Our last stop before heading back to the US from Cuba was Havana. It was such an interesting city and I'm so glad I got to experience it as it is right now. The classic cars are just fantastic! I was dying to ride around the city in one of them and we did! Our hotel called one of the tour companies and a guy pulled up in front of our hotel with a 57 yellow and white Dodge convertible. He took us over to surprise our friends Judy and Ed who were going to ride along and Judy's face was priceless when she saw it. The driver told us that his grandfather had won the car in the lottery in 1957 and it had been their family car up until about 5 years ago. At that point the Cuban government started allowing more Visas for tourists to come in and that's when the classic car touring companies started. Most of these photos below I took while we were driving the streets. Each part of city was so different whether it was from before the 50s or after. There is a building for each service of the government since they control everything so a ministry of defense, ministry of construction (which was ironic because it was in total disrepair), education etc. I would love to have seen what Old Havana looked like when it was new. So many different colors, chipping paint, and wrought iron. Everyone leaves their doors open and hangs their laundry on their balconies. I could have walked down each of the different streets photographing people for hours. There were groups of men playing heated games of dominoes on street corners. I looked up, and there were 2 ladies who had bags of rice tied to a rope and were pulling it up the side of the building to the rooftop. We drove through what use to be casinos back in the mob days, a soccer field, and a random art district that had lots of roosters just like Ybor City. There was even a park that had huge ficus trees covered in vines that was so random. The smell of diesel and musical car horns was everywhere. It's just a short 1 hour flight direct to Tampa, I would totally go back!
I LOVE photojournalism and just photographing people doing what they normally do so wanted to share with you some photos around the town and streets of Guantanamo. Ken, one of our team mates loves kids and was so smart to bring bags of candy and toys to just randomly give out whenever he could. He would see kids playing in the street and would toss them a baseball or soccer ball out of nowhere and they would just explode with excitement. We all stayed in homes where people had extra rooms that they rented out just a couple blocks from the church. Each morning (very early:-) we would hear a guy yelling to let everyone know he was selling fresh bread, loud diesel engines zooming by, and the clip clop of horse and buggies. There were a lot of dogs, both stray and pets. There was one that looked down on us from the roof everyday as we walked by. There is a school right across from the church, and for gym class or recess they just string a rope across the street so cars couldn't cross and then would play soccer and run races. The old cars are so cool and weird to see. On the outside they are painted bright colors and look amazing. Pastor Raidel has a blue 57 Chevy, and when you open up the hood it has a diesel Toyota engine, Fiat carburetor, 2 sets of different tires and makeshift whatever parts so that it runs. There were people gathered in the town square as they do have wifi hot spot guys that for $1 will connect your phone. I tried it one day, and it really only worked for texting not for email or social media which was actually kind of nice for a change! There are just a few options for stores there and they all pretty much have the same thing as they are all run by the government. There's a picture below of one that had things like clothes and cookware and appliances. The pricing was similar to what you would see in the US which didn't make sense to us since their incomes are $12-$20 a month. They told us that since they are government stores, it doesn't matter if they sell things or not and that there is a huge black market where people go to get things at prices they can afford. It was such an interesting place, like nothing else I've ever seen! Our last day on the way out was spent in Havana so I'll be posting some of my favs from there next!
Miriam and Sergio's wedding is the first one I've gotten to photograph in Europe! I have to say it was extra special because not only did I get to go, but my husband and daughters got to experience it as well. They made us feel like we were a part of their family and it was truly an honor. Miriam is from Mexico, and Sergio is Portuguese but grew up in Germany. Their friends and family are all over the globe so many weren't able to attend their wedding in Mexico 6 years ago. Sergio's parents have a beautiful property with a huge garden on a hill that overlooks the ocean just outside of Lisbon. Each day leading up to the wedding friends and family arrived from all different countries and every night there were more chairs added to the dinner table. There were guests from the US, Germany, Portugal, France, Canada, Thailand and others I'm sure. Sergio's brother and cousin drove over 20 hours from Germany in a sweet black Mustang convertible so they could use it for their get away car! Miriam wore the dress she wore 6 years ago, it was a 2 piece organza gown with a beautiful lace veil. Sergio also wore the brown suit he originally wore. Their son, Leo, was the ring bearer and daughter, Regina, was the mini flower girl:-) They both got ready by the marble staircase at the house. Sergio picked up Miriam's shoes which said, "I do" on the bottom and said "Do I"? Miriam's mom helped her get into her gown and gold heels and her dad was just so sweet when he saw her!
Then it was off to the Palacio National de Mafra in the Mustang. It is a gorgeous Catholic Basilica that was built in 1755. Leo pulled Regina down the aisle in a wagon right before Miriam walked down the aisle. They did the lasso ceremony where Miriam's parents draped a beautiful swavaski crystal rosary over the 2 of them as the priest did a blessing. They ceremony wasn't just for them, they had their daughter baptized and were honoring Sergio's parents, Isa and George's 40th wedding anniversary as well! To make the marriage official they actually sign the papers during the ceremony right at the very end. They exited down the iconic steps of the basilica and we literally could have done photos for hours because the architecture is so amazing and different than what we have in the US. My favorite spot though was actually the little garden on the side with the tall purple flowers.
The reception decor was simple and so pretty with candelabra's, crystal and a little bit of sparkle. The food in Portugal is just amazing. Dinner was served family style with so many different courses it was impossible to try them all! They are known for seafood, especially cod and the different cheeses and bread they have with every meal is a carbavour's (like me:-) dream. They did their first dance and then Sergio danced with his mom and Miriam with Sergio's dad. Then Sergio's parents danced while they added Miriam with her dad and Sergio with Miriam's mom until everyone was on the dance floor. Later into the evening, if you were still hungry they opened the doors to another room that had a full buffet of meats, cheeses, fruits, seafood, and dessert. Just before the end of the party we moved outside for them to cut the cake and fireworks! We got to know so many wonderful people! I have to say a special thank you to Luanne and Ploy for helping David wrangle our two one year olds while I was photographing the wedding. And of course to Miriam & Sergio for coordinating everything to bring us along and their parents Isa, George, Victor, & Lily for opening their home and being amazing hosts!
My husband, David, and I tagged teamed this one with him officiating of course:-) Katie & Ivan are very good friends of Lauren & Josh, one of our couples we've gotten to be good friends with as well. I was SO excited when we found out that we would be going to Portland, Maine, for their wedding! They are the kind of people you become immediate friends with are just so much fun! Portland is absolutely gorgeous with it's cobblestone streets, lighthouses, and of course lobster rolls and whoopie pies.
Their rehearsal was on July 4th across the bay so everyone could enjoy the fireworks over the harbor. The guys had the coolest place to get ready and even some pampering! The Mens Room Lounge had pool tables, big screens, and beer, what more could a groom and his groomsmen want? The girls were just down the street at the historic Portland Harbor Hotel. Katie's gown was perfect for their oceanfront wedding. The girls were in Navy with simple white calla lilies. One of Katie's bridesmaids' gifts to her was an ornament with their invitation inside, love that idea! Before we knew it, it was time to walk down the aisle!
David married them with the sailboats and view of the harbor behind them. We could literally have shot in old downtown all day:-) There are a few cobblestone streets cars aren't allowed to drive down with restaurants, shops, and people out enjoying the day. The sunset was absolutely stunning, thank you Lauren for being my lighting assistant!! Their guests enjoyed a laid back reception with of course lobster rolls and all kinds of deliciousness. Ivan and his family are from South Africa so they even enjoyed some of their delicacies! Their cake was a GIANT cupcake and lots of little treats like cake pops and these cupcakes that had frosting and cookie dough on them. It really couldn't have been more amazing, I loved every minute!! Congrats Katie and Ivan!! Thank you for brining us with you to capture your special day:-) xoxox
Venue | Portland Ocean Gateway | Guys Getting Ready | Men's Room Salon & Lounge | Girls Getting Ready | Portland Harbor Hotel | Coordination & Catering | Blue Elephant Catering | Hair/Makeup | Tonia Day | Band | Pete Kilpatrick Band | Sweets | Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott
I met Ami, from Entouriste Travel blog on twitter and she featured our Australia adventures! Entouriste is a community-based travel blog founded on a shared passion for travel and discovering the world one corner at a time. There are some pretty amazing trips on there, I love seeing the images and experiences people had. We're use to being on wedding blogs but why not mix it up!
I posted a bunch of random funny stuff from our trip, so here's the real stuff:-) We started in downtown Sydney and it really was amazing to see the Opera House and Sydney Harbor in person. I don't even think pictures really do it justice. Here's some of the views of the city and Bondi Beach.
We left Christmas day and arrived in Sydney on 12/27, since it's 14 hours ahead we totally skipped the 26th. When we were planning our trip we didn't realize how amazing it would be to be there to celebrate the new year. Australians do up the fireworks better than pretty much the rest of the world. We watched from the Royal Botanic Gardens as up to 6 sets of fireworks, with the most impressive coming off of the Harbor Bridge all happened at the same time.
I love koalas, kangaroos, wallaby's and even wombats! The Emu's I didn't love they are a little crazy. The wildlife there is just so awesome because you can get so close to the animals, and I love the kangaroos with the little joey's in their pouch.
From Sydney, we took a day trip to the Blue Mountains, which they call blue because the plans emit a color that makes the hills look blue. Gorgeous outlooks and beautiful scenery. Much different than Florida! Speed bumps are as close as it gets to mountains! It felt a lot like California with the varying climate and wine country!
Australia's land mass is almost as big as the US so unless you have a lot of time to spend you have to fly between cities. After Sydney, we flew to Cairns and took the historic Karunda railway which is an engineering feat that connects Carins and Karunda village. It takes you through the mountains, waterfalls, rainforest, and Barron Gorge. We rode that one way and took the skyrail back for a totally different view.
One of our stops was a duck boat tour through the rain forest, our guide was awesome! We also learned a lot about the aboriginal culture and their history, very interesting as well.
Cairns - pronounced "cannes" is the leaving point for great scuba diving spots on the great barrier reef. We are both scuba certified and I don't love it, but David does so I go anyway:-) To get to the really good spots you have to go on a live aboard and stay out on a ship on the reef. Our first day to get the the live aboard we were on a boat with 80 other people and I didn't like that one bit! Once we were on the live aboard, the M.V. Taka it was only 30 people and only about 20 divers and the rest snorkelers. We met an awesome family from South Africa and hung out with them the entire time. They had nicely laid out maps of each of the spots we went on the reef so I took pics of them.
I did 6 dives in 2 days and David did 7 because there was a night dive that I opted out of. Why you may ask? Well, the line for the safety stop out the back of the boat had tons of fish once they shined the light out and sharks as you can see. No way was I coming up through that! David did make it out alive so I guess it's relatively safe:-)
On to Melbourne, our third and final city, and the one I was most excited about because the have penguins! My most favorite thing we did was to go to Phillip Island to see the colonies of little penguins come out of the ocean to feed their babies that are nested all along the hillside. There were strictly no photos or videos allowed so all I could do was take a picture of the stands so you can see them, and show you what these little guys look like from the only other place we saw them which was at a nature preserve. They are only 12 inches tall and are actually a dark blue color. In the one photo you can just see the little beak poking out of the nest. Once the sun went down, little groups of them started coming out of the ocean a couple at a time and we literally saw hundreds of them just a few feet away from us. So it's a natural event that humans get to watch. AMAZING. I wish I could have one for a pet! I posted an official video at the bottom so you can get an idea of the event.
The Great Ocean Road was another day trip out of Melbourne and definitely a site not to be missed. The views were stunning. Along the way we saw the 12 Apostles, hiked through an ancient jungle, spotted some koalas in the wild, and some fun little beach towns and lighthouses.
We did actually spend some time in Melbourne and even though Sydney was amazing, Melbourne was actually my favorite. It's very European, and has lots of treasures but you have to go looking for them. Everything there is "art" the buildings, bridges, alleyways, pretty much anything they turn into art they do. It was the trip of a lifetime!
I have so much fun stuff to share from what really was a trip of a lifetime. We went to Australia for 2 weeks in Dec/January and I'm finally getting around to posting it. I'm going to post the pretty stuff too, but this is the weird, random, interesting stuff we found:-) Most of these are even with the iphone. Australia is a constitutional monarchy, which means it has a written constitution but Queen Elizabeth is still Australia's head of state. You can see the European influence, they love tea and scones, pronounced sc-on-s, not scones how you would think:-) One of our stops we got some and David didn't even share with me, but I love that that put a heart in my coffee and the giant chess table was a bonus!
We spent the first part of our trip in Sydney, which was an amazing city I especially liked China town, the market there had some very interesting fare. We found these $1 creme puffs sold out of a window. The pork floss I was definitely not willing to try!
The animals and wildlife there with the koalas, kangaroos, and wallaby's was probably my favorite part. I got to hold and pet koalas a few times and David enjoyed lounging with the Kangaroos. There are also very impressively sized giant ants!
Karunda was a railway you could take and a little town that the train left from outside of Sydney. I did not like some of the things they had in Karunda! Wombats were David's favorite animal and you can't hold those so that's as close as he got.
Cairns was our next stop to do some exploring and go scuba diving on the great barrier reef. As we were walking around at night there was the loudest noise you have ever heard and when you looked up there were hundreds of these brightly colored birds in the trees. They also have pay phones that you can text from.
In my next one I'll post more on the diving stuff, but this was our dive master trying to taunt sharks to come up to the edge so the snorkelers could see them, as you can see I'm inside the boat.
Our last city was Melbourne which was my favorite, because they have the largest colony of little penguins about 90 minutes from downtown. I love the Australian advertisements, they are both funny and just saying it like it is. Apparently Burger King is not allowed to be called Burger King there and there were these advertisements for no calorie slurpies everywhere!
One of my favorite things we saw downtown was a horse and carriage with the dog riding shotgun, so cute!
Downtown there was a block of streets dedicated to "street art", I have never seen so much graffiti in my life but it was cool.
We took a couple day trips out of the city from Melbourne and everywhere you went there were camper vans, that you can rent and just sleep and camp wherever you want. They were all decorated very interestingly and mostly inappropriate. Queensland is the sunshine state just like Florida:-)
Vegimite is an Australian favorite, it's this very very salty spread that is definitely an acquired taste. Our tour guide had some for us to try with tea as we were on the great ocean road looking for lighthouses and cool vantage spots
One of the little beach towns we stopped at had a sign that said "no horses or dogs on the beach". Now I can understand the dog thing I suppose but who brings their horse to the beach? Literally 2 seconds later There was a horse at the beach! David loves grocery stores so he was happy to see an IGA.
Just a collection of randomness.......
Last but not least. This picture is literally my favorite picture from the trip. I know, I didn't even take it. But, we were on the Great Ocean Road at this lookout and this old couple was sitting there exactly like this looking so grumpy. One of the girls on our tour had the same idea as me and snapped this photo. Before I had a chance to, the woman gave this girl the dirtiest look so I thought better of it. But, I still had to at least get a picture of it. Seriously it could be a work of art!
The Koalas, and little penguins (while I'll post more about later:-) were my main two reasons for wanting to go to Australia:-) I LOVE these cute furry animals. They aren't actually "bears" as many people mistakenly call them. The close of shots of them are at one of the nature parks we went to where you can get a close look at them and even pet them! When they are born they are the size of a pea in the mother's pouch, just like a kangaroo. After only about 36 days they much bigger in the pouch, and start crawling out and hanging on the mom's back. In the wild, they climb WAY up in the trees and plant themselves in the branches, the last 2 pictures are in the wild. They were really far up in the tree, the second one is actually of a mom and joey SO cute, I literally could have watched them for hours. I wish I could have brought one home with me!
David and I have had Australia on our bucket list for a l really long time! We saved up and actually got to check it off our list. We were there for 2 weeks and did all kinds of different things and met so many amazing people along the way! I usually don't take a real camera with me on vacation but obviously this is a little different circumstance:-) After leaving the US on Christmas day we arrived 2 lay overs and 24 later in Sydney! We totally missed December 26th, never even saw it! Our first day there we walked all over the city and did a tour of the Opera House. Sydney is one of the most amazing cities I've seen and SO expensive, even way more than New York or London! The views there are amazing, from Sydney Harbor the Harbor Bridge and Opera House are obviously some of their most photographed icons. The way the Opera House was designed was really interesting, everything has a purpose, the tiles on the outside are self cleaning, and inside the rooms there are no speakers or anything. Everything is designed so you can hear it the same from wherever you are in the room. There actually weren't too many places you could photograph inside but you will see some of the halls and entry way. Yes, David had to try and hold up the bridge:-) Accross the harbor, there is a little carnival looking place kind of like Navy Pier. The clown face is a little scary! These are some of my favorite views of the city scape:-)
Heather and Crafton live in Tampa now, but their story began when Heather lived in New York City! When we were talking about where to do their engagement session Heather was telling me how she wished we could do it there and I was like "why not"? So we did! I got to hear how the whole story unfoldeded beginning at Heather and her roommate's old apartment. One of their favorite places is the original Brother Jimmy's BBQ 1485 Second Ave. There are lots of random signs, rustic wood, a fun bar and the people there were so nice and excited to have us there. It was a whirlwind day! Time Square, the subways, some of their favorite parks and we ended in Bryant Park, named after Crafton's family. Just kidding:-) but actually it will be Heather's new last name in June! It was so much fun to hear them talk about how they met, and and all the fun memories of the places they love and how the fell in love with each other. I can't wait for their wedding it's going to be amazing!!! xoxoxo
I love the beginning of each new year, January and Febraury are the months I look back and the things we accomplished in the previous year, and areas of improvement and build our goals for the upcoming year. I just got back from Imaging USA, which is a huge Professional Photographers of America of annual conference. The classes, tradeshow, and people I met where amazing. One of the best things about it was the location. It was in New Orleans this year, which is my favorite city in the US. I lived there for about 6 months, met my husband David there, and have some lifelong friends there as well. One afternoon I walked around the Marigny area and just took some time to "see". It was a totally overcast day with flat natural light which was ok because there were no shadows and you could see the detail in everything. I could wander around there forever seeing just taking in the atmosphere. Here's a little bit of the scene that I saw that day, and you'll be seeing lots of new things from us in 2012, I can't wait!
Union Terminal originally was the Cincinnati railroad station. It has a very interesting history and in 1990 became the home for the, Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Robert D. Lindner Family Omnimax Theater, Cincinnati Historical Society Library, Duke Energy Children's Museum, The Cincinnati Railroad Club, and there are still a few trains that go in and out each week. Definitely a wedding venue that gives a totally unique feel. This location really brought out my creativity because of the different lighting opportunities both natural light and the way that the scene can be changed using off camera light. It's something I'm always working on! I love the green tile ice cream shop and the old trolley:-) The long hallways a huge windows are amazing. We'll be doing some more work coming up with these unique venues in Cincinnati coming soon!
Four inches of snow frosted Glen Eryie Castle for Shaunes and Brian's dream wedding on New Year's Eve. It wasn't just a gorgeous location but very meaningful to them both. Brian worked there one summer laying brick as they restored the carriage house. When he knew Shaunes was the one, he brought her there and they hiked up to Lady Bug hill and he told her her loved her for the first time. Brian walked down the staircase to the veranda outside to see Shaunes for the first time, just the two of them (and me and David:-). It was a truly a moment of joy, beauty, and love that was so special. Shaunes, Brian, and most of their guests traveled from the Chicago area and there were a number of people who couldn't come, so we live streamed the entire event using my iphone, blog, and hubby. It worked fabulously so those who couldn't come could at least get a glimpse of what it was like. It was literally 2 degrees and the girls especially were super troopers! The snow makes for a fabulous setting but it was sooooooo cold:-) The grand ballroom was decorated with florals and pine cone centerpieces. They had an amazing candy table and I love that their menus were also the little bag for their guests to fill with sweet treats. Peppermint hot chocolate that said "Our Warmest Wishes" for the favor and 3 New Year's Celebrations, Eastern, Central, and Mountain Time. Shaunes and Brian, congratulations and thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it:-)
We'll be back on at 4:45pm Mountain time!!
6:00-7:00pm cocktail hour, detail shots of reception candids of guests
7:25pm entrance of bridal party
7:30-8:30pm blessing, toasts, dinner
8:45pm cake cutting
9:15pm bride and groom first dance
10:00pm New York NY Celebration
11:00pm Chicago NY Celebration 12:00am Colorado NY Celebration
Pardon the cheeziness, but I recently watched the movie 27 Dresses again, and love how Jane finally finds a connection with Kevin when she realizes they share the same favorite moment during a wedding, when the groom sees the bride for the first time. That's my favorite moment too, the look on the groom's face really says it all! Kristin and Carl got married in downtown Racine, WI. The streets, textures, and character there was amazing! Kristin and Carl had their first date at Shillings Irish Pub which happened to be right around the corner. Watermelon pink dresses for the girls and classic black for the guys. They had lots of fun hats and headbands for their guests to wear for the reception and it was totally them and definitely a blast! Here's a little taste of what their day was like. Congrats Kristin and Carl!
It was nice to take a little break and go visit some amazing friends to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary of July 4th weekend! On vacation I still bring my camera but don't even think just try to recharge my creativity. So, wanted to share a few images and stories from our trip.......
Our first stop was downtown San Fran! I love the cable cars, they are pretty much timeless and in black and white could be from years ago or current times.
The streets of China Town have amazing colors and sounds everywhere you go. We even got to have lunch there with one of our wonderful couples!
Walking the streets this happened to be a "live" exhibit at a little art gallery.
Here's people's reaction to Ghanna losing in the World Cup.
I love the hills, it really brings out the character and you can see so much more than you can in Florida:-) This pink moving truck kept popping up as well.
Visiting the Crooked St is a must. I wonder how many accidents happen here?
Pier 39 another must. I could watch the Sea Lions all day long. There were tons of them, but my favorite one was this little guy all by himself.
One of the most beautiful drives I have been on was in the Monterrey/Carmel area. 17 Mile drive and Pebble beach.
This is a famous lookout point which a huge single tree growing on the rock.
Our friend Jason took this one of us, nice work!! The wetsuit was purely for the pics for me, it was freezing no way was I getting in that water!
The boys did some body surfing.......
Jason and Barbara's dog Scooter was worried about Jason being in the water so he was so happy:-)
One of our stops was Livermore, for wine tastings. I liked it even better than Napa because the character and ambiance was laid back the the people were so nice. Much less touristy. One we visited had this sign inside....
Concannon Winery, it was my fav! The nicest people and amazing wines!
I wanted to share a couple of images from before I was a pro:-) This was a long time ago, like 6 or 7 years! I was on a work trip in Rome and was really starting to get into photography. Whenever I travel for work, I always made a point to see as much as possible. So I drug my co-workers on a 2 day tour of Rome. In the travel book I had, one of the places it told you to go see just said "the best view of Rome". It told you how to get there but not what you would actually see. We actually found it!! It was these huge doors with a tiny key hole. When you look through the keyhole there was a beautiful garden and a perfect view of the Basillica. It was one of those amazing moments of beauty and accomplishment so I got some pretty cool pix with my point and shoot Minolta Dimage Z1. I would LOVE to capture a bride and groom in that garden, it's on my goal list:-) If you are ever in Rome you should definitely find this spot!
Our last stop before heading back to Barcelona was Palma de Mallorca. They are known for the beaches so it was the perfect place to take a catamaran trip around the coast. Our friends from South Africa came with us and David and Gert did a diving competition off the side of the boat. The water was amazing clear blue but a little bit chillier than the Gulf:-) That night we went to a dinner theater and met a couple from London on holiday. They were so nice, and ended up giving us a ride back to the ship at the end of the evening. Through chatting with them, they own a ballroom dance studio in London and have trained many of the dancers on dancing with the starts. They travel the world judging competitions as well. That’s what I love about traveling the world, you meet so many interesting people, and it gives you such a different perspective on life. So many people don’t get the opportunity to do that so I’m fortunate to bring it back with me in photographs. So, this brings our journey to an end, I can’t wait until the next one.
This was definitely the most interesting place on our trip. Everything was in Arabic and English. We went to Sidi Bou Said which started as a fishing village hundreds of years ago. It’s on a hill overlooking the ocean and if you live there your house has to be white with blue trim. They have markets called Souks, and the local thing is this decorative blue china that they sell. Seriously, I could shoot there for a really long time. Tunisia also has one of the oldest cities in the world, Carthage, so there are lots of Roman ruins there as well. Very close to the ruins was a huge brand new mosque so it’s a very interesting place because with all of the ancient history it’s also still a very modern city. David even got to ride a camel:-) Last stop Palma de Mallorca.