have had him in the family since he was a chick.  Watermelon is now about 10 years old. He talks and says “Mom” as well as makes the trills and shrieks  that many associate with these bird. His feathers were freshly preened when I met him,  which accounts for his lovely sheen and wonderful pride.

If you know me at all, you know I love birds very much. This is, at times, problematic for someone who lives with cats. I’ve done my best to teach BobCat and Scuzzles that birds are not to be bothered. So far this year, so good. The one bird that BobCat has brought home managed to remain very much alive and was hoping around our bedroom one morning. I got him out eventually – through the window.

BobCat knows that birds are “No” and that I will be very upset if he bothers, pesters, chases, lurks near or under, swats at or otherwise intimidates the birds near our house. These are my terms and he has done well with them, in trade for kitty cookies. He’s a good cat, as cats go, and I think he likes the kitty cookies I pick.


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