I’ve been going to Pelee Island since before I was born. Litterally. I was carried there while mom was pregnant. I grew up there, was married there, and minus two summers in my early 20′s I have spent at least a week there every summer of my life.
Its my place for relaxation. Its a place with nearly no cell coverage, little entertainment, aside from what you can come up with on your own, and for me, paradise.
This year, because of our trip to India back in January, Kelly only could take two days off work, so we headed up for a long weekend of reading, sunrises, and cigars.
One morning I thought it would be good to rouse everyone for an early morning portrait session. Lets just say I was wrong. Light was changing fast, wind was picking up, and no one had had a full cup of coffee yet. I am certainly happier being a portrait photographer behind the camera, than trying to be in the photos, and adjust lights at the same time.
Along the way I played with my ND filters and long exposures. Landscapes are something I have never focused on, but i love the way the light, sky, and water changes during long exposures.
A family fishes off the North Dock on Pelee Island.
Roused the family far to early for a portrait, you can see how happy we are
In photography, lighting is the most important aspect of your work. As a Pittsburgh wedding photographer you have to be able to work with lights because the weather here isnt always cooperative. Some days you wake up, the sky is blue, and it looks like its going to be an amazing day. But by the time the reception rolls around, the light is gone, clouds moved in, the wind is blowing, and rain is pouring down. In those situations we still have a duty to our clients to create beautiful work. So we always bring a supply of portable lights and modifiers with us, and they live in our car. If a flash breaks, no problem got a back up. Pocket wizard wont fire, pull out the chord. Both flashes die, or get stolen, we have some work lights that create beautiful light when pushed through an umbrella. While the situation may not be ideal, it is our job to give our clients our best work. I heard recently that we dont get an A for showing up and being friendly. Clients expect us to be professional, polite, and make great memorable images of their day.
As a story centered wedding photographer, that makes the need for lights a little bit less, but during portrait time, and during the reception, we have to make the venue, the people, and the couple look incredible. The images have to be able to bring back memories years down the road. More importantly, they need to tell the story of the day, after everyone that attended has passed away. Wedding photography is about a legacy. It is about documenting a story for the future. Its about Grandma and Grandpa being able to look fondly back on the photos and tell the grand kids about the life they lived together.
Today I shot a few portraits of my wife, just to brush up on my lighting skill. I dont use lights often, I prefer nice beautiful natural light. But sometimes a flash is the only available light that we have.
Kelly had off work today. It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, after a really long and busy week, her boss gives the department a day off, and we get to enjoy an extra day together. I love these days. I work in the morning, push hard for a couple more hours after lunch, and then we spend more time together. Today that meant taking Ava, our beautiful black lab for a hike on some near by trails. We have been working with her ever since we got her, on her basic commands. When there are no distractions, she is amazing. However, at jut 5.5 months old, flowers, blades of grass, and butterflies are all the distraction that she needs. Next thing you know, she is of chasing dust, biting at air, and ignoring everything I say.
Today we took a risk. After a beautiful wedding on Friday with my buddy David, and a busy Saturday, Ava needed to work some of that puppy energy out. So we headed into the woods, leash on my belt, and some training tools at hand. She was incredible. She played with other dogs, ran circles around us, splashed through the stream, and listened every time I called her. I really couldnt be any prouder than I am right now. We still have lots of work to do. If she is going to be a bird dog, then we both have a lot to learn. Today though, is one of those days, where I am so happy to be a wedding photographer. While work is busy, and shooting weddings entails a lot more than just weekends, its days like today, when I can arrange my schedule to fit my families needs, that remind me of how blessed I am.
This is just over the hill from our Oakmont home.
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