Playing with Fire (Fiddler’s Elbow Wedding)

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Just when I think after 500ish weddings I’ve run into all of the challenges out there, life shows me how wrong I am … and I’m thankful for it. Without challenge, growth is slow and meandering.

On Friday morning, Tatiana and I got an e-mail from Kristin asking if we could do a long-exposure shot with shooting sparks. There were just a couple challenges 1) We had never taken this kind of photo before. 2) The wedding was also on Friday, and we were packing to leave.

Generally, photography tricks are modifications and extensions of existing techniques. I never would have thought up the so-called “Brenizer method” if I hadn’t already been experienced in regular panoramas, and while we’d never lit anything on fire and violently swung it around for a wedding photo, I was experienced enough in the other basic skills of night-time long exposures — such as exposing and composing a photo without being able to see anything that you’re doing — that we said we’d give it a try.

When pushing the envelope at a wedding, it is absolutely vital to manage expectations. I often ask couples if they want to take a given amount of time for something that might be awesome, or might be absolutely terrible. In the rare situation that we’re trying a new technique on the wedding day, we made absolutely clear that the result might be no photo at all, especially given that by doing this during the time of the reception we had time for only one frame.

That’s right — this photo is not only the very first time I’ve tried this technique but also, as of this writing, the last. Treading new ground on a tight time frame could only have been achieved with the capable help of Tatiana, who talked them through the posing and lit them with flash.

Important note: while I wasn’t sure whether we’d get a photo, I did make *really* sure that at least we wouldn’t set anything or anyone on fire. The bridge wasn’t just a pretty bit of symmetry for the photo — it also made sure we were surrounded by steel, concrete, and water. I was also farther away than it may look, though there is no such thing as too paranoid, especially when around highly inflammable things like lace (which we weren’t) or hair-sprayed hair (which distance and angle of velocity made exceedingly unlikely to get hit, but anything is possible, hence eager, informed consent from bride and nearby water).

Thank you Michael and Kristin for encouraging us toward creative and literal sparks.

Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 II

Wedding at the Pleasantdale Chateau: Antoinette and Jonathan

Allow me to enter the Wayback Machine to when the weather was warm, flowers were blooming, and we were beginning to buckle down for our crazy season. If you can set your clock by one thing, it’s that when the weather is nice, full-time wedding photographers’ lives are crazy. Now that the cold winds blow, we are slowly crawling out of our holes and I can start blogging some more of the amazing weddings we’ve been able to document in the past year.

Antoinette and Jonathan’s wedding will show you that the weddings we weren’t able to post the first time around were just as awesome as the ones we were able to sneak out. This day was filled with so much fun and joy and love and dancing … oh yes, the dancing. I was so glad to be able to document it with the fantastic Tatiana Breslow at my side, and am glad to (finally) be able to share it with you.

Rain in the Rockleigh

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The first time I shot at the Rockleigh Country Club, it was just 36 hours after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the region. This time, I was second-shooting for the fabulous Tatiana Breslow, and during the reception everyone’s phones started clanging with flash flood warnings. So our reaction? Let’s go out in it! Thanks to the Michelle and Michael’s willingness, an intrepid Tatiana lighting, a helpful wedding guest, and four umbrellas, we made this shot work in the driving rain.

Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 II