Maybe one of my favorite pictures ever
I wanted to share “a few”, as in 23 (no wait, 25, I just can’t stop adding more!) images from the super crafty wedding of Jessica and Nate at Snipe’s Farm Retreat this October. I don’t know what I liked best, how rustically elegant the wedding was or how obvious it was that Jessica and Nate were having the time of their lives together. There are so many more pictures I loved but didn’t post. As a side note, the GORGEOUS wedding dress was made out of silk shantung by the bride’s sister/chief bridesmaid while she was living in Australia. The coordination involved making the finished product fit so wonderfully must have been a huge leap of faith.
When you have a hilarious spouse you pretty much have entertainment for life. After eight years of marriage, Q still regularly makes me laugh so hard that I snort and drool on myself. I can’t think of a higher compliment I could pay to anyone. Maybe I have an odd definition of compliment.
A snippet of conversation we had whilst eating green bean soup and watching Psych (USA, Wednesday 10 PM!);
Q (big puppy eyes): Will you be my partner for everything, always and forever?
Jenna: Of course!
Q (straight face): Great. I need you to be my synchronized swimming partner.
Jenna: Oh, I see. I will if I get to wear a flowered cap and I’ll need water wings.
Q (aghast): You can’t wear water wings in synchronized swimming!
Jenna: No one can tell us what to do. We can make our own damn synchronized swimming rules!
Q: I also need you to be my hoedown square-dancing partner.
Jenna (throwing spoon into bowl): I will promenade the shit out of you.
Q (frowning): That is fine but I really think I’m supposed to promenade you.
I didn’t want to ruin his square dancing fantasy so I did not introduce a refreshing argument about bullshit gender roles. I don’t really have any new pictures to post that are relevant to this topic, so please enjoy these pictures of Q in a kilt and our Corgi, Lew, romping in the yard.
The handrail that she grasped before turning and shooting him twice. That will teach him to only get her one scoop of ice cream.
Just a few random pictures I’ve been putzing around with. Nothing phenomenal, just personal pictures I like and make me happy. I’m sorry about the captions. I think I have been reading too many dramatic books lately.
This spring/summer wedding at the Weather Vane at Southern Season made me so happy I wanted to share a few files. I love that the bride embraced the heat and her new husband’s Indian heritage by wearing a sari for the reception. Also, there were viking horn hats. Lesson; Life is short. Remember to have fun.
My dad looking like a street urchin while sitting on a pony. I totally got my ears from him.
I love looking at old family photos. Most families have houses full of the black and white photos of Grandma on her wedding day, Dad and his sisters looking like street urchins while playing on the street they grew up on, Grandfather playing in a cross-dressing softball game for charity.
Maybe that last example is limited to just my family, but my point is that we are so incredibly lucky to have those pictures. While the good old days weren’t always good the prints and albums available to consumers in those times were far and away better than what is available now. We might have the fancy modern slickness of “photo lab” websites like Kodak Easy Share and Snap Fish but if you order your wedding album from these companies your granddaughter will never be able to see how beautiful and in love you were on your wedding day. None of the personal family pictures I have posted up top would have survived in their present state if they had been printed in a modern consumer photo lab. In pursuit of the almighty dollar consumer albums and prints are made from cheap, chemical-laden materials, which will start to degrade immediately. In 5 years the colors will have noticeably faded, the edges will yellow and your face will start to look spotty. In ten years you’ll take the print you were once so happy with off the wall and stick it in a closet. You will be married for the rest of your life; don’t you want an album that you can proudly show to your grandkids instead of something that will look shabby in a few years?
This is why you hire a professional photographer who has access to high quality, archival prints and albums. What does archival mean? It means every bit of your album from the pages, the prints, the glue used to bind the prints to the pages, the UV coating on top of the images, the fabric and thread used to bind the book, the base of the cover and the leather or fabric covering are going to look the same 50 years in the future as they do now. Yes, you can print an album through snapfish.com for under $200 or you can go with my Not-So-Basic package and get a museum quality, archival 20 sided album which will preserve the memories of your wedding beyond your lifetime.
Having high resolution files is also so important to many people which is why when you buy an album from me I package it with the high resolution disk with the license to use them for your personal needs.
I like the way this one turned out
Taking pretty pictures is easy. Taking technically correct pictures is hard. Knowing why a picture is “good” is important. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO and where you focus will all work together to make a big old bowl of great photo soup. Take your camera off the auto settings (and read the manual!) and learn how to consistently get the look you are going for.
Freelensing was all about free-wheeling creativity. Hyperfocal Focusing is the exact opposite. First off, the lens stays attached to the camera body 100% of the time but secondly hyperfocal photography involves set rules. Hyperfocal photography is when you adjust the aperture and point of focus so that everything from a desired point (usually the foreground) to infinity is in focus. Some lucky people have features on their lens that will tell them when hyperfocal focus has been achieved (again, read the manual!) the rest of us need to figure it out on our own.
The hyperfocal rule is that your depth of field (the area in focus) is always 1/3 in front of the focus point, and 2/3 behind it. What that means is that if you focus on something 10 feet away your depth of field is 3 feet, everything from 9 feet to 12 feet away from you will be in focus. So, you might be asking yourself, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China (or whatever it is you say when you want to know why something is relevant to you). My answer would be Antelope Canyon (stay with me here, I promise this is going somewhere). I see tons of these pictures. Much of the time the wonderfully swoopy layers of rock are out of focus either in the front or the back. If you are going all the way out to the middle of nowhere (far away from real toilets) to see some rocks you might as well take a few minutes to learn how to take pictures of said rocks. Really hyperfocal photography is something you need for shooting any type of landscape or city.
You’ll need to set your lens to 50mm or higher. You’ll want to shoot at a “small” (meaning a higher numbered F stop). I used aperture priority f/11 and let the camera set my shutter speed. Point your camera at something. Look through the viewfinder and focus about 1/3 of the way into the scene. Take the picture. If you are very very Type A you can use a calculator, although you’ll probably miss that great shot you wanted whilst you are putzing around with those numbers. If you need a visual please click on the awesome drawing!
I used downtown Durham for my photos because I love it and I live there. Urban valleys are great for this sort of thing. I tried to shoot as I would at a wedding where you don’t have a lot of time to do calculations or use the depth of field preview (you spent a lot of money on your camera, for the love of all that is holy read the manual and figure out how to use it!) that most DSLRs come with and often have to shoot from the hip (so to speak). It would be somewhat awkward to ask the pastor to announce the happy couple as man and wife a second time cause I missed the shot. Not every picture here is the best example of hyperfocal photography; some of them I just liked.
Anyone with a DSLR can try freelensing. It doesn’t require fancified lenses, a ton of technical knowledge or Photoshop skills. It does require a big old heaping helping of patience and a willingness to spend hours taking hundreds of photos with maybe 10% of them looking like you didn’t sneeze on your lens.
Freelensing is basically a shift/tilt technique on the cheap. I have a Lensbaby and I know how to fake it with Photoshop but as a wedding photographer I’m all about the guerrilla tactics. It is pretty simple. Set your camera to about f/11 in aperture priority and your lens to about 70mm. You’ll need f/11 for the depth of field and anything wider than 70mm will never be in focus. Take your lens off of the camera body but hold it where the lens would usually be then start tilting the lens all around until you get something you like. Then fine tune the focus manually. After about 15 minutes give up in disgust at not being able to get ANYTHING in focus. Come back in ten minutes after eating some candy and try again. Unless you have more than two working hands this is amazingly hard (I mean focusing is hard, not eating sweet wonderful candy). It helps a lot to have the camera body on a tripod so that you have a free hand to focus the lens with and it helps if your DSLR has Liveview on the LCD screen. Once you master (I use the word loosely) the basic technique try moving the lens farther away from the body of the camera, make the tilts wilder, flip the lens around and shoot through it backwards. The light getting in between the lens and the body make for some awesome light leaks and funky color. Working with a single light source (like a window) makes for a really moody atmosphere. It is such an untechnical technique that nothing can ever be wrong.
I would not recommend doing this anywhere that is dusty, dirty or bug infested. Just a little bit of schmutz getting into your camera body will ruin it. If I get my hands on an old, crappy camera body I would love to give this a try outside in downtown Durham. These pictures were my first go at freelensing so please don’t judge them too harshly. A few of them have been cropped, two were darkened slightly, one was obviously turned to black and white (which also has a black border on it cause the giant face was freaking me out), but other than that these haven’t had any post-capture color changes. Everything was done in-camera.
If anyone else gives this a try I’d love to see your results!
Lew rooting around on the floor for candy cane bits and trying to stay away from the camera
This year the dear husband and I had an explosion of holiday themed fun. A Christmas Story musical, we made several holiday themed beers, we had two lovely trees in our house, we wrapped things in bacon and ate them, and so on and so forth. Most of our holiday events center around wrapping various foods in bacon or eating stollen from Guglehupf. We also watch a lot of sci-fi movies. To each his own. So much free time is rotting my brain though. I stared at the computer screen for over five minutes trying to remember the word for things that are hung on the Christmas tree. Doodads was as close as my brain got. I hate it when my brain doesn’t cooperate.
One of the saddest days of the year are the day you take down your holiday decorations. To bring back the holiday cheer I wanted to post a few of of pictures I took for this year’s holiday cards.
Succulently creamy white leather with lustrous croc skin. Just Yum.
Finao made good on their failure is not an option world view. I love my sample albums with a love that most women reserve for their first born child. The printing is luminously superb and the leather covers are so high end and supple I keep running across the room to look at them again. I love the funkiness of the covers and the 85+ leathers available. The tried and true type of album covers are also available but since my bride and grooms are above average on the awesome scale I know they wouldn’t pick a boring cover.
I just wanted to take a moment to say that I love bokeh. Please have an excellent day!