At our last Sag- Ja Wedding fair event which took place in Vorchdorf in the Spring of this year, prizes were awarded to visitors as part of the evening entertainment. I offered a portrait session as one of the prizes and was pleased to greet the winners some months later at our chosen location of Traunkirchen , a charming lakeside town on Traunsee lake in Upper Austria. The lovely young couple, Selina and Bernd, were engaged and in love and planning their wedding to take place a year later. Selina came prepared with some lovely dresses , summery and feminine and she had a few unique requisites and changes in her bag. We began our session by some old wooden sheds nestled in a corner by the lakeside. We noticed that one of the sheds was open and that the atmosphere inside was cozy and warm, complete with fireplace and charming weathered couch, backed by beautiful doors and soft light falling through the large wooden framed windows. At that precise moment, we met a man who turned out to be the owner of the gallery opposite the shed and invited us to use the spaces we had discovered. This we did with great enthusiasm, as the weather seemed to be dimming with each moment. I grabbed the chance to set up some off camera flash enhancing the interior of the shed. Selina and Bernd , shy at first in front camera, seemed to enjoy the staging more and more as they warmed up to the shooting experience. They shared their special connection with me and even took me up on my challenge to have a dance together. This they did with such natural grace and charm, that I had no need to prompt them into poses. On this particular day the weather had been going through it’s caprices, changing within minutes from sunny brilliance to threatening stormy skies. And because we realized the situation was precarious, we decided to quickly chance locations and catch some lakeside images while the weather seemed kind. Once outside by the sheds at the lakeside the waves began to dash against the banks and no sooner had we begun to shoot some carefree scenes, the storm took us by surprise and pelting rain drenched us within minutes. It was all we could do to run under cover and I was able to get my camera into safety but we were all soaked by that time. Selina and Bernd had clothes to change into and I remained rather soaked, but we were invited by the gallery owner to come into his gallery where he happened to be preparing for an exhibition. He offered us coffee and dry chairs and wonderful conversation with a small circle of friends that were there. Once dried , we thanked our hosts gratefully and decided to continue our session in Gmunden at Toscana park. By the time we were there, the storm had abated and we found gorgeous places in between the trees and grassy fields. It was here that we took advantage of the low light and approaching sunset.The narrow strips of sand along the lakeside and finally a pier reaching out into the water offered the perfect places for the closing scenes of a wonderful portrait session.
It was my pleasure to photograph the wonderfully lively and joyful wedding of Sharon and Ruaidri in gorgeous Salzburg settings. My day began at a beautiful Salzburg city center hotel where Sharon and Ruaidri were getting ready. Sharon and all of her bridesmaid’s , mom and hairdresser were busy with preparations and as I arrived. I was greeted warmly and was immediately caught up in the ensuing excitement. Here, Sharon’s shoes, beautiful , golden , and fairy tale like.
And lovely Sharon …
In the corner of Sharon’s suite I noticed the sleeping bags and rustic gear which obviously contrasted with the open suitcases full of exquisite wedding garb. Sharon explained to me that they would be spending their Honeymoon sleeping under the open skies of Africa for three weeks, safari tours taking them through a selection of Africa’s most adventurous and famous natural reserves. At once I had visions of them stalking wild lions, tigers , elephants and giraffes and of course my sense of adventure flared up and my photographic nerve was tickled. But on with the story of the wedding day….
Ruaidri was waiting in a room with a more relaxed ambiance on another floor of the hotel, dressed and eager to begin after having expertly ironed his own shirt ( which I witnessed with my own eyes ).
(Note to the reader: If you are having trouble with his name and are not Irish, do not feel bad.I practiced Ruaidri’s name before I trusted myself to say it out loud and in the end this did not evolve well, so we opted for a short version of Ru. This was a great relief, and I wondered how the Irish could possess names which an native english speaker could not read or pronounce correctly. The American names like Tom, Bob and Bill can simply not compete.)
Ruaidri’s favorite requisites were laid out; a shiny whisky flask and a cherished watch and chain, a gift from his sweetheart.
When all were ready, we were taken by limousine to Mirabell Castle where the actual wedding ceremony took place in magnificent baroque rooms . Here, some scenes from the ceremony . I was amazed by the Irish women and the wonderfully vivid sense of color of their dresses and hats… emphasis here on hats, or “fascinators”as they are called in the UK for a good reason. They were eye catchers.
After a ceremony of smiles, laughter interspersed with happy tears, Sharon, Ruaidri and I had some special time for portraits in the castle…Baroque pure in the company of gold, marble and luxuriant angels.
We then made our way to Hellbrunn Castle on the outskirts of Salzburg .The ‘Lustschloss’ was a pleasure palace built between the years of 1612-1619 for staging festivities, for enjoyment and relaxation. Originally this was a privilege reserved for the archbishops. I must admit,the fantasy takes off when imagining what might have taken place here in earlier times, but during our visit, there was certainly no lack of enjoyment among the Hegarty wedding guests while enjoying a special tour of the trick fountains or “Wasserspiele”. It was only a matter of keeping an eye out for hidden water spouts, and being quick on your feet in order to stay dry. The challenge was welcomed by all, but I did notice that the kids were searching eagerly for the pitfalls.
A few details from the group shots, introducing young Nathan who emerged as one of the best photo assistants I have had the pleasure to work with. Thus, I encouraged him to just be himself during our portrait session and he followed my lead.
The ladies did well in showing their legs….
The girls were just being girls…..
In the final hour before dinner, the newlyweds and I walked through the gardens and captured some special moments.
At the end of the day, as I packed up my gear to head for home, I felt I could not have had a better experience. Wonderful warm people, gorgeous settings and an abundance of happiness. What more could one ask for.
This winter I had the pleasure of photographing an engagement session with Karimah and Chris. Karimah and I have known each other for many years. I first met her family in Austria and our contact continued in California where the recent session took place. Although my main residence is in Austria, I spend the winter months in my original home of Southern California, and coincidently, Karimah lives in my location, in the year around sunny North County of San Diego.
Karimah introduced me to her new love, Chris, who I found to be a perfectly charming person and wonderful match for her But they didn’t need to ask me for my opinion,as it was evident that they were both immensely happy about having found each other .They arranged an engagement session with me which turned out to be one of the most delightful days of my winter visit.
We began the session in Balboa Park and decided to use the beautiful Spanish architecture as our backdrop. Karimah had a gorgeous blue and black dress and Chris casual clothes in harmonizing colors.
As we walked through the park, I found out how they first met and how their relationship grew. Karimah told me, “When I moved to Carlsbad, I started working at this restaurant called “Ignite”. I met Chris there, of course, we instantly had a fun and magnetic bond, and over the course of the next few months, we got to know each other quite well. We shared family backgrounds, travels, and future plans with each other. We discovered that both of us had Austrian roots and that he had spent a summer in Vienna. I also found out that he is an amazing musician who toured all over the US with several different bands. At the point Chris and I met, I was at a turning point in my life, and forced to make difficult decisions. In spite of the pressure this sometimes put on him, he always stood by me and reminded me of how much fun life could be. To this day he always makes me laugh, sometimes uncontrollably! Over the past 2 years we traveled and explored together, learned so much from each other, and grew together as strong individuals in a happy and healthy relationship. He’s become more financially responsible, and I’ve become less neurotic. He’s become more trusting, and I’ve learned to communicate better in a relationship. The best part is that we truly help each other become the best versions of ourselves. We continue to make plans for the future together, work as hard as we can to achieve our goals, and laugh on a daily basis!”
Here , some of the shots we took through the Arcades.
In the midst of many park visitors, we came upon a wonderfully quiet and spacious arcade and this seemed to propel Karimah into a spontaneous series of swirls and twirls. I knew she was musical but I didn’t realize how well she could dance. Obviously Chris was also amazed as he watched in admiration. Had Chris bought along his guitar, we would have had a real performance.
Affection and fun against spanish walls.
At some point,the warmth of the California winter sun lured us away from the buildings into the lower reaches of palm trees and shade. Karimah and Chris settled into intimate and restful embraces.
Many thanks to Karimah and Chris. It was an honor for me to capture these special moments. They have not yet bought their rings, but in view of their love, the rings are only symbols of what one can so obviously witness with the eyes and the heart.
A new year begins and I take time on the coast of California to reflect upon the new challenges and goals which lie ahead. I welcome the weddings and portrait sessions, each one an exciting adventure , each one unique. I welcome each one ,because the one I am presently doing is always the best. Perhaps that is what makes photography so very exciting.The actual “making of” process pulls one into the here and now into the moment. Portrait sessions may be planned well in advance; location,models requisites, gear, conceptual ideas are mapped out with a “destination” in mind, but reality always changes the plan more or less. Things happen, the initial direction changes course. One swims with the current, drawing upon instinct. Reactions are spontaneous as things unfold differently than in the score. Trusting the moment becomes crucial, and living in the moment, the reward. It is impossible to predict the future, to totally control the environment or to dictate human exchange . For these reasons,photography is so very thrilling and while one can utilize all the skills and creative powers one has in reserve, there will always be an element of surprise in each session . This is the spark of fire and the charm which continually lures me behind the camera.
I recently looked at some images from a portrait session I had done in the Spring of 2014. We had started the session inside with some very basic lighting , and afterwards, we progressed to a lengthy outdoors session where the majority of images were taken. Because I was photographing someone who had never posed before and she had only met me once very briefly , I decided to do a few inside shots to ease her into the session away from the public so that she could get the feel for being in front of the camera. She was apprehensive and the first shots were understandably embarrassing for her, but we progressed and got some lovely subtle and expressive images,, very honest and innocent. She had lovely long shiny hair and as we began to shoot she wanted to cover her face and I told her to do this with her hair. This pleased her greatly and she began to wrap her hair over her face feeling she was quite a bit safer like this and certainly more photogenic. I went with the look and the result was a series of very interesting camouflage portraits which proved to reveal more about her lovely unassuming character than hide it. A small tip of the head or change of the fingers was all that we needed. In proceeding this way I learned something about asking for less and flowing more. These were the steps taken to advance to the more extroverted shots taken later in the day. She proved to be an excellent and graceful subject and the session was marvelous.
One of these initial studio shots which was actually quite ordinary, sparked off the idea of a fresco like portrait image . I had Italy and Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel in my mind’s eye, though I have only seen printed images and not the real thing, However in this shot, the hand and finger went up in the air in such a way as to remind me of a famous scene of the ceiling and I edited in an attempt to capture this feeling. It was an adventure getting there and now that trip to Rome is a more urgent desire. That trip to Rome will come, but in the meantime I also value the close to home destinations.
Wedding season comes to an end for 2014 and I look back at all the celebrations with pleasure, knowing well that I have found a place in my heart for each wedding couple. The weddings were all beautiful and unique, all varied in terms of location, size, feeling and design. However , what they all shared was the happiness and excitement pervading the day; the smiles,the laughter, the moments of awe….even tears were joyful. As the photographer, I felt the importance of not only SEEING the moments of the day pass in front of my camera, but also FEELING them, with the knowledge that each image is what remains after the day is over. Yes, there are memories,but time fades the details, and it is only in a photograph that we can study with clarity the special moments. It has always been a joy to me to sit with my parent’s wedding albums and look at the portraits of friends and family for hours at a time, again and again. Some of the people are no longer with us, which makes the images priceless. As a photographer, I am honored to capture the moments as I see and feel them, knowing that they will be cherished and preserved by generations yet to come. Thank you to all my wedding couples!
It is the season to get out there and have new portraits taken of yourself . Locations and warm weather invite you to capture yourself in anew light. In connection with portraiture and the avenues it can open for you , I’d like to relate my own experience with a recent portraits session and all that I discovered.
Last week I experienced something very new and different. Instead of being behind the camera, I was in front of it, not because I chose to be but because I was to be featured in a magazine story about my work as a photographer. It seemed to me it would be adequate to just present my images ,but there was a definite request by the interviewer to have images of me for the readers. In view of this, I organized a make- up artist on the morning of my photo session and she made some major changes to the way I usually do my make-up. Though seemingly small, I suddenly took on a totally different look, softer, younger and somehow more vulnerable. In any case, not my idea of the usual “me”. Because time was running out, I accepted her expert transformation , as odd as it felt to me, and went to my photo session. It went well enough, and afterwards, I went home to contemplate my new look. The next day I continued in the same vein, studying the new changes. The next day as well. To my surprise,my friends commented on me looking ” good”, though they could not pin point why. I now continue along this path, and can not imagine turning back. This makes me think seriously about change and letting go of the old in order to start the new. How strange it seems at the onset to change something done for years , seemingly so perfect , so normal and right, for that which appears to be foreign and wrong, only to realize the real me had surfaced after being obscured for so long. I now look forward to the process of changing directions, of being bold about letting go of the known to discover the new. For that uncomfortable newness could likely be the real you.
Springtime, warmer days, green grassy meadows, majestic castles,lake side piers and busy city streets. The best time for a portrait session is now.Are you ready to run across that meadow in your favorite dress, pose on a pier, lean up against castle walls or dance down a city street? Life has to be over the top sometimes… let your fantasy go.
Fruehling is da! Die Tage sind wieder waermer, die Natur hat wieder Farbe. Die schoene Locations sind vielfaeltig, ob das ein Schloss ist, am See oder in der Stadt.. Jetzt ist die richtige Zeipunkt um ein Portrait Session zu organizieren . Sind Sie dafuer bereit? Das Leben muss manchmal extravagant sein… Lassen Sie ihre Fantasie frei.
“Your Life is an occasion. Rise to it.”
| Suzanne Weyn, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Pricing starts at 200 euros for 2 hours on location.For information on Portrait sessions/Preise fangen um 200 Euro fuer 2 Stunden an.Fuer naehere Details:
May I introduce my new friend, Leo, son of my niece Rachel, a 9 month old citizen of the world, innocent, perfect, joyful, happy and above all curious!
As a photographer, it was a joy to capture a Leo’s radiance,so authentic, so very fresh and truthful that one needs only to record it at any given moment in time.. But up and beyond that, I was aware of the fact that Leo’s attention was centered around discovery of his world.. And as a photographer there isn’t anything more important than this.. it is known as the art of seeing. Leo examined everything in his field of view with such undivided attention, with such fascination, that I began to ask myself if I had missed seeing something myself: a crack on the wall, a cloud outside the window, a book on the table… a speck of dust, reflecting light perhaps? And so I began to watch Leo view the world through the youngest and freshest of eyes and in doing this, I began to notice what he was seeing, so small and unworthy of any mention by the adult world. We strive to push our imagery to the limits, to engage the viewer by presenting none less than “the stupendous” and in doing so, over time dull our senses , making us ever so demanding in order to be satisfied, and ever so blind to the small wonders.
I am thankful for the experience of being reminded by a baby that the world around me, very close by, is worth looking at.
I am not sure I am willing to give up my vision many decades older than Leo’s, but I am sure that less is more.
We have all heard or read at one time or another that photography is painting with light. It seems to be an obvious thing and yet this seems to be the most elusive factor in capturing beautiful images. Especially nowadays….we get lost in seeking out “awesome locations” reminiscent of stage sets, sensational locations and requisites serving as backdrops for our subjects who look nothing less than fantastic. I believe there is a validity for this too, if for no other reason that it liberates the fantasy and let’s the creative spirit soar because it is fun to invent. And yet, in the back of my mind I keep thinking of reduction, simplicity and the ingredients which make truly memorable images. Should we not return to seeking out the light and the way it expressively falls on the subject and how that influences the message of the image? Light molds flatness into 3 dimensional forms. Light in some places renders shadows in others and the subject lives from the contrast whether it is direct or subtle. I remind myself again and again and stop looking for the wrong things, but simply for that special time and place, when and where the light works it’s magic.