Buzz + Chong

In a very nice hotel room suite at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, a quiet little ceremony took place that was kind of a big deal. At least, I thought it was. I don’t know the whole story of these two, but at some point long in the past, Buzz and Chong went separate ways, only to be rejoined after all these years. Their families were there, their friends and of course, this photographer.

One thing I like to think about when I shoot events such as a wedding or this ceremony, are the stories behind them. As photographers, we are suddenly inserted into these stories without really knowing what’s come before or what may happen after. Sure, we definitely have friends that we end up shooting when we indeed know the history behind it all, but most of the time we’ll be shooting strangers and only get snippets of their stories from meetings and then the shoot.

I knew very little about what was happening here other than two people being re-married. Chong’s daughter Lindsey filled me in a bit, but there wasn’t a ton of time to get the whole scoop. But what I didn’t know I found out when it came time to say their vows. Chong was about to start hers and then the tears came and it took her a few minutes to be able to keep going.

This was a big deal.

I had a blast hanging with this family and meeting everyone. I’m awful with remembering names, especially with a group of people I’ve never met before, but they were incredibly friendly, warm and inviting. I’m just so happy for them all because I’m sure this was such a huge moment for the entire family.

Good luck to Buzz and Chong Monet. And yes…his name was Buzz Monet. He’s from France and is the last surviving Monet in America he said. I just couldn’t get over what an awesome name that was.

Finally, a quickie thank you to Gina Meola for referring this family to me. She’s an amazingly giving person and I appreciate the opportunity. And thank you Lindsey for inviting me to be a part of this.



Equipment Used:
Canon 5d Mark II
Canon 35mm 1.4
Canon 50mm 1.4
Speedlite 580EXII
Gary Fong Light Sphere

Debra and Chris

Debra and Chris have known each other for a very, very long time. If I’m not mistaken, they grew up in the same church as kids and formed a long-time friendship.

Fast-forward to their wedding last Saturday and that friendship has definitely taken a new step forward. They are two great people and I’m so blessed to have been able to shoot pictures of their big day. We met for the first time a few months ago when we wandered the Wildlife World Zoo looking for shooting locations, but I’ve been conversing with Debra since last August when she asked me to photograph their wedding.

The day was busy. At the last minute I found a spot nearby that would work for their “First look” and we liked it so much that we ended up bringing the wedding party there to shoot their photos as well. Then it was back to the house and getting ready for the ceremony.

It was also crazy windy all day for no reason. All the hair that took so long to get just perfect was kind of blowing everywhere, but the girls made it through. We also got lucky with some overcast skies during the ceremony.

Once that ended, we drove off to the Zoo to take pictures at one of their favorite places. Then it was back just in time for the reception, cake and dancing.

We had a ton of fun and I’m so happy for these guys. They are in Jamaica right now and hopefully are having too much fun to get on the internet until they get home.

Congratulations you guys and thanks for including us in your celebration!

(Note: You can scroll down through all the photos or click on the first one and view as a manual slideshow)





Southwest Shakespeare Company Gala

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do for a little exposure, a little practice and just a little bit of growing up.

The Southwest Shakespeare Company held a gala last weekend to raise money for their theater group. The cost was $100 a ticket, so it was a fairly ritzy event. A member of the company, Sara, asked if I wanted to help do a photobooth and hand out my business cards for a little bit of exposure.

I’ve been wanting to practice and get better at the whole one-light photobooth kind of setup, so I said sure I would. Plus it helps a good cause. While I don’t get out to shows or plays too often, I do enjoy them when I do.

So these are just a few of the shots I took that night. Sarah brought some props along to give it a cool, old office feel and I think it worked pretty well.

Used a Speedlite EX II off left with a light stand and umbrella. Flash was manual and power around 1/4. Canon 5D Mark II and a 50 mm 1.4 set at around f/5.0 and ISO 200. Backdrop was a giant drape/curtain I borrowed from church which proved perfect.

Definitely still learning, but for what we were trying to accomplish that night, they turned out pretty good I think.

Pearson Christmas Party

Last Thursday night I had the opportunity to photograph the Pearson Christmas Party that was held at The Venue, a gorgeous event location in downtown Scottsdale. Of course I had to do a quick little HDR of the interior before the guests arrived, which you can see above.

I’ve done a few events before, but this was the first that required a kind of “posed shot station” where couples could walk up to where we were shooting, pose for a nice shot and be on their way. Which was a lot of fun for me, because it became an awesome learning experience. My buddy Rick Young (awesome photog, his work is here) gave me some lessons before the event on shooting with an off-camera flash through an umbrella and I have to say, those lessons paid off.

The venue was dark…very dark, so I used a 580 exII with a diffuser, combined with my Tammy 17-35mm 2.8 and Canon 50mm 1.4. The posed shots were all done with the Tammy, the Speedlite and the umbrella on a light stand.

I still love what that 50mm does with its wide aperture in settings like this.  Being in such a dark environment with a single flash was tough, but I think the shots turned out great.

The group itself was awesome…super friendly people, they paid me more to stay longer, they floated me extra drink tickets for the bar, they made sure I had a huge plate of food and even invited me to the “after party.” I had a blast with everyone and hope to see you guys again next year!

Happy Birthday baby Claire!

This darling, precious gift of a girl, turned two years old this past week. Her parents asked me to snap photos of her big birthday party on Saturday and I was honored.

Life has been tough for little Claire, who has amazing challenges to face almost every day. But look at that smile. Oh my…how can you not get a warm, fuzzy feeling deep down inside and smile back at her?