I didn’t meet Amber and Michael until three days before their wedding – they are local to Washington State, but were planning their wedding to take place in Santa Cruz, where I live. (WARNING: gratuitous self-promotion plug ahead) Being the young and tech-savvy couple they are, they searched Yelp for “Wedding Photographers” and with twenty-one five-star reviews, guess who shows up at the top of the list 🙂
While meeting each other for the first time over a few lattes at Starbucks, the three of us instantly clicked as we discussed the wedding looming just around the corner. Saturday arrived, and save for the “getting ready” part, the whole shebang was happening at Shadowbrook in Capitola (Side note: Shadowbrook has a horrendous ’90s-era website, and is great need of a “GoodEye” makeover…) Darla Arndt, of Willow Glen Event Planning was coordinating the whole event, and I was duly impressed by her ability to calmly control the pace of the days events. Back to Shadowbrook – it’s a well-known and much-loved gem of the Santa Cruz area – it’s a romantic destination for special dinners and events. It’s nestled on the side of a hill adorned with meandering walkways and lush waterfalls. There’s even a tram that will ensconce 3 or 4 guests up and down the hill at a near 45-degree angle. The building itself is mostly made of dark wood, except for the lowest level which is more like a glass greenhouse. From a photography perspective, the whole interior is a nightmare – at least for the light-conscious photographer who understands the beauty of bouncing light of available surfaces. Attempting to bounce light off dark wood is not only an exercise in wasting batteries, but it seriously throws off the color of the photo. The lower dining room is also dimly lit with extremely low & dark wood ceilings/walls, so I really had to pull out my bag of tricks when it came to shooting in these environments. I used a portable softbox armed with four nikon sb-800 units, and where that was too cumbersome, I resorted (gasp!) direct flash in some cases. But being a good photographer means being adaptable, flexible, and prepared for anything.
Back to Amber and Michael – they are so sweet, and so clearly in love that I didn’t have to try too hard to capture “fleeting” romantic moments. There’s nothing fleeting about their enamor for one another, which was evident at the end of the ceremony, and every time I asked them to kiss when doing their formals. Even though I probably lost 5 pounds hoofing it up and down that damn hill, it was a pleasure to share the day with the newlyweds. One of the best parts was almost getting kicked out of the boardwalk when attempting to do a few B+G photos – we did we even try to ask for permission?
Here’s some of my favorites from the day, in no particular order. All photos can be viewed and prints ordered here.