Chicago | {Workshop and more!}

Just last weekend I was in Chicago for a few days and thought I would share a peek at what I was lucky enough to see (and do) while there. A workshop with Audrey Woolard is what brought myself and a friend there. It was a wonderful workshop, focusing on shooting in full sun and working with some great “tweens” who were not only beautiful girls, but all very sweet and fun to get to know. On the first day of the workshop, we had gorgeous weather…about 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky…talk about a perfect fall day! The second day was even warmer! An added bonus on the second day was that it was the day of the Chicago Marathon, which is one of the six major world marathons…and the course took it RIGHT in front of the studio! How lucky were we…getting to see the VERY first group going by, including the handcyclers and then the first group of runners (with the top finishers being in that group!). Of course, we all had to take a few photos of the runners, who could pass up an opportunity like that, as well as a chance to cheer them all on! I traveled with a good friend, Connie, and we had a day on each end of the weekend to see some of the sights. I’ve been to Chicago before, but Connie had not, so it was fun to show her some of the highlights!

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United in Love in Vegas | {Destination Wedding}

When you talk about a trip to Las Vegas, one would think of casinos, slot machines, show girls, the strip, lights…LOTS of them and oh, so much more! My last trip there was filled with love, memories, new friends and a chance to photograph a very special day for two wonderful people! The bride, Connie, is a dear friend, who I met a couple years ago…actually online and then we met in person about a year later. Our love for photography was how we “met” but once we actually met in person, I knew we were friends forever…despite living in different states. Connie is originally from Columbia and has been in the US – California for quite some time. Since moving to the US, she’s made many friends who have become her “family” and those who have met her know just how kind, caring, passionate and faithful she is! Last summer she moved from California to Medford, Oregon and she fell in love there…not only with a wonderful man, but also with the area…and I couldn’t have been happier for her. She deserves EVERYTHING her heart desires and I knew that being there for her was the only place I would be on her wedding day! My husband came along and he had never met Connie and I hadn’t met any of the other family and friends that would be there…but by the end of the weekend, we felt like we had made wonderful new friends who were just as kind and friendly as Connie. Of course, her new hubby, Merrill, is a very generous and loving man who made us feel so welcome and as though we were part of the family. He has a wonderful person to share his life with – they are both so very lucky to have one another!! My heart is filled with happiness for the two of them and the life they have ahead of them!!

The wedding was held in a penthouse suite at the Bellagio and family and close friends all shared in their special day. The laughter, stories, love, margaritas and more filled the day…and the weekend for Connie and Merrill and all those who celebrated with them! Connie’s mother traveled from Columbia and was a dear…not that I could understand anything she said, but I loved her as it was obvious her heart and soul are just as her daughter’s are…and although we couldn’t understand what the other was saying, we both knew that we love Connie and were so very happy for her! Merrill’s brother and sister in-law were there as well…and Connie has know them for a long time and considered them her “California family” and becoming a real part of their family was an incredible gift! Others traveled from across the country and many of her friends from Southern California…and meeting each and every one of them was a blessing…knowing how much everyone loves Connie and that we were all there because we are so happy for her! The weekend was a delight…well, except for one “tiny” little mishap!! 😉 After a spectacular dinner at the Prime Steakhouse in the Bellagio some of us were headed back up to the Penthouse, including the bride and groom…when we were stuck in an elevator. Elevator #13 to be exact…and there just happened to be 13 of us in there…9 from the wedding and 2 other couples. Well, the mood was light to start, but as time went on…and air became a bit more stifling and we kept being told “they were working on it” and then an “outside party” was called to come figure it out…we were impatient and MORE than ready to get out. Thankfully, we didn’t have a medical emergency in there, but we were all concerned if the time continued as to what might happen. Eventually, it was the Las Vegas Fire Department who got us out and I would guess that everyone has never been so happy to see firefighters (looking quite nice in their full gear!) in their life as when they helped us out…it was well over an hour and not quite how the evening was suppose to end. Given that the suite was on the 26th floor, we all had to eventually get back in elevators, but we refused to ride in elevator #13! If you have been to Las Vegas, you know that you really don’t have a choice, but to use elevators when staying in the hotels…so we all had to suppress our fears after that and get back “on the horse” or in the elevator for the rest of our stay!! The Bellagio did compensate all of us, so that did help…but I certainly wouldn’t choose to go through that again for another weekend getaway!

Combining my love for photography and the love I have for a friend and being able to capture a very special day in her life and that of her new husband filled my heart with joy. Sharing in the wedding of even my clients is a great day…knowing the love and commitment that they are making and how much it means…I’m always overcome with emotion as I think back to the day my husband and I were married…and know what a day like this means!! My wish for you, Connie and Merrill, is a lifetime of love, laughter and more happiness than you can ever imagine. You two are incredible people and I couldn’t be happier for you! {P.S. Rick and I ARE coming to visit you and we can’t wait to hang out with both of you!}

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Mr. & Mrs. Kalebaugh | Oregon Wedding Photographer

Just four short weeks ago, this beautiful, young couple was joined by family and dear friends as they shared a special day of committing to each other…for a lifetime! Sydney and Tobin became husband and wife and I don’t think I’ve seen a couple that has wanted that more, that were more committed and excited to join together as one! Of course, I must admit, I’m a tad biased as Sydney is my niece, my brother’s youngest and I was so excited to be able to share in this very special day with all of them! They were married on a hot day in The Dalles, OR, but it certainly could have been hotter and there wasn’t much wind (which can be a problem there), and there weren’t any fires (they came two weeks later)…so it was obviously a very blessed day for them to have such great conditions and to have so many people be able to share in their amazing day! Sydney is a bit social, well okay, a LOT and makes friends with just about everyone she meets…hence, 12 bridesmaids! 😉 Although the largest wedding party I’ve ever photographed, it was probably the most fun group, they were laughing and giggling most of the time and the whole group was willing to do just about anything…I had such a great time with this wedding party and love going through all of the photos – it really was a blast! Sydney and Tobin are now settling into married life in Moscow as Sydney returns to finish her last year of college and Tobin applies to Vet school…and I know that life ahead of them has great things in store…there will be bumps and turns they might not expect and challenges, but that is what commitment is all about, learning how to navigate these things together, working to grow your relationship and make it ever stronger! I’m so excited to see where they will be in just 5 short years…and can only imagine the stories they will have to share from their adventures together! (WARNING: there are a LOT of photos here…I just had too many I wanted to share. so you are warned to settle down and get comfortable while you go through these!!)
storyboard001storyboard002storyboard003storyboard004storyboard005Laundry day!! Pretty nice looking laundry, isn’t it! storyboard006Sydney actually had two wedding dresses, both were custom made in the Philippines earlier this year when she was living over there…the one on the left was worn at the reception…both were stunning on her!!storyboard007storyboard008storyboard009storyboard010storyboard011A little prayer before everything began…storyboard012storyboard013Such a gorgeous bride!!!storyboard014storyboard015storyboard016storyboard017Okay…on the count of three, girls, PINCH someone’s butt…ONE TWO THREE….GO!storyboard018storyboard019storyboard020Talk about a veil!storyboard021Beautiful mother of the bride, Betsy, has a little time with the girls before heading to get things done!storyboard022We were lucky enough to take the wedding party photos on my brother and sister in-laws property, over looking the Columbia River and this one with a view of Mt. Adams in the background.storyboard023Absolutely gorgeous…Sydney was glowing!!storyboard024First look…Tobin had to come find Sydney…it was very touching!
storyboard025storyboard026storyboard027storyboard028Talk about a GREAT looking wedding party!!storyboard029storyboard030storyboard031storyboard032Proud (and emotional) dad…he’s truly blessed with two amazing daughters!!storyboard033storyboard034storyboard035storyboard036storyboard037Do I really have to let her go?! 😉storyboard038storyboard039Ha…if you know this family at all, you would know they like to have fun and goof around a lot, this was all in jest and we had some fun with these “shots!” LOLstoryboard040storyboard041storyboard042storyboard043storyboard044storyboard045Last minute details…one of the maids of honor, big sis, Sam, gets flowers ready for the flower girls!storyboard046The reception was help at The Dalles Readiness Center, a brand new facility, which was perfect for this large event and we had some amazing views from the deck outside…what a great location!storyboard047storyboard048You might notice the cake in the center of the table…each table had their own cake, each made by mother of the bride (Betsy)…a lot of work and let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS…and what a great way to keep the tables together for a nice visit…during the evening!storyboard049Testing out the dance floor before the ceremony…looking great!storyboard050As I said…great views!!!storyboard051Adorable flower girls and ring bearer…and all so sweet!
storyboard052storyboard053storyboard054storyboard055storyboard056storyboard057Sydney and Tobin are blessed to both have amazing and supportive parents!!storyboard058storyboard059storyboard060storyboard061storyboard062storyboard063storyboard064Here comes the bride…storyboard065storyboard066storyboard067storyboard068Wow, look at everyone!!storyboard069storyboard070storyboard071storyboard072storyboard073storyboard074storyboard075storyboard076storyboard077storyboard078storyboard079storyboard080storyboard081storyboard082A peek at their “getaway” car before they head in to the reception…it’s pretty spectacular!!!!storyboard083storyboard084And a special cake for the bride and groom!!storyboard085storyboard086storyboard087storyboard088Very proud dads….
storyboard089storyboard090storyboard091The first dance…storyboard092storyboard094Anniversary dance…and the winners, Mel and Jackie Schmidt…married 55 years (I believe!)…and dear family friends!storyboard094astoryboard095Oh my, it really was a blessed day with a sunset like this!storyboard096What a fun reception…Tobin’s dad called for some swing dancing and the room was all up moving!!storyboard097storyboard098A little uncertainty about who really caught the bouquet…so just share it…four more weddings ahead?!?

storyboard099storyboard100storyboard102This was crazy…when it was time, they were out of there, about as fast as they could go…too darn cute!!storyboard103storyboard104Mr. and Mrs. Tobin Kalebaugh

What an amazing day it was, Sydney and Tobin, I wish you years and years of happiness and joy!

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