Thursday, October 30, 2008

Surprise! We bought a house!

I think I'm still a little bit in (happy) shock here, because Devon and I finally closed on our very first home!!

The kitchen:

We are so thrilled to be homeowners after many years renting houses with lots of "character" and limited amenities (like, you know, improper maintenance and lack of heat). This new house not only has more than enough room for us (3 bedrooms - including a brand new office for Jessamyn Harris Photography that I am going to make so beautiful! - and an extra room in the garage, perfect for Devon's late night music experiments), a big living room with a picture window, a sweet kitchen with the original 1955 green tile, a garage, and a back yard with several fruit and flower trees already planted. People, we have a pomegranate tree! And several things that seemed like a fantasy (central heat, a dishwasher, washer and dryer hookups, and a big bathtub!!) after years of living without them in our 1920's apartment, have all come to fruition in this new place. Plus a fireplace - hooray!

I am so eager to start decorating and finessing... but of course we have to do the boring stuff first. Keep in mind these photos are all "befores" (as well as taken in a rush in between errands and painting) - hopefully we'll have some great "afters" in the coming months to share!

(If you look at the doorknob, you'll see my keys still in the lock. I looked for them hours later and realized I had never taken them out of the door - that's about how my state of mind is going this week! I also just realized you can see our realtor bending over the steps in the first shot, ha ha, sorry Carol!)

View down the hall to the bedrooms:

The only disappointing factor is that we were supposed to have gotten the keys 8 days before we actually did (the housing market really is so crazy right now, so while it was the perfect time to buy, it required even more patience and paperwork than usual - very intense), so now we are scrambling to paint, clean, and move with much less time than anticipated... right as it is about to start raining for weeks. I am also shooting my last big gig of the season on Saturday, and will let nothing stop me from giving my all (and having fun!) at Amy and Brent's wedding. Rain or shine, it's going to be phenomenal. I am totally predicting a perfect window of clouds-but-no-rain for the afternoon photos... fingers crossed that I am right.

This is my office-to-be, which in reality is almost painted a lovely blue... it's going to be a late night! Expect many many cute details to come (I've been very inspired by Design*Sponge lately, as well as running my ad there again starting this Saturday).

Okay, back to a bit of work before I go buy curtains, get back to painting, and, you know, move everything we own across town. Please bear with me if I take a bit longer to get back to you in the coming days - I'm hoping everything will be back to a more normal schedule mid next week (after the Election - oh my goodness!). I'll be checking my email periodically, but may be without internet for a few days, so if you have something urgent, it'll probably be best to reach me by phone at 707-235-8953.

Big thank you to all of our parents and families - without whom none of this would be happening, for sure!!

A few quick shots of cute Painter Devon taking a lunch break - look at those curls!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Laurel's Ceramics and Studio

Much as I hate to bump down the photos of Joelle and Chris's beautiful wedding, I wanted to leave you with a few photos of my friend Laurel's beautiful ceramic work. I had the pleasure of shooting portraits of Laurel with her husband Gerry and his son Lee back in February (brrr, that was a chilly day!), and I couldn't resist a few detail shots of her studio. More recently, she's moved to a better studio out in Sebastopol, and traded me some of her gorgeous pieces for a few simple photos featuring her work as she prepared for Artrails (which just happened, and which I sadly had to miss). Laurel has an Etsy shop with some of her pieces for sale (at great prices!), so go take a look!!

First, some miscellaneous images from the old studio (which was in a funky old army barracks, which Devon used to play music in):

Love these cute little wedding cake salt and pepper shakers:

I got a vase with this same birdie screenprint:

And two of these wood grain cup and saucer sets - so realistic and delicate, I adore them!

This tippy teapot is designed to sit back like this. I had fun seeing how its center of gravity kept coming back to rest in this position... I like dishes that are also playful and kind of toys.

I got some really awesome things from the trade, which I'm sure you will see featured in some of my photo shoots in the future. Happy weekend as I leave you with a little favorite from the portrait session in February!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joelle and Chris, Valencia Hall, Aptos, and Shadowbrook, Capitola

(click the photo above to see the slideshow)

Joelle and Chris were married in the Santa Cruz area, at Valencia Hall in Aptos, with the reception at Shadowbrook in Capitola. I have grown to love the Santa Cruz area since my in laws moved there in the past years, so it is always a treat to be able to photograph there! Joelle and Chris were so sweet, planning lots of simple but beautiful details to add color and joy to their wedding day. In addition, my mom's name Joelle (making me feel instantly connected to this beautiful bride!), which is quite rare. And when Joelle, Chris and I met earlier this year to talk wedding photography, I think we ended up chatting for almost 2 hours, which might be a new record. These two are easy to get along with!

They got ready at a B&B in Aptos, where they were able to stay with their families. The weather was perfect and there were lots of flowers in the gardens - October is such a pretty month to get married in Northern California!

I had a tough time narrowing down the photos - there were just so many I wanted to share! We had lots of time to play during the "formal" couple shots, and these two had such a quietly retro look that I had lots of fun making many of my favorites black and white.

Here's Chris greeting me:

Joelle's dress has stunning details in sort of a pinkish brown shade, which perfectly complemented the colors of the invitation, the flowers, and the other details they put together. When they showed me the invitations that they handmade, I was floored. They're the kind of people who can just pick up things like screen printing when they want to learn it... so creative!

I love this almost scandalous shot of Joelle's garter while she gets ready!

And the beautiful bridesmaids helping this stunning bride get ready:

Valencia Hall is a lovely little clapboard building that was obviously built in the 1960s. It has these warm hardwood floors and walls, and is right across from the cute Valencia Post Office. You can see a bit of the era in that sign - so retro and cute!

The ceremony was short and sweet, performed by Chris's uncle who is a tattooed minister. They decorated the hall with simple, beautiful puffs of tissue paper, and I just adored how of one design aesthetic the whole thing felt.

Afterward we had everyone out on the porch for a big group photo - hard to wrangle but always a great shot.

I am a summer girl overall (not being a big fan of being cold), but since autumn here in the Bay Area is warm and clear, and with all of the beautiful colors that I'm seeing in nature and design lately, it's hard to resist the pull of snuggly fall weather. Anyway, pumpkins and autumn leaves at a wedding just put a huge smile on my face!

Then on to Shadowbrook, where they are totally set up to take care of your guests and romance the newlyweds with the restaurant overlooking the Soquel Creek. They have a little cable car elevator and a meandering garden path where we took lots more photos.

Cake echoing their palette of browns, pinks, and oranges.

Joelle and Chris were all about simple yet chic handmade details - in this case, bright orange dahlias in each hand-stamped vase/ favor with pink placecards for each guest. They even made one each for my assistant and myself!

Obligatory fabulous shoe shot, and cute bridesmaids (with, once again, handmade bouquets!):

(Getting up to go to the floral market and make your own floral arrangements isn't for everyone, but Joelle and Chris and their families did an amazing job!)

Then I had some fun time with the bride and groom to wander the grounds and photograph them cuddling together. Isn't Joelle just stunning?! Chris couldn't keep from snuggling up to her and kissing her, which I always love to see.

Loved the rainbow of colored drinks available!

The reception was mostly a mellow sit down dinner, with a bit of impromptu dancing and mingling when everyone was done.

But you can't forget of course... the Dean Martin impersonator!! I loved that they had added this random and quirky entertainment to their reception. I am all about the quirk!

As we were getting packed up to go, Joelle asked if I would take a few night shots of the two of them outside. They were so encouraging and patient in letting me just experiment and play all day (and night), and it really led to some creative collaborations, like this dreamy (high ISO, intense grain) black and white shot:

Joelle and Chris, thank you for everything! It has been so fabulous getting to know the two of you, and your cheerful smiles and spirits made shooting your wedding so lovely. I appreciate your trust in me to play and get some unique photos, and I can't wait for you to see them all!

Edited to add feedback. I think I'm going to try to add the client feedback to the end of each post so I can keep track of it, and so you can read what my clients are thinking...

From Joelle: "Hi Jessamyn,
I meant to write to you earlier, but got caught up forwarding the picture links to everyone else! The pictures you took were amazing! Thank you so much! I have had so much fun looking at them the last few days, and was really excited to see the rest of them tonight. Everyone thinks they are so beautiful. They made my mom get all choked up, she couldn't believe how well they turned out. You really did such a great job, and I just wanted to thank you for all of your hard work. I am so thrilled to have these great pictures to remember this special day forever.
talk to you soon,

And from my dear photographer friend, Meagan:
"I'm CRAZY for your old shots!
They absolutely take my breath away!!!!!!!

What an amazing wedding!
I've said this before and the compliment is starting to sound old, but this just might be your best wedding yet!

The dress/window shot is one of the best I've EVER seen - be sure to submit it for something.
And how do I get those cute brown velvet? peeptoe shoes!? =)

And what a dream to have that porch for the group shot. So fun!!!

I'm gushing - I love them all!"

I can always count on Megan to make me feel like a superstar! Thank you both, I am so happy these wedding photos are well received. I think we might have to make Joelle and Chris famous! : )