Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just After Sunset

I took the kids to the beach this afternoon and on the way home, I timed it perfectly so that we could stop at my favorite tree for some just-after-sunset pictures.

The first two are unprocessed except for the resizing, border, and removal of a few dust spots that showed up on my lens with the longer exposures. Those were the actual colors of the sky tonight.

Then I decided to have a little fun with color (same image, just color manipulation). I love color, especially bright and unreal color. I threw a black & white in there just for comparison (and my friend Michelle who loves black and white almost as much as I love color).

Digital SLR Bootcamp... err, Flip Flop Camp!

Interested in learning about the capabilities of your Digital SLR camera? I am thinking about having a little field trip/seminar for dSLR beginners, probably sometime during the month of March.

This will not be a "techniques of photography" type class, where you learn how to compose an award-winning photograph-- this will be a time for you to really get to know the capabilities of that piece of machinery you've just plunked down a large chunk-o-change for. Hands-on, questions-asked, etc. Like boot camp, only I won't bark any orders at you.

It will hopefully leave you NOT wanting to throw the dSLR out the window and go back to your little point-and-shoot... because after all, you bought that dSLR hoping for some much better shooting and the ability to have more control over your camera.

I've got to delve a little deeper into meeting places/cost and try to guage interest... so please leave a "comment" to this blog entry or fill out the contact form on my website if you are interested.

Also, let me know which of these dates might work best for you, and what type of camera you have.

March 16
March 29
March 30


Monday, February 11, 2008

Baby Jack, 3 months

Jack and his parents invited me to their home for a mostly-baby-but-also-some-family kind of portrait session. I had no idea the utter wide-eyed cuteness I was in store for. He's got the deepest, most inquisitive eyes and sweet little rosy red lips! He spent a lot of time eating during our session, but that's okay... it's hard work being that cute and keeping your soft little baby belly nice and round. Once he'd had his fill, he even struck a little GQ pose for me with his hand up on top of his head!

A living doll, I tell you.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Website Update 2008!

Well, my webmaster Scott and I rang in the Chinese New Year by going live with a huge update to!

We have both been working so hard-- me, working hard to provide Scott with the images in the right formats and sizes and orders... not to mention all that text and the new pricing structures-- and Scott has been working hard at trying not to faint every time Kasey asks him to do something new to the site. The man has the patience of a saint. He did an amazing job putting together the galleries and making all of the neat little slideshows, and catering to all of my needs where corrections were concerned.

It's nice to be able to showcase my work from the past year and a half (seriously, we neeeeeded an update!), and to be able to highlight some of my wonderful clients.

Here's a screenshot of the homepage, I am so very happy with the way it turned out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ashley at The Parador

Ashley's bridal portrait session took place at a great historic venue in Houston, The Parador (many thanks to Shelia for allowing us to shoot there). We had an absolute blast shooting these portraits, and I really had some fun in the editing process. One of the great things about shooting at an indoor venue (aside from the roof over our heads and the nice clean bathroom to change in) is the flexibility-- the availability of gorgeous natural light and shadows. We've got cool windows, lovely architectural features, and clean dry places to sit.

She showed up with an absolutely stunning bouquet of flowers (arranged by Wedding Flowers by Lisa) that added a fun pop of color to many of the images!

While Ashley's wedding images aren't quite ready yet, I would like to reference her maid of honor-- her sister-- who said during the toast that people often refer to the two sisters as "each other's catnip". I can't think of a more perfect way to describe Ashley! She's as happy, fun, and sweet as a kitten on catnip (and I mean that in a good way). Her mother is a doll as well. I received a very sweet e-mail from Mom a couple of days after the wedding:

We just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful pictures you took of Ashley at her bridal sitting. They are just beautiful. And also for all you did at the wedding. You were so patient with us calling on your for family pictures! We can't wait to see the wedding pictures! You are most talented at what you do. May God continue to bless you in all you do!

Needless to say, they were an absolutely wonderful group to work with. Ashley, if you're reading this... your wedding pics are next in the queue :)

Another huge THANK YOU to Kelly the Great-- Kelly Balfour of Eventology Weddings. She not only coordinated the wedding but accompanied us on the bridal shoot. She ever-so-professionally negotiated a little extra time for us at the Parador, helping Ashley to be more relaxed and allowing me to shoot until I was satisfied.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Did you mean to buy the Spanish ones?"

I did not even know that they made Spanish conversation hearts, but how cute is this? I accidentally picked them up on our grocery shopping trip Sunday. I saw the Spanish label, but I thought maybe it had English on the other side or something. "Beso" and "Guapo" were my favorites!

Regina & Jheri

Regina and Jheri were married at Bella Terrazza in a beautiful Sunday-afternoon ceremony. Both are New Orleans transplants, and the details showed it! Now I am all about bright color, but I'd never have been able to envision maroon and lime green going so very well together. Perhaps it's the Aggie in me, maroon goes with white, and white only, right? It was actually very nice. Sort of Christmassy, yet not. Very cool and contemporary.

At any rate, the details of this wedding were so much fun! They had hand-painted Mardi-Gras beads made with their names and dates... custom Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars in their wedding colors and with their wedding date along the back of the shoe (one "formal" pair for ceremony, and a more colorful pair for reception)... personalized M&M's in tins with personalized stickers on the bottom... and a delicious assortment of treats to eat like potato-tini's and white Russian milkshakes. MMMMM!

Aside from all of the fun details, I think the most memorable thing about this wedding was the vows. They were so beautiful, and I felt as though they were words I might have written (or thoughts I have felt) with my own husband in mind. Regina & Jheri were nice enough to allow me to photograph their rings with the papers on which their vows were written, and as I was editing the images afterwards, my eyes teared up again when I read over them.

I also got to work, once again, with the fabulous Kelly Balfour of Eventology Weddings, who coordinated the event.

The Korean-Cajun-Indian Wedding

June and Rishi were married over the course of a few days... two of which I was privileged to be shooting. June's a lovely woman with Cajun and Korean heritage, and Rishi's family is from India. They reside in Baltimore, MD and got married here in Houston.

I knew from my first meeting with June, Rishi, and Rishi's mom that this was going to be an excellent event. I've shot Indian weddings before, but found out that the couple would also be celebrating with an American ceremony the previous evening... and I'd be shooting them in traditional Korean formalwear as well. Having grown up attending nothing but white-dress-black-tux weddings, this peaked my curiousity.

Friday evening, a there was a beautiful ceremony held at the Texas Safari Ranch, and then on Saturday the festivities moved to the Sugar Land Marriott.

Saturday morning I attended a ceremony for Rishi, attended by his close family. In addition to prayers and blessings, this ceremony included the rubbing of several spices on Rishi's head, shoulders, knees, and toes by his elders and eventually, his younger siblings and cousins. An auntie explained to me that turmeric is rubbed on the skin to make him "glow" and cleanse him for the wedding day. It's clear that while it's a spiritual ceremony, toward the end (when the younger crowd's turn comes about) it becomes a matter of "What else can we pour on Rishi to cleanse him? An entire yogurt container? A whole jar of honey?" as the brothers are up. Lots of laughter, and a careful jaunt through the house to get in the shower. I'm happy to report that the camera survived without incident!

At the hotel, June was being prepared for her Hindu marriage ceremony. An Auntie who specializes in the appropriate placement of jewelry and dress and veil was there to advise and help June get into makeup, sari, and her elaborate jewelry. Other Aunties showed up to help the bridesmaids (most of whom appeared not to be accustomed to wearing a sari, but looked absolutely stunning in their outfit) get themselves draped and pinned appropriately.

Meanwhile, Rishi had arrived and was also being prepared. His elders got him (and his little mini-groom) costumed in traditional garb, presented gifts, and hoisted him onto their shoulders and paraded him down the stairs and through the hotel lobby with much singing, and dancing, aided by a drummer. Outside the lobby, he and the small groom mounted a costumed horse and the parade of dancing and singing continued around the perimeter of the hotel. Upon arrival at the second set of doors, he was carried into the building for "Milni", where the elders of the bride and groom welcome one another. June's mother stood with women of Rishi's family, and welcomed him with traditional prayers and blessings-- applying red powder to his forehead for good luck and well-wishes.

Everyone moved into the ceremony ballroom, and the wedding ceremony took place. Afterward there were congratulations, well-wishing, and the stealing-of-the-shoe. Evidently, it's tradition for the bridesmaids steal one (or both) of the groom's shoes (not difficult since the groom had to remove them to for the ceremony)and the groomsmen have to bargain for it... with money, fruit, begging, etc. Once the shoes were on the groom's feet, he left with his bride for a wardrobe change.

They returned for entertainment, dinner, and dancing. Several family members performed dances, songs, and skits in their honor, then dinner was served. At one point there was a sort of traditional Indian number performed by an Uncle, and June's family was encouraged to join them on the dance floor. One of Rishi's Uncles hoisted June's Grandma up on to his shoulders! Toasts were given, and words were spoken, but the most memorable to me were those spoken by June's father, in honor of all the different peoples/religions/cultures that had come together for this celebration. An excerpt from Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird":

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

The rest of the night was all about celebration.