Lan Su Chinese Garden

Last weekend, my husband and I spent three days in Portland.  For Christmas, as our gift to each other, we decided to take a short trip without the children. It was a great, laid-back trip.  It’s nice to take a few moments and remember who it is that I’m married to amidst all the busyness of day-to-day life.

One of our activities was to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland.  This garden takes an entire city block and is just gorgeous.  We were very lucky to be able to take advantage of the unseasonably warm and nice weather for February. It was also fun because we were there during the celebration of Chinese New Year. There were several kids groups performing while we toured the garden.

Of course I brought my camera, but I was “lazy” for this trip and decided to keep my 1.8/50mm lens on the camera instead of switching to the more traditional kit lens.  It made some of the shots more challenging, but I actually loved the results.

I wanted to share some of the pictures.

river carved rock

There was one other thing that I was really fascinated about and took a lot of pictures with my iPhone. I plan talk about it at another time, but I’ll give you a little picture hint.

Review: Step-by-Step Wedding Photography

One of the things I hope to do on this blog is some book reviews. Right now, it’s just for me because I don’t expect much traffic to the site, but I hope that one day it’s helpful to other people as well.  I feel the need to mention that this is a book I borrowed from the library.  I don’t own it. I didn’t get it for free.  I’m not benefiting in any way by talking about it.

I shot my very first wedding last weekend.  I’ll share some pictures when I get up the courage to edit them.  It was for a friend of a friend. My friend knew that I love taking pictures, do it a lot, and have a pretty good camera. Her friend was getting married, was on a budget and needed a photographer.  And that’s where I came in.

I agreed to shoot the wedding to step waaaay outside of my comfort zone.  I shoot kids, my kids, in very casual settings. I’m happy with many of the pictures I take. I’m shockingly pleased by a few. I’m pretty much a point-and-shoot sort of gal. My friend assured me that this was a very laid back couple who would be thrilled to have wedding pictures. A photographer for their event was kind of an afterthought.

Anyway, after all the arrangements were made, I logged on to our local library and reserved about every photography book I could. I skimmed through most of them and Step-by-Step Wedding Photography by Damon Tucci was hands down the best reference I found. If it looked like I might photograph other weddings, I would purchase this book first.

The book starts with the very basics of shooting a wedding and progresses chronologically through the entire process from the initial consultation to the post-production.

But what I appreciated the most about this book is Damon Tucci’s approach. Unlike many of the other books I looked at, he travels light.  He seeks to get good lighting and settings by using what’s available instead of hauling a bunch of equipment.

This is a great approach for two reasons.  For me, I don’t have any equipment except for the camera, a couple basic lenses, tripod (which I borrowed) and speedlight.  It’s not an ideal scenario, but he works with it.

I also think the light approach is more realistic for today’s couples. There is a desire for more and more shots in different settings, and if you have to set up equipment for each location, then you lose a lot of the spontaneity and a lot of time, which is a precious commodity on the day of the wedding.

I highly recommend this book. It was a great resource for me as a beginning photographer, but I also think that experienced photogs just getting into the business of wedding photography would find vast amounts of valuable information.