Saturday, Part 1: The Surprise Birthday Party

Saturday was a busy, yet fun day for me.  2 photography events, neither one a wedding.

It started with a surprise 74th birthday party for Audrey Brenon.  I’m not sure that her mouth closed the entire party – she kept running into people she hadn’t seen in a while or didn’t expect to be there – it was like 20 little mini-surprise parties over and over.

The original venue actually closed down only a few days prior so the planners were left scrambling coming up with a new plan & place – and getting all that info out to everyone.  Luckily, there was a local bar that had the room and was happy to have us and everything turned out fantastically.  

Not only did everyone ‘get the message’ and the original surprise went off without a hitch… but during the quick ‘roast’ they decided to play a little game of “who came from the furthest away” …  Audrey was convinced that Sheboygan, Wisconsin would be the farthest anyone traveled from….  Until Jay, her son from Arizona, walked out from his hiding spot around the corner.  Tears all over the place, hugging, love.  It was awesome.


Part 2 of the day to follow ….

Mmmm… beer. (and blog issues)

My blog is having problems remembering what I write, it’s making me mad. Grr. I’ll re-write (for a 4th time), but I do it under protest and in super-duper summary mode!  Trust me, the original text was sweet – I bet it would have changed some of your lives.

<Summary mode>
I like beer.  I like ‘traveling’ to places and experiencing cultures via different beers.

If you have any beers (or just caps) that I don’t – I’d like to have them.  Sock away your unique caps and hook me up. 

1st time doing product-style photography.  Eliminating creativity, dynamic lighting, story telling, etc is pretty hard but being able to re-shoot makes things a bit more peaceful than my normal wedding work.

This is a large chunk of my collection but not all.
</Summary mode>


Peru 2008

So as many of you many know, Colleen and  I were lucky enough to travel to South America over Thanksgiving.  This is part one in a three-part blog (for fear of litteraly making your brain explode from awesomeness) with some images from the first 5-and-a-half days of the trip.

Peru is incredible.  We spent most of our time in the Cuzco region (the capital of the Inca empire) and went to many ruins in the area.  Of course, we also saw Machu Picchu (which fully lives up to the hype).  With the help of some trusty friends, we managed to survive (pictures of Colleen sucking down oxygen due to the altitude have been omitted… 🙁 ) and see some amazing things that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen if we hadn’t befriended locals. 

From wild Vicuna and rural farmers looking to hold onto their way of life, to the amazing (AMAZING!!) stonework of the Incas and the later Spanish cathedrals and architecture that sits atop much of the ancient Inca capital… everything went beyond expectations.  The juxtaposition of modern and fresh next to priceless ancient sites next to pure poverty and squalor was something I’d never seen so pronounced before.  I hope the sites can be protected long enough to bring in enough money to truly help some of the least fortunate. (Apparently robbing the Inca stonework to help build your house (or simply because “There’s a bird in there!!”) is a common activity – so common that even we saw it on a few occasions)

One thing that was the most refreshing was how friendly everyone was – much different than most ‘tourist’ places you go. (except the policeman that hauled us to the station wanting a bribe from us – he’s not friendly at all.  I only got one shot of him before he spotted me ‘documenting’ from inside the vehicle. Still got you though! And now you are on the dubya-dubya-dubya for all to see.  Bwhahaaa) People smiled at our broken Spanish and really put forth an effort to ensure our stay was as good as it could possibly be. Even the llama that almost pushed me off a cliff ended up posing for me; friendly folk, those Peruvians. 

I got some amazing panoramas (one nearly 410mpx) and other unique photographs that just don’t hold up when shrunk to 750 pixels wide. I’ll have to find a way to share those somehow.

Oh, and yes, that lady is on a cell phone at Machu Picchu.  What’s stranger:  her being on a phone in one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth, or me taking a picture of her being on a phone at one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth?  😉



New main Wedding Photography website!

I apologize for the huge break in blog updates, but I was busy programming THIS:

Yep, a new main wedding site.  It is functionally much the same, but it’s much better, trust me. 😉 

About 50 slides or so, mostly newer stuff.  I let my last be horribly out-of-date for way too long.  I plan to do a little more as well (“Blog” tab, perhaps even a “Info/Learn” area with frequently asked questions, photography tips and other fun geekery), but the skeleton of the site is there.

Remember many posts ago when I said “Bigger Image = Better”?  Well, now even people with a 1600×1200 screen can get nearly full-screen images (depending on bandwidth and other fun geeky stuff).  W00T!.  Yes, I said W00T!… and I spelt it with zeros too.  Take that!

I plan to work on the blog itself a bit soon too.
Anyone with comments, critique, or issues let me know….

“Sit in pew… be romantical.”

I’m glad couples don’t mind the smoochin’ on their wedding day. I am also glad I have the power to ignore spellcheck when it comes to words like “romantical”. 🙂

In other news, I’ve been prepping for my South America trip a lot recently (destination: awesome!) … should offer some amazing images.  I’m hoping to get Susan and Nates wedding photographs completed by then; blog-o-rama if I’m done early. 🙂.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Northern Minnesota)

‘Juan Verde’ and I hit the boundary waters a few weeks back between my October weddings.  It was my first trip to the BWCA (most of my hiking is done on the north shore – always saying “I’ll get to the BWCA eventually…” ) and it was spectacular.  Cloudy and overcast with hints of rain or snow most of the time… but not overly cold or windy.  We kept hot water going over the fire the entire time for an emergency hot coco fix if we started to get cold.

From the ancient Indian pictographs, to John’s 8 pound walleye (released), to seeing a deer ‘jump the boarder’ by swimming across a lake… everything was better than I dreamed.  Floating through wild rice on a glass-still river the morning after seeing a scene that simultaneously included the sunset, 2 eagles lit perfect by said sunset, a huge rainbow, fall colors, a mirror-like lake, islands, and a waterfall… I couldn’t help but think to myself: “Why’d you wait so long to come up here!?!”  (and “Why didn’t you bring your nice camera!??”… 🙁  )

We had walleye for every meal other than breakfast – for 5 days.  That’s 10 meals (really, like 20 meals worth of fish … we were definitely on the ‘all fish, all the time’ diet) of pure BWCA fish.  On the way home, just for giggles, we checked the ‘mercury concentrations’ that determine what a ‘safe’ level of fish to eat is from the any particular lake; though some of the purest water around, it turns out the BWCA has high mercury concentrations  — 1 meal per month is the maximum safe amount to eat.   Haha…  On the bright side, however, I now have a keen knack for telling temperature. 🙂