Chester

February 14, 2012

Last month, I was invited to photograph Chester, Carol’s 17 year old poodle. Or shall I say 17 years young?  I was greeted by a spunky little fella that certainly didn’t behave like an old dog. Oh no! Chester literally ran down the sidewalk to me and licked me in greeting.  I could barely get him to sit still the entire session. Don’t let these still shots fool ya – there’s lots of spark left in this ol’ boy.  And I see a twinkle behind those cataracts. ;)   Here are a few of my favorites from that day.

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20110911_Robinson_Smith__0259I had so much fun with these two – how effortless they were together and definitely having fun while in love. It’s what engagement sessions are supposed to be all about!  We started off with an urban look and I sought out some grungy scenery but yet, there is still beauty to be found in hidden areas of our city. Then we stepped up the look to some serious, sexy glam (whoa, both B & T were HAWT!) and went out on the town until that golden hour…

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Perfect couple, perfect location, perfect light…and eventually, perfect timing.

So much so that I am going to start up my blog again with this fabulous couple, Kathleen and Avery. I was honored to capture Kathleen’s sister’s wedding several years ago and even more so that she has asked me to photograph her special day. When she and Avery set up their engagement session with me, they invited me to an amazing estate. Needless to say, I was in awe after just taking in the breathtaking driveway…and little did I know what else was in store for me…

This was a two-part session because shortly after starting down this driveway on day one, thunder cracked over head and we raced to get inside the house. Then began a horrendous storm that shook the house, doused the power, and brought down trees and power lines all around the surrounding neighborhood. One street was even blocked by a huge fallen oak!

We picked up a few weeks later (can you even tell? ;) ) and started again. This time, we completed the entire session – and then the thunderstorms broke loose just as I got in my car! Whew!

It was also perfect as it was my first engagement session with my newly converted Infrared 5D – a full sensor B&W Infrared DSLR – and I’m LOVIN’ IT!hogan0120110709_Hogan_Clay_000520110709_Hogan_Clay_0018hogan0220110709_Hogan_Clay_0091hogan0320110709_Hogan_Clay_0109hogan04hogan05hogan0620110709_Hogan_Clay_017920110709_Hogan_Clay_0182hogan0720110709_Hogan_Clay_0213hogan0820110709_Hogan_Clay_0234

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Octavia & Kane: A Higher Love

December 15, 2010

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When Octavia first met me in January, I was struck not only by her beauty but her statement, that she and Kane were getting married on the Peachtree Club Terrace.  Terrace?  What terrace?  Now, it had been YEARS since I had shot my one and only wedding at PC but I had no idea that they had built a terrace! And at the 28th floor, the PC can proudly boast the highest outdoor terrace in Atlanta for events and weddings.  Can’t get any higher than that!

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That day as the details of their wedding unfolded around us, I was in awe of Octavia & Kane’s style. From her chic fascinator and birdcage veil to his ivory tux and the tropical accents,  this was a gorgeous event.  And pulling it all together for them was the fabulous Mary Whelan of Table 6 Productions! Just check out some of the amazing eye candy I captured.020sharizellers091810054sharizellers091810

Can I just say that this risky shoe shot was totally worth it?  I know I made some folks nervous but I love it!  Heavenly…021sharizellers091810

This group needed very little prompting to “bring it on” – so fun.

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My stunning couple before their wedding.  Marlene Hawthrone-Thomas got a really suave angle on Kane with his shades!039sharizellers091810046sharizellers091810sharizellers091810_03

Their ceremony and floral decor was breathtaking and I thought Fuji Floral Design blew it out with this floral & drapery chandelier.  Everyone getting married on this terrace should do this!070sharizellers091810

I do love outdoor weddings where I can move around and get some terrific angles.  sharizellers091810_04sharizellers091810_05

And for romantics, how about a little sunset up high?090sharizellers091810

and then a little down low…sharizellers091810_06094sharizellers091810

More details from their reception where the tropicals just glowed in the candlelight and the champagne bubbled with the twinkle lights.sharizellers091810_07

The spectacular view at night! And that chandelier was the perfect backdrop for dancing their first dance.141sharizellers091810115sharizellers091810

Jammin’ DJ’s kept that beautiful dance floor well, jammin’! sharizellers091810_08145sharizellers091810143sharizellers091810

After a sparkler send off, this fun couple said good night and rode off in a sleek stretch limo.

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Thanks Octavia & Kane for being truly wonderful and fun.  Congratulations!  You can watch more of their fantastic wedding day (and rehearsal) in the slideshow below.

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At the risk of sounding redundant, I had so much FUN with Stephanie & Mike!  OK, I admit it, that was redundant but what the heck. ;o)  If there is one thing that I think more people should have in life, it’s fun. And DEFINITELY when I’m shooting your engagement session. I love my job!

Mike & Stephanie brought along their yellow lab, Taylor, for a few shots. Taylor thinks that he is a greyhound, though as you’ll see in the last few shots…abramski01

A little fun along the ‘Hooch!  (Note to self: don’t presume that gross stuff on the dock will not show up in the shots.  I spent a goodish amount of time editing for the goose schtuff here!)abramski112010_0035abramski112010_0046abramski112010_0052

I like to think that a couple that laughs together will stay together.  If I’m right, these two are set FOREVER. ;o)  Can you get any cuter than this?abramski02

The color here was so incredible. I just soaked it in, stepped back and loved it.abramski112010_0107abramski03

Quick change and off to City Hall.  It was only a few steps away but a whole different look!abramski112010_0136abramski04abramski112010_0174abramski112010_0162

They were still playful though…abramski112010_0186abramski05

And here is Taylor’s greyhound moment.  Apparently (and I have now witnessed this first hand), he is the fastest lab ever.  I mean this dog can RUN!  So, I tried -like three times! – to get shots of him running after them.  I got him in the frame…sometimes….!abramski06

Thanks so much Stephanie & Mike for making my day with you such a blast!  You gotta see more of their awesome personalities in their slideshow below!

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Holiday weekends almost always mean weddings for me – yup, no holiday for me!  However, I’m honored to be photographing these even more special days because this is more than just a holiday to celebrate but the beginning of a new family, a new chapter and a date to remember.  This past Labor Day weekend, I got to shoot Ashley and Anthony’s wedding at Cedar Plantation!

We started the day at Ashley’s home where I captured some moments while the girls got ready. Then we headed to the Plantation to get her into THE dress!008allgood090510allgood01

Here are some favorites of our pre ceremony shots.021allgood090510020allgood090510allgood03allgood04026allgood090510allgood02

Cedar Plantation has such a beautiful ceremony area. The gazebo with twinkly lights is so romantic!  But what I really love are the trees.  Oh, and the vine covered house.  And the floral pathway with a gas lamp promenade!allgood05allgood06054allgood090510

I love the look on Anthony’s face here. Such love!062allgood090510064allgood090510069allgood090510allgood07

The driveway out front was perfectly lit at the “golden hour”…094allgood090510

Introducing – Mr & Mrs….the first dance!100allgood090510

And they had some awesome parent dances, too…103allgood090510107allgood090510108allgood090510allgood08

153allgood090510and they lived happily ever after! ;o)

Thanks Ashley & Anthony for a fabulous holiday weekend!  For more images of this fun couple, click on their slideshow:

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I am so happy to show you Brittney & Theo’s wedding in St. Augustine!  Not only do  I LOVE Greek weddings, I love destination weddings so this was just perfect for me! With all my destination couples, I offer them a free “Day After” session so we can take advantage of  the local landscape. SO, I was thrilled when Brittney & Theo agreed to meet me the day after their wedding at the fort, Castillo de San Marcos!

I also offer to capture the rehearsal dinner included in our destination coverage.  Here their officiant is blessing the dinner and upcoming nuptials.economos082810_0251

Cheers!economos082810_0292economos082810_0308

We always stay at the same hotel with our couples so we can get to them easily for the getting ready shots.  As we arrived, the gals were pourin’ the mimosas!  The guys were off playing in the rough surf – there was a tropical storm off the coast and the waves were enormous! Their ceremony was at the Greek church so a quick limo ride away and Brittney got into her dress there.econ01economos082810_1110economos082810_0343econ02

A few favorites from their ceremony.  Did I say I love Greek weddings?! ;o)econ07economos082810_0484

This church, while much smaller than our Greek Orthodox Cathedral here in Atlanta, still offered some interesting architecture that I loved.economos082810_0519econ03

econ04After a few shots at the church following the ceremony, we headed to St. Augustine’s The White Room for their reception.economos082810_1144economos082810_1145economos082810_0759econ05

Their romantic first dance and parents’ dances were followed by the traditional Greek dancing – another favorite moment of mine to photograph!  The room here is just gorgeous!economos082810_0915economos082810_0979econ06economos082810_0858economos082810_0743

The next day as we met up for the Day After session at the fort, that tropical storm threatened us!  We knew we had to work fast or else get completely drenched but there was so little parking available!  Then, as we got out of the car, a little girl spotted our princess….and was awestruck.econ08econ09economos082810_1460economos082810_1432

We worked really fast and just kept moving quickly – it was a whirlwind session.  I called “Done!” right after these shots below and by the time we walked to our cars, it was POURING.  econ10

I’m so happy that Brittney & Theo let me capture their wedding and this FUN day after session.  Thank you guys soooooo much!  We had a blast and you can watch more of their destination wedding weekend in the slideshow below!

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Our day with Meredith and Todd was perfect except only one thing – the heat & humidity!  Whew!  We got so lucky that only a few drops of rain found us early in the day but the threat was there all day with a heavy shroud of humidity the whole time.  So, despite that, what a wonderful wedding!  My good friend, Hilarye Schoyt of Fotographa helped me out with second shooting that day and we had a blast.  Here are a few of my favorites from their day:

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Their ceremony was at their hometown church, Tucker United Methodist – just down the street from where I used to live!  We met Meredith getting ready with a former client of mine doing her hair, Joanna Penny Palmer!  That was a sweet surprise. ;o)  weyandt04

Then we got Meredith and Todd set up for their first look in the sanctuary..weyandt05weyandtsneak_0009weyandt03

(These shots of Meredith were actually at their reception venue, Vines in Loganville!)weyandt02weyandtsneak_0014After a few romantics and portraits around the church, we got ready for the ceremony. A gorgeous sanctuary, I really loved the way the balcony put us so close to the altar.weyandtsneak_0017weyandtsneak_0016weyandtsneak_0019weyandtsneak_0021

While we were allowed in the sanctuary, I still liked the view offered by the window panes on the narthex doors.weyandt07Off to the Vines for some fun and celebration!  We sure have had a lot of jumping weddings this summer!

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First a very warm stroll across the lake…101weyandt081410_0731weyandt08

It was so steamy, my lens kept fogging up each time I took another frame of the building from outside!

weyandtsneak_0033A few warm, candle-light details beneath antique chandeliers. And a beautiful, romantic first dance under the stained-glass dome…weyandt01

and a scramble to be the next bride & groom!weyandtsneak_0037weyandtsneak_0038weyandtsneak_0039weyandt10

Their sparkler exit was perfect and HOT! ;o)weyandtsneak_0036

Thanks so much to Meredith, Todd and their families for a fun day!  To see more of the fun and romance, click on their slideshow below!

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Close To My Heart

October 21, 2010

001I’m going to state the obvious here:
Without arts education when I was in grade school and high school, I would not be here today. I do not know where I would be but I can tell you, it would not be a very happy place. And it would be a world where I had not photographed hundreds of families, babies, children and special events in people’s lives. It would be a very sad world if you ask me.

I consider myself lucky – that I grew up in a time (70′s & 80′s) where art education was not only alive but thriving. Sure, there was still a struggle for financing the arts (I did lots of fund raising for different art community projects) but at least we had art education IN SCHOOL. Guess what? The state of Mississippi does not have that in public schools today! So, I’m trying to help out my good friend & fellow photographer artist, Will Jacks. He and the Delta Arts Alliance in Cleveland, MS are competing for a $50k scholarship to fund art programs for the underprivileged children of the heart of the Delta.

Let me sum it up here: All you have to do is vote online as many times and as fast as your fingers and computer/internet connection will allow.
Vote HERE: http://www.fndmidsouth.org/do-gooders/vote-mississippi
Vote now, vote often, for the next 8 days so the arts can stay alive in this area and hopefully keep the hope alive, too.

Here is Will’s plea for help and some amazing images already created by students in some of their arts programs.

Hi all –

http://deltaartsalliance.blogspot.com

http://www.fndmidsouth.org/do-gooders/vote-mississippi

I’m back to ask for a little bit more of your time and your help.

Some of you may have already seen this post:

http://forums.pictage.com/showthread.php?t=38957

We are nearing the homestretch. We are close to finding out who will be awarded the potential $50k Mid-South Do-Gooder Award. Only 8 days remain.

We have been sending out as many emails as we can. We have signs posted all over our little town encouraging folks to vote. We’ve had “laptop” parties where groups of people gather to vote as much as possible and provide support and fellowship to each other. Many of you have pitched in and helped out, and I am so grateful to each of you for that.

Yesterday, we received a bit of a punch in the gut when we were informed by the Mid-South group that the folks ahead of us were coming out in pretty significant numbers. The program currently leading the voting is based out of Mississippi State University. They have put a call out to all of the current students (12k +) as well as the alumni base spread all over the world.

Our little town is barely 10k people.

You see, this is a bit of a David vs. Goliath thing — and that kind of sucks, because the truth is everyone nominated is providing worthwhile programs. But I’m biased — and I hope you are too.

Everything is rooted in creativity. Everything. We do not change the world with industrial brilliance without creativity. We do not overcome economic challenges without creativity. We do not open hearts and minds and souls without creativity. We do not leave the world a better place for future generations without creativity.

As humans, we NEED to create. We cannot make it through a day without doing so. Our minds WANT to create. But too often we are not encouraged to do so — at least not at the same level as many other things we are taught are important to being a responsible adult — because that act of being creative — of being an artist — is often paralleled with being a dreamer. Being irresponsible. Being impractical. Being lazy. So it slowly becomes stifled, yet is lauded from the rooftops when a truly breathtaking and unique idea is brought to life. But those ideas don’t appear out of thin air. They are nourished and encouraged, and they come from years of practice and training in being . . . . creative.

I believe that each of us is born with abilities to make something out of nothing. Sure, some are naturally more gifted than others, but we all possess much more significant abilities than we often realize. We just need training and encouragement to see those abilities thrive. In order to continuing moving forward through this world in a positive direction, we must find ways to build that which we have no idea how to build.

Sounds a bit like engineering, doesn’t it? Because it is. Creativity is the root of engineering. And mathematics. And science. And law. And economics. And anything else that we normally assume to be practical. And identifiable. And WORTH OUR TIME. Someone had to first come up with the concepts of those practices. And I’d say that person had to have been pretty damn creative.

We MUST learn to be open and thoughtful and unique in our problem solving skills in order to find solutions that lead to fruitful lives for everyone. For many, opportunity and encouragement for this type of education is bountiful. But it is shrinking at alarming rates. In many areas, it is gone completely, save a few programs created by folks that can’t fathom to see the creative spirit diminished.

The Delta Arts Alliance is such a program, and it serves an area that is in dire need of creative solutions to pull itself out of the harsh living conditions of many of its residents. We currently employ 25 artists (at nominal salaries of about $5k each — so they, too, are volunteering quite a bit of their time) that provide arts education to nearly 3000 children. Education that would no longer be offered in our public schools if it weren’t for this organization. Ours is a region where the median income is a hair over $15k. In some of the communities we serve that total is barely $6k.

We don’t just provide arts education. We provide hope. And opportunity. And friendships. And — at the risk of sounding a bit Hallmark-ee — love.

We desperately need this grant to insure that our program can continue to grow and touch as many lives as possible.

So, I am hoping my words will appeal to all artists. To all of you who cherish the creative spirit and understand the importance of nourishing it. I am asking you to not only visit the links above to find out a bit more about our tiny but passionate group; to not only vote as much as you possibly can for the Delta Arts Alliance at the Mid-South web site (here it is again just in case: http://www.fndmidsouth.org/do-gooders/vote-mississippi); but to share my plea with as many folks as you can.

Copy and paste this post if you’d like. Send folks to the DAA blog. If you’d like photos you may use the ones I’m posting below. But please, please, PLEASE help me generate a voice of artists that will help express how important creativity is, and how silent our world would be without it. Your support of the Delta Arts Alliance is a step in this direction.

Thank you all. If there is anything I can do to help you spread the word, please let me know. And, perhaps more importantly, if there is anything I can do to help YOU, please let me know that as well.

With the utmost appreciation,

Will005004003002

Now, go vote.  Now.  Now. Now!


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If you’re not a wedding photographer, you might think that shooting all these engagement sessions is incredibly fun and not hard work at all.  You’d be half right. ;o)  It’s actually a ton of fun sometimes but it’s ALWAYS hard work.  I find that the most challenging part is not necessarily my subjects but rather finding new locations.  Or rediscovering “old” locations…

Lee & David both went to Georgia Tech and since this is something they not only have in common but where they started dating, it’s super special to them. They also wanted to so some “nature” type images, too so I found a park in Buckhead that another client had told me of so we have two locations or “worlds” we’re going to shoot for.   Now, I have had many sessions at Georgia Tech over the years so I wanted to approach the campus differently this time.  It’s not like it’s not a beautiful campus – it is.  But this time, I wanted to explore it and find some new aspects or architecture to not only inspire me but to really put an accent on the idea that this was a cool place to go to school and fall in love.  I also wanted to use architecture and more inorganic structures to balance out the natural and organic images we would do at the park.

As we wound our way around the campus beltway trying in vain to find a parking space (classes were in and it was FULL all over), I noticed this “catwalk” type of bridge between two buildings and made it my goal to get us there. Well, obviously Lee & David knew their way around so I gave them the goal…;O)  Little did I know what was waiting for me to actually climb up to the bridge – this incredible yellow staircase…

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So, exploring lead to another cool architectural vignette for us to shoot!  I was really digging the contrast of the warm yellow against the cool blue sky so I showcased that with the silhouette of them at the top of the stairs.  After shooting that day and editing the images, I realized that I subconsciously make many of my locations do “double duty” by shooting them at several angles – from low to high or back to front.  You get more images to chose from, too so more chances for success.  I don’t always really see this when I’m shooting – it just comes automatically.  I apparently really did this with Lee &  David and the results are quite amazing!

The bridge – while on the bridge with them…taing091410_0032

and from below, looking up at them…taing091410_0019

Two ways of showcasing iconic campus landmarks…subtle and obvious.

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Coming and going…this couple looks GOOOOOOOOOD.   I’m sorta digging the sunglasses – cool lines in the reflections.   And for some reason, I’m obsessed with Lee’s hair (because I secretly yearn for perfectly straight, glossy hair like hers).taing03

Another way to say, “We’re Techies!”?taing091410_0062taing091410_0076

Then we headed to the park in Buckhead (just south of actually).  I had never been there but another client described it and it’s location and I found it on Googlemaps.  It turned out to be AWESOME.  Of course, I may just be biased since I’d never been there before but it truly had some nice areas.  Along with the perfect late-day-setting sun, it was magical to me.taing04taing091410_0092taing091410_0101

Bench two ways!  As Markus would say, “So hot, so hot!”taing091410_0118taing091410_0120And finally my favorite spot ended up being the last and the light was oh-so-delicious…this creek (Peachtree? not sure) with large rocks perfect for sitting in front of the setting sun…taing091410_0141taing5

I did have so much fun exploring that day and can’t wait to apply that to my next session!  See more of my fun with Lee & David in their slideshow below.

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