Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wedding in Yosemite (Tenaya Lodge): Alina and Tony's Big Day

Last year, our good friend Alina, asked me to photograph her wedding near Yosemite. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to capture this big day for a close friend in one of the most beautiful areas of the world. So, last Thursday, the family made the trip to Fish Camp, CA to be a part of her big weekend. My wife was assisting me (and did an awesome job), my son was capturing video for them, and my daughter was helping me shoot some of the detail shots from the wedding. It was a family affair for sure!

On Friday morning, we headed with Alina and Tony (who we had just met for the first time the day before) into Yosemite Valley to capture images of them. Not a bad backdrop for engagement images, huh? For this shot, Annette was holding a diffuser above the couple to avoid nasty shadows and I added some light from my flash.

I projected some of the images at their wedding reception and people asked if these were taken with fake backdrops. That made me laugh.

We took these images on Saturday, before the wedding. This shot is really special, since Alina's brides maids were her sister and 4 other girls who she has been friends with since grade school.

What can I say here? She looked awesome!!

This is a really cool shot of Alina's ear ring. My wife wanted me to key in on these, so we set up the shot to frame the close-up shot with her bouquet. I did not have to edit much in this image but I did sharpen the earring to draw more attention to it.

The wedding took part on the newly constructed patio at the Tenaya Lodge. This hotel is located about 3 miles from the Southern entrance to Yosemite. It has a great view from this vantage point, but the direct sunlight posed a bit of a challenge for photography.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Tony Black. :)

I shot this image during the Best Man's (Tony's brother) speech. I love the reaction from both the bride and the groom.

About an hour into the reception, the sun started setting, and I started shooting couples shots of everyone who wanted them. Some beautiful cumulus clouds had rolled in and it made for an awesome site in the sky. Of course, I made sure to get the most important couple at the best light. :)

This is the couple's first dance. Somewhere during the song, one of the groomsmen yelled out for Tony to spin the bride, and I caught this moment. I think that her smile says it all.

On Sunday, we met up again for some more pictures. Alina wanted to get a couple more images for the collection, so she donned the dress one more time. Tony was gracious enough to endure more of us, and the four of us went out shooting again. Annette and I had scouted out some other cool locations the day before so we knew exactly where to go. In this shot, we used a nearby birch tree for some fun.

We found this great little area with two old metal chairs under this log frame. Since I wanted to show the couple and the wood structure, I decided to pop on the fish eye lens and got in close on the couple.

This meadow was literally right around the corner from the Tenaya Lodge. Annette and I spotted this field on the first day and knew that it would be a great place to shoot portraits. Luckily, we had an overcast evening, which served two purposes. For one, it gave us nice even light to work with, and secondly, it kept all the bees off of the flowers (which were absolutely swarming with yellow jackets the days before when we checked it out).

While I was shooting the standard portrait shots, Annette found this huge dandelion and set up this shot.

 It was a great idea (and I can't take any of the credit for thinking of it - darn!)

A month ago, I scouted this area while making my way to Yosemite to work with Canon. As I left the Tenaya Lodge, I saw this very cool lake (well...really a large pond) and thought that the rocks on the other side would make for a cool reflection shot. For our last shot of the weekend, Tony and Alina made the walk through the brush, while I set up on the opposite side of the water. Using a Canon 100-400 lens (so that I could grab close-up and wide shots) and a Gitzo tripod I started working. I felt that the image needed a little more fill light. So I put on my 580EX II flash and turned it on. My wife was astounded that the flash would have any effect on the other side of the lake. But, trust me, the flash did travel the 150 feet (or more) and helped make this shot. This is one of my favorites from the weekend.

Some notes for other wedding photographers (lessons learned):

1. Scout out locations carefully and think about the time of shooting for that location (sunlight and shadows).
2. Be willing to adjust your shooting schedule since bride's and groom's schedules change by the minute.
3. Hope for good weather.
4. Have fun with your subjects, since you are spending so much time with them.
5. Always work with an assistant since they are seeing more than you are.
5. Finish the day with pizza and beer!


Anonymous said...

I like your work, great shots..

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