Friday, October 31, 2014

The October Blur

Two days after I returned from a wedding in New York City, I was in Norfolk, VA to photograph the L.D. Britt, MD Scholarship Fund Dinner. The scholarship was established in 1995 in recognition of Dr. Britt's dedication to medicine and philanthropy. The scholarship is awarded annually, in honor of Dr. Britt, to a deserving minority student who plans to pursue a doctor of medicine degree.

I photographed the event last year and Dr. Britt specifically requested me to shoot this year's dinner. It is a lot of meet and greet photography but I hustle to keep up with all of the folks. Dr. Britt is an absolute pleasure to work with and before I left that evening he invited me to photograph the 2015 dinner. I will be there and I look forward to it.

Congressman Scott and Dr. Britt

That weekend I was off to photograph Jess and Brian's wedding at the Apple Blossom Plantation in Providence Forge, VA. Peggy, the owner, was wonderful to work with and she has a fantastic venue. The house has one of the most spacious bridal suites I've ever worked in. 

I shot their engagement session earlier in the year and I had an absolute blast working with Jess and Brian on their wedding day! When you combine a lovely venue, a wonderful coordinator, and an awesome couple like Jess and can't help but have a great day as a photographer!

Jess and Brian had a handfasting ceremony

I have a great shot of the Jess and Brian at this gate and, for some reason, has lightened my shadows to make it look HDR-ish. I'm not sure why, because it is lit the same as the shot above. I'm not going to post it since blogger is making a good photo look terrible.

One of those little moments between moments!
The following week I shot a meet and greet with former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Senator Olympia Snowe at the Ferguson Center for the Arts.

 Former Senator Snowe talks with former Newport News Mayor Joe Frank

They also took a moment for a photo with one of the staff members.

After a busy few weeks and several more coming up, I decided to take a day off. There was some surf coming in and I decided to take a trip down to Oregon Inlet, NC before the fall temperatures moved in. The surf was closed out. So what do surfers, who are also photographers, do then? We take photos...

Shane getting shots before the section closed out.

It was so refreshing to spend some time in the water! A couple of days later I was off to Harrisburg, PA to photograph Frank and Theresa's wedding. I shot their engagement session back in July while they were on vacation in Sandbridge, VA. The evening of their engagement session we were pelted with wind driven sand but on their wedding day, morning showers gave way to a beautiful afternoon.

Harmony Hall in Middletown, Pa, another lovely venue, was where they had their reception.

Frank (just out of frame) really made the above image happen! He stood on the edge of the rocks, lifted the veil over his head, and then jumped off the rocks as the veil drifted down. We probably did this a half a dozen times to get this one frame. Another great couple to work with! A side note: the shadows are darker than they appear here. Blogger apparently doesn't like my blacks being black.

Then it was back home to Virginia and catch up on editing for the rest of the week. The following Saturday I shot Jackie and Matthew's wedding in Suffolk, VA. I shot their engagement session on the Eastern Shore back in May. We had a good time working with them then and the same was true for their wedding day.

After the ceremony and the family photos were finished, the three of us were on the grounds doing shots of the two of them. The venue's coordinator relayed a message to us that we needed to wrap up in five minutes.  I checked the time on my watch, the itinerary, and with Jackie and Matt. According to all of them we still had fifteen minutes to shoot before they were scheduled to be announced into the reception. So I relayed a message back. We would be finished in just under fifteen minutes. So we moved on and took a few more photos.

Five minutes later another message was relayed to us. We needed to wrap up immediately. Then something hit me. The same situation, I was unnecessarily hurried along, happened when I was here a couple of years earlier.

I relayed a message back; we were on time, we still had ten minutes left, and I suggested rounding up the bridal party in the meantime. The last spot I wanted to shoot Jackie and Matt was just outside the doors that led to the area where they were to be announced. I'd scouted it and planned it as a good ending point.

I was explaining to Jackie and Matt what I was thinking about for this last shot and out comes the coordinator who said sharply, "We're ready for you now." 

I looked at my watch and said, "We're just going to do this last one shot and we'll still be done ahead of schedule."

"We're ready now" she replied.

"We just want to do this one last shot and we're done." I didn't want Jackie and Matt to feel rushed or anxious because we were actually doing great on time.

So, Jackie and Matt made their way to a fire escape on the building next door and I reiterated the pose we talked about. The coordinator called out, "You can't go up there. That isn't part our facility. That's private property! "

Jackie and Matt stopped short of the fire escape and I said, "They'll be there for sixty seconds. Come on, no one is going to call the police on a bride and groom on their wedding day."

In a tone a mother would use to threaten her children into obedience she yelled, "No! Absolutely not! You're trespassing! You are not going up there!"

I was stunned. Shocked actually. She yelled at us. I've never seen anyone treat a couple, who is also a client, like that on their wedding day. I looked at Jackie and Matt and said, "We're good with what we have so far and we have some night shots coming up. Let's get you two inside to have some fun."

A little while later I caught up with Jackie. I said, "Wow! Could you believe that? I thought she was going to tell us we were grounded by the way she was yelling." We had a good laugh about it. Then I told her if they were up for it, we'd sneak out and try to get at shot or two anyway. They agreed and we did.

From the reaction you would have thought we planned to be several stories up on a fire escape and dangling off the building. Nope, this was it. Pretty harmless. We were like three little kids sneaking around. We even had someone as a look out so we didn't get trouble. I got three quick shots and it took thirty seconds. Initially I wanted them to embrace, not hold the railing, but the three of us were more concerned about "getting caught" a second time than making the photo.

I've shot couples in places where we "weren't supposed to be" in the past. I've never had an issue. Back in May, a newlywed couple and I took over a service elevator for ten minutes to shoot and no one cared. I would never intentionally put a bride and groom in danger to make an image. I walked up that same fire escape the day before to check the sturdiness of the stairs, railings, and platform. It was safe and, yes, it was private property.

Everyone has a bad day and I totally understand that. It is not my intention is not to put anyone down, just to tell the story of what happened and what led to that image. As I told Jackie later that night, this will be a story I will be telling for years to come because it was so shocking and what we did was so harmless. Here's a shot from the end of the night...

The next day I had an engagement session with Jamie and Chris in Williamsburg, VA. I had fun working with them!

We did a few shots in the garden of the William and Mary president's home. After the situation the night before, I asked Jamie if it was okay to go in there. She said, "Sure, I don't see why not." That was good enough for me. The house is among a number of properties that are part of Colonial Williamsburg where tourists come and go regularly. Had she not told me whose house it was I wouldn't have thought twice. As we were taking a few last shots, the president walked past and into his house. He never said a word.

It was getting dark and I wanted to try one last thing.

Monday and Tuesday I had a last minute event shoot for the NAMM Foundation. A supporting organization of the National Association of Music Merchants, the NAMM Foundation's mission is to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

Hampton, VA was one of seven cities where the foundation sent the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and conducted a Best Cities for Music Education forum. Monday, six Hampton students climbed aboard the state-of-the-art mobile audio/HD video recording and production studio to write and record an original song.

Tuesday I photographed the community forum and the foundation presented Hampton City Schools with a variety of new equipment. Later that day, groups of students were given tours of the bus and had an opportunity to play with some of the gear.

Later that week I photographed two homes for Wayne Harbin Builder, Inc. They do beautiful work!

The weekend was now upon me and I had two soccer matches to shoot. You never know what you are going to get when you photograph little ones playing sports and it is always fun! 

Luke hanging with the coach, who is also his father.

Then I shot his older brother's match.

That evening I had an engagement session with Kait and Nick in Newport News. They were a great couple to work with and made a long day of shooting feel effortless.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. As you saw, I had a lot going on and this month flew by. I have a ton of work to get out to these folks, so I'm going to get back to editing. See you next month!