Mystery Ride


That space between the church and the party… almost just the two of you in a really cool old car for a nice ride around the park! Back East, when I was growing up, there used to a thing called the Mystery Ride… essentially, after your vows you got whisked away by a friend for a special ride… not knowing where you might be going, only that the two of you were together in a mostly private setting for a little bit.

Rebecca and Jerry have this good friend, the man in the dapper hat, who was gracious enough to be their ride. A classic dark green jewel like this one really beats the regular sort of limo in my humble opinion. We had gotten permission to use a part of the grounds at the Pittock Mansion. We needed a place for the car that wasn’t going to look out of place and the Pittock had just such a space down by the teahouse. It would have been awesome to be up under the carriage way but that was not possible. That car brought some glamour to the romantic portraits… I loved how it helped set the mood.

Afterwards, I had the luck of being right behind them at this stoplight … a polite beep of my horn and they turned to look. I shot this through my windshield… thank goodness it was a long enough light since it was only me in my car! ;0)

Family Portraits… Unplugged


Unplugged portraits… besides being a word for a no-phone zone, it might also be the perfect word for the less orchestrated parts of a wedding day.

It’s always hard to get everyone in the same mood for a good group photo until someone, usually a small someone, begins to act up a little. In this case, our rabble rouser was the young one in the grey suit.

One last shot of the family before dinner. Right? We needed an easy place to do one with a late arriving grandmother. The dance floor at Abigail’s Garden was the perfect spot. Well, this group unplugged like professionals while we waited for grandma to get escorted over to us. The best part is that each person reacted so easily… the ones laughing rather than mugging just makes the mix better. We all knew that we had done plenty of the normal ones earlier… unplugged was just right. ;0)

Let’s talk about your wedding!

The Brides of Eugene


There is a Eugene neighborhood near and dear to their hearts so these brides made their wedding fit the places they hang out. Anna and Elizabeth chose their reception space first. Hands down, the Falling Sky Deli and Pourhouse was at the top of their list, the go-to place to enjoy the company of friends and great food. Once that decision was made, they expanded the search to find a ceremony site within walking distance. Ninkasi Brewing Company, a few blocks away, proved to be the perfect match. On that sunny September day, the world revolved around a happy couple cheered by many friends and family… all ready to share that Eugene vibe. ;0)

I’m starting to design their wedding album this week and part of that process is the choosing of the images. I’m always pleased to see what gets chosen. The post production at this point is fun… it’s a chance to make each image sing a little. Judging from their choices, this album is going to make them smile for many years to come.

Fun Fact:
The Ancient Sumerians worshipped the beer they made and praised the goddess Ninkasi for the miracle of fermentation. They understood the value of beer: it gave quality to life.

Getting married? Let’s talk, ok?

Walking to your Wedding


Walking to your wedding can be pretty cool. Think about it… maybe it’s just the two of you and your photographer walking from the Nines Hotel to the Chinese Garden. Maybe you have a cool and cloudy day and you have to carry a wrap but nothing else. Maybe your photographer is carrying just the amount of gear she needs for the walking, knowing that her big bag is being dealt with by her assistant who is also moving the car. Meanwhile, your bridal party and family are moving towards the garden, too, bringing all of your stuff. The posed pictures have been done and we have timed it so that you have some spare time to play.

All this means that for about a half an hour, the three of you are making interesting personal images and getting used to each other before you join the rest of your crowd and before the nerves kick back in for the ceremony. There was the stop at the gate to China Town and then the quick dip into Voodoo Doughnuts followed by some sultry shots at the adult theatre with the old marquee lights. Then, just as you were getting a little worried about the time, that nice Pedicab driver gave you a free lift the last four blocks to the garden… just because. ;0)

Portland was a destination wedding for these two and they wanted to be sure to put some Portland into their day… this was a small but heartfelt chance to do just that.

Weddings rock!

This is Why… Forever


The question that gets asked is “When should we do our family and wedding party photos?” The answer that you will hear from me is, do them ahead of the ceremony if you can… with very few exceptions it is the best route for a wedding day full of emotional truths.

Look at it this way, if all of the planned group photos are done beforehand, then you both get to enjoy your crowd fully and immediately… that makes them happy, too. ;0) Imagine the difference between that and having to disconnect for an hour of family shots!

How about the portraits of just the two of you, you ask? Spend some time with your people and, depending on the light, take a little time for some romantic portraits. You will be breathing again by then and relaxed enough to be in the moment for some very special images.

Just about every wedding has a timeline that will allow a couple of short sessions in sweet light… your photographer should line out the times that might work best for your particular day. Trust me… you won’t regret having made the effort. Years from now you will have those lovely pictures of the two of you… forever young and so very much in love.

One Ring


An older bride has decided she is not worried about following the rules. Not going to go by the magazine lists… certainly not into bling in the normal sense of the word. Trends come and go but if a wedding can be a personal thing, then trends don’t count unless you happen to like them in real life, right? She has seen some really creative ring styles and the freedom from the diamond life suits her. A silver band with a blue moonstone does the trick.
This piece was designed by Jan Gordon at the Real Mother Goose.

I got to photograph the ring without the pressure of the wedding day itself… the styling was something we had time to play with… highly recommended if you and your photographer can make it work. ;0)

So, one ring. It will be the engagement ring until the wedding day. That day, it will be given again as the only ring. He can’t wear a ring safely in his job so none for him… maybe after he retires instead. Maybe they renew their vows when that milestone is reached.

Meanwhile, they are planning an intimate celebration with the chosen family of friends… people so closely entwined in their lives… that’s the important part. The ring is just the icing on the cake.

A Toast at the Rhododendron Garden


Portland has an incredible rhododendron garden on the east side of town, near Reed College … it’s a quiet space unless you count the ducks and geese who frequent the waterways that wander through it. It was begun in 1950 so you can imagine how beautifully it has grown in all those years. It is called Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and it is a popular spot for weddings, even when the rhodies aren’t in bloom. There are several garden spaces available depending on the size of your guest list so even little weddings look good here. ;0)

Alyssa and Fletcher had a gorgeous July afternoon in the meadow, friends and family relaxing into the shady spots… the incredible dinner behind them, it was time for toasting. Their good pals did the honors at the mic and the dads had their turn, too. Listening to the love going around is always good but my favorite part is when the couple takes the stand to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone there. If you are getting married, I hope you will put some thought into this part of the day… it is a good chance to say something truly special to the people you care about the most. Besides, when this part is done, you get to cut the cake and start dancing, right?

Another Roadside Attraction


Once upon a time there was a shop on the right side of the high road to Taos in the lovely land of New Mexico. A Roadside Attraction? Maybe not for everyone but it’s part of a photographer’s mind set… if it’s interesting, stop the car, right? Lucky, I guess, that most of the people I travel with are like minded. ;0)

Well, in 1996, this little shop was owned by a quiet man… a man nice enough to take the time for a conversation and a permission to take this picture. Right on the busy road, he seemed able to relax into the dusty light and show us around. Inside, the room was cool and dusky, full of various and beautiful bones… so many shapes. There was a bear skull and there were incredible snake skeletons. Anyone who knows me already understands the draw… been collecting bones and rocks since forever.

I scanned the old negative yesterday and have tried to make it right. The shop was empty last September when Opera Boy and I stopped. Santa Fe has a huge chunk of my heart even though I don’t get to go often anymore but I always thought I’d see this shop again. Stop while you can… Roadside Attractions may not be there the next time you swing through.

A Paradise for August Weddings


Oregon is a paradise for August weddings… it’s a golden time of year, here. In central Oregon, it is doubly so.

Amanda and Hansford got married at the Crag Rat Hut just outside of Parkdale. It’s not a fancy place but it has a very cool vibe dating from the 1920’s and is perfect for any adventurous outdoor types. These two had a close set of family and friends join them for the afternoon and Mt. Hood was right there to enjoy their party, too. We watched the light changing on the mountain all through the day… it made for a very elegant backdrop.

In August weddings, the best light is a little after dinner so we trekked down the hill after a grand feast and after pie… a great excuse to stretch a bit after all that food. In the process we took about 20 minutes of sweet portraits in that golden light and they got to have a little time to themselves out of my earshot. I think it’s pretty important that all couples get a little time out of the crowd and out of my hearing to just marvel at the day… it’s a very sweet and personal time.

Maybe it’s the lemur in me for posting this on a chilly Spring day but I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world!

Mawage and Bowling… of Course


“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.”

Mawage and bowling were the bookends of this amazing day in Sutter Creek. There really is no other way to describe it.

Every now and then, I am lucky to have the most incredible couple at a destination wedding… hired over the phone with a fair idea of the temperament of one or both parts of the couple, I am still coming in kind of blind. Open to all the nuances about to confront my camera, I have been delighted more often than not. This particular couple and their wonderful crowd pulled out all the stops and we had the best time!

The setting, the beautiful Avio Vineyard in the rolling foothills of the Sierras, was perfect. Kenrick sang to his Lindy during the ceremony… there were heartfelt readings by the dearest of friends. The cocktail hour, around the pool, was quite elegant… the food to die for! Dinner was announced and the guests wound their way up to a sumptuous feast, specially lit by Kenrick’s brother, Chris. Dancing after dinner was beyond the usual fare… some of these people really knew how to command the floor! At this point, most weddings are about done, right? Well, rumors were circulating that the bowling alley in Sutter Creek was the next stop. At this point, the bowling alley was the only thing still open. Never in my life have I said no to shooting a couple in their wedding duds who were going bowling. ;0)