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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shira And Andy's Wedding

I had the pleasure of photographing a great wedding last week.

I love Jewish weddings.  The rich tradition, the tight and bonded community, a traditional and positively ancient understanding of family; combined with usually easy-going people who definitely know how to have serious fun uplift my spirit.

And the fact that the couple is the incredibly fun Shira and Andy is the icing on the cake.  You've met them last January when I posted the blog on their engagement pictures

Wedding of a fun couple

Shira chose a colorful mixture of flowers in bloom

The loving kiss, a warm touch and gratitude that will last forever

We were talking about the family ties... There were two sets of rings during this wedding... The traditional rings of the bride and the groom...

Bride and Groom's rings...

And the rings of Shira's grandparents...

The lasting love herited from the grandparents of the bride in the form of rings

The ceremony and the reception was held at the beautiful Hillcrest Country Club on Pico Boulevard.

Hillcrest Country Club on Pico Boulevard is a gorgeous place for a wedding

A detail shot of the ceremony site.

The about-to-be-combined families ended Shabbat with a lovely Havdalah before the wedding ceremony.

The families ended Shabbat with Havdalah before the wedding ceremony

The wedding party was also a bunch of fun people, some family members, some close friends.  These are the people, along with the couple, that make my job so much fun ladies and gentlemen!
The fun peeps the photographer would like to have fun with

The ceremony was absolutely wonderful.  It took place under a gorgeous sky with some clouds dancing with the sunset causing slow color changes...

Wedding Ceremony under the blues sky at Hillcrest Country Club

Following the ceremony, while Shira and Andy caught their breath, they offered the guests a delicious gin gimlet they named "Shirandytini".

A delicious gin gimlet offered to guests by the bride and groom

Shira's attention to detail was obvious in this wedding.  The cake was yet another beautiful piece of art completing the night while it matched the bouquets in a colorful fashion.

Following the Hora and some dances before dinner, I witness something I often do during weddings... A moment when the couple only see each other.... Nothing and no one around them exists...

It's always fun to photograph the Hora!

The couple got lost in each other's eyes, even if for a moment, while the party was going on full-speed around them

Following the lovely and funny speeches given by the Best Man and the two Maids of Honors, the couple raised their flutes...

Champagne toast following the speeches of Best Man and Maid of Honor

The cake cut... I wish these guys will never stop laughing!

I had to take the couple away from all the fun an dances in order to snap a few night portraits.... Under this ridiculously well lit tree offering itself as a gorgeous background... Fairy tale pictures...

So much to look forward to!

Shira and Andy offered their guests a compilation of their favorite songs for coming to their wedding.  I was also a lucky recipient of this musical gift.  The couple's great eclectic taste of music shortened my drive back home at the end of the night.

The newlyweds gifted CDs to their guests

The bouquet was perfectly tossed! Good job Shira! (It's not as easy as you think!!!)

Andy's brother caught the garter... His girlfriend caught the bouquet.... I would love to see you guys again too!

This sums up how fun the night was....

However, I will be ending this week's entry with another kiss...  This was literally the last photograph I took that night... The martini shot as they call it in Hollywood...  I wish you a prosperous, healthy and happy life together Shira and Andy!  And I hope our roads will cross again!

The last shot of the night...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Burçin & Shai

I had the tremendous pleasure of documenting the wedding of Burçin and Shai a couple of weeks ago.  The wedding was at the beautiful Rancho Sol Del Pacifico looking at the Pacific Ocean from the hills of Santa Monica Mountains.
Purple and White Wedding at Rancho Sol Del Pacifico, looking at the Pacific Ocean from the top of Santa Monica Mountains

I met Burçin last year when she was looking for a photographer.  I also shot this couple's wild engagement pictures and those session spread out to 2 days and one night.  I was going to share those pictures first, but then I decided to wait as you will come to find out, nothing is ordinary with this lovely couple...  For instance,  they got ready together. 

First look? What first look?

Although they did see each other before the ceremony, Burçin managed to hide the dress and did not let Shai see her in it until she walked the aisle.

The Wedding Dress and Its Details
Let's do the details as well...

The bouquet, the cufflinks and the rings.

Getting a bit creative with the wedding jewelery

The Bride's Shoes were Christian Dior

The beautiful bride...

The bride is getting ready

The bride on the couch by the window

The ceremony was officiated by the Best Man and he did a great job keeping it freshly original and unique.  Ed practically treated the family and friends of the couple to a stand-up show, without ever getting the spot light off of the couple.  Here you can see him wearing a Fes AND a Yarmulke to represent both cultures of the couple (one is from Turkey, the other from Israel) and also, he has a German beer mug in his hand (yes, of course that is real beer) to celebrate the birthplace of the bride.

What does Fes, Yarmulke and beer have in common?

Once the ceremony was over, the couple immediately started to get ready for the wild night ahead...
Delicious shots to get ready for the night.

The night was full of action and surprises...  There was a burlesque show to a medley of Led Zeppelin covers by a great jazz trio...

Burlesque Show at the wedding

There was the Hora dance...

The newly weds are enjoying a bottle of champagne during their Hora Dance

There were flaming shots (more on that later)...
The bartender prepares the shots with his special gloves.

There was Burçin finding out for the first time that her husband can carry a tune on the trumpet...

There was a group hug towards the end of the night that gradually got bigger...

And here is more of those flaming shots...

May the sun shine on your collective lives and on your fortune forever the lovely couple!

Sun is shingin on the newly weds.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cajun & Blues Festival on Memorial Day

There is a tradition in Simi Valley... A Cajun & Blues Festival celebrating the music and the food of Louisiana.  My wife is from New Orleans, so I joined her and my daughter this year to enjoy this lovely cultural event.  I decided to document the entire primarily with one lens.  Sometimes I challenge myself to do such things to various degrees of success. Past examples include 105mm Macro approach to the life with a baby & the recent event to support the protesters in Istanbul that I shot using the 50mm). 

This time I did OK.  I had to change the lens for a few shots that I will be sharing at the end of the post...

Obviously, it is always the greatest pleasure to photograph my daughter...

Vivienne dancing to Cajun music

I really love "blind shots".  I have a pretty good aim as I usually do practice shooting from the belt or from various angles without looking through the viewfinder.  And, no, I do not use the live view to shoot... Ever.

A blind-shot is defined by me as a photograph taken without looking through the viewfinder or the screen behind the camera.

Another shot from the belt... Well, it was kind of from the chest actually, but you get the idea.  The festival had its share of colorful costumes, which I did not particularly care to photograph.  But when I saw these four, I clicked away.

All the Miss Gold Coasts showed up

A fascinating guy demonstrating the mighty garlic grater...  I almost bought one.  Almost...

2013 Simi Valley Blues and Cajun Music Festival

Another blind-shot...

Some of you might remember that I do have an obsession with reflections.  When I saw Vivienne's and grandma's reflection in those glasses I snapped away.  One of the beautiful things about that 50mm, it's not heavy so you can shoot quickly...

Vivienne having a great time dancing on her grandma's shoulders and mommy is all smiles.

The family dancing together....

An absolute must in any festival, event that has anything to do with New Orleans is this delicious hurricane drink... It was yummy and surprisingly loaded.

An absolute must!

Alright, now let's talk about why I caved in and changed the lens...

When I saw this out of place ATM underneath the tree facing the Blues stage, I decided that the only way to capture its ridiculously imposing presence would be from a low angle, yet the 50 wouldn't do justice to the dramatic effect I wanted to give to it... So, I grabbed the 18mm for this shot.

This should not be put in the nature...

Than, I proceeded towards the Blues stage where people put up their chair and were enjoying a beverage or two and watching the concert while chatting away with their new-found friends.  I wanted to be that fly-on-the-wall and snap pictures that would portray the atmosphere and the state these people were in... The "laissez les bons temps rouler" motto of the Big Easy was alive and well in this Sunday afternoon...  Yes, I could also refer to "easy like Sunday morning"... Why not?

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Next week, I am planning to share one of the most interesting, creative and crazy engagement shoots I have ever done...  See you then ;o)