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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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Congratulations Selina & Steve!

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Selina and Steve decided to get married by the ocean because they "love the Caribbean and sun and beach." They had a wonderfully intimate ceremony at the Majestic Colonial with two dozen or so guests from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

The day started off with a few sprinkles but the rain held off during the ceremony.

The wind was another matter as Selina's veil fluttered ever so dramatically all afternoon.

Neither wind nor rain clouds could spoil this perfect day!

Steve's dad and grandma.

You may kiss the bride!

It started to drizzle - you can even see some of the raindrops in this photo.

The wedding drew quite a few sunbathing onlookers and at least one photographer.

Everyone's getting in on the photo action!

With one kiss the rain clouds blew away. Now that's magic.

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