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The beginning of happily ever after…

This was one of my favorite weddings from last summer because the groom, Martin, is the brother of one of my favorite photographers in the world, Art Rogers. Martin is also a photographer and worked for National Geographic for many years… so the pressure to create good photos was on. But everything was planned so well that it made my job easy and fun.

Congratulations, Emily and Martin. It was an honor and pleasure to photograph your wedding.

Many thanks to Green Girl Events for putting on another wonderful event at the the Banta residence.

Four for Them, and One for Me…

These Rolleiflex photos are from Jennifer and Brandon’s wedding which I photographed forever ago (it was only back in May, but it feels like forever ago.) They didn’t ask for film. I just shot a few rolls because it was a small wedding and we had lots of extra time to play, but because the film was for me and not for them, it took me until now to scan them. But it was a nice surprise when I did, because I just love some of these photos.

But I especially love this last one. It is a real moment of them taking a time-out from all the activities on a John Deere fleece blanket. It is probably not the one that will make it in to a frame at their house, but it is one of the ones that I like best, because it is honest and real… and those are qualities that I admire most in photography.

When the days were warm and long, and tomatoes were at their very best…

Jennifer and Ramsey got married.

Their love-filled event took place at the Banta Residence, in Lucas Valley, with the help of the fantastic planning duo, Green Girl Events. Their wedding was significant to me, not just because it took place on a long summer day, with a ridiculous amount of fresh heirloom tomatoes, and in a gorgeous setting, but because their love story deals with a subject that is close to my heart.

Jennifer and Ramsey have both experienced recent hardships, which have taught them the value of life and the importance of living life as much as possible before it is gone, which includes marrying the person you love most… but then came politics.

Jennifer has a sister who is a lesbian. And one day after Ramsey asked Jennifer to marry him, Jennifer’s sister lost her basic human right to marry to the person she loves because of Proposition 8, in the 2008 election.

Heartbroken for her sister, Jennifer did not feel it was fair for her to be able to get married when her sister did not have the same right. But her sister, who is also responsible for setting Jennifer up with Ramsey, gave Jennifer her blessing. And at their wedding, Jennifer’s sister delivered the most incredible toast that brought everyone to tears… including me, which made it very difficult for me to focus my camera.

But hopefully their story will help focus the attention that is needed to change this ridiculous law that prevents people from obtaining basic human rights. And hopefully someday soon everyone will have the right to experience the overwhelming love and support that you feel when you marry the one person you love most in the world… just like Jennifer and Ramsey got to feel on this warm, long day, when the tomatoes were at their very best.

One last reason why I loved photographing this wedding, was because I had the help of another awesome photographer, Jessamyn Harris, who was second-shooting for me. Because I knew I had such a great back-up photographer, who was covering the day with her digital camera, I was able to play more with film, which always makes me happy.

A Black Tie and Cow Patty Fairy Tale Come True…

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Veronica and Mike’s wedding was nothing short of incredible. Veronica wanted to have a memorable party and I believe she got it, but not without a lot of work and a lot of luck.

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Work because the wedding was held on top of a hill in a cow pasture, accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles, in order to have a 360º view without any buildings. So everything had to be brought up to the top of the hill and created in the cow pasture, including… electricity, tent, floor, stage, tables, chairs, kitchen, food, bar, alcohol, photo booth. And Molli Milner and Denise Rocco-Zilber, from Green Girl Events, deserve a standing ovation because they made it all happen so smoothly, as if that hill is always so magical.

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Luck because the wedding was held in October, just three days after the biggest rain storm we have had in over six months. On the Wednesday before the wedding, as the rain was still coming down, I was a little doubtful that the event was going to happen at all.

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But sure enough, the sun came out on Friday and dried the muddy roads and fields so the show could still go on. And by Saturday, everything was perfect. The fog did make an appearance, as is expected when you are on a hill overlooking Tomales Bay, and it rolled in with a strong windy force, but that just pushed the festivities inside the cozy tent, with see-through walls, which made it better for the string quartet and the opera that preceded the ceremony.

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Veronica and Mike love the opera, so they asked some students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, one of the most acclaimed schools of opera in the nation, who they saw perform at The Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station, to perform a few of their favorite songs.

They also asked David Lomeli, who is an Adler Fellow and who has received a first prize of Placido Domingo’s Operalia award, to sing as well. They were absolutely thrilled and shocked when he happily agreed. 

I haven’t been to an opera in over 10 years, so I am not an expert on the topic, but they were amazing.

Everything was amazing.

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It was a small and beautifully intimate black tie affair. Black tie was required, because Veronica liked the idea of black ties and cow patties. And I like the idea too.

So loved ones, let this be a warning… if Arann and I do get married again, like we hope to do, because getting married is so much fun and we think couples should do it again every year… you too may be asked to wear black tie in a cow pasture on top of a hill… ’cause it sure makes for a pretty wedding and pretty photos to go with it.

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One last very important detail about this love story… Veronica and Mike met on match.com. They are two more reasons why I am a believer in Online dating. Veronica and Mike’s fairy tale is definitely a fairy tale that tops anything Cinderella or Snow White can bring home from the bar.

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So congratulations to Veronica and Mike. Keep dreaming big… what you create from your dreams is worth all the hard work, and luck is on your side.

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It’s All About the Light…

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Melissa and Kevin got married at Windrush Farm, a place very close to my heart.

It is the farm where… I fell in love with my husband, where I lived for a year and a half in a barn and learned how to milk a cow, collect eggs, and help sheep have their lambs, and where I photographed my very first wedding five years ago.

So it was really fun to photograph another wedding there, and to think about all that I have done and learned in the last five years. But one reason why I like photographing at Windrush Farm so much is because the light is amazing… both inside the house and outside of the house. And the secret to getting good wedding photographs is choosing a place with good light.

It helped that Melissa and Kevin had their ceremony at sunset. They made that decision to honor their Jewish traditions, but I like to think they made the decision to help out their photographer. Regardless of the reason, it was so much fun to photograph because the light was beautiful every direction I turned.

It also helped that the ceremony was in the middle of a pasture and that it was timed perfectly with the rising of a full moon. So the light, the moon, the people, the red tail hawk crying over our heads… they all were incredible…. and unfortunately so was the wind.

The wind was very, very cold. But everyone huddled together as best as they could, and afterward we all had a greater appreciation for the big ball of fire in the sky and for the tall silver poles of fire that were on the patio and in the tent during the reception.

Congratulations, Melissa and Kevin. Good job picking such a great place and time of day to get married, and thanks for letting me document your beautiful big step forward.

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I Do… photograph weddings… especially if they include a pittbull in pearls.

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It has been a fun summer because I have been super busy doing lots of different kinds of photography jobs. While I am very grateful to have been so busy, as a result of my crazy schedule, I haven’t had time to post all the amazing weddings that I have photographed… which now totals 10… which is a new record for me.

And I feel like if I post one wedding then I have to post all the weddings, because all of the weddings were so wonderfully different, and all of the couples are so wonderfully fun that they all deserve their own wonderfully different and fun blog posts. But I can’t post all of the weddings at once, so I am going to start right smack in the middle with Emily and Sam… and Mia, their ring bearer dog.

My friend Michelle recommended me to them, and we arranged to meet so that I could get to know them a little before their wedding. I knew it would be a wedding that I wanted to photograph, as we sat in a dog park in SF and Emily told me all the food for their wedding was coming from farmers who she met at the farmers’ market, like Jesse from Marin Roots Farm, and that their dog was going to be their ring bearer. Fresh, healthy, local food and dogs = the perfect wedding to me.

They got married in the cypress grove at Chrissy Field in the Presidio, one of my favorite places to go when I lived in the city with my dog. And although they were hoping for sun, I wasn’t disappointed when the fog rolled in just as the ceremony was about to start. That big beautiful soft box from the Pacific Ocean made the already photogenic event even more so by softening the light just enough and giving everything a magical glow… oh it was lots of fun. I love the fog.

And I love homemade weddings. Almost every detail of their wedding was made by someone they know and love… including Emily’s incredible dress and her veil, that I was obsessed with photographing, and including the most amazing flour-less chocolate cake. A cake that could be reason enough for me to get married again… to Arann of course.

So congratulations Emily, Sam and Mia… and stay tuned for more amazing weddings to come.

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Top 5 Reasons to Do Engagement Photos…

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1… You get to snuggle and kiss the person you love most.

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2… You can visit amazing places you have never been before… like Samuel P. Taylor, home to endangered salmon and giant redwood trees.

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3…. You get to practice being photographed during intimate moments, which you will soon have to do many many times as people hit their wine glasses with their utensils, signaling for you to kiss, over and over again at your reception.

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4… You get to know your photographer, who will be following you around and documenting those intimate moments, on the biggest day of your lives.

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5… You get to have lots and lots of cute photos of just the two of you, right before your lives change forever.

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It was fun getting to know Jennifer and Ramsey during our photo shoot and I can’t wait for their wedding in August. Thank you to the Green Girls, who recommended me as a photographer.

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That’s What It’s All About…

Congratulations to Andy and Molly… another Walker Creek Ranch dating success story.

Walker Creek Ranch is an outdoor science school in Marin County where fifth and sixth graders come for a week as their big school trip of the year. At the Ranch there are 10 Naturalists who are in charge of teaching the students science through experiential education, which means learning by digging in the mud for insects at the pond, identifying native plants while hiking, singing about the food chain at campfire and tasting biodiversity at the garden.

These 10 Naturalists, usually young, smart, attractive, and ecologically minded people all live in a communal space called the Naturalist Lodge. When I was first introduced to the Walker Creek and the Naturalist Lodge, I could not understand how there could be so many attractive people with similar interests, yet there were no good gossipy love stories… well… it didn’t take long before I learned that I was wrong.

Since my year at Walker Creek in 2002, there have been 5 Walker Creek couples to get married, including Arann and me. In fact, Susie and Walter’s wedding was the very first wedding of my photography career. I’ll have to dig those photos out, it was back in the days before digital photography and blogging, well for me anyway.

But Andy and Molly are the first Walker Creek couple, that I know of, who actually got married at Walker Creek Ranch. And, wow, was it fun.

It was a huge reunion of multiple generations of Walker Creekers, which means a whole lot of people who just want to be outside in the sun and dancing, dancing, dancing. Their wedding was a good reminder of what weddings are supposed to be about, including but not limited to the Hokey Pokey, especially if it is a barn shaking version by the Green String Farm Band.

To read how the economic crisis in California is affecting outdoor education and the amazing community of Walker Creek please click here.

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