Photographer: Events, Weddings, Portraits – Austin, Texas

Archive for August, 2010

Wedding Photography Tips: Safe Shutter Speed

This week I’ve decided to add a segment to my blog with photo tips for my fellow wedding photographers out there. I love perusing other websites and photographer’s blogs for tips and information to improve my photography, and now it’s my turn to give a little back.

This weeks subject is Safe Shutter Speeds for Weddings. I frequently recruit new photographers who want to learn about wedding photography and who assist me at weddings where a 2nd shooter is not requested by the bride and groom. A pattern I’ve noticed recently among my shooters is the use of low shutter speeds in order to make up for “low light” or slow lenses.

Sometimes when photographers are shooting indoors or in areas with low light we are tempted to drop our shutter speeds to super low settings like 1/20s or 1/30s to compensate for the low light situation. These low speeds work when shooting landscapes (think: Ansel Adams) from a tripod, but when handholding our camera anything below 1/60s tends to create a blurring effect from camera shake.

Night Wedding Photo, ISO 4000 - f2.8 @ 1/60s

And even if the photographer is able to mount the camera on a tripod for the shot and the subject is moving (even slow movement) there will still be blurring of the subject at shutter speeds below 1/60s. Of course there are always exceptions (think: nighttime light trail effect), but for weddings this would be rarely utilized.

Ultimately, none of us really wants to have to use a slow shutter speed like 1/20s or 1/30s when we’re hand holding a camera; so some other options to compensate for low light situations can be increasing your camera’s ISO setting or increasing the aperture (lower f-stop) to allow more light to strike the sensor. And if all else fails, bring out your external flash, which you’ll be using a lot anyway at most weddings!

Night Shot Captured at ISO 1000, f3.5 @ 1/50s (no flash)

Wedding Fireworks - ISO 6400, f3.2 @ 1/100s

Wedding Dance - ISO 5000, f3.2 @ 1/60s


Indian Wedding – Austin, Texas

Some time ago I was blessed to be chosen as the official wedding photographer for a traditional Indian wedding here in Austin, Texas. I say it was a blessing because it was something new and amazing for me to experience. As a westerner with a Judeo-Christian upbringing, I never had the opportunity to experience such an event while growing up in rural Texas. And it made me realize that no matter what culture sponsors a wedding, there is almost always a common feeling of love and commitment that can be felt between bride and groom and amongst the families.

The Indian Wedding that I photographed was held at a small Hindu Temple located just outside of Austin simply called Austin Hindu Temple. It is my understanding that many Indian weddings frequently last several days or longer, but the part that I photographed lasted only one day.

Indian Wedding at Austin Hindu Temple

The ceremony that I photographed began with a special groom ceremony which started around 6 am in the morning at the Hindu Temple. It should be said that most of what I witnessed throughout the day was through observation only, since I don’t speak the language that was being used by the priests and facilitators during the wedding. And that wasn’t a big deal anyway, because as a photographer, my mind is always focused on the visual art and beauty which only the eye sees in a wedding – or at least what the vision of what I want the viewer to see.

The groom’s initial ceremony lasted around 1 hour and included burning incense, using various kinds of foods, leaves and other items for the ritual. The groom told me that he and the bride (who he doesn’t see before the primary ceremony, which comes later in the day) are required to fast for some time prior to the ceremony.

Hindu Bride Performing Ceremonial Marriage Rituals On Wedding Day

After the groom’s ceremony there was a break which followed with preparations for the primary ceremony, which was later held outdoors, beneath a tent. At this point the bride had begun her individual preparation for the ceremony which included several priests performing rituals including burning of incense, decorative fruits and leaves and other items (similar in some ways to the groom’s individual ceremony). At this point her hair and makeup were finished with a great dedication to detail. Her hands were covered in beautiful henna designs and she was surrounded by friends and family looking on during her individual ceremony.

After a few more rituals with the groom outside next to a fire pit and then with the groom beneath the main wedding tent, it was time for bride to be escorted out by her friends.

The main ceremony was unbelievably colorful. The bride and groom changed clothes from simple robes into amazingly colorful, decorative costumes. All the bride and groom’s family and friends gathered around the open air tent which was itself decorated with brightly colored flowers and other décor. The primary ceremony included priests reading and chanting from religious texts, burning of incense and other items, a fire ceremony, the bride and groom reading vows and promises to one another, friends and family offering gifts and more.

Although it was by far the longest wedding I’ve ever photographed (around 9 hours of consecutive shooting), it was a very rewarding and spiritual experience to be a part of such a wonderful day. I was glad to be a part of something so meaningful and beautiful for such a wonderful couple.

You can view the entire wedding on my old website Here!

Indian Bride Is Showered With Rice During Marriage Ceremony In Austin, Texas

Hindu Bride & Groom Say Prayers During Austin Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Lock Box at Austin Hindu Temple, Austin, TX

The Bride's Hands Are Adorned With Henna Art, Flowers & Jewelry

Bride And Her Attendants Approach The Main Wedding Ceremony In Colorful Clothing

Colorful Religous Art Decorates The Walls At Austin Hindu Temple


Kitty Cat Hunting (Fun Friday Fotos)

My son has been chasing the cats under the couch. But they’re always too fast for him…and too clever.

Roman Searching For Cats Under the Couch

Orion Is Bored of Playing With Roman


Austin Bridal Extravaganza – September 12, 2010

It’s almost September, which means it’s time for the Austin Bridal Extravaganza, promoted by The Austin Wedding Guide. Just like last year, it will be held at the Palmer Event Center, off of Barton Springs Road near downtown Austin.

Last year my wife and I attended the Austin Bridal Extravaganza just for fun. There’s lots of free stuff and fun people to talk to. I think the thing we enjoyed the most was having our photo snapped in a photo booth – which can be a lot of fun on wedding day as well (imagine all your guests and you dressing up in costumes during your reception and snapping fun pics in a photo booth). Usually the photo booths will allow couples to snap photos for free – which means once you’re behind the curtain you can act silly and make faces, which are captured in one print.

Usually there’s a fashion show as well. When you enter you’ll be given a bag to collect information from vendors. Your bag will likely include “bridal bucks”, which you can use toward discounted pricing with participating vendors at the extravaganza. There are definitely great deals to be had on the big day and what better way to meet face to face with so many wedding vendors in one day!

My Wife & Me Being Silly In The Photo Booth.

Bridal Extravaganza 2010 boasts more than 200 wedding vendors, games, prizes and more. According to the official website, there’s even an area called the “groom’s corner” where grooms-to-be can relax on plush couches and watch tv. If you’re having a hard time convincing your groom to come along to the Extravaganza you might use that little tidbit about couches and tv as a carrot for him! J

Details:

Date: Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Time: Noon – 5 pm

Location: Palmer Event Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, Texas

Admission: $14/person – Purchase here.

http://austinweddings.com/bridalextravaganza/


Chapel Dulcinea – A Free Wedding Venue

Did you know that there is an outdoor wedding chapel in Austin that is free?! Yes, I said free!

It’s called Chapel Dulcinea and it’s located about 20 miles south of downtown Austin on the way to Wimberley, Texas. It’s a beautiful (but small), open-air wedding chapel that is open to the public for usage. It’s architecture style can be described as southwestern adobe style, like you might see at a 1800s mission church somewhere in the Southwestern United States. It overlooks rolling hill country scrub brush and a wide open skyline. Chapel Dulcinea is a part of the Wizard Academy which describes itself as “a non-profit organization teaching the communication arts.”

Chapel Dulcinea - Austin, Texas

One of the first weddings I ever photographed was at Chapel Dulcinea, so it is a place that has some personal significance and meaning in my life. There’s something very spiritual about the open nature and architecture of the chapel itself as soft breezes pass through the columns atop the Texas hill where it sits. Being there makes you feel like you are taking a trip back in time to some old Texas village, where life was slower and simpler.

Chapel Dulcinea at the Wizard Academy also offers a free outdoor pavilion, the ability to rent chairs and tables, indoor reception facilities for rent and a large, wide open campus which is all on private property and secluded. There is ample parking and facility staff are always onsite during business hours.

Bridesmaids Approach Chapel Dulcinea

Is your wedding date available at Chapel Dulcinea? See their website for more details about registration and to determine if your wedding date is available on the Chapel Dulcinea Calendar.

Bridesmaids Take a Break From the Texas Heat

Happy Bride After Chapel Dulcinea Ceremony

Bride & Groom Ring the Wedding Bells at Chapel Dulcinea


Texas Heat!

This is a shot that I took while sitting in my car in the shade waiting for a wedding to start in Central Austin. It’s not unusual to see the high temperature in Central Texas during August to be recorded as high as 105 F. Working in Texas in the summertime is no joke…notice the temperature gauge at the bottom left – a scorching 103F!

100 Degree Temperatures In Austin

According to The Weather Channel, the average high temperature for Austin during August is 96 degrees. The record high temperature for Austin was actually achieved in September 2000 – a whopping 112 degrees F. Amazing!

Last Night I Had A Nightmare…About Weddings

This morning I awoke from another wedding nightmare. Perhaps brides have nightmares about dress malfunctions and grooms dream that they are losing their freedom, but wedding photographers have dreams of equipment malfunction – which is the worst thing that can happen to a photographer.

I’ll set up the dream: It’s a balmy summer afternoon and I photograph a vivacious blonde bride and her robust, biker groom at a church that doesn’t exist. Everything goes well. Then we all climb into automobiles and travel to the reception location. When we arrive it’s much darker (perhaps evening or night) and time passes quickly. Everyone is seated around a big table (including myself, which I would never do in real life) and we’re imbibing and eating and having a great time. As the meal is finished the groom stands and announces that he and his bride will soon make their grand exit and everyone prepares. I panic. I realize that during all the fun and excitement I’ve forgotten that I’m the official photographer for the event and my batteries are not charged. I quickly load my flash with 4 AA batteries, but to no avail – They’re dead. The room is dimly lit and the shutter won’t move in such a dark environment, at least not without a tripod -which is akin to bringing a knife to a gunfight!

As the menacing groom escorts his bride out he gives me a menacing look, as if to say, “I know your batteries are dead because your flash is not popping”!

Ahhhhhh!!!

….and then I am awake and wondering why I’m having a nightmare about something that has never happened and will never happen. But how can I be sure this bad situation will never come to pass? Preparation – it’s the only way to fly.

The day before a big event, like a wedding, I charge up dozens of batteries for my cameras, flashes and other equipment. I follow a check list for everything I do, kind of like a pilot or an astronaut would follow a mission checklist when they prepare to fly an aircraft. 1. Do this. Check. 2. Do that. Check… You get the idea.

Austin Bride & Groom

Having photographed dozens of weddings, I’ve never had a major incident like what happened in my nightmare. Some people might say that I’ve been lucky. When I was in high school one of my athletic coaches, a gruff, stocky old man who played NFL Football before the use of helmets (that’s my theory anyway) used to say that luck was when “preparation meets opportunity.” I like to think that he was 100% correct. That’s why I use a checklist to prepare for weddings. Besides, I can’t afford to just be lucky. I have to take every step possible to make sure that I am prepared to capture every great moment from a wedding, quickly and seamlessly.

Special Wedding Gift

Bridal Veil & Hair w/ Tierra


$99 Engagement Or Bridal Session Ends Tomorrow!

Just wanted to officially share about being featured on Localiter.com! Check it out: http://www.localiter.com/

Only $99 bucks for engagement/bridal session! It’s such a great deal that I can only afford to offer for a limited time.

This is an amazing deal that you won’t likely see again soon, so take advantage of it if you need engagement/bridal photos. I’m also being flexible with what “kind” of photos you may purchase. So if you want head shots or a family portrait or baby pics we’ll do that too for the same price. Deals on until Sunday and we only need one more person for it to go through…

Engagement Session "Star Kiss" - Austin, Texas

Bridal Photo Snapped at Villa Antonia, near Austin

Engagement Photo Session at Texas Capitol


Our 3 Kittens (Friday Fun Fotos)

Fun Friday Fotos. Our gang of kitties…

Apollo, Orion & Samantha Napping

The 3 Amigos (or stooges, depending on the day)

Samantha Loves Attention


Old Photo Editing – Restoration Magic!

Editing old photos is not something I usually do, but it presents some challenges, which I’m always down for. Recently I completed an old photo restoration for my wife’s family. I included the before and after photos in my blog below, with pretty stunning results.

Photo After Editing

Photo Before Editing

Essentially, I scanned the image digitally from an original circa-1920s print, edited it in Adobe Lightroom and then re-saved it. I’ll let you be the judge. I’m pretty happy with the results.

Developing an eye for how to edit photos properly definitely takes some practice and it’s something that I’m evolving at. But I have to give some credit to the Lightroom Software. Without modern software technology these changes were not even possible 5-10 years ago.

Here are the steps I used to edit the image into a better photo:

First, I straightened and cropped the image. In the before image the print wasn’t completely straight and the edges were tattered.

Then, I changed the color of the image. I don’t know what the original print looked like, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t washed out and light brown initially like you see in the before photo. Over time, old prints have a nasty habit of changing colors because of chemical changes on the paper or ink. To solve the problem I converted the original to black and white.

Now for the image detail; I used the sharpening tool in Lightroom to get rid of some of the haze and blur in the image. I also tweaked the contrast/black in the image to give definition to parts of the image that needed it. I also toned down the brightness of the image to give more definition to the shirt collar area – which originally was “blown out.”

Last, the white specs and stains on the image had to go. So I used the Lightroom removal tool to get rid of any unwanted, unnatural looking spots. If you look at the original photo in the bottom left/right corners you’ll see what I mean.

I didn’t want to over edit the image so I stopped there. I think the changes were pretty reasonable and simple. And as a result we were able to print a nice copy of the new image to replace the old one.

Gotta love it…


The French Legation

One of the fun things about being a wedding photographer is getting to experience different venues where weddings occur. The average person probably only attends a few weddings in one year. However, A wedding photographer has the opportunity to visit dozens of different churches and reception venues each year.  Although I haven’t yet photographed every venue in the Austin area, I’ve been to quite a few. Each week in my blog I try to talk about a new location where I’ve photographed.

It’s fun for me to recount my experience, my likes and dislikes about each place. But it’s also fun to share what I’ve seen with anyone reading my blog, especially engaged couples who may benefit from the information.

In my mind there are lots of places in Central Texas that are unknown to many people and that there’s something magical or amazing about and I’m just dying to share about each of these little gems. One place in particular, which not only is a beautiful venue but also has historical significance to Austin is the French Legation.

French Legation

On ce upon a time the little settlement of Austin (which at the time was called Waterloo) was a part of a changing political landscape. During the 1800s, Austin was more a part of Mexico or a territory unto itself more than being part of the United States. At the time, Texas had a strong relationship with France, which decided that a French representative should be stationed here in Texas to represent the interests of France. Sometime around the year 1840, France dispatched Alphonse Dubois de Saligny to Austin to act in France’s stead. At the same time he began constructing several wooden structures on the premises, which still stand today.

In 1940 the property became a museum operated by the Daughter’s of The Republic of Texas and was opened to the public. The French Legation estateis located just east of IH-35 on 8th Street in Austin, Texas.  It can accommodate small wedding parties and groups for receptions or other events.  The French Legation is known for it’s white, wooden buildings that sit atop a green, tree covered hill which overlooks downtown. It’s a quiet, majestic place located near Austin’s downtown scene.

French Legation Austin, Texas

It’s also a great place for family photographs and bridal sessions.

Sources: http://www.frenchlegationmuseum.org/

More info: (512) 472-8180

French Legation Carriage House

French Legation Hours Of Operation

French Legation Estate


Finding A Wedding Dress In Central Texas

If you are newly engaged and you’ve already secured a location for your wedding, then your next step will probably be gown hunting. You may have been dreaming of an elaborate, fairy tale wedding since you were a girl or you may be looking for something a little less formal; Either way, before you begin there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself:

1. What kind of bridal gown do I want?

2. How much do I want to spend?

3. What is my body style?

Wedding Dress Waiting To Be Worn

First, let’s address our self-imposed questions. Do you want a formal gown or just an elegant, informal dress? How you answer will likely determine how and where you shop. These days you have endless options for where you buy clothing and there are advantages and drawbacks to where you shop. If you shop online you may have a wider variety of dress/gown options; however, one major disadvantage of shopping online will be determining whether you and your dress/gown are a good fit.

Next, include your estimated gown cost in your wedding budget. If you are patient, flexible and shop around there are great deals to be found. I recently heard a bride tell of finding a $900 designer dress on clearance for $75. Was the dress her first choice? …probably not, but in all likelihood she was open-minded, tried on the dress because it was beautiful (or heavily discounted) and perhaps she liked the way it looked on her – which is of the utmost importance.

Finally, know your body type and aim for a dress that will accentuate your shape and style. I’ll leave this topic to the fashion experts. Here’s a great article that briefly touches on body types and dresses styles that match by the knowledgeable folks at I-do.com – Australia.

Wedding Dress Illuminated By Natural Sunlight

If you live in a medium-sized or large city you’ll have more options. I encourage my clients to shop locally, but don’t settle for less. The media blitz of negative news about the economy has everyone scared to leave home in fear that they’ll lose their job or spend money that they should be saving. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a dress you don’t like. Be sure to check out all your bridal boutique options. Consignment stores are very popular amongst brides who want to save these days and although consignment is often a euphemism for “used”, consignment stores typically have a high standard for the merchandise the peddle.

List of Online Bridal Stores:

Romantic Gowns, House of Brides, Wedding Dress Online, Isabella’s, Bargain Wedding Gowns, the list goes on and on…

List of Brick and Mortar Bridal Stores:

David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Nordstrom, Georgio’s Bridal, Priscilla of Boston, Bridal Mart (North Carolina Only), and others…

Local Bridal Designers (Central Texas):

Unbridaled, Adelle’s Bridal Boutique, Balina Bridal, Serendipity Bridal, Alexia Gavela Bridal, Melange Bridal LLC, Belle Saison Bridal, Coutures by Laura,  Designer Exchange, more…

Unbridaled unbridaled.com - (512) 444-2743

Adelle’s Bridal Boutique adellesbridalandquinceanera.com

Balina Bridal http://www.balina.com - (512) 719-5900

Serendipity Bridal http://www.serendipitybridal.com

Alexia Gavela Bridal agbride.com - (512) 419-7818

Melange Bridal LLC http://www.melangebridal.com - (512) 345-8780

Belle Saison Bridal bellesaisonbridal.com - (512) 452-1199

Some minor details to remember:

-Not all dresses are sized the same; some vendors like David’s Bridal use European style of sizing, which varies from what you might find elsewhere. In all likelihood, your dress will be a size or two larger than you expect because of size discrepancies amongst designers.

Black & White Wedding Dress W/ Long Train

-You can engineer a dress using an online dress creator here: Wedding Dress Creator

-The Knot has a Wedding Dress Cost Calculator based on inputs such as dress style, price range, designer and more.

Bride Showing Off Dress At The Driskill Hotel

Bride Poses Between Barn Doors In Country Setting


Why Dressing Professionally Matters For Wedding Photographers

Today I was a patron at one of my favorite local restaurants here in beautiful Austin, Texas. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with the warmest of greetings, from the hostess, the busser and my server. Now, it might be because the restaurant is full of friendly attentive workers or because everyone’s having a wonderful Thursday afternoon – or it might just be because I’m dressed very nicely (slacks, button-down shirt, tie, etc.) and they think I’m a good tipper. I like to assume the latter.

The point is that people notice the way that you dress, whether it is acknowledged or not. As a wedding photojournalist I take my job very seriously, and I want people to know this, so I dress appropriately when I photograph weddings or other events.

Martin Photographing A Wedding At Chapel Dulcinea

I recently met with a bride and her maid-of-honor who pointedly asked me how I dress at weddings. They both agreed that it was important how the photographer dressed at the wedding because they had bad experiences in the past with a photographer who presented themselves in attire that was disheveled, unprofessional and distracting. I promised them that I always dress professionally for my events.

As a wedding photojournalist it’s important that you become the “fly on the wall” so to speak, which helps you capture all those candid, unrehearsed shots of wedding participants doing what they do in order to tell the wedding story through photography. I find that dressing well helps me to blend into the wedding and be the invisible photographer when wearing jeans and sneakers might stick out like a sore thumb. Dressing professionally lets people know you take your job as a photographer seriously and in my experience inspires confidence in what you do.

Martin Shooting A Wedding At Casa Blanca

Martin Whitton is a professional wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email: austinamericana@gmail.com


How To Pin A Corsage, Tie A Tie & Fold A Handkerchief!

How Do I Pin A Corsage?…Fold A Handkerchief?…Tie A Tie?

Below are some great links on how to do stuff you may not think of until wedding day. This might seem pretty simple at first, but when you are feeling a little stressed and emotional on wedding day having this information either committed to memory or printed on a piece of paper will seem like a wise thing. The other wedding participants will be thankful and you’ll look like an experienced pro!

Wedding Tux With Tie & Boutonniere

How to pin a corsage or boutonniere

How to fold a handkerchief..

How to tie a tie…(with diagrams)

I must give credit where credit is due: Thank you ehow.com for the great wedding information!


Texas Gulf Coast (Friday Fun Fotos)

Corpus Christi Sea Walk

Fun Friday Fotos!

Pelicans Sitting On A Line In Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi Sea Walk

Corpus Christi Sunset

Replica Of Columbus' Santa Maria Ship


Austin: 10 Things That Remind Me Of You

Can you think of 10 things that embody the spirit of Austin, Texas? There are probably far more than 10 things that we think of when talking about Austin. But here are some that many of us can probably agree on. I challenge you to think of even more. Feel free to comment below the post…

Downtown Austin, Looking West On 6th Street @ The Driskill Hotel

10 Things That Are “Austin”:

6th Street – The entertainment center of Austin, located downtown between IH-35 and Congress Avenue. It is known worldwide as the place to party and hear live music when visiting Austin. 6th Street hosts dozens of bars & restaurants, nestled in buildings, many of which have been around since the 1800s.

Horse & Carriage On 6th Street in Downtown Austin

Austin City Limits – The legendary Austin music show that premiered in 1976, which features primarily Texas musicians, but also features national and international talent. It is produced and filmed on the University of Texas Campus and is a part of regular programming on PBS Television. The show has also spawned the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which is an annual concert held in Zilker Park, attracting thousands of people and scores of musicians.

Barton Springs – Considered the “crown jewel” of Austin, this natural spring fed pool flows year round. It is 3 acres in size and has been a gather place for locals for more than 100 years.

Barton Springs - Austin, Texas

Chuy’s Restaurant– A favorite Mexican restaurant in Austin since 1982 that started on Barton Springs Road.  There’s now a Chuy’s Restaurant in every major Texas city and even one located in Tennessee and Alabama!

“Keep Austin Weird” – The unofficial slogan for Austin, originating by local Austinites who cherished Austin’s individual and atypical nature. Austin has long been known for its counter-culture attitude, hippies, liberal political thinking and a strong art/music community – which may seem “weird” to other more traditional Texans.

Bride & Groom Tubing, Near Austin

Lady Bird LakeAnother one of Austin’s precious resources, the lake was made what it is today with the help of many local Austin volunteers, including Former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, for whom it is named. Some of the wonderful features offered by the lake are its convenience (located in the heart of Austin near downtown), beauty, cleanliness (clean water, air, environment, etc.), trails for hiking and walking, open space and so much more.

South By Southwest (SXSW) – One of the largest music, film and interactive events in the United States, it attracts thousands of performers from all over the world each year in March. The music portion of the event lasts 4 days, with musicians performing at scores of venues throughout Austin. The film portion of SXSW screens hundreds of independent films from all over the world for audiences. The newest attraction of SXSW is the interactive events portion, which is a hub for demonstrating new technology.

Texas State Capitol – Constructed in the 1880s, it is home to the Texas Legislature and the office of the Governor and is the largest state capitol building in the United States.

Couple Posing Near Texas Capitol - Austin

University Of Texas Longhorns – The University of Texas and Longhorn sports have a long tradition in Austin and a significant fan base. On any given day in Austin UT fans can be seen wearing the UT colors – burnt orange.

Willie Nelson – Born in Texas, Willie Nelson established himself as a country music songwriter and performer in the 1960s. He made his home in Austin in the 1970s where he frequently played locations like the Armadillo Headquarters.

Runners Up (Things that didn’t make the top 10 list):

Waterloo (name of businesses; old name of Austin)

Driskill Hotel

Armadillo Headquarters

“The Drag” (Guadalupe Street)

Zilker Park

And many more…


Kindred Oaks Wedding

I wrote about Kindred Oaks a few months ago but wanted to share details (and my photos from a wedding there)  about this great venue again, and also share about the open house they have each month…

This past week I was invited to attend Kindred Oaks Estates monthly open house and show off some of my wedding photography. If you are unfamiliar with Kindred Oaks Estates then let me tell you about it. Kindred Oaks is an event venue neatly nested in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, north of Austin, east of Leander and west of Georgetown - off of Highway 1431. The venue can accommodate medium sized parties for weddings or other events and has the ability to host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies. Kindred Oaks is known for it’s friendly staff and it’s beautiful view overlooking a small lake.

Candy Boxes Of Love At Kindred Oaks Estate

Once per month (each 2nd Monday) Kindred Oaks sponsors a “meet and greet” between brides and preferred vendors like photographers, florists, officiants, etc. It gives brides the opportunity to meet face to face with vendors, most of which have worked at Kindred Oaks. It’s also an opportunity to see Kindred Oaks and meet the staff at ZuZu’s Petals, the sister floral provider to Kindred Oaks.

Night Reception at Kindred Oaks

Although the weather went from bad to worse on the night that I visited, we all made the best of things and a number of brides still turned out for the monthly meet and greet. Not only did I meet some nice brides-to-be, but I also got to meet Travis, from “Say Cheese” Photobooth Rental, Wedding Officiant Connie Holmes Larson and Andy Peterson from Studio 563 – all of whom I enjoyed talking with and would book in a heartbeat if I were having a wedding. They’re contact information is below.

At any rate, if you missed all that the Kindred Oaks Open House night has to offer, the next one is scheduled for April 12th (double check the website). Don’t miss it!

Outdoor Decor at Kindred Oaks

If you’d like more information on Kindred Oaks, contact Elaine at (512) 260-9690 or visit their website, www.kindredoaks.com

“Say Cheese” Photobooth Rental – http://www.saycheeseforfun.com

Connie Holmes Larson – Wedding Officiant – http://www.theweddingofficiant.com

Studio 563 – Andy Peterson – http://www.studio563.com

Colorful Candy At Reception

Beautiful Bouquet At Kindred Oaks

Outdoor Ceremony Overlooking Lake - Kindred Oaks


Artistic Wedding Photos

Recently I had a bride ask to see some “artistic” wedding photos. This is definitely something that we do, albeit not as much as I’d like to.  There are two parts to an artistic photo: framing and editing. When you frame the image you make it appealing to the eye. In the editing process afterward you can add cool effects. Here are some examples. There’s almost no limit to the possibilities when getting creative with photos…

Bride Photographed At The Valencia Hotel In San Antonio

Couple Posing Near Downtown Austin

Bride Poses In Wind

Couple Kissing

Outside Building On Guadalupe Street - Austin

Family & Friends Wait For Bride & Groom To Emerge

Bride At Laguna Gloria

Bride & Groom At Sunset - Canyon Of The Eagles

Engagement Photo Near Downtown Austin

Central Christian Church Wedding


Saving Sea Turtles In Costa Rica, One Volunteer At A Time.

Baby Sea Turtle Emerging From Nest

I recently found some old photos that I took in Costa Rica back in 2005 that I wanted to share. When I was single I used to spend more time doing less self serving things because I had more time on my hands and I had some altruistic influences in my life as well.

One of the more fun volunteer programs that I participated in was for volunteers who wanted to help preserve sea turtle nesting sites in a small village called Parismina, located in Eastern Costa Rica. As many folks are aware, sea turtle numbers have been dwindling for years because of poaching, over fishing and other factors.  The people of Parismina, Costa Rica started a volunteer program in 2001 that allows people to come from all over the world and help preserve turtle habitat.

Baby Sea Turtles Run Toward The Surf

What was special about my experience in Parismina was getting to live with a local family for 3 weeks. I ate the same delicious, home-cooked Costa Rican dishes they ate, walked the same paths that they did and played marbles with their children (playing marbles on the dirt paths is big with the kids).  In the end  I really felt like I had made a difference, albeit a small one and I felt lucky to have been a part of such a great program. And I made some great friends in the process.

Me & My Host Family In Parismina

I included some photos of some baby sea turtles that were emerging from their nests on the beach in the early morning hours. The babies usually make a run for the surf in the middle of the night or before dawn, braving unbelievably daunting odds against survival. It was amazing and spiritual to witness this age old ceremony first hand. I will be forever changed from many of my experiences in Costa Rica.

Baby Sea Turtle In Parismina

Seattle Times Article About Life In Parismina, CR

Beasts Of Burden - A Common Site In Parismina


Vintage Villas Wedding

Vintage Villas is quickly becoming one of the most popular and premier locations for Austin weddings. Although it’s only been around since 1996, more than 1,000 weddings have occurred at Vintage Villa, at least according the VV website. Set high above Lake Travis on 6 acres of Hill Country land, it boasts a beautiful view of the lake, especially at sunset.

Vintage Villa is considered a full service wedding venue, offering catering, sleeping accommodations and lots more. Weddings occur at VV year round and are booked far in advance.

Vintage Villas Outdoor Shot

When I met with the couple who were to marry at Vintage Villas, we realized that I would be available to photograph their engagement session at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, but my wife and I would be gone to Costa Rica for our own wedding/honeymoon when the wedding at VV was to happen. So the newlyweds agreed to allow my fantastic second shooter, Jamie, to photograph their wedding. Like many of the photographers I work with, she is a fantastic photographer and I knew she would do a great job. And how…

The wedding turned out great on a Spring, Texas evening. I hope the couple were as pleased as I was…

Bridal Gown Vintage Villas

Pastries

Flower Petals Litter The Aisle - Vintage Villas

Night Falls On Vintage Villas


American Graveyard Photo

American Graveyard Photographed At "The Mean Eyed Cat" In Austin

American Graveyard, a local Austin Americana Rock/Country/Bluegrass hybrid band has experienced an explosion in popularity lately. They recently posted a new video from their brand new album, Hallelujahland, on YouTube. The band frequently plays at places in Austin like Antone’s, Threadgill’s and the Continental Club.

I was just looking at their Facebook page and remembered that I photographed the band 3-4 years ago when I was just getting started shooting weddings. Although the photos probably weren’t my best work, I’m still proud to have been a tiny part of the history of American Graveyard. As Joe Dirt would say, “keep on, keepin’ on, man!” – (and keep rocking those venues!)

My photograph of the band was featured at The Alternate Root (an online music magazine) and on the San Marcos Local News online newspaper.

Here’s a couple more photos of the band that you probably won’t see anywhere else!   :~)

American Graveyard Band In Color

American Graveyard Black & White


There’s A Weird Bug In My Yard!

I recently discovered a really strange bug in my front yard. He/She/(It?) has 4 sets of wings and mandibles (like mouth pincers) and its roughly 3.5 inches long. I found it stuck to the side of my house underneath the porch lights.

Any idea what it might be? Check out my photos and video…

video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GgCqGp6ets

picture of the same bug, in different lighting.

Insect found outside my house


Renaissance Austin Wedding

In July I photographed a fantastic wedding ceremony at St. Albert The Great Catholic Church which culminated in a fantastic reception party at the Renaissance Austin Hotel at the Arboretum in North Austin.

St. Albert The Great is a beautiful church, but I have to say that I was blown away by the amazing party that ensued at the Renaissance Hotel. And the Renaissance Hotel is amazing in itself. When you walk in you immediately see that the interior is almost entirely lit by natural light that cascades down from the ceilings high above. You feel like you are inside a snow globe, since the entire hotel is encased in a high (100+ ft?), semi-transparent ceiling.

Ceremony At St. Albert The Great Catholic Church, Austin, TX

The reception ballroom was beautifully decorated in red and white. Tables and chairs featured fancy linens and lace. No details were spared, from the champagne glasses to the table decorations. By all accounts, everything was perfect.

Both the bride and groom come from Puerto Rican families and many family members came from Puerto Rico for this special event. In addition, the bride and groom arranged for live Salsa music to be performed for everyone at the party. The energy in the room was overwhelming. At times there was almost no one sitting because every person attending was out on the dance floor moving to the Salsa rhythms.

View From Inside The Hotel Of The Elevators

Wedgwood Room - Renaissance Austin Hotel

It was a wonderful experience for me to see such a loving couple come together with their families and have such a meaningful experience. Plus, I love salsa music so what’s not to love.

My team designed a fantastic wedding album for the couple, which you can view below in it’s electronic version. The album was just approved for printing and I know that they’re going to love it. I love it too!

Custom Album Design of Renaissance Wedding:

http://albumonline.asukabook.com/album/?key=056502755229

Meticulously Decorated Reception Table


Noah’s Ark

Jews, Christians and Muslims all know the story of Noah’s Ark; the story goes that God told Noah to build a huge vessel to save him and his family from a great flood that would happen for 40 days and 40 nights. He was told to place 2 of every kind of animal on earth into the ark so that the survival of animals would be assured as well. It’s a colossal tale which is told every day to kids around the world, and I was one of those who heard it when I was young.

Recently when I was photographing a wedding at a church in North Austin I found a hand drawn, colored depiction of Noah’s Ark. In the picture animals are being loaded onto Noah’s ship, 2-by-2, as other animals look on from the boat. I really love this art work because it was likely completed by a child who had been inspired by the story at his/her church (I found the image hanging in the hallway near the Sunday School rooms). I love the piece because it’s so colorful and so well thought out. It gives one an idea of how powerful and creative the mind of a child can be and also how stories (or anything, really) can easily influence young minds. Just look closely at the picture and see the detail for yourself. Amazing!

Enjoy!

Child's depiction of Noah's Ark.


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