April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

All week, I've been trying to get excited about the Royal Wedding, and it just wasn't happening for me.  Being in the wedding industry, I felt it was my duty to be interested, and even tried watching a few PBS documentaries about it.  That lasted about four minutes.  I love all the little details of weddings-- the dress, the shoes, the rings, the cake, the flowers-- all those tiny things that come together to make the day truly unique, and the royal family just wasn't leaking those details out.

This morning, however, I logged on to YouTube, and watched oodles of video coverage of the wedding, and now I'm excited!  All those secret details were revealed, and I love it!  Kate's dress?  LOVE.  I'm a huge fan of unique wedding gowns, and Kate's was elegant, stylish, and perfect for a late-spring celebration.  The ivory dress complemented her complexion beautifully, and the lace sleeves and deep V neckline were romantically old-fashioned while being fashion-forward all the same.  Finished with a simple pleated full skirt and cathedral train (how appropriate!), it's a dress that I'm sure will inspire gowns for years to come.

Top that off with a lace-edged veil, a royal tiara, delicate teardrop earrings, a simple and romantic bouquet, and a tradition-inspired wedding band, and you have perfection.  And the engagement ring?  Regardless of the controversy behind it, it's a gorgeous ring, it clearly mean something to William, and well, I'm always a fan of rings that have a story behind them.  And, I just love the sapphire-- with most rings being focused around a diamond, the ring is truly unique.  Plus, I happen to love sapphires (my engagement ring has sapphires, too!).  Clearly, I have royal tastes.  ;)

Last but not least, there's Westminster Abbey.  Just amazing.  Cathedrals in general leave me awestruck with the amount of fine craftsmanship that went into building them, and their lasting legacies, and Westminster Abbey doesn't disappoint.  I've only ever seen the outside of it (it was closed to the public when I happened to stop by), but it's a truly amazing place all the same.  And, while most churches are dimly lit, the lighting in Westminster was just gorgeous!  Warm, soft, and flattering.

So, diamonds to the Royal Wedding.  I wonder what their wedding album will look like...

Have a wonderful weekend!

April 28, 2011

The Blackhawk Museum

Last night was the Tri-Valley Wedding Professionals spring mixer at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville.  It was a great time, catching up with old friends and making some new ones.  Plus, it was held at one of the neatest places in the East Bay.  The Blackhawk Museum houses nearly 100 superbly preserved cars from the tomes of automotive history, and their events are held right in the automotive galleries, so you can sip wine, taste delicious cupcakes and mingle with friends surrounded by really gorgeous cars.  Though I didn't do any shooting there last night, Josh and I visited the museum right around this time last spring, and I spent hours shooting all the little details that make classic cars, well, classic.

 This one's for Katie, who drives a modern day VW and has a name for her GPS (we named ours "Lola").  By the way, I still have "Barbra Streisand" stuck in my head!

Have a wonderful Thursday!

April 27, 2011

Wedding Trend - Photo Booths

We all know photo booths can be a great source of entertainment, whether you're at the arcade (yes, I grew up in the 80's) or a special event.  They're especially fun at weddings, when everyone's in a celebratory mood.  Throw in a few silly props, and you've got a party!

As a photographer, I love to see photo booths at weddings for a few reasons.  First, it give the guests something fun to do, outside of the usual eat-drink-dance routine (not that I don't love that too!).  And, it's great for kids and teens who may get antsy at a longer event.  Second, the guests get an instant party favor -  the photostrips are amusing keepsakes to be posted on the refrigerator or bulletin board after the big event.  Last, but certainly not least, it frees up the wedding photographer to focus on the really important people - the newlyweds - instead of being pulled aside randomly to take impromptu photos of groups of coworkers, friends, and distant relatives.  This means that more of those intimate moments between the bride and groom can be captured, and more of the story of their Big Day can be told.

My favorite photo booth company is Oh Snap!  They have elegant, fully-enclosed booths with custom decals for each event, and print out two photostrips per booth visit - one for the guests, and one for the newlyweds.  The newlywed's photostrip is pasted into a memory book, and the guests can write a brief message to go with their photos.

Here's a few images from Anne and Erik's wedding, and their Oh Snap! photo booth.

When the bride and her sister head into the photo booth, you know there are going to be some great moments!

Happy Hump Day!

April 26, 2011

Sneak Peek - Crissy Field Engagement

Well, it's only Tuesday, and yet it's already been a very busy week!  With four shoots last week, I have a lot of photos to process.  So, while I'm processing away, here's a sneak peek at last week's San Francisco engagement session with Adrienne and DJ!

Happy Tuesday!

April 25, 2011

Adventure Camera - Kayaking San Pablo Bay

Yesterday, we had an adventure.  Not one of our usual sunny, warm, Oh-Look-a-Deer! adventures, but one of those character-building, What-Doesn't-Kill-You-Only-Makes-You-Stronger experiences.  Not that there's anything wrong with that-- I now know that I can paddle, very slowly, against 30-knot winds and fairly strong ebb currents, which is a pretty substantial feat, despite the fact that our trip could have been planned a touch better.  In any event, we headed out in some misty rain from the launch site up on Gallinas Creek, and as the morning wore away, the clouds broke up, the sun came out, the tide went out, and the winds kicked up big time.  So, getting back to the launch became a bit of a challenge, and Plan B (stop at China Camp State Park and call a cab) was formed.  We battled upwind for a couple hours, and once we made it back to the creek, we knew the cab wouldn't be necessary.  Along the way, I captured some exciting sea kayaking video (yes, there is such a thing!), and, of course, some still shots.  I'm still working out the video processing, so here's a few photos to enjoy in the meantime....

Happy Monday!

April 22, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Los Vaqueros Grill and Bizarre Days

Josh and I have always wanted to be regulars at a restaurant.  To walk in, and have the staff remember you and seat you at your favorite table.  We managed this once, sort of, at Extreme Pita in San Jose, but then job and schedule changes happened, and though the manager still remembers us when we stop in on occasion, it's not quite the same.

Enter Los Vaqueros Grill.  We've lived in Livermore for five years, and finally tried this locals gem a few months ago.  It's excellent Mexican cuisine in a really quirky place.  The building started off as a gas station once upon a time, and over the last couple years we've watched the unused gas pumps disappear, and various additions to the main building appear.  They have a patio, though we haven't sat outside yet, and a greenhouse sort of room in the back.  It's a little like dining in the middle of a rain forest, and I love it!  The food is excellent, and unique, not the standard cheese-covered, lard-infused Mexican fare that we usually see.  Their tacos are amazing-- grilled prawn, pineapple pulled-pork, chipotle carne asada-- and their sides forgo the standards as well-- yucca fries (my favorite), roasted green chilis, honey-chipotle sweet potatoes.  My mouth is watering just typing this.

What's more, we're slowly becoming regulars there, and that's a wonderful thing!

So, without further ado, this week's diamonds go to...
- Los Vaqueros Grill.  Amazing food, quirky atmosphere, and Negro Modelo on tap.
- Being restaurant regulars.  "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name...."

Coals to...
- Our condo parking patrol.  Seriously, we've been parking our truck in the same spot since we bought it.  Four years ago.
- Our house.  Somehow, while we weren't looking, there seems to have been an explosion of stuff everywhere.

Have a great weekend!

April 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Andrea!

Today is my youngest sister's birthday, and I can't believe she's 24 already!  It seems like only yesterday she was just starting as a freshman in college, and now she's all graduated and out making her way in the world.  She moved out to Chicago last year to be near her honey (Hi, Miguel!) and to find some better job opportunities, and now she's pursuing her art while working full time and substitute teaching.  Andrea's artwork is always gorgeous and really unique.  Her specialty is woodcut printmaking, and my favorites are her classic car prints (yes, we both love classic cars.... what can I say?). 

So, happy birthday, Andrea!  I'm so proud of you!

P/S  This image was taken using one of my favorite lenses - my LensBaby!  More on that in later!

April 20, 2011

Sneak Peek - Stinson Beach Engagement

It was an odd day.  Like right out of an episode of the Twilight Zone odd.  First, our truck got ticketed by our own complex parking patrol, even though we've been parking it in the same spot for four years.  Then, it just got stranger.  Thankfully, I had an engagement shoot scheduled with a totally fantastic couple to turn the whole day around.  All the fun, excitement and quirkiness was the perfect solution to a funky day!

Here's a sneak peek just for you two, Stephanie and Rick!

Happy Wednesday!

April 19, 2011

Anne + Erik - Green Valley Country Club Wedding

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, with just a little breeze.  Anne excitedly prepared at her parents' house.  Dress, check.  Shoes, check.  Pearls, purse, garter, wedding emergency kits for her bridesmaids, check.  Everything was ready, and the limousine had arrived to take her to Erik, who was waiting in nervous anticipation at the church.

The music started to play, and the bridesmaids entered the church.  Anne and her father stepped into the doorway, and began walking down the aisle, arm in arm, and Erik smiled.  Amidst much joy and laughter, Anne and Erik happily exchanged their vows, and began their happily ever after.

Anne and Erik's wedding was all about the little details-- Anne is an event planner, and she designed a phenomenally gorgeous wedding day with a cherry blossom theme.  Every last detail was planned to fit in perfectly, from the reception decor to the photo booth design, and it was a beautiful event.

Anne, of course, looked positively stunning!

I admit, I am a shoe addict, and I totally fell in love with Anne's shoes!

I loved the cake-- simple, elegant and beautiful.

When Erik saw Anne walk down the aisle, you could see all the nervousness melt away, leaving a very handsome smile.

After the ceremony, Anne and Erik arrived at their reception in her father's '49 Plymouth.  Fuchsia peep-toes and a classic car?  Love!

Anne and Erik, I had a wonderful time capturing your wedding memories, and am honored to have been a part of your Big Day!  Love and happiness... Erin

April 18, 2011

Adventure Camera - Lake Don Pedro

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that Josh and I love kayaking.  Lately, we've been discovering new places to take our boats, and we found an off-season gem in Lake Don Pedro. While the lake gets a lot of motorboat traffic in the summer months, it's mostly fisherman this time of year.  Lake Don Pedro is a reservoir on the Tuolumne River, and has tons of canyon arms, coves and inlets to explore.  And it's huge.  We paddled till we could paddle no more, and still left more than half the lake unexplored.  Along the way, we found creeks with waterfalls, seeps, some really neat bridges, and a good bit of wildlife.  I also decided to try a little foray into some action video. We'll see how it comes out, and maybe you'll see a post on it a bit later.  In the meantime, enjoy a few highlights from a really gorgeous place!

Paddling under a bridge gives you a completely different perspective.

I just loved how green the oaks were!  We have lots of them around Livermore, and only in the spring for a little while do the leaves turn such a vivid green.

The water on the lake was like glass in the morning, and the sun and canyon walls played together to make some great reflections.

My favorite of the waterfalls we found.  This one was also our lunch spot, and we sat on a boulder in the middle of the stream and dipped our feet while enjoying our picnic.  So peaceful.

Happy Monday!

April 15, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Modern Family and Taxes

My tastes in television shows were formed in the 90s, and in today's world of reality TV, I really miss the sitcom.  Thankfully, sitcoms seem to be coming back a bit, and I really love Modern Family.  Josh and I look forward to watching ABC's Wednesday night lineup all week, and always make a point to curl up together to watch "our shows".  Except this week.  See, today is April 15.  Tax day.  (Ok, I know they're due on Monday, but bear with me.)  And that meant that we really needed to buckle down and get those done.  So, instead of an evening of relaxed laughter and popcorn, we got all cuddly with TurboTax.  Yuck.    

This week's diamonds go to...
- Modern Family.  Best show on TV today, in my humble opinion.  And there is something fun about watching the latest episode on our laptop while eating lunch together.
- Photoshelter.  For making it so easy to update my website.  Love!

And, of course, coals to...
- Taxes.  Why, oh why, does it take so long to file them?

Have a great weekend!

April 14, 2011

Anne + Erik - Guest Sign-In Album

Last weekend was Anne and Erik's Big Day, and it couldn't have been more gorgeous and classy!  I'm still processing all of their beautiful photos, but I'm so excited about it all that I couldn't resist posting a few images from their custom guest sign-in album.  So, here's a little something to hold you over till the official wedding post!

Have a wonderful Thursday!

April 13, 2011

Writer's Block

Since starting the new blog back in January, my goal has been to post a blog entry every day, Monday through Friday.  Sometimes, I have so many ideas that there's a long list of posts waiting to be sent out into the electronic ether.  Then there are days like today, and I'm at a loss.

I saw the sun rise this morning, and thought I'd post a nice sunrise photo, since I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good sunrise.  Seeing the sun rise always makes me happy.  It's a new day and a new chance to go out and follow your dreams, and the beauty of it all just fills my heart with joy.

Happy Wednesday!

April 12, 2011

Moira + Rob - San Francisco Engagement

They met in college, by accident, at a friend's place.  Moira had planned to go out one evening, but her plans fell through, so she decided to hang out with a close friend at her place instead.  As it turned out, her friend was dating one of Rob's close friends, and they introduced Moira and Rob.  Moira wouldn't let Rob take her out on a date right away-- she made him wait while they got to know each other better.  When they did finally go out, though, it was a match made in heaven, and the rest is history!

Moira and Rob love San Francisco, and share my dream to move to the city someday, so we headed there for their engagement shoot.  We started shooting by the Ferry Building, and found some great light and fantastic backdrops behind the buildings and out of the crowds.

I just love the tenderness in this one-- you can see how much Moira and Rob treasure each other!

A quick wardrobe change later, we were headed to Fort Mason for some photos in the park.

After every kiss, Moira would pause and smile at Rob.  Love!

A little trip toward the beach and Ghirardelli Square...

Moira and Rob, I had a truly wonderful time getting to know you better on our urban hike, and I can't wait for your Big Day!

April 11, 2011

Adventure Camera - Swimming Deer, Flying Fish and Running Turkeys

Every time we go out kayaking, there's something new to be discovered, even if we're paddling someplace we've been twenty times.  Somehow, nature always throws a new adventure our way.  Case in point, a few days ago, we went for a late afternoon paddle in our local lake, Lake Del Valle, a place we've paddled, hiked, biked and run countless times.  We started off with sun, and then some clouds built in for some really dramatic skies.  Since it's still early in the season, there weren't more than four other boats on the lake, and it was so peaceful.  With all the rain we've had recently, the lake (actually a reservoir) was filled to capacity, and there were arms of water reaching up into canyons that we'd never paddled in the seven years we've been visiting the lake.  It was a neat juxtaposition of the familiar and the new, and made for a wonderful evening.  Mother Nature wasn't stopping there, either.  On our paddle back to the dock (we were the very last ones on the lake that night), we saw something we've never seen before-- a deer out for a swim.  Yes, that's right, a deer, swimming along down the middle of the lake, seemingly for the fun of it.  We thought he was trying to cross the lake, but no, he was just paddling around for no apparent reason.  Who knew deer swam?

To add to the excitement, we saw a fish jump out of the water (and nearly over the front of my boat), and turkeys running across the road (Turkey: it's what's for dinner!  Just kidding-- no turkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.).  The wildlife seemed to be a bit mixed up: swimming deer, flying fish, and running turkeys-- what a day!  Many thanks to Mother Nature for keeping us on our toes and making life exciting.


April 8, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Office Mates and Coffee Creamer

Working from home is an interesting thing.  It works well for some people, and not at all for others.  Luckily, I'm one of the former, and I love my sunny upstairs home office.  Josh is somewhere in between.  Sometimes it works for him, and sometimes not.  This week, though, we've been office mates two days running, and I have to say, I really like the company, especially around lunch.  It's comfortable, and it's nice to have someone right there when you need a sounding board, rather than trying to explain an entire wedding itinerary or new vacation idea over Google Chat.  To top it off, there's the shoulder rubs.  And that is a wonderful thing.

This week's diamonds go to...
- Office mates.  Especially the ones that make lunch and give you shoulder rubs.
- Las Vegas, Nevada!  A whole weekend there, we had a wonderful time, and didn't gamble once.  Those commercials from the Nevada tourism board are right-- there really is a lot more to do there!

And coals to...
- Coffee creamer.  For not magically appearing in my refrigerator on Tuesday morning when I really really wanted a good cup of joe.
- The crazy hail storm in Fairfield yesterday evening.  Cool to look at, not so cool to drive through the ensuing traffic jam.  Yikes!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

April 7, 2011

Shannon + Will - Livermore Vineyard Wedding

It started off a chilly, rainy morning.  A friend ran to get some umbrellas as Shannon and her bridesmaids left the salon, and the backup plan for her outdoor ceremony went into effect.  At the winery, they put on their dresses, and just as soon as the last bow was tied, the rain stopped, and the skies started to clear into a beautiful day.

As Shannon walked down the aisle with her parents, Will's eyes teared up, and they smiled at each other.  They were together now, and everything was going to be perfect.  When they walked outside after the ceremony for a few moments alone, they found beautiful blue skies and glorious sun.  Perfect.

Shannon and Will, your wedding was absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so honored to have been there to capture your memories!  I hope you two are enjoying the start of your journey together in Maui!  Love and happiness... Erin

Shannon, you're positively radiant!

Shannon wore a pair of glittery silver Tom's Shoes during her engagement shoot, and decided to make it a trend for her wedding.  Silver crystal-covered peep-toes?  I'm in love!

Not to be outdone, Will showed off a snazzy polka-dot tie with a grey suit.  So handsome!