On a damp and chilly day last week, I met Hannah and Sham in Seattle for an engagement session… they live in Vancouver, BC so Seattle seemed like a logical choice. One of our stops was at the Olympic Sculpture Park near the waterfront. This was our third location and by then, they were over the camera jitters and able to just be themselves. What I found out about them over the course of the shoot is that they have a sweet, slightly combative relationship… there are many shots with tilting body language and direct looks… this one caught me during the edit as being very true in a different direction. When he puts his arms around her, she curls into him and breathes deeply. When they get married in Portland this summer, I expect to have an idea or two how to catch them being themselves… that is one of the best things about having an engagement session with your photographer. You get to see if the person behind the camera is cool and the photographer gets to see what makes you tick as a couple… those two parts come together in the camera to make special pictures for the ages.
We chose three locations to play and architecture was the key factor… we started at the EMP, Seattle’s Music Museum with it’s trippy curved metal walls and then drove downtown to the Seattle Central Public Library… a space you need to see to believe. We finished in front of one of my all time favorite pieces… it’s called Wake and the artist is Richard Serra.
For these two, destinations will be the name of the game for awhile… after the wedding, they will be moving to Massachusetts… Hannah just got accepted into M.I.T to study architecture and they are both looking forward in their life together.
Once upon a time, I used to turn to Infrared film for a jolt of inspiration… it was a voice for me that I didn’t apply to my regular work. It required me to pay attention differently and I know that was the key.
In 2005, I heard that you could have a camera converted to Infrared and I thought it would be the answer in the digital age. I took one of my D70s out of regular service and had it converted. I was disappointed by it in a couple of ways, the biggest issue being that I no longer got to look at a scene through a red filter… apparently that was a strong part of the seeing process for me. The other problem was that it never really looked quite like the film had… there was a texture and a light to it that was missing. You can see some of my film work in this post.
A few days ago, I pulled that old camera off the shelf and wandered around my yard with it… trying a few things as a test. I have new software in my aresenal now that may make the difference. Yesterday, I took the camera with me to meet a new friend and I took some more photos while we talked. Something tells me that I may have a new way to see again… I’m not sure, yet, that it will match my film days but it will be something different and that is a wonderful thing. ;0)
A bicycle built for two requires a very special teamwork… these two people have that teamwork in spades! Lindy and Kenrick have an anniversary coming up soon and I always think of this image from their rehearsal dinner. This was a true destination wedding with most everyone flying out from the east coast and me flying down from Portland… Sacramento was the airport and then there was a fabulous drive east to the foothills of the Sierras. The destination was the town of Sutter Creek. The rehearsal dinner and the wedding were held at Avio Vineyards just on the edge of town.
Avio is a delightful blend of rustic and classy with peacocks roaming the grounds and views out over the soft hills. Dinner was set with this view in mind and everyone was having a fine time. Before dessert was served, Lindy’s dad took Kenrick for a walk ostensibly to give him some advice… meanwhile, Lindy was pulling this red tandem bike out of the shed, making sure the bow was secure. You can probably imagine the surprise on his face when he came back! They took the bike up to the parking area immediately and took a spin in the fading light… perfect teamwork!
Destination weddings also require teamwork. As a photographer available for travel, I have a few pieces of advice about the process. Plan on bringing in your photographic team a day early at least… it offers some very real insurance that they will be there on time and rested for your wedding day. It will also give them a chance to deal with possible lost or damaged equipment… these days, rental gear can usually be overnighted if necessary. As a perk for bringing me in early, I always offer a couple of hours at the rehearsal to get to know the immediate crowd and to check out the venue as much as possible.
Your professional photographers will no doubt talk to you about all of these things in the planning sessions… if they don’t, you’d better do the asking or risk having things go sideways. ;0)
If you pick a Friday afternoon to go to the courthouse in Vancouver, you will have a long wait in traffic…. plenty of time to get nervous. Gary and Steve and several family members lined up to go through the metal detectors in the entrance of the Vancouver Courthouse… after a few blips and beeps, we made our way to the noisy waiting area on the second floor. Promptly at 4:30, a man came to assign each set of people to a room… we were about 12 in number so we were ushered into a sizable space to wait for a judge. There were papers to be filled out, stories and jokes to be told, nerves to be soothed… the judge came in almost an hour later and, in about two minutes, married these men. To go that fast after so long came as a surprise.
To have to wait so many years to get to this point is the real story. They bought beautiful puzzle rings about 12 years ago when it looked like their marriage might be a legal possibility… those rings got put into a box and saved for better times. Well, better times are here for some parts of the country and, with luck, will soon be possible in Oregon.
I meet some of the very best people in this line of work… they take care of each other and that’s what a marriage is all about. ;0)
On a very soggy weekend before Spring Break, several sets of Montessori parents and small children gathered on the muddy slopes of Gabriel Park… our mission was to create an art piece to frame and offer at auction for a good cause. The annual Pathways Auction was established to generate Tuition Assistance funds for qualified applicants. The Auction is held yearly in the spring and the proceeds are used to fund tuition assistance, special programs and to supplement the educational environments.
This is all a volunteer effort… if you’d like to get involved, there is more information at Montessori Pathways Spring Fete.
Back to the muddy hill… imagine a dozen three to five year olds on one hill, about the same number of parents on a slope right behind me and the feat of directing this small circus! The rain was spotting my lens and the little girls wearing dresses were reluctant to sit all the way down. It devolved rapidly into sword fights with brandished mums and lots of laughing. We all got muddy and when I left, most of the kids were running up and down the slopes of the park waving their tattered mums… laughter ringing in the air.
I love my job!
Every time I get to a venue with strings of these lovely, old fashioned market lights around the dance floor, I smile. There is something very sweet and intimate in the mood they cast. This particular place is a vineyard out in Sheridan… J. Wrigley Vineyards has a quiet, breezy hilltop and the sun sweeps across it from the west. When it goes down, the pinks ands the blues come up right before the stars start to show… some of the prettiest light in the world! A few strands of these lights is all it takes to define the open spaces.
I have heard them called french market lights and string lights… ask your planners and your venue owners about them… I guarantee it will add to your wedding.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a day special… sometimes it’s really fine to look around and smile. ;0)