santa cruz river photo shoot melissa

Santa Cruz River Photo Shoot | Melissa

It’s no secret now that I love photographing people in water. There’s something about it which is ethereal and raw at the same time – something primal and beautiful and unfettered. People move differently in water, and the water moves itself, and it moves the fabric and all of this together is pretty magical to me. Much as I adore doing my shoots with the flowers and tulle and glitz and glamour, I am always trying to balance that with something more real and unrefined and earthy. So, of course, the obvious conclusion here was to start shooting in natural water sources. Around here, that means river and ocean (not a ton of lakes, though I’m keeping an eye out).

The San Lorenzo River runs through the Santa Cruz mountains – though Boulder Creek and Felton and Santa Cruz – and finds it’s exit into the ocean by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. It’s pretty shallow most of the way, but there is a special, “secret” watering hole that locals frequent in the hot summer months (and “secret” is in quotes because of course everyone who lives around there knows about it). This spot – affectionately and aptly called the Garden of Eden – was the location of my photo shoot with fellow photographer and friend Mellissa. She braved the icy water back in October, even getting all the way in for one shot at the very end. Most people think coastal California is balmy and perfect for swimming year round – but we know better. In any case, I was thrilled she was up for it, and loved starting what I am sure will be a long journey of shooting portraits in this way. I love how her shoot came out – take a look below, and of course shoot me a message if you’re feeling like getting your portrait done in a river too (It’ll be more comfy come summertime) <3.


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