I went back home to CT for three days around Christmas to spend time with the family. Those three days were spent baking, watching movies, and being ridiculous. I made chocolate cream pie and coffee cake completely on my own for the first time (what an accomplishment!), and discovered the secret to my mom’s annual sweet & sour meatballs: the sauce is made out of chili sauce and grape jelly! Never would have guessed that! It’s surprisingly delicious, I swear. We also watched ‘Love Actually’ and ‘The Hangover’, two movies I love and could watch over and over (this is rare for me, someone who has probably seen less movies than 98% of the US population).
And then I chased around my cats and sisters with my camera and took lots of pictures. Shannon secretly loves the camera and steals all of my pictures for her own personal use, it’s a fact. But I allow it because she’s pretty much the perfect subject – she’s her own personal stylist, makeup artist, and hair dresser and spends an insane amount of time on her ‘look’ every day, not even just for special occasions. I may scoff at this and think it’s downright silly/impractical, but she always looks amazing and makes it so easy to take beautiful pictures. AND she’s down for crazy posing and funny faces, what more could I want?! My other sister Jamie is pretty cute and stylish herself, and I wish she’d be more willing to be my guinea pig… buuuuuuut I’ll work on her! :P
Overall, it was a good Christmas. Christmas day with my mom’s side of the family was a little weird without the grandparents (one died this summer, the other was sick and couldn’t make it), and it just didn’t feel right this year. Surprisingly the day after Christmas with my dad’s family was more enjoyable – we drank glogg (a Swedish treat: red wine + vodka + cinammon, heated) and watched our first cousin, once removed trot around the house and play with toys. He’s only 14 months old and can already walk! The best part was when he stole my blackberry and lens cap and went running around with them. Then he put my phone on a little chair and started pushing it through the house, as if delivering it to someone. We had the brilliant idea of calling my phone while he had it, except Miles kept silencing the phone as soon as it lit up and vibrated, usually before we could hear the ringtone! What toddler knows how to work a cell phone?! Seriously. It was hysterical, especially when we COULD hear ‘baba o’reilly’ go off. Then he’d grab the phone, silence it, and put it up to his ear (backwards) and say hi. Cutest damned thing I’ve ever seen! I have NEVER, EVER wanted babies… but man, seeing my little cousin almost makes me rethink that mentality. How much fun would it be to watch a little kid of your own creation run around and be so damn cute?? :)
I was hired to second shoot a wedding for Precision Studios, assisting Ilan Swirsky. I drove up to the Renaissance Westchester Hotel with Kasia (videographer) and the GPS got us lost once we encountered a road block. I now understand why it’s important to allot extra time for travel! But we arrived on time and the whole day went smoothly. Everything took place at the hotel: the getting ready process, the family portraits, the ceremony, and the reception. It didn’t matter that it was a rainy day since we were indoors anyway.
It was my first time attending a Jewish wedding, and I got to witness the circling of the chuppah, the breaking of the glass, and the horah. It was so much more lively than the typical Catholic wedding. The dancefloor was occupied the entire reception, with the groom leading the pack. Seeing the bride and groom being hoisted on chairs overhead during the horah was pretty exciting, I must say!
As a second shooter, I tried this time to shoot from different angles than the main photographer. I had little direction, so I just aimed to be wherever he was not. A few times this led to me being alone in a room with the bride and a few family members, i.e. while getting ready, and just before walking down the aisle. I wasn’t sure if I was meant to be there, so I did my best to stay as unobtrusive as possible. I think it led to some interesting shots of a few intimate moments before the wedding, if I do say so myself.
I had such a blast at this wedding, just like at the last one. I’m determined to break out on my own and start my own business soon – 2010 here I come!
After living in NYC for nearly two years, I finally got my first taste of Fashion Week. It may not have been in the infamous Bryant Park tent for a big-shot designer, but it was still a fantastic experience working for Hauteaholics Anonymous. I shot with Will Star, Kelsey Fain, and Patrick Brassard, covering everything from the dress rehearsal, hair & makeup, red carpet arrivals, and the runway show. The most enjoyable part for me was stealthily documenting the behind-the-scenes stuff, as I’m not exactly a fashion buff.
As with all gigs, I try to learn or at least take away something valuable from the experience. In this case, I decided that a backup battery is absolutely ESSENTIAL when shooting full-day events. I didn’t realize that my main battery wasn’t fully charged at the start of the day, so I had to stop in the afternoon and let it recharge for an hour, luckily during some downtime. Too bad a spare battery for the 5d2 is like $90! I’m still reluctant to buy the battery grip (no added weight, please!).
I also got to play a bit more with the flash. I still have a bit of a flash phobia, but I was fairly comfortable using the Gary Fong Lightsphere to diffuse light on the red carpet VIPs. In addition, I worked on fine-tuning my fill flash skills and angling the speedlight appropriately (no white ceiling to bounce the flash!). In time I’ll buy some sort of light modifier/diffuser, once I decide which to get!
All shot with the 5d2, 430EX, and 24-70/2.8L or 85/1.8.
It seems like every time I’m in DC I end up chasing after various monuments and museums that a zillion other tourists swarm simultaneously. And with good reason, as they’re all pretty spectacular.
But this trip, Jill and I focused on Northern DC, starting with lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl (where only Bill Cosby and the Obamas eat for free!). From there, we endured a lengthy walk to and from the National Cathedral, which is inconveniently located nowhere near the metro. I knew it’d be worth the hassle though, as most glorious cathedrals are. Then we strolled through Adams Morgan and had coffee and pastries at Cafe Tryst, which is apparently a ‘hot spot’ in DC. Not sure about that, but everyone there was on laptops or reading and I got to pour my own coffee from a french press! :)
En route to Dupont Circle, we passed by the Real World DC house and saw a bunch of guys brown bagging on the stoop, one of which was wearing a panda hat/mask! It was really weird to see a bunch of cameramen standing on the sidewalk waiting for them, and then following them down the street as they went off to get dinner, etc. After all my years of watching the show, finally seeing the behind-the-scenes making of it definitely made it appear less glamorous.
We had dinner at Raku, this fabulous Asian Fusion restaurant near Dupont Circle, and hung out at Kramerbooks browsing their psychology, photography, and travel books. I practically had to drag Jill out of there kicking and screaming!
I’m more a fan of candid and event photography, but I did a photoshoot for Unlock Magazine in hopes of stepping a bit out of my comfort zone. On a sweltering hot day, I took a rapper and his posse to the corner of 9th and 38th to take some shots (yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous that sounds!). I hated being limited to Midtown Manhattan with the harsh mid-day light, but at least this corner had grungey fencing and a graffitied wall to work with. I took what seemed like a thousand shots of the rapper with various posse members and models. There were costume changes galore, even a makeup artist on hand. It was all very new to me, but I wasn’t fazed by it. It was a LOT of waiting around, which I wasn’t used to but I guess doesn’t surprise me. And they were all very good with posing, so I didn’t have to give much direction.
My photos should be appearing in an issue at the end of September. Yay!
All photos taken with the 5d2 & 85/1.8.