plants and vows

this post is long overdue. i’ve been slacking in these summer (and now fall) months, whether it be shooting and editing or just hanging out with my wife and son. anywho, back at the end of may i shot a wedding for robyn and dori. they had it at the botanical gardens at roger williams park zoo in providence. the ceremony and the reception were both there.

robyn and dori actually live in chicago but they had their wedding in rhode island because it was more central for family and friends. the distance that people traveled to be a part of their wedding was incredible. robyn had family that flew in from england (forgive me if i remembered the country wrong, it was definitely from overseas). they both had a bunch of friends that flew down from chicago, and there were guests from other various locations that made their way to providence.

i actually met with robyn’s parents in lieu of robyn and dori because they were out in chicago. they were great people and i later realized that all of their family was awesome. you could tell that everybody at the wedding really wanted to be there to see the marriage take place.

they had the coolest seating cards i’ve ever seen at a wedding – including a faux periodic table of the elements that listed the guests instead of elements and arranged and color coded them based on their relation and location origin. i’m kind of a nerd so i was definitely into the idea.

we took shots around the botanical gardens after the ceremony and dori was kind enough to give robyn a piggy back ride when we changed locations. everything went really well and people danced until the last possible minute. enjoy the photos and best of luck when you head back to chicago.

my last wedding as a non-dad (christine and johnny)

well this was a heck of a wedding for two reasons. one reason is that is was a heck of a wedding. the second is that my wife‘s water broke twenty minutes before the wedding was over.

ok here’s the deal. christine and johnny had their huge wedding at crystal lake on october 30th (yes this is another catch-up blog post). we were due to have our first child on october 27th, smack dab in the middle of a wedding i had on the 23rd and christine and johnny’s on the 30th. when i found out we were due on the 27th, i alerted the brides of both weddings and told them they were free to find another photographer if they wanted. their other choice was to take their chances on having me do it and if i couldn’t then i would have a backup photographer provided for them. they both kindly chose to have me still do it.

i took my buddy and fellow photographer john to the wedding. the plan was for him to second shoot a little bit and basically be there in case i had to leave. everything was going well – i took the getting ready shots at the renaissance hotel in providence, made it over to praise tabernacle church in cranston for the ceremony, rode over to roger williams park for family shots at the temple to music, and then to downtown providence for some cool bridal party shots out on the street.

i was real glad we got to take the trip into providence. i think the bridal party thought i was kind of crazy when i had them taking pictures in dirty providence parking garages and in front of scuzzy night club buildings. oh well.

we headed over to crystal lake for the reception where the party was already in full gear. i love the high energy from a big wedding, it feels like there’s so much stuff happening. christine and johnny expressed their relief that we made it this far into the night and i hadn’t got ‘the call’ yet. i felt relieved too; to get to the final stage of the wedding was huge.

people got on the dance floor about twenty-two seconds after salad was served. i’ve never seen anything like it. people went back to eat the next course and went right back to the dance floor. it continued like that through the whole meal. by the time dessert came i don’t think hardly anyone cared because they were all out on the floor dancing.

it was about 10:30 when i got a call from tara. she said she felt a little weird and she wasn’t sure if her water broke. hmmm. i asked her if she wanted me to leave. she said no because she didn’t think it had happened. i was about thirty minutes from home while at crystal lake. i told john what was up and went back to the wedding and tried my best to concentrate on it. 10:40 rolled around and i got another call from tara. ok this was for real. come home. i ran back in the wedding, grabbed my stuff, told christine and johnny i had to take off, let john know i had to go, and ran to my car not having any idea what was about unfold in the next few days… but that’s for another blog post. for now, take a look at some more photos from the very last wedding i ever shot as a non-dad.

karolina and bobby get hitched

karolina was one of my first bookings, one of the early signers that put their faith in me from seeing a very limited portfolio. i’m very grateful to these few brides who were willing to give me a chance as i was starting out. without them i would never have been able to prove myself as a wedding photographer. it’s hard to build a wedding portfolio without wedding pictures, but it’s also hard to get wedding jobs without having a wedding portfolio.

karolina and bobby got married at bittersweet farms in westport, ma. it was a wedding on the smaller end of the scale, roughly sixty guests or so. the room at bittersweet was the perfect size for the wedding. what an awesome venue. natural wood frame and ceiling and a room off of a balcony tucked away on the second floor of the building. i had never shot there so i wasn’t sure what to expect. it ended up being one of my favorite wedding venues.

the day/night went really well, starting off at one of the bridesmaid’s apartments to photograph the girls getting ready. they were laid back and cool, so it was a good start to the wedding. the ceremony was outdoors in a big field with a gazebo. the bridal party walked a good ways across the field to get to their positions which i thought was pretty cool.

darkness came quick after the ceremony ended. i felt like i was racing the sun to get the photos. eventually i gave up and gave in. if it was going to be dark, so be it. i pulled out my off-camera flashes and did some group shots in front of a barn with the remote flashes. we then stumbled upon a little flood light that we used for some cool dramatic lighting for shots of karolina.

i want to make sure to point out that the absolute best i’ve ever been treated as a vendor by the venue was at bittersweet. most wedding venues have a habit of treating the vendors (i.e. the dj, photographer, videographer, etc…) as second, third, and sometimes fourth class citizens. the staff at bittersweet was awesome! i made sure to tell them before i took off what i thought of it all.

i was excited to shoot this wedding because karolina and bobby were one of those couples who were really into the photographs right from the beginning. it’s nice to shoot for a couple knowing that the photos are very important to them. all the best to karolina and bobby, thanks so much for having me!

photographer down (erica and jimmy’s wedding)

the harkness in connecticut was outrageously awesome. basically it’s a big giant mansion with land that extends to the water, crazy gardens, stone columns for an outdoor overhang, and a grand feeling interior.

erica and jimmy got married in st. mary’s, star of the sea – a huge church with giantly high ceilings. it was so massive feeling. i tried my best to capture the feel of the place using my widest lens and getting as far back as i could. i’d say i did it about eighty percent justice, but you really have to see the place to get the full effect.

erica’s dress was super cool (and huge, which was part of its coolness). let’s just say she almost had an issue fitting in the elevator. she actually had two wedding dresses, the second which she changed into after dinner and before all the dancing. i know some brides have a party dress that they change into for dancing, but this was a full blown wedding dress, just smaller than the first one.

i don’t like using the word elegant but that’s what everything was at this wedding. great makeup was done by a very talented sara faella who i’d love to get together with to do a shoot in the future. sara are you reading?

the sky was grey all day and night and light rain was falling for most of the evening. the bridal party was an awesome and fun group of people and they were willing to go out in the rain to take pictures. i love when i can joke around with the bridal party and have some fun, and these guys were perfect for that. usually bright blue skies are ideal, but in this case i think the dreary grey gave the outdoor photos a crazy dramatic feel that worked perfectly with the elegance (there’s that word again) of the wedding. in retrospect i’m actually glad the weather was what it was.

ok so picture this: everything’s nice nice like i’ve been talking about. we’re outside taking some of the last bridal party shots and we end up in one of the gardens. i wanted to get the shot right from the center but there happened to be a little pool for a fountain in the way. the fountain was off but there was a few inches of water in the basin. the sidewalls were angled down and made of little rocks. i purposefully wear black sneakers (i call them my ‘dress sneakers’) to weddings because it’s not unusual for me to climb something or get into some weird place where it’d be impossible with dress shoes. so here i am straddling this little basin with water in it, having full confidence in the tread of my dress sneaker on the slippery and wet rocks, snapping away pictures. i get the shots and go to step out of the danger zone and my foot slides down the wall and next thing i know i’m falling to the ground on the horizontal. one of my few brain neurons fired off and told my arm holding the camera to put it high in the air. a split second later i was swimming in the fountain pool. awesome. real professional. mud on my white shirt (which i sported the rest of the night), mud on my lens and camera, soaking wet dress sneakers, wet pants, complete loss of dignity. to everyone there i will forever be known as ‘the photographer who fell in the fountain water’. hey, at least i give it my all.

i would have to say that out of all bridal parties to do that in front of, i think i picked the best one. it was very kind of them to still take me semi-seriously for the remainder of the night.

i had a great time and loved the wedding. i had a bruise on the bone right near my knee for weeks afterwards, but i knew photography was a dangerous profession when i got into it. erica and jimmy – the best to you both. thanks so much…

the ballpit kings (heather and keith’s wedding)

as i drove up to indian pond country club out in kingston, ma i noticed houses bigger than my entire neighborhood. how do you keep up with a house that big? me and my wife live in a small cape and i feel like i always have a project to do in the house. i can only imagine if my house was twenty times that size.

anyways, this post is not about giant houses, but about keith and heather’s wedding. it was a windy day that they were calling for tons of rain on. the rain held off for most of the time, but eventually grey clouds covered the sky and things started getting wet. the original plan was for the ceremony to be held outside on a deck type of an area but the weather caused it to be moved inside. there was a nice room indoors with big giant windows and was nicely setup. sometimes venues have a ‘backup plan’ to the outdoor ceremony and it looks like just that – a backup plan. this area looked like the ceremony was planned to be there the entire time.

the reception was right down the hall in another room with a huge window wall. it looked very nice in real life but caused a bit of a headache for the exposure metering on the camera when using flash. i know no one cares about that, but i figured i’d mention it because i had to constantly think about it and be aware of it all night long. if anyone’s interested, the camera sends out a couple undetectable pulses of light right before the picture is taken and reads back the luminousity information in order to figure out how bright to fire the flash. when it sees itself in the glass reflection it inaccurately fires the flash at a really low power.

anywho, woe is me, i know.

as i was eating with the dj’s we started talking about bands we used to play in during high school after finding out we all play instruments. turns out one of the dj’s actually saw my band in high school (the ballpit kings) play at a party. mind you that we were from cranston and the dj was from massachusetts. in high school that’s pretty much worldwide fame. it was cool eating and talking with those guys.

i took some pictures in the elevator and the people that worked at the venue kind of looked at me like i was an alien. i thought the lighting was cool. i had to improvise because the weather was nasty outside, super windy and cold. the bridal party was cool enough to grant me a few minutes outside anyway. i really appreciated that.

everything worked out despite the weather and derailed photo plans. all the best to heather and keith, thanks for letting me be a part of your day…

i quit photography

i quit.

well, not entirely, but blueflash is going to get a change in direction for 2011. i’ve decided that for 2011 (and the rest of the foreseeable future, as if any of the future is foreseeable) i’m only going to sign up for a maximum of four weddings per year (maybe five if the fifth one is a destination wedding to hawaii or something). this may sound a bit like a ‘for a limited time only’ sale to prospective brides, but there’s better reasons than that. for the interested parties, here they are in no particular order:

1) my wife and i had our first kid on november 1st. i’m definitely going to want to spend tons of time hanging out with him and by the time the end of next summer rolls around he’ll be old enough to roll around too. i don’t want to get older and have my son grow up and then realize i spent more time shooting and editing weddings than hanging out with him, as much as i love doing weddings.

2) i want blueflash to get more into the fashion/modeling side of photography. i really love deliberate photoshoots where you have a little bit of a plan, enough time dedicated to accomplish that plan, and then you end up with a few awesome shots. don’t get me wrong, weddings are great, but it’s different when you focus on five shots from the day rather than two-hundred and fifty. it’s just a different animal, that’s all. plug – check out the bluefashion portfolio. it’s going to take more effort to get into this segment than just waiting around and hoping some magazine wants me to shoot their cover for them.

3) earlier this year i launched the bluecube. i didn’t really give it the advertising time or effort that it deserved because i was so focused on signing, shooting and editing weddings. i’ve got a handful of weddings that it’s scheduled to be at but i know that this thing’s got tons of potential. people have a ton of fun in it and it really makes whatever event that it’s at a lot better. once this thing catches on i really feel like it’ll spread like crazy. if i have a wedding scheduled every weekend then i can’t be out there setting up the bluecube. there’s only one of me last i checked.

4) time. i don’t think many people realize how much time (good) photographers put into weddings. there’s tons of emailing back and forth initially, then there’s meetings with the clients, sometimes an engagement session, the actual wedding day (with getting ready, driving, and shooting time it usually ends up being a twelve hour day), then the work starts! dump the shots to the computer, sort through well over a thousand photos, individually edit about two-hundred and fifty of them, assemble a facebook album, write up a blog post on the day, design a custom cd, burn it, print it, mail it, upload the album to the site, and then update the portfolio with the new shots. you can easily spend thirty hours after a wedding is over doing all that stuff. multiply that by a bunch of weddings and you’re talking a lot of time. i’m not complaining – it’s an awesome thing to shoot someone’s wedding, i’m just explaining where the ‘time’ reason comes from.

5) i really keep wanting to get into video a little bit. at least experimentally, just to see what my limits are in terms of quality output. i don’t really know what i’d shoot a video of quite yet, but i want to try to put something together. that takes time too. does anyone have any time for sale?

6) my wife and i work with the youth group at our church. they have a lot of things going on during weekends in the summer and more often than not i can’t go to them because weddings are primarily on weekends. it’d be nice to have a few more free weekends to do things like that.

well, i hope that i didn’t scare off any future brides from even emailing me if they’re interested in using blueflash. i do love shooting weddings and i’m still going to do it, just a little less than this upcoming year.

any thoughts on anything? ending a blog post with a question is so lame. that’s my thought. here’s a couple pictures i took in newport.

everyone should have a bounce house (melissa and jason’s wedding)

i love how this wedding came out. it was awesome weather, the bridesmaid’s dresses were bright, melissa had color in her dress, the guys had tophats and canes, and everyone had a good personality and big smiles. melissa and jason got married at the united parish house in lunenburg and had the reception at the wachusett country club in west boylston. tunes were provided by modern entertainment, a dj service based out of lowell, ma.

there were a few shots that i really liked, but i think my favorite is this one:

i shot it while the girls were getting ready to have their pictures taken. candids trump posed shots anyday. this is a technical horror of a photograph. the heads are cut off, it’s way overexposed, the rule of thirds seems to not have existed, but i love it.

ok i’ve given myself enough compliments for one blog post. how cool is this little patio area at the hotel that the girls got ready at?

this hotel had a waterpark built in. yeah, a full-blown waterpark. i would’ve been flying down the speed slide in a second if i wasn’t wearing dress clothes and wearing a camera backpack. alas i was, so i continued to do my job, but i can’t say i stopped thinking about the waterslides that were only tens of feet away from me.

melissa and jason had a daytime wedding with an after party planned for anyone interested. they rented a bounce house, which i am very partial to if anyone is familiar with the even known as mattapalooza (promo vid can be seen here). it would’ve been cool to go and take pictures of that, but after being out for ten hours or so and having an hour and half drive ahead of me, i decided to head home. i guess i’m old now, i don’t know.

i’m waiting for the day that i shoot a wedding and they have a bounce house at the actual reception. a big, huge wedding cake bouncy house. i’d probably shoot the wedding for free (don’t quote me on that).

ok i’m way off track, i think this post wins the award for being the most off-topic. thanks guys for letting me shoot your wedding – best of luck with everything!

am i at the right place? (emily and marc’s wedding)

emily and marc recently got married at a church on the uconn campus and had the reception in a permanent tent a little further down the campus. they were both pretty cool places.

i got there a little bit early like i usually do and there was zero people there. i always have a little freakout fest when i get to where i’m supposed to be and there’s nobody there at all. i walked up to the empty church, pushed on the door and gingerly stepped inside while looking around for booby traps and security cameras.

after i took the self-guided tour, i went back outside andcalled my wife to ask her to go in my email and make sure i was in the right place (even though i check about twenty-five times before i leave the house). this is customary procedure for when i arrive to a wedding. i need to realize that i’m early and that early means nobody else is even supposed to be there yet, so it’s normal for no one to be there. anywho, emily’s parents pulled up when i had just gotten through to tara, so i hung up and felt a lot better.

things were pretty smooth from that point out. we took some cool shots around the area after the ceremony and then headed over to the reception in a nice tent that let a lot of natural sunlight in.

everybody at the wedding seemed to enjoy themselves. there was a cool little surprise on the dance floor. take a look:

yeah, that’s a back flip. he just decided to jump in the air in the middle of the floor and flip upside down. i think that was the fastest i ever brought my camera up to my eyeball and took a shot. i’m glad i caught it though. for the record, he landed it perfectly. that was a first for me to see at a wedding.

the cake was made by a friend of emily’s who does it just as a hobby. it was a pretty mean looking cake, especially for someone who just does it on the side. definitely an awesome job, check it out….

thanks marc and emily for letting me be a part of your wedding – best of luck with your new marriage and all the years to come.

dreaming of a blue wedding (kerry and mike)

it’s probably pretty clear i like the color blue, so i was pleasantly surprised when i showed up to kerry and mike’s wedding and saw all sorts of blue stuff everywhere.

the wedding was at  five bridges inn in rehoboth, ma. it was a cool venue that is on a lot of land with a big huge house that the bridal party and family get to use for 24 hours. there’s a giant permanent tent set up where the reception is held and plenty of spots around for photos.

maybe best of all was that kerry and mike decided to have the bluecube at their wedding. it seemed to be a huge hit – every time i looked over i saw people inside it and usually a little bit of a line waiting to get in. people loved it. the photos from it are on the website under the ‘bluecube’ section if you want to check them out.

i don’t know what the chances are that i do two weddings pretty close to each other and both of them have a groom and groomsmen that are big wiffle ball guys, but i would think they’re pretty low. mike and his guys just happened to have a bat and ball in the car, so out it came during the formal shots.

kerry and mike were a cool laid back couple and were surrounded by a lot of great people. they had a lobster dinner at the reception (done by cozy caterers) and a cool little cocktail hour by a pool in the back of the property. there were a lot of shots from their wedding that i really liked how they came out. i thought these two were really photogenic.

since it was hot out and i had to setup the bluecube before the wedding started, i showed up in gym shorts and an old t-shirt. i figured i’d set it up and then change into normal wedding photographer attire, but after arriving i realized that i probably didn’t inspire much confidence in anyone who saw me. i love this shot below of kerry walking down the aisle. i think all aisles should be old red brick. how cool are the blue shoes? i used to have a pair just like them.

i thought the above shot would be great if these guys ever decided to form a band and needed a cd cover. their cake(s) were awesome – they were made by johansson’s bakery and i thought they looked really cool.

an awesome job on makeup was done by blushing brides, so defnitely jump over and check out their facebook page when you get a chance. it was a great wedding and i really enjoyed it, best of luck to kerry and mike – thanks for having me…

marriage at the villa

raquel and tyreak got married at the villa in east bridgewater, ma. it was a cool venue that i’ve never been to before. i liked the room that the reception was in for its high ceilings made from wood beams. the lighting was more interesting than usual, with colored up lighting all along the perimeter of the room.

the ceremony was held outdoors on a perfect cloudless sky in front of a gazebo. i saw the gazebo and was dreading the idea of raquel, tyreak, and the officiant (tyreak’s grandmother) inside the gazebo rather than in front of it. shadows are horrific when people are under a gazebo on a bright sunny day. thankfully they stood in front of it and all was well.

the villa had some cool spots for some formal shots. i think i used some areas that no one else really bothered to use. there was an entrance hall to the building that i stuffed everyone into, in front of a non-descript wall, and a little patio area right outside a preperation room.

the coordinator was very nice and had good intentions, but i felt bad when she kept suggesting the typical spots on the premises for photos and i kept saying no thanks. apparently there was a golf course that is very popular for photos, but i tend to think golf courses are better suited for golf. i mean, golfers don’t call me up asking for studio time so they can practice their putting, so why should i go into their territory to take photos? yeah that’s a stretch, i know.

anyways, i had met raquel and tyreak a while back for an engagement session at roger william’s park and have been looking forward to their wedding for some time now. best of luck in your marriage and thanks for having me at your wedding!

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