Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kind words

I must confess that I am fighting a cold - not a super bad one, but enough of one that I'm taking it really easy, just watching tv and drinking a LOT of fluids. I haven't gotten sick all winter and know SO many people who have, so I'm almost glad to get this over with.

Anyway, I am gearing up for the biggest and bestest (not a word, ah, who cares) wedding season ever, and I am just so thrilled about everyone I'll be working with. I don't know what it is but my work seems to attract the sweetest, most unique and wonderful couples. I feel so blessed!

These words cheered me up as I'm sniffling through episodes of HBO shows, so I figured, why not share when there's good news:

(from a bride I will be meeting with next week - she mailed me a thank you card!):
"I must pay compliments when compliments are due. You are the first wedding vendor we've contacted to not only offer (before we asked) to send us a preview packet, but also sent it the day you said you would. We got your packet today and I literally did a double-take. THANK YOU. It's much appreciated and will help us feel more prepared when meeting you.
I loved looking through all of the pictures. I LOVE your versatility and uniqueness. (And the fact that you like Macs (versus PC) made my day. I know I'm on the right track. : ) By the way, I couldn't put the little book down. It's darling!"

(I am SO incredibly touched, and can't wait to meet them! Thank you! By the way, the little book she's referring to are these adorable, Mac-printed mini books I've started send out - they really are too cute, and I am happy to send you one or make them of your wedding. I think they'd make great favors; they're really fun)

(this one's from a bride I will be working with in August, with roller-derby lady ushers on actual roller skates for her wedding!):

"my day just got a whole lot better now that we have a photographer!! hope you are having a swell one as well... We'll get this to you very soon with the deposit -- we're THRILLED to have you on board!"

Anyway. Sorry for tooting my own horn, but these ladies made my day.

Now back to resting up. I am looking forward to leaping into wedding season; bring it on!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Candy Candy Candy Candy Candy Candy Candy

I have a problem with sugar - I love it. I could eat it pretty much nonstop but I usually have some modicum of self control (sort of). But the stores are filled with Easter Candy right now, and a friend turned me on to this blog, which not only features candy but lovely photographs OF CANDY, and, well, let's just say I have somewhat fallen off the wagon, candywise.

I had to try a few things in particular: SweeTart Jellybeans (weird and so good), and Orange Creme and Caramel Cadbury eggs (two different flavors, not mixed together). I realize that even the normal ones are kinda gross but I was really curious... and I have not been disappointed. So gross, sugary, sticky and delicious!
This photo's not mine:

This one is:

My mom, of all people, found this weirdness which made me laugh. Watch out for swears (f-bombs)!

And if anyone ever needs a present for me, just know I will take any of these delicious candies (click the links).

Back to work!

(PS I'm also a fan of cookies and cake. And frosting.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hamilton Air Force Base, Novato

Back in late summer (early fall?) of 2006, my dad took me down to Novato to explore the abandoned Officer's Club and buildings at Hamilton AFB. I don't know the official status - I think many of the buildings in the area are still operative (I know various military families live right there) but there are quite a few buildings that have been abandoned. There's an amazing YMCA outdoor pool right on the hill, with a gorgeous view and, when we were there, blaring pop hits. It was hot and I was jealous! The Y I'm a member of here in Santa Rosa only has an indoor pool (and an amazing weight room).

We saw: deer, pretty flowers, old Spanish-style buildings and tiles. We had a lovely picnic and explored around.

Could be a pretty place for portraits.

The slideshow is short:

more film tests

This time it's Fuji's new 800 speed film. I'm not that impressed with the new one... I miss NPZ (their old 800 speed color neg film).

I mean, it's fine, but I don't want fine, I want/ need excellent!

Every time I think about turning back to film, I remember why I love digital now. And, really, I am the last person who would've thought that...

I have a friend who just bought her first digital camera and she's swearing she will not give up film completely. I just laugh : )

I do try to make sure I'm not making this a "blog about my cat", but she is so cute it's hard. She finds the dirtiest spot she can and rolls around in it like a wild desert animal...
When I found her (in a pile or pine needles and dust) for this photo, she was sniffing this pine cone.

She has really bad allergies, so we have to give her children's Benadryl during the spring months.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Trash the Dress

there's sort of a movement among certain wedding photographer circles called "trash the dress". The idea is that after the wedding (usually the day after, particularly on destination weddings in sunny tropical beachy places), the photographer takes the couple to the beach, forest, around the city, etc., and gets all kinds of awesome shots where the bride is no longer worried about ruining her dress...

Here's their blog...

I'm a big fan of swimming so I like the underwater ones best! Someone remarked on the "Ophelia-like quality" of these kinds of shots, which (while maybe a little grim) is really lovely and poetic.

I haven't had the chance to officially "trash the dress" yet, although I love getting couples to lie down in the grass or wander into nature - but of course, I try to be conscientious of how much the bride cares about getting her dress dirty. I'd love to try something crazy, so if anyone's interested, just let me know...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Goin' Back to Cali

I meant to mention that when I was driving around the lovely Sonoma Valley on my way back home this weekend, this song came on and seemed perfect. I can't find the video for that song (rats!!) so I'm posting this one instead. Cause, you know, it's fitting for wedding stuff and all.

"I Need Love", L.L. Cool J.

Morgan and Kennon's Engagement Party

Yesterday Devon and I had the pleasure of being guest's at my cousin Morgan's enagement party! He's marrying his girlfriend, Kennon, at V. Sattui winery this fall and I am thrilled to be their wedding photographer.

Morgan's mother, Constance, is like an aunt/ close friend/ mom to me. She's one of the most amazing women I know! Her mother and my mom's mother were identical twins, and our families have always been very close and connected by more than blood. If you get my mom and Constance, and their other girl cousins (there are bunches) in a room, you'll be amazed at how they all have the same girlish laugh that my grandmother and great-aunt shared.

My grandma and her sister died within months of each other in 2000. I still miss her very much, but I'm so glad I can be close to my family through my cousins, aunts, uncles, and immediate family.

Anyway, because our moms were more like sisters than cousins and because we grew up in Petaluma together, Morgan and his two brothers are more like brothers to me. I am so excited that Morgan has found his true love in beautiful, sweet Kennon, and I cannot wait for their awesome wedding day!

Yesterday I was strictly a guest, but of course I had to at least take a few shots. We also had a blast visiting with Adi and Gabe. Adi grew up with the 3 boys so she is also a psuedo-cousin to me, and one of my best friends. She made Morgan and Kennon an awesome bouquet with a "ball and chain" necklace. Good times!

It was hot, sunny, and we had champagne, delicious snacks, and great company. Guess who did't think she would really need sunscreen?

I'm the only redhead in my family (my grandfather and great grandmother were also redheads) and most of them grew up at the beach or in the sun otherwise. So I'm the only one who needs to worry about sunscreen! And normally I am so good :)
Still, it was worth it. And now I'll get freckles.

Edited: Slideshow has been removed, 10/16/2008.

a beautiful day in the Napa Valley

On Saturday (also St. Patrick's day) I drove to Napa to meet up with my photographer friend, Megan. I'm second shooting/ assisting her in June at a wedding that will take place in Yountville (at the adorable community church there) and the CIA. No, not the government's CIA, but Napa's CIA - the Culinary Institute of America. (It's interesting to note who has the better-designed website!).
It was a gorgeous day and a lovely drive.

In the morning, I drove from Santa Rosa to Petaluma through Sonoma to Napa. It's more direct to go East through Kenwood but can be slower to get through the crawling wine tasting traffic. Plus the drive out of Eastern Petaluma past Sonoma is just oustandingly beautiful, and I don't go there often enough at all.

Anyway, it was a foggy morning but Hwy 116 East was the foggiest I'd ever seen it by far. Growing up in the Bay Area, you get really REALLY good at driving in fog, so it didn't scare me, but it was pretty amazing.

The sun came out over Sonoma, though, anad it was heavenly to take in the sun, the bright blue sky, the green green grass (which will all turn to gold in the hot months), and the fields upon fields of mustard flowers (it was also, apparently, Sonoma's Mustard Festival day. Who knew?).

Then Napa. I definitely do not make time to drive out to Napa often enough. You know how you hear about people living in NYC their whole lives and never going to the Empire State Building? That's me, with the entire Napa Valley. When I was little, my dad would take me out on service calls with him (he worked on the giant vineyard/ farm's pumps and generators) and I would get to play in the fields of some of the most beautiful wineries in the Sonoma and Napa valleys.

(mad props to the winery workers!)

But because I've grown up with it everywhere, I definitely take good wine and vineyards for granted. Vineyards can actually be a nuisance in places (when they tear out apple orchards and replace them with, yawn, yet more grapes). And Sonoma County has a wee bit of a rivalry, wine-wise, with Napa. We're "younger" in the wine industry, and a little more accessible. Wineries in Napa tend to charge more for tastings; there are only a very few wineries in Napa that are allowed to host weddings; and there's not a big, kinda working class city (like Santa Rosa) in the hub of it all. Growing up around here, it seemed a little old, boring, and too rich for my blood.

But, oh, boy. I must be mellowing or getting old. Because I now I totally, totally am seeing the appeal.

It was fun driving around with Megan, taking it all in - the weather, the natural beauty, and the amazing old and new buildings (mostly old). I made a mental list on the drive back of all the fun stuff I'd like to do this summer - ha!

I can't even begin to list it all.

I love where I live!

A short slideshow for fun:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

film tests

I think everyone should play around with a camera. Don't be afraid, just shoot a bunch of stuff and see what you like from the results! Pay attention to patterns, shapes, colors, and light - see what you like and play around with composition.

I got some free Kodak film and did some camera tests with it - it's been awhile since I used my film bodies - and while it was really me just shooting practically randomly, I still got some fun results. You can do the same!

The camera body's great, but I still don't like Kodak's color negative films. I think it's left over from when I was a custom color printer at a high end lab in SF - I got really really obsessed with mastering perfect color, and it always felt impossible with Kodak's films. Not to dork out about it too much, but the color light spectrum works like this:

Magenta - opposite of Green
Yellow - opposite of Blue
Cyan - opposite of Red

That's a really basic summing up. But with film, the way it works is that if you want your print to be less yellow/ more blue, you put a yellow filter over the enlarger. You want it pinker/ less green - use a green filter. This explains it in a little more detail...

Anyway, for some reason Kodak's films result in prints that always seem simultaneously too green and too magenta, or too cyan and too red, at the same time?! I don't know if it's just my eyes, but that shouldn't happen. These are the professional-grade film stocks I'm talking about, and I just don't like them.

So, when I shoot with film, I use Fuji.

This is Kodak, but I got some fun shots anyway.

And now there are companies creating digital actions that replicate various film emulsion styles, so sometime soon it will all be moot anyhow.

Anyway, a few random, fun images from my test roll.

Liza's headshots

This is the last Portland-trip post, I swear!

Last monday, we had about 1/2 an hour until it was time to the leave for the airport, and we hadn't had time to work on Liza's headshots. So I said, "hey... let's just mess around for a few minutes and see what we come up with."

We shot for less than 1/2 an hour with only available light (no flash, no diffusion except the trees), inside her apartment and in front of a fence on her street. We got some fun lifestyle portraits and some new headshots for her modeling agency!

Here's the slideshow:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Food/ prop styling tests

This is my day to catch up on blog entries. I figure, it's gorgeous outside - why not stay in and work on the computer?

More from Portland. Liza is thinking about becoming a prop/ food photo stylist like our friend Martha from college, so we did some fun tests while I was up in Portland. Hopefully we can do some more if she comes to visit soon!

Liza has a huge archive of vintage clothing, furniture, dishes, props, etc. Narrowing it down to just a few to shoot with was hard, so we went to Pix Patisserie for chocolates and macaroons and candies and inspiration. One thing (of many) that I love about Portland is that I can almost always find a connection with people - for example, I visited my friend Ian and it turns out that his partner works at Pix. A restaurant Liza took me to is owned by someone from my hometown. Tons of people I know from college and high school live there, even though I went to school in Vermont and California. Portland is such a great community!

I'm not a product/ still life photographer but it was pretty fun to play around.

Obviously she didn't syle the flowers but they were some of the first bright bulbs I'd seen this year:

Silly - E.T., Liza, and Me

My friend Liza in Portland horrified me with her talking, light-up (in the fingertip and heart areas, of course) E.T. doll. It doesn't look so scary in the photos but in person, when you don't expect E.T. to talk to you, it's pretty horrifying.

Also he looks kinda hip hop?:

I realize it's silly to be scared of a doll, but he seems strangely psychic. When you squeeze his hand, his heart or finger lights up and he says things like, "E.T. phone home", "run awayyyy", "(burp)", and other such sage advice. Maybe it was just the goofy slumber party element to us hanging out, but he seemed to always say something that was perfectly fitting - like an E.T. magic eightball!

Liza is my roommate from college. I have been good friends with her for now almost 11 years, but I realized that I still think of her as one of my "newer" friends since I didn't meet her until college. I don't see her enough but we always feel totally comfortable with each other when we get together. Plus I took a million photos of her during our weekend together... instead of photographing the sites and scenes of Portland (a city I love and adore), I took photos of Liza as she typed on the computer and talked on the phone (and in the drive thru for Burgerville, aka sustainable, fresh, local burger heaven) for my stock collection: