Archive for the ‘Wedding’ Category


A relaxing day at sea…

February 19, 2009

This is the second part (of how many, I don’t know) of my posts catching you up on the last few, very busy, weeks.  I intend to continue with the posts each day until I catch up.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 26th

The first full day had us steaming (can I still use steaming if it’s a diesel-electric engine?) through the Caribbean Ocean, past the West coast of Cuba and down to Roatan, Honduras.  The only official duty I had that day was to shoot a small reception in the evening for all the wedding guests.  For this gathering, I selected the 17-55 f2.8.  I believe this to be too wide for this type of work, but without a 24 – 70 (a future purchase) my only other options were a 60mm and/or 95mm primes.  I’d just have to get a little closer to the subjects.  Ultimately, this worked out because there wasn’t a whole lot of working room in the little club where the reception was held.

The SB-900 is my primary strobe and it works like a champ.  The secret (okay, maybe not a secret to most, but it took me a long time to figure this one out) is to shoot in manual mode not aperture priority that I normally use.  Set the camera to an ISO allowing you to get some background exposure using ambient light and not the strobe.  In this case I was using ISO 400.  This gives some exposure to the environment, but not nearly enough to be a distraction to the subject.  Then, set your aperture and use a shutter speed that’s complimentary to the chosen ISO for background exposure.  The flash then varies it’s output to properly expose the subject and foreground while the ISO and shutter speed expose the background.  Chimp like crazy here (that means check your LCD screen) and check your histogram to make sure you have a decent image.

Also, I try to keep my shutter speed high while using  ISO changes to fine tune the exposure.  Make sure you’re working within the capabilities of your camera’s sensor (you don’t want noisy images), but ISO is an easy boost to the background exposure.  I like a higher shutter speed (the flash will have to work a little harder) to combat camera shake (hand shake, boat shake, whatever) giving you a clear image.

The images captured the mood of the evening – relaxed and ready to enjoy the upcoming week.

Sonny and Alex




The wedding and boarding the ship…

February 19, 2009

My apologies to all my readers!  It’s been too long since updating this blog and I’ve a lot to catch you up on.  Tonight, I’ll start the journey of bringing you up to speed on the many events that I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of in the last few weeks.  Thanks for understanding!

Saturday, January 24th

After a 4-hour delay (and a number of Bloody Mary’s) where the airline had to fly in a filter for one of the plane’s engines, the trip to Miami was easy.  Clear, turbulent free skies allowed Jen and I to catch up on some much needed sleep.  I remember something about turning off the seat belt sign then Jen hitting my arm as we were preparing to land.  It was the perfect flight if you ask me as I’m not a fan of flying.

A short taxi ride took us to Doral, Florida, a suburb of Miami, and the stunning Marriott Golf Resort and Spa – home of the Green Monster.  If you’re a golf fan, this is the place for you.  Simply stunning!  After checking in and exploring the grounds, we met up with the crew for a quick bite to eat.  It was nice to catch up with some old friends and to make some new ones.  This night was an early night.  We had to be up early to get ready for the wedding shoot.

That evening I didn’t sleep very much.  I wanted to wake before sunrise to see if the light during the golden hour (the time when the light from sunrise or sunset produces a golden light) would strike the grounds of the wedding.  That led to me getting up every hour or so to check on the time.  Truly frustrating!

Sunday, January 25th

Unfortunately, the sun came up in the east that morning (always check how the sunrise will affect your images before staying up all night!) which meant behind the buildings I was hoping to shoot as they caught the first light of day.  Nevertheless, I photographed some of the grounds and got my bearings for the wedding.  A friend and mentor told me, when on assignment, you have to get the shot.  So I photographed the buildings knowing it wasn’t perfect, but realizing I needed some of the grounds to tell the story.  Maybe a background image or two for a wedding book.

Some of the grounds

Around 9:00 we headed to the spa to take some shots of the bride, Janella, getting ready.  Janella has beautiful, bronze skin and a smile that radiated the excitement of the day.  With her sister helping, we were able to get a few very nice shots of the preparation.

The sister-of-the-bride

The groom, Kris, was wearing a traditional Filipino shirt and appeared ready to get the party started!  A good friend for many years, I spent a few minutes with him before the wedding started.


Just before the wedding started, the bride arrived.

The Bride

Show time!

The wedding took place outside in the beautiful morning sun.  I shot mostly with my D300 and 70-200 f2.8 VR allowing me to zoom in tight for my shots, yet staying out of the action.  For a more expansive shot of the wedding, I used a D200 with 17-55 f2.8.  Having two bodies with two very different focal length lenses worked really well.

Posing some group shots after the wedding was slightly challenging as the light was very bright and shade a minimum.  Fill-flash was a huge help in this lighting condition as was using a large reflector to block some of the sun, but some shadows and highlights were visible in some of the images. Overall, though, they looked really nice.

The bride and her brother and sister

The following reception/brunch was in a glass-walled building providing excellent lighting.  Again, I chose the 70-200 to capture the expressions of the day without being noticed.  This type of “hunter”-style photography (aka Photojournalism) is very fun for me allowing me to capture the emotion of the day without the “fake” smiles all too common when asking to take a picture.

A quick shot

This was a great assignment and a fun day.  You couldn’t ask for a better day or location and I enjoyed the experience very much.  I think the couple will be very pleased with the results.  I know I was.

Happily ever after

Time to Relax

As our bellies filled and the excitement ebbed, it was time to run back to our rooms, change into something more comfortable and head over to the cruise ship.  The trip to the cruise ship was quick and easy as was the process to board.  Actually, I’m really amazed at how easy the boarding process was.  Maybe it was because we arrived towards the end of the boarding time, but there was no wait and no lines.  It was a fantastic experience that could have started the trip off on the wrong foot.  Fortunately, this was not the case and the experience was perfect.

Our trip was aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl.  The Pearl is three years old and a beautiful ship holding over 3,500 passengers and crew.  Our outside room had a nice little balcony to take in the sites and enjoy the sounds of the water.  I was ready to relax and enjoy the rest of the week.

Fortunately the first and second days (Sunday and Monday) are at sea and I was looking forward to relaxing, getting some much-needed rest, and laying low.  The days with shore excursions would be busy shooting stock images for my online portfolio.  After making multiple copies of the wedding photos, a great wave of relief hit me, knowing that it was time to enjoy my trip.