Thursday, July 31, 2008

When the Chino Hills earthquake hit...

Most of us were at work, about to go to lunch.

Animation mentor, teacher and all-around beloved guru Dave Master was being interviewed. On video:

Thanks to Clay Kaytis for this link

For the record: Disney Imagineer Harriet Burns dies

She was the first woman artist hired to work at Imagineering in 1955(the full obit can be read by clicking the title link-highly recommended). The photographs here are from the obituary; I thought readers would enjoy seeing them.
At her passing on July 25th Ms. Burns was a few weeks shy of her 80th birthday.

I Heart Paper {Diva's}!

Recently, we had a chance to work with Wedding Paper Diva's - and their work is really beautiful and very affordable. One of the many reasons to work with Wedding Paper Diva's is that they offer a Free Proof of your order, which is fantastic, because seeing really is believing.

They have a new LetterPress Invitations which is out-of-this-world-beautiful, if you haven't had an opportunity to take a peek, there are so many options and it's really gorgeous!

They also have a new Cultural Wedding Invitations, which adds to their already expansive line of beautiful stationary!
When you have a moment, head on over and take a peek.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can you Feel The Love!

Today I found that I was mention on two seperate and unrelated blogs! If you are looking for some new fun reads, check out LCI Paper and Top 100 Wedding Blogs {and it also lists the Top Dating Sites too}.

And I had a fantastic talk with Monica Rae over at The White Box earlier this week! She is soooo sweet! And we could have talked for ever!!! It's so funny how close we become to one another over our blogs, it's like we've known each other all of our lives!

Thanks for the mention!!!

Earthquakes old and new

I was standing in the entrance to my cubicle yesterday around 11:45 (talking to, of all people, visiting Disney veteran Floyd Norman) when that trundling heavy truck passing by on the 134 freeway turned out to be...not a truck passing by. "Uh-oh", I thought.

Funny, because no one panicked or in fact uttered much of anything although the building certainly shook for what seemed like a long time. "6.0" someone called out, calmly. "5.9" said another. I love southern californians.

Anyway, the little quake and the evidence of our stringent building codes at work(no damage!), made me wonder what the 1933 Long Beach earthquake was like for the Disney studio of those times-the old, (presumably stucco) Hyperion building?

That one measured 6.4 which would have made it roughly 100 times stronger than what we experienced yesterday. I've read and seen very few contemporaneous accounts but it was apparently quite destructive and certainly would have been felt in Silverlake. What happened? Was there enough of a scare or damage for production to be shut down at all?
I'd think the most likely person to ask would be the Disney expert and historian Michael Barrier.

Our Big Fat Greek Wedding {Magazine}!

This summer, my bossy intern had the opportunity to travel the world with her family for her {early} graduation present! She went to Athens and Santorini in Greece and then hopped over to Italy for Rome and Positano!

I had Bossy Intern Assistant (it's hard to get used to that) write up a post for us on Europe, plus she brought back a fun Greek Wedding Mag!!!  So here's Bossy Assistant!!!!

I had such a blast traveling Europe with my family, it was absolutely incredible! I was blessed to rent a home from a future bride while we were in Oia, Santorini (which is in the Greeks Islands). Her name was Effie and she gave me a lot of insight into the wedding customs and traditions that the Greeks practice. The biggest difference in her wedding was that it will be a b.i.g. party! I mean, big party! The whole community becomes involved in the wedding and the celebrations last throughout the week! She showed me a place where I could buy wedding magazines and that is where I got these amazing images. No, you cannot read what it says, you know the saying “It’s all Greek to me” became very literal when we were there…but the images were SO fun to browse through. The ones featured here were some of Melissa’s favorites.

Side Note: We asked one of the people we met if they had heard of the saying “It’s all Greek to me” and they laughed and said of course, but they use “It’s all Chinese to me” in Greece! How funny!

After a bit of research when I got home, I learned that in Ancient Greek times, the brides wore traditional veils in either yellow or red, representing fire. These veils protected the bride from evil spirits and demons. Most ancient wedding history tends to have a way to ward off evil in some form. However, they have (for the most part) done away with this tradition and now they have new traditions. Now they have the Greek circle dance which is led by the koumbaros, or best man as we know them. The koumbaros is also responsible for helping with the crowning of the couple with crowns made of long-lasting flowers such as orange blossoms or “twigs of love and cine” wrapped in silver and gold paper. At the reception, they throw plates for good luck while shouting Opa! A neat tradition that we were able to experience while we were there is that when the musicians are well liked, fresh flowers are thrown towards the stage as a sign of gratitude.

Candy coated almonds, known to us as Jordan Almonds, are given as favors at all Greek Weddings. There are many other religious Greek Orthodox Wedding Traditions that can be found on the internet, but these were some of my favorites! I loved learning about the culture and tradition in the countries I visited…and it didn’t hurt that they were absolutely stunningly beautiful!

{Melissa sidenote: Okay seriously, how beautiful are those centerpieces!!!}

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Let's Eat Cake Update!

Did you know that you can now contribute to Let's Eat Cake! safely online!  There is an icon on the right side of the blog - Chip In! - and you can safely donate to St. Jude's right there! It is done through PayPal, so it's super easy!

Thanks so very much for all of your support for our event!

{You can also mail checks or donations to our office}

Monday, July 28, 2008

Comic Con 2008 wrap up

this year's haul


It was two years ago that I first blogged about my San Diego Comic Con experiences. I've just reread that old post. It's odd how quickly the time's passed, and how much has changed since then. I'd been writing The Blackwing Diaries for nine months in July of 2006, along the way reaquainting myself with some old friends as well as meeting new ones via comments and cross-postings. It was when the bunch of us doing story on a certain project decided to pool resources and do a single book together in time for the 07 Con.

Two years later:

"Scrambled Ink" creators Ennio Torresan, Dave Pimentel, JJ Villard, Ken Morrissey and me

This year all of us(with the exception of Keith Baxter away in Canada, and David Derrick-on safari in Africa)came together to sign our books at the Dark Horse booth. The Con was the "official" debut of the book and the first time we'd seen it on a retail shelf(I was relieved to see that Amazon too finally has it listed for sale after eternally showing a "pre-order" listing. One thing, though: Amazon mistakenly has the book listed as paperback-that's wrong. It's only been published in hardcover).

I've never done an event like the signing thing before. Very surreal to see a little line of people with books in hand for us to draw in. Dark Horse unfortunately ran out of books to sell midway through our time slot, but we carried on signing and drawing on some cover flyers. Best of all was meeting and chatting with the people who came up to the table.

Actually, finally in print and for sale

It's easy for me to forget that anyone reads this blog--especially when I've let so much time pass without posting as I was wont to do a year ago; to have people tell me they read and enjoy it is more gratifying than I can express.
The time passed in a blip, and we had to make way for Mike Mignola--Mignola! of course I had to shake his hand and tell him how much I admire his work. I think Scott Morse introduced me to Hellboy back in Turner development days--and speaking of Scott--I made a beeline to his Red Window booth, shared with another old friend, Jeff Pidgeon and Bill Presing, with the work of Don Shank, Lou Romano, Emma Coats and a few others also on display and for sale. Emma's done a wonderful sketchbook, Bill has topped himself with the beautiful binding of his bookplate art, "Bookplate Betties", and Jeff had fun new Happy Beaver merchandise--I picked up a watch and tshirt. Ditto Bill's and Emma's books, an 11x17 original by Don of his Kurt character, and not least an assortment of the riches Scott provides every year. This guy keeps busy! How he has time for a life I can't say, but I imagine that it must be a case of each passion fueling the other--work and life.

One of the big debuts this year was undoubtedly the "Who Is Rocket Johnson" booth

These gentlemen and a host of their colleagues did a beautiful job. Next year: "What Is Torch Tiger?" Paul Briggs (the guy in the hat) was a powerhouse for shepherding the project to fruition. A free button to whoever can name the others present here(just kidding).

Every year more artists who work in animation are publishing. For many of us the Comic-con has become a one stop shopping mecca where we drop in on Stuart Ng's booth and those of the individual artists to pick up the riches. There were so many that next year I've got to do two days just to make sure I can visit them all--I missed E-Ville press, JJ's booth and too many others due to a lack of time and the plain old difficulty of hacking and pushing my way across the endless convention floor one more time.
For all its unwieldy size, San Diego is really a must if you care about animation art and the people who produce it. They're not all there, but plenty of them are and it's a rare treat to get their work straight from the source.

The Library by Elizabeth Ann Designs

In case you haven't heard, take a peek at the best new resource for the bride who needs everything, or just one more piece of the puzzle! The Library will help every bride, no matter her location, find the vendors and inspiration she needs for a beautiful event.

Check out The Library brought to you by, the amazing women of Elizabeth Ann Designs.

It is set up in such an easy to read and understand fashion! No matter what you are looking for, from Event Planners to Photography and everything inbetween - you will be sure to find it at The Library.

{on a side note, I was honored and thrilled to see our name, MasterPiece Weddings, amongst these incredible folks!- Thanks Elizabeth Ann Designs for including widdle ole' us!}

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lucky Me! Guest Blogs!!

I feel honored to have Erin from Lucky Me! and Lucky Designs! guest blogging for us today! Her designs and creativity are second to none! And this idea is just as creative, I love it! So without further ado, here's Erin!!!! {applause can being now....}

My thoughtful husband surprised me recently with a Sony Handycam. It is so wonderful to be able to capture the fun we are having with Lucky Baby. The Handycam is very easy to use and produces high quality video. While getting to know our camcorder, it occurred to me that it would have been terrific to roam around our "town" and record some of the great places to visit and eat for the out of town guests that attended our wedding. Since hotel accommodations may not included DVD viewing, it might be nice to send your DVD with a rehearsal dinner invitation.

We included all of our out of town guests in our rehearsal dinner so that we would have more time to spend with them. Our guests roamed all over Cincinnati while they were in town and took full advantage of their long weekend here. A personal, enthusiastic DVD introduction may have helped them choose what they wanted to see and do while in Cincinnati. Also, having our family and friends visit that weekend, meant so much to my husband and I. The time and thought put into a DVD would have been another way for us to let everyone know that! So, shoot away and let people know how much you look forward to them being at your wedding and getting to know your hometown!

Thank you for including me on your blog!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

DHD Does San Diego

photograph by Jeff Pidgeon

Deadline Hollywood Daily is featuring some nice ongoing reports from Comic Con written by Luke Thompson, who knows what he's writing about--and who isn't animation-centric for a change.
You might want to keep checking it if you're not going to be able to make San Diego this year, or if you'd just like to read one person's take after you've returned.

Bossy Intern.... Not Anymore!!

MasterPiece Wedding is proud to announce that Bossy Intern {Kristin} is no more! That's right - Bossy Intern must now be officially be regarded as Bossy Associate!!!!

MasterPiece Weddings is so Happy/Proud/Pleased/Joyful/over the moon {aka out of my mind excited} to welcome Kristin aboard as an official member of the MasterPiece Weddings Team!!

Any of you who know me, have worked with me, or have talked with me in the last month know that Kristin has become an integral part of the MasterPiece Weddings team, and I am blessed to have had worked with her over the past 7 months, and I think I've realized that I just can't live or work without her! She has just become such an important part of the team so much so that I offered her the job, and I am so pleased to announce that Bossy Intern Kristin accepted the job!!!

Please help us in welcoming her aboard!

{Image courtesy of Powers Photography}

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Super Secret Project, Part Duex

Another piece of our Super Secret Project is the Wedding Day! I am so appreciative of Amanda and Greg for allowing their day to be captured from the Consultant’s point of view.

As you may already know there were some early morning challenges that weren’t captured by the photographer {Stewart Powers} so let me give you a bit of background:

6AM – Wake up to a phone call from the florist with a question about the reception design and lay out

7AM – Confirm some final details with the reception location and set up

7:30- Have a cup of coffee, some cereal {knowing it might be a while before I eat again}

8:00 – Answer some emails

9:00 – Pack up the car wedding bus

10AM – Head out to run some errands for the bride

11:15AM – Call Rental location to let them know I am on my way to pick up 11 Chivari Chairs… they are aware I am on my way…

11:30AM – Show up at locked rental location – start banging on every door they own

11:35AM – Start banging and screaming “HELLLLOOOO!!!! IS ANY ONE THERE???”

11:37 AM- Run around to the back of the warehouse banging and screaming “PLEASE BE THERE – WHERE ARE YOU!!!?

11:40 AM- Call the rental location and can hear the phone ringing inside…. No one is there..

11:42 AM - Call someone to get someone to find someone at the rental location, they don’t answer leave a message

11:48 AM – Still banging… and decide to drive to the other location to find someone to get my clients chairs

12:07 PM – Arrive at other location, they are locked up tight (no surprise, they close at noon)

12:09 PM – Start thinking of places I could find chairs for my bride….

12:11 PM – Call other rental locations… no answer

12:15 PM – Head to The Hilton and ask my friends if I could beg, borrow or steal 11 chairs

12:17 PM – Get permission – HOORAY – I load my car wedding bus with 11 chairs {and I didn’t have to prostitute myself for them!!!}

12:30 PM – Head to the suite to let Amanda {the bride} know about Chair-Gate, and inform her that I will make sure she gets a refund… and the chairs will be amazingly perfect!!!

12:55 PM- Receive a phone call from the florist that he’s arrived with the personal flowers – I meet him downstairs to help bring them up to the suite

1:02 PM- Arrive to the suite with the flowers, show Amanda, and she loves her bouquet {it’s amazing!!!}

1:42 PM – Show Amanda her Bridesmaid’s flowers, and in the right light, they are the wrong color

1:43 PM- Call the florist to explain kindly to get-their-butts-over-here NOW to fix the color of the flowers

2:00 PM – Video starts…. Here!

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy The Real Wedding Day!

** Update - I don't know why some of the last letters are missing... silly program! {Sorry!}

Photography Give Away!

A couple of amazing photographers, Shari and Shannon, started Fly Away Photography - a destination photography company, and a super fun blog!
In fact they are giving away TWO photography packages to, two deserving couples with a great story! Hey, give it shot... I would if I was you!

Steamy Judge!!!

Have you been to Let's Eat Cake! lately - have you seen our newest judge... one hint.... Steamy!!!!

{Image Source: Pink Cake Box}

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Con Again

I've been out of commission the last few days but this week is-finally-the 2008 San Diego Comic Con. I can't remember everyone, so forgive me as this is done on the fly, but off the top of my head here are some booths and people you've got to visit if you don't know them already. Since you're reading this blog, you probably do. But nevertheless a good cast bears repeating, as Universal(or was it RKO?)used to say at the end of their films when they ran the credits.
So here are:

Conduct Happiness: Joe Moshier and Chris Sonnenburg

Red Window: Scott Morse, Don Shank(absent in the flesh, but art will be there!), Lou Romano, Bill Presing and Jeff Pidgeon, Booth 4800.

"Who Is Rocket Johnson?"-the epic book with an incredible array of talent inside--and on--the covers. Front cover: Paul Felix. Back cover: Glen Keane. About 24 guys in between. Think you'll be visiting them? Yeah, I thought so. They're at booth 2302.

Chris Sanders will be there again, I believe.

Red Tango is run and designed by an old friend of mine, Cynthia Petrovic. She's a huge Fred Moore fan too. Booth 4201.

Donnachada Daly is a super talented animator from Eire who's at Dreamworks; he'll have his new book at booth B8 of the exhibitor tables.
Incidentally Donnachada(pronounced "Dannika")is also represented in the niftiest art show/auction in a long while, the Totoro Forest Project, which you all must go read, drool and dream about right now.

E-Ville Press manned by Ted Mathot and Derek Thompson from Up North, will have things you won't want to leave without. Booth 1534

Dan Goodsell, he of the inimitable Mr. Toast and an amazing amasser of the most fun stuff ever, will be at booth 4831.

Of course this is far from a complete listing; the above are mostly friends and people whose whereabouts are immediately known to me so I can post their booth locations. I've left out some obvious stops like the great Stuart Ng, Bud Plant, Super 7, Fleet Street Scandal, and Graphic Collectibles...but it's late, so before Hulk smash! and Jenny crash! I'll put this post to bed.

artwork copyright Dan Goodsell 2008
Have fun!

Be A Planner - Face Lift!

In case you haven't been over to Be A Planner in a while, check it out, it has a fancy new face, new Seal, it's super fun! And let me know what you think!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Super Secret Project - Revealed!

I know it's almost anticlimactic but it's finally done! The Super Secret Project!

I first have to thank Powers Photography, and Stewart Powers - for without him, this project would never have come to fruition! Frankly, it was his idea!

Basically, Stewart followed me around and shadowed me at both a rehearsal and the wedding day. So now you can have a wedding consultants point of view at both!

This was so exciting, and challenging for me, on many levels! First exciting because it was a new project for both of us -and it was SO much fun!

Challenging on so many levels - as a consultant you train yourself to get out of the way of the photographer! To find the quickest route to get out of the photographers field, never be in a picture, be invisible, and all that stuff. I was so conflicted having Stewart there. DUCK! Oh, wait no, he's photographing me! MOVE! Wait no... I truly had to re-train myself.

But incredibly fun to be documenting something in photographs that I don't know has been done before.

So, without further ado, I bring you Amanda and Greg's Rehearsal in 10 Easy Steps!

Proposal Packages!

Recently a client asked me to help him with an amazing proposal, in Las Vegas - and as you know, I am in love with Las Vegas. And Greg wanted to do this RIGHT! Money was no object, he wanted to treat her to the most incredibly indulgent meal, and just a night she would not soon forget. Tina went on this vacation under the guise that this was a completely relaxing indulgent vacation.

He gave me the particulars, {basically wanted to propose the first night and play the rest of the trip}and let me go to work!! Basically all I did was present him with a timeline... and he was set!

Here's what went down!

Arrive in Las Vegas at 2PM, check into your Suite at The Palazzo.

3 o’clock – Massages In-Suite (Jealous yet!)

5 o’clock – Head to Bellagio for drinks at The Fontana Bar, outside on veranda overlooking the Fountain

Half Past 6 – Reservations at Picasso (this is my favorite part!!!)


The menu was preset- he picked all of her favorites, each was paired with a special wine

Maine Lobster Salad

with Apple-Champagne Vinaigrette

2005 Leeuwin Estate, Art Series, Riesling, Margaret River, Australia

Pan Seared Sea Scallops

with Potato Mousseline, Crispy Leeks and Jus de Veau

2005 Domaines Schlumberger, Les Princes Abbés, Pinot Gris, Alsace, France

Sautéed "A" Steak of Foie Gras

with Olsen Cherries, Crushed Almonds and Baltos Cinnamon Reduction

2003 The Royal Tokaji Wine Company, Tokaji Aszú, 5 Puttonyos, Mád, Hungary

Roasted Aged Lamb Chop

with Rosemary Potatoes and Au Jus

1999 Bodegas Mauro, Terreus, Pago de Cueva Baja, Vino de la Tierra Castilla Y León, Spain

Then her favorite dessert a Strawberry Neapolitan.

Now he didn’t ask her during the meal, or put a fancy “question” on the dessert…

Put at the end of the meal, the server placed the ring on the Dessert Tray filled with all sorts of delicate truffles that he brings out right before the check… Greg was cool as a cucumber this whole time, and really wasn’t worried about anything, because he knew that Picasso had it under-control.

Tina later told me that if she thought Greg would propose she thought he would had done it already, not wait until the end, end, end of the meal, so she was totally shocked, and everyone in the restaurant applauded!

Since I know from experience (it's a terrible side effect of this job) that the average meal at Picasso can last 3+ hours… they wouldn’t be done with dinner until after 9PM, knowing they’d be tired from the 3 hour time change… assumed they’d head back to the hotel. I pulled some strings and had their names on the VIP list for Tao at Venetian, in case they weren’t, uh, celebrating…

I really enjoyed planning their proposal! I know it was a relief to Greg too – especially since he called and texted me right after it happened to tell me everything was perfect!

Thank you Greg and Tina for allowing me to be apart of your fantastic proposal, and I am so excited about your wedding!!!

If you need help proposing - ask us about our Proposal Packages!

Friday, July 18, 2008

I cant help it!

I know that photography week is offically over, but I just can't help it!!!

Our friends with the snarky answers, K-Gallery, were sweet enough to post some images from a wedding we did recently together - of me goofing off working hard.

Here's a sneak peak, but be sure to check it out!

Gosh, I love my job!

Photography Week - Phinished.

{Photo Credit: Damon Tucci Photography}

What a fun week! I hope you enjoyed the photographs and learning the different styles of each of the photographers, and what they are conscious about it.

To me, as a wedding consultant, I always, always take into consideration my clients wants, needs, and their personalitiy when referring a photographer to them.

Every photographer is different, their focus, their work, their style. Also the finished product - does the album tell a story, how do they use light in their photographs. All of these things play a role to me, and me knowing that my client will be happy with their priceless memories of their wedding day.

These are all things to look for when searching for the perfect person to capture your once-in-a-lifetime most cherished celebration!

A special thanks to Photography 35, Kara Pennington Photography, K-Gallery, Caroline Johnson, and Powers Photography for taking the time to answer my questions and send me pictures!

Final Photography Week Installment!

So last, but certainly not least, the other half of Power's Photography, Susan Powers!

Both Stewart and Susan have very different eyes when it comes to weddings, but one thing I always admire about the way they work is their attention to details, like lighting, which can play such an important role when looking back at your photographs!

Soooo... let me introduce to you Susan Powers!

How did you get into wedding photography?

Just like Stewart, wedding photography found its way to me. It first started out as a hobby to do on the weekends. The hobby soon became a passion. It’s so much fun that we made our passion into a business.

What do you consider your style of photography to be?

I consider myself an editorial style photographer. The nature of editorial is watching things unfold naturally and documenting it. There’s a time and a place for portraiture, documentary, and for journalism. The best photographers know when to switch to each mode. I like making a bride look her finest all day long. I want it to be the most fun 24 hours of her life. Not only do I want her look great, but I also want to make sure she doesn’t have a minute of stress with the photography.

If you could offer once piece of advice to a bride, and only one, what would it be?

One piece of advice I could offer a bride would be to chose your photographer very, very carefully. The photographer will set the mood and the timing of your wedding. Your photographer will be closer to you that day than your parents and you need to make sure that this person is someone you’re comfortable with and you can communicate with.

Also it’s imperative that this person listens to you. It would be advisable in selecting a photographer to talk to their past clients to hear how their experience was. Simple questions such as: How long do things take? How do you dress at a wedding? What will my finished wedding album look like? Exactly what products are included in my wedding collection? Such questions are important to ask your photographer beforehand, because once the wedding is over, that’s it. If you’re photographer shows up in flip flops at a black tie event, you would be very disappointed.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The real beauty of being photographers is making new friends, making them blissfully, photographically happy and then staying friends for a long, long lifetime! Stewart and I have been so blessed to share in the life histories of thousands of couples and families. Our clients truly become a part of our family, which is so rewarding all in itself.

Photography Week - Almost there!

We are going to finish up Photography Week with a Big Finish, another Husband and Wife team that are both Master Photographers. They both have such different styles to their photography, but exceptional in their own rights!

Sooo... I've decided to introduce you to Powers Photography in two parts. Stewart first, and then his beautiful and very talented wife, Susan!

Funny and Ironical story, my first job in Gainesville when I moved here to go to school, right before I got the wedding bug, I worked for Powers Photography (for 2 weeks!!!) and realized how much I love weddings, and knew that was my calling!

Without further ado, let me intoduce you to Stewart Powers!

How did you get into Wedding Photography?

Photography chose me when I was in high school. My homeroom teacher picked the red headed kid in the back corner with no camera or experience to be on the annual staff. Photography became my addicted passion. I later got into wedding photography as a way of paying for school. I've been doing wedding photography ever since and have loved the stories, the experiences, and witnessing the love between two people.

What do you consider your style of photography to be?

Editorial – a blend of classic and documentary style. We have won many awards for our storybook style of wedding album – and I feel the heart of what we do is being visual storytellers. Of course the prime directive is that the bride looks her finest in the photos!

If you could offer one piece of advice to a bride, and only one, what would it be?

Hire your wedding photographer based on their expertise, style, and creativity. Think about what you want to take away from your wedding...gorgeous images of you looking your best in your wedding gown, heart-felt pictures that tell a love story of you and your groom, and pictures with those that support you along the way, your family and friends. Visit a photographer that catches your interest and be sure to see the finished product of a wedding-the album. Hiring based on a few cool photos or a blog may leave you feeling silly when that album disappoints.

What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Being a part of someone's history is a remarkable experience. It's an honor to witness first hand the raw emotion, truth, and amazing love between two people. Delivering the album to bride & groom is another thing I enjoy. The "oohs and ahhs, " and hugs and tears of happiness are rewarding on a heart level!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Our Comic Con book signing: Friday 7/25 1-2pm, Dark Horse booth(you can't miss it)

Here's a detail taken off the Dark Horse website:


11:00 - 12:00 Matt Wagner: Grendel

11:00 - 12:00 Mike Kennedy: Aliens Vs. Predator

12:00 - 1:00 Jim Hardison: The Helm

12:00 - 1:30 Yoshitaka Amano: Vampire Hunter D; Shinjuku (*ticketed event: See Dark Horse employee for details)

1:00 - 2:00 Scrambled Ink: Dreamworks Animators - Ken Morrissey, JJ Villard, Ennio Torresan, David Pimental, Jenny Lerew

2:00 - 3:00 Mike Mignola: Hellboy
(*ticketed event: See Dark Horse employee for details)

3:00 - 4:30 Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day
(*ticketed event: See Dark Horse employee for details)

5:00 - 6:00 Yasuhiro Nightow: Trigun (*ticketed event: See Dark Horse employee for details)

6:00 - 7:00 David Lloyd: Kickback

Improbable Ornithological Research

Short clips from a hilarious lecture about “the duck and its lover” can viewed at intervals 0:10-0:43 and 2:40-3:40 on this video:

More CJ Images!

I just located a few more images from our featured photographer today! I think you'll really love these!

Check out Caroline's Blog for way more fun stuff!

Historical Bird Quotation

"It was so desolate it would make an owl weep to fly over it." - Colonel William L. Stone’s description of the undeveloped swampy lowland that, in 1820, was Syracuse, New York, then a town of just 250 people. Source: Mark Kurlansky’s (2002) Salt: a world history.

Photography Week - Part CJ! (Part 4)

How fun has this week been! I love comparing images from each of the different photographers and seeing their different styles on paper, and their personalities shine in their answers!

Today, I bring you a good friend of mine, Caroline Johnson. Her funky, artsy qualities, and stylish approach to her portraits keep brides coming back for more! Her personality shines through in all she touches. I love working with Caroline, she scouts out the best places for great images, check out her blog for more fun stuff!

How did you get into Wedding Photography?

Sort of by chance! I always had a passion for documenting events and people. After graduating from College with a degree in Business and Communications I worked as a pharmaceuticals rep for 7 years and somewhere down that path I decided to study photography at the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, WA. I absolutely knew that this was for me. I would find myself heading into the darkroom early in the day and heading out when it was pitch black. I could lose myself in the process and forget about anything else and just be in the moment! I loved this feeling. My first brides came to me through friends of friends. And next thing you know I was heading off to over 15 states in the U.S. and then to remote wedding destinations in Italy, Belize, Costa Rica, and Canada.

I still need someone to pinch me because I can't believe that this is really my job. Not only have I unleashed my passion but I have clients who genuinely appreciate my gifts and encourage me and inevitably have become some of my dearest friends. Life could not be any sweeter when you find what it is that you were meant to be doing. One of my favorite quotes is "Take life one dream at a time". If you are still searching for you passion live by these words and explore and the more you dream the more you will discover what it is that you were meant to do!

What do you consider your style of photography to be?

Editorial with a splash of Photojournalism. I take a modern approach to design and capture.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a bride, and only one, what would it be?

Hire a wedding coordinator!!!! As a photographer I seriously appreciate all of the wonderful things that Wedding Coordinators do for the bride and their families on the day of the wedding. When a wedding is well planned and executed my brides and grooms are more relaxed which allows me to capture images that are amazing. When a bride acts as the wedding coordinator I have found that they tend to not be in the moment and people will constantly ask them questions which pulls them mentally in different directions. From my standpoint it is really challenging to take away these distractions and continue to get killer images that document their day in a fashionable manner.

Also, I want to recommend that brides and grooms consider seeing each other before a wedding. I know... this totally breaks tradition, but today's brides are not about having traditional weddings. In fact I find that they are wanting to do almost anything they can do to break tradition and make their weddings uniquely theirs. I have found that when this is done that my clients get far more amazing images than they could possibly imagine and with a greater variety of locations.

Also, everyone tends to be more relaxed by the time the ceremony takes place. Now you certainly don't have to take this approach but you can't expect to get great images when you are crunched for time trying to rush to the reception or cocktail hour and trying to get all of your family shoots in along with entire wedding party and then images of the the two of you. The choice always sits with my couples but remember how much of an investment you are making in hiring a professional photographer. Collaborate with your photographer and come up with a plan that works for you both.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

There are so many things that I love about wedding photography. I seriously get a rush when I capture images. When I know that I nailed a shoot my clients may get a glimpse of what I call "the happy dance". It is so silly! Then there the moments when you are sitting behind your computer and processing pictures and I'll suddenly see a shoot just jump off the screen with pure beauty. These unexpected images give me a total rush. When a client hires me and trusts me to capture one of the most important days of their lives. When a client picks up their album. When I see the bride’s father seeing her for the first time. When the groom toast his new wife. When everyone tells me how much fun they are having the day of the wedding. The first kiss as husband and wife. The gitty little gleam that the happy couple has as they are walking down the aisle. How could someone not love being a part of this happy time. Traveling to locations that I never dreamed of visiting let alone working. These really are just a few of the many things. There are so many things that keep me addicted to wedding photography.

More CoCoRaHS in Michigan: The First 15 Days

This is a follow-up to my initial report on the first 15 days of precipitation monitoring in Michigan by the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). The number of CoCoRaHS stations reporting each day during the first 15 days of July ranged from 44 to 64. Rainfall was recorded somewhere in Michigan on 13 (87 percent) of 15 days; no rainfall was recorded anywhere on July 5th or 6th.

On those 13 rainy Michigan days, the percentage of stations recording measurable amounts (i.e., at least 0.01 inches) of precipitation ranged from 2.3 percent on July 1st to 91.4 percent on July 8th; the median value was 21.2 percent.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Conifers of Berrien County, Michigan

The conifers are cone-bearing trees or shrubs of the Class Pinopsida. Some 630 species are known worldwide, with 88 occurring in North America. According to the Online Atlas of Michigan Plants, 16 species are native to Michigan or have become naturalized. The 8 species known from Berrien County represent 2 Orders, 3 families, and 6 genera.

ORDER PINALES (pines et al.):
Family Cupressaceae (cypresses):
  • Juniperus communis, common juniper
  • Juniperus virginiana, eastern redcedar
  • Thuja occidentalis, arborvitae

    Family Pinaceae (pines):
  • Larix laricina, tamarack
  • Pinus banksiana, jack pine
  • Pinus strobus, eastern white pine
  • Tsuga canadensis, eastern hemlock
  • ORDER TAXALES (yews):
    Family Taxaceae (yews)
  • Taxus canadensis, Canada yew
  • Photography Week - Part K - er 3!

    Another husband/wife team of photographers (I knew we had great photography teams, but for some reaosn I never put two and two together!) Krystal and Matt are so much fun to work with, they are like ninja's they are everywhere and no where - they are Darkman.... I think that a photographer that is able to move around so stealthy is better able to catch some of that emotion you are craving to cature on your wedding day, and they do just that! Check them out at K-Gallery and if you haven't their rockin' blog too!

    How did you get into Wedding Photography?

    Well, it's a funny story. See, we were running guns for the Japanese mafia when our stolen Soviet oil tanker was boarded by ATF agents. You can imagine how THAT turned out, and we briefly considered piracy on the high seas as a career, but that rat race has just turned too "corporate" these days, ya know? So we became wedding photographers.

    Now our cover story is that Krystal got a photojournalism degree from UF, and was in the US Army as a photojournalist deployed to Ecuador, Bosnia, Kosovo and various other delightful locales. When she got out, she decided hard news and accident scenes weren't exactly her bag. Weddings are a lot more fun, and there's less sniper fire. Matt got into it when digital came of age. "Wait, you mean we can do this on a computer now?" So, six years ago we opened our business specializing in wedding and portrait photography.

    What do you consider your style of photography to be?

    Well, our photographs have been described as "A heart-thumping thrill ride," "so gargantuan that I must create new words to describe it: fabularious … a brilliantological humongousness of marvelosity," and "Prepare your eyes for popping — they just might fly out of their sockets!"

    Err...wait those are movie blurbs for "300." Our bad.

    In our images, we're after two things. First, we think people like our images because the people in them look like they're having a good time. That's important, because, well, first we sure hope people are having a good time at their weddings, and second because the photography process wasn't painful for them. People freak out when they have to get in front of a camera, but we think our clients' expressions, even in posed pictures, show that our relaxed styles and attitudes make it easy for them.

    Second, we really strive to master our craft, and approach our work with near-obsessive attention to detail. When we capture our images, of course we're after beautiful moments and expressions, but we're also paying attention to flattering angles and poses, and making sure we have three-dimensional lighting that makes the subject pop out of the image and their eyes sparkle and shine. And our albums are consistently amongst the most highly awarded in the state of Florida and across the nation because of our clean designs and the warm, rich, glowing skin tones, consistent from the start of the book to the finish.

     If you could offer one piece of advice to a bride, and only one, what would it be?

    Well that's easy! Don't wax before tanning...that was a bad weekend. Oh, and don't mix plaids. And never draw to an inside straight.

    Ohhhhhh, you mean wedding advice! Ummm...hire us? Besides that? We guess it would be "give yourself plenty of time." Your wedding day should be fun and relaxing. Give yourself plenty of time and delegate all the responsibilities for making things run smoothly to your wedding planner.

    Also, one thing we hear a lot from our couples is that they wish they had fewer guests. That way you get to spend time with the people who are nearest and dearest to you and it makes for a much more powerfully emotional day.

    What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

    Well, once a week we get a really good dinner. So that's nice.

    We guess we have to get all schmaltzy here. About a year into our business we photographed Rachel & Sean's wedding, and at the reception, they had a table laid out with their family history in portraits, back to great-great grandparents at the turn of the century. They probably had to hold still for 8 seconds in front of some view camera on a tripod while some old-timey dude adjusted the focus with a dark cloth over his head. Anyway, I wonder if said old-timey dude realized that, 90 years later, that image he captured would still be cherished by that couple's great-great grandchildren, and viewed and cooed over by all their friends and family? And we thought, "these images we're creating right now...Rachel & Sean's pictures...these are going to be on display at their great-great grandchild's. And that's really awesome. Especially since the wedding will probably take place in space. And there will be lasers and also robots.