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Chicago Family in San Francisco

I may be a twin but I’m one of a kind. ~Author Unknown

A recent favorite real life moment with a Chicago family of twin girls. This family was visiting the Bay Area from Chicago and had booked a professional portrait session. Originally, we had planned on a session in Chicago during my recent trip but the timing didn’t quite work out. This turned out to be a fun shoot with the sisters. Their personalities were quite apparent in the time that we spent together. It can be challenging active two year olds but I also find it fun as you can get glimpses of reality. Here was a moment when the naughty twin smacked her little sister that burst into tears. I loved her expression and body language as she looked at her parents. She did apologize to the wounded party. Sort of.

I can’t say how much I love capturing these candid moments. When a family lets me in to there lives, there is a certain intimacy I experience for which I am grateful. My heart is in documenting these moments and capturing a slice of life that can be reflected upon in the years to come. I can certainly imagine this image being a topic of conversation!

If you like this image and are interested in a family session, please contact me through the website.

E. M. Anderson - So cute and I agree with you about candid moments being the best. 🙂

Lindsay Madden - Love this! Candid moments are the best even if they come with tears. Beautiful!

Jody Savage - I just love love love this image!!! I love how real it is and it will always take them back whenever they look at it!

Valentina - That is such a cute and real image. I love it! I am sure the parents do too!

Jaine Kershner - this photo make me smile. so stinkin’ cute!!

Kina - Real temper tantrum crying moments have always been my very favorite! Maybe it’s weird but I feel like it encapsulates this moment in life when you can wear your emotions on your sleeve and just let it all. hang. out. I love this.

Kelsy McCartney - SO cute!! 🙂 And your words couldn’t be more perfect – this will surely be part of a laughter-filled conversation in years to come!

Fotogrupa - I love kids pics – they are always natural and this is it what I see here. Very very nice 🙂

Central Park Family Session

Central Park in the summer! It was a lot busier than what I remembered or expected but we somehow got through the session with an active toddler and thousands of people to dodge out of the frame. Recently, I visited NYC with my son, and managed to pack quite a bit in. You can see one of my favorite Lady Liberty film photos here. It is always fun to see client’s and their growing families. You can see big brother here from their last family session…such an adorable kiddo and still is at five. And his little sister was gorgeous as well and I wanted to whisk her away with me to California.

I am in the process of designing a custom fine art album for this family and hope to share some images once I get it back!

kristen - I love the black and white photos! Wonderful:)

Lindsay Madden - I love seeing Central Park captured through a fresh pair of eyes! Absolutely beautiful.

Lisa O'Dwyer - Sweet! Love the little girl twirling her dress!

Valentina - That little girl has gorgeous eyes!! And I love the motion blur

Kel Ward - I’m such a big fan of your work, Alpana. You somehow manage to make a family session totally artistic. These are fantastic and I can’t enough of those big, beautiful eyes!

Trish Barker - All about the eyes. Such beautiful and unique work!

Carolee - Such beautiful portraits!!!!!!!!

wendy laurel - always love you

stefani wedl - alpana, this one of the little girl looking up reminds me of the one of Will you took last year. remember?
so adorable.

New York, New York

A few weeks back, my son and I spent a few days in New York. I was a bit apprehensive about our trip since our interests can be different. I love walking the streets and exploring and him not so much. He loves going to kid stores and me not so much. However, we ended up having the best time doing some of both. On our first night in New York, we found ourselves in Times Square at midnight and that is something I will remember forever. This trip was more about him… and we did the tourist thing visiting the attractions he picked like Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. I brought along two small film cameras to capture New York.

This Liberty image against the New York skyline was captured as a double exposure on a Holga film camera. And these Empire State images on the Five Minute Project website where I am a regular contributor were captured with a point and shoot film camera.

Stefanie Kapra - “I’m in a New York State of Mind…” – Great photograph and one of the very few double exposures I truly enjoy!! This is an amazing piece of art!

Jaine Kershner - wow! this photo is amazing. I want to buy a print for my home!!

wendy laurel - oh.. so I have to go to new york and washington d.c. next month for a school trip with my daughter hannah and her class…. i have been wondering what cameras to bring (need ease and simplicity) and this is very inspiring. a holga!

Jen O. - LOVE this double exposure. So perfectly New York!

Lindsay Madden - How can I buy a print of this?? I’m not even kidding. I love this image so much!!

Marcie Lynn - You nailed it! Love this shot! Sounds like a fun NYC experience.

connie chang - this shot is amazing. i can’t stop looking at it.

A winery wedding

Documented this lovely wedding day as a second shooter with the fabulous Lisa Maksoudian in wine country!

Lindsay Madden - What a lovely wedding! I especially loved the bridesmaids’ dresses. So chic & stylish! Gorgeous work!

Jaine Kershner - what a wonderful wedding & couple!!

wendy laurel - that was a fancy gorgeous wedding! and I love that I still see your amazing style of photography. such a fan.

Krystle Akin - Simply stunning captures!

Kel Ward - BEAUTIFUL photos, Alpana! The shot with the little dude crying is SO perfect. It’s just so real and happens all the time. I love that you documented it.

Clary - That first shot got me!! Such a beautiful set of images for this couple. Gorgeous job!

Sandra Coan - Beautiful photos! Love the black and whites!

Kelsy McCartney - Such a beautiful wedding!! You captured it beautifully – i Love all of the black & whites too!

Nicole Spangler - What a lovely wedding!

Spiced Indian Green Beans

Green Beans Photo: Contax + Kodak Portra

India is a curious place that still preserves the past, religions, and its history. No matter how modern India becomes, it is still very much an old country. ~Anita Desai

I have been asked many times about the recipe for this simple vegetarian Indian dish. Thought I would share it in this post with my two loves… old photographs and indian food, both of which take me back home. This is an old favorite maternity photograph of my gorgeous mom. Back then, it was customary for women to be photographed while pregnant and this studio photograph does such a beautiful job. I adore these old photos and wish I had one when I was pregnant with my son. I love photographing maternity sessions, so please fee free to contact me for one.

The spiced green bean recipe is from the book Indian Cooking by Mridula Baljekar and one of my favorites. In India, with the diversity you find so many different ways of cooking food and make very tasty vegetarian dishes. I have modified the original recipe a bit here.


1 lb Green Beans
4-6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped finely
1-2 Red Chillies, chopped or whole depending on your spice taste
1/2 tsp Tumeric (or less)
1.5 tsp Coriander Powder
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Desiccated Coconut (optional) Can be purchased at Whole Foods or Indian Stores.

1. Wash the Green Beans and chop off the ends. To save time, I blanche the beans and retain the color. Transfer the beans in a bowl to prepare them for cooking the dish.

2. Heat a fry pan and dry roast the sesame seeds on medium heat. Once they are slightly browned, turn off the heat and let them cool off. After ward grind them in a coffee grinder (I used one only for spices).

3. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and once they start popping (watch for flyaways!), add some of the chopped garlic. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

4. Add red chillies, tumeric and coriander powder to the oil. Sometimes, I add the coriander powder later too. Add the blanched green beans. If you would rather not blanche the beans you can add your raw beans now. Add salt and keep stirring the beans on medium heat. Add the rest of garlic. If you are cooking raw beans, lower the heat to a minimum, cover the wok and cook for 20-25 min. I like mine slightly al dente so you can check the beans for the consistency and check occasionally.

5. Add the ground sesame seeds and optionally desiccated coconut which can also be ground in the coffee grinder.

TIP: I grind my Coriander powder as needed. It tastes great fresh!

Let me know how you like it! It may seem like a lot of steps but it really is pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

On another note, I will be traveling to the east coast and midwest for the next two weeks and out of the office.

Mirelle - YUM! I’m going to need to try this recipe soon!

Jody Savage - What a lovely post and history! Thank you so much for sharing – and cannot wait to try out this delicous recipe!!

Trish Barker - My bean plants are going off right now… I’ll have to try this recipe!!

Lisa M - This looks amazing! But since I don’t cook, how about you come down an make it for me….;)

Alpana Aras-King - Lisa, Come visit me and I will make it for you!!

Kristin Sweeting - oh my! That looks so good!!

kelsy mccartney - well THIS looks delicious!! i’ll have to give it a shot next time we have my parents over – dad loves green beans 😉 thanks for sharing!

Jen O. - Wow, those look good!!

Sera Petras - YUMMY! Love this!

Almost eleven | san francisco film photographer

“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

To celebrate my new toy, he obliged and let me shoot a roll of film over the course of a couple days. I had been eyeing this spot for a while and we stopped by on a hot, sunny day to shoot a few frames. My boy is almost eleven and all I can wonder is where did time go? Here are some frames of his story and mine.

Olympus XA 3 // Fuji Superia 400

Mirelle - I love this shot. Perfection as always!

Rebecca Lindon - What a beautifully dramatic backdrop! Perfect :0)

wendy laurel - love… love new toys..

Jaine Kershner - what a perfectly composed shot & saying. no one wants to grow up!!

Nicole Spangler - I love this shot!!

Kelsy McCartney - Such an awesome photo! What a location. Love!

Kina - What a wall!! I would love to shoot there:)

Kel Ward - This is crazy-awesome!

Maternity Album

“The wait is long, my dream of you does not end.”
― Nuala O’Faolain, My Dream of You

A surprise gift in the form of a fine art maternity album for her husband. If you would like to book a maternity session please contact me through the website.

Shyanne Dougherty - Hello,
I would like to have my maternity pictures taken sometime late October/ early November. Do you have any open times during then? What is your pricing? Does it include prints or are those separate cost? Do you shoot outdoors as well as indoors? Thank you for your time.