Rikki Rivera | Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography

This summer was eventful – full of love and all the expected heartache. Fall is now rolling in like an angry tropical storm, with almost just as much precipitation. Not that I mind, I thoroughly soak in the changing of the seasons and welcome the new routines that come alongside. As my children are growing, I see that our routines differ far more than ever before, and that is the most challenging adjustment [for them]. But how can you gripe when you get to cuddle in close most everyday, stay wrapped in wool blankets with the smell of pumpkin everything enveloping you like the just passed warm summer night. It’s grand.

Another year long deployment came to an end. The distance was hard as it has always been, and while it was full of love and renewed strength, it also came with its own dose of troubles. We’re all human. No shame in that. The memories of that season are fully encompassed in that deployment. I’m sure you can imagine.

The duration of summer was spent fishing, harvesting oysters and clams, a camping trip, a trip to the mid-west, movie in the park, our wedding, the passing of my only grandparent, getting a puppy, a rare date night, visiting with family from afar, and an incredible coastal trip. Looking back, I felt like we had missed out on so much. I had hoped for much more time spent outdoors together and a few more trips. Then again, we had our fair share. No sense in getting greedy.

Wedding planning was quite exciting and only became overwhelming as we approached our day. There was no real dismay, and I’m thankful for that. I had the sweetest friends spend much of their evenings and weekends helping with every DIY craft project I could think of to represent the essence of Jeremy and I, and later on, my family chipped in for every last detail. It turned out pleasantly, which I thought was a huge feat because of my lack of planning skills. I have no shame. My spontaneity is adorable. Sort of. I think. Ok maybe not, but I get by.

The end result was beautiful. It was a dream come true to be walked down the aisle by my dad, and have our first dance to a song that’s been ours since our beginning. I saw my closest day to day friends and family dressed formally for the occasion, and that made my heart melt. Over and over. I danced endlessly with my husband, had people dancing with us all night long in fact, and last but not least, married my best friend of 5 1/2 years. It hasn’t all been rainbows and roses, but I felt we were deserving. I suppose that’s why photographing weddings is one of my own personal favorite aspects of my work flow. The road to that point are long, bumpy, and sometimes a bit ugly, but come that day, none of that matters. Afterward, it’s a new chapter, a fresh start, and a happy beginning.

We’re home. Working again. And fall. Fall and rain. I’ve felt a little stuck and desperate for a hike, for a photo shoot in the sun. Instead, I’ve found comfort in the aforementioned cuddling and blankets. We spend the longer days thrifting for new treasures and purging our own. I find therapy in homemade soups and fresh bread. I’ll slowly begin a book documenting this crazy year, plan for holidays, and miss my Grandma beyond measure. Comfort will come in all forms and I’ll dream of the beach once more. And that’s a great thing.

Small gatherings with our friends and family has been a focus of ours throughout the years, especially throughout the deployment times. We get so very comfortable with one another, we quickly overlook the value of having other genuine friendships surrounding not only us, but our children as well. Not to say we’re any good at – we’re often not. However, the thoughts are there even though they linger, and once in awhile we remember and act upon them. Cheers!

Jeremy’s mother has been keeping herself busy in her mid-sized family home, alone, for a few years now, but it’s becoming increasingly aware that she needs the same surroundings of character that we do. As her birthday crept up this week, we planned to take her on a little coastal trip with our own little family. Nothing celebratory in the traditional sense, but more in the gathering to participate in a family activity of sorts that is not so common routine.

The angler that my husband is, he closely monitors the seasons and times for all sorts of marine life, razor clams are no exception. We made our first attempt last February, and felt it only fair to give it another go. It was surprisingly enjoyable. Sand. Sand everywhere. Everywhere.

While I love the mountains and greenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer, my heart is always truly happiest and free in the wide open plane of a coastal beach. At least the coastal beaches of Western Washington, where the land stretches beyond what the eye can see, where the sky looks so vast it’s unreal, and while there may be an abundance of other stragglers, you can find solitude and likeness amongst them.

clam digging, professional photography, wildlife photography, nature, outdoors, pacific northwest, best, awesome, family

Welcome to our journey to Sequoia – or as my late grandmother called the it, Three Rivers. She referred to the whole area as Three Rivers. This was her favorite place on earth. So for her final wish, memorial, and to celebrate her life, that’s just where we went.

My grandmother’s ring. Custom designed and made by her best friend in CA. A simple reminder of why we were there.


My father absolutely adores his grandkids. If you know him, you know that look on his face says it all.

My very first clear sighting of the Milky Way. Gorgeous in all its glory. We stood out here for what felt like hours gazing at the stars. I’ve never seen anything like it before.


Alyx went to bed with a headache our first night there. Kate insisted on going to bed with a flash light. Oh the little things that make up children in all their uniqueness.

We drove from Washington state to Sequoia National, CA park. We followed one another down Hwy 101 to Hwy 1, an all coastal highway to thoroughly get the most out of our trip. It was an amazing journey to say the least. We visited all of our favorite places there and back, and we paid special attention to the places our memories knew so well. There will be many more parts from our adventure that I will share with you.

Upon arrival to King’s Canyon – Sequoia National Park, we found our way to two cozy little cabins nestled amongst the trees in the back of the campground. What a treat for us, we couldn’t have picked a better spot if we had tried! They were rustic, charming, and utterly peaceful. We also had the camp fire area to ourselves. During our two night stay, not one other person cooked over a fire, roasted a marshmallow, or came out to gaze at the breathtaking views of the night sky. While everyone around was missing out, we embraced the intimacy and simplicity of having such an amazing space to ourselves.

This trip was incredibly special. A one-of-a-kind vacation that, just after our wedding, was a bit exhausting to take on. However, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, I even hope to follow up this vacation annually with my family. We squeezed so much into our two short weeks, that it has been hard to mentally process each detail. I am so thankful to have these photos as a reminder. This was also one of those times where no one minds my camera out on a constant basis. My parents don’t care for photos quite like I do, but always indulge me, as they value the importance just as much. I am thoroughly excited to begin printing these valuable photographs to display in our home and share with our friends and family.

  • Courtney - September 30, 2013 - 10:56 am

    Wow – that Milky Way photo is unreal! Amazing pictures, and what a great memory. Reply Cancel

    • Rikki Rivera - September 30, 2013 - 5:30 pm

      It was insane to see first hand! Thank you for your kind words. Reply Cancel

  • Nathaniel - September 30, 2013 - 5:00 pm

    My word! Those shots of the starry sky are mindblowing! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Reply Cancel

  • Lucy - September 30, 2013 - 7:11 pm

    These photos are incredible! That sky!!! I love the oranges too 🙂 It is nice to be able to make new memories in a place already full of fond ones.

    Lucy xo | We Resolve Blog Reply Cancel

  • m @ two handfuls of - September 30, 2013 - 10:43 pm

    thank you for stopping by! your photography is stunning. love the richness of color and simplicity of the photo of the oranges.
    —m. Reply Cancel

  • Aubrey - October 6, 2013 - 4:42 pm

    What a beautiful, humbly honest way to celebrate someone’s life. And what a magnificent place. I felt very much like I was there through your photos. Reply Cancel