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  • I'm Michelle, San Luis Obispo's style photographer. I create stylish, luminescent, and vivid magazine quality images. I specialize in portraits, weddings for unique and fashionable personalities!

Venice Italy- travel photography

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Venice Italy- travel photography

Our first stop in Italy was Treviso, a small town about an hour north of Venice. We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast where I enjoyed my first real Italian cappuccino. Treviso was a pleasant, quiet place where hardly anyone spoke English and the clouds echoed with the sound of midday bells. The next day we caught the train to Venice to meet with my friends, Venice locals, Alessia and Giovanni. Alessia asked me to shoot their wedding in Camel in 2013, which was one of my all time favorite weddings because it was more of an intimate elopement. They were so helpful on our travels. They planned our visit and even set us up with a lovely hotel room for free in return for me shooting the hotel. It was so generous. After checking into our room, they greeted us and we walked around the complicated alleys in rain. The city looked as if it hasn’t changed in 500 years. Everything had a varnish of time and experience. The green canals glowed with a salty cocktail of Mediterranean sea and fresh river water.

On a sunny morning while enjoying breakfast at our hotel, I got a call from Alessia offering to take us to the Island or Murano and Burano. These neighnoring island are famous for their old world craftsmanship. Murano is the glass island. We got the special opportunity to go directly into the makers workshop and saw firsthand the artist create intricate glass chandeliers and other stunning pieces by lighting up kilns and pouring hot glass and molding it just so. It was so burning hot there, you could melt right into the glass yourself. Burano is the lace island which is also brilliantly and vividly painted. Many small shops sold delicate lace pieces for hundreds of euros. That night Alessia invited us back to her gorgeous place right on the a canal for dinner. She has three cats which I could not have been happier to see, since I was having severe kitty withdrawals.

I have never been so lost in my life as I was in Venice. I’m someone who needs to orient herself and know where she is at all times. But Venice had me completely turned around. At times it was frustrating passing the SAME mask store that looked just like all the other masks stores; turning around in circles. Or trying to find this amazingly delicious gelato place that seemed to disappear the next time I tried to find it. Venice is a vanishing act that looks familiar and yet different with every turn.

I will always be eternally grateful to Alessia for introducing us to cicchetti. In Venice, the over crowding of tourists drive up the restaurant prices and pull down the overall food quality, so most places are overpriced and mediocre, BUT cicchettti bars are EVERYTHING. Cicchetti are fresh Venetian “tapas” served in bars to standing customers for only a couple euros each. They are usually things like a piece of tuna or white fish on bread, large prawns on skewers, and osters; whatever they find fresh at the market that day. You walk into the bar, order a spritz, a famous Venetian wine based, sparkling cocktail drink that everyone drinks here, and then pick out what you’d like from the clear display case. We went on a cicchetti crawl and hit up about 5 bars, but we were reoccurring customers at one particularly amazing place where we went almost every single night to the point where the manger began to recognize us. We also decided to try Cafe Florian, the very old, ridiculously famous cafe where poets and intellectuals have dined for 300 years. We ordered a tiny mint hot chocolate and yes it was very overpriced. But the experience was nice and the interior was intricately painted and carefully protected behind glass. I’m also pretty certain I ate my weight in gelato. When they have European kit-kat gelato, it’s hard to say no.

Next, the last leg of our journey, London…

 

Check out more of my work on my facebook page here!

Xoxo,

Michelle

Prague Czech Republic- Travel photography

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Prague Czech Republic- Travel photography

 

Prague is pure magic. It’s a dark, medieval fairytale. It’s an ornate, Disney esque story book, lavish with golden pages of enchanting mornings and dusky twilights. It’s a stunning labyrinth tangled below the peaks of foreboding Gothic towers and faded, colored pencil pastel facades. When Peter and I were planning our trip last year, one of the hardest things to answer was the looming question, “where should we go?”There were a few countries we had pinned down, but Prague took us totally by surprise. We happened to randomly watch a video about it and found ourselves tearing up. It looked so incredibly magical and unreal, we knew we had to go. It turned out to be our favorite place and we only spent two and a half days there, which will never be enough time. After checking into our Air bnb right in old town, we went in search for the most memorizing church; my main motivation for dreaming of Prague. Standing in old town square I kept turning around looking for the Church of our lady Tyn when I stopped with a gasp as it appeared directly above me.  It’s blue spires tipped with 5 sided gold stars; it resembled a real life, evil Disney castle. I also learned beforehand that Walt Disney based some of his early castle ideas on this church.

On our first full day we woke early and hopped into a little cafe to get pastries and coffee. We headed over from Stare Mesto to St. Charles Bridge to view the Saint Statues in the the bright sun. The long bridge gave way to the uphill stone streets of Mala Strana. Since everything was so cheap in the Czech Republic, I bought most of my souvenirs for family and friends here, including absinthe which is everywhere here. They also sell wood handcrafted puppets, fragile painted eggs and famous Czech crystal. We took out the kroner equivalent of 40 US dollars and we able to survive all our time there just on that. Beer is also cheaper than water here.  Peter and I wandered around the castle grounds of Pražský hrad which is a mesh-mash of different architectural styles through centuries. We happened by this tiny, tiny cafe on the edge of the hill next to the castle walls with a gorgeous view of the city. Peter ordered a hot mulled wine and I got an apple cider. It only took a couple sips for me to realize that it was alcoholic… Czech food is amazing. They have so many street food vendors including ones that make Trdelnik right in front of you. Trdelnik is a doughy Czech pastry covered in cinnamon that you can carry around and go to heaven while you’re eating it.

That evening I was determined to find a rooftop where I could hopelessly stare at the Church of our Lady Tyn. I found it through an almost empty roof top restaurant where Pete and I shared a chocolate sundae in the descending light of a lavender and pink sky. After we had our fill of the view we took three flights of stairs and an elevator to the basement to The Black Angles Bar, AKA- the coolest bar/place I’ve ever been. Ever. Ever. It had exposed stone walls, black statues covered in wax, dim candle light, vintage framed nautical paintings, extravagant Czech crystal chandeliers, and obscure 60s Motown playing. The atmosphere was unlike anywhere we had ever been. On our trek back I convinced Pete to get fish and chips from a place open late on the corner we had been eye-ing. We took the brown paper sack back to our room and ate on the wooden floor with our hands.

The next morning we woke at 3:15 am to get to the airport. Driving though the city in the early morning, seeing the lights and saying goodbye when we had just arrived, was difficult. But hopefully I can venture back soon to explore even more of that mystical place.

Our flight to Treviso, Italy left at 6:00am.

See more of my work on my facebook here!

XOXO,

Michelle

Paris France- Travel photography

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Paris France- travel photography

We arrived in Paris at night just after it rained. We took a cab to our apartment in the 9th arrondissement. The cab driver played odd french dance music I can still hear in my mind. That was the soundtrack I first saw the Eiffel tower to. It seemed strange to see it by accident, seemingly out of nowhere from the freeway. This was a place I had always heard, seen from movies, and read flowery stories about, but never imagine really being there. But there we were, thrown into the Parisian night, finding our way with a little bit of French and our international debit cards.

Our apartment was.. incredible. I spent months on Air BNB searching with high criteria; It had to have a kitchen, be in a great area, have a bathroom with shower, and most importantly have a balcony. I found an apartment that had two. TWO BALCONIES WITH A VIEW OF THE EIFFEL TOWER. It was a total dream. I spent many nights out there drinking wine, starring at the Eiffel tower, feeling the winter wind through my hair.  I also spent mornings smelling freshly baked bread and reveling in the rare European, winter sunshine. It was the perfect setting for our time there. The night we arrived we walked in the rain to a cafe at 1am where I hate my first crepe ever. We didn’t feel tired. We felt alive with the neon night of new adventure.

Our first full day in Paris was Valentines Day. We took the lions gate entrance into The Louvre to avoid the already massive line into the museum. Having studied art history I was in art heaven. There were so many pieces I had written about and studied closely through print that suddenly hung, framed right in front of my eyes. I could see the colors and textures how they were meant to be seen. I could stand in front of those paintings feeling the scale of majesty at which they were meant to be felt. The Louvre is massive, but I was determined to see as much as possible. We hiked around the exhibits viewing thousands of years of art. Yes, we did see the Mona Lisa as well. It made me a little sad though. All those mindless viewers huddling around the Da Vinci, just to take a selfie with it and then leave immediately.  Hardly of of them waiting to really look at her. To actually see the “most famous painting in the world”. They just wanted a photo and the instant gratification of getting to say they saw it. I grew a new appreciation for the Mona Lisa, I had no interest in seeing her but decided to stand and analyze the image for a few minutes. I sill maintain the belief that the most interesting part of the painting is the depth and light deep in the background. It’s really beautiful. Soon the rain gave way and the sun appeared outside just as left made our way to the Seine River, Lovelock Bridge, and the Notre Dame.

Paris was incredible but we did have some hard times. Jet lag must have caught up with us because we woke up one day at 1pm. That same day I also fell down the stairs of the Metro and injured my ankle. I couldn’t walk on it for awhile and had to limp all the way to the Champs Eylsees and then home. In Paris, you can power through the pain just to see the sights.

One of my favorite days was spent at Disneyland Paris. Peter and I are huge Disneyland lovers and new right away we wanted to buy tickets (which are supremely cheaper than Disneyland in California) It was different there for sure. The whole park was smaller and less busy, but really fun! We hardly waited in any lines and laughed a lot of the whole day. It was pretty damn cold but Pete held onto me.

The food and the people in France are wonderful. Everyone was so nice and helpful, despite what other travelers might say. And I could eat french food all day, everyday. It would mostly be dessert but still..

Montmartre was a just a nice stroll uphill from our place on our last day. We saw the homes and studios of famous 19th century artists and walked the streets they would have set their one steps upon. We lit a candle at the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur to have a safe and happy trip. It’s an enchanting experience to light your wish off of the flame of someone else’s wish. The light just keeps passing from hope to hope.

Next on to Prague…..

XOXO,

Michelle

Copenhagen Denmark- Travel photography

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Copenhagen Denmark- Travel photography

 

Two 20 somethings sit in the international terminal of the LAX airport, nervous and excited on February 10th, 2015. They are much too early for their flight, but pull their new suitcases across the  linoleum floor listening to the departures and foreign names being called over the the intercom. They grab a drink at the lounge and chat about their upcoming adventure.  Those two kids were myself and my boyfriend, Peter. We spent months and months preparing for that day; coordinating schedules, looking and re-looking up flights, desperately searching Air BNB, begging my boyfriend for more and more days, researching cities, planning EVERY. LITTLE. DETAIL. Planning for this trip consumed my life and I was thankful for that fact. I truly love planning trips. It takes my mind off everything else and I can just fantasize about new lands.

On our day of departure, I was slightly, if not totally freaked out about flying. I hadn’t flown in about 10 years and we were about to board a 10 hour flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Peter held my hand tightly on our night-time take off which eased my initial worries. We slept a bit during the flight and when we landed in Copenhagen it was the DARKEST places Ive ever seen. It took up two trains and some confusion to find our host’s home in Osterbro. We got so incredibly lucky with kind hosts. They even let us borrow their bikes to trek around the city. We only had about two days to spend there so zooming about in Copenhagen’s preferred mode of travel was exhilarating. The streets, along with everything else for that matter, were extremely bike friendly, with separate bike lanes and signals. Although it was much too cold for two somewhat under-dressed Californians, we managed not to lose any appendages. Copenhagen in February is the kind of cold we will forever to refer to when we think something is “freezing”. (Lesson learned, more coats next time. Maybe even some decent gloves.)

Being in another country on another continent is a brilliantly beautiful feeling every moment you acknowledge that fact. We could be soaking in the warmth of a corner coffee shop, eying our locked bikes on a cobbled stoned street and one of us would blurt out, “We are in Denmark….”, then our eyes would light up and the other would agree, “We are in Denmark! We are in Europe!” That psychical self realization would send us into travel high. This occurred VERY often throughout the entirety of our trip.

On our last day in Denmark, we biked over to the University botanical gardens that I had discovered online the night before by accident. It’s safe to say that would found Jurassic Park in Copenhagen, and it was definitely a highlight of our time there.

Now to to Paris…

To see more of my work check out my facebook here

Xoxo,

Michelle

San Luis Obispo style photographer- Velvet Sugar

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Some of my favorite images come from working with local fashion bloggers, Velvet Sugar, Taryn and Rhi. They are so much fun to work with and have awesome style. This was a lifestyle shoot was taken in Taryn’s home in San Luis Obispo. She has the most charming a pink kitchen with a vintage stove. It was perfect with the beautiful cake and adorable macarons created by Whitnie of Paper Cake Events in Paso Robles.  The artistry of that cake was just stunning. She even sprinkled raw sugar chunks on top of the cake. Those macarons were seriously the best I’ve ever had. They had vanilla frosting inside and had edible gold leaf painted on top. I wish I could have them delivered to my house daily.

Bloggers- Velvet Sugar

Cake and macarons- Paper Cake Events

To see more visit my facebook or my instagram michellerollerphoto

Xoxo,

Michelle

*San Luis Obispo style photographer*