I don't usually plug for people. It's just not me. But I literally stumbled upon this place by accident and thought I would share.
Big Bear Lake, CA has some of the most amazing scenery imaginable. I usually take the kids up there at least 5 or 6 times during snow season, sometimes once or twice in the summer. Tinkmomma and I actually stayed up there a few times while we were dating. Off and on you could say I've been going up there since I was a kid, yet never knew about this little gem.
On April 24 Tinkmomma had a babyshower to attend to. I'm not exactly the "stay at home" type. That whole week it had been raining and the news said there was snow up in Big Bear. So I packed the kids in the van, picked up grandma (after all I need a travel buddy) and off we went for the final snow day of the year. Long story short the weathermen lied. They were standing in front of the ski slopes... everything else was dirt with a couple patches of snow. On the bright side we found a couple large patches, so the kids had a snow day, but the trip up was almost a waste. We had dinner and then I spotted this place.
The photographer's name is Richard. He's a local, been in the business 20 years. I initially mistook his shop for a tourist spot. Tink wasn't exactly thrilled with me (I was in Big Bear, seeing snow, and didn't take her so three marks in the book). So I thought as a Mother's Day present I would have the kids pose for an Old West Photo. We all know how that is, most people have done one at Knott's. The photographer gets everyone in a costume, dresses them up, snaps 4 or 5 shots... you pick the best one pay through the nose and there you have a souvenir.
Richard gets the kids all dressed up with grandma's help, and he starts taking shots. While he's taking the shots I walk around. This place is like one of those old antique stores, just so much to look at... as he's taking shots I realize this isn't a tourist spot. On the wall I notice all the frames, most with ribbons that are either red or blue... and he's snapping away. What I thought would be a 10 minute quick snap turned into 60 photos over the course of 1.5hrs... but at the end of the day we narrowed it down to that one photo of all 4 kids for Mother's Day. What shocked me most... his specials beat Knott's prices (only place out here I know of for Old West photos)... and more importantly I left knowing I loved what I bought.
The downside was that because we started so late I couldn't leave with the photos (they hadn't been printed yet). He had misunderstood and didn't realize we were only up for the day... no problem... The very next weekend I woke Tink up bright and early and packed the kids in the van for a return trip. I was so thrilled I did a second photo session, this time the whole family, as an anniversary present.
So if you find yourself up in Big Bear he comes HIGHLY recommended. Richard is a character, the kids LOVED him and his dogs (Chester and Roy). Tink had to literally drag me out of the shop because there was still stuff to look at...