Glenda & Larry’s Wedding at Taylor Ranch

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love always perseveres!

What an HONOR it was for Cami and I to photograph Glenda & Larry’s beautiful wedding! Glenda & Cami have been friends for close to 20 years. When Glenda moved away from Charleston for her new job, she had no idea what was in store for her! One day as she arrived for services at Biltmore Church, she met an amazing man named Larry. They soon fell in love. Larry proposed to Glenda in front of all their friends one morning during their small-group gathering before church!

Their wedding was held at Taylor Ranch in Fletcher, NC. It was a picture-perfect day with mild temperatures, and clear blue skies. Glenda was absolutely stunning in her elegant wedding gown, complete with adorable lace-toped tennis shoes. Larry was quite dashing in his embroidered guayaberas Sunday shirt with tan blazer. Led by their good friend Kelvin, the ceremony was heartfelt and spirit-led. A casual reception in the open-air pavilion, overlooking the lake, was the perfect place for everyone to relax and celebrate with the newlyweds!

CONGRATULATIONS Glenda & Larry!!! We wish you all the best as you begin your new journey together…

Glenda & Larry’s Rehearsal Dinner

Glenda & Larry’s private room at The Season’s, located at The Highland Lake Inn & Resort, was filled with gales of laughter, tears of joy, stories of love, and sentiments of lives filled with blessings.

We were celebrating Glenda & Larry’s Rehearsal Dinner Party! Friends and family were gathered together to fellowship, and to bless the lives of this amazing couple as they prepared for their wedding day. A short rehearsal was followed by a delicious meal, then a time of sharing and showering Larry & Glenda with stories that exemplified their undying love, kindness, and faithfulness.

The evening closed with a GORGEOUS sunset as we all parted ways with great anticipation for the special day ahead!

Sally & Vincent’s “Carolina Girl” Vow Renewal

It’s been TEN YEARS since Sally & Vincent tied the knot. But at the time, they weren’t able to have a big wedding. So for their 10-year Anniversary, they decided to throw that beautiful “party of the century” wedding celebration they’d always imagined!!!  🙂

Sally & Vincent met and fell in love in Coney Island, NY. Her brother lived in Charleston.  So Sally kept coming down to the area for visits. Later on, Sally & Vincent moved to Connecticut.  But it wasn’t quite the right fit, and they still hated those cold winters. Eventually they took the plunge and moved to Mt. Pleasant.  Along the way, they started a family.  Their daughters, Vanessa and Scarlett, are absolutely adorable.  You can check out their engagement/family photos here:  https://chrisandcami.com/sally-vincent-folly-beach-engagement/).  Since moving to Charleston, Sally & Vincent have built their dream home…and have been here ever since!

To pull off this fabulous wedding celebration, these two lovebirds joined with the amazing team at The Carolina Girl Yacht (www.carolinagirlevents.com)!  Camille, Jessica, Captain T.J., and the rest of the crew helped them get every detail in place, and made sure everything ran smoothly throughout the event.

When the Big Day arrived, I met up with Sally and her girls at The White Room for their “getting ready” photos.  Sally was absolutely STUNNING in her elegant wedding gown!  Then it was off to The Carolina Girl to catch up with Vincent and his guys.  When the Party Buss arrived with the girls on it, Vincent was waiting in the picturesque park near the dock.  Knowing how long Sally & Vincent had waited for this moment, it was all I could do to hold back the tears and keep shooting while this amazing couple enjoyed their emotional First Look.  Next, we stepped up the pace with wedding party photos in the park before guests arrived.  Then it was off to The Carolina Girl for the rest of the evening!  From family and friends enjoying the scenic cruise around Charleston harbor, to their heartfelt vow renewal, to family portraits on the bow, to a delicious dinner, and finally the gleeful laughter reverberating off the water as everyone danced the night away…a FABULOUS time was had by all at Sally & Vincent’s Big Celebration.  That, my friends, is exactly how dreams come true!!!

CONGRATULATIONS Sally & Vincent!  You two are so perfect for each other.  We wish you all the best as you continue to love one another, love your wonderful girls, and live life to the fullest for MANY MORE anniversaries to come…

 

Baby Christening on Seabrook Island

What an amazing treat it was to be a part of April’s Baby Christening at the beach on Seabrook Island!

April looked angelic in her delicate christening gown. Her parents, brother (Oscar the dog), uncle, and both sets of grandparents were all there to bear witness. Father Karl performed a beautiful ceremony in a peaceful setting, surrounded by nature, with the waves gently lapping at the shore behind us.
It truly was a special moment!!!

Many thanks to Julie & Ryan for allowing me to capture this joyous occasion.

Amelia’s Graduation Celebration

Maybe it was that night we “slumber partied” on the living room floor at Byron & Kathleen‘s house when our plans to go camping fell through? Maybe it was that week of paddling canoes through the mosquito-infested Okefenokee Swamp together? Or maybe it’s that Africa-Connection that Kathleen and I share, having both been raised as MK’s in the Heart of Darkness? Regardless, The Whites and The Smiths have become more than just friends…they are family. And thus, Byron & Kathleen’s daughter, Amelia, has been like the daughter Cami and I never had!
 
So it was with great joy that we received an invitation to Amelia‘s Graduation Celebration at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC!!! This beautiful, loving, intelligent young lady graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies (minor in Business Administration), and already has a great job working in her field with a company based in Denver, CO.
 
Another neat part of the weekend was that Amelia’s person, Kellie, also graduated in the same class. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology (minors in Psychology and Anthropology). Amelia and Kellie have known each other their entire time at Winthrop. It’s been wonderful to watch their friendship grow and their relationship blossom!
 
Amelia is an AMAZING young lady! And we can’t wait to see what incredible opportunities lay ahead for her as she begins this new chapter in her life…

New Orleans Greenscreen Event

We live in interesting times!!!

Photography certainly has evolved over the 40 years since I first got “hooked” with my Dad’s Pentax K1000. I photographed all through high-school as the senior yearbook photographer with that camera and a Rikoh KR-5, switching to the Pentax Program Plus and ME Super in college. I upgraded to medium format Mamiya 645 when I turned pro after college. When auto-focus technology arrived, I converted to Nikon N8008, N90, and F100. Things got really interesting when digital hit the scene. I was an early adopter with the D100, progressing to the D2x, D3, D4, D5, and many other variations in between. Most recently, the big change has been switching to mirrorless. I’m currently working with the Z9 and loving it!

But what’s really cool is how cameras and computers have become so integrated! Last week I had a fantastic time photographing a greenscreen event in New Orleans for one of our favorite clients, the US Grains Council! Similar to how the weatherman shows you the maps on TV, I used a green background that the computer would later drop out and replace with a digital background.  With my D5 tethered to one laptop, Lightroom would instantly import the image. Then a special program from the awesome team at Photo Party Upload would watch that “hot folder” and pop the image up in an intuitive kiosk app.  If the first laptop was still being used by the previous guest in the booth, I had a second laptop set up with the same kiosk app running on it for the next person to use.  After getting their picture made, guests would go to one of the kiosks to choose which background image they wanted, and use the touchscreen to pinch and zoom their photo, placing themselves in the “scene” wherever they wanted. Finally, they could instantly share the final image on social media, or simply email it to themselves.

It was so much fun watching everyone get creative and have fun with the system! 40 years ago, if you had told me I’d be doing this king of “magic” with today’s technology, I would have told you you were crazy!!! 🙂

Commodity Classic in New Orleans

The Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural & educational experience! It’s a massive 3-day event where farmers gather every year to find the answers, solutions, and information they need to gain greater clarity and vision for their farm’s success.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of photographing the 2022 conference and trade-show for the US Grains Council.  They are an amazing organization, focused on developing markets for American corn, barley, and sorghum…enabling trade…and improving lives. The 3-day program was held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. With over 7,000 attendees, it was a huge success!!!

(All images captured with Nikon Z9, Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 S, and Lexar XQD cards.)

Retirement Reception at William Aiken House

Sweeping ballrooms, lush private grounds, and open-air piazzas make this historic 1807 mansion one of Charleston’s most sought-after venues for weddings and events. Tucked behind it’s ornate black iron gates on King Street, the William Aiken House is a peaceful retreat that carries guests back in time to the 19th century. The formal dining rooms, museum caliber artwork, and giant 200 year old magnolia tree are highlights of the many wonders of this beautiful property!

I always enjoy working events and weddings at this venue. And this recent corporate event in honor of the retirement of one of it’s esteemed members was no exception! The evening actually started down the block with cocktails on the rooftop bar at Stars. As dusk fell, we enjoyed a leisurely stroll down King Street to enter those beautiful gates for the main event. Everyone paused on the lawn for a few shots of the whole group which I captured from the 2nd floor piazza. Drinks and hors-d’oeuvres continued as historians shared interesting anecdotes about Charleston and details about the William Aiken House. Dinner was upstairs in the main dining hall. Finally wonderful words were shared, and a fine gift was unveiled for the guest of honor!

It was a beautiful evening and a delightful celebration I was delighted to be a part of.

First Event with the Nikon Z9

Prior to the deliver of my Z9 from NPS, I had a chance to borrow my friend Gary’s for an event. It was a chilly evening, with extremely low-light conditions. So I figured it would be the PERFECT test for this new flagship camera from Nikon!

The event was held at the beautiful yet rustic Hart Meadows Ranch on John’s Island. I arrived early to get a couple shots with the drone as the sun set over the horizon. I had about 30 minutes of twilight after that to get some establishing shots during “blue hour” before guests arrived. It was a new moon. So after that it was completely dark except for the string lights, up-lighting, and bonfires dotted around the property.

I slung my tried-and-true D5 on one hip, and Gary’s Z9 on the other. That way I could do a real-world comparison between the two models, switching back and forth as needed. I carried the 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, and 105 f2.8 Micro.  These were all Nikkor F-mount lenses to keep things consistent, using the FTZ adapter to mount them on the Z9.

It was a fantastic evening! The Z9 was AMAZING. For example, the shots of Tiera Kennedy, who is an incredibly talented up-and-coming country artist from Nashville, were shot at ISO 8000!!!  Yet the files look incredibly sharp and noise-free.  When there was enough light, the new Eye-detect Auto Focus was pretty awesome.  However, it did struggle to acquire focus in pitch black conditions where I had to use flash. I don’t know why mirrorless cameras don’t “see” the Infrared Auto Focus Assist beam from our flashes! Can anyone answer this? That is my ONLY wish for the Z9 is that it could see that AF Assist beam when things are pitch black.  Maybe I needed to switch to a different auto-focus mode.  But I usually ended up just pulling out the trusty D5 for those conditions.

Other than that, the Z9 performed flawlessly! I didn’t want to give it back to Gary that night on my way home. HA!!! And I’m excited to finally have received mine from NPS last week. 🙂

Historic Rice Mill with Z9

My friend Frank, of Francis West Studios, let me tag along on a fun wedding he was shooting at the Historic Rice Mill today.

He was the videographer for the event. So I helped out by running the secondary camera, getting drone footage, etc. But the fun part was, he let me bring the new Z9 to play with! Here are a couple dusk shots of this beautiful wedding venue taken with the new camera.

I still have a lot of subtle nuances to get used to…but this beast is really starting to feel at home in my hands! 🙂

Awards Ceremony at The Ocean Course

Kiawah Island is such an amazing paradise! Whenever I have an assignment out there, I can feel my blood pressure dropping as I drive the scenic road out to the island. Then once I’m on the island, I love slowing down and looking for alligators, egrets, and osprey, which hang out in the many ponds and marshes.

A few weeks ago I had a fantastic time photographing a very special awards banquet at The Ocean Course. Cocktails took place on the back porch, overlooking the historic 18th hole where so many Ryder Cup and PGA moments have taken place. As the beautiful sunset faded into blue hour, everyone moved inside for dinner. Heartfelt speeches were made about each incredibly deserving award recipient. The room was truly filled with warmth and appreciation for their dedication and service!

For smaller events like this, I choose to wield my Nikon D5 + 24-70 f2.8, Nikon D500 + 105 f2.8, and Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights.  Of course the DJI Mavic Pro 2 comes in handy for those hard-to-reach angles!

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 3

The 3rd and final day of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville was a time to celebrate!

All the Advisory Team Leaders shared the progress reports and final results from their intense break-out meetings. Recognition Awards for exemplary service were handed out to deserving recipients. And final words of inspiration were shared before the conference was finally adjourned.

It was an absolute pleasure being back in person, photographing another fabulous event for the US Grains Council!