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one moment – Courtney and Kip

 

As many of you know, I am attracted to reality in my photography.  It goes deeper than that – I want to capture your soul and print it on paper (I wish people would print more on true fine art papers…..it is starting to become a lost art for a generation tied to their phones).  I don’t blog too many of the “standard” wedding images showing the details (giving us a taste into how much you did or didn’t spend), the typical posed group photos, the bridal party being silly, etc.  Weddings are fun….a joy…..I wouldn’t trade my job for the world, but I just can’t repetitively show the same thing time and time again.  I have to have capture feelings.  It’s why I frequently blog images in black and white, to not distract.  I love to simplify.

This particular photo is an image where I was watching Courtney and Kip for reactions during their toasts.  Kip lost his mother not too long ago and when Courtney’s father started speaking about how proud she would be of her son, Kip couldn’t help but show some emotion.  Courtney leaned in to her new husband and softly gave him a kiss.

To me, this is what we celebrate.  Love.  There is no better example than the image below.  Kip is expressing love for his mom, Courtney is expressing love for her husband.  In the background, you can see the look of concern….the love of a friend.  All three examples wrapped into one image.

Enjoy.  I certainly did.

 

Wedding: The Omni Homestead

 

Monte Durham surprises Tina to “Say Yes to The Dress” – Omni Homestead Weddings

OK…it’s not every day that Monte Durham, Fashion director on TLC‘s “Say Yes to the Dress,” knocks on the door while the bride is getting ready to say yes to her dress.  This was a complete surprise to Tina.  Check out the moments below:

 

The Omni Homestead, our nations oldest resort, provided the setting for this wonderful afternoon.  It was so fun to hear Tina talk about how she watched “Say Yes to the Dress” and how it would be amazing if Monte Durham would stop by her wedding (she heard he was in town and actually stopped him to get a selfie earlier in the week).  Well, little did she know, he arrived at HER ROOM (!!!) and surprised everyone!  (On a side note, I really like that blazer!).  Tina’s reactions are priceless!  Many more to come!  🙂

Camera & lens review: The Leica MP Typ240

The Leica 240

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lieca MP240 from above

I would like to start by saying that I am certainly an enthusiast of photography and greatly enjoy looking at different camera models, lenses and technological improvements that continue to provide the photography world with new ways to see.

The Leica MP typ 240 is a very specific tool and I wanted to review this camera while it was fresh in my mind. I am also going to take the time to compare it to a few other models and approaches.  To start I would like to say that this camera really should not be compared to any other camera, and at the same time it should be – we all need price comparisons and other comparisons to decide for ourselves if a camera is worth it or not. This is what I mean. This is a rangefinder and it is a very specific type of camera without autofocus and many of the bells whistles that you see in today’s current brands.  Not only does one possess simplicity with this camera, but you have a body that is second to none. It is made out of brass and is as solid as any camera made today.  It is made out of brass instead of a combination of various materials. It is heavy and feels great in your hand.  You know you are in possession of quality when you hold any Leica M.  Leica cameras also have the top lenses in the business. I’ve tested them against every company from Nikon to Canon to Fuji. Leica is the 35mm equivalent to Linhof in the larger formats.  Both German….both impressive.  With that said there are certain intricacies with the lenses that you have to get used to and need to be comfortable with.

Let’s start with some of the beautiful things about the Leica.  This camera makes you work.  We can start with all of the great fixed prime lenses. You have to move your feet and learn how to read light.  There is no electronic viewfinder unless you want to use the live view mode. I am actually a fan of the live view mode.  I think it’s important in certain situations like focusing far away where rangefinder cameras are hard to precisely nail the distance with precision. Using a 35mm lens and precisely focusing at infinity is not easy. So I do appreciate that Leica has included live view in their digital models though this may not entertain some enthusiasts and traditionalists of the brand.

 

Another appealing feature of the Leica is the relatively small size.  It’s certainly not as small as a point-and-shoot and because of its weight (brass is not the lightest material) we often disregard the size as an advantage though I certainly appreciated it when I wanted to hike through a blizzard to get a few photographs. It was very nice to not have to carry a bag of SLR cameras and lenses, so in that case the size makes a big difference.

The minimalist approach is something I think every photographer should employ from time to time, if nothing else.  It makes you better.  It’s very easy to want every lens in the book and I’ve been there myself but can honestly feel like I could survive with the 35mm lens and a 135 mm for distances and shallow depth portraits.  It would certainly be a very reasonable travel kit.

Leica 35mm 1.4

On this particular shoot I purely carried the Leica 240 and 35mm f/1.4. It was so much fun to just position myself and not have to worry about changing lenses.  It enabled me to hike through 4 miles of a blizzard and not worry about being too weighted down.  I was able to capture this photograph of the tree on route 20.

20160123 Route 20 trees in snow

This leads me into my favorite part about Leica lenses.  They are so sharp from end to end.  Lenses have their sharpest point in their middle apertures but this particular lens is very impressive wide-open at 1.4. I also greatly enjoyed rangefinder focusing. There is just an experience where you feel like you do everything – there are no electronic controls.  The downside to a rangefinder is that it might need to be adjusted from time to time so the focusing mechanism is accurate. However, that seems to be no different from the SLR lens combination from any of the major manufacturers. I typically send my equipment in once or twice a year to Canon for recalibration, etc.  It’s like taking your car in for a service appointment “just to make sure.”

I’ve owned the Fuji x100t for a while.  The Fuji and Sony mirrorless systems can certainly be compared to Leica and they certainly ask for a comparison with the retro styling and approach to the various builds.

Fuji front and back

In one area there is certainly a fair comparison….in another area, there is not. I love the Fujis and the ability to move around with them and be inconspicuous. The systems are small, they take great photographs, and honestly they have a great look to them.

The Leica is in a league by itself. There is no comparison with lens sharpness.  Unless you are enlarging above 8 x 10, I doubt you will notice too much of a difference. The other difference is that there is no comparison to build quality. The Leica is a tank.  When you feel them you will immediately notice a quality difference in that direction. There is simply no comparison. There is also no comparison in the price. You can get a Fuji x100 to you with a 35mm equivalent for $1000. Leica would run you $7000 for the body alone and at least another $3000 for a lens. So in regards to building up a Leica collection of camera and one or two lenses, you were looking at slowly starting to approach the $20,000 mark. Obviously these cameras and lenses only sell to a select few, devoted enthusiasts or those that will pay for the utmost in quality and branding. Leica is not interested in the quantities that Canon and Nikon produce.  Compare Canon and Nikon to BMW and Mercedes, good quality and reliable handling. The Leica is your Lamborghini.  Keep in mind, the Lamborghini brand commands its own portion of the price tag.  ….just sayin’.

I want to talk about something that is very hard to put a price tag on. The Experience. Shooting with this camera was wonderful. I enjoyed every second of it. It begged me to frequently pick it up and walk around for a while. So I did. I also registered 13,000 steps on iphone from this movement…..not a bad result – all thanks to the Leica.  Every function, down to even simple mechanical click of the shutter, is a beautiful work of art.  Now you have to decide if you would like this camera and a few lenses or a new kitchen or bathroom remodel – a good used car may also fit into the same expense.

There are some limitations on the Leica MP typ240.  It only goes to a 1/4000 of a second so if you think you might want 1/8000 shutter speed then obviously you would need to look elsewhere. This is not your action sports camera. It’s a totally different thing. I’m not saying you can’t shoot action sports with it but you need to manually pre-focus on a point and wait for the athlete to end up in that area or zone focus and shoot sports but you won’t have the same high number of quality captures that one might obtain with an SLR. It’s simply a different tool.  It’s why you don’t see rows of Leica’s at the Super Bowl.

In the wedding photography world, I could certainly see using a Leica in some situations. When the bride is getting ready, the action isn’t moving as fast, I could thrive with one of these cameras. I’m also very intrigued by the Leica Monochrom typ246 for this reason. You can shoot in high ISOs and not have color noise affecting the image at all. Those cameras are beautiful.  If you haven’t had a chance, Google some full size samples of the Monochrom Typ 246 and look at the detail for yourself at 100% in Lightroom or Photoshop.  See for yourself!  I had a chance to use one of these in Washington DC and was blown away at ISO 25600.

The Leica camera is simply less intrusive than a big SLR and lens equivalents. I think that would be a wonderful option in certain aspects of the wedding. They’re just simply times with low light focusing and the speed of current SLR autofocus standards that I’m not sure I could live without in many situations that present themselves in weddings.  Canon is my number one choice for nuptials.

If you were into having long zoom lens, a rangefinder is probably not for you either. Since the viewfinder doesn’t change, you are looking at the focal length lines through a very small piece of the viewfinder and that is why you don’t see many rangefinder lenses eclipsing the 135 mm mark. If you were interested in bird photography with the 400 or 600 mm lens you are shopping in the wrong place when looking at this camera.  Long focal lengths and rangefinders are like oil and water.

Street photographers love this camera and for good reason. You just have to justify an extremely high price tag. It’s the equivalent of buying a car that will get you from point a to point B. We all choose to drive luxury cars at times but we certainly don’t need them. This camera falls into that category. It’s a luxury piece. It’s selling your brand. It’s got wonderful quality but a very high price tag.  Only the user can decide if it brings appropriate value. In a world of overusing the term investment in what we sell, I can honestly say that these cameras hold their value well but they certainly depreciate over time. I’m not sure there is a camera made today that’s a good “investment.” Of course I would also say the same thing about a vehicle purchase.

With all of that said, I do think I will own one at some point, possibly buying used or previously released model that’s one generation from being the latest and greatest.  I really do love them.

Fuji has just released their xPro2. This is a very nice camera for someone who is looking for the rangefinder look and feel without the true focusing experience of the rangefinder. It’s still an autofocus camera with a fairly unusable manual focus option. I’m not sure if I have made a decision on the direction of Fuji. They have certainly dabbled in the SLR world and elected not to continue, instead finding their own niche with their X series.

The other option for owning a Leica would be to buy a used Leica film camera and a used lens. You can certainly enter the market in the $1000 to $2000 range and develop a lot of film before you equal the cost of any digital Leica.  Just a thought. The Leica M6 is very affordable and has many advantages. Even if the battery expires, the camera is purely mechanical and as long as you understand exposure you don’t need a functioning light meter to take photographs. It has many advantages over the newer M7.  The M7 has an electronic shutter so if you lose battery power you totally lose the ability to take photographs. It makes the M6 a little bit more appealing in extremely cold conditions.  The electronic shutter has proven to be slightly more accurate, but I’m not sure that makes one bit of difference other than for the sake of discussion.

Leica has also released a digital M262 which is a toned down version of the MP 240. It’s got the same sensor, so the image quality is not different but it doesn’t have live view. If you’re interested in purchasing a new camera it would certainly save a few thousand dollars by electing to purchase the M262. You do have an aluminum top instead of brass, saving the camera little bit of weight.

The experience shooting with these cameras is second to none. It’s very different from an SLR so please don’t think that it’s even a fair comparison. Different tools for different jobs. The current versions of most SLRs will certainly have higher ISO abilities than a Leica. So if stretching the limitations of ISO is your thing then again you may want to go another direction. Personally I found the ISO noise levels at ISO 6400 very acceptable.  I’ve also found low ISOs and those Leica lenses nothing less than stunning.

If you end up purchasing one of these cameras one will certainly miss a few focus on a few photos of your kids running around or moving extensively – but the joy in shooting this German made a work of art may override a few missed shots here and there.  I certainly recommend getting close with a 35 or 50 mm lens as a great starting point. If it were me, I do believe I would start with 35. It’s wide enough to capture the scene and you can still do portraits with that lens.  I think I would possibly gravitate to a longer lens like an 85 or 135 and stay with those two for a while. If I could have three lenses it would be a 35mm (or 28mm), a 50mm and a 135mm.

Remember one thing, no matter what you pay for a musical instrument it’s about the person more than the instrument. With photography, the most important piece of equipment is the one on top of your shoulders.

…..and if you are buying a brand, remember that the M240 doesn’t come with that nice little red dot.  They left it off of this camera to add to the nostalgic feel and look of the MP film cameras as well as a more inconspicuous feel.

Below, an image of my daughter, Clare, taken with the MP Typ 240 and a 35mm f/1.4:

20160124 Clare in bed

 

Amy and Edwin – Trump Winery Weddings – Charlottesville Wedding Photographer

We hope you enjoy a few photographs from Amy and Edwin’s wedding and be sure to read the story at the end from the two of them!  Congratulations you two!  We were blessed to be a part of your wedding day!

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Wow!  I can’t say enough about this lovely couple who were married at Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Amy and Edwin were lovely and they had families to match.  I am thrilled to blog showcasing Amy and Edwin’s own words below:

We selected Rob Garland to document our wedding after performing an extensive search for wedding photographers online.  After viewing pictures on Rob’s website, we were immediately drawn to his work.  We like the fact that Rob specializes in journalistic photography.  He captures the raw, “real” emotions of the day in a candid, natural way.  These are the kind of memories we want to look back on fifty years from now as we reminisce about our wedding day.  Rob was an easy choice!

Weddings can be such a blur and you miss so many small details of the day as you are pulled in different directions, greeting guests, dancing, etc.  The “real” moments that happen in life, especially during a milestone in time were what we were interested in remembering.  To us, you can do posed, formal pictures anytime, but it takes someone special to find those moments in time that evoke true, raw emotion in “real” time.  When we received pictures back from Rob, we had tears in our eyes.  The whole collection was absolutely beautiful and we were overwhelmed with happiness.  From the tearful expression on my dad’s face as he gave me away to the private time together as husband and wife mere seconds after saying “I do”…Rob captured every moment so perfectly.

Amy and Edwin’s favorite pieces of the wedding:

 -The grand and elaborate antique gold candelabra table arrangements.  They were overflowing with an abundance of beautiful fruits and flowers that were absolutely breathtaking.

 -The late night sliders and fries.  Our guests raved about this delicious surprise!

-Our cake, both wedding and groom cake was so meticulously done.  The spiced carrot cake was divine and fitting with the fall theme.  The clay figures of the doctor and nurse, bought in Spain by Amy’s parents, were placed on the wedding cake.  This was a unique twist to the traditional cake topper.  The groom’s cake was perfect, tying our Navy heritage into the celebration but also allowing guests to sample our other favorite flavor, salted caramel. 

-The picture table with two generations of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day.

-The military pomp and circumstance of the occasion with the sword arch ceremony and the cutting of the cake with Edwin’s Navy officer sword.

-The Sparkler Send-Off in the courtyard

We choose the Grand Hall at Trump Winery because of its gorgeous, ethereal views of the vineyard.  The property is hands down one of our favorite places in Virginia.  We also love the fact that this venue has so much to offer. The Grand Hall is entirely yours on your wedding day and there are so many different rooms to choose from-you are bound to find that one perfect room(s) that fits your style!  Also, we love wine in our family, so this was a no-brainer. Trump’s wine selection is just as delicious as their views!

Floral Design (name/website/details of what they were): Tourterelle Floral Design/ http://tourterellefloral.com/

Bridal Bouquet: Romantic bouquet of soft pinks and blush with merlot accents. David Austin “Patience” roses, white astrantia, burgundy scabiosa, merlot dahlias, Peegee antique Hydrangea, white “Majolica” spray roses, dusty miller, burgundy astrantia, jasmine vine, seeded eucalyptus, white ranunculus, freesia and cream lisianthus. Wrapped with D Stevens taupe grey velvet ribbon.

Bridesmaids Bouquets: Lovely but simple bouquets of garden roses, pink astrantia, antique hydrangea, spray roses, dusty miller, lisianthus, seeded eucalyptus and jasmine vine. Wrapped in antique gold ribbon.

 At the Altar: Two Trump wine barrels with low and lush arrangements spilling over the tops. Peegee hydrangea, grapes, pears, persimmons, roses, dahlias, heather and dusty miller.

 Aisle Chairs: Simple swag of grapes and dusty miller tied with a gold ribbon.

Head “U” shaped reception table: Tourterelle gold, 24” oblong container with a low cornucopia arrangement. A low gold-footed urn on the two ends of the table. Dramatic and elegant “Table scape” with voluptuous arrangements of russet dahlias,“Baccarat” roses, “Stelle” roses, “James Story” orchids, “Tess” garden roses and pee gee hydrangeas. Cascades of seeded eucalyptus, jasmine vine, deep colored “Nine bark”. Plums, persimmons, grapes and pears to create a lush cornucopia.

 Reception round tables with high, gold candelabras: Voluptuous, flowing arrangements on the top middle bowl of russet dahlias, “Baccarat” roses, “Stelle” roses, “James Story” orchids, “Tess” garden roses and pee gee hydrangeas. Cascades of seeded eucalyptus, jasmine vine, deep colored “Nine bark”. Foliage anchoring the base of the chandelier with a cornucopia of plums, persimmons, with dahlias, roses and hydrangea blooms.

Reception tables with low gold-footed urns: Arrangements with garden roses, dahlias, orchids and hydrangea. Jasmine vine, seeded eucalyptus and grapes spilling over the edges.

 A collection of gold vintage votive candles on each table.

Caterer (name/website/details of what you served): C&O Catering/ http://www.candorestaurant.com/

Pre-ceremony:

Hot apple cider served as guests arrived

Cocktail Hour:

C&O crab cakes with herb aioli

Kite’s Virginia ham on Irish cheddar scones with orange chutney

Smoked bacon wrapped dates

Grilled cheese with tomato soup shooters

Plated Dinner:

Autumn greens salad with candied pumpkin seeds, sliced apples, local chevre and Carters Mountain apple dressing

Beef tenderloin with potato-gruyere gratin, seasonal local vegetables and sauce Marchand du vin

Or

Baked Rag Mountain trout with wild mushrooms, lemon butter sauce, seasonal local vegetables and Carolina gold rice

Or

Butternut Squash ravioli with sage and parmesan

Late Night Menu:

Sliders

Pomme Frites

Event coordinator (name/website/details – why you chose them): Amanda Gray/ http://www.ashleybaberweddings.com/ We needed someone to help us coordinate month-of services prior to the big day.  Amanda was very personable, organized, and allowed me to check in with her to ask questions or seek guidance whenever I needed. She orchestrated the flow of the wedding and put our minds at ease so we could enjoy the day without having to fret over details.

Event lighting company (name/website/details – why you chose them): Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting/ http://www.blueridgeavandlighting.com/  Such a great company!  They are reasonably priced, professional, and do a fantastic job!  Don came out for the walk-thru even though he had been to the Grand Hall on numerous occasions to touch base with us prior to the wedding.  He really listened to what we wanted (soft, romantic lighting). The ballroom was romantic with a candlelight glow on our wedding day, exactly how we had envisioned.

Rentals (name/website – details): MS Events/ http://www.mseventscville.com/  MS Events provided the beautiful linens, gold rimmed plates, glasses, and silverware.

Ceremony Music/Musicians (name/website – details of the type of music you liked, etc.): Scratch Weddings/DJ Bounce/ http://www.scratchweddings.com/ We wanted everyone to be out on the dance floor (which meant an eclectic mix of music), and DJ Bounce delivered just that.  He also did a great job with the pre-ceremony and cocktail music.

Reception Music/Band/DJ (name/website – details of the type of music you liked, etc.): Same as above

Videographer/Cinematographer (name/website): Butler Films-Jeff Butler/ http://weddings.butlerfilms.pro/ Jeff and his crew are awesome…enough said! Highly recommend!

Officiant (name/website): LCDR Robert Bradshaw-Navy Chaplain

Wedding gown designer (name/website – details): Stella York/ http://www.essensedesigns.com/stella-york.  The dress was a lace over lustre satin fit-and-flare with sparkling diamante embellishments, with a traditional train and delicate pearl buttons down the back.

Wedding gown (dress shop) (name/website): Maya Couture/ http://www.houseofmayabridal.com/mayacouture/

Groom’s attire (name/website): Navy Formal Dinner Dress Uniform

Groomsmen’s attire (name/website): Calvin Klein-Men’s Wearhouse http://www.menswearhouse.com/

Cake maker (name/website): Sweethaus/ http://www.sweethaus.com/

Hair (who was your stylist and how would you describe the style): Ambyr Domonell for Bride/Liz Clancy for Bridesmaids. Ambyr is my cousin’s talented, beautiful wife from Connecticut.  She runs her own business in Torrington, CT called Mirror Mirror.  She did my hair for the wedding.  I wore my hair down with vintage, soft, romantic curls.  I really wanted an elegant, “old Hollywood” feel, and she helped me attain that style.  Liz did the bridesmaid’s hair.  They all wanted something a little different and she did a great job working against the humidity that day!

Make-up (who was your stylist and how would you describe the style): Ambyr Domonell. I wanted a soft, warm glow with a more dramatic eye.  Ambyr did a fantastic job accenting my features, so I was still “me” on my wedding day.

Wedding day stationary/paper goods (name/website): DIY

Invitations (name/website): Minted. http://www.minted.com/

Bridesmaid’s dresses (name of designer):  Jasmine

Shoes (name of designer): Adriana Papell

Favors (name/website and a description): N/A

Transportation company (limo, vintage car, etc.): Ambassador Limousine- provided shuttle buses to and from wedding

DIY:

-We did all of the escort cards by hand, stamping them with wax seals to match the invitations.

-The wedding programs.

-The “Virginia” inspired welcome bags.  These bags were waiting in guest’s rooms when they arrived.  Inside was a map of Charlottesville, wine trails, and “Things-To-Do”, Virginia water bottles, Carter Mountain apples, handmade salt dough ornaments, bride and groom Oreo cookies, and Virginia peanuts.

The story before the wedding:

Amy and Edwin met in the Navy over seven years ago. Amy was working as an ICU nurse and Edwin as an intern at the Naval Hospital in Virginia. They were immediately drawn to one another, but were both too shy to ask the other one out. Shortly after meeting, Edwin was sent to Peru for a month-long tropical medicine course. With the safety net of having distance between them, Amy mustered up the courage to email Edwin while he was away. Little did she know, he had returned that same day, and was devising an excuse to come see her. Imagine her surprise when he showed up on her unit at the hospital and asked her out on a date!

The date went great and they were inseparable for many years. But unfortunately, their Navy careers took them away from each other often. Amy was deployed to Afghanistan and shortly after was sent clear across the world to Guam for several years. Edwin went to Navy dive school and then spent the next few years working with Naval Special Operations. Although Amy and Edwin were not together during this period, they managed to remain in each other’s hearts and minds in spite of time and distance.

They both would learn a lot about life and love before they would meet again…

Flash forward to December 2014. Edwin was in New Orleans in surgical residency at Louisiana State University and Amy was just a semester away from finishing Nurse Practitioner school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. By this point, the two of them had not corresponded in over a year, and had barely seen each other in the five years since they first dated in Virginia. Amy received a text from Edwin saying he needed to speak with her and wanted to do so in person. He told her that whether she decided to meet him or not, he would keep trying.

Long story short, with no time off from work, Edwin flew in to Charlottesville for just 24 hours to say, in a nutshell, “I love you, and I don’t want to spend another moment without you.” Even though they had been apart for so many years, their hearts remained intertwined all this time. Amy and Edwin always knew the other person was “the one” and they felt like this was finally their time to be together.

Just two months later, Edwin drove through a snowstorm to ask Amy’s parents for their blessing to marry their daughter. He planned a romantic weekend in New Orleans for the proposal, complete with a stay at the fancy Ritz Carlton, dinners, rooftops, suits and dresses. As luck would have it, Amy woke up on the day of her departure with a stomach bug and a blizzard that shut most of the runways down. Call it fate, but she somehow managed to make it to the Big Easy on time. However, instead of a romantic proposal, Edwin spent the night taking care of her.

The next morning Amy felt better, so they decided to walk the French Quarter before the tourists arrived, while it was still calm and quiet. It was a beautiful day and it was as if they had the whole place to themselves. They slowly made their way to Jackson Square, where they sat near a gorgeous water fountain and listened to a saxophone player belt out jazz tunes. Coincidentally, the fountain was in front of a cathedral, and as the clock struck 9:00, the church bells began to ring. Edwin quickly responded to the cue, and to Amy’s wonder, he knelt down, pulled the ring from his pocket (that he had been carrying in case a good plan B presented itself), and asked Amy to be his wife.

The wedding day at Trump Winery:

My mom was with me all day, orchestrating rides, ordering breakfast, steaming dresses, etc.  I do not know what I would have done without her.  She was so beautiful in her gold floor length dress and I am just so proud she is my mom.  We were able to steal a couple private minutes together in the bridal suite so she could read a letter I wrote her.  I wanted my mom to know how much I have appreciated her over the years.  She shaped me into the woman I am today, and I am so thankful for her love and support. We were both misty- eyed after!

The First Look with my dad was a great memory.  Edwin and I decided there was something romantic about the tradition of seeing each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle, so instead I opted to have the “First Look” with my dad.  This was such a sentimental moment for us both.  I have always looked up to my dad and will always need him in my life no matter how old I get.  He is such an amazing man.  It was so nice to have a quiet moment with him before the ceremony to take it all in. This was the first time I have ever seen my dad get emotional, and I lost it! 

Seeing Edwin for the first time was overwhelming. He looked so handsome in uniform and I was choking back tears as I made my way down the aisle. We have come so far and I couldn’t believe the moment was finally upon us. There were so many emotions that day and I thought I would be a nervous wreck. But for some reason, right before walking down the aisle, I felt a calm wash over me and although everything seemed to fly by, walking down the aisle to Edwin was such a serene experience, as if we were the only two in the room.

Edwin: Time stopped completely.  Waiting to see Amy, for the first time, as she walked down the aisle was both anxiety-inducing and calming at the same time.  I loved being at the end waiting for her, knowing there is only this one moment in a lifetime. No matter how much planning goes into the event, you cannot ever be fully prepared for that very second that you first see your bride.  She was more stunning than I could have ever envisioned, so beautiful.  It was certainly a moment that I will relive for the rest of my life.

Time flew by!  The one piece of advice we can give is SLOW DOWN, take in the moment, and be present.  My favorite part of the day was getting out on the dance floor with my husband (I still get giddy every time I say it), friends and family!  So many of our guests came from all over the world to help us celebrate, and I think every single person made it out to the dance floor!  We had so much fun and there was just so much genuine and heartfelt love out there!

Edwin and I danced to Ben Folds “I’m the Luckiest.”  My dad and I danced to Michael Crawford “She Used to Be Mine.”  Edwin and his mom danced to Carly Simon “Love of My Life”.

The Honeymoon:

We went to St. Lucia for our honeymoon and spent six fantastic days relaxing and decompressing.  We are both avid scuba divers, so we took advantage of some amazing dive spots off the island.  We got to swim with a couple sea turtles and take in the breathtaking coral reefs along the way! It was perfect.  Of course we soaked up the sun…and the food and drinks too!

 

Rob Garland is the owner of Rob Garland Photographers, an award winning Charlottesville wedding photographer that specializes in wedding photojournalism and fine art printing. Rob prides himself on a classic, intuitive, heartfelt documentation with the utmost in visual integrity. He has documented many destination weddings throughout the U.S. and abroad as well as Charlottesville weddings at many of our outstanding local venues. Rob loves imagery that fails to go in and out of style and personal touches that make each wedding unique.

Unforgettable – Natalie Cole at The Paramount Theater in Charlottesville

 

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I would like to start the New Year with some photographs I took at The Paramount Theater in 2012 as a tribute to the late Natalie Cole:

It’s always disheartening to post about the loss of someone special.  Natalie Cole passed away yesterday at the age of 65.  I had the chance to photograph the legendary singer when she came to the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville in 2012.  She began her career listening to many R&B performers, as expected – but also many of the rock and blues musicians like Janis Joplin.  She was initially welcomed in the club scene as “the daughter of the legendary Nat King Cole,” and initially disappointed folks as she performed styles unlike her famous father.  She eventually made a wonderful career for herself.  Many people don’t know that she was also the daughter of Maria Hawkins Ellington, a former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer.  “This Will Be” and “Inseparable” becoming hits would awaken critics and they would proclaim her “the next Aretha Franklin.”  The 1970s gave Natalie Cole a lot of success including her own television show and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979.  In the early 1980s, Cole recorded an album and had her own personal problems with drug abuse.  In 1987, she released “Everlasting” which included the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” and became a platinum selling album, her first in over ten years.  Natalie Cole’s best selling album came in 1991 with “Unforgettable.”  Interestingly enough, she had absolutely refused to cover any of her father’s songs twenty years ago.  This record obviously included “Unforgettable” accompanied by her uncle, Ike Cole, on piano.  “Take a Look,” “Holly and Ivy,” (a Christmas album) and “Stardust,” (another album containing traditional standard tunes) all went gold in the early 1990s.  Many may remember her from Nelson Mandela’s seventieth birthday celebration.  She also sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXVII with the Atlanta University Center Chorus.

Other appearances include “The Real Housewives of New York City,” “The Real Housewives of Miami,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and Tina Sinatra’s Father’s Day Special on Sirius radio along with many children of famous fathers, including Deana Martin, Daisy Torme, and Monica Mancini.  She was also featured on the 1992 tribute to Nat King Cole.   In 2009 Natalie Cole sang “Something’s Gotta Give” on America Idol.  Cole also released her autobiography in 2000, titled “Angel on My Shoulder,” which would discuss her issues with drug abuse during a big part of her life including crack cocaine and heroin.  There was also a made for TV movie titled “Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story” that was released at the same time as her autobiography.  Cole won nine Grammy awards from 1976-2009, including Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Record of The Year.  She also won the George and Ira Gershwin Award for lifetime achievement and three America Music Awards.

Natalie Cole had cancelled many of her December 2015 concert dates due to illness and passed away in Los Angeles on the evening of December 31, 2015.  I will never forget her appearance at The Paramount Theater in Charlottesville – it was exciting to have her in town to perform some of her most famous hits, including a duet with her father on the theater’s giant video screen.

 

Fine Art printing – Charlottesville Wedding Photographer

I do think Ansel Adams said it best when he discussed the importance of understanding the capture of an image by composing the subject as well understanding the light.

“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.”

The capture is only a part of the image – the printing process has an arguably equal place in the showcasing of an image.  My first photography experiences were from film – and I worked with it for a long time – and still do.  My favorite styles of capture are those of photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson.  I loved not only his reality, but his idea of capturing “The Decisive Moment” was of great importance, showcasing great examples of layering within the composition of the photograph.  As a wedding photographer, that is my favorite approach and I personally think it is what is destined to last the test of time.  We are in an era now where many wedding photographers employ a commercial feel to their imagery and it takes away from the soul of the event…..in fact, everything can become so overwhelming, I dare to say there is limited capture of the soul.  It’s all about details, style shoots, etc.  Let me be clear, I am not knocking the quality of the imagery – it’s excellent.  I do think the work loses it’s essence if it becomes too commercial.  It’s a trend these days – we’ll see how long it lasts.  I would like to thank photographers like Jeff Ascough for his incredible work in keeping true wedding photography alive.  He is one of the few wedding photographers that constantly intrigues me when I look around the web.  I keep coming back to work like this.  I wanted to devote this post to showcase one image with two different styles of fine art printing – one black and white and one sepia toned image – along with the color version of the photograph.

Lets start by looking at a color image of Manisha and Narendra straight out of the camera.  I love this moment – the bride’s eyes looking at the groom with one of those magical gazes and I want to show you two other approaches to printing this file.

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Let’s take the image into the darkroom:

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As you can see, the image above allows the eye to focus on one point with a vignette added to maintain a strong center of interest.  I print with borders at times because it defines an ending point, especially on brighter highlight areas.  Every film has a different look and can be developed in different ways (push/pull processing, contrast filters, etc.) – I’ve always loved the darkroom because every image you get is unique.  There is no way to duplicate dodging and burning with contrast filters and have two prints just alike.  This is what helps many fine art prints maintain a high value among collectors.  If the landscape prints from Ansel Adams were done on a digital camera, he would not be known like he is today.  He was an excellent photographer with tremendous attention to detail, sometimes working on one print in his darkroom for a month.  Our company offers a very unique silver-halide printing process from our digital wedding files that showcase the integrity of a silver gelatin print.  These are simply the number one standard in photographic printing and allow the owner to have a truly unique piece of art.

A sepia-toned version is below:

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The same image with three different printing approaches.  Stay tuned as we will soon launch a gallery on our site with all black and white fine art prints.

Rob Garland is the owner of Rob Garland Photographers, an award winning Charlottesville wedding photographer that specializes in wedding photojournalism and fine art printing. Rob prides himself on a classic, intuitive, heartfelt documentation with the utmost in visual integrity. He has documented many destination weddings throughout the U.S. and abroad as well as Charlottesville weddings at many of our outstanding local venues. Rob loves imagery that fails to go in and out of style and personal touches that make each wedding unique.

Walter Iooss – The Festival of the Photograph – The Paramount Theater

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I hope you enjoy these images from Walter Iooss’ talk at The Paramount Theater for the Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville.

I’d like to start this post by saying the Walter Iooss was probably my first influence in photography.  As a young man, I had the extreme fortune to photograph Major League Baseball, World Championship Wrestling, NBA games, and college athletic events.  I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.  It allowed me into a world I would never be a part of…..I certainly tell myself the professional scouts didn’t notice my illustrious career as a college intramural flag football player, softball champion, and basketball sixth man of the year – THAT’S why I didn’t make it as a professional athlete.  Seriously, I loved sports and still do.  I subscribed to Sports Illustrated in 1983 and still Continue reading

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