Friday, April 25, 2008

Jenny and Mike's Wedding, Montclair Women's Club, Oakland, California

Jenny and Mike's wedding... where to begin. These two are so happy and lucky to have found each other, and their wedding day made it clear to me how wonderful, supportive and adoring of Jenny and Mike their families and friends are. They have lots of fans in their loved ones (and now another one in me!), and were heartily toasted and celebrated accordingly. They had friends come from everywhere, including Japan! The wedding was a nice mix of ceremony (short n sweet), beautiful and elegant details, great food (by Jasmine Catering), and a lot of open ended time for dancing, mingling, hanging out, and enjoying the hottest and loveliest 2008 day yet!

The wedding was held at the Montclair Women's Club in Oakland. I photographed an October wedding there way back in 2005, and was glad to be reminded of the beautiful interior of this space. The walls are light blue in the main room, and a deep, beautiful red in the sort of foyer space. There is a little changing room which is dark green, and there are cute murals in the bar area. So pretty and romantic!

The bride's changing room has this awesome, ridiculous carpet. I don't know what the story is there, but I must admit I love it! (and I think it's probably shots like these that get me labeled "quirky" and "whimsical", yeah?). Best of all, Jenny chose these AMAZING red slippers for her bridal shoes. They were at once dainty-demure and sexy-hot.

Here's a cute one of Mike getting ready:

Jenny and Mike chose these rich, romantic reds and greens to complement the beautiful space, and I think they pulled it off brilliantly. The florist didn't have a card handy, but she was awesome, so I'm hoping to track her information down. She created beautiful floral pieces, and she also had a wisecracking-yet-sweet sense of humor that I loved, so I'm hoping to recommend her. I had such a hard time picking which photos of the flowers to share, that I decided to experiment on making a floral board, and would love feedback on it!

Another sweet detail that I loved was this slideshow on Mike's DJ computer. I don't think anyone but the DJs and musicians (all friends of the bride and groom, by the way, and very very talented) saw it, but I caught a peek while snooping around on stage, and there were all kinds of great 1970s wedding photos (which I presume were from their parents' weddings). Awesome!

Now, back to our B&G - here are some shots of beautiful Jenny getting ready. It was about a million degrees in that little room, but the heat only seemed to serve to make Jenny's hair curl a little more around her face, giving her even more of a classic, beautiful look. I couldn't stop shooting!

There's something almost strange, but that I find beautifully compelling, about the angle of this shot. Jenny, you're so pretty!

Here are their parents getting ready to walk them down the aisle. What lucky ducks to be coming from such a strong foundation, with both sets of parents still married and obviously adore each other!

The sweet, blushing bride underneath this amazingly unique chuppah her mother crocheted for her. So cool!

You can see that her veil also has a touch of red on the seam. The details from this wedding just made me so happy!

But of course... nothing compares to the beautiful sweetness of the couple together.

When they asked to do a few of the portraits vintage-style, with very serious expressions, I declare I almost swooned! I am really into these lately... a little bit of classic, intense portraiture on an otherwise bright and colorful day.

Of course... to do that, we had to get Mike to stop smiling, which was nearly impossible (a very good sign just after you've married the woman you love!).

Jenny's in a band called Foggy Gulch. She was sweet enough to give me a copy of their CD at the engagement shoot, and I love it. They play bluegrass music with lots of female harmonies, and she sings just beautifully. Here's the band surprising them with a cover of "Mrs. Robinson" (can you guess Jenny's new name?):

And here's a little diptych of Jenny serenading Mike with a version of "I've Just Seen a Face", one of my favorite songs ever.

A few more from the reception - there were some adorable kids there!

We also set up a rad self-portrait station for their guests, and once again it was a great opportunity for the guests to loosen up, be silly, and let their true personalities come forward. I love doing these because you REALLY see how people want to be remembered! Some are sweet and shy; others are over the top and almost scandalous. Check out the slideshow of some of my favorites here!

I also, of course, have a slideshow of some of my favorite "regular" wedding photos. In fact, I had a really hard time narrowing them down to fit in a reasonable slideshow... and an even harder time picking what to show on the blog. There were so many great moments, beautiful details, and fun shots I wanted to share! So, if you have a few minutes, please take some time to look at the slideshow here! Or click on their getaway car:

Thanks again, Jenny and Mike, for everything! It was a wonderful privilege to be at your wedding, and I wish you many future blessings in what I know will be a fantastic life together. Thanks also to Jennifer and Scott, who hooked me up with the fabulous Jenny and Mike as a result of photographing their wedding (can you believe it's already been a year?!). I look forward to seeing all of your married folk at your friends' weddings in the future!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

February day in the Point Reyes National Seashore, California

I've had these images on deck for so long that they're teensier than the photos I'm posting these days - oops! Dev and I had a lovely date out in Point Reyes, on the first sunshiney day of the year (though you wouldn't know it from the photos, most of which were taken in the thick fog and cloud cover that appeared in the last half mile near the shore). Next time, we're definitely hitting up the Oyster Farm as well!

The Marin French Cheese factory on our way out - note the blue sky!

Cutest little Smurf I ever saw!

Just like the wild seas in Kauai... only, um, a little colder.

We kinda wandered where we weren't supposed to be, oops.

D looking triumphant!

This is where I was afraid we were going to be swept out to sea. Sneak waves and undertow, yikes!

Ell Lui Salon, Santa Rosa, California

After I did some headshots of my friends Nevuah and Sarah-Jane for Nevuah's styling portfolio, her boss at Elle Lui Salon here in Santa Rosa hired me to take some interior shots of the salon for an in-salon L'Oréal magazine. I don't normally do this more architectural style of photography, but I'm really happy with how well they turned out, especially considering we only had about 40 minutes before the salon opened, along with several other restrictions.

The salon is in the beautiful City 205 Building at 205 5th Street in Santa Rosa (in Railroad Square), and I had a nice chat with the owner, Fatima, about how this cool building has helped to revitalize the up-and-coming Railroad Square/ Arts District of Santa Rosa. The salon shares space with, among others, the fabulous Syrah restaurant and one of my favorite local florists, City 205 Flowers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy and Hopeful Earth Day/ Equal Pay Day!

I swear there will be photos on this blog again soon, but for now I wanted to let you know that I am celebrating both Earth Day and Equal Pay Day by making donations to the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and the National Organization for Women!

The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition is close to home and something that directly affects my life as well as all of the Earth Day ideals. They push for better bike paths, safer biking conditions, more biking to work, and even join the campaign for the SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rapid Transit) train!

And here's a little info on the Equal Pay Day from

"When NOW was founded 42 years ago, women who worked full-time, year-round were paid, on average, just 58 cents for every dollar paid to men. Years of feminist advocating and agitating helped reduce the gap, but progress has hit a wall in the 21st century. Currently, women are paid 77 cents to the average man's dollar, while African-American women receive 63 cents and Latinas 52 cents on the dollar. These numbers have moved little since the mid-1990s."

I often think about the limitations that would've stopped me from running my own business even a few decades ago. I am so happy to live in a time and place where I have the freedom to do as I please, regardless of gender or orientation, and I hope we can keep on, as NOW states, "sharing equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities with men, while living free from discrimination." Heck yes! One of my favorite shirts when I was little (late 70s, early 80s) said "girls can do anything", and I hope that little girls today know it too.

That is your PSA for the day. I hope to make these kinds of donations a little more regularly. Let me know if you have a good cause you'd like to hear about!

back home!

After driving hundreds of miles/ kilometres, taking 2 huge ferry boats, 2 airplane rides (hooray for the Santa Rosa airport, 10 minutes from my house!!), walking across at least 1 suspension bridge, driving over several real bridges, and much more, I am home and back at work. I had a great trip with my dad, regardless of rain, hail, and snow (!) all throughout our travels in Washington and British Columbia.

I have hundreds of photos from our trip and have to figure out a way to share some of them without turning into someone who makes people check our her vacation slides. First off I'm back to work at editing wedding photos, and in the meantime have a little interview with the blog Casa Sugar to share. It was fun to share some of what being a wedding photographer is like, though I do feel like a nerd that they open the article with my self portrait... funny how easy it is to procrastinate taking a new picture of myself!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

off to Canada!

Tomorrow morning my dad and I are off on our little father-daughter weekend trip to Vancouver Island, B.C. I plan to take lots of photos of the lovely landscape, and hopefully not freeze and get rained on too much (ah, the Pacific Northwest) as it will continue to be breathtakingly sunny here in No.Cal.

I'll be out of touch as far as phone and email go (though I will try to check each at least once) for most of the weekend, and will be back in the office on Tuesday. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Springtime!, part 3 of the Harris-Smith party, Petaluma, California

This will be the last of the Harris-Smith party posts (at least until the next Harris-Smith party, that is!). We had such a great day, and part of the reason was because of the perfect weather. It was the day before St. Patrick's day, but it must've been 80 degrees out without a cloud in the sky, and a million things in bloom. Sigh, definitely a "thank goodness for Northern California" type of day!

(not a croquet ball!)

I had a lot of fun playing with my awesome 50mm f1.4 lens. I've been enjoying opening the aperture all the way to 1.4 even during brilliantly sunny days like this to give it a crazy depth of field (just for fun - obviously you want to avoid this in situations where, for example, you actually want the whole image to be crisp!). I'm trying not to overuse this technique, but since this was all just for fun, I got a little crazy with it.

For example, the camera's autoexposure would probably have shot this at something like f16, 1/200th of a second (ISO 200). Instead, I stopped my ISO down as low as the 5D will allow (basically the equivalent of 50), opened up to f1.4 where I could (and f1.8 where necessary), and shot as high as I could - sometimes well over 1/1000th of a second! Fun and crazy tech experiment, let me know if you have questions.

Anyway, here are some beautiful blossoms, with and without busy bee:

Yes, we had a root beer tasting! As well as hot dogs, hamburgers, chili, and lots of desserts.

There was also egg-dyeing available - it was the day before St. Patrick's Day and the week before Easter.

I think she looks so pretty here, with the sunlight, the colorful eggs dyes, and her cool sweatshirt (hot, though, eh?):

What a sweet family.