Jessica + Alan. A Greenville Country Club Wedding.

"I say go for it," I said with confidence.

Jess looks out the back window on to the ceremony location and her eyes glance up at the sky.  It's still partly sunny but she knows its going to rain soon.  Its just a matter of when.

"Ok, I trust you."

Up to this point I was 1 for 1 when calling the ceremony due to impending rain.  I was putting my perfect record on the line.  I just the radar often.  I'm a self professed weather geek - as I've noted in multiple blog posts - and I've apparently adopted that nerd-ness to wedding days.  Especially when there's rain in the forecast.

"Here's why I say yes.  You have nothing to lose.  At this point its a 40% chance of rain during your ceremony.  All that means is that there's a 60% chance it won't.  I will always choose going for it unless its pouring at that time."

Too many reception locations make such a big deal about ceremonies in inclement weather.  They ask to make the call hours before .. sometimes 3.  Thats crazy.  They could make the decision 15 minutes before and would be fine.  Yeah, it would be a bit rushed or chaotic for a few minutes but oh well, no harm done.  But this time Jessica trusted me and I had the planner on my side as well - which doesn't always happen.

So we press ahead with the outdoor ceremony.

The thunder gets closer by the minute.  You can feel that it will rain very soon.  The trees show the backs of their leaves and the sky darkens.  I change my shutter speed from 500 to 125.  They say their vows.  It darkens fast.  They exchange rings.  The thunder is loud now - lightning is on the horizon.  They kiss.  A slight spitting rain develops.  They walk - fast - back down the aisle.  The rain increases.  They stop for a kiss.  Rain now - steady.  The last person walks under a small covered portion of the patio while the guests are shuffled quickly to cocktail hour.  

It pours.  Downpour is a better word.  The clouds quite literally open up and let go of what they've been holding on to for hours now.  We fit it in and everyone is elated.

2 for 2.

Claire + Marc. A Bartram's Garden Wedding in West Philadelphia.

Claire had me at film.

When she contacted me last year to discuss the possibility of me photographing her wedding at Bartram's Gardens in Philly she mentioned her love for film - and more specifically instant film and the use of Holga cameras.  Those are the outer niche of the film world and I fell in love instantly.  Every time I saw her post a Holga image online I got a bit more excited for their wedding.  I knew they were going to let me explore and allow me the creative freedom to express my style properly.  There is nothing better you can ask for from clients.

The ability to explore.

I wasn't afraid to push the boundaries a bit and I did so at their wedding and I personally feel they were rewarded with something unique and personable - which matches their personalities perfectly.  I was relaxed and tried a few things I have never before at a wedding because I was too scared to miss a shot.  This time I still got the shot I wanted, just from a different perspective.

So here is the wedding day of Claire and Marc.  Check out the bottom for a little surprise.

And here's a little something special.  I've been wanting to try this for a while and thought this would be the perfect wedding to do so.  I handed Claire's sister a 36 shot point and shoot camera and told her to fire it off whenever she wanted.  I did a bit of explaining of things I was looking for but I also made sure she was able to have full creative control.  She was 12 (or 13, I forget).  I wanted to have someone get in to areas I wasn't able to and what better way then with a child?  So here's a few of my favorites from her set.  

Aimee + Joe. A Tyler Arboretum Wedding.

Calm.  Thats how I describe Aimee.  

She sat on the stairs in the foyer of her childhood home for a few minutes before heading out to the venue to get married.  I was alone with her chatting about whatever came to mind - and snagging a few frames for her to remember this moment as well.  Some brides exude nervousness, some do not.  Amy was definitely the latter.  She was ready for this day, this time, and this moment and took it in stride.  

The weather: perfect.  The location: amazing.  The light: incredible.  The people: wonderful.  

Some times I photograph a wedding and afterwards I realize the day was a blur.  There may be several locations and logistics, weather and obstacles challenge me through the day.  This wedding was not that.  It was paced well, relaxed, and logistically simple.  As with most photographers, I thrive in these situations and here are the images to prove it.

2014 Family Vacation to Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, NY.

We almost didn't go this year. 

We had so many things "to do" and so many reasons not to go.  My daughter and I were on our first annual daddy/daughter camping trip in the Adirondacks when I made the mistake:

Leaving to head home I drove past Whiteface Lodge, the place we have been going on a family vacation for the past few years.  I secretly wanted to stop by and see it, I really did, but I wasn't going to.  But Ashley spoke ... "Dad, can we see Whiteface?"  It didn't take any convincing on her part really.  I had the car headed that way before she even finished her sentence.  I don't know what we were going for, I just knew I wanted - she wanted - to go.

When we pulled into the driveway, I missed it already.  Before I parked the car, I missed it.  When we walked up the little entranceway decked out in the stereotypical adirondack lodge feel, I missed it more.  When I opened the heavy door to let Ashley go inside, I missed it even more.  And before I even made it past the antler chandelier in the lobby I knew it wasn't going to end well.  I found myself at the front desk and asking if they had any availability - in 2 weeks - before Ashley even knew I wasn't following her anymore.  She had already made it up the small set of stairs to the sit on the couches.

We walked outside and walked to our car in the rain and I looked back and thought, see you in 2 weeks.  A quick phone call to my wife solidified that real fast.  It didn't take her any convincing.  We had a 2 week window in August where the family had nothing going on - a first in probably 6 months.  I took full advantage of it.

2 weeks later we were on the road on a beautiful Sunday morning to spend the next 5 days at one of the places I love the most on the east coast.  And to think, we almost didn't go this year.

Amelia + Heath. A Philadelphia Elopement.

On a Thursday in July I received a phone call from Amelia.  Her and Heath were planning to elope in Philadelphia.  "Awesome, when?," I asked.  "Next Thursday," she answered.

7 days away and I was available.  Score.

I love these weddings.  It'd be very hard to support my family only specializing in elopements however its wonderful to mix a few of these in during a wedding season to vary the type of wedding I photograph.  The variety of a weddings are astounding.  Sometimes one has 250 guests.  Other times its 0 and I'm the only witness.  I think about this often.  Its incredible that I get to witness one of the my exciting and happy days of a person's life.  Not many people can say that and it doesn't go unnoticed.  

Back to the wedding.  3hrs.  Just me and the couple.  Old City Philly.  The ceremony was over before you could walk a city block and it was amazing.  The location, weather, and vibe of the wedding was exactly what Amelia and Heath wanted.  When that happens, my job just got a little easier.