My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, writer, graphic designer and model who had memorable days reporting from the LA red carpet for E! Online. I love sharing my life as a creative professional and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.
My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I love traveling, home improvement projects, sewing, and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life and work.
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Now I know not all of you are 49er fans but I thought this would be a fun post for you to experience a little behind the scenes glimpse that I recently experienced. This post is dedicated to my dad.
My love story with the 49ers is basically that I came out of the womb in a 49er cheerleader outfit.
My dad was born in SF, my grandparents immigrated and lived there, and summer camps used to be in Roseville (before they moved to Stockton) which was the town next door. When you are from Nor Cal, you cheer for the Niners. We have autographs, I have a photo with Terrell Owens, and we have a Niner wall upstairs in my brother’s old bedroom. My dad is a die hard fan and before a game would start he would say, “Ask homework questions now because the game is starting and you cannot ask me for four hours.” We were not allowed to talk to dad during a Niner game. If we came downstairs and the game was turned off prematurely, we knew what that meant – and it was to remain unmentioned.
Today, my best friend from college Jackie, works for them. Here we are on one of the team buses from the Ritz Carlton heading to the Arizona Cardinals Stadium.
They presented a unique opportunity for their employees- if they attended a certain number of educational classes about the 49er organization which were optional, they would be sent to an away game and able to enjoy it (when there is a game day, all 49er employees work the game). A handful were able to make time in their schedule (many were busy with the preparation of the new stadium), and one wasn’t able to make it so I was lucky enough to be invited to attend. I’ve never been to an NFL game before – I’ve been to every other type of professional sporting event (even hockey, what?) but not NFL because there’s no team I’d want to see other than the niners which was near impossible given I now live in Phoenix.
But bestie was in town, the opportunity was a blessing, and here’s how the day went.
It starts with several buses on their way to the stadium, escorted by sheriffs. The sheriff cars close down the streets, drive around us with their sirens on because there is no time to be late for a game. You get a lot of stares of people looking like what the heck is going on? And some fans, well, they know. So you get 49er fans driving along side showing off their hats and all excited about the bus arrival.
Here we are at the Arizona stadium.
Kids, we have been doing selfies before you were even in elementary school and before they were even called selfies.
We arrived at the Cardinals Stadium around 10:30 a.m. and had quite a while until the game would start – 1 p.m. So we sat and took a ton of photos and watched players work out and stretch.
That above is Frank Gore. Go Frank Gore.
Look what my friends are taking photos of … those aren’t even Niners!
Even though I have no ties to Arizona other than going to college and living here, I cannot get myself to be a fan when there’s just no tie. But the Cardinals Stadium is very cool – the grass rolls out and they did all this crazy fancy stuff to it since the team upgraded from their games at ASU’s football stadium. I also know it’s not officially called the Cardinals Stadium but this is not a sponsored post so I don’t care. *wink*
Jackie bought me all this 49er gear including the shirt I’m wearing. Faithful is truth – been a fan even when the team wasn’t winning for years (crying emoji face).
Found our seats. Any guesses how much these seats cost? $100. So mom and dad, I hope you enjoy your club seats/non birds eye view at the Levi’s Stadium I managed to hook up for you (thanks Belem!) next month. Dad, you should get a jersey or polo at the team store at the stadium.
Can you see whose family I’m sitting behind?
This Red Zone area is where I took a lot of those selfies I posted earlier – also that table area behind is where we went after the game. It’s where the family of the opposing team hang out post game and say hello to their family. Sure, I feel like I’m part of the family.
Sadly, we didn’t win. I mean a win would have of course been better, but I still enjoyed the game and had lots of cheering for my team as they did do fairly well until the second half – yikes. I blame a lot on the refs too – some were whack calls. To cheer for my favorite team in the entire world in person is just the best.
Live interviews take place here, 49er fans and family hang out (with a ticket that says you can). I don’t think the players have much time before they hop on the bus. TSA comes and they go through a pre-check screening so they can hop on their private plane back.
Then when it’s time, you load into one of the 6 buses headed to the airport. Traffic? No problem, sheriffs have it handled.
I also want to mention that I saw so many “birds” flipped at us. And while I know people who do that do not read my blog, sheesh people – one guy did an “L” sign and that’s just rude. I think that says more about the person doing it than the person it is intended for. I could go on and on about how many badly behaved people I saw from Cardinals fans, but I’m sure every team has their bad boys – and girls! It just made me think players have a lot to deal with and fans are doing things for fun, but everyone has feelings.
It was a great time, what a fantastic memory – this one goes down in the books! Hope you all had a great weekend and your team won!
To continue on from this week’s earlier post about exploring Upstate New York, we were hired to capture the cutest rehearsal dinner later that night, so on our first day, we headed up and stopped in Storm King, a suggestion of the bride when I inquired other things to see on the way up.
The cost is $15 per adult, and if you’re a photographer, you definitely would want to go – it’s like paying a location fee for great photos. It’s 500 acres of mowed down fields with wildflower fields, artwork in the middle and fun. I would say bring a picnic basket and eat there, there are tables in one area and a trolly-like cart that resembles what you would take from the Disneyland parking lot to the park which takes you around the place for 45 minutes. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time to take it.
But I did have time to do a quick cartwheel.
Hm, my form looked so much better in my head.
We got up the hill to see this Harry Potter like mansion which has a museum in it. I’d say skip it – it’s just figurines in there made of ash and other materials. It was a humid day and there was no AC, horrific.
But the view from up top is amazing and worth going – or driving up to that spot.
I’m so tiny!!!!
I was so fascinated with fall leaves – Phoenix sadly doesn’t have that. I know, we’re totally deprived.
I plan on flower bombing the back bunny area and running a lawn mower path like so, in hopes that I could get a similar effect, below.
Earlier this month my trusty sidekick (second shooter and long time friend) Amy flew out for a wedding up in Garrison, New York. While it’s uncommon for me to travel for work, I wouldn’t say that I don’t, because for the right job paired with my love of travel, it’s a great excuse to book a wedding on the other side of the coast.
We flew into Newark, NJ, landing at 11 pm, picking up our rental car then proceeded to get completely lost. As I drove over some random bridge I pointed out at the skyline, “Is that the city?” I asked. Yep, it was NYC. So, I decided to chase it for a better view. I mean, really at 11:45 pm, why the heck not when you’re not at all tired. Yes, it was probably dangerous, no I didn’t tell Mr. Wonderful or else he would’ve not be thrilled with my choices, but how often do you get to do something so sporadic?
I found signs pointing to Liberty Park and so I figured, hey let’s just go! We parked and walked close to the dock to get a better view.
Here’s an idea of where we were:
For those wondering, I shot at super crazy high ISO on my 5DIII, and in LR I fix the noise. If you don’t have a tripod, shooting at a crazy high ISO at night is fine when you shoot against a black sky – you can for the most part fill in the grain in post so it looks decent (adjust the noise in Lr).
Even got a peek at Miss Liberty.
Here’s One World Trade Center also known as 1WTC. I had a friend named Gina (we met in high school in Seattle for a journalism high school conference and have lost touch since MySpace went away) who worked in one of the twin towers and she made it out alive. She said she was in an elevator heading down (before realizing how unsafe it was and made a mad rush for the stairs). She heard the cables snap of the elevator next to her and I’ll leave it at that, because the thought makes me sad. I’ve already cried my eyes out on Sept. 11 watching documentaries on History channel – it happens every year.
The second time I was in NYC I visited Ground Zero a year after 9-11. I remember seeing the work done, the signs everywhere and I had a heavy heart and I didn’t want to take pictures or smile in the photos taken.
Yes I am sweating in this picture, it was freaking humid, East Coast, how do you do it?
This was a monument dedicated to the fallen from 9-11. On it has names.
I would also guess this piece was from the damage.
Afterwards, it was around 1 a.m. and we thought, hm, maybe we should check into our hotel, but I was hungry. So, after a quick drive back into town, we went to Elizabeth, New Jersey and found a 24 hour NY Pizza place! Yessss! I miss living in big cities. In LA, you could find food at all hours of the day – even 3 a.m. it was fantastic. When I moved to Phoenix at age 23, I nearly died of boredom from everything closing early and nothing to do or eat – not even a McDonalds stays open late.
Pizzzzaaa! I’m half Ninja Turtle.
And, we had NY pizza again the next night, can you blame us?
It was my fourth time in the state of New York, but the three previous times I spent in the city, so this was a real treat to take a car and explore a little more north.
I spent the next two days enjoy the view of the Hudson River – let’s say you will be blown away by the location of this wedding.
No, that’s not where they had the ceremony, that’s just a fun little spot. I had the bride twirl around in her dress inside though. There were so many spots everywhere on the large property overlooking the Hudson River.
Our drive from Fishkill (30 minutes north of Garrison) down south was absolutely amazing and worth the drive. My best friend Jackie lived in NYC for a few years post college, she didn’t stay long in LA after graduation when we both lived there. But then when I left LA a few years later, she left NYC and returned to LA staying for many years before going back to SF. I just think of how incredible it is to live in the two biggest cities and experience that when you are young. If I could do it over again I would definitely give a year in my 20s to live in New York, what a place!
San Francisco is where my roots in the states began. My grandparents immigrated here, met and fell in love and had a two boys, my dad was the youngest making him the first generation born in America. My mom’s side is from Shanghai but relocated to Taiwan. When she was famous, she traveled to study in San Francisco, renting an apartment on Commercial Street in Chinatown where my grandparents owned a building. There my mom and dad met and my mom stayed and became a legal citizen.
So I guess that makes me the second generation. My dad has the funniest stories growing up in Chinatown, and some really rough stories too. Being a kid born in the 1950s and going to a Catholic school wasn’t exactly a sweet deal back then. I’m so glad we’ve come a long way from that lifestyle of intolerance.
Anyway, Rachel came over to do a little half day trip, after her morning run. The girl likes to run so much that she told me she’d run and meet me in San Francisco but I said no, Rach, we should drive. *wink* My dad recommended we head to Sausilito and the Marin Headlands, a place he frequented often growing up.
First stop, Saucilito. A high tourism place, my dad said my grandfather used to own a home there but sold it to buy a cabin in Tahoe. According to my dad, in the words of my grandfather, “Sausilito is full of bums,” but today it’s one of the most coveted places in the bay to live, and quite expensive. Lots of quaint little shops and restaurants.
Enjoy the mixture of Canon Powershot and iPhone pics.
We indulged in some ice cream, and I bought a $15 kite just for photos. I’m a photographer, that’s how I roll. Rachel promised she’d take me somewhere to fly it later that day.
Then we headed up the hill into the Marin Headlands and stopped at every point we could to take in the view.
Dad said we should check out the lighthouse so off we went.
So apparently they close the door when they are closed. Boo.
Then I fell off this post trying to get a photo. It’s not easy trying to look effortless. Or when your butt is bigger than the top wood board.
So we traveled some more.
Until we hit the beach, Rodeo beach, where I could fly my seagull kite.
Rachel had to fly it for me first and then give it to me. I don’t remember the last time I flew a kite. I think I was probably ten with my little brother.
Flying a kite, what a cinch. I can do it without looking.
I told you Rachel likes to run. Run Rachel, Run. I think I just came up with a new blog URL for her.
We said goodbye to the sufers and headed to Mill Valley for dinner.
“Did you put on some lotion or something?” I asked.
It was the smell of the eucalyptus, smells like a Chinese medicine shoppe.
One more stop.
We got more bounce in California… oh how I love being home.
Hi there! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, writer, model and wife - and follower of Christ.
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