Jennifer and Josh – Two Parks are Better Than One!

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with Jennifer and Josh for their engagement session. We got started in Balboa Park, and pretty soon we were off to the beach to shoot around Belmont Park, proving that two parks are indeed, better than one.  I’m always thanking my lucky stars that so many of my clients are so easy-going and fun to spend time with, and these two were no exception. Jen and Josh made the session really fun from start to finish, and I’m all the more excited about shooting their wedding later this year. Sometimes, as a photographer, it’s better to just sort of stay out of the couples way and let them be themselves, which is a real treat. I think you’ll see from these images that they made my job easy. (or at least, seem easy!)

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Yes! Christian Louboutin heels for the engagement session definitely bodes well for the wedding!

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A Louboutin heel does have height advantages, however.

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One of our goals at Belmont Park was to get on the coaster, but apparently in order to bring a camera on the coaster now, you have to sneak it on. I’m tempted to go back with a camera stashed in a bag…We still had fun, starting with Josh swishing a basket to win his bride a dolphin. :)

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We took a few minutes to take in the beautiful sunset on the beach behind the park.

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Back to the park for one more ride!

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Adventures with Vintage Sugarcube, or How I Met the Sugar Mistress.

Filed under Recent Work Tags: , — • Written by admin @ 7:38 pm

If I haven’t updated my blog quite as often as I should have lately , it’s probably because I’ve been having too much fun with another blog. It’s true. I’ve  been seeing another blog and it’s been really sweet. Sweet with frosting, sweet with cake, sweet with all kinds of things I’d never tried before. Anyone who knows me well, knows that the real reason I love to shoot weddings is because the cake is always really great (and often more than one flavor!), so it should be no surprise that I have been spending recent months waiting by my phone like Pavlov’s dog for the call from Jenny at Vintage Sugarcube. After that first call, and subsequent eating-of-what-I-shot for Jenny, I was hooked.

Jenny launched the Vintage Sugarcube food blog to showcase her unique talent of deconstructing desserts, but it’s never been about just the dessert itself. Sometimes I think the desserts are just an excuse for Jenny to get into trouble…or ‘Shenanigan’s’ as she calls it. Jenny has more than ideas about desserts, she has a vision.  I don’t think any other food blog exists where the scene is so well set; where they dish up a story with every plate. I’m going to share some of my favorite examples here for you in this post and  you’ll see exactly what I mean. Jenny remains largely a Sugar Mistress of few words, chosing to adhere to the KISS principal in writing and in dessert preparation when possible. She has a knack for leaving you wanting more…

As of this writing, the current post features a cherry cheescake with pistachio in the crust, along with Cherry herself. I’ve always wondered how close to a landing aircraft  I have to be for the jet turbulence to blow over my light stands. Now I know. It was super loud, but mostly, it was a lot of fun.

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Speaking of large metal objects…I recently learned a couple of things. One is that Airstream trailers come from Ohio, and the other is that ‘Buckeye’s are a chocolatey / peanut-buttery dessert that I can eat about four and half of at a single sitting.

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Sometimes Jenny has company, as she did for her special dessert with nuts, a.k.a. Menage a’ Trois Bars.

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Even when Jenny isn’t in front of the lens, it doesn’t mean she’s not in the picture. This cake tasted amazing, especially for having an identity crisis.

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Sometimes I get to travel to exotic locales to practice my trade….

The ‘Dirty  Delicious‘ cupcakes, compliments of the Queen.

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Or even the gym, for a Spinach + Orange bread. Really, you should try it!

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It was worth sneaking these into the libray to eat them. Ice cream sandwiches made with Cornflakes and Bourbon.

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In case you’d like to sail away with a Cantaloupe Martini.

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One of my favorites, and my first time photographing a dessert for Vintage Sugarcube, the Petit Four. I never knew what ‘Drexting’ was until this!

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Of course, a picture is only worth so much. You owe it to yourself to go over the Vintage Sugarcube and get the whole story, and even some recipes. There’s bound to be at least one dessert that will spin your beanie, and then you could even leave a comment on the blog!

Start Spreadin’ the News: Darwin @ Dizzy’s is Nov. 21st!

Filed under Recent Work Tags: , , , — • Written by admin @ 12:47 am

I’ve been wanting to shoot Darwin for a while. You can quote me on that, but out of context, it probably sounds bad. What I mean to say is that if Frank Sinatra is ‘Chairman of the Board’ then I suppose Darwin is at least the Chairman of Cortez Hill, and he’s one of the cast of characters that makes living in Cortez Hill so awesome. Since we are both addicted to the sort of caffeine they grind at Cafe Sole Luna, (7th and Ash, everybody!) we’ve talked about collaborating on a shoot more than a few times over morning coffee.

The right time to do a shoot finally came along, since Darwin booked a return gig, singing at Dizzy’s jazz club, down on 2nd and ‘J’ street. Darwin wanted some new art to use for a promotional poster for the gig, so we put together a plan to shoot at the Santa Fe train station for fun, and then do something else among the city lights of downtown for the poster art. Friend and fellow photographer Felice Kinnear  was kind enough to come along to assist and shoot, and it was great – we had a blast!

Starting at Santa Fe

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After the sun went down, we headed over to one of my favorite spots on 4th Avenue with two lights and a microphone. I have long been inspired by the amazing jazz photography of the great Herman Leonard , especially his work in the 1950’s, so this was a perfect opportunity to tip my hat to Mr. Leonard, and do my best to practice the sincerest form of flattery….immitation! A shoot like this is something I’d been wanting to do for a long time and I think it was worth waiting for.

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Felice grabbed one of my favorite shots of the night. I wish I could take credit for the lovely wide-angle shot below, because I love it!

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So when it came time to creat the poster for the gig, we worked up a few ideas for it. These are two that I didn’t think were ‘the one’ for Darwin, but  that I just wanted to see as a poster just for fun.

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This is probably my personal favorite.

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From 4th Avenue, we move across to the steps of the convention center for a few closing shots.

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For Darwin, the mood of this image most closely matched the feel of the evening he will be presenting, and so this is the ‘official’ poster.

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Oh, and P.S…….want to see a little ‘behind the scenes?’ Apparently Darwin has a fan club, and they ambushed us in the middle of the shoot. He was very gracious about it all and we even got to have our own little ‘We Are the World’ moment and snap a group photo. :)

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The Rest of the Story : Brooke & Dominic.

Filed under Recent Work Tags: , , , , — • Written by admin @ 9:50 pm

The first part of our story began at the W Hotel with Brooke & the girls getting ready, in the blog post below.  From the W, we all made our way up to the Immaculata church at USD. Immaculata is one of my all-time favorite ceremony locations, and it’s neighbor, Founder’s Chapel, is very high on the list too. There is no other catholic church in San Diego quite like it, so I was really looking forward to Brooke & Dominic’s half-mass.

Watching Brooke and Dominic get married was incredibly sweet, and seeing them so happy and relaxed after the ceremony was wonderful. They had to wait for the processional to see each other for the first time that day, but I got to spend time with both sides of the bridal party before the ceremony. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story below. Many, many thanks to friend and fellow photographer Kristina Chartier for shooting with me all day!

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One of the things that makes Immaculata so beautiful is the way light filters in through the stained glass windows. The low levels of light make it a challenge to photograph inside, but the results are always worth it.

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One of my favorite moments captured by Kristina that day, of Brooke and her Father on their way to the foot of the aisle.

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The Kiss!

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From one of my favorite ceremony sites to one of my all-time favorite venues, the Ultimate Skybox at Diamond View Tower for the reception! Brooke and Dominc went straight into their first dance, 15 stories high above San Diego.

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The look says it all.

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Of course, I always love to shoot at night, especially downtown! The view at Diamond View is more than just baseball. It just doesn’t get better than this for what I always call the ‘Goodnight Shot,’ which is usally a perfect closer for the album. Many thanks go to Amanda McPhail for putting together such a wonderful event and making it run so perfectly.

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The Girls, and Getting Ready at the W Hotel.

Filed under Recent Work Tags: , , , — • Written by admin @ 1:09 am

I’ve written a little  bit on this blog before about how much I enjoy the ‘getting ready’ part of the wedding day. It really is an honor to be part of so many moments that are generally reserved for the closest friends and family; when a woman transforms from her usual self, into a Bride, just for one day. As much as I love photographing portraits, it’s always a fun challenge to find interesting ways to photograph details, like the flowers, or my favorite, the shoes. It’s the part of the day where everyone is in a great mood, and there are always little a bit of nerves just sort of tingling in the air. For me, the ‘getting ready’ part of the day is it’s own little story within a story. It’s about families growing, close friends marking a new chapter in their story together, and countless hours of planning coming to fruition right in front of the camera.

When it came time to go to the W Hotel to see Brooke and her girls getting ready, I already knew the day had amazing potential for beautiful images. She and Dominic chose to have their ceremony at USD Immaculata, and their reception at the Ultimate Skybox at Diamondview Towers, which are two of my favorite wedding venues in San Diego. The W Hotel was familiar to me, but Brooke added a bonus by managing to move into the “WOW” suite on the top floor, which is spectacular. The day got off to a great start and we made the best of being at W before the girls boarded their trolly bus headed for USD. I’ll be ready to share the whole wedding day pretty soon, but for now, I just wanted to share a little bit of what is often, my favorite part of the wedding day. Plus, I’ve never had a bride volunteer to jump on the bed right after getting her dress on, so enjoy!

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Brooke chose Katie, from “a dab will do you” in La Jolla, to be her MUA…..make up artist, that is. W Hotel Wedding Blog007

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The dress is almost ready to go. That must mean it’s time to….

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…JUMP ON THE BED!

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Down by the pool room, with a retro-twist

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It’s hard to go wrong with six beautiful women in one photograph.

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Sailing into the Sunset with Dawn and Michael

Filed under Recent Work Tags: , , , — • Written by admin @ 5:20 am

A little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of sailing with Dawn, Michael, their family and friends, aboard the Harbor Excursion yacht ‘Quiet Heart.’ I’ve photographed quite a few weddings on the bay , but none quite this intimate. It wasn’t long before I knew the names of just about everyone on board. Most everybody, including Dawn and Michael, came out from Arizona to have a destination wedding here in San Diego, so you can imagine what a treat it was for everyone to enjoy an evening on the bay with a beautiful ceremony and well-catered reception dinner.

I first met up with Dawn at the downtown hotel where she was getting ready, along with her parents.

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I popped into the cafe near the boarding dock a little ahead of schedule, only to find Dawn’s father, Tom, going over his notes for his toast.

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The upper deck of the Quiet Heart

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It started out with a bunch of birds, and then things pretty much just got crazier from there!

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A first dance on the bow…

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Lani & David Set Sail

Filed under Recent Work • Written by admin @ 3:47 pm

In May, I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of David and Lani aboard the Hornblower Emerald. We started out quite conveniently right across the street from the boat dock at the hotel where Lani was getting ready. As you can see, it was another perfect San Diego day for a wedding on the bay!

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David had a few minutes to calm his nerves and chat with his Mom and Dad just before we left the dock and the ceremony began.
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Flowers were done beautifully by Janay at  Kenner and Sons.

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We took some time after the cruise to take a walk through downtown, just one-on-one with Lani and David. The cruise was a big success, and having some time together was a nice reward for them both!

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Amanda & David : A Walk in the Park!

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A little over a week ago I headed up to Balboa Park to photograph Amanda and David. I’m looking forward to photographing their wedding and reception later this year in Coronado. We had a perfect spring day to work with as we walked around the park, choosing spots to shoot. David is a Navy man, and it looks like both Amanda and David may be headed for Annapolis next year for David’s next assignment, so I’m glad we were able to capture a handful of golden, California images for them to remember San Diego with.  I can already tell that photographing their wedding is going to be a lot of fun, and that Amanda will soon make a stunning bride!

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After our session was over, and I was walking out of Balboa Park to head down to the El Cortez, I stopped to check out the moonrise. I loved the way it looked as I was passing this tree near the dog park, so I snapped this image. For some reason I really like it, so I’m sharing it here.

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Higher Than High: Front Row for METRIC and IndieFest

Filed under Just For Fun!, Recent Work Tags: , , , — • Written by admin @ 12:54 am

To be honest, my love of music is what led to my love of photography, so it was really an amazingly great day for me when I went to photograph parts of the annual music festival in North Park known as IndieFest. I’ve never endeavored to be a great musician myself (I ‘noodle’ on my Gibson guitar all the time though) but I realized way back when I lived in Athens, GA that sometimes knowing how to use a camera opened doors in the music world for me that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. When I was first teaching myself how to use a camera, going to shows at the 40 Watt and experimenting with my camera was my favorite thing to do. Recently I resolved to not only make the effort to get out and see more live music again, but to shoot as much of it as I can, so when the opportunity to participate in IndieFest came up, I was thrilled. Actually, I was ecstatic! One of my favorite bands, Metric, was announced as the headliner! Metric’s latest album “Fantasies” has been in constant rotation in my iTunes and in the cd player in my car. I listen to Metric, both old and new, all the time while I’m editing and color correcting, so it’s been an immense pleasure for me to crank up the Metric at my desk whilst editing pictures of….METRIC!

I’d like to share a handful of favorite images here, rather than make this a review of the show itself. Suffice it to say, their set was amazingly tight, and they sound so much bigger than any four piece band should. Metric is one of those rare bands that manage to sound better on stage than recorded. Emily Haines was spot-on vocally, even while playing keyboards and guitar, and working every corner of the stage – much to the delight of the crowd…and myself!

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Metrc Emily Jimmie Joshua

James Shaw and Joshua Winstead

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Emily Haines singing ”Help, I’m Alive!”……”Can you feel my heart…..”

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…..beating like a hammmmmeeeerrrrr!”

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For the song ‘Gold, Guns and Girls’ Emily broke out her Fender Mustang.

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James Shaw and Joules Scott Key

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Metric closed their set with an old one and a new one : ‘Dead Disco’ and ‘Stadium Love.’ Emily was all over the stage  (often in the air!) and the crowd loved every second of it.

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I am working on another handful of images for the blog, inlcuding perennial IndieFest favorites, Danielle LoPresti and the Masses, as well as the bands Far and Audible Mainframe. Look for more IndieFest images coming soon!

Paparazzi : Popping the Question at Ponte Winery

Filed under Recent Work Tags: , , — • Written by admin @ 11:43 am

I often marvel at how many wonderful, intimate moments that I am fortunate enough to witness as a photographer. Sometimes a camera is a tool, and other times it’s like having a passport into people’s lives. There are always moments during weddings when I become acutely aware that I am witnessing the beginning of a new life, a new family, and a new future. In a way, sometimes I feel more like a cultural anthropologist than a photographer. Witnessing life through a viewfinder is always fascinating to me.

Usually, the first time I talk to a couple, we are talking about wedding dates and engagement sessions. When Marko called me and described the elaborate set-up he was masterminding in order to propose to his girlfriend (and now Fiancé’!!!!!) Ashley, I was super excited. I always meet people after the proposal, so this was something very new and intriguing for me. There was also an elevated sense of excitement because there could always be a tiny, tiny chance that maybe she might not say yes, and so I instantly became a member of Team Marko – totally pulling for Marko and rooting for his cause. Of course, anyone who knows them as a couple could have told me he was a shoe-in, but still….

So last Saturday morning, I made my way to the Ponte Winery in Temecula. I got there a bit early so I could talk to Ty Tyler, Marko’s partner in crime at the Winery. Ty had safely tucked away a couple of very special bottles for Marko that you’ll see below. He very kindly showed me around the winery and described the game plan to me, so when Marko and Ashely arrived at the counter, it was ‘game on.’

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When Marko and Ashley came to the tasting counter, Rene gently guided them down to the sunny end of the counter. My job was to pretend to shoot wine bottles, but really I was just sneaking shots of Marko and Ashley when she wasn’t looking!

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As Rene was helping Marko and Ashley, Ty Tyler casually came by and offered them a more private tasting in the barrel room. As Ty guided them to a corner of the barrel room to taste a couple of wines, I was out in the garden, pretending to shoot the scenery…

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This is where the story gets even better. During their staged tasting,  Ashley enjoyed one particular vintage of red wine, so Tyler promptly offered to sell them a rare bottle…only a few existed in the whole winery! Marko and Ashely took a little stroll outside while Ty went to grab this special bottle. Marko and Ashley walked past the garden to the foot of the aisle, where later that day a wedding would be held. The symbolism was perfect!

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Here comes Ty with “THE” bottle…

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So here it is…the big moment. Ashley realizes this is no ordinary bottle of wine, as Marko goes down on one knee with a ring box in hand…

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YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The proposal wasn’t the only surprise for Ashely. About 30 friends and family members were waiting in a reserve room at the winery, ready to celebrate with the happy couple.

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In this picture, Marko’s father is watching him speak…he looks very proud and happy for his son.

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Ashley’s father proposes a toast!

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Congratulations to Marko and Ashley!

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