The Seaside Calls

One girl's mission to escape monotony

Late Nights & Neon Lights

Like a lot of introverts, I am 100% a night owl. The benefit of being self-employed is that I can make my own schedule. I sleep in until the sun wakes me up (usually around noon), but as soon as the sun sets, I get my bursts of creative energy. In the dark of the night, I feel social, and productive, and inspired. I get insatiable urges to create. To draw, to paint, to photograph, to blog. To make something beautiful, using my hands.

In recent weeks, I’ve been teaching my dear friend, Brittany, the basics of photography. A fellow creature of the night, she suggested that we find a couple of alternative models and hit the streets of our favorite San Diego neighborhoods. And that’s exactly what we did. We waited until it was late enough to avoid the crowds of people loitering outside of bars, and then met up with our models, Becky and Allyssa.

I usually shoot solo, so it was nice to share this photo adventure with Brittany. My business has been keeping me very busy recently, so I haven’t had much time recently to work on creative material. My soul really needed this 💜

Becky and Allyssa were the best models I could have asked for. They were so natural in front of the camera, and had such great chemistry with each other. Oh, and they’re both gorgeous.

There are two kinds of people who go out this late into the night:

  • Creatives.
  • Drunks.

We encountered plenty of both.

We made some new friends…

… And ran into some old ones.

Oh, and Becky taught everyone her signature move: the shoe phone.

Then things started to get weird. In a good way.

I can honestly say that this was the first time I had models hop up on top of a trashcan, but it just felt right. Who am I to stand in the way of two friends bonding atop a can full of garbage? It was beautiful, really.

When we had finished our stroll through Normal Heights, we headed over to Kensington.

The friends we made back in Normal Heights gave us some matches to play with. It’s good that they ended up in our hands, rather than in the hands of some pyro punk.

You’re welcome, Kensington, for the artistic tribute to 90’s kids.

When the matches ran out, we finished up our shoot, said goodbye to Becky and Allyssa, and then Brittany and I headed home (and by “home”, I actually mean “to the liquor store to get some beer”). We stayed up until 6 a.m. watching The Great Dictator and talking about love, art, and our dreams. And drag queens. These are the nights I live for.

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Wonderspaces | San Diego

UPDATE: Wonderspaces is returning to San Diego in 2018! As of February, dates haven’t been announced yet, but keep checking back here for new info.

From time to time, my dear Lexington will hire me to do some photos for her instagram feed, and I’m always so stoked because she’s incredibly fun to work with, and she always comes up with fantastic ideas… and this time was no different. She had the idea of doing this shoot at Wonderspaces, a temporary art installation here in San Diego. I’d been wanting to check it out anyway to see what all the hype was about, and this was the perfect excuse. Plus, it gave me a great reason to bring my camera along!

Now when it comes to art, I’m a bit of a snob, and I tend to stray away from modern contributions (I would take Caravaggio over Banksy any day)… But the stuff I saw here reawakened my appreciation for the artists of my generation! It was weird, quirky, and interactive, and I couldn’t get enough!




If you’re in the San Diego area while Wonderspaces is still up (until August 27, 2017), you should absolutely check it out. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time!

UPDATE: Wonderspaces is returning to San Diego in 2018! As of February, dates haven’t been announced yet, but keep checking back here for new info.


Nena’s Travel Essentials



At Last: Jonna + Gary, Married! | San Diego Wedding Photographer


Who: Gary + Jonna

When: June 10th, 2017

Where: Oak Creek Barn, in San Diego


I want you to think about the most romantic story you’ve ever heard. Got it? Great. Now forget it completely because the story I’m about to tell you is going to blow it out of the water.

Gary met Jonna in fourth grade when their class put on a production of South Pacific, in which their characters held hands during the song, “Dites-Moi”. And just like that, it was love. At least, that’s how Gary tells the story.

When they were a bit older, they started dating until Jonna moved to California. They wrote each other romantic letters for three years, until Jonna wrote him a “Dear Gary” letter. There was still love between them, but they were worlds away, and now that they were in high school, neither of them were in a position to bridge that distance.

Fast forward a few decades- Jonna and Gary had both married other people, and had each had three children. Following his divorce, Gary mustered up the courage to reach out to his first love. He didn’t know her current last name, so he found her mom on Facebook and sent her a message inquiring about Jonna’s whereabouts. He got no response. Not until two years later, that is. When Jonna’s mother realized she had somehow managed to overlook his attempt to contact her, she promptly got them in contact.

And that brings us here, just a couple years later, to their wedding day. On June 10th, 2017, Jonna and Gary made a vow to spend the rest of their lives together, at long last.

It was the perfect day for a rustic summer wedding, with birds chirping in the trees. I arrived to the venue a little early with my amazing second shooter, Ryan (who took a few of the photos I’ve included), so we could capture some detail shots before the ceremony. When Jonna arrived, she was in a bit of a tizzy, understandably. Once her daughters came to help her get ready, though, the fear and anxiety started to melt away, and the joy began to sink in. Meanwhile, Gary was incredibly excited. Can you guess what song they had playing as the guests arrived? That’s right, “Dites-Moi”.

The ceremony went off without a hitch, and Gary’s vows were the most beautiful I’ve ever heard, saying that he never stopped loving her and that every night since they were kids he would silently wish her goodnight and tell her he loved her. My heart melted.

What followed the ceremony was a night of delicious cake, dancing, and some good ol’-fashioned partying!

Congratulations, Gary & Jonna! xoxo

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Independence Day-themed pinup shoot with Lexington

Happy Independence Day! It’s a great day for celebrating our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of sassiness. To display her love of ‘Murica, Lexington organized this whole shoot, and I was happy to oblige, camera in-hand. After all, this meant I got to spend the hot San Diego day by the pool, playing with sparklers, and laughing at Lexington as she struggled to stay on top of a giant blow-up swan (whose name, by the way, is Swanly). I’ll keep the description short and sweet so you can see for yourself how it turned out.


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Rainy Day In San Diego

A Change Of Pace

I love the rain. Loooove it. But because it’s such a rare thing here in Southern California, I’m always tempted to just stay inside with my dogs and bury myself under all the blankets I can find. I mean, look at how cute Rex is! I usually spend rainy days on the couch binge-watching Netflix with him.
But not today. My dear friend Charmaine is moving to Portland in a few days, and so of course I was willing to brave the weather in order to have one final hangout.

We met up at Food For Thoughts Cafe in Grant Hill. The drive there from my home in East County was a bit of a nightmare in the rain; I saw several tree branches fall right into the street due to the heavy wind. But once I got there, it was worth the risky ride! It was such an adorable little cafe!

Charmaine and I met in our very first college photography class. We managed to have at least one class together every semester for the first 3 years of Junior College (if someone tells you that community college is a 2-year thing, they’re dead wrong). Eventually, we also started working together, so naturally she and I became pretty close. We’ve shared a lot of life experiences with each other, and its been really sweet to watch each other grow over the years both as women and as photographers.

Charmaine is relocating to Portland to help start a church plant. She will have her pastor, her mentor, her best friend, and her boyfriend with her, so I’m not too worried about her! But I am extremely excited to see her life unfold! Of course parting with friends is always painful, but as a self-proclaimed adventurer, nothing brings me more joy than to see my friends chasing their dreams and beginning their own adventures.

If you would like to keep up with Charmaine’s new life in Portland, you can check out her blog