Sunday, September 5, 2010

A celebration of 13 years

Let me start this blog entry by saying that this was a very difficult start to the long weekend. On Friday, as a favor to a co-worker who also happens to be my neighbor, I photographed the memorial service for his 13 year old daughter who recently passed away. It was an extremely difficult time for everyone in the church and if it were not for the "distraction" of my camera, I am not sure that I would have been able to keep any sense of composure. The biggest challenge was trying to shoot images while fighting all my own emotions.

And then...yesterday...another service for a 13 year old, but this time it was an upbeat celebration. It was my chance to capture Alex's Bar Mitzvah with him and his family.

Alex and his dad in front of Temple Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, CA.

And since I had him already standing on the wall, we had mom get into the act and we got this nice shot. This family really likes to have fun, so I made it a point to take some more informal poses and let them be themselves.

As I was preparing my camera gear for shooting the service in the synagogue, I looked up and saw this amazing light falling on Alex's grandfather.

At the beginning of the service, Alex came to the bema and asked everyone to rise, only to find out that it was not time for everyone to stand. And then almost immediately he asked everyone to sit down. This made for a great laugh for everyone and I grabbed this spontaneous moment. I love these moments!

In the evening, the family had their party at the Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos, CA and it was awesome. Here is Alex's sister, cousin and friend getting ready to party. We took off her cousin's belt and put it around all the girls.

Alex leads the conga line for his friends and family.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know how I like to drag the shutter of the camera to get these cool effects. I asked this young man to swing his glow-stick around and we had some fun.

We had a beautiful evening last night and the party was set up inside and out. The caterer (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme) made a HUGE serving of paella, and not only was it amazing to watch them cook this up, but it was fantastic. This large pan served more than 100 people.

Towards the end of the evening, I was taking some photos outside the winery when Alex came out. I asked him to stand in the entryway and give me a celebratory "I made it!" jump. And he did. This is one of my favorite images from the day.

And to cap off the evening, I wanted to take one last family picture. A couple of weeks ago, we shot Alex's portrait for his sign-in board, and the whole family did headstands. So I thought that it would be fun to have Sheldon  (Alex's father) do one more headstand for the final shot. A really fun shot for a really fun family!

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