California

TAHOE CABIN WEEKEND

This week on the blog we are looking back at our time in California.  With such huge changes happening over the past year, the blog has gotten very far behind.  Before we move forward with blogging about 2014 - I want to make sure we cover a few absolutely amazing experiences and projects we had in Northern California.

So for starters, we have to thank our friend J for attending Dartmouth.  It just so happens that Dartmouth has an alumni cabin in Tahoe that is the epitome of a rustic mountain getaway.  We had the chance to spend a weekend there with some of our closest friends.  To our California friends and family - thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing in a very special time in our lives.  We look forward to our future visits, and we are also excited to share the next chapter of our lives with you - both on this blog and in person.

P.S. Mike is slightly embarrassed by a few of these photos, so enjoy.

 
 

SONOMA COAST STATE BEACH

After taking some photos up in Forestville a few weeks ago - for a project I will be sharing with you soon - I headed over to Jenner to check out the coast and walk on the beach.  The Russian River converges with the ocean here, and there were seals, tons of birds, and whales.  It was amazing.  I have been a diver for 12 years, and seen all kinds of ocean life including dolphins, but I have never seen a whale, so even from far away it felt like an extraordinary experience.  It felt like a blessing.  It was bitchin'.

 
SonomaBeach-cmichalik_01.jpg
SonomaBeach-cmichalik_02.jpg
SonomaBeach-cmichalik_03.jpg
SonomaBeach-cmichalik_04.jpg
SonomaBeach-cmichalik_05.jpg
SonomaBeach-cmichalik_06.jpg
 

ZAGA & TIM /// PETALUMA, CA

I have started working with a new editing style, which I am very excited to explore - so today I decided to go back and look at a few images from a wedding I shot with the wonderful Andi Hatch.  There will be a lot more wedding work from me in the near future, my own season starts so soon!  I have a great variety of locations this year: the banks of the AuSable River, an apple orchard, a renovated coast guard station on Lake Michigan, an art center, the Ann Arbor city club and more, can't wait!

 
zaga&tim11-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim4-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim3-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim8-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim6-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim7-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim9-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim5-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim10-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim2-courtneymichalik.jpg
zaga&tim12-courtneymichalik.jpg
 

TENNESSEE VALLEY WILDLIFE

Last week on one of my days off I headed for a photo walk in Tennessee Valley - a part of the Marin Headlands.  I picked my favorite trail (where I have seen the most wildlife), and just sat in the open part of the meadow for a while.  I also brought a journal where I write about goals, ideas for projects, etc.  It was great to just sit in the sun, write, and listen to the birds, but I'm also really happy with the shots I got out of it.  I think I might just head back there at the "golden hour" today.

 
 

DAN & BETS /// ALBUM

Whenever physical prints make it into my hands, I get so excited.  During a day where I look at thousands of images through a computer screen, having an actual printed book delivered can be so wonderful.  Dan & Bets were such an amazingly sweet couple, and I feel very lucky to have been a part of their day.  Here are a few images of their album.  I am really loving the new oatmeal linen cover option.

 
Dan&BetsBook-courtneyalice_1.jpg
Dan&BetsBook-courtneyalice_2.jpg
Dan&BetsBook-courtneyalice_3.jpg
Dan&BetsBook-courtneyalice_4.jpg
Dan&BetsBook-courtneyalice_5.jpg
 

INTRODUCING ZIGGY & THE MULLENS

My good friend and mentor, Abi Smigel Mullens asked me to photograph her family a few months after her son Ziggy was born.  It was fun little shoot even though a cold wind was intensely blowing across Crissy Field in San Francisco.  Enjoy the cuteness that follows :)  

Oh!  And I forgot to mention that Abi made the adorable blue hat that Ziggy is wearing in one of the middle photos!

 
 

PRETTY GIRLS AND PROSECCO /// NINA'S BIRTHDAY

My good friend Nina asked if I would document her birthday with some of her best friends at the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco.  Of course I agreed, and we spent the afternoon drinking bubbly and taking some pretty gorgeous shots (if I do say so myself).  I think it is great to capture moments in life other than just the "big" moments.  Nina kept saying "some day when I am old and wrinkly, I will be showing these to my grandkids".  And you know what?  I think that is pretty amazing - and a great privilege to capture.

 
 

SAN FRANCISCO ON PENTAX K1000

I recently posted a couple images of my parents on film.  As promised, I will be sharing more film images in the future, and today I thought I would share a few from San Francisco.  These were also taken on my Pentax K1000 using Ilford HP5 Plus 400 35mm film.

 
sanfran-film-courtneymichalik.jpg
sanfran2-film-courtneymichalik.jpg
sanfran3-film-courtneymichalik.jpg
sanfran4-film-courtneymichalik.jpg
sanfran5-film-courtneymichalik.jpg
 

To follow along, feel free to subscribe.

OYSTERMEN /// PART II

If you have been following along here on my blog, or on facebook, you may know that I have been doing some work for Hog Island Oyster Co.  To see a few images from part I, look here.  I thought I would take a short break from editing to post a couple shots from a recent oyster harvest.  More to come, stay tuned.

 
hogislandharvest-courtneymichalik.jpg
hogislandharvest2-courtneymichalik.jpg
 

MENDOCINO CAMPING

This past weekend was my birthday weekend, so - surprise, surprise - my choice was to be outside exploring a new place.  Mike and I went up to Mendocino, CA. with his older brother, Pat, and fiance (also a Courtney).  We camped at Van Damme State Park, explored downtown Mendocino and the Mendocino Headlands, rented wooden outrigger canoes, paddled down Big River, and hit up North Coast Brewing Company.  It was pretty fantastic.

 
Mendocino8-courtneymichalik.jpg
Mendocino-courtneymichalik.jpg
Mendocino3-courtneymichalik.jpg
Mendocino9-courtneymichalik.jpg
Mendocino7-courtneymichalik.jpg
 
Wilderness is not - and should not be - a past and vanishing force in life. It is, as far as anyone can see into the future in our rapidly changing and uncertain world, an abiding value.
— George Marshall
 
Mendocino6-courtneymichalik.jpg
Mendocino5-courtneymichalik.jpg
Mendocino4-courtneymichalik.jpg
mendocino2-courtneymichalik.jpg
mendocino1-courtneymichalik.jpg
 
 

Mike and I are also working on a short video about the trip, so stay tuned!  Feel free to subscribe!

EDIBLE /// SPRING 2013 /// COVER PHOTO

I am so excited to officially post my first cover!  I have already posted this on facebook and instagram, but a couple shots need to make it to the blog as well.  I have more work inside the magazine, which you can check out here.  Iphone and Ipad apps are now available for Edible as well.  Additional dairy farming work is in my portfolio here.  And, special thanks to Gibson Thomas of Edible and Valley Ford Cheese Company!

 
ediblespring-courtneymichalik.jpg
ediblespring2-courtneymichalik.jpg
 

A little shout out to my family for being my biggest fans, and especially my Aunt Alison who has always loved cows.

 

For additional updates, subscribe!

OYSTERMEN /// SNEAK PEEK

I love the term "oystermen".  It sounds so strange to me.  Possibly because I am so used to hearing the word fishermen.  Oystermen sounds so different.  So much more remote.  I'm not sure what being an oysterman entails.  Maybe that's why the trip to Hog Island Oyster Co. this past week was so exciting.  I love looking behind the scenes of a process I know absolutely nothing about.   Maria Finn will be writing more about what it takes to be a successful oyster company in Northern California, as well as the future of oysters, and there are more images to come regarding the life of an oysterman.

 
hogisland-courtneymichalik3.jpg
hogisland-courtneymichalik1.jpg
hogisland-courtneymichalik2.jpg
 

MATT: SURFING, MUSIC & REDISCOVERY

I met Matt in 2011 when he began working part time at Fish restaurant in Sausalito.  Whenever you meet a new co-worker for the first time, it's hard not to make immediate "cover of the book" kind of impressions.  It's unfortunate, but it happens.  I wasn't sure how to place Matt... an older guy, completely bald, but not old and bald in a frail way.  Old and bald in a weathered "seen shit", lives life, kind of way (and honestly, I wasn't sure how old he really was).  I also immediately wondered, "what is he doing here"?  Up until Matt, all of my fellow co-workers had been twenty-somethings, working there while searching for the "next step".  Turnover rates were high, as kids went back to school, or went on to more conventional "careers".  I thought, "did he somehow loose his job"?  Is he going to be bitter about life or hard to work with?  All pretty terrible first judgements on my part, but I was a year out of school, so I will cut myself a little slack.

My experience with Matt - thankfully - has been just the opposite.  Matt is full of life and genuine.  He treats customers with care.  He is content and exudes joy.  As I learned more about Matt, I found out that he used to play music - as he likes to say - back when he had hair.  And in the animated way that he talks, he would gesture above his head, referring to the dark 'fro that was there at one time.  I didn't think too much of it, and I never actually searched for him online.  For over a year, I knew Matty as my great co-worker who spent every possible minute when not at work surfing on local Northern California beaches.  He would come in raving about the waves, or telling me that he really blew it that day.  After a good day of surfing he always walks in with a bounce in his step, high five-ing and fist bumping everyone on his way.

 
MLC_courtneymichalik_03.jpg
 

I don't actually know what it was that made me look his name up online for the first time.  But as soon as I typed in his full name, "Matthew Larkin Cassell", a Huffington Post article came up.  What?!  It realized that Matt has quite a backstory, and really an amazing story of rediscovery.  It turns out musicians and collectors - including Daniel Werman, author of the H.P. article - had been listening to a few select songs that they had gotten their hands on, some artists had begun sampling his music into their own tracks, and the DJ duo Kon & Amir was planning on featuring Matt's track "In My Life" on a compilation album of obscure music called The Kings of Diggin'.  It was years since hearing some of Matt's work for the first time before Werman was actually able to find and reach out to Matt by searching the ASCAP's website database.  Matt gave permission for "In My Life" to be used on The Kings of Diggin' and after the release, his 1977 album Pieces, became extremely sought after.  One copy was sold on ebay for over $1,300.  Matt now receives royalties from artists who sample his music, some of his work has been re-released, and Matthew Larkin Cassell: The Complete Works was released by Stones Throw Records in 2010. 

It is a pretty unique story - especially for an individual who hasn't recorded since the early '80's.  When I asked him about playing and recording again, he told me that he is honestly not that interested.  He has been writing a memoir of sorts, or at least telling his story in his own words, allowing him a different - yet related - outlet for his creativity.  Ultimately he says, "working at the restaurant is perfect".  He is content with the people around him and he has a flexible schedule allowing him to surf and write.  He trades artwork for surfboards.  He knows everyone at the parking lot at the beach and what kind of board they use.  He jokes about the "groms" - young surfers - and chats it up with people he's surfed with for years.  He covets the secret surf spots, on days when no one else has discovered the great conditions yet.  For Matt, there are no monkey suits, only wetsuits.

MLC_courtneymichalik_01.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_02.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_04.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_05.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_06.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_07.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_08.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_09.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_10.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_11.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_12.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_13.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_14.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_15.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_16.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_17.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_18.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_19.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_21.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_22.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_28.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_23.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_24.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_25.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_26.jpg
MLC_courtneymichalik_27.jpg

Matt plans on releasing an ebook in the next few weeks.  I will update you with a link to this work when it becomes available!

If you loved, enjoyed, or felt inspired by this content, please subscribe.

YOSEMITE: PART II : TUOLUMNE MEADOWS

The other day I just needed a mental break - a chance to look at something relaxing, and calming and awesome.  So I decided I would start working on some photos from my second Yosemite trip with Mike which I had failed to pay attention to for so long.  I made tea, put some bluegrass on pandora, and away I went.  As a soundtrack to this blog post, I highly recommend you click on this link here, before scrolling down.  Click on the link, let the song start playing, and then start reading this post.  Trust me on this one.

So to begin, this Yosemite trip was far more successful than our first one.  It might not be quite as eventful and intensely seared into our brains as the last one was, but this trip was a different kind of amazing.  We decided to head north of Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows (don't ask me how you are supposed to pronounce this).

 
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_01.jpg
 

Gorgeous open spaces, mountains, and trees.  We both think about these types of places often when we are feeling trapped indoors... these places with so much undiscovered.  Places with nothing and everything at the same time.

 
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_02.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_03.jpg
 

Since we have only had weekends - so far - to explore this amazing wilderness, we have had to do short loops.  We were hiking to Young Lakes via Dog Lake Trail.

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_04.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_05.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_06.jpg
Mike snapped this picture, and I think he was getting impatient by how long I was stopping to stare at this view.  I think this was one of my favorite points on the loop.  We had just finished a long gradual climb and to be rewarded with something this incredible was perfect.
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_07.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_08.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_09.jpg
Towards dusk we reached Young Lake where we camped for the night - at the proper, respectable, distance from the water I might add.  We ate dinner and watched as the sun sank lower and lower in the sky, slowly illuminating the trees on the other side of the lake.  It was amazing, and almost surprising how much the light changed the look of the landscape at this time of day.
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_10.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_11.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_12.jpg

We kind of like each other.

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_13.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_14.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_15.jpg

I don't usually experiment with longer exposures without a tripod - but now I think I should try it more often.  And I have to admit, I LOVE the neon pink I am able to get by doing this.  Normally I am not a pink-kind-of-gal, so I guess it just has to be a pink mountain to get me interested.  We haven't been backpacking with tripods, so I always feel like I am not a "real" photographer somehow.  I mean Ansel Adams dragged ridiculous set ups all over the Sierras, and I don't feel like carrying one measly tripod?  But ultimately, due to that very lack of stabilizing gear, I have found myself getting more creative when dusk comes around and I am not ready to put my camera down.  I love these images.

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_16.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_17.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_18.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_19.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_20.jpg

There is nothing quite like reading Joseph Campbell discuss ancient mythology when you are curled up in a tent, with the wind whipping around you, and darkness approaching, and the closest place resembling modern civilization is a day's walk away.

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_21.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_22.jpg
The first glimpse of daylight was incredible.
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_23.jpg

I am doing a quick jump back in time so you can see the difference between the light in late afternoon:

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_24.jpg

And the light in the morning:

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_25.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_26.jpg
Yup, I could eat breakfast here everyday.
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_27.jpg

I would have loved to spend more time at the lake during the day, but we had to get back on the trail... and it was mostly downhill for the second half of the loop :)

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_28.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_29.jpg

Nice dirty toes at the end of the hike.  Ok, I guess I like pink mountains and pink nail polish.

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_30.jpg

We drove by Tenaya Lake on the way out of Yosemite.  We stopped to have a snack and take a couple shots... it's too stunning not to.

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_31.jpg
courtneymichalik_tuolumne_32.jpg

And of course we HAD to stop and get burgers at the Iron Door Saloon.  It is our kind of place, and it is the oldest alcohol-selling establishment in the state of California.

courtneymichalik_tuolumne_33.jpg

Until next time,

With love,

Turtle & Moose.

HERRING

It is herring season here in the Bay Area.  Fish. restaurant is serving herring grilled or pickled and it is delicious.  It is also important to create demand for these fish as food - for humans - in the local area.  A majority of the herring fishing industry actually only catches the fish for roe, which is shipped to Japan.  Herring are an important baitfish in ecosystems and their roe feeds a variety of animals including a number of bird species.    Check out the Sausalito Herring Festival this Saturday, Feb. 9th if you are in the area!

 
michalik_herring5.jpg
michalik_herring1.jpg
michalik_herring3.jpg
michalik_herring4.jpg
michalik_herring2.jpg
 

FISH REVOLUTION

My work is being featured on Fish Revolution's website! 

"Fish Revolution is dedicated to improving the health of marine fish populations. Our primary goal is to force a shift in demand from harmful fishing practices to sustainable methods that ensure healthy production of seafood and other ocean products for years to come.  We believe in supporting fishing communities taking steps to conserve fish populations (and their livelihoods) while bridging the gap between fishermen and consumers"

I hope to work with them future projects!

 
Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 9.48.13 AM.png
 

2 GIRL ROASTER

Last Saturday, I had a chance to photograph the ladies behind 2 Girl Roaster and their beautiful bright red machine for Edible Marin & Wine Country.  Their brand is awesome, and features coffees, "named after girls we know and love".  The official launch of their roasting business will be on December 1st, so it was kind of fun to get a sneak peek ;)  Check out the article about them in the upcoming winter edition of Edible.  AND, if you are around the Sausalito area in December, head over to 1201 Bridgeway (in the gorgeous space attached to Cibo) for some great coffee.

 
2girlsroaster_web.jpg
2girlsroaster_web2.jpg
 

SURF SMELT FISHING

As a part of my ongoing project documenting sustainable seafood in the SF bay area, I recently photographed two fishermen, Mike and Kirk, fishing for Two x Sea.  They are using toss nets to catch surf smelt which are found along the coast from Southern California to Alaska.  The older man with the yellow jacket was there fishing with his grandson.  Looking through the photos I'm regreting that I didn't get his name or contact information to show him these shots... just maybe I can catch him out there again.

 
surfsmelt_web9.jpg
surfsmelt_web11.jpg
surfsmelt_web10.jpg
smelt_web.jpg
surfsmelt_web12.jpg
surfsmelt_web4.jpg
surfsmelt_web2.jpg
surfsmelt_web13.jpg
surfsmelt_web7.jpg
surfsmelt_web16.jpg
surfsmelt_web5.jpg
surfsmelt_web15.jpg
surfsmelt_web8.jpg
surfsmelt_web3.jpg
surfsmelt_web22.jpg
surfsmelt_web6.jpg
surfsmelt_web14.jpg
surfsmelt_web18.jpg
surfsmelt_web17.jpg
surfsmelt_web21.jpg
surfsmelt_web20.jpg
surfsmelt_web19.jpg
surfsmelt_web24.jpg
surfsmelt_web23.jpg
 

ALBACORE TUNA

These are the most recent images from my project on sustainable seafood in the bay area.  I will have to write more about this project and these gorgeous animals later... for now just photos.

 
albacore_web.jpg
albacore_web3.jpg
albacore_web2.jpg
albacore_web5.jpg
albacore_web4.jpg