NEEL FAMILY || Goleta, CA || The Neels took me back to the Ellwood Bluffs, my go-to spot this time last year, but where I hadn't shot in forever. It was refreshing, exploring old haunts with new people, getting to know my husband's buddy Jay and his sweet wife Quy a little more. These two and their boys have been to many get-togethers at our home, but this was my first time hanging with them one-on-one. I loved the way their oldest became comfortable with me in a way he couldn't have prior, since I'd only ever seen him in a sea of other people. And how their baby, who hadn't walked the last time we were together, toddled all over the uneven ground like he'd been doing it all along.

Jake and Max are the youngest kids I've photographed in quite some time. It was fun to reconnect on that ultra-innocent level, where each step of our journey was met with "OH!!!" and "WOW!!!" on the part of Jake who's almost four, and with that awe that comes through in a baby who's seeing and doing things for the first time. I love how comfortable and easy it was to wander around with these four, and how natural theywho'd never had a photo session beforewere in front of the camera. Thank you to the Neels for trusting me to capture these couple of hours at this very precise time in your lives... and for the laughter, Smartees-ingesting, snack breaks, rock obsessions and stick hoarding that cast a breath of fresh air over the whole thing.