#52weekproject: Week 25 – Anthony and Celine get Married


Tuan and Che

Week 25:  Anthony and Celine get Married (and Subsequently Photobombed in Yosemite)

Taken on Saturday, October 4th, 2014, in Yosemite National Park near the Swinging Bridge.

In the latter part of my vacation week this fall, I just happened to meet up with my cousin Anthony (aka Tuan), and his awesome and beautiful (very soon to be) wife, Celine (aka Che) for a “casual” get together with a bunch of family and friends. Not sure what the occasion was, but they seemed to be dressed up and celebrating something (okay, so it was their wedding). They had asked me if I would do them the great honor of taking photos for them, which I gladly obliged.

I’m not a wedding photography, although, but by this time, I have shot a handful of weddings (maybe this is my 7th?). My wedding photography has really been for close friends and family on destination weddings. So it combined my 2 favorite things… people I love, and the people they love. And travel. And photography. So, 4 favorite things.

Anyway, back to the photo… After the ceremony at Sentinel Beach, we had an awesome reception at the lodge, and we ended up taking some group photos with all the friends and family over by the Swinging Bridge area. As I fiddled with some settings to take this picture, their niece decided to pop in the frame and see what was going on.

Here are a few more from the day…

Continue reading

#52weekproject: Week 12 #Jesstin2014

Week 12: #Jesstin2014

Photo taken on Friday, May 9th, 2014. This technically falls under Week 11, but I’m willing to fudge this so it gets it’s own week.

Misty Farms, Ann Arbor, MI

Misty Farms, Ann Arbor, MI


Jessica and Justin chose an awesome farm to host their awesome wedding festivities. They were awesome enough to allow me to pull them away for a couple of awesome minutes during the awesome welcome reception to take this awesome photo.

There had been couple of crazy short storms rolling through the area that day, but it made for some really beautiful evening light. I think this could have been even better as a portrait panorama, but didn’t think of it at the time. I might have been a couple beers in. Thanks for an awesome weekend guys! And congrats! (And did I mention how awesome they are?)

Andrew & Carrie

Andrew and Carrie were married just yesterday in a beautiful ceremony in Saint Paul, MN at the Harriet Island Pavilion. Andrew and Carrie are both friends of mine, and they had asked me to help out with capturing some photos while the guys were getting ready for the ceremony. They had hired a pro, so that allowed me to enjoy the rest of the day without having to stress about photos and just letting me catch up with friends I haven’t seen since I moved away from the Twin Cities almost 4 months ago. Since I got to tag along with the wedding party, I was able to snap some candid pics while the wedding photog was busy setting up the group formals. JLe, you sly dog, you. I imagine that’s what you would be saying right now, although, that phrase seems dated now that I’ve just typed it. The diptych above was taken at the Sibley House Historic Site in Saint Paul, MN.

Rob & Julie’s Wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park

A few weeks back, I attended the wedding of some very close friends, Rob and Julie. They had their wedding at the amphitheater at Morraine Park in the Rocky Mountains National Park. Since it was a small wedding with just family and close friends, they asked me to do some photos for them as they were looking for a pretty low-cost, low-maintenance wedding. Wedding photography isn’t my thing, but I rarely turn down a friend when in need (and when the favor is something that interests me anyway). Continue reading

Mike & Megan in Maui

I took pictures for my friends’ (aka, former roommates, Mike & Megan) wedding in Maui.

Gear: Olympus E620, E1, ZD 12-60mm F/2.8-4.5, &50mm F2.0, Cactus V4 Flash Triggers, FL50R, FL50, 1/4 CTO Flash Gels, Lumiquest Gel Holder, and Honl speed strap.

Pics turned out really good.  I was pretty pleased with the results.  It was my first time using the flash gels which I had bought to use with the wedding in mind.  I used them to help match the flash with the fading light from the sunset, with the added bonus that shifting the white balance a bit would put a little more blue in the sky.  I started off with using only 1 flash, but later used two flashes triggered with the cactus v4 triggers, set at either 1/2 power or 1/4 power.  Key light was set directly opposite of the setting sun, and i took most of the shots about 30-45 degrees off that axis (with the 2nd flash, i would set it around 90 degrees off of the axis, with me between the flashes).  I didn’t bring any stands or other light modifiers, just the gels, so i had some friends assist by holding the flash (they held it around chest level).

Shots were mainly taken around f/5 – f/5.6 shutter speed 1/160 s- 1/320 s.

Anyway, I’m always learning with this photography thing.

Lessons learned:

Sync Speed:  I made some beginning strobist mistakes (I’m such a n00b)… I tried pushing the flash up past it’s sync speed (my camera’s sync speed is 1/160th of a second).  I thought it was working, til i looked at the pics on my computer monitor when I got home, and then it hit me.  I thought my flashes weren’t directed properly in some frames because it wasn’t getting the flash coverage.  I noticed it was always on the bottom of the frame (the mirror was cutting it off).  I was shooting 1/160th & 1/200th of a second okay, but the 1/250th and 1/320th all had the distinct underexposed areas in the frame.   (The reason I had the shutter so fast was to help darken the ambient light so i wouldn’t have any blown out highlights.  When trying to control light, the aperture controls the flash exposure, and shutter speed controls the ambient.)   In any case, the wide shots were okay cuz could crop it, but definitely something I’ll wanna keep in mind for the next time.  In hindsight, I should have used the neutral density filter or the polarizing filter i brought along to bring down the ambient.

Light Stands & Umbrellas: Another thing I would change is if I could have brought my light stands & umbrellas, that would have been nice to get the light above, and the umbrellas would have given a larger softer light source.  Would have created nicer catchlights in the eyes, and a little more even lighting.  Lighting from above would have given more natural shadows.

Light angles: I probably should have done a little more on axis fill flash.  I botched some pretty straight forward group photos cuz I was trying to stick with off camera flash, but better results would have been had with on axis (even on camera) fill.  But a lot of that had to do with not getting the light to come down from above, so it was some unanticipated and unnatural shadows being cast.  I also could have done a little more with rim lighting/hair light/back lighting.  Something for next time I suppose.  I mean, if I learned it all at once, there’d be no use for me to write this blog!

Gels: Something for next time: experiment with mixing gels, balancing/cancelling light, and setting a custom white balance in camera so I can get more accurate results when checking them out on location.

Other things to work on:  I need to take photos from more angles, and use longer focal lengths to compress the angle of view.  I figured I’d keep it pretty wide to really capture the scenery, but variety is the spice of life.  I need to mix it up and think outside of the box sometimes.

Anyway, I think that’s all for now.  If I think of something later, i’ll add it.

Comments/Critiques welcome.  My monitor isn’t calibrated (yet, hoping to get a calibrator over xmas), so there may be some general color issues.  Plus, I’m using a cheap TN monitor, word is the IPS monitors are where it’s at.  I’ll probably look into that at a later time.  Also, the compression seems to do some strange things to the photos, even color wise.  I’ll have to figure out something with that.