Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Congratulations Morgan & Chris!

Orange, California
One of the nice things about a Southern California wedding is the weather usually cooperates - even in winter. Morgan and Chris were married on a sunny Saturday afternoon in February at The French Estate. I love this moment they shared right after their ceremony.

The French Estate is filled with antiques and souvenirs from around the world. The groomsmen relax before the wedding in one of the rooms.

If you read my blog you know I love shoes. And the brides I photograph have the coolest!

Morgan fights back the tears before the ceremony.

It's time... the bride and bridesmaids get ready to walk down the aisle.

And they're married!!!!

Weddings are unpredictable. That's what makes them fun to photograph. Here two of the groomsmen have their own Chuck & Larry moment.

Introducing the new Mr. & Mrs.

Morgan and Chris had a wish tree instead of a traditional guestbook. The tags inscribed with good wishes blow in the wind as the sun sets behind them.

Night falls and lights twinkle, the perfect time for romance.

While Morgan and Chris are at their aptly named sweetheart table, I sneak away with the bouquet to take some photos. I'm a litle concerned since there's no light, but I found a cute bench and I love the look of the available light mixed with bounce flash.

This cake feeding started out nice...

... but Morgan let her new husband have more cake than he bargained for.

I don't think he minded, the cake was delicious!

Ahhh... love is in the air.

Morgan's grandparents have been married over 50 years and going strong.

Don Panzik played great tunes while the guests danced the night away.

It's time to say...

... goodnight.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hollywood, California
It's dusk. We make our way to the pews inside the dark church. At Christ the King, Easter Vigil celebration begins at sunset on Holy Saturday. Father Antonio starts the service by blessing a fire in the vestibule.

The priest then lights the Paschal candle.

Symbolizing the light of Christ, the flame of the Paschal candle is used to light other candles which in turn light each of the parishioner's candles.

The priests and altar servers walk toward the altar lit only by candlelight.

A single light comes on where a cross draped in white cloth stands.

The mass continues with readings and singing.

The lights come on and new members are baptized into the church. At this time catechumens also receive the sacraments of first Communion and / or Confirmation. All of the parishioners renew their baptismal vows. Father Antonio walks through the church sprinkling everyone with the baptismal water. My hair is soaked. I don't think you get extra blessings if you get more water - if that was the case, I'd be pretty lucky right now.

Hope you have a Happy Easter, Passover, Spring - or whatever you celebrate this time of year!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

27 Hours in Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada
Michael & I headed out to Vegas for the annual WPPI - that's Wedding & Portrait Photographers International - convention and tradeshow. The show was simultaneously a photographer's dream & worst nightmare. Rows and rows and rows of printing samples, albums, software, courses... and on... and on. We were limited on time so we practically ran through the show. I did find a couple of new additions for the studio... stay tuned for details.

The best part was a morning course presented by Michael and Anna Costa, awesome photographers from Santa Barbara.

The worst was the hour-long wait to check into the Sahara. But at least the view was pretty cool once you looked past the parking lot.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Adios Punta Cana!

Dominican Republic
Michael and I fell in love with the country in the short time we were here.

Much of the island is covered by rainforests, brimming with vegetation.

Can you spot the lizard?

The brush has been cleared out to make room for the new industry: tourism.

Surrounding the island are gorgeous white sand beaches with brilliant aqua waters.

The resort where we stayed featured nightly acts. One of these was a circus show complete with.....

jugglers, clowns, acrobats, a man on stilts and even ....

fire performers.

Now this is paradise!

Even a billboard confirms: THIS IS LIFE... AT IT'S BEST

But once you venture outside the resort gates life looks different from the glossy ads.

Gas prices and automobile costs are comparable to California's, according to our van driver. Wages, on the other hand, are a lot less.

We see many locals waiting for the bus or whizzing by on scooters.

I wish we could spend more time here. I feel like I'm cheating taking these photos without stopping to talk with these people. As much as I loved the resort, I want a more authentic picture of the Dominican.

The driver changes the radio station to 80's American pop. I much preferred the merengue station he had on earlier. The hotel band had played some great bachatas but no salsas.

We're serenaded by folk songs as we make our way to the plane. I hope we get a chance to return someday.

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Beach Engagement Session

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Before their wedding, I shot a quick beach engagement portrait session with Selina and Steve. The bride and groom were real troupers. We found a cool palm tree and Steve walked in his bare feet over all sorts of spiny needles.

All was going well when out of the corner of my eye I see a hotel employee approaching us.... with a shotgun. Since it wasn't pointing at any of us, I took a few more photos as quickly as I could in case we were about to get kicked out. As the man approached I started speaking to him in the best Spanish I could muster. Knowing more than one language always comes in handy! After explaining to him who we were and what we were doing he let us finish taking photos and even posed for a photo - without his shotgun though.

We decided to take some photos in the water using my new underwater housing. We took quite a beating from the waves but out of it came my favorite photo from the shoot.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dominican Reception

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Selina & Steve held their reception at one of the beachfront restaurants where we had Caesar salad and yummy Chateaubriand.

After dinner, the newlyweds had more fun planned for their guests. We all met in the lobby...

...and boarded a bus that took us to...

...Jellyfish Beach. Then we...

...took a little boat...

... that took us to a bigger boat where the party was just starting!

As we pulled away from shore all we could see were the brightly lit hotels and beaches.

It was a gorgeous night with the warm salty wind blowing through our hair.

Selina and Steve took to the floor for their first dance.

Pure happiness.

The boat docked by a tide pool where the guests could go swimming...

...and drinking, it was occasion to celebrate after all! Michael swam out there and took some photos with the underwater camera.

Meanwhile the other guests danced the night away on board.

Selina's mom found a quiet place to relax.

All too soon it was time to head back...

... and say goodnight.

Thank you to Selina and Steve for an incredible time. Steve kept checking in with us all night to make sure we were having fun. We loved meeting your family and friends and were very touched by the love they so obviously have for you both.

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