THE MEMORIAL

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While I was walking around the park during my sunset session I noticed I was coming upon a park bench with what looked like litter on it.  As I got closer, the litter became dead flowers.  So I took a closer look.  It turned out to be a memorial bench.  As I continued around the part I found a couple of other memorial benches with flowers and cards on them.  What struck me about these memorials was the fact that the flowers and cards had to have been there for several days, which means the grounds keepers and the park guests were respectful of these memorials and left those items alone to be the tribute that someone had left for a lost friend or loved one.

I don’t get to parks much, so this may be commonplace at neighborhood parks, and ho hum news for most people.  But for me, it was very touching.  Just thought I would share.

DUCKIES AND HORSIES

While I am between jobs, I have started to participate in a few photography challenges on Facebook.  They are kind of fun and definitely stimulate my creativity.  They remind me somewhat of assignments that I used to hand out when I taught photography.  For example:  photograph yellow.  Shoot the assignment.  Think outside the box.

Before I continue on with the blog, take a look at this photo.  What do you see?  No sharing answers or looking at your neighbor’s paper.  Or texting the answer.

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Last week’s challenge was to submit a picture of the sunset.  Letting my procrastination tendency run wild, I finally went out to shoot the sunset on Friday the 13th.  By the time I got to my “secret sunset location”, I was too late. (photographers’ always seem to have a “secret location”.  I don’t have one, but it sounds cool to say it),  The sun had gone below the horizon.  That sucker sinks fast.!  The results were pretty dismal. This is one of the semi-best of a poor sampling.

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On Saturday, I made myself leave an hour earlier,  I returned to my double secret sunset site,   There was also an extremely interesting cloud formation that I felt might give me the opportunity to get some above average sunset images.

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As the above image shows, I got there in plenty of time.  I was able to take advantage of the cloud formation with the bright sun shining through.

While scuttling around the park trying to get several shots from different vantage points, there were  a couple of song lyrics running through my head.  “Waiting for the Sun” is an all too obvious lyric from the  Doors song of the same name. The other lyric was from Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore.”

“Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow.”

Yes, I am aware it is talking about “the sunrise”, but I am granting myself a little  artistic license in this case.

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I also took the opportunity to experiment a bit.  I had hoped to get the sunset reflected in the water, but as it turned out, the best sunset shots were on the other side of the canal and the bridge was not close to where I was shooting, meaning I couldn’t easily travel back and forth.  I chose to stay on the side that gave me the best view of the sunset.

I came away very satisfied with the overall quality of my sunset series.  I was able to track and photograph the sun as it dropped down under the cloud cover to its’ descent below the horizon, creating all those wonderful colors that make up our outstanding Arizona sunsets.

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As the original plan of shooting the reflection off of the water was not an option for me, I came up with the  idea of photographing the reflection of the sunset off of the windows of a nearby office, just to add a little touch of creativity to the session.

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I am pleased with my sunset session.  I do not normally shoot landscape photographs, so this was a bit out of my comfort zone.  I am glad I took the challenge.  I will share more of my favorite images from this session on my Facebook gallery.

NOW LET’S TAKE OUR ATTENTION BACK TO THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH.   HAVE YOU FIGURED IT OUT?

Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip Peanuts was a genius.  I loved Peanuts growing up and I bought every book of Peanuts compilations that I could.  One of my favorites strips had Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus laying on a hill gazing at the clouds.  Lucy remarks that shapes could be seen in the clouds.  She asks Linus what he sees.  Linus replies that he sees the map of the Caribbean, a famous sculptor, and the stoning of Stephen.  When Lucy asks Charlie Brown what he sees, he replies, ” I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind.”

My friends and I began using the term “duckies and horsies” as a catch phrase for things that are relatively unimportant or frivolous compared to other life events going on in the universe.

And with that HUGE hint, I hope you saw the same thing I did… a duck!

While waiting for the sun to go down, I did amuse myself by taking several photographs of the many ducks that inhabit the park.

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Now this may seem like “duckies and horsies” to you, but I thought it pretty cool of Mother Nature to arrange having a “cloud duck” for me to photograph as well as the live ones.

In the interest of full disclosure, my friends and I always use the term “duckies and piggies” for the last 40 some odd years.  I was surprised when I looked up the strip today that the it actually said “ducky and horsie.”

Finally, in the context of larger events, I am sending my prayers and good wishes to the Navy Yard victims and the Colorado flood victims.

To see the actual comic strip by Shulz, click here.

“Waiting for the Sun” words by Jim Morrison/music by the Doors.  Copyright Doors Music Company

Battle of Evermore Writer(s):   James Patrick, Robert Plant.  Copyright: Flames Of Albion Music Inc

THROWBACK THURSDAY: THE LEGEND LIVES ON

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The above photograph is one I took as a very young lad.  Those of you that grew up in Arizona will recognize the performers as Wallace and Gerald of Wallace and Ladmo fame.  The photograph was taken at Legend City, an attempt in the early Sixties to re-create Disneyland in the desert.

We decided to make the trip to Legend City the first year it was open in 1963.  From Prescott it was a 100 mile trip to the fun park.  I remember we left very early in the morning, so early that the sun was just rising when we got to Phoenix.  I also remember getting my dad getting lost on the one way streets in downtown Phoenix.  The other thing that stands out in my mind about that morning was the smell.  To get to the park we had to pass the stockyards,  Fortunately, the smell dissipated by the time one got to the park, except on the occasion of the wind blowing to the east, then one could catch a whiff of the yards over the smell of fried chicken at one of the parks food booths.

Of course the day is a blur of fun and fast food and soda.  The big highlight of the day was seeing Vonda Kay Van Dyke and her ventriloquist act at the the Golden Palace Saloon.  For those who don’t know, Vonda Kay took that act and became Miss America in 1965.

My second and last trip to Legend City was when I was in junior high and a mediocre drummer in the junior high band.  We took a trip down to Legend City and marched down Main Street with other school bands.  And on a school day, too.

Legend City never became a success.  I suspect a lot of it has to do with being located in a desert.  Riding a roller coaster in 110 degree heat can’t be all that fun.  It eventually closed for good in 1983.  Salt River Project offices now sit where the City once stood.

Legend City did have a 50th anniversary celebration in June of 2013.  The Legend City website can be found here.

AARON, SARAH AND C.B.

When I think about it, so much of what I photograph is about beginnings.  The beginning of the bride and groom as they seal the deal and join there two separate paths together to walk as one down the road of life.  The celebration of that senior year and the leaving behind the “drama” of high school and the beginning of the important things in life: school, job, career.  And of course the beginning of the new life as two parents prepare to welcome their newborn into this world and into their life.

Aaron and Sarah are expecting their first.  As is evidenced in the following images, they are positively giddy over the prospects of their first child.  I never once during the whole session had to ask them or remind them to smile.

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Aaron played football for me back in my former life.  Some of the best memories I have of coaching occurred during the year Aaron was on my team.  I remember the time Aaron invited me to a team dinner at his house.  When i got there, his parents came up to me and said “thanks for babysitting for us tonight, coach.” and left the house and me with 20 or so high school sophomores.  But we had a great time.  I brought over some NFL Films and Aaron’s mom made the best Pineapple Upside down cake I have ever had.

There was also the time that Aaron invited me to church on the day his congregation was honoring the coaches and teachers that were making a difference in kid’s lives.  I was very flattered and honored that Aaron asked me to attend that day.

WARNING: the following is a football story…if you don’t want to read it, scroll on to the rest of the lovely pictures.  You have been warned.

One of my favorite football stories involving Aaron comes from a game where Aaron played a huge part in our victory.  We were playing a team on the east side of town, which we affectionately called “the rich kid” school.  It was a close, close game with the good guys holding a slim lead on the rich kids.  Aaron was my fullback.  Our passing game was not clicking like it normally did, so I decided to give the other team a huge dose of 17 base, Aaron’s best play.  I ran that play with Aaron about 10 times in a row, just marching down the field.  In fact, from the other stands, one the parents in complete exasperation yelled at the head coach of the other team “C’mon coach!  They are running the same play EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!!!!”

Late in the game, hanging on to a thin lead, we needed to get a first down so we could run out the clock and win the game.  Unfortunately, the rich kids weren’t going down without a fight.  We were facing 4th and 12.  I really did not want to punt the ball.  A time out was called by the defense.  I went to the huddle and asked for suggestions.  Did we have a play to get the first down or did we need to punt.  Aaron says “17 base, coach.”  “Aaron, we need 13 yards.” “I can get it coach.  I promise.”  “OK.  17 base.”  Now I know what you are thinking, but face it, there is no hall of fame for a JV coach.  Why not gamble a little and do something unexpected.  Snapped the ball and 15 yards later they finally tackled Aaron.  And the visiting fans, who a few seconds ago were quite vocal in questioning my sanity, were gong crazy at the effort they had just witnessed.  Kneel on the ball a couple of times and chalk up the W.

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I love the above shot in black and white.
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This was my second time meeting Sarah, and the first time was just a brief, quick introduction at a football game Aaron was coaching.  She is a remarkable, engaging young woman.  Sarah is an elementary school teacher.  When Aaron and I weren’t reminiscing about football, Sarah and I had a great conversation about education and her teaching.    I know I don’t have to tell Aaron how lucky he is, but Aaron, you are one lucky guy.  Just sayin’ bro.
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I thought this little tee shirt was a great idea.
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Aaron getting the boy ready for football.  I really wished it was a girl so Aaron could be holding a doll.
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In a very short time, baby boy Monnet will be arriving into this world, surrounded by two parents who will love him dearly.  I had a great time keeping up with Aaron’s posts on Facebook about his pending parenthood and all the valuable lessons he was learning.  As for the CB in the title.  That is the initials for the name he called his son these last few months; Chalupa Batman.  Great name!  Although we are all fortunate that Sarah will do the naming when the child is born.  Good luck, kids.  Thanks for allowing me to capture these images and memories for you.

Photography by Tim Poole of Poole Photography LLC

“BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE TO FLY…”

fly away…high away…bye bye.” As I was editing my photographs these lyrics from Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” kept running through my head. These photographs were taken last week when I went on a little photo safari with a photo buddy of mine, Vonn, (see more about Vonn here)  to the Butterfly Wonderland located in Scottsdale. Two of her clients highly recommended the place to her. So (cueing up the safari music here) Vonn and I met up at the headwaters of the Amazon Rainforest located right here in Scottsdale, AZ, off the 101 freeway.
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2013-08-14_0002.jpgI tried out my inexpensive screw on macro lenses for the above two shots.  The first shot is with a +4, the second one is with all three lenses screwed on for a +7 magnification.

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Throughout the Butterfly Room there are several of these yellow posts which were covered with butterflies. Vonn suggested that they are drawn to the yellow. When she said that I remembered my football coaching days during the hot, humid nights in August. Those of us that wore yellow coaching shorts were swarmed by mosquitoes. The next day we all wore navy blue.
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“When a small child, I thought that success spelled happiness. I was wrong, happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights us for one brief moment, but soon flits away.”  Anna Pavlova
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2013-08-14_0007.jpg“I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.” Zhuanga

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The butterflies are definitely not shy about landing on anyone.  In fact, as you leave, you go through an airlock to make sure none of the butterflies are catching a free ride with you out of the room.

At the moment I walked into the room, 2 or 3 of them landed on me. A little bit later, just as I was ready to push the shutter button to take a picture, one butterfly landed right on my trigger finger and lingered a bit. I am going to say right here and right now for all to know…that was way too cool!

I will be returning again to this marvelous place again, to spend a bit more time with the butterflies of the Rainforest. And this time, I will be the guy in all yellow.

And not to limit myself to just Elton, this song as well swirled its’ way in and out of my mind.  Sort of like, dueling butterflies.

“So butterfly, here is a song and it’s sealed with a kiss and a thank you miss.”

Lyrics from “Butterfly Lady” by Crazy Town.

The two quotations used in this post were found at Brainy Quote http://www.brainyquote.com/

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE

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In my last blog I mentioned the DSNetwork family pool party, (or Poole Party, the way I originally typed it and so many of you graciously pointed out to me that I had. What can I say? Habits die hard.) I want to share with everyone the marvelous pool that was the site of this event. The event was held at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in South Phoenix.
When I was told this was a pool party, I remembered the pool of my youth: big pool, baby pool, shallow end, deep end, two diving boards, outside, hot sun, lots of sun screen, you know, the typical city pool that we have here in Phoenix. Nothing prepared me for what I walked into last Saturday.

The pool was indoors and built like the Disneyland of pools. Huge slide of death, tiny baby slides, geysers of water, traditional pool, baby pool, whirlpool, tiny buckets of water that when filled will tip over and baptize all children waiting gleefully down below. I think the only method they didn’t have incorporated in the pool design to get people wet was a fire hose that could be turned on everyone. And I am not sure that didn’t exist. Some of those life guards had a mighty tricksy look in their eye.

While shooting the children coming down the water slide, I suddenly heard this big loud “KERBLOOSH!!!” behind me, followed by the shrieking, happy voices of many children.  While thinking in my best DC comic book thought bubble “what the…?”, I turned and I saw swinging high above everyone the “Bucket of Doom”. A huge giant bucket was high overhead and being slowly filled with a gagillion gallons of water. At the filling of the bucket, the water was dumped like the epic flood of Noah’s day, minus the ark, on the waiting masses below.  It was fantastic! 2013-08-03_0009.jpg
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DSNETWORK FAMILY POOL PARTY

On Saturday I had the privilege of being one of five photographers invited to take pictures at the DSNetwork Family Pool Party held at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Center of South Mountain.  On their website, the DSNetwork of Arizona states: “Our mission at DSNetwork is to educate, support and advocate for those in our community impacted by Down syndrome. DSNetwork will achieve this goal through an open, supportive and collaborative network that will connect individuals and families with needed resources and information.”

I want to thank Sarah Hales for inviting me to this event.  It is my second event with this group.  I really enjoyed the couple of hours I spent photographing these wonderful families.  Let the pictures tell the story.

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THE GOLDEN HOUR AND BIG BLUE EYES

Back in March I offered a Family Portrait session for a silent auction benefiting a private school.  Susan B was the highest bidder for the session that would include her husband, Patrick and their three children.  Over the weeks as we discussed details Susan indicated that she would really like the shoot to take place at the Tempe Center for the Arts.  Having never been to the Center, I decided to take a scouting trip out to Tempe and check the place out, scout for good locations and pick the best time to go.

THE GOLDEN HOUR

Photographers call the time about an hour before the sun sets as the “golden hour”.  This usually provides the best lighting for dramatic, creative images.  Because the clients wanted this type of light, we scheduled the session as close as possible to this time.

As I share the images from this shoot with the readers, I would like to begin with a prime example of the magic of the golden hour that took place during this session.

At the Center, there is this beautiful pool in front of the patio that runs over the ledge and creates a waterfall.  This was one of the earliest images I took that day.

012-Edit-untitledI know the boys are cute, but notice the color of the surface and the waterfall.  We went off to other locations around the Center about an hour later came back to the waterfall to finish out the session.  The sun is almost on the horizon.  Notice how the golden hour works its magic and earns its name in the following image.

0001-8-glendale_photographer__family_photographer__family_portrait__Tempe_Center_for_the_ArtsI  believe the sun giving the water and ledge such a warm glow really enhances the image of the family.

BIG BLUE EYES

As I posted the following photographs on Facebook, almost all of the comments about these images had to do with how striking the eyes are.  0001-7-untitled

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0001-11-untitledHere are the rest of my samples from Patrick and Susan’s family session

0001-9-untitled 0001-10-untitled 0001-12-untitled 0001-15-untitled 0001-16-untitled 0001-18-Edit-untitled 0001-19-untitled 0001-21-untitled 0001-24-untitledI want to thank Susan for bidding for my photographic services at the silent auction.  It was a pleasure for me capturing these images of your wonderful family on this day.

Family Session by Poole Photography LLC, Tim Poole photographer.

“THE BEST LAID PLANS…”

I am not sure, but I may be angering the blog gods somehow by posting another set of photographs from the Jason and Katie wedding.  I am just not sure if the rule is “one and done” or not.  But if the purpose of blogging, as I have been told, is to help garner clients and build my wedding photography business, then I have to post what I want that  highlight the import aspects of my photography.  So I have concluded that “it’s my blog and I’ll post what I want to!” – with apologies to Leslie Gore.

I conscientiously decided to make a two part post out of these photographs, because as the reader will see, they just didn’t fit together on the same page.  The first set of photographs I posted from the wedding are the more traditional, conservative types of wedding shots, the type that everybody loves and expects out of their wedding photography package.  This next series of shots can be classified as “candid” or “journalistic”.  These are the images that we as wedding photographers try to take in order to remind the bride and groom of the great time they and everyone else was having that day.  At these times I see myself as a reporter recording all of the little mini-events that occur over the many hours of a typical wedding day.

The first type of photographs are the images that people look at and tell the bride how beautiful they are and the groom how handsome he looked that day.  The second type of images are the ones that evoke emotion – a laugh, a tear, a remembrance of a touching moment.  The first look.  The first dance.  The father dancing with his newly married little girl.  The mother dancing with her son, no longer a boy, but a fine young man.

My over all impression of this wedding as the couple planned it was they were going to have fun and do it in their own way and in their own style.  The theme of the wedding was soccer as it was at a soccer tournament that Jason and Katie randomly met.  The wedding party wore soccer shoes.  The wedding march was not the traditional “dum dum de dum..” tune, but some soccer pre game warm up song.  Now Katie and Jason did embrace many traditional aspects of the wedding ceremony, but they added enough of their own personality to the proceedings to make wedding uniquely theirs and uniquely fun.

I include for your consideration two series of photographs as examples.

IT LOOKED GOOD ON PAPER

The must have photo list: the first look, the first kiss, the first dance, the first attempt of the bride and groom to kill each other.

After the ceremony we went outside to shoot the family and wedding party portraits, and then a series of bride and groom together.  “We want a picture of me giving Jason a piggyback ride.”  said Katie.  “No problem, I work for you.” says me.  And so it went something like this…

KJW-163The first shot of the attempted piggyback ride.  All seems well.

KJW-164A tale of two looks.  Jason is now putting on his “for the camera” smile as I take the shot.  Katie’s face says something entirely different.

KJW-165At this moment the reality of the situation has finally coalesced  itself in Jason’s brain and his expression reflects what his brain has just figured out.

I am happy to report that no brides or grooms were hurt in the filming of this production.  Fortunately nobody face planted  into the hard surface of Sahuaro Ranch Park.  From a photographer’s prospective, I doubt they are going to enlarge this photograph and hang it on their wall as fine art.  But on the other hand, it is Jason and Katie, and they just might.  But I am pretty sure every time they see these photos they will remember and get at least a little chuckle of a memory.

THE GREAT HYATT GENERATIONS DANCE OFF

Many great, memorable moments happen at the reception.  But how many receptions have the son call out the dad and granddad to have a dance off…winner take all?  This one did.  Andrew put out the challenge and it was gladly accepted by the older Hyatts.

KJW-294“let’s see what you got!” Andrew, Grandfather Hyatt and Father Hyatt open the ball, surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd.

KJW-297“Whose got the ‘moves like Jagger’?”

KJW-299“Let me show you some ‘Swagger Jagger’ son!”

KJW-302Like fighters going 15 rounds, neither father or son gave an inch in this contest.

KJW-308The audience has spoken and the winner is…

KJW-295IT’S ANDREW! THE ONCE AND FOREVER HYATT WEDDING DANCE OFF CHAMPION!

EPILOGUE

And so it goes.  Another wedding done.  Another blog posted.  Another series of special images.

I hope the reader has taken from these samples a sense of what this family is like and experienced through these  images a bit of the magic of the day.

I again want to thank Katie and Jason for allowing me to photograph and share the images of your special day.

And I got to think the blog gods are smiling right about now.

Wedding Photography by Poole Photography LLC

Tim Poole photographer

THE NUPTIALS OF JASON AND KATIE

Readers were introduced to this young couple in my blog post on April 15, linked here.  The big day finally arrived on June 7th.  The wedding was held at Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale.  The day went off with just a minor hitch.  Mother Nature blessed us with a 112 degree day.  But we live in a desert and are aware of the things we need to do to survive and found as much open shade as we could at 4 in the afternoon to get the early photo session out of the way.

The venue for the wedding was the fruit packing shed at the park.  It was a great little place to have the ceremony and the reception.  The shed and the surrounding area allow for rustic looking photographs using the antique buildings and equipment as props.  We also had access to the vineyards to use as a backdrop for some of the images we took.  And the park is not nicknamed “Peacock Park” for no reason.  The many peacocks that live on the ranch decided to show up and watch the “goings on” of the afternoon.

Because Katie is a former student athlete of mine, there were many guests at the wedding that are also former students and athletes that I haven’t seen in quite awhile.  It was great seeing them and catching up with their lives.  My little Hawklings have all grown up…sniff.  It is great to see how these young men and women have grown out of that “floppy puppy” person they were as Freshmen.

I want to thank Katie and Jason for the opportunity to photograph their wedding and share in that magical time of their lives.  They are a great couple who display a great enthusiasm for each other and for Jason’s son, Andrew.  I wish them the best as they start on this new journey as a family.

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KJW-43The beautiful bride

KJW-10The handsome groom

KJW-25The Groom and his Men

KJW-47The Bride and her Lovely Ladies

KJW-49 KJW-23The wedding was soccer themed, as the couple met at a soccer tournament they were both playing in.

KJW-151-EditThe Family Hyatt

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KJW-180-Edit2013 version of American Gothic

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KJW-80Katie’s grandfather’s Bible

KJW-376Sealed the deal on the Bible

KJW-359-EditIt was a donut that started it all…great things start out as simple things

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KJW-252-EditAll wedding portraits should look like this.  Fun was the keyword of the evening.

KJW-302The main event of the reception dance.  Andrew calls his dad out for a dance-off.  As I remember it, Andrew won.

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Wedding photography was done by Tim Poole of Poole Photography LLC

Thanks to my second shooter Brianna Yahraus for all her help that night.