John Muir’s Daughters

While on vacation in Santa Cruz we decided to look for treasures by going thrift store shopping. We happened upon a costume shop that had not an inch to spare, it was so full of every costume you could imagine! As my children tried on the dragon heads and climbed high for swords I gravitated straight to the children’s costumes. I’m looking for inspiration for my upcoming Kings and Queens of Narnia project. We immediately found this dress. Victorian lace, handmade with quality and definitely not new. So amazing in every detail I wanted to keep it forever. We described my Storybook Portraits concept to the owner and she said “Let me be your children’s costume resource!” I was baffled by the logistics of this but she simply said, “mail it back to me in a week.”

When you are directed so divinely to the perfect costume and the owner saying yes, take it, there is naught to do but say Yes!

Now I had the clock ticking. One week until the mail date.

A field trip to Sacramento on the train had me dropping my son off at the train station in Martinez. Driving home I thought of the John Muir house and spontaneously pulled into the parking lot. A solitary car was parked in the lot and a woman was walking towards the visitor center. “Do you work here?” I called out my window. Not only did she work there but she was THE person to talk to about permits and such for photographing in a historic location. Oh My. We made friends and it was set. That was the day we’d photograph. I felt I was riding a wave and all I had to do was keep saying Yes to the magic!

Did you know that John Muir had two daughters? Helen and Wanda. My nieces live a mile or two away from John Muir’s house. They love his writing, they love his home and orchards. Our story is told.

“Treasured Time” is made extra special by including Great-Gram’s gold box, a treasured gift to her from Great-Pop.

“A Wish to Play” rings true as my niece is an accomplished piano player at age twelve. She really did yearn to play that piano.


  1. Miranda St John

    Laura, this shoot is stunning! You must be so pleased!

  2. Karen Drinkwater

    Hi Laura, I love the story and the images.

  3. Colby Apollo

    Your timing was impeccable on everything Laura! Those dresses are exquisite as your nieces.

  4. Lloyd Liebes Jr

    Extremely fine work..and wonderfully presented.

  5. Tarja Saajamo

    Abso;utely magical!!!

  6. Renee Cox

    Beautiful Laura, what amazing synchronicity!!


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