Red Bat Photography
Folksonomy > aptos
August 21st, 2010

I first met Jackie over drinks with a mutual friend (Hi, Peter!), and I remember immediately thinking she was cool. It was one of those moments when I got a strong sense of the person I was talking to without knowing much about her life. She was witty, friendly, at ease with herself. When it came time to leave the bar, she mentioned a boyfriend and I thought: whoever he is, he’s probably fantastic. Someone this cool must be in a great relationship.

So I wasn’t really surprised when I heard that she was engaged. When we met the couple to talk about photographing their wedding, my suspicion was confirmed: she’s found herself a gem. And so has he, of course. I got that warm glow I get when I meet two people who are utterly comfortable with each other and considerate of each other, who are about to make a permanent deal out of it.

The Jackie and Marcus photo shoot began, as all good days should, with a hearty brunch, then proceeded to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. Despite how stuffed to the gills we all were, these two did not hesitate to climb on every redwood stump we pointed to, and they perched on many a mossy log at our request. This shoot involved more hiking than any previous one, more yogic poses, more fording of woodland streams. I was grateful for their willingness to try so many of our ridiculous ideas, and impressed with their ability to make them work.

I found myself falling under the spell of their sweet, easy romance, their obvious chemistry. They looked so right together, and whenever we left them alone for a minute, they flirted with each other. It was pretend flirting that quickly became real, if you can picture that. There was a moment when they were standing on a bridge looking at each other when I thought of a quote from a great work of literature (though I couldn’t remember which work until later): Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.

Turns out that line is from Wuthering Heights. Which was a funny association to make, because Jackie and Marcus are not wild children like Catherine and Heathcliff, running around the moors getting drenched, experiencing fateful dog bites and plotting revenge on several generations of people. I believe their plans for the evening involved watching Lost with some friends. But you don’t have to live a life of drama and intrigue between the covers of a book to have a true union of souls.

Having already expressed my profound approval of their relationship to them in an email, and now having written this post, I think I should now hire myself out to anyone who will be giving a toast at their wedding. Loved ones of Jackie and Marcus, just send your rough drafts to me. I’ll have ’em polished and ready for October.

February 19th, 2010

This post is Part 3 of a 4-part series. Read Part 1Read Part 2 – Read Part 3 – Read Part 4

Pacific Oaks Vineyard Estate is an ideal location for weddings. You really have to see it to understand. You’d also have to meet Judy, the owner, who is very sweet and easy to work with. She is at least half of what makes the location so ideal. Her husband is a Southerner (like me, he is from South Carolina) and the property is a blend of California natural beauty and Southern architectural charm.

There’s a vineyard, of course, that slopes down a hill to catch the light of the setting sun in quite a romantic way. It’s a real functioning vineyard with a small winery attached to it; at our initial tour of the place, Judy gave us each a sample bottle of her wine. (I drank it with my sister Esther later that evening. It was delicious.) Behind the main house is a ceremony garden with a lush green lawn, and in front of it, huge oak trees and redwood benches. The two large decks are ideal for gathering people and staging events like cake-cutting, bouquet-tossing, and the like. A cheerfully yellow guest room is provided for brides to use in getting ready, mere steps away from the entrance to the ceremony garden. The property is immaculately kept and lovingly tended, and everything is laid out to make the logistics of a wedding day simpler and smoother.

The interior space is not available for weddings, but we got to see it when we scoped out the location. That pool house is amazing! I must say it would be pretty great to get married in that pool. I’d make all the guests take their places in rows in the shallow end, and I’d float down the aisle to the deep end on an inflatable giraffe. We’d make use of the great acoustics in that room by shouting our vows at top volume. Somebody (the aforementioned very talented musician sister Esther?) would cannonball into the pool and then play love songs on the panflute. It would be magical.

But this isn’t about me and my fictional love story, it’s about Jill and Chase and their very real one. They timed their ceremony perfectly. The golden hour was almost upon us when the ceremony ended and we started walking around taking portraits. At Pacific Oaks there are lots of intimate little nooks, great for posing and even better for kissing. We encouraged Jill and Chase to take full advantage of this.

We were pleasantly surprised to encounter some friendly young chickens in the vineyard. Chickens again! One of our favorite wedding shots of all time involves chickens; you can see it in this earlier post. These chickens must be treated well and given everything a chicken could ask for in this life. They followed us around and seemed to want us to pick them up. One of them did try to steal Jill’s ring, but who could blame the chicken? It’s a nice ring!