Evening Stroll at Huntington Gardens

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On Sunday night we went as a family for a stroll through Huntington Gardens at Golden Hour. It’s a thing. You can buy tickets. It really is one of those good things that has come out of Covid. Maybe it existed before but I’d never heard of it until I saw it on a friend’s instagram feed. I’ve been to Huntington Gardens before but last time I went it was really really hot so the thought of strolling in the evening seemed like the perfect idea to me. And of course golden hour doesn’t hurt anything. I should probably even say it was a photo walk. My favorite!

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Here I am posing in the Rose Garden.

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The roses were reaching their blooming end but they were still nonetheless impressive. Maybe even prettier in their late summer decay. There are just so many varieties. It’s fun to walk the rows and read all their names… some of them are quite unique: Sexy Rexy, Vogue, Hanky Panky, Marilyn Monroe…

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It was a photoshoot every which way we turned.

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I do feel kind of stupid posing in the rose bushes but even though roses are the most beautiful thing to photograph, you’ve seen a million photographs of them. They sort of fall to the back of the pile while we pore over pictures of people. So I take pictures of people with roses.

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I love the Shakespeare Garden. I think I’ve over-color-corrected these because they were in shade. This is what they look like to me in my mind but the original photos were quite blue. Maybe I should nudge them back to blue.

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I don’t have a lot to say about these photos. Just us, exploring and being goofy.

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The two places that I really wanted to see were the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. Since we were only there for the limited sunset hour we had to move quickly. I wish sunset could have lasted three more hours. The Gardens are so big you can really get lost there. It’s almost like exploring Disneyland but prettier and with less rides. It was perfect for Payam’s mountain hike training.

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After the Japanese Gardens we strolled the Chinese Garden which I actually hadn’t seen before. It was a nice surprise.

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So many photo ops! I have to remember to bring people here for model shoots when I have them. It’s really a beautiful setting.

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The girls thoroughly enjoyed it as well which is a big win with teenagers these days. I don’t even think I caught one of them playing games or watching YouTube once!

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So peaceful and serene.

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Payam enjoyed it as well. Though he was a little less enthused with the picture-taking.

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Bug impersonating a Bonsai tree, like you do.

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And then before we knew it it was time to leave.

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Which was way too soon for me.

Golden Hour Hill Hike

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Yesterday we went for a golden hour hill hike. You probably think we do this all the time but we don’t. Payam and I have gone on exactly two hikes together, four if you are counting other years. Does the camping count? Maybe.  But we plan to change our hiking deficit. We love hiking! Maybe we’ll even go every other day. I don’t want to talk crazy or anything but it could be cool.

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Payam is training to go on a really big adventure hike with his brother in September. They are hiking Mount Lassen together and camping. I’m really excited for him but it’s not going to be easy. I think he’ll be fine. His brother is super aware of his recent neck surgery and other limitations. I just hope they come back talking to each other. I’m teasing but you know how long hikes with siblings can go…

I love hikes because I am driven by photography. I love taking pictures. If there is a photo opportunity I’ll go to great lengths to get there. I’ll hike miles and put up with sweat and bugs and whatever… I love making photos. It’s like painting paintings with your eyes. My family rolls their eyes at me. They think I am not enjoying the moment but I disagree! I am enjoying it even more! If I wasn’t photographing then I’d be water coloring and I don’t even care if I never show anyone. Of course showing everyone is a huge oxytocin hit so I would share if I had the chance. BUT I still would photograph or paint even if my pictures stayed hidden from everyone but me. I say this because my journals are full of photos and drawings that no one but me has ever seen. Whatever. Maybe I am looking guilty just by protesting too much. I’ll just shrug it off. To each their own, right?

If it makes you happy and it gets you outdoors then it’s a win.

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Payam is so serious about this hike coming up that he even bought himself some walking poles. The kids made fun of him but he really likes them. I think they are more psychological than actual help but I can’t really say. I tried them and I couldn’t tell that they were helping me pull myself with my arm strength. But then I’m a pear-shaped girl who has ALL of her strength in her massive thighs and hardly any in my arms. Payam is obviously built way differently than me. I just dig that he’s into it. Buying gear is always a fun part of committing to a sport.

I remember when I bought myself $90 running shoes once. They were the most expensive shoes I had ever bought at that time, this was back in the 90’s. I felt so guilty buying them that I ran with them every other day for an entire year. I was in the BEST shape that year. So if you think about it, $90 for a year is a pretty good investment. Maybe we should all go out and buy ourselves $90 shoes! Of course buying gear doesn’t always do the trick though. I’ve seen many a $1000 treadmills holding up laundry. Not me of course but you know who you are.

I digress! Let’s get back to our pretty hike:

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Aren’t these the prettiest colors? Late summer gold against clear blue skies and just a potato chip of a moon in the distance… Swoon! And then there is just a smidge of Joon’s red shirt. This would make a great painting. Maybe someday. I have so many things I’d like to paint. I just hope I get them done before my hands are riddled with arthritis. And sadly, even as I type this I can feel it creeping into my fingers. This is the heartbreak of getting older. Is there a cure for arthritis?

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Every year I make a calendar for the grandparents and us of random pictures we’ve taken all year. We didn’t have an August picture so I forced the fandamily to squish together for a group selfie. I’m not loving my massive face prominently in the middle but them’s the breaks when you are the one holding the phone. I’ll make it a collage and be sure to make that photo extra small. Maybe I’m just not used to myself without bangs. Have you ever seen such low eyebrows? My face is so weird. Good thing nobody else cares as much as I do!

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And then there are these cuties.

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And this one. Long legs forever! Long shadows are clearly helping my case.

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You can just hear her, “Come on Mom! Not everything is a photo moment.” And then I say,

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Yes, it is!