It was Gayle's 60th birthday, and her children thought it presented the perfect opportunity for some family portraits. They all live in different states throughout the pacific northwest, but traveled to Sonoma county and rented a house for the better part of a week to celebrate together. The house was in west Santa Rosa near the Martin Ray vineyards. I had never been to this area and wasn't sure what to expect, but was very happy to find quiet country roads along beautiful vineyards and scenic views. Upon my arrival, I was introduced to everyone and then immediately offered a glass of wine. I liked this family already :-).
It was a beautiful day and there was no shortage of places to shoot. We started with pictures in the vineyard down the road from their rental house, and spent about an hour walking down the road finding cool new places to explore. Trees were climbed, jokes were told, and fun was had. I loved how relaxed and playful everyone was. It made sense - After all, they were on vacation in beautiful Sonoma county! We ended our excursion with photos in what once was an orchard of some kind, but with all the trees removed was now more of a meadow. The dirt was so soft that you would sink several inches with each step, but they were very patient in my search for good light.
As our time together wrapped up and I was gathering my things, most of the group went off to play a game that looked to be part tennis, part whiffle ball. This experience was a reminder that there is nothing more important than family. I think for the most part that is a universally understood concept, and one this family definitely seems to understand.