Thursday, March 20, 2008

WPPI '08 was a jumpin great time!


More to come!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Leap Day - Part II :: Friday, February 29, 2008

Rachel and Ali chose a very unique day to be married. Leap day comes once every 4 years... I'm not sure exactly why they chose that day - but I really think it totally unique and sooo very them! Rachel is a wedding photographer based in Boston. I'm pretty sure she chose this day in February because this month is usually pretty slow for weddings. (She shoots weddings all over the world. I am second shooting for her in Boston in September. She is a co-moderator for a pro-photography forum with me.)

So the wedding was held at the Bentley Reserve.... a very nice place with a beautiful interior. The ceremony and reception were both held here. The ceremony, a traditional Persian wedding was something I've never witnessed before. It was formal, yet casual. I was lucky to get some security guards to grant me clearance to a balcony that was under construction. All of my shots of the ceremony are taken from above. I just love being in a place where no one expects me to be.

shot of the day

The rings Ali's dad with a congrats!

After the ceremony I was able to do some family and friend group shots. I actually like doing these kind of shots.... as long as the people are cooperative and look at my camera - not all the people taking photos around me ;-)

Between the ceremony and the reception there was a break in festivities. Gwyn, Marina, Liz (makeup artist from HI) walked down the street to eat and the bride and groom where whisked away in a taxi for a private dinner. After we were finished eating we made our way back to the room with all our gear and downloaded files, chatted on flickr and blogged. Rachel got a quick makeup and hair refresher from Liz... and then it was time for the Grand Entrance.... and Grand it was!!!

details the evening look... framing beauty

Friday, March 7, 2008

Leap Day - Part I :: Friday, February 29, 2008

The morning of the wedding I had to shower and get ready in the hostel. They had 2 showers and one toilet on our floor. It was pretty nice, but they had no hooks except for inside the shower stall. So in order to change and shower in private you needed to put your towel and all of your clothes inside the shower stall with you. I managed to keep everything dry except for my socks.

Soon after I was ready I called up the Sir Frances Drake hotel, my accommodations for the rest of the trip. They were able to get me into my room at 10:00 am! I was so happy because I was stressing out on how and were I was going to store my gear and luggage.

When I arrived at the hotel my draw hit the floor. It was so gorgeous!!! It was like I went from budget traveler to 4 stars in 15 minutes. My room was beautifully decorated.The bathroom had Aveda products, animal print bathrobes and slippers. It was a nice welcome.

Marina arrived in San Francisco a little early and I invited her to join me in the room. She had the chance to change a camera strap and figure out the big daddy - the D3!!! Check out this shot she got....

Our first photo session of the day happened in China Town. Rachel and Ali are pretty cool and really wanted to urban setting for their bridal session. Marina was the main photographer but she was nice enough to let Gwyn and I tag along for a little second shooting. I ended up holding the reflector for some of Marina's shots. A reflector is a large white or shiny disk that reflects light into the subject. It adds light in shadows and into the eyes. I love the look of a reflector so I was excited to hold it for Marina.

Here are some of the shots I took:
city stroll modern - bride

elegance in a box moulin rouge

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Into the City :: Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gwyn and I got picked up at the Super 8 Motel during an impromtu photo session. Gwyn snapped this photo of me right before Ali and the guys came to pick us up. I love the vision she had and the way she composed the shot.

That afternoon we drove up to the city... I ended up not having a place to stay with the rest of the girls so I booked a bed at the Pacific Tradewinds Youth Hostel. I got dropped off at the hostel and needed to hike up four flights of stairs to register. The hostel greeted me with open arms and a glass of water from a handsome Scottish man. There was a guy from Chicago, another from France and a couple of girls from Sweden. I was lucky to stay in an all girl room, but I had to sleep on the top bunk.
hostel employees decor

That night myself and a couple of people in town for the wedding went in search for the "Saloon" but ended up at the Giovanni Brothers bar. This bar was so unique. First off, it was decorated in Pittsburgh Steelers memorabelia, served hamburgers and sandwiches with slaw and fries on top and had live Bluegrass music every night.

After a few drinks we decided to explore the city. On the way to Lomard St. we stopped at a gelato shop and got some tasty gelato. Then we found it, the curviest street in America - or is that in the world? Anyway, we walked right up to the street and up the hill. Susannah and I took the "safe" route up the stairs while the two boys walked right up the middle of the street. On the way back we ooo'd and aahh'd at all the neat architecture and we were all so happy to be in the city!

gelatoLombard St. - view from the top

top of hill Lombard St.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ATW - SJC :: Wednesday, February 27, 2008

All week I thought my plane left in the early evening. On Tuesday I realized that for California my plane left at 7:00 am in the morning. Rush mode kicked in.... and I started freaking just a tad on the details and logistics. If you have ever went on a trip on your own, not really knowing where you will end up that night you know the feelings that were running through my body.

my bag is packed!

I was able to pack my gear in my carry-on - this time a little more secure with a Pelican Case divider I bought from B&H. I can fit almost all of my gear in this carry-on with a little room to spare. I also packed my suitcase full of stay in CA was 4 nights and 5 days.... I needed to look cute at the wedding and all so I also had to pack my beauty aides ;-) Ladies, you know.... your own hair dryer, make-up and products. I did a trip to Boston a few months ago without these items and I felt a little lost. Not that it matters how you look really but it just feels good to feel the normalcy of your daily routine.

My flight took off from Appleton without any delays or weird things happening. Except that one of the girls I was planning on hanging out with got extremely sick and was unable to fly out. Beyond that major bummer - my voyage went off without any hitches... that is until my shuttle from the San Jose airport arrived at the address that Rachel gave me.

When I arrived at the house I noticed that the house looked under construction and a sign out front made it look like it was for sale. I ended up getting in the house and was greeted by Ali's uncle from Iran. He offered me tea and I sat outside and soaked up some sunshine. That sunshine renewed my soul from the inside out. I was so happy to have made the trip and on my own.

Later that day Ali came home to do a few things and offered to take me along with him while he ran some errands. When I got out to the drive and saw that he was driving a porsche convertible I was so happy that I agreed to go with him. He put the convertible top down and we were off - I could not stop smiling!!! We arrived at a botanical gardens and explored a trail looking for Rachel's friends. Ali and I hiked up a very steep path and talked about the wedding, their honeymoon and other stuff. Ali is a great guy, very down to earth and very much in love with Rachel. I was fortunate to have spent some time with him.

for Susannah
Ali seen here posing as Fidel Castro (minus the hat).
The beard was part of a beard growing contest at -
the shave off day was February 29, his wedding day!

Soon after our little hike, we finally found Rachel's friends. Todd - a smart, plant loving botanist who was totally geeking out on all the neat plants and trees around. James - an accomplished sailor and beard boasting participant on the site who is a grad student in Hawaii. Susannah - a sweet girl with a great laugh who is very intellectual and likes to talk theology. Maria - Rachel's dear friend and the girl who got things done. About the same time I finally met Rachel in person. I know everybody thought it was strange that I meet my friend for the very first time in person the days before her wedding. That is the thing about our Flickr group. We are pretty close...but we are all over the country. When we have the opportunity to meet up and shoot some photos we jump on it. I was very honored to have finally met Rachel face to face ;-)

Later that night Gwyn and I left the hustle and bustle of the Persian household and headed to our Super 8 Motel oasis. We dined at the Mexican restaurant at the hotel - I had my Negra Modelo and she had her 2nd burrito in 2 days! After that we headed up to our room and Gwyn started to make Rachel's veil... yes her veil. Gwyn is so very talented and does a great job visualizing and implementing her ideas.

California was starting to become one of my most favorite places...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back from the City!

I am back from my fabulous, amazing, wonderful trip to California!!! There is so much to talk about.... I am planning on blogging about each day individually so I don't forget to talk about something!

Here some shots from the FABULOUS Marina Miller of Red Heart Photo who took these shot of me during the bridal session in China Town - click on them to see them LARGE. Marina is my new favorite photographer!!! I want to be her when I grow up ;-) Actually, I am trying to figure out when I can go to Hawaii for three weeks and babysit her kiddos.... and maybe shoot some photos - just kidding about the babysitting.

By the way.... she shot these photos with the Nikon D3.... for all you photo enthusiasts out there - that camera is jaw dropping amazing!