Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category
October 20, 2014
I always try and get an idea from my brides what their wedding day is going to be like by studying their timeline and asking about any possible hidden surprises. There is nothing worse than being on the wrong side of the room when something important happens. I’m not above sprinting across the venue to photograph something important, but it makes me look unprofessional “Not Cool”.
Joy, my bride for Oct 12th called me and explained their wedding was going to be “nontraditional.” I listened intently as she explained her vision to me.
Joy explained that they would start the day casually and did not want us to photograph their preparations or even them getting dressed. That’s when I started to sweat, Getting dressed is the part of the day where I get to know the bride and her friends a little more. Then she went on to say they were having a cocktail party before the ceremony even started, more sweating for me. A friend was the officiating the ceremony, more concern…. A buffet dinner would follow, and the music was just going to be an iPod. No DJ to keep everything on track, now I’m really worried.
Sometimes these non traditional plans work fine but sometimes a more traditional timeline helps all the vendors (us, florists, catering, DJ) provide our best services. Joy’s wedding planner http://ladolceeventsboulder.com/ confirmed the arrangements and soothed my concerns “Everything is under control” she said.
Wedding photography is a lot like skiing in powder; keep your knees bent, stay flexible, and everything will turn out ok. If you get too rigid, you are going to make a fun time very unpleasant not only for you but everyone else. Some days I have to repeat this strategy to myself frequently.
We arrived at the Koenig Alumni Center in Boulder Colorado http://alumni.colorado.edu/services/koenig/ eager to get started. The bride was dressed and ready to go. The groom showed up and off we went. The first hour we spent walking around CU campus making formal wedding photographs. It was spectacular. I know those are pretty big words, but I can’t say enough on just how beautiful the campus was that day. The trees were full of fall colors. We found a beautiful pond with a rock bridge across one corner of it. Near it was an old building with rock archways, rock steps and ivy growing everywhere. The sun this time of year is lower in the horizon all day long providing great light.
The day only improved from this great start. The cocktail party before the wedding gave us opportunity for informal groups and discreet casual portraits of the wedding couple, family members and special friends. What Joy hadn’t mentioned was that most of their friends and family had traveled from far away for the wedding. Most had come from New York and Chicago, some had come from as far away as Germany, and one couple came from Dubai. No wedding traditions could have improved this celebration, and it truly turned out to be a celebration of two people joining their lives together. The Hora dance started immediately after the ceremony kiss and the breaking of the glass. After the buffet dinner the party lasted late into the night, The dancing never slowed down as the iPad play a special mix prepared by the groom. This was certainly the most successful non-traditional wedding we have ever been a part of. Mazel tov!
October 10, 2014
Last weekend at the Tapestry House 3-year-old Walton had the honor of being his aunt’s ring bear. Pretty easy duty, all you have to do is hand off the ring when they point at you, right. Nope, that was not how it went down.
The bride and her sister had come up with the plan; Walton could ride his brand new red Radio Flyer tricycle down the aisle in front of the bride. What 3-year-old wouldn’t want to ride their brand new tricycle in front of everyone. It was all trekked out with a bell and everything. He even had a sign announcing the bride ” Here comes the bride.”
Walton waited in queue at the back of the ceremony site with his father. He was all dressed up in his new black suit, argyle socks, bow tie and a boutonniere on his lapel. His dad talked with him quietly as they sat on the bench and watched the wedding procession headed towards the alter.
The bride had three bridesmaids and one matron of honor . Each was escorted in traditional fashion on the arms of a groomsman. I can only image what his dad was telling him, as I wasn’t close enough to hear the conversation. It looked as if there were some high stake negotiations taking place. Walton watched closely as each girl took the arm of a gentleman and disappeared down aisle. To the three year old the aisle to the alter must have looked a mile long, AND thousands of strangers were watching. Talk about “stranger danger“.
The officiant was in her place. The wedding party in their places and the music changed. All eyes went to the back of the ceremony site looking for the next person to enter. Walton’s dad stood up and took the three year old by the hand. This was his son’s big moment, but I have a feeling it must have been like “dead man walking” for poor little Watlon. His eyes got big but he bravely mounted his trusty tricycle. The same tricycle I’m sure he has had many hours of fun on.
His dad wheeled him into starting gate under the ivy arbor. Kind of like a horse in the Kentucky Derby ready to run free. His dad bent down and whispered something into his son’s ear and gave him a little push. Walton took off like a shot peddling as fast as he could. He looked so happy for about three seconds. He was announcing the bride’s arrival. “Here comes the bride.” The moment I’m sure his parents had prepared him for with many hours of practicing involved.
His father blew out a sigh of relief thinking his little man was actually going to pull this off. Walton’s gaze lifted from just ahead of his front wheel up to smiling faces of the wedding guests. He stopped cold in his tracks. He slowly surveyed the crowd hoping to find someone he knew. His mom was at the other end, but that was about a mile away he didn’t find her. Grandma was calling his name, but he couldn’t hear her.
Wedding guests started to encourage him. “You can do it” a gentleman near the back yelled out. “Your mom is down there” another helpful lady whispered. You could see the panic building on little Walton’s face. A amphitheatre full of strangers and he was the center of their attention. Hundreds of thousands of eyes on him and him alone….
He slowly looked around for his safety person, his dad. By this time, his dad had squatted down four steps away under the arbor and was encouraging Walton. “Just keep peddling, Mom is at the other end.” Walton did not budge. “Grandma is calling you. Can you see her.” He pointed in the direction the Radio Flyer was facing.
Walton’s lower lip started to quiver, and his big brown eyes got even bigger. His father said a few more encouraging words but by then the little guy was having none of it. He took in a deep breath. You know the kind of breath where they fill their entire lung capacity with air , the quiet pause just before they blow…….
It was downhill from there. His dad swooped in rescuing him from the terrifying moment and off they went to a safer place.
The flower girl waited for all the shenanigans to clear then made her entrance. The look on her face was pure determination because she was a mature girl. We all know four-year-olds don’t act like that.
Better luck next time Walton, we’re all pulling for you.
September 19, 2014
Caitlin and Joseph had an airplane themed wedding the first weekend in September at the Tapestry House www.tapestryhouse.com. It was a lot of fun. The groom is a pilot and graduated from the Air Force Academy, you know your basic “fly boy.” This celebration started with engagement session where I photographed the couple with a Stearman Biplane. It was very vintage looking as if it just arrived from WWII. I was thrilled to photograph them with it, bright yellow, big, fun, very photogenic.
The couple worked very hard on the details of their wedding day using the airplane theme throughout. The day began with the bride wearing a shirt with the words proudly scrolled across the front “co-pilot” before changing into her wedding gown. Wedding Programs were passed out to the arriving guests folded into paper airplanes. The flower girl sprinkled the sidewalk with rose peddles and paper airplanes. The card box where the guests could place their envelopes in was a suit case ready to travel.
The dinner seating chart for the wedding guests were written on paper airplanes. Once the guests found their seats for the reception and dinner part of the day, a luggage tag with their names was waiting for them confirming they were at the right place. The tables were easily identified with a numbered airplane and map. The napkins had the bride and groom’s last name on them and they also had an airplane. If I remember right the bride and groom’s first dance was to “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra. Everything was tastefully done and very classy.
The big surprise of the day came from the groom to his bride. She had wanted a fly over but he said it was not possible. Something about he could not be in two places at once. Little did she know he had already arrange this with his pilot buddy to grant his bride’s wish.
It rained that afternoon (of course) and the wedding ceremony was delayed by about 30 minutes. There were a few technical problems between the communications person on the ground at the wedding and the airplane pilot sitting at the Loveland Airport waiting for a break in the weather. The plan was to fly over (at the correct FAA regulation altitude) right after the kiss. What really happened was the beautiful yellow Stearman Biplane made its appearance somewhere during the family formal photographs. It did not matter the guests were thrilled, the bride was ecstatic and everyone waved and cheered to the pilot.
In the end what I witnessed was two people in love, going out of their way to make their wedding day a little more special for each other and their guests.
August 23, 2014
I recently photographed a wedding that was full of little details which came from Etsy www.Etsy.com . I was really impressed by the uniqueness of this bride and groom’s items. They had champagne glasses for the wedding toast with Mr. and Mrs. and the wedding date engraved on them. This alone isn’t that unusual but wait there’s a lot more.
I had never seen “celebration sticks”. I don’t know what to call them so I made up that name. Sticks that the guests waved as the bride and groom exited the ceremony. In lieu of blowing bubbles, throwing flowers petals, rice or bird seed the guests waved these sticks. They were small wooden dowels/rods with an assortment of ribbons attached to the end. They were very festive looking and no one had to pick up afterwards. This is a great idea for venues that don’t want the extra mess.
Scattered around the tables at the wedding reception were small bags containing the dice game “Farkle”. I did not actually see anyone playing the game that night but it was a nice little gift for the wedding guests to take home with them.
The guest book was not a book at all. The wedding guests signed a piece of wood with the bride and groom’s name and wedding date “Established in 2014”. This could be framed by itself or they could build it into a piece of furniture. What happy memories they will always have when they look at it. At my wedding I had a standard wedding guest signing book and I have no idea where it is now.
The next great detail was the groom’s shirt collar stays. I had no idea what they were until Bill enlighten me. They slide into the corner of a man’s shirt collar to keep the corners of the collar straight down. (See how I got around not using the terms “stiff” and “pointy”.) They were sterling silver and hand cut. One of the collar stays was stamped with the latitude and longitude coordinates of their wedding venue Della Terra www.DellaTerraMountainChateau.com . The other one was stamped with their wedding date and a little love note from the bride to the groom.
The reception dinner place cards were arranged on a rustic wooden plank with a slot for each card. This kept all the cards in an orderly fashion and easily accessible for the wedding guests to find their card. Simple but cute.
The wedding favors were individually wrapped bags of trail mix which was very fitting for a mountain wedding in Estes Park. They were neatly arranged in personalized glass jars which could later be used for a candle holder, jewelry box or candy jar.
The last thing was my very favorite. Personalized wedding forks. Both forks were hand stamped with the wedding date on the handle. On the prong end one fork was stamped with “I do” and the other fork was stamped “Me too.” All of these different and fun details made for some unique wedding photography.
Now that I have discovered Etsy, I am finding (and buying) all kinds of stuff I probably don’t need. They have a wide range of items from art, clothing, wedding and home supplies. It is a great place to get ideas for do it yourself projects as well. Move over Pinterest, now I can waste hours and hours on Etsy.
August 8, 2014
My favorite air guitarist
Amy and Jeff were married last weekend at the Tapestry House www.Tapestryhouse.com . Their 8-year-old son, Eli, has moved into the top position as my all time favorite air guitarist. I have photographed air guitar performances many times as a Fort Collins wedding photographer so I speak from experience.
The styles range from impromptu to exacting duplications of famous guitarists like; Stevie Ray Vaughan the blues man, Jimi Hendrix the Blues rocker, Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones and notorious Eddie Van Halen. You know the type they grab the guitar, drop their hips and become the music. Then you have your more energetic air guitarists like Slash from Guns ‘n Roses, Rhandy Roads from Ozzie Osbourne or Metallica’s Kirk Hammet hard core metal rockers. These guys are body and soul performers with everything in motion from their heads to their toes. Whatever the style of the “Air Guitarist” they make great wedding photography subjects.
Neil and Beth Carlberg who own Too Much Fun DJ http://www.toomuchfundj.com/ bring a unique service to the wedding reception. They are great DJ’s keeping the wedding on time and fun for the guests. When the dancing starts at the reception they pull out all the stops. They come prepared with a line up of custom made wooden guitars and encourage the weddings guests to get involved. The guitars are painted in a wide variety of designs to suit every air guitarist’s “inner rocker”.
They ease into it with songs very user friendly well known guitar riffs. Fun but not over the top. The momentum builds from there as they move the crowd into the competition part of the evening; boys vs girls, bride vs groom, bridesmaids vs groomsmen. All craziness breaks out at that point until everyone’s inner Judas Priest has them sliding across the floor on their knees pounding a riff on the wooden guitar. Photographing all of this really is really “too much fun”.
Back to my new favorite ax man, Eli. His own distinct style was somewhere between John Belushi and Jimi Hendrix with aspirations of giving Dimebag Darrel a run for his money. He is a guitarist at heart no doubt. Eli was working it at every opportunity; while getting dressed before the wedding, during family formal photographs and throughout the cocktail hour. I’m sure he would have played while he escorted his mother down the aisle if she would have allowed it. My personal favorite presentation from this up and come rock star was during his parents first dance. Eli quietly stood in background strumming a romantic ballad with a smile on his face as he watched his parents seal the deal.
August 1, 2014
Last Saturday we photographed our first wedding at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts www.denvercenter.org The Complex is located in the heart of the Denver Theatre District in Downtown Denver, Colorado.
The wedding day began with everyone getting dressed at the Magnolia Hotels www.magnoliahotels.com . The hotel website had this information about the property. In 1993, the company purchases its first building, a vacant 85-year-old former bank building in the core of downtown Denver’s business district. The property underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and was restored to reflect its original appearance. The hotel opened in 1995 under the name Holtze Executive Place, later changed to the Magnolia Hotel.
In a big city moving a wedding party and family from the hotel to the actual wedding venue can resemble a Chinese fire drill. Coordinating the rides and times for the bride, bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen can be very stressful. It always takes more time then expected. Thank goodness they took my advice and planned for the needed extra time.
Megan and Tim had their “first look” under the marquee in front of the Seawell Grand Ballroom with the wedding party peeking from the upper floors of the parking structure. They chose to see each other in advance of the wedding so we would have more time to make formal wedding photographs. We spent the next hour making wedding photographs in this dynamic architecturally rich environment bursting with angles, layers and light. The atrium roof provided welcome relief from the sun and later the sprinkling rain. We were thrilled to have a new visual playground and a wedding couple willing to schedule additional time for us to create wedding day imagery for them.
The Seawell Grand Ballroom http://denvercenterevents.org/ is large enough to host both the wedding ceremony and the reception. This wedding they draped the room into two parts, both were dramatically lit.
The Ballroom website says they deliver memorable, inspiring and unique events. “Your guests will marvel at the panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains and iconic elements of Denver’s Lower Downtown Skyline — offering an incredible view of urban architecture and mountain peaks. As the sun goes down, the ceiling transforms into a star-filled canopy above this 10,000 square-foot dream space, lined with mirrors to reflect your theatrical event.”
After seeing what they were able to do to the ballroom I would agree. The ceremony side of the room was beautiful and the reception area was breath taking.
The caterer was Epicurean Group – Denver Catering www.epicueangroupco.com . They are rated in the top 25 caterers in the world by Special Event Magazine. The food was served buffet style and was delicious. The main course was stuffed pork tenderloin with roasted tomatoes and asparagus. My favorite part of the meal was the mashed sweet potatoes.
After the traditional toasts, cake cutting and ceremonial first dances the party really started and the place got bumping very quickly. The wedding guests danced up a storm underneath a 4-foot disco ball that hung from the ceiling. We were exhausted by the end of the night but Megan and Tim’s wedding was truly a beautiful event. Certainly a highlight on our summer Colorado wedding photography calendar. Thanks guys!
July 18, 2014
Last Saturday we traveled up the road to provide wedding photography in Cheyenne Wyoming. Gayle & Chris were married at the Methodist Church www.fumccheyenne.org Their wedding ceremony was beautiful in the historic structure and everything turned out great. The reception was held at the Cheyenne Depot Museum www.cheyennedepotmuseum.org
The history of the museum is interesting because The Union Pacific Depot in Cheyenne, Wyoming is a nationally prominent landmark that derives its significance from two principal areas: transportation and architecture. The Depot formed a strategic point along the Union Pacific Railroad, America’s first transcontinental rail line, and was easily the Union Pacific’s most grandiose facility west of its starting point at Council Bluffs.
The Depot was completed in 1887 and is the last of the grand 19th century depots remaining on the transcontinental railroad. This is one of the most significant passenger depots in the American West and acclaimed one of the most architecturally distinguished buildings among Henry Van Brunt’s commissions. In 2006 the Cheyenne Union Pacific Depot was recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
In 1993 the Union Pacific donated the building to the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County, and now is available to rent for weddings and other parties.
At the reception Gayle & Chris were announced along with their wedding party. A buffet style dinner had been served to the wedding guests and the father of the bride along with the best man and maid of honor all made congratulatory toasts to the happy couple. The party was going along great.
The bride and groom had finished their first dance as a married wedding couple. The bride and her dad just started the father daughter dance and then… THE FIRE ALARM WENT OFF! The very veRY, VERY loud fire alarm persisted to serenade an ear piercing screech as the poor father danced with his daughter. Someone in charge and I have no idea who that was or why they were the expert, decided there was no visible smoke so the party must go on. As long as we did not mind losing a little hearing over the deal.
The DJ, George, from Rock on Wheels www.rockonwheels.com with his wicked sense of humor didn’t miss a beat. As the fire fighters calmly arrived and entered the building he starts a playlist of anything with fire or burning in the title. To name a few of the songs the wedding guests danced to:
Alicia Keys Girl on Fire, Billy Joel We Didn’t Start the fire, Katy Perry Firework, Elvis Presley Burning Love
Nobody slowed down. The party continued, the wedding guests danced, the fire fighters looked for a fire and the DJ played on. Eventually it was determined that there was a faulty switch causing the alarm. It was silenced, the fire fighters gave the bride a thumbs up and left. All in all Gayle & Chris have a rather unique wedding day story to tell, and so do I.
June 27, 2014
After many years of experience in the wedding business I thought I had seen it all. But something happened last Saturday that was as crazy as anything. I’m not sure if there was a full moon or what but I am not going to forget that wedding anytime soon.
Our Saturday wedding was with Carli and Adam starting at The Highland Haven Creekside Inn http://www.highlandhaven.com/ in Evergreen Colorado. The inn is located 30 minutes west of Denver and sits beside Bear Creek. It offers many opportunities to make beautiful wedding photographs and is a perfect place to prepare for a Evergreen or Genesee wedding.
We met Carli & Adam a year and a half a go when we photographed their friend’s wedding at Beaver Meadows http://www.beavermeadows.com near Red Feather Lakes. They liked what we did for their friends and booked us soon after. I was happy for them that their day had finally arrived.
They had rented cottages for the girls and guys to get ready and limos to take everyone to the actual wedding. Everything was going according to plan when I arrived, they were just finishing their hair and make up and everyone looked great. At that point there was some debate about whether Carli should put her wedding gown on at the cottage or at the wedding venue. I lobbied for her to dress at the cottage because the grounds of Highland Haven is so pretty we could make some classic bridal portraits down by the creek. Don’t get ahead of this story, Carli did not fall into the creek.
She decided to go ahead and put her dress on at the cottage because her room there was more spacious. She stepped into the gown and all that was left was zipping it up. Sounds simple enough right? This is where the story take a turn, the zipper was broken. The two track zipper was only on one track of the teeth. Having tried the dress on just two days before, how could this have happened? Now panic sets in and many different ideas were getting thrown around. Her dad show up with the tool kit borrowed from the limo driver containing needle nose pliers, something was said about sewing her into the gown etc….
I had never faced this problem before so I was absolutely no help. My solution was hide behind my camera and take lots of photos. Everyone was walking in circles around the dress wringing their hands and shaking their heads. I always believed in a time of crisis if you can’t help, stay out of the way, or bring food and liquor.
The mother of the bride and the mother of the groom saved the day. They tore the bottom of the zipper out, realigned it, got it back on track and sewed the zipper bottom back into the dress. That sentence makes it sound so very easy but it was not. They spent almost an hour taking it apart and putting it back together.
Carli finally got her gown on and zipped it up. We ran out of the cottage and made one quick group photo of the girls by the creek before diving into the limo for the ride to the ceremony site at Christie’s of Geneseehttp://christiesofgenesee.com/
June 20, 2014
June is definitely wedding season and it is going strong in Fort Collins. I had the pleasure of photographing Amber and Scott’s wedding at The Gardens on Spring Creek http://www.fcgov.com/gardens/ in Fort Collins, Colorado. They were my first June wedding couple and the first wedding I have photographed at this venue. I had not been to The Gardens since the city first established it in 2004. These gardens are truly beautiful. A stroll through them leaves you feeling very peaceful and at one with the splendors of nature. The colors are so beautiful with the different shades of greens. Flowers are sprinkled throughout the scene adding pops of pink, reds, purple, yellow like a little colorful surprise. I also enjoy how they have used different types of plants in the landscaping that can add texture and dimension to a wedding photograph.
My over all reaction was “Wow” these gardens have matured and expanded into something that is truly a Fort Collins treasure. A wonderful venue for wedding photography and as a wedding photographer there were so many choices to pose the bride and groom. The only problem I had was that we ran out to time. Honestly I could have spent hours there making wedding pictures of the Amber & Scott.
The staff was extremely nice and stayed late for us. The weather had caused things to run late, rain storms blew through all afternoon that day. The clouds helped out with the blistering hot sun and softened the light for the wedding photos but I am getting a little tired of the wind and rain. I’m sure I will be praying for a rain clouds to come and cool me off in July when I am photographing weddings in the scorching heat.
The city of Fort Collins owns the Gardens on Spring Creek so arranging a wedding or other event is done through the city. The rental agreement is on their website and explains all the details. The Gardens not only host weddings but other events such as receptions, wedding reception, award ceremonies, reunions, and meetings. Availability of space is limited and determined by The Gardens program schedule. Outdoor spaces available for rental include the Children’s Garden, Garden of Eatin’, Outdoor Classroom, Rock Garden and the Entire Site. These sites are only available before or after hours. If your are thinking of hosting a wedding at The Gardens I would reserve it as soon a possible to insure the date.
Amber and Scott had an intimate wedding ceremony with only a few friends and family members. Their good friend officiated the ceremony, to the surprise of all their guests. Once the vows were said, rings exchanged and the wedding photographs were taken we were off to Jay’s Bistro http://www.jaysbistro.net/ . Jay’s is one of my favorite restaurant in Fort Collins. They are a locally owned family business with an entrepreneurial spirit and have been in Fort Collins since the 1980’s. Jacki and Jay run a first class restaurant. The food is always excellent and the staff is very attentive. My family has celebrated many occasions at Jay’s from birthdays to college gradations. It is a place I highly recommend and I am always delighted to eat there.
Thanks to Amber and Scott for letting me be your Fort Collins wedding photographer.
June 14, 2014
Last Wednesday we photographed a small wedding ceremony on a ridge overlooking the Rocky Mountains in Northern Colorado. And I mean small, just the wedding couple, Art the officiant, a horse wrangler, Bill & me. Anja and Joe came from Germany for a Colorado destination wedding at Sylvan Dale Ranch http://www.sylvandale.com/ Sylvan Dale Ranch is nestled in the scenic Colorado foothills just west of Loveland. Even though the Ranch endured substantial damage from the floods last fall, they remain a beautiful location for a Northern Colorado wedding.
Sylvan Dale’s head wrangler Art, wore many hats that day. He was their tour guide, officiant, composer and musician. He guided the wedding couple on horse back onto the mountain ridge above Sylvan Dale Ranch. This high plateau over looked the Big Thompson Canyon, Loveland and Fort Collins. Needless to say the view was absolutely stunning. We got lucky with the weather too. The rain clouds had been building all day and I was extremely worried it was going to open up on and pour but the rain held off. The clouds softened the harsh sun light and made the temperature perfect, not too hot for a June summer day wedding. The rain had been very helpful early this month by making everything green and lush looking. The horses munched away on the tall grass and the meadow was covered with wild flowers as well.
The bride and groom arrived on horseback walking up through the meadow and stopping on the ridge over looking Glen Haven Valley. Art got off his horse and sang them a love song he composed as he played the guitar. A simple prayer was said and then Art lead them through their wedding vows. A bird serenaded the wedding couple as it flew over head and the wind blew gently through the tall grass creating a soft whispering rustle like the string section of an orchestra.
This was a truly wonderful Colorado destination wedding and we were honored to be chosen to provide their wedding photography. www.SherriBarber.com.
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