Life Stories: The Story of Woodpeckers at Muir Woods | San Francisco Bay Area Lifestyle Photographer

It’s time for this month’s Life Story.  I’m so impressed with myself that I haven’t missed one month of this monthly project!  Excuse me while I take a moment to pat my own back.

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN???


Oh,  sorry….  Let me get you up to speed. Here’s a little blurb about what I’m up to:

Ever see a photographer who starts out with a 365 day project, or even a 52 week project and never finishes? Yeah, me too.  Well, I  joined a group of a few other busy photographers who decided to commit to a 12 month project! Wish us luck!

The best part is that it will be totally candid, lifestyle shots of each of our own families/lives.  This is a challenge for us to capture our every day worlds and hopefully make us and everyone aware that our “ordinary” is actually “extraordinary.”  We’re calling the series “The Story of ________” and we’ll each be filling in our own blanks. At the end of this post is a link to another photographer who participated and she’ll be linking to someone else. It’s a whole big circle of stories in pictures. Click through and enjoy!

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We’ve had kids for 9 years.  My husband grew up in the Bay Area, and amazingly, I am the only one in our family who had ever been to Muir Woods.  How did that even happen?  What is WRONG with us???  We clearly needed to rectify this situation, so off we went.

Little did we know that we had just so happened to visit Muir Woods on International Migratory Bird Day.  I know… I know…. how did we not even know it was International Migratory Bird Day???  So embarrassing….

We learned more about birds, the kids discovered that birds have wicked wing spans, and, most importantly, we made woodpecker masks.  Thank you Mr. Ranger Guy for helping them make those masks.  They made this day super extra magical for me.

They LOVED their masks and wore them the majority of the day.  And seriously, it was just one of those magical things to me.  I love color.  I love quirky.  I love my kids.  And ya know, I find that I am even more fond of woodpeckers.  Especially red crested woodpeckers with crossed eyes.


These are the cutest woodpeckers you have ever seen, aren’t they?  I know.  I know!  Totally adorable.

We were sort of expecting it to be warm, but it wasn’t.  The rest of us smarties packed a jacket, but the hubs didn’t have anything.  We DID however, have a pink and white striped towel in the car that not only provided warmth, but clearly, is a huge fashion statement.  And the hubs just OWNED it.  Work it, baby. Work it.

Trees are cool.  See all those light green leaves?  Those are the new growth for this year. Every year, a Redwood tree grows a new leaf, and so you can count back from the front of the branch to see how old the branch is.  See how all the knowledge I collected in my years as a camp counselor is paying off?  And of course, trees also have a new growth ring every year.  I dig trees.

Hello…. My name is Laura.  And I’m a sucker for sunflare.

This red crested woodpecker was having a really good time.

And this woodpecker appears to be stalking its prey….

My husband always creates the best games for the kids.  His creativity in play always impresses me!  This one was simple enough…. pick a leaf, and on the count of three, drop it in the creek, and see which leaf gets to the chosen destination first. I think my daughter won this one.  She loves daddy’s games.

But I’m pretty sure my son won this one.  He’s so intense.  I love that.

And then he looked over at me… and for just a moment, the world stood still.  I love that man.

The kids spotted a heron in the creek.  It was pretty cool to watch.  It was hunting for fish and just continued down the creek for quite some time.  Beautiful bird.

And maybe I’m alone here, but does anyone else think that E.T. should phone home?  I want some Reeses Pieces.

Shooting at Muir Woods was tough.  It was crowded.  For the most part, there are other people in your shot if you are going for anything environmental. But in a rare moment, the path was clear, and in an even rarer moment, my daughter assumed this pose.  My little tree fairy.  I love this shot.


We had to stop at the gift shop where they both chose this 5 in 1 tool.  It’s a compass, a thermometer, a small container, a magnifying glass, and a whistle.  And yes, since you asked, the whistle DOES get annoying when you are driving home and trapped in a car.

And also, if you’re wondering.  Yes, yes… he DID eat a brownie, and no… he didn’t use a napkin.

I can SEE you!

So, there you have it.  Our story of our trip to Muir Woods.  We had a great time and were just a little bit sad to leave.

IIf you like what you see, you can always follow me on FACEBOOK.

Next up on this Life Stories train is THE Danielle Frank!  I am in love with all of her Life Stories, so you are not gonna want to miss it.  At the end of her story will be another link to another Life Story.  Follow the links and see a whole pile of amazing Life Stories that will eventually end you up right back here.  So sit down, get comfy, and ENJOY.

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  1. amy lenhart
    May 25, 2012

    LOVED IT! felt like was experienced the day right along with you!!! love the masks and that they wore them all day so cute!!!

  2. Amy
    May 25, 2012

    Beautiful Post and Family.

  3. Kristin
    May 25, 2012

    Totally adore these! You are a charmed lady…..happening upon a fun masking day, those are awesome!

  4. Jackie
    May 25, 2012

    This are flippin’ awesome, all of them! I think I have said this before, but I love the world through your eyes!

  5. Azure
    May 25, 2012

    Oh good heavens, Laura, LOVE this! And I want to come with you next time you go. Your family trips sound like so much fun and your images are amazing!

  6. Verity
    May 25, 2012

    Looks like you guys had an absolutely perfect day! I love the hats, the location, the picture of your son looking so intensely into the water while playing the leaf-dropping game, and your daughter in her mask with the awesome pose! Your stories make me smile every month!

  7. Jen
    May 25, 2012

    What a wonderful story! It looks like all of you had a great time!! It looks like a wonderful place– I can’t wait to visit Muir Woods next month.

  8. Danielle Frank
    May 25, 2012

    I swear I love each of your posts more than the last. This trip looks AMAZING. And I learned something about a redwood :) I love how you capture your family. I love how you see the world. Love your compositions. And thanks for referring to me as “THE” – it makes me feel so awesome :) <3

  9. Kelly Mack
    May 25, 2012

    OMGosh! Those woodpeaker masks. Unreal! Looks like heaps of fun i feel like i shared the day with you. Awesome!

  10. Tandy Dowdy
    May 25, 2012

    I am in love with your unique style! I always look forward to reading your posts on ILP and simply adore your photographs! You are an amazing photographer!! Thanks for sharing!

    And just to add one more exclamation point! :)

  11. Liat Biderovsky
    May 26, 2012

    Oh my, my, my, my!! Your work just blows me away every single time I see it. That aside, LOVE the story :-) So cute and looks like you had such a fun day. Adore those tree shots too!

  12. Jessica Deane
    May 26, 2012

    Love these! so so sooo fun!

  13. Taryn Chrapkowski
    May 26, 2012

    LOVE everything about all of this! You truly have a magical style to your photos!

  14. Life with Kaishon
    May 27, 2012

    What a fun outing! I am glad you were able to go on such a grand adventure. The masks are so fantastic : ) The scenery is beautiful. I even liked your very cool and high fashion towel to keep warm : ) Perfect!

  15. Audrey
    May 30, 2012

    I love the scenery and Laura your environmentals are UHmazing! Looks like they absolutely loved those masks!

  16. Jen Snyder
    May 30, 2012

    Laura, I just love your vision. love.

  17. Carrie
    May 31, 2012

    Seriously, seriously cooooool!!!

  18. Reena
    June 02, 2012

    These are all so great! each one is better then the one before…I can’t pick a favorite!

  19. Ann G.
    June 04, 2012

    Laura these are just beautiful and cool and awesome! You have some mad creative talent. I can only say LOVE LOVE LOVE them!

  20. Shannon Stroubakis
    June 18, 2012

    I love all these, and I always look forward to your monthly Life Stories!

  21. Gen
    July 12, 2012

    Your posts are so beautiful. Be super proud of what you do. :)

  22. Sara
    March 29, 2013

    New fan here! Love these!

  23. Melissa O
    June 19, 2013

    Oh my, my my! These are beautiful. All of them are amazing and I can see why the one of your daughter is one of your most favorite. Your kids looked like they had a blast!!

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