a wintergreen wedding

July 15, 2009 | Filed Under wedding posts | 14 Comments 

i couldn’t ever say enough about how perfect this wedding was – from any perspective: as a bride, as a guest, or as a photographer. with only the couple’s most beloved surrounding them – parents and siblings (and two utterly adorable nephews) – with the wide sky sheltering them, with the summer-green forest embracing them, how could their mountaintop ceremony have been any lovelier?
much more than just a ceremony and reception, this wedding weekend, held at wintergreen resort in virginia’s blue ridge mountains, encompassed a guided nature hike, a fly-fishing class (for the men) and a few hours of spa pampering (for the women), alongside informal (but fantastically delicious!) meals hosted in the rental homes of the two families. the bride’s family is muslim, and the groom’s family is mormon; the activities and the meals gave the families a chance to really get to know each other as people as well as learn more about each other’s traditions.
i can only say that i was truly blessed to be allowed to capture the memories of this beautiful weekend in such a magnificent setting: the rustic, tree-sheltered homes, the breathtaking views (especially when managed with a 24 mm 1.4 L lens!), the simplicity of the ceremony and the generosity of the couple’s families in taking care of me and my phenomenal second shooter, sara haddad, are still with me, and will stay with me for a long time. thank you so much, to the couple, and both your wonderful families, for the opportunity and the honor, and i truly hope these images will always remind you of the best of your wedding weekend! there are, of course, hundreds more pictures than what you see here, and these only include my images so far, not sara’s yet. but the following pictures show just a handful of my favorite images, and at the bottom you will find a storytelling slideshow with just a few more pictures…

view from the upper shamokin falls trail off laurel springs drive:

the groom at lake monocan, waiting his turn for a fly-fishing lesson:

the bride at the wintergarden spa, enjoying her pedicure:

the groom bows his head in prayer before lunch at the bride’s family’s house, before the ceremony:

the lovely bride checks her lipstick :)

arriving by car at the ceremony site!

the groom observes his stunning bride:

the sun came out, though gently and briefly, right after the ceremony: so far, i think this is one of my absolute favorite shots from the whole weekend:

more portraits taking advantage of the sky’s quick blessing:

the ceremony was moving, but joyous enough that there were few tears shed, and smiles all around. but the slideshow that evening, put together by the bride’s sister-in-law, capped the long day with an emotional reminder of the journeys these two people’s lives took to bring them to this point…

so all these images are in the slideshow as well, but perhaps with a little more context! please click the center “play” button to start, and you can roll through the thumbnails by scrolling over the top of the slideshow if you like (or move the mouse away to let it play unencumbered!) enjoy…

happy belated fourth!

July 6, 2009 | Filed Under family photos | 2 Comments 

took my son to see the fireworks in columbia, md, since we thought it’d be too much to go all the way to DC with him and try to get in, around, and out of the crowds. although i’m still bummed that i’ve NEVER seen the fireworks in washington, DC on july 4, and this my ninth year living in the region!
still… my son’s first fireworks experience went pretty well! he was scared at first – then spellbound (see the expression on his face in the first shot!) – then he started to enjoy it, and then as soon as it was over he started whining that he wanted to see more! we went with a friend and his daughter, too…
i made a point of taking my whole kit to experiment with taking pictures of fireworks for the first time, but i left the bag in the car and then my hubby parked it far away, so i took these only with the 50 1.8 on the 5d, no tripod, no zoom. so all of the fireworks pictures are cropped! and, since i really didn’t know what i was doing… not that i’ll be doing this again anytime soon, but, if anyone reading has any tips for photographing fireworks, feel free to leave them in a comment!

attending weddings as a guest

July 2, 2009 | Filed Under family photos, friends | 6 Comments 

last weekend i got a chance to attend the wedding of another girl i knew growing up – the oldest of three daughters of one fabulous woman who has always been an inspiration to me, in my home community of raleigh, NC. i am not always in the loop with the raleigh community, and especially with the younger generation now graduating from college and moving on with their lives, it blows me away to see how they are taking the helms of their own lives and accomplishing amazing things in pursuit of their own dreams, like nadia and her sisters. nadia married a young man whose involvement in the washington, d.c.-area muslim community brought many other familiar faces to this wedding; even my husband realized he knew the groom’s family from long ago.
so i had a wonderful time, seeing old and new friends, and faces i couldn’t put a name to but i’ve known for years, at this wedding held at a simply beautiful waterfront venue on the chesapeake bay.
of course… that was only in the moments in between running around after two three-year-olds, my son and my nephew, who really had a fabulous time themselves, i’m sure! (i should add that my husband did a terrific job of watching him most of the time so that i could chat a little with my friends…)
so – just clarifying that i did NOT shoot this wedding, but i did take my camera along (and if i can find the link to the official photographer’s site i will post it here!) – just to capture a little bit of what i could get while being a guest and a mama and an aunt at a wedding!

AND, before i forget – i wanted to let you all know my blog was featured on a fantastic site, blogs of photogs, several days ago. thanks so much, mary! this site features plenty of talent in photography as well as links to related business, like wedding vendors and graphic designers, etc. be sure to check it out!

my son, enjoying the breeze from the open window on the drive to the venue:

the fantastically gorgeous bride, nadia, making her entrance with her husband!

my brother, sis-in-law and nephew as the couple walked in:

the kids, sitting down for the few minutes at the beginning when they did sit down:

i put on the long lens for a few minutes to get some shots at the beginning, while this young boy was reciting qur’an – traditional at the start of any major muslim event:

aaaand… they were off in search of adventure, or at least some strawberries and grapes…

i followed them down to the gazebo where they looked out at the water for a bit:

i couldn’t resist processing this shot like this… they looked so don’t-mess-with-us cool :)

but i also loved this image of the two of them looking out to sea… er, bay…

so then my husband took over and i went back to the wedding activities. here, the groom is shaking hands with his teacher, the extraordinary calligrapher mohamed zakariya, after receiving a handmade gift from him.

groom’s brother, speaking…

two of my lovely friends, who came up from NC to stay with us for the wedding (do you like how i fixed the hijab issue, hana?? :) ) :

this one’s just for you, taiyyaba! one of my best friends’ parents, who have known me since childhood:

so then nadia and aasil came around to mingle with their guests, and we oohed and aahed over her dress and jewelry…

and finally, i got a friend to take a shot of me (left) with my beautiful sister-in-law, who i am thrilled to share is expecting my second nephew or niece in about six months, God willing! yay for babies!

after that we went into the reception tent for lunch, and things rapidly degenerated as my unnapped son’s mood went downhill, so the camera stayed in the bag and i’m not really sure what went on in terms of wedding festivities… but such is parenthood’s blessing!