Nicole Wasko Photography: Blog https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog en-us (C) Nicole Wasko Photography (Nicole Wasko Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/img/s/v-12/u773072020-o478713563-50.jpg Nicole Wasko Photography: Blog https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog 120 80 We have a new blog!! https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2015/4/we-have-a-new-blog Over the next couple weeks we will be updating our website and switching over to our new blog, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek before it is official! Head over to ---> www.nicolewasko.com/blog and make sure to check out Anna and Sam's recent engagement session in downtown Portland.

To see more of Anna and Sam's engagement visit our new blog --> www.nicolewasko.com/blog

To see more of Anna and Sam's engagement visit our new blog --> HERE To see more of life behind the lens with the Wasko's --> www.nicolewasko.com/blog

To see more life behind the lens with the Wasko's visit our new blog --> www.nicolewasko.com/blog

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2015/4/we-have-a-new-blog Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:26:50 GMT
Wooden Wedding Albums for 2015 https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/12/wooden-wedding-albums-for-2015 There are a lot of changes in store for Nicole Wasko Photography in 2015. We recently moved to Portland Oregon and are excited to start photographing mountain weddings around Mt. Hood and vineyard weddings in the Willamette Valley. We have updated our pricing to include albums in almost every wedding package, because one of our goals is for every single couple to walk away with a printed piece of art to display in their home. In addition to our leather and linen albums we have also added a very special and unique wedding album to our collection: a real wooden album with a leather binding. I just got my sample album in and cannot wait to start showing this off to new clients!  The wedding I chose for the sample was Valerie and Donald's greenhouse wedding in Santa Barbara that was featured in Style Me Pretty

 

Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding oregon portland products https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/12/wooden-wedding-albums-for-2015 Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:27:35 GMT
Family Session on Film https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-session-on-film Meet our good friends Scott, Marcela and Isabella! We miss being able to see them on a regular basis when we all lived in San Diego. Now they are in LA and we have moved farther north to Portland, OR.  This was the first time I shot a session 100% on film, and it was one of our last weekends hanging out in sunny Santa Barbara. Enjoy!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Oregon Portland family santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-session-on-film Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:15:00 GMT
Our Santa Barbara Neighbors on Film https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/our-santa-barbara-neighbors-on-film  

Meet our adorable next door neighbors from Santa Barbara...Mariella, Steve and Gizmo! 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) family oregon personal portland santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/our-santa-barbara-neighbors-on-film Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:15:00 GMT
Sarah's Portraits on Film https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/sarahs-portraits-on-film

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) family individual oregon portland portraits https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/sarahs-portraits-on-film Sun, 16 Nov 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Family Portraits on Film https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-portraits-on-film Meet the Caffery's!

 

 

Meet the Van Vleit's

 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) family oregon portland https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-portraits-on-film Fri, 14 Nov 2014 20:16:03 GMT
Paula + Dan on Film https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/paula-dan-on-film I was inspired by the girls at I Heart My Groom to create a blog series of my recent film photography. I've been dabbling in 35mm film lately on my sessions. I love shooting 35mm because I can use the same lenses I use with my digital SLR and an old film camera that cost me 20-bucks. The film is the secret sauce though ;) Enjoy the creamy skin tones and the pastel colors in these film photos!
Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement family newlywed oregon portland https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/paula-dan-on-film Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:32:56 GMT
Wedding | Santa Barbara Courthouse Part 2 - Black & White Film https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/8/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-part-2-black-white-film Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/8/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-part-2-black-white-film Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:45:00 GMT
Wedding | Santa Barbara Courthouse Part 1 https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-on-black-and-white-film Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-on-black-and-white-film Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:45:00 GMT
Wedding | Emily + Dustin Part 2 - film https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-on-film-part-2 Part two of Emily + Dustin's wedding was all shot on 35mm film. I'm absolutely in love with the look of film and my goal is to incorporate at least one roll into every wedding by 2015. Enjoy!

Ceremony: Santa Barbara Courthouse

Bouquet: Whole Foods Market

Dress: Etsy

Rings: Zales

Thanks to Monica for being a great second shooter!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding film santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-on-film-part-2 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:30:00 GMT
Scott + Anoushka's Wedding | The Santa Barbara Mission https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/scott-anoushkas-wedding-the-santa-barbara-mission Happy Friday everyone! I just wanted to share a couple images of Scott and Anoushka's wedding last Friday at the Mission rose garden in Santa Barbara. Aren't they a gorgeous couple?

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/scott-anoushkas-wedding-the-santa-barbara-mission Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:08:13 GMT
Wedding | Emily + Dustin Part 1 https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-sb-courthouse-wedding Emily and Dustin stopped in Santa Barbara on their way to Bora Bora for their honeymoon for an intimate wedding ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. 

Ceremony: Santa Barbara Courthouse

Bouquet: Whole Foods Market

Dress: Etsy

Rings: Zales

Thanks to Monica for being a great second shooter!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-sb-courthouse-wedding Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:30:00 GMT
San Diego Engagement Session | Balboa Park https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/san-diego-engagement-balboa-park Linda and Harrison's engagement session in Balboa park on July 3rd.

Scott and I had such a great time photographing this couple because they were so natural together. I encouraged them to hold hands in order to make a visual connection in their photographs. I think it is important to show connection between a couple especially during an engagement session. We cannot wait to photograph their wedding on the sand in Santa Barbara this August!! Congratulations again Linda and Harrison. 

Cheers!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) balboa park engagement san diego https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/san-diego-engagement-balboa-park Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:12:09 GMT
Wedding | Goleta Stowhouse https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/goleta-stowhouse-wedding Ellie and Ian's afternoon spring wedding was held at the Historical Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta California in the outside garden of the historical house. The rustic outdoor style of this venue fit with her navy blue and white themed garden wedding complete with lawn games and a photo booth. 

Venue: Rancho La Patera & Stow House, Goleta, CA

Food/Rentals: DJ's Catering

Photo Booth: SB Photobooth

Officient: Weddings by Christine

Hair & Makeup: Joyce Kim

Photography: Nicole Wasko Photogrpahy

Cake, Flowers, Decor: DIY

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Stow house Wedding santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/goleta-stowhouse-wedding Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:30:00 GMT
Session | A Wine Country Engagement https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/a-wine-country-engagement Jessica and Andy came up with the idea of having their engagement session in the Santa Ynez valley so they could take advantage of the great scenery and the great wine! We spent the entire afternoon together as they sipped wine together while I crashed their date with my camera. It was well worth the creepiness of following them around all day, even after getting kicked out of a vineyard and turned away for dinner at the place we had reservations at. Long story short, always make sure you not only have written permission but also print it out and physically carry it with you at all times, and double check with the restaurant after making an Open Table Reservation to make sure the restaurant is actually open on the night of your reservation. All in all we ended up at a fantastic place called Root 246 where we enjoyed a bottle of Stolpman Syrah and even better company!

Here's to Jessica and Andy! A big congratulations and many more happy times to come. 

 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement los olivos https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/a-wine-country-engagement Mon, 07 Jul 2014 18:00:00 GMT
Session | Amy + Neil https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/amy-neils-maternity-session-on-film Amy and Neil wanted to do their maternity photos on the beach, so I took them to my secret location in Santa Barbara. I shot a few frame of 35mm black and white film just for fun. Many thanks and congratulations to the lovely couple as they welcome the arrival their first child very soon!

Santa Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beachSanta Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beach Santa Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beachSanta Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beach

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) beach maternity santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/amy-neils-maternity-session-on-film Mon, 30 Jun 2014 18:00:00 GMT
Trip Report | Kalalau Trail Kauai PART 2 https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/trip-report-kalalau-trail-kauai-part-2 Click Here to read PART 1 of this Trip Report

 

This blog post is for entertainment only (and maybe a bit of information gathering). We are not backpacking experts, and don’t recommend you follow what we did as a good idea at all. So we hold no liability if you hurt or kill yourself or others while reenacting the tale below. In fact, we would encourage, nay, implore you to not repeat what we did, how we did it. There’s probably much better, safer, and saner ways go about this endeavor than we did. But if epic is what you want, then yeah, sure, make the same mistakes we did and get yourself into trouble. Danger is fun. 

 

Kalalau Trail Kauai PART 2

 

Miles 10 - 11:

As luck would have it, we couldn’t have timed our arrival to Kalalau Valley any better. The beach was still one mile away, but we made it to the overlook just as the sun was beginning to set and offering the best light possible for photos. The DSLR had pretty much been relegated to the backpack since Hanakapi-ai Beach at mile 2. We definitely got it out now and took some of the most amazing shots from the entire trip!

 

Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyTaking in the sunset

Sunset from Kalalau TrailOne mile from the beach Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyPanorama of the valley at sunset Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyScott enjoying the sunset and the view of Kalalau Valley after 10 miles of hiking. Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyNicole resting after 10 miles. Only 1 to go!

 

Lingering just as long as we felt comfortable, we began the hike down the red dirt ramps towards the ocean. At this point, my knees were screaming, but I was too happy to care. It was with about a half mile to go when we decided it was a good idea too break out the head lamps. Unfortunately, we did have one last major stream crossing left, and it was certainly a bit sketchy doing it in the dark.

Once we made it to the other side, it was pretty much a straight shot to the campground by the beach. We knew we’d arrived when we saw all of the other tents set up by other backpackers. Not wanting to disturb them, we carried on for a little while, past the toilets in the middle of the campground, to the far side. Once we found a nice, open spot it was a delight to take off our packs for the last time that day, knowing we wouldn’t have to put them back on. Somewhere in the distance, we could have sworn we heard a goat shriek, shouting out a death cry after being shot by a homemade bow and arrow.

 

Day 1 - Kalalau Beach evening:

We set up the tent without any problems, and I wandered off to find the waterfall at the far end of the beach to fill up our camp reservoir with water to boil for dinner. We inhaled our rehydrated meal and crawled into our tent, fully expecting to fall asleep almost immediately. That did not happen.

Whether it was due to being wired from the trail, not yet being used to sleeping in a tent again, or having a full belly of rehydrated Jamacian jerk chicken and rice, I don’t really know. What I do know is that neither Nicole nor I were sleeping at all. Rather than waste the opportunity, we decided to head down to the beach to look at the stars and maybe take some photos. We were incredibly fortunate that it was cloudless night and a new moon. With the lack of light pollution at this remote location coupled with the weather and moon conditions, the stars were absolutely phenomenal! Neither Nicole nor I know the first thing when it comes to astrophotography, but with stars like the ones we say, even n00bs like us could get away with some pretty nice shots.

 

Kalalau Valley StarsKalalau Valley StarsISO 1600, 40mm, f/4 25sec Kalalau Valley StarsKalalau StarsISO 1600, 40mm, f/4 25sec

 

After about 45 minutes or an hour, we decided it best to force ourselves back to the tent to get some sleep. I feel I could have just sat out there and looked at the stars until the sun came up.

 

Day 2 - Kalalau Beach morning: 

The next morning it was time to dawn our bathing suits and explore the beach! As we unzipped the door of our tent the sight we were greeted with was… penises (penes, actually is the correct plural of penis, but that’s a relatively obscure fact). In the darkness of the previous evening, we didn’t realize that we’d set up our tent right next to the hippy encampment. They were up early, wandering around and letting it all hang out, literally. We grabbed the cameras, our bathing suits and towels, and ran to the waterfall for a morning shower, trying to avoid the unwanted scenery. The beach itself is a marvel! Rather than write about it, I’ll let the photos and captions do the talking.

Our Campsite at Kalalau BeachOur Campsite at Kalalau BeachNight 1

Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiThe waterfall at the far end of the beach, closest freshwater source for the campground and a nice place to shower off the grim of the trail!

 

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachWalking to the caves at the west end Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachBetween two cliff faces at the west end Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachLooking back towards the east end (the direction we hiked in from) Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachThe cliffs beyond the sand on the west end are only accessible by boat/kayak

Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiCave at the west end of the beach. Looked like some cool bouldering to be done, if it wasn't so wet... Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiEven in late April, the shore break was pretty rough Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiTime to do some posing for the camera! Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiSuck in that gut! Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiPanorama of the beach shot from the west end Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiTurtle's nest freshly hatched Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiTurtle's nest freshly hatched

 

Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiLookin' cool!

Day 2 - Back to Hanakoa:

Nicole and I aren’t exactly the type of people who can just go to a beach a laze about for a day. We get too restless staying still for too long. But we could have stated at this beach all day and then some. Sadly, come midday we knew it was time to start the hike back so we wouldn’t be rushed getting to Hanakoa. And so we broke down camp, packed up our bags, and shoved off back down the trail we’d come up the previous day. Since we’d hiked this final half mile with headlamps on the previous night, this was the first time we got to see what we’d missed. The trail cut through a giant field of tall wild flowers. It was a wonderful farewell aloha & mahalo gift for us, almost like beckoning us to return some day! It definitely left an impression on me and I hope to indeed return in the future.

 

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiWildflowers on the hike outDay2

 

 

We eventually made it back over the river crossing to the red dirt ramps that climb up out of the valley back into the higher parts of the trail. While it looked miserable from below, we had our backpacking legs under us and hiking up wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it would be.

 

Kalalau stream crossingThis is what we had to navigate the night before wearing headlamps

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiRed Dirt Ramp leading out of the Kalalau ValleyDay2

 

The hike back to Hanakoa was quite delightful. The previous evening, we didn’t exactly have the time to relax and enjoy it since we were so hurried to make it to Kalalau before it got too late, and we were exhausted and sore by the time we were this far. On the hike out, our spirits were buoyed by our morning at Kalalau Beach, and our legs were fresh. We ran into Matt and his dog walking back towards the beach, but no goat in hand. 

He told us that he’d given up on his hunt because there was going to be a formal hunt sponsored by the Hawaii State Parks office soon. Hunters with permits and guns were going to be brought in for a goat culling. Since goats have no natural predators on the island (like the wild boars, goats are an introduced species by the Europeans), their population can grow out of control rather easily. The herds can cause serious erosion problems for these trails that need constant maintenance to prevent them from falling into the sea. So, unfortunately, no smoked goat treats for us on the hike out :(

 

We made it back to Crawler’ Ledge in no time at all, and this time there was no fear or anxiety. We just laughed, hooted and hollered across the ledge. There was a small herd of goats on the switchbacks leading up to the entrance of Hanakoa Valley who gave us funny looks, but then scattered as we approached. Shortly thereafter, we were back at the campground we decided to pass the previous day. This day, however, we set up camp on a terrace next to a very large tree, which I’m embarrassed to say I’ve still been unable to identify the species.

 

Hanakoa ValleyCamp in Hanakoa Valleynight 2

 

 

Having arrived with plenty of daylight, we relaxed at the campsite took stock of our remaining supplies, and cooked dinner. Compared with Kalalau, there’s not much to do or see here, so we just lounged in the tent, enjoyed a brief rain shower, and called in an early night. This time, we were able to fall asleep quite easily.

 

Day 3 - Hiking out:

The next day we were excited to pack up and head back to Hanakapi’ai Beach to meet back up with Daniel and Prasant. They enjoyed their day hike so much that first day that they wanted to do it again and we all would hike out together. Nicole and I put on a change of clothes, took down camp, and got back on the trail. We made it through Hanakoa Valley, and the other smaller valleys along the way. Though we did take a brief stop to cool down in a waterfall along the trail.

 

 

Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast, Kauai, waterfallCooling off in a waterfall along the trail Cooling off in a waterfall along the trail

 

 

We exited the natural reserve boundary and tiptoed down the muddy switchbacks towards Hanakapi’ai Beach.

 

 

Kalalau Trail Day 3 Kalalau Trail Hanakapiai Beach in the background Kalalau Trail Day 3 Kalalau Trail

 

Conveniently, we arrived at the beach just as Daniel and Prasant did. They wanted to push onward to see Hanakapi-ai Falls, which was 2 miles up a side trail from the beach. Nicole and I wished them well, but we didn’t particularly feel like hiking an additional 4 miles that day, so we stayed at the beach, swam in the ocean a bit, ate some food, and took naps. Daniel and Prasant came back a bit prematurely due to a sprained ankle along the way, so we actually had a reason to break out the first aid kit. With Prasant’s ankle all taped up, we crossed the final river, and moseyed down the final 2 miles to the trailhead with the promise of showers and beer waiting for us there.

 

End of the trail! After a much needed shower.Ahola! - Scott + Nicole

 

There are some places you’re satisfied only visiting once in your life, and other places that you want to go back to. The Na Pali coast is definitely in the later category! We’re both looking forward to a return visit, whenever that might be.

 

Aloha!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) adventure kauai personal trip report https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/trip-report-kalalau-trail-kauai-part-2 Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:43:15 GMT
Trip Report | Kalalau Trail Kauai PART 1 https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/hiking-the-kalalau-trail-trip-report This blog post is for entertainment only (and maybe a bit of information gathering). We are not backpacking experts, and don’t recommend you follow what we did as a good idea at all. So we hold no liability if you hurt or kill yourself or others while reenacting the tale below. In fact, we would encourage, nay, implore you to not repeat what we did, how we did it. There’s probably much better, safer, and saner ways go about this endeavor than we did. But if epic is what you want, then yeah, sure, make the same mistakes we did and get yourself into trouble. Danger is fun. 

 

Intro:

I don’t recall when or where I first heard about the Na Pali coast. I couldn’t even say when Nicole and I started talking about backpacking along it. Probably it was towards the end of 2012, around the time we began planning our honeymoon. Like many couples, we were thinking Hawaii but weren’t sure about what island. All of the info we got on Kauai and the Big Island suggested that roughing it was the best way to get the most out of those locations. But that’s not what we wanted after the stresses of planning our wedding. We ended up picking Maui over Kauai and the Big Island mostly because we were looking for a relaxing time rather than an adventure. But we vowed to visit those other islands in due time since, after all, Nicole and I do like a good adventure from time to time!

 

At the start of 2014, we began to seriously look into the logistics of a Kauai trip. And we knew the main objective was going to be backpacking the Na Pali. Upon digging deeper, we found that the Kalalau Trail (the one trail leading down the entire Na Pali coast) is a narrow, winding, muddy foot path complete with serious elevation gains, steep drop-offs, and hazardous stream crossings, that just happens to take you to one of the most pristine, wild, and beautiful beaches in the world. Sounds like fun!

 

It’s a 22 mile round trip from the trailhead to the beach and back, with over 10,000’ of elevation gain and loss over those 22 miles. This means that you’ll be hiking up hill for 10,000’ of vertical gain, and also hiking downhill for that same 10,000’ over the course of those 22 miles. The Sierra Club has a degree of difficulty rating system ranking trails from 1 (easiest) to 10 (really flippin’ hard!). The Kalalau Trail comes in at a 9. This would be an ambitious goal since I hadn’t been backpacking since 2007 and Nicole hadn’t been backpacking since she was born. But, whatever, we were going on an ADVENTURE!!! <channeling Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit>. 

 

Kalalau Trail stats:

  • Length: 22 miles round trip from trailhead to Kalalau Beach and back.
  • Difficulty: 9 out of 10 on Sierra Club’s difficulty scale (very difficult).
  • Elevation gain/loss: 10,000 feet
  • Hazards: Muddy/slippery footing, Exposure (steep cliff drop offs), rock fall, river crossings, flash floods, wildlife (goats and boars, but nothing poisonous), and last but not least - dirty hippies who’ve dropped out of society to live on the trail full time (they’re actually quite friendly, but are frequently naked, high on drugs, and smell really bad)
  • Permits: If you plan on hiking past the past Hanakoa Valley 6 miles in from the trailhead, a permit is required.
  • Time required to complete: Some badasses do the 22 miles as a day hike. We are not badasses and decided to take 3 days. In retrospect, taking 4 or 5 would have been nicer.

 

 

Kalalau Trail Elevation MapKalalau Trail Elevation Map

 

Kauai Kalalau Trail MapKauai Kalalau Trail Map

 

Online resources:

By far the best resource we found for this was http://www.kalalautrail.com. It’s packed with all sorts of information on the trail, planning, and trip reports from other hikers, as well as providing info on other ways to enjoy the Na Pali coast. http://www.napali.com is ok, but more geared towards guided boat and helicopter tours. There are plenty of general backpacking and camping websites out there, find which ones work for you. Apply for your permits here: https://camping.ehawaii.gov/camping/welcome.html.

 

Gear list:

  • ~50L lightweight backpack: Make sure it’s comfortable and fitted to your body. 
  • Lightweight tent/shelter: We have the REI Quarter Dome T2. 
  • Lightweight trail-runners, broken in: DON’T skimp on these! I wore Salomon XA PRO 3Ds and Nicole wore Vasque Velocitys. They’re both mesh/draining which is useful for all of the stream crossings done in them. We saw all sorts of footwear on the trails from heavy hiking boots to Keens and Chacos to Vibram Fivefingers, and even one dude wearing what looked to be aqua socks. The hippies were all barefoot. All have pros and cons, just wear what’s best for you.
  • Treking poles: They are worth their weight in gold, frankincense, and myrrh, COMBINED!
  • Lightweight sleeping bag or liner: We have Cocoon sleeping bag liners.
  • Sleeping pad: We have Thermarests.
  • Inflatable pillow: If you like to pamper yourself, and we do.
  • Lightweight backpackers stove: We have a Primus Classic Trail stove.
  • Cooking pot: Unless you use a Jetboil where everything is one piece.
  • Fuel: Note - if you are not permitted to fly with camping fuel, even in your checked luggage. If you have a canister stove you can buy fuel canisters at Kauai Kayak in Kapaa. They also sell partially used canisters at a discount. When you’re done on the trail, stop by and give them your canister back so they can pay it forward!
  • Eating utensils and bowls: The bowls are optional, but unless you plan on only having finger food, I recommend bringing a spork.
  • Multitool: Swiss Army knife or Leatherman.
  • Sunscreen: You’ll need it.
  • Bug spray: Unfortunately, you’ll also need it.
  • First aid kit: Hopefully you won’t need it.
  • Water bladder/bottles: We each have 2L bladders that fit in our backpacks. We also brought 2 1L Nalgenes but didn’t really use them. We also have a 3L camp bladder, MSR Dromedary, which works great once you’re at camp.
  • Iodine or other water purifier: We prefer iodine since it’s lightweight, kills viruses that water filters can’t remove, and UV SteriPens can only purify one Nalgene at a time.
  • Nuun or other hydration tablets: Not absolutely necessary, but really nice to have for electrolytes.
  • Clothes line: Your clothes will get wet, it’s nice to hang them to dry when at camp.
  • Toilet paper: There are toilets at the trailhead and beach, also at the 2 and 6 mile points along the trail but TP is not guaranteed. If you think you’ll need additional potty breaks, bring a WAG bag too. Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, other personal hygiene stuff and medications.
  • Copies of trail permit and map: We didn’t need to use either, but better safe than sorry.

 

Clothes (bring as few changes as you’re comfortable with):

  • Sun hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Bandana 
  • Rain jacket
  • Lightweight shirt
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight socks: Merino wool is great!
  • Undies: Going commando can lead to chaffing.
  • Long underwear or other insulation layer: Nights do get chilly! A lightweight fleece might be necessary if you run particularly cold at night. 
  • Bathing suit: You ARE going to the beach, after all! Or you could just go in your birthday suit…
  • Camp towel
  • Sandals or other camp/beach shoes

 

Food:

Different people have different ideas when it comes to food on the trail. Regardless of what you do, make sure you bring enough calories. You’ll be exerting yourself quite hard on this trail and you don’t want to bonk in the middle of it! Bear in mind that with rain being unpredictable in the area, flash floods closing down stream crossings is a real possibility. You might want to bring extra food in case you’re stranded for an additional day. Below is a list of what we took. All in all, we estimated to have brought 10,000 calories each for the 3 days.

 

Breakfast (in camp): 

  • “Concoction”: Instant oats, buckwheat sprouted grains (grouts), flax meal, almond slices, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips, all mixed together. Just add boiling water. YUM! Brought enough for 3 meals. 
  • Starbucks Via: Definitely need that caffein kick! Bring creamer and sugar too, if that’s your thing.

Lunch/snacks (on trail):

  • Simple trail mix: Mixed nuts, raisins, and M&Ms.
  • ProBars: Whole food bars very high in balanced calories, and taste great. We each had 4.
  • Bagged tuna in oil: Great serving size, less bulky than cans, get tuna packed in oil instead of water for extra calories (and taste!). We each had 2.
  • No refrigeration necessary cheese: Sounds gross, tastes great when you need calories.!
  • A few of bags of jerky: beef, turkey, and pork
  • Flour tortillas: Less bulky than bread, same calories.
  • Single serve peanut butter and nutella: Spread on tortillas for a great afternoon pick-me-up!! 

Dinner (in camp):

  • Backpackers Pantry or Mountain House prepackaged dehydrated meals: These are easy and after a long day of hiking actually taste pretty good. Just add boiling water, and they cook in the bag so no clean up either! Each meal/bag is 2 servings, but only ~350 calories per serving, so we brought 3 each. I recommend trying to find the low sodium meals. If you bring tortillas, these prepackaged dinners make excellent burritos when wrapped.

 

Cameras:

This is a photography blog, after all!!! We debated long and hard about what to bring. The GoPro Hero3 Black was definitely coming. But we we unsure about what high quality camera system to pack for those shots that require some extra quality. The options were a DSLR, compact mirrorless with interchangeable lenses, or a nice point and shoot with manual controls. The DLSR was bulky, but we already own a few of those and they take great shots! A nice point and shoot would be compact but how much better would it really be than the GoPro? A compact mirorless would be a great combination of quality and convenience, but we don’t own either a camera or lenses and renting a full system would be expensive.  In the end, we ended up buying a pancake 40 mm f2.8 lens to put on our full frame Canon 6D DSLR. 

 

Canon 6d with "pancake" 40mm f/2.8 (AKA shorty forty) and GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition with 3 extra batteriesCanon 6d with "pancake" 40mm f/2.8 (AKA shorty forty) and GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition with 3 extra batteries

 

Training:

As mentioned above, I hadn’t been backpacking in almost 7 years and Nicole hadn’t been backpacking in her entire life. We’re young, active people (well, not as young or active as we used to be) but knew we’d have to get a more miles on the trails in before tackling this Hawaiian monster. Fortunately, living in Santa Barbara gives us access to a great trail system and we were able to go for short hikes after work during the week, and longer ones on the weekends.! We started just hiking with water and a bit of food, and gradually increased our pack loads up to the same weight, or at least close to the same as what we were brining with us to Hawaii. We got a few looks from other hikers since we had so much gear on our backs, but whatever. We were feeling a lot tougher compared to them.

 

Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CATraining Hike. Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CA Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CATraining Hike. Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CA

 

The Main Event:

We flew from California to Lihue airport on April 26th. During the approach to the airport we could see the sea cliffs on the southeast side of the island and knew that the northern coast had just as much, if not more waiting for us.

 

Kauai from the airKauai from the airThere will be plenty more cliffs like those on the trail!

 

After getting our luggage we took a shuttle to the Courtyard Marriott in Kapaa. Our friend, Daniel, travels an ungodly amount for work and basically lives in hotels. Marriott is his preferred chain and he gets treated like royalty at any Marriott hotel in the world. He happened to have a free night available for the Courtyard Kauai resort and hooked us up! After a lunch of kalua pork sliders and local beer, Nicole and I took stock of all of our gear, organized and packed our bags.

 

Na Pali Kalalau Trail Backpacking Gear for 2 peopleNa Pali Kalalau Trail Backpacking Gear for 2 people

We still had a few hours before our Dan and our other friend Prasant were set to arrive (they were planning on day hiking the first few miles of the trail with us, but not backpack the whole way), so we decided to walk a couple of miles down the road to Kayak Kauai as a warm up to the trail, and also to buy a canister of camp stove fuel. As mentioned in the gear list above, Kayak Kauaii in Kapaa sells partially used isobutane fuel canisters. You can’t fly with them, so backpackers can just drop off their canisters here after finishing up their trip, and frequently they have more than enough fuel for at least a week long hike. Score!

Back at the Marriott, Prasant finally showed up but Daniel was delayed, so we got some pizza and beer at Bobby V’s, just a quick walk from the hotel. The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license, but you can buy a 6-pack and bring it in. It was damn good NY style pizza and is highly recommended.

 

Our original plan was for a 3 day backpacking trip. We would cover the full 11 miles from the trailhead to Kalalau Beach on day 1, hang out on the beach and hike 5 miles back to Hanakoa Valley on day 2, and then leisurely hike the 6 miles back to the trail head on day 3. Since tomorrow was going to be the big 11 mile day and we were still used to mainland timezones, we all went to sleep rather early. Daniel eventually showed up sometime in the middle of the night, which is good since he was our ride to the trailhead in the morning. We woke up around 6 am hoping to get on the trail by 8 or so, but didn’t actually make it there until about 10. Sunset was just after 7 pm, so we knew we had to get a move on if we wanted to cover those 11 miles without resorting to headlamps.

 

April 27-29th 2014

 

Miles 0 - 2:

The first couple of miles of the Kalalau Trail are a popular day hike since at Mile 2, you’ll reach Hanakapi’ai Beach. That means these first 2 miles are crowded, foot traffic is high. and the trail well worn. It had also rained quite a bit in the prior days, so the mud was deep and slick. We’re glad we had trekking poles to help with the hills! Daniel and Prasant weren’t content to move at the slow pace that Nicole and I were going at (probably because they didn’t have 25 and 45 pound backpacks on) and decided to forge ahead to Hanakapi’ai without us.  It took some initial adjusting to efficiently hike on the wet stone and mud of this trail compared with the dry, hard packed dirt of the Santa Barbara trails we were used to. The heat and humidity didn’t help either, but we were enjoying it none the less. Perhaps a bit too much. There were all sorts of great spots to stop and take pictures and we were doing just that way too often. Eventually we realized that if we didn’t pick up the pace, we wouldn’t make it to Kalalau that night. So we plugged on ahead.

 

First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailThe sign at the trailhead. Let's start this adventure! First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailIt's all smiles these first few miles. First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailOne of the first ocean views from the cliffs on the trail First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailYou can almost see down the coast to our final destination. Almost... First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailLooking back towards the starting beach First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailThe mud gets thicker and thicker the further you hike

 

Just before making it to Hanakapi’ai beach, we had to go down what was essentially the equivalent of a mud water slide. We ran into several day hikers who decided to turn back at various stages of this slide, mud coating their butts and backs because they couldn’t stay on their feet walking down. At the bottom was our first major stream crossing. Due to all of the rain, the water was rather high, but not particularly treacherous looking. None the less, we dutifully undid our backpack waist and chest straps before heading in. It’s always a good idea to do this just in case you fall down. You don’t want to have your backpack pin you down in moving water, and unbuckling straps lets you slip out easily.

 

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail Stream CrossingFirst Stream CrossingThree cheers for hiking poles! Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail Stream Crossing. Two mile beach.Hanakapi’ai beach - 2 miles inDan and Prasant greeting us to the beach

 

Just on the other side of the stream was Hanakapi’ai Beach. We had a little food and found Daniel and Prasant, but didn’t linger too long. We had to keep on keeping on, and so bade our farewells, agreeing to meet again in 2 days time.

 

Miles 2 - 6:

The trail continues on from the beach and immediately heads up switchback after muddy switchback. Over the next mile, we hiked up to the maximum elevation point on the trail at 800 ft above sea level, a formation called Space Rock. Some of the switchbacks are in dense foliage while others are more exposed to the sun. It’s shaded and cooler when you’re in foliage, but the trail is at it’s muddiest slickest, while in the sun the footing is better, but it is quite hot! At the 3 mile mark, you’re at the trail high point and can enjoy the views and some much needed food as you cross over into the natural reserve area.

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail Mile 3: entrance to reserve area and Space Rock on the right. Space Rock Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast KauaiMile 3 Kalalau TrailShot from behind Space Rock, highest point on the Kalalau Trail

 

For the next 3 miles, the trail follows a similar pattern: Head downhill and inland away from the coast into a valley (frequently passing waterfalls), cross a stream at the valley center, head uphill and towards the coast (passing other waterfalls), round the corner and follow the coast for a little while, repeat. The views down the coast were phenomenal, and the more miles you hiked down the trail, the better the views back up the coast became! The cliffs surrounding the valleys were tall and imposing, but also always covered in a verdant, welcoming coat of foliage that made it more Garden of Eden than Mordor and Mt Doom. There weren’t any terrestrial animals to see, but we could hear birds calling back and forth across the valleys and occasionally see them flying overhead. We also saw and heard a LOT of helicopter tours above and power boat tours in the ocean. It’s big business here and if you think the hike is going to be a tranquil nature experience away from the sights and sounds of the city, well, it mostly is. But there’s still the random helicopter and power boat to bring you back to reality.

 

Eventually we got to a valley that was MUCH bigger than the ones we had previously been traversing through. It was about 3:30 pm at this point and we were starting to get worried because we hadn’t even passed the halfway point yet. We encountered a couple hiking the opposite direction and they told us that we were entering Hanakoa Valley now and would get to that campground soon. 30 minutes later, at 4 pm, we were there.

 

Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast KauaiKalalau TrailLooking into Hanakoa Valley. Shot taken on day 3 hiking back out.

 

It was concerning to us that we were only moving at a pace of 1 mile/hour. If we held that pace we wouldn’t make it to the campground at Kalalau beach until 9 pm, a full 2 hours after sunset. Hanakoa Valley is the only other location on the trail where camping is permitted, so we had a decision to make. 

 

If we wanted to stick to our 3 day plan we had the following options:

  1. Stick with the original plan, charge ahead and make it to Kalalau Beach that evening. Picking up the pace would be necessary.
  2. Stay at Hanakoa that night, leave the camp set up and our overnight gear there, and day hike out to Kalalau Beach and back the next day. Hike out from Hanakoa to the trailhead on day 3, as originally planned.
  3. Stay at Hanakoa that night, pack up camp and go to Kalalau Beach and camp there the next day. Hike all the way from Kalalau back to the trailhead on day 3.

 

Option 2 wasn’t really all that appealing since even though it would make the hike a lot easier by not requiring us to carry all our stuff to Kalalau, it would really eat into our time at the beach and would add pressure for us to make it back to camp and our tent even if there was an accident or flash flood. Option 3, with us hiking the 11 miles on the last day when we would be the most tired, didn’t seem that great either. Though the hike out would be with lighter packs. What really made up our minds was that Hanakoa Valley wasn’t really all that nice a place to camp, and we really wanted to see this beach. So after a quick bite of jerky and trail mix we decided to forge ahead.

 

Miles 6 - 8:

Hanakoa is a long valley, but it’s not particularly deep. After the second major stream crossing (the bigger the valley, the bigger the stream crossings) we were able to hike up and out relatively quickly. So far so good with the increased pace! Immediately after cresting the other side of it, we encountered very steep switchbacks leading down to the infamous Crawler’s Ledge, a section where the trail narrows to just a few feet across and traverses a rocky cliff a few hundred feet above the ocean below. Fortunately, this section is so steep that no foliage covered it, and the trail was bone dry, improving our footing. Still, once we passed the ominous signs warning us of death and dismemberment, fear and doubt crept into our minds. This was further advanced by legs that were already wobbly from exhaustion. Now they were becoming wobbly with nerves.

 

the infamous Crawler’s Ledge. Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailThe infamous Crawler’s LedgeJosh Schulz is hot. The sign doesn't lie. Starting down the steep section looking onto Crawler's Ledge wrapping around the cliff in the distance.Starting down the steep section looking onto Crawler's Ledge wrapping around the cliff in the distance.

Kalalau Crawler’s LedgeThe infamous Crawler’s LedgeReturn Trip

 

It took us probably a good 10 minutes to traverse the 100 yards or so of Crawler’s Ledge and get up the other side. Here, for the first time, we could see our destination (though we didn’t realize it at the time…).

 

Na Pali Coast Crawler’s LedgeHiking out the steep section just after Crawler’s Ledge

Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast KauaiMile 7 Kalalau TrailThat green grassy field in the middle is just above Kalalau Beach

 

Miles 8 - 10:

Once we made it past Crawler’s Ledge, we were able to ride the adrenaline rush for another mile or so before we began to crash. Coming off an adrenaline high when you’re already exhausted and your body’s struggling to convert food into energy is no fun. Fortunately, right around that time we encountered our first full-time resident of the trail. A jovial bearded fellow with dark curly hair and an energetic dog, who was as equally unkempt as his master, came bounding down the trail towards us. Nicole and I saw him in the distance and just sort of stared at what he appeared to be holding in his hands. We turned to each other and said, “No, seriously? Is this guy really carrying… a bow and arrows?!”

 

Sure enough, he was. As he got closer we could see the homemade hunting equipment he had and also noticed his bare feet. We stopped and chatted for a little bit. After introducing ourselves I figured this guy’s name would be something like Sierraphish or Rainjava. “I’m Matt,” he said. He told us he was out hunting goat for his friends who were all down at Kalalau Beach. He was planning to take one down and then smoke it in Hanakoa Valley somewhere before bringing it back to Kalalau for a feast. It’s one thing to hear stories of goat eating hippies on the trail, but another entirely to encounter them on your own. My day was officially made. More importantly, Matt informed us that we were actually getting pretty close to the beach at this point. We just had a few small valleys to traverse before we got there. It was a little after 6 at the 4time, so we thanked him for the info and wished him well on his goat hunt before setting off, reenergized by the encounter and the promise that were were almost there. Sure enough, after making it through 3 more small valleys with 3 more small stream crossings, we came across the sight we were waiting for.

 

The Kalalau ValleyThe Kalalau ValleyGetting there just at sunset!

 

Part 2 coming next week! In the meantime we are off to hike Mount Whitney!

 

Aloha

- Scott + Nicole

 

Click Here to read PART 2

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) adventure kauai personal trip report https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/hiking-the-kalalau-trail-trip-report Fri, 20 Jun 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Personal | Anacapa Island Orca https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/personal-anacapa-island-orca On February 15th I surprised Scott with a trip to Anacapa Island with Island Packers, who are the only ferry system to get the public to and from the Channel Islands, that I know of. They do a great job, we highly recommend any of their tours! Anacapa is one of a chain of islands in the Channel Islands National Park. We had both visited a neighboring island Santa Cruz, which can be seen from the Santa Barbara coastline, but we wanted to check out the smaller island of Anacapa because of it's intriguing jagged cliffs, natural rock arch and it's chain of connected razor thin islands. Little did we know that we would run into a pod of dolphin and a family of orca on our one hour ferry ride out to the island. Dolphins are a common sighting but our guide said this was only the third time he had ever seen orca on one of these trips. 

Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip Anacapa Island Trip

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) personal https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/personal-anacapa-island-orca Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:26:53 GMT
Session | Ellings Park Engagement https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/ellings-park-engagement-session Ellie and Ian's engagement session at Elling's Park and Hendry's beach in Santa Barbara CA. Keep an eye out for a post of their DIY wedding at the Stow House in Goleta, CA coming soon!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/ellings-park-engagement-session Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:24:57 GMT
Session | Brittany + Bobby Engagement https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/brittany-bobby-engagement Brittany and Bobby are having an autumn wedding in Carpinteria this year so we headed to Knapps Castle high above Santa Barbara for their romantic engagement session.  

Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle Engagement session at Knapps CastleBrittany + Bobby Engagement session at Knapps Castle
Note: Knapps Castle is private property and you must have explicit permission from the owner to photograph there. 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Engagement santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/brittany-bobby-engagement Wed, 18 Jun 2014 23:46:43 GMT
Session | Valerie + Donald https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/2/engagement-session-valerie-donald I met Valerie and Donald for the first time at our engagement session even though they had already booked me for their wedding in July.  They were coming to Santa Barbara from their home in Woodland Hills for the weekend to celebrate Valerie's birthday.  We met at Starbucks, discussed the details of their wedding and got to know each other a little better before heading out to shoot some engagement photos. I have to mention that it looked like it was about to rain that day. Southern California is in a severe drought so I would have been happy for rain, but I was glad it held off long enough to get them some fabulous engagement session photos. They requested photos at Alice Keck Park and at Spoon Ice Cream Shop on State Street. It was a wonderful afternoon walking around Santa Barbara with this couple and I cannot wait to photograph their wedding in July at Stella Mare's Greenhouse and the SB Courthouse. 

 
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(Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/2/engagement-session-valerie-donald Thu, 27 Feb 2014 15:00:00 GMT
Session | Ella https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/2/ella This family was so sweet! I love working with families like them. They are kind, and loving and just amazing people. Their daughter, Ella, was such a joy to photograph in her new nursery. I'm sure they will have many happy memories in their new home over the years to come as Ella grows up. 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) baby family https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/2/ella Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:00:00 GMT
Session | William's Family Portrait https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/2/hammonds-beach This family was such a special treat to photograph. They were so comfortable and natural with each other in front of my camera, it was too easy! I met them at their house where we did a few photos around the neighborhood then we caravanned over to the beach, which should have been a 5 minute drive. The traffic was so terrible that day that we lost 45 minutes of light sitting in traffic (which is why I always allow extra time, you just never know). We arrived at the beach minutes before sunset, but it was magical. A big thanks to this family for being such good sports and even better models for me! 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) beach family santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/2/hammonds-beach Fri, 21 Feb 2014 00:23:19 GMT
Personal | Brook + Steve's baby shower https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/brooke-steves-baby-shower Congratulations to these new parents and best wishes to Carsten and Brian who arrived a little early on Christmas Eve. I know Mom and Dad cannot wait to bring them home! 

So Much Love and Best Wishes!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) San Diego baby shower https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/brooke-steves-baby-shower Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Session | Valentine's Day https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/valentines-day-photo-session

 
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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Kids baby family https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/valentines-day-photo-session Mon, 20 Jan 2014 19:22:02 GMT
Personal | 2013 Highlights https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/2013-highlights 2013 was an amazing year full of excitement and new beginnings in our life. Here are just a few of our favorite memories from 2013.

-Nicole & Scott Wasko

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) highlights personal https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/2013-highlights Tue, 07 Jan 2014 18:38:35 GMT
Personal | My "About Me" Photo! https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/in-front-of-the-camera Yes, that's me in front of the camera! First of all, I have to say how overwhelmed I am by the positive support I've received from the local photography community!  I'm so thankful and blessed by photographers like Maddy and Felicia of I Heart My Groom Photography, Karen D Photography, Kacie Jean Photography, and Michael + Anna Costa who have supported my photography and given me the opportunity to improve and learn from their talent and experience!

Recently I had a chance to meet with a team of photographers in Santa Barbara who's work I absolutely admire! Maddy and Felicia's photography is so amazing I could spend hours drooling over page after page of their blog, so naturally I was thrilled when they agreed to meet me for coffee to talk photography! Meetings with other photographers are such a great experience for someone like me who is starting their photography business from scratch, because you can ask them about their own business and learn from their experiences and hopefully avoid making some inevitable "newbie" mistakes. 

Maddy and Felicia noticed right away that I didn't have a professional photo of myself up on my website. I must have been feeling brave that day because I asked them if they would be willing to take one for me. I'm so glad they agreed, because they work magic with their cameras!! One thing that was important for my "About Me" picture was for it to represent who I am as a person and as my brand. I want perspective brides to be able to see my fun relaxed personality and be able to get an idea of who I am before they meet me. Another thing that was important was picking the right photographer. I knew instantly that I trusted Maddy and Felicia and I felt comfortable enough to be in front of their camera (even though it felt so backwards).

Photos By: I Heart My Groom

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Personal i heart my groom https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/1/in-front-of-the-camera Sat, 04 Jan 2014 00:20:24 GMT
Session | Stevens Park Family Session https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/stevens-park-family-session What a fabulous family! How adorable are these little girls in their matching yellow outfits? They picked Steven's Park in Santa Barbara for their family portrait session because it is one of their favorite parks in town and Niki and Caesar and thinking of tying the knot there this summer (how exciting!).

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) family santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/stevens-park-family-session Mon, 30 Dec 2013 16:00:00 GMT
NEW! | Custom Flash Drives! https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/custom-flash-drives I just got my custom engraved wooden flash drives and I'm absolutely in love with them! These little wooden boxes have a lid that slides off to reveal a wooden flash drive in a nest of wood shavings. The flash drive is engraved with my aspen leaf symbol to keep it simple and classy. I think my clients are really going to enjoy having these in their home.

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Flash Drives from www.photoflashdrive.com 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding packaging https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/custom-flash-drives Sat, 28 Dec 2013 16:00:00 GMT
Session | Archer Family Photos https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/archer-family-photos This family was so fun to photograph at Los Carneros. You can feel their love for each other by the way the run around and play with each other, it was the sweetest thing to witness and capture on camera. Moments like these are precious :)

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) family santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/archer-family-photos Thu, 26 Dec 2013 17:00:00 GMT
Personal | Some of my Favorite Holiday Things https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/some-of-my-favorite-holiday-things Merry Christmas Eve, my favorite Holiday! I love the anticipation and magic of Christmas Eve. As a child my family used to get dressed up and go out to dinner on Christmas eve after attending a Christmas Eve service and singing Silent Night by candlelight. This year my husband and I will be spending most of it in the car driving up to my parent's place in the Bay Area, but we will keep one of the Hess family traditions alive by making sure we stop for dinner somewhere along the way. We decided not to do a tree this year, instead I pulled out a couple of my favorite ornaments and hung them around the apartment.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

This absolutely adorable knitted star was made by the fabulous Alla Hale.  I miss our wine and knitting nights together!!

 

 

I made these ornaments the first year I lived in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in San Diego. They were made from a small handful of sand and shells collected on my frequent walks on the beach. It was likely the only time I will live in a house with an ocean view,  where I could sit and spot whales migrating from my balcony. So this is a small token from a wonderful place :)

 

Another home made ornament, but this one will always be cherished because it is made from curled pieces of paper from our wedding invitation. 
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(Nicole Wasko Photography) christmas holiday personal https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/some-of-my-favorite-holiday-things Tue, 24 Dec 2013 16:37:44 GMT
Session | The Family Jeans https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/first-christmas-portrait This family is so awesome!  I absolutely love photographing them because it seems like we cannot stop laughing the entire time! I photographed Kasey's maternity session back in August and I was so happy they asked me to do their family portrait this year at their home. When I asked if Kasey has anything specific she wanted photographed for Lee's first Christmas photo she answered, "his great-grandfather's jeans"! She explained that Lee was wearing a family heirloom of sorts, because the tiny denim jeans he had on belonged to Jason's grandfather when he was a baby! What a cool family story, don't you agree?

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) baby christmas family holiday https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/first-christmas-portrait Fri, 20 Dec 2013 17:00:00 GMT
Personal | Establishment and Discovery https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/blog-template

2013 has been a year of establishment and discovery. I got married and started my photography business this year, but I also discovered more about who I am as a person, a wife, a daughter, and a photographer.

 
One thing I focused on this year was developing a style and a brand. The first thing I had to face was that I needed a new logo. Yup, I admit it, I designed my first (and second) logo, but I'm a photographer not a graphic designer. 
 
After over a month of working with a graphic designer I am so happy to introduce my new logo which was designed by Limefish Studio!  The leaf concept was born after a discussion I had with my mom. I started telling her about the words I had come up with that best describe my photography business, words like: delicate, earthy, rustic, timeless. She said that those words brought to mind a vision of an ornate gold dipped leaf that had been worn away so that all that was left were the veins.
 
I loved this concept so much that it stuck with me through out the design process. It was a discussion with my husband that brought me to the aspen leaf shape. We were talking about different types of trees that were frequently saw in some of our favorite places. We talked about how much we loved the fall colors of aspen trees lining the creeks in the high Sierras. That night I googled the shape of an aspen leaf and found a photo of a heart shaped leaf. Later that week I was out for a walk in our local park with my husband when I noticed on the ground was a heart shaped leaf. I had never noticed that tree before. Now I incorporate this leaf into my packaging by pressing heart shaped leaves between the pages of my old text books and sending them to my clients as little love notes from my home to theirs.
 
 
 
The second thing I needed was a facelift to my website, which was also a DIY project of mine. I blame my grad-school days for my thrifty nature, when I could live a week on $5 worth of Trader Joe's pasta and red sauce.  
 
I am so excited to introduce my new custom made website for Nicole Wasko Photogrpahy.  It all started back in September when I attended a free seminar (there is my thriftiness again) put on by Shoot Dot Edit called the Ultimate Happiness Tour. I went with my friend Karen hoping to meet other local photographers and learn some new tips. I wasn't expecting to win a raffle prize for a website makeover, but that's exactly what happened. Thanks to 2 Blokes Designs who generously donated a "One Day Website" I now have a beautiful custom website that is uniquely me! I couldn't have done this on my own and I am so grateful for people like Jason at 2 Blokes Design who generously donate their expertise to help others! I am inspired to do the same.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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(Nicole Wasko Photography) background my story personal website https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/blog-template Fri, 13 Dec 2013 19:58:16 GMT
NEW! | Moving into 2014 https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/moving-into-2014 2013 has been filled with amazing opportunities for us. We went full time in May of this year and have been growing, learning and expanding ever since. We are especially grateful for all of the wonderful people we have met along the way and have had the pleasure to photograph! A big thanks to my mentor Karen D Photography who has taught me so much over the past 7 months. 

We are moving forward with several exciting changes to start off the year 2014 including a complete re-branding project by LimeFish Studio and a new website by 2BLOKEDESIGN! We will also be offering new and exciting products and hosting a discounted "friends and family photo day". 

Keep in touch as we move forward into 2014!

<3- NWP

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) 2 blokes karen d photo lime fish my story personal https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/12/moving-into-2014 Wed, 04 Dec 2013 17:38:11 GMT
Session | Photos at Santa Barbara Courthouse https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/10/skylar-and-gage-family-photos-at-santa-barbara-courthouse I just love it when kids can be themselves in front of my camera! One trick to get shy kids to come out of their shell is to put down your camera when you first meet them and get them engaged in a game or run around with them. Luckily, this little one was not shy at all! 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) family santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/10/skylar-and-gage-family-photos-at-santa-barbara-courthouse Fri, 11 Oct 2013 07:45:00 GMT
Wedding | San Ysidro Ranch https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-san-ysidro-ranch This was a destination wedding where the couple came over from England with their family to exchange their vows. The ceremony took place on a grassy hilltop overlooking the ocean and the reception was held at the picturesque San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, CA. 

All photos below were taken while shooting for Karen D Photography.

    

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) karen d photo santa Barbara wedding https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-san-ysidro-ranch Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:00 GMT
Wedding | Spanish Fiesta Theme https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-spanish-fiesta-theme This was another wedding shot for Karen D Photography in Santa Barbara this summer. This couple had a special connection to Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara which was why they decided to do a Spanish Fiesta theme wedding complete with a taco bar and churro station! Instead of cutting a cake they decided to dip a churro in chocolate. Their ceremony took place in the Mural Room at the Santa Barbara Courthouse followed by a party reception at the Casa De La GuerraAll photography was taken while shooting for Karen D Photography

 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) karen d photo santa Barbara wedding https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-spanish-fiesta-theme Sat, 28 Sep 2013 14:45:00 GMT
Wedding | Tropical Beach Wedding https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-tropical-beach-wedding This was the third wedding I did as a 3rd shooter for Karen D Photography this summer. Click on the first photo to see more.

All photos below were taken while shooting for Karen D Photography.

 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding karen d photo santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-tropical-beach-wedding Thu, 26 Sep 2013 22:09:00 GMT
Wedding | Port Hueneme CA https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-port-hueneme-ca This was the second wedding I did as a third shooter for Karen D.  The lovely couple got married overlooking the beach on Fourth of July weekend in Port Hueneme, near Ventura. I'm always happy when a couple decides to do a first look, and this was no exception. They had a very emotional moment that we were fortunate enough to capture for them. I know I'm glad I did a first look when my husband and I got married! I would highly recommend it to anyone getting married. It takes so much stress off of your day and is a special moment you will never forget!

All photos were taken while shooting for Karen D Photography:

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding karen d photo santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-port-hueneme-ca Thu, 12 Sep 2013 23:46:36 GMT
Wedding | On the Sand https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-on-the-sand  
 

This was my very first 3rd shooter gig back in June.  A big shout out to Karen D Photography  for bringing me on as a third shooter and offering constructive critiques. I enjoy working with her and have learned so much from her! Looking forward to shooting more weddings with her in the future and watching her business grow.

All Images below were shot for Karen D Photography :

Santa Barbara Photographer Wedding Details Santa Barbara Photographer Bridal Portrait Bouquet Santa Barbara wedding on the beach photographer Santa Barbara Trash the Dress Photographer Ocean Beach

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding karen d photo santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/wedding-on-the-sand Sat, 07 Sep 2013 15:55:04 GMT
Session | Fred and Lizzie | Santa Barbara Engagement Session https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/fred-and-lizzie-santa-barbara-engagement-session  
 

Fred and Lizzie came to me for engagement pictures in June as my first real clients! They requested photos with their vintage bus near the beach. They were such a fun couple to photograph, because smiles came so naturally to them! They were both full of love for one another and they have an amazing sense of adventure! They are getting married next Fourth of July in Northern California.

Here's to Lizzie and Fred and to all the adventures ahead!

Couple: Lizzie and Fred

Location: 101 south lookout point just south of Gaviota, CA

Date: June 16, 2013

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/fred-and-lizzie-santa-barbara-engagement-session Fri, 06 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT
Ashlee | A New Career https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/linkedin-profile-pic-ashlee Today, I wanted to share a couple of Ashlee's new profile portraits that we did for her when she started her new job in Texas. Ashlee has been one of my best friends since we met in college at UCSB. Ashlee defended her PhD in March of this year at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in Geophysics and accepted a job in Texas shortly after. I am so proud of her success and was happy to drive out to Texas with her to help her settle into her new life as a working professional. Along the way we stopped at the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff AZ, Albuquerque NM, Amarillo and finally Fort Worth TX! Cheers to your new career Ashlee! 

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) portrait https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/linkedin-profile-pic-ashlee Thu, 05 Sep 2013 17:49:19 GMT
Session | Patty and Adam | Welcome Archer James! https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/welcome-archer-james Congratulations to Patty and Adam on the arrival of their first child, and a big warm welcome to Archer James who was born on August 20 at 8:29am weighing in at 7 lbs. 8 oz. 19 in. 

 
 

Couple: Patty & Adam

Location: San Diego, CA

Shoot Date: June 2 & Aug 31, 201

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) San Diego baby family maternity https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/welcome-archer-james Wed, 04 Sep 2013 20:13:22 GMT
Kit and Alla | Point Loma Portrait Session https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/kit-and-alla-point-loma-portrait-session A big thanks goes out to this beautiful couple who were a huge help at our wedding and were happy to do some portraits for us before going to dinner at Slater 50/50 in Point Loma where their burgers are made out of 50% beef + 50% bacon. 

Couple: Kit and Alla

Location: Point Loma, CA

Shoot Date: June 1, 2013

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Santa Barbara Couples Portrait and Engagement Session Photography

Santa Barbara Couples Portrait and Engagement Session Photography Santa Barbara Couples Portrait and Engagement Session Photography Santa Barbara Couples Portrait and Engagement Session Photography

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) portrait san Diego https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/kit-and-alla-point-loma-portrait-session Wed, 04 Sep 2013 17:23:23 GMT
My road to becoming a photographer | Part 1 https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/my-road-to-becoming-a-photographer-part-1  

 
 

Welcome to the beginning of my journey as a photographer. I'm excited to follow my dreams, even though it has meant that I have had to put aside other plans.  I am a wife, a biologist, a sister, an entrepreneur, a climber, and a photographer. My husband and I are spoiled to live in Santa Barbara where we sometimes complain about a foggy morning or a slight drizzle or our lack of space in our apartment. What else are you supposed to do when the weather is always perfect?


I became a biologist because I wanted to satisfy my curiosities of the natural world around us.  My life as a research associate at a biotech company in San Diego came to a "T" in the road, when I got engaged. The dilemma came when the funding ran out for my fiance's post-doc position and he was almost immediately offered a scientist position in Santa Barbara.  He had no other options at the time in San Diego, and we knew this was a good move for his career. We also knew that we couldn't survive on my salary alone and that a move to Santa Barbara would likely mean my unemployment.  I decided to leave my job, with mixed feelings but knowing it was the right decision even if I never worked another day in science.  I trusted that it was the right move.


I found myself searching for something more creative. I loved every detail of planning our wedding and after we got married I decided to pursue photography full time. Every photographer you talk to will tell you the same thing: that photography has always been a passion of theirs and one day they decided to go pro. For me it was a mixture of a passion for photography and a desire to create a lifestyle that will make my family happy, not rich, not comfortable, we want to live life to its fullest.


With the support and love of my husband we decided that I should start my own business to give us the lifestyle we want, not the lifestyle we have.  It was a scary decision and telling my family, who have supported me through grad school to get my Master's in Cell Biology, that I've decided to start my own photography company probably wasn't was they were expecting.  While I am still in the baby stages of building the business and developing my brand, I'm already planning for the type of clients I want to attract and the type of photographer I want to become.



It takes immense bravery to get out of bed everyday and do what you love not what you were trained to do.

 

And with that here are some pretty pictures to start off the week! Like us on Facebook!

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) my story personal santa Barbara https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/my-road-to-becoming-a-photographer-part-1 Tue, 03 Sep 2013 23:50:33 GMT
Scott & Marcela | Expecting! https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/scott-marcela-expecting I want to thank all of my friends and family who have supported me over the past three months by being my models, guinea pigs, and human light stands (especially my husband). This couple was especially excited to pose in front of my camera because they had just announced that they were 4 months pregnant! Congratulations to Scott and Marcela who are expecting their first child, Isabella, in November!

Couple: Scott & Marcela

Location: La Jolla Cove, CA

Shoot Date: May 31, 2013

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Santa Barbara Photographer Maternity Session On the Beach

Santa Barbara Photographer Maternity Session On the Beach

Santa Barbara Photographer Maternity Session On the Beach

A big thanks to my "crew" AKA my husband who always works hard to support me and encourages me to follow my dreams every day. I love him!

Santa Barbara Photographer

 

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(Nicole Wasko Photography) la jolla maternity https://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2013/9/scott-marcela-expecting Tue, 03 Sep 2013 23:35:57 GMT