“THAT’S SO HANA!”

I shared Hana and Mike’s engagement photographs a few months ago in my blog “The Lumberjack and the Princess“.  Well, the big day finally arrived last Sunday.  Hana and Mike got married. I was privileged enough to photograph their wedding. … Continue reading

THE PRINCESS AND THE LUMBERJACK

Hana_Mike-0003-web-seo-keywordsONE OF MY FAVORITE things is getting hired to be the wedding photographer of one of my former students.  As teachers, we want the best for our students. We enjoy watching  them grow out of those high school drama years into fine young adults.  We want to see them grow up to be happy.  The bonus for me is that I get to capture and share with friends and family those images of loveliness and happiness that occur at the wedding.

HANA AND MIKE

In addition to taking my photography class, Hana ran 4 years of track for me at Apollo High School.  Her ability as a distance runner grew year after year.  Her running abilities were crucial in helping  Apollo win our region and earn a 2nd place finish at State her junior year.

Out of my many memories of Hana’s career, the one that I remember the most is her competition with a runner from Prescott.  This girl consistently had better times than Hana all year.  Except when she raced against Hana.  Every time Hana and this young lady ran head to head, Hana won convincingly.  Those races were truly remarkable to watch.  Lots of high fives all around.

I also fondly, I think, remember how many times in those 4 years Hana came up to me and said “Coach, you spelled my name wrong…again!”

Hana completed a successful 4  year career at Apollo and went on to attend NAU, where she eventually met her future intended, Mike. They both graduated from NAU.  She now works as a K-8 art teacher and he works for the State of Arizona in the area of environmental quality.

Hana and Mike were freshmen at NAU when they were introduced to each other by mutual friends.  They became close friends before they finally decided they were the right person for each other.

Hana describes Mike as a chef, a true gentleman, and tells me that Mike is “all things outdoors, like a lumberjack.”

Mike says that Hana always has an elegant look to her.  He loves to listen to her play the guitar, and describes Hana as “a tomboy and a pretty princess all at the same time.”

Together they enjoy cooking, “artsy stuff” outdoor activities, and of course their two dogs.

On Sunday the 20th, the three of us got together to shoot their engagement session.  I first met Mike at Katie and Jason’s wedding . Hana was one of the bridesmaids. Since I was a bit busy that evening, I didn’t get a chance to do much conversing with the two of them.  I found it nice to finally sit down, talk with them, and get to know more about Hana and Mike as a couple.  It was even better to go out and shoot the session and watch Hana and Mike interact with each other as they express their affection for one another in front of my lens.

You now know a bit about the princess and the lumberjack.  Here are a few of the wonderful, lovely moments from Hana and Mike’s engagement session.

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“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

WEDNESDAY WHIMSY…ON THURSDAY MORNING

Hey, you try coming up with eye catching titles, OK.

It will be kind of a scatter shot of ideas and photos for this morning’s blogging.  The insomnia gremlins are running wild. I must have broken one of the three rules of gremlins…again.

HAPPY BELATED VALENTINE’S DAY!

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On Valentine’s day I semi-mocked the “holiday”, created by the card and flower industrial complex. I mentioned on Facebook how thankful I was that the kids came to class on Valentine’s Day burdened with flowers, balloons and candy.  This was a clear disruption of the educational environment so I was within my rights to confiscate the offending items.  My wife had awesome Valentine’s Day presents for 31 years.

But Valentine’s Day is for lovers, and as a wedding photographer, I need those lovers to get engaged and hire Poole Photography for their weddings.  So to make up for my  past wrongs against Valentine’s Day, I present this visual love gift to you all as a token of the importance of love in our lives EVERY day of the week, not just 2/14.

MATSURI FESTIVAL REDUX

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I talked  in an earlier blog about my wonderful day of shooting at the Matsuri Festival  {link}.  I entered three of my photographs I took that day in the PAC contest.  I didn’t place, but was happy that my photographs got a few votes.   On the positive side I did vote for the photograph that won the competition.  I may not have shot award winning images that day, but I do know an outstanding picture when I see it.

PUPPY DOG TALES

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Although my ultimate goal for Poole Photography, my “White Whale” so to speak, is to be primarily a wedding photographer, I am attempting to shoot as many sessions as I can to gain experience and improve my portfolio.  For the last couple of weeks, my friend Dave has been persistent in telling me that I should come and take pictures of his new cute puppy before it grew into his new big dog. On Sunday I finally went to his place and did my first pet session.

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The adorable Leah.

I love the following series of images.  Reminds me of those old monster movies in which the photographer, usually named Tim, sees the danger coming directly at him but instead of running away he holds his ground and continues to photograph the beast charging him until the bitter end!

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BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL

It is now 3:37 and about time to wrap this up and see if the insomnia gods are pleased.  I am not sure if they will be.  I have been drinking Mountain Dew,  which does contain caffeine.  I also was alerted by a Facebook post that Mountain Dew contains brominated vegetable oil.  I Googled brominated vegetable oil and its related health risks.  Oh great, one more thing to add to the list of stuff that might not be good for me.  I can just hear and see the early morning commercial now: “if you or anyone you know has drunk beverages contain brominated vegetable oil and you or they show one or more of these symptoms….” Yikes.

So with that information on my mind, I will try close my eyes and get some sleep, all the while knowing, and yes, hearing the BVO in my bloodstream, reeking havoc on various internal organs.

Pleasant dreams.

DRAKE’S CAKES

I am dedicating this post to introducing the reader to Summer Drake of Drake’s Cakes.  (I love the rhyming name).

Summer ia a former student of mine who graduated from Apollo High School in 2005.  Back then, once a student graduated it was very rare to ever connect with them.  But with the advent of social media,  that is no longer the case.  I was very happy to reconnect with Summer on Facebook.

Summer was posting the amazing pictures of cakes on her page.  All sorts of cakes, from cupcakes to fairy tale cakes, to Hello, Kitty cakes.  Summer had gone into the cake making business. She became her own cake boss-ette, so to speak.  What I also noticed is the excitement Summer has for making and decorating these baked delights.  It is always nice to find someone with a great enthusiasm for what they are doing.

I asked her if she did wedding cakes.  At the time she hadn’t but that was her ultimate goal with her business.  It’s also nice when someone achieves one of their business goals.  A couple of weeks ago, Summer posted with much deserved pride a picture of her first wedding cake.

Summer and I both have in common that we are in the early stages of our new business enterprises.  I can appreciate some of the difficulties  in securing new business and new clients for our services.  With that in mind, I wanted to take this opportunity on my blog to introduce the reader and potential client to Summer’s business; DRAKE’S CAKES.

I have posted 5 sample pictures of her creations.  For a complete look at all the wonderful items she has baked, check out DRAKE’S CAKES’ Facebook page HERE.

There has been this big push recently about patronizing small, independent businesses.  So here’s your chance.  If you need a baked good for a party or gathering, rather than running to a big chain grocery story, try out a cake from DRAKE’S CAKES.

Enjoy the pictures, check out the Facebook link.  As for me, I am looking forward to the wedding I photograph that has a wedding cake by Summer.  I’d like that very much.

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AND THE WORD IS…

My first priority is a shout out to one of my former student athletes and fellow bloggers, Jessica.  Jessica ran track for me and was one of my better athletes back when she competed.  She  read my Candy Gram blog and posted a reply.  Her post condensed everything I am trying to write about down into one unique word: authenticity.  I know that when I am writing this blog, trying to come up with topics, sometimes writing multiple paragraphs only to hit the “move to trash” button, I am searching for a certain quality, a certain standard to my writing.  I have written about the frustration I have with blogging, especially trying to do it on a daily basis, but I have had a difficult time trying to express the final result I am looking for.  I couldn’t find the right word to describe it.  Oh, the word was there, but it was always circling around the outside of my consciousnesses  like a fish circling the bait.  You know it is there, but it is under the water, bumping into the bait so the bobber moves, but just not giving the bite you need to set the hook.  Jessica’s post brought the word to the surface.  Authenticity.  I can’t write about it if it isn’t authentic.

I started putting together my blog and website because it was a class assignment.  This was my introduction of me to potential customers.  I got stuck when it came to doing the “about me” page.  I looked at other people’s blogs to see how they had written their “about pages” to see if that would give me some ideas or inspiration.  That didn’t work out very well.  I haven’t loved taking pictures since I was a little kid, I don’t have any really cute and clever anecdotes about my life I am willing to share,  I am not romantic by nature, and those few times I have been, I really don’t believe are anyone else’s business.    My favorite food is edible.  I hate yard work.  I no longer do what fueled and motivated me most of my waking hours for the last 31 years.  I have always been reluctant to “toot my own horn” about the many things I have achieved.   I will be the first person to tell you that passion is most critical to a person’s success, but the word is used by so many people to describe their feelings towards their photography that I have a hard time using the word myself when I talk about my work.

Nevertheless, I put together the required statement.  After a week or so, I went back and read my page.  It was like reading a bad used car salesman’s manifesto.  Double yuck.  I revised them immediately, trying to simplify what I had written with the idea I would go back and revise them again at a later date when I had more of a handle on where I was in the pursuit of my new career.  I couldn’t tell you what I wrote, because I have not had any desire to revisit writing that I am pretty sure is boring and trite.

It’s all about authenticity.

Trying to write an introduction to myself with my information plugged into someone else’s template is just not being very authentic.  And that is why the results were so lame.

As I said in yesterday’s post that I am revising and re-tweaking my business model and my brand.  It is time to solidify and even upgrade what Poole Photography is all about.  Time to open up the old “about page”, get the initial cringing over, and come up with a better page.

I do have a question, should I put down that I have two cats?  Does that mean dog lovers and cat haters won’t consider hiring me to photograph their wedding?  Hey, I worry about things like that, OK?

Thanks again, Jessica, for reminding me about authenticity.  Best of luck and God’s blessings on you as you embark on a new journey of your own.

 

 

HELLO KITTY BAND-AID

Having a little Facebook conversation with TaQuesha, a former student of mine.  She said I always told the most interesting stories in class, plus I had the best band-aids.  Students always needed bandaids during the year.  So I always had a box on hand.  At some point in time I figured that a teenager isn’t too far removed from childhood, so on a whim I bought a box of Hello Kitty band-aids. It got to a point where I started demanding to see a cut before I handed out a band-aid. The kids just wanted to wear them.  I eventually branched out to Batman, Spiderman, Spongebob and other popular cartoon characters.  All were popular, but Hello Kitty had a pretty good fan base with my female students.  They had shirts, purses, shoes, notebooks and other Hello Kitty merchandise that they wore or brought to school.  Out of curiosity, I did a little research on Hello Kitty.  Hello Kitty was introduced in Japan in 1974 and came over to the United States in 1976.  I was not aware the cute kitty with the red bow had been around that long.  Whenever I see a  Hello Kitty product, I am always reminded of those former students who were really into Hello Kitty paraphernalia.  In fact, there is a Halloween Hello Kitty beanie baby that if I was still teaching I would buy it and sit it on my desk with all my other Halloween decorations.

I never went overboard with decorations.  I usually just had a themed bowl with the appropriate candy for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.  And no cheap candy for my classes.  It was Hershey’s, Mar’s, or the 6 lb bag of Tootsie Roll products.  I was always amazed how many kids liked Dots.  Those things stick to the teeth.  I guess somebody has to like them.

TaQuesha was also right about the stories.  I did like telling stories in class.  I think Q is being more than kind in saying they were interesting.  The important thing is I thought they were interesting.  My students were just a captive audience.  I sometimes see myself standing in front of the class like Maximus and shouting “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!!”

I miss many things about teaching.  Buying bandaids and telling stories is on the list.  I and the wife are a bit to sophisticated to wear Hello Kitty band-aids.  And the cats totally rebel against the idea of wearing band-aids.  Same thing withe telling stories.  Every year I would have a 150 new students to share my stories with.  My wife has heard them all, and the cats just get up and leave the room.  I think this blog may be a substitute for my story telling.  I hope the few people that read this find them as interesting as TaQuesha did.

On a negative note, I am a bit disappointed that TaQuesha did not include my many showings of William Shatner singing  Rocket Man as one of her favorite things in class.  Normally one can’t go wrong showing  the classics.

One may have noticed that I have changed my heading photograph.  The previous picture I had posted is one of my favorites, but I figured that if this is a blog designed to help attract and inspire potential brides to hire me to shoot their wedding, I should have a photograph that I have actually taken at a wedding as a lead photograph.

Closing thought for the day. This was my semi-cheat day on my diet.  Ate a pepperoni and pineapple pizza this evening.  I bet I will have some amazing dreams tonight.  I will be entertained!

FREE DAY 9/9

Finally got the wedding loaded up to Pictage.  It was a tedious process.  I could get about 5-10 pictures uploaded and then I would lose the internet connection.  The tech I talked to at my cable company tried to blame it on the size of the pictures I was sending, or the site I was sending it to.  Something tells me that highly paid professionals that are uploading thousands of pictures to one of the premier photosites are NOT having the same problems that I am having.  Could it be my modem, which is 9 years old and is only supposed to be good for about 5 years?  I must get this cleared up before my next assignment.  Regardless, it feels terrific to be done.

For the immediate future I will continue to work on improving my photography and editing skills, and drum up some future assignments.  One of my many mentors said that the business of photography is 10% photography and 95% business.  So back to blogging and planning out my next steps.  However, I think I will take a guilt-free nap sometime in the near future.  I read somewhere that before the Beatles were famous that John Lennon came home from a Hamburg tour and slept for 3 days.  Sounds like a plan to me.

When the mother of the bride (see previous post) was an infant, I did talk her dad into putting her in a windup swing while he and I played a board game.  It worked. She was quiet and happy.  Her dad felt guilty.

She turned out just fine.

Another cool little tidbit from the wedding.  Pita Jungle catered the reception.  I mentioned to Mom that a former student of mine was a cook there.  She said that Josh, the cook, had told her that.   She also told me that Josh told her they were getting a real good photographer for the wedding.  I was flattered.  Josh and I go way back.  His dad was my assistant track coach for many years.  Josh took two years of photography from me and ran track for me as well.  He was the Arizona state champion in pole vaulting his junior year.  I also accidentally smashed Josh’s fingers in a door when he was 8 years old.  I am glad to know he doesn’t hold that against me.

One last thing.  I am pretty hit or miss about adding tags.  During my blogging on the Olympics, however, I was pretty good about adding tags to my posts.  I don’t get very many comments on my posts, so I scan my spam comments just to entertain myself.  In one of them I was congratulated on my Olympic victory.  Got to love spiders or what ever they are called.  Gave me a good laugh.I also printed it and framed it.

THE WEDDING OF JOHN AND MALLORY…

or as a friend of mine said, “that achingly cute couple.”    This was a very special wedding for me to shoot as my connection to Mallory extends back to the 1st grade at good old Washington Elementary School in Prescott, AZ.  This is where Mallory’s grandfather and I met and ended up becoming life long friends.  True BFFs.  Mallory’s mother, Gigi, was a newborn when she was a passenger in my car as her parents and I drove back to college from Prescott to Azusa, CA, at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday.  When Gigi and I talked over the wedding weekend she reminded me of two stories.

The first one is how I talked her dad in to putting her in a wind-up swing so he and I could play a board game uninterrupted for a few moments.  In his defense, dad didn’t want to do it.  I talked him into it.  And whenever he felt guilty, I would point at her swinging away contentedly  and say, “She’s fine!  She will grow up okay.  Your roll.”   Gigi turned out fine.  She is a mother of three, a published author and a home-school-er and a wonderful person.  On the other hand, maybe if she hadn’t been put in the swing, she mind have found a cure for some disease by now.  Who knows.

The  second story was of the time she lived in Phoenix and needed help moving from a bottom floor apartment to a second floor apartment.  In the summer.  Did I mention in Phoenix?  Just me, dad and her moving furniture in 100+ degrees.  What a long, hot day.  There was one positive thing that came out of that day.  I learned that the best way to cool down quickly was to stick my head into the freezer.  A trick I still use to this day.

As for Mallory, the last time I had seen her she was about 10 years old.  It was a pleasure to meet her again and see what I fine young woman she grew up to be.  She met the groom, John, at church.  He is the drummer and she is the singer for the church band.  One Sunday he proposed to Mallory at the end of church services.  I am told there wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation that day.

Mallory and Johnnie’s wedding was a simple affair.  No MUAs, no hairstylists, no maid of honor or bridesmaids, no best man or groomsmen.  Mallory’s future mother-in-law made the food for the rehearsal dinner, made the wedding cake and provided the flowers. The music was provided by the church guitarist.   The whole wedding day was just a celebration of the binding  of these to young hearts together.  I am glad I was given the opportunity to  photograph the joy and the love of Mallory and Johnnie’s wedding.

      

I found out from Mallory that she had taken photography in high school.  I told her that as a photography teacher I told my students not to take “say cheese” photographs, or “duck lips” or other forms of mugging for the camera.  I may have imagined this, but it seemed like a lot of times when she caught me ready to take a shot she would throw a little “mugging” pose for the camera.  I’ll let you be the judge.  I loved Mallory’s sense of humor.

GETTING READY

THE FUTURE MRS. MALLORY MOATE CORNELIUS

There was a crowd of family and friends for the First Look.  The bride pinches the groom on the side of the arm.  He turns and that magical moment happens when he sees his lovely bride for the first time in her wedding dress.  They embrace and are getting ready to kiss when the gallery starts yelling “You can’t kiss!  No kissing until after the ceremony.”  That may have been the longest 30 seconds of the young couple’s life, embracing each other, wanting to kiss, but deciding instead just to “air kiss” a few times.

 

 

I wanted to get a few shots of Mallory right before the ceremony got started.  People told me she was in a particular room.  I went to the room and found it totally dark except for a little light through an inside window.  Mallory was in a tiny room with her two sisters, an I-pod playing contemporary Christian music and Mallory beautifully singing along.  I don’t even know if she was even aware that I had entered the room and was taking pictures.  This is one of my favorite images of that time.

  

“My turn to to read the vows!” excitement.

The church, Canyon Chapel, is a renovated Pep Boys.  On the Thursday before the wedding, the decision was made to move the reception to the basement of the church.  The not quite so renovated basement of Pep Boys.  Over the next two days friends and family worked tirelessly to turn that basement into a reception worthy room.  It reminded me of the barn building scene in “Witness.”  I had seen the basement Thursday when the renovation had just started.  When I showed up Saturday it was just like “wow!” And all this work was done cheerfully.  I believe this to be a testament to the love and affection that people feel for this young couple.

Smiling, Happy People, Kissing, Dancing, Kids, and did I mention Kissing?

Good fortune and God’s blessings to John and Mallory.

Music provide by Terry Alan; Founder and guitar instructor at the Flagstaff School of Music.  http://flagstaffschoolofmusic.com/

Reception catered by Pita Jungle.  Former student Josh Devlin is a cook there.  http://www.pitajungle.com/locations/flagstaff/

Music of this blog:  Gordon Lightfoot classic love songs.

I would like to thank my second shooter, Noel Palomino.  The day after I learned I was going to be photographing this wedding, Noel and I went to lunch.  I explained to her that I knew a couple of people that I could ask to second shoot for me, but I didn’t feel right asking them to go up to Flagstaff  to do it on their own dime.  She immediately volunteered her services, telling me she would be back in Flagstaff by then.  Noel is a former photography student of mine, so I knew I could count on her taking decent shots.  She was of great help to me that day.