Anytime I can reference a Lord of the Rings quote to someone, anyone, and especially at a wedding, I just know it’s going to be a good day. I won’t go into details, but it involved a past bride and the fact that I was now Todd the White. I had flown through space and time, evolved if you will, and she had no power over me. We all laughed a good laugh, and I went on my merry way taking pictures as I do.
Marissa and Tom’s wedding was blessed with a typical Half Moon Bay day, which is slightly overcast and cool. A win win for brides in dresses and photographers trying to avoid harsh light. The Pacific Ocean was also right next door, and that’s a win for everyone involved. Any day at the beach is a good day, right? And so it was, on this fantastic beach day that Tom and Marissa merged their two lives and will go forward as one. I consider myself lucky to witness and photograph such happiness, coupled with the right amount of free spirit and goofiness. May the good times continue to roll…
I used to live on a sailboat. I’ve sailed over 7000 nautical miles, and 4000 of those were totally alone, up and down the Mexican coastline. I’ve encountered storms, thought pirates were going to come after me, close calls with tankers, and collided with a whale at over 5 knots. And then one day I sold my boat and left for the heart of Japan where there are no oceans, to swim in a field of powder for a few years. Now I am back along the coast, with some of the best sailing around, but I’ve managed to make it out on someone else’s boat a handful of times.
But I learned something all those years ago. You don’t need to sail around the world to have a real adventure. It’s actually right outside your door. So I loaded up my canoe to rendezvous with a friend who had just finished his home built kayak at the shores of the Pt. Reyes Peninsula along Tomales Bay. Before heading out for a quick paddle and overnighter, we loaded up on about 30 oysters each at Hog Island Oyster Co. With the B Vitamins pumping though my blood, we were ready to paddle. I was concerned about the wind and my big old canoe, especially since I would be solo paddling, but our weather window was descent, and Greg and I made short work of the mile and a half paddle.
What waited for us across the way was something totally unexpected: White sand beaches, clear water, lush forest, and some wild creatures that said hello in the morning whilst drinking a very strong cup of coffee. If you have the means to get up this way and are feeling like Tom Sawyer, I suggest you head out past the water’s edge. An adventure awaits indeed!
I love the weather. I look at my weather app everyday to see the forecast; to see what’s going on for the next few days. Since I keep bees now, I am always looking for what’s blooming – a eucalyptus here, some star thistle there, or maybe an acacia bursting with pollen. I also love outdoor weddings in beautiful settings. Annemarie and Eric chose to tie the knot atop Mt Tamalpais. As outdoor weddings go, it doesn’t get much better than this. That is of course, if it doesn’t rain. Well, luck was on our side, as the rain preceded all vows and brought a carpet of fresh fecund grass and dappled wildflowers to the hills. No one could ask for a nicer spring day. Here are a few of my favorites.
Just a quick casual Friday post of a photograph I snapped last weekend. I had the good fortune to attend a “workshop” put on by Capture Integration and hosted by plenty of nice folks. I quote the word workshop because the attendee list was full of full-time professional and advanced-amateur photographers. It was more of a gathering to play with some really amazing photographic tools – like Phase One’s IQ250 – graciously supplied by Capture Integration. Somehow I failed to link up with the crew for the sunrise shoot on Saturday, so I had to use my lowly Nikon D800 (just kidding – I am loving this camera every time I use it.) Driving around Highway 1 at 5:30AM, I made the call to pull over and capture what I could, where I was, with the system I had. This is one of my favorites from that crazy 30 minutes of light. Zero scout time + steep terrain make this a keeper for me.
When I first got into photography, landscape photography really drew me in. But the more I pursued it, in a way, I less interested I became. Maybe my pictures sucked? I dunno. I think I craved stories that changed, and changed quickly. In the words of one famous engineer, “I’m a people person! I have people skills!” But with all first loves, they somehow have a way of re-kindling the flames in your heart. This coming year I am looking forward to some early mornings, along with pushing myself to learn and progress with an art form that captivated me from the very beginning.
Our weather has been fantastic the last few weeks. Shit, the last few months have been great for the SF Bay area. So of course when the swell and the talent showed up, we’d get some haze in the air and crappy light for the morning location I had scouted. But after editing the photos and changing most of the surfing shots to black and white, they sort of fit the bill. Mavericks is cold and shitty most of the time. The for horn blows a consistent rhythm that neither ebbs nor floods with the tide. And even when it’s pumping, it’s a hazardous, grind you down, “I don’t give a fuck about you” place. It’s killed people, and will continue to do so as long waterman challenge it. I think there were at least two two-wave hold downs, even as the guys were equipped with on-demand inflatable vests. There’s so much power and water moving out there, the concept is hard to grasp until you see it in action. A pretty good example, if you’re a non-surfer, is to look at the 2nd wave shot. Look at that barrel! That’s a 40ft face pitching out over a shallow reef. Tons and tons of water.
When I quipped on Facebook to Peter Taras, the photo editor at Surfing Magazine about getting me on a boat, he fired back, “Get some photo-journalism stuff before the main event, and I’ll run it.” Cool and ’nuff said. The dock was pensive at O’dark thirty. All the big names of big wave surfing were prepping their gear, selecting boards, slugging coffee, and getting in the zone. No one could see how big it was, but everyone knew the swell was pumping. Just how pumping was the question. Be your own judge.
See you out there.
It was great to see so many faces yesterday at the Ritz Carlton in downtown San Francisco. I think we were short a few people due to the 49ers playing and successfully moving onto the NFC Championship. Obviously a tough game ahead, but we shall prevail! Anyway, getting back on task, if you stopped by the booth to say hello, thank you. We received some nice compliments, but my favorite among many was utter by Anna when she said this, “Your photos capture the essence of the couples and family. Your photos are real.” Aww, my heart sank. My job as a visual storyteller is wrapped up that gem of a nutshell.
Didn’t get a chance to meet me yesterday? That’s cool. Shoot me an email or call so we can set up a meeting at the studio. But don’t wait too long! Space is limited and weekends are booking up. Looking forward to hearing from you!
2013 brought so many amazing events and changes to my life: The continued success of my photography business, a great year keeping bees, meeting and collaborating fantastic colleagues, and of course, the birth of my baby daughter. Is it any wonder that 2014 would be any different? I think not!
I am thrilled to announce I’ve moved into a beautiful studio in San Francisco. I am still in the process of framing up new work for the walls, but when they’re up, I’ll snap a few images to let you see :) Until then…
Here’s wishing everyone an amazing 2014! And if you’re thinking of booking a wedding for 2014 – don’t hesitate – weekends are filling up quickly!
The door opened at the cafe, and when I looked up from my hot cocoa, we both smiled and let out a quick chuckle. Now, thinking back on the phone call I received from Brian, apologizing that they’d be a bit late for our meeting, of course that’s why his voice was familiar in some distant way. As it was, Brian just happened to once upon a time live one floor above me in the same dorm room some (many) years ago at Cal Poly SLO. “Out of all the gin joints in all the world…” But yeah, it is a damn small world.
So the world is small, but it’s also enormous. It’s full of wild encounters, amazing people, and endless stories. Today Raissa and Brian wrote their own story, on their terms. They tied their own knot, literally, as a symbol of their bond. Their wedding ceremony was intimate, love-filled, comedic at times (horse-radish!), and honest. I am honored to have been a part of it. What follows are some of my favorites. Enjoy!