Palmetto ADV Rally 2023

We started our riding season off right with a trip to Ridgeveville, South Carolina, for the 2nd annual Palmetto ADV Rally!!!

This year the rally will be held at Black Water on the Ashley Campgrounds, which was a beautiful island in the middle of a lake. The property is a 120 acre wetlands preserve that offers camping, fishing, live music, and good times. Most campsites were located right on the water for the most relaxing views and scenery. We felt like we were alone in the wilderness…yet within easy access of restaurants and stores just a few minutes away in the town of Summerville.

This year’s event included new routes, guided tours, along with daily excursions for exploring, keeping our riding skills sharp, and improving our technique while out on the trails. The South Carolina Adventure Route (SCAR) is less than a mile away away from this new location! So jumping on some fantastic off-road trails was easy.

The Palmetto ADV Rally offers 4 days days of riding and exploring & 3 nights of camping. Free continental breakfast, coffee stations, and a massive home-cooked dinner each night is all included in the rally experience. Tons of live music, presentations, bonfires, raffles, good times, riding buddies (new and old), and tall tails were also to be had!

The Palmetto ADV Rally Guest Speakers list included:
– Kris Coxs (Founder of the SCAR)
– Ben Myburgh (ADV World Traveler and Instructor)
– Mark Wing (MSF / ADV Instructor and Founder of SOAC ADV Practice Park)
– Angelo Vleck (4-time finisher at the Dakar Rally)

Famous YouTubers such as Moto Photo Adventures, The Bearded Grump, and One Old Man Riding were also there to answer questions and capture the experience on camera!

It was an AMAZING weekend and we’re already looking forward to 2024!!!

Pamela & Mike’s Wedding at The Citadel

When Pam wrote to let me know she and Mike were getting married, the first thing she told me was that her cousin had recommended us. I was elated to learn that her cousin was Jan Truesdale, a longtime friend and favorite client of mine!!! So of course I was super honored and very excited to be a part of Pam and Mike’s special day!!!

Before heading to the church for the ceremony, I met up with Pam and her best friend, Ann, who was helping her get ready. We captured some fun shots of them leaving the house. And we stopped by the reception venue for a few beautiful bridal portraits of Pam in her stunning wedding gown! While the ladies were touching up their makeup one last time, I headed over to The Citadel, where I caught up with Mike for a few portraits of him and his ushers. Guests began arriving and taking their seats inside. And I was so excited that my good friend, Jennings King, was one of them! Aside from being Mike’s niece, Jennings is a fabulous photographer in her own right!

The ceremony was absolutely perfect!!! I love the intimacy of the sanctuary inside Summerall Chapel. With 75 close family and friends, gathered closely around Pam & Mike with love and support in their hearts, it felt even more intimate than usual. The processional began with five very special ladies, each carrying a white rose. Bagpiper Jack Farrell then entered and filled the halls with his magical notes. Pam was escorted down the aisle by her two brothers, who were beaming with pride. Reverend Bland led a heartfelt ceremony. And when it was all over, Pam & Mike sealed their vows with a kiss!!! 🙂

After a few gorgeous photos of Pam & Mike inside the historic chapel, we headed over to the new Swain Boating Center for the reception. This is a new event space in the corner of campus, overlooking the Ashley River. The décor was gorgeous, the food was delicious, the Fireball dance was hilarious, and the toasts were delightful. Everyone had so much fun fellowshipping, sharing stories, and celebrating the undying love that Pam and Mike have found in each other!!!

Many thanks to Caroline at Goldbug Events for all her help keeping everything running smoothly! And Kudos to all the great vendors for making Pam & Mike’s Big Day a huge success…Magnolia Bride for Pam’s wedding gown, Sarah at Dodeline Design for the invitations and seating chart, Vanity Salon for her makeup, Azure Salon for her hair, GTC Rentals for the transportation, Michael Varnadore for the ceremony music, Lee Edwards for the reception music, Flavours of Charleston for the food, Top Shelf for the bar, and The Cake Stand for the wedding cake. Pam did her own flowers and greenery…which were beautiful!

CONGRATULATIONS Pam & Mike! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey together…

Matthew’s Bar Mitzvah

Shabat Shalom!

In spite of the challenges of the pandemic lockdown a few years ago, Jen & Gabe managed to pull off a beautiful and unique Bar Mitzvah for their oldest son, Jason. It was a touching experience for me personally. And I’m so glad I got to connect with this amazing family during that time. So it was a great honor when Jen & Gabe asked if I would photograph their youngest son’s Bar Mitzvah!

What a contrast a few short years makes!!! Matthew’s Bar Mitzvah was a totally different, but every bit as special an experience! Matthew is a thoughtful, kind, and charismatic young man, who also happens to have a truly gifted voice. His silky smooth vocals during the reading of the Torah, and leading the congregation in worship, resonated throughout the KKBE sanctuary. It truly was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had the pleasure of photographing!

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim is located in downtown Charleston. Founded in 1749, this is the first Reform synagogue, and one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the United States! The founding members of the KKBE were Sephardi Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent. The current 1841 synagogue, featuring an architecturally significant Greek Revival style, was built after the original synagogue was destroyed in a fire in 1838. The present structure is the second oldest synagogue building, and the oldest in continuous use, in the United States.

Later that evening, celebrations kicked into high gear at Hotel Indigo! With a “pre-party” for Matthew and his closest friends, cocktail hour for the adults, the family’s Grand Entrance to the reception, Motzi and challah, DJ Eddie cranking out tunes, Sir Andrew Larris and his dance crew keeping everyone on their feet, a wild and crazy Hora, a Party Boss photo booth, an ice cream sundae station, a glazed donut display, a candy bar, a cocoa-with-marshmallows extravaganza, and personalized sweatshirts for each of his friends…Matthew’s party was off the charts!!!

Many thanks to Rabbi Alexander and Rabbi Kanter for their leadership and guidance during Shabbat Terumah.  And a very special THANK YOU to Sha Sha at Loluma for making sure everything on the Big Day was absolutely perfect!

CONGRATULATIONS on this amazing milestone in your life, Matthew!!! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey into adulthood…

USGC 20th International Marketing Conference – Day 3

Attendees and staff arrived in Savannah, GA, last week for the US Grains Council’s 20th International Marketing Conference and 63rd Membership Meeting. These annual events are an important time for everyone to focus on challenges and opportunities around the world, and celebrate the Council’s rich history!

The winter meeting is an annual opportunity for corn, sorghum and barley farmers, as well as members of agribusinesses, who make up the organization’s membership, to meet with Council staff, working together on behalf of U.S. producers. The guidance and information each member contributes during this meeting, combined with input from A-Team leaders, helps to guide the roadmap for the Council’s near-term strategy.

The third day of the conference concluded with presentations by all the Sector Leaders, the honoring of Service Award Winners,  as well as some fun Staff Photos and Headshots. It was an honor and a pleasure catching up with everyone, and capturing all the key moments of another USGC event in such a beautiful old historic city!

* Nikon Z9 (x2), Nikkor Z 14-30 f4, Nikkor Z 24-70 f2.8, Nikkor Z 24-120 f4, Nikkor Z 70-200 f2.8 *

USGC 20th International Marketing Conference – Reception Dinner

Attendees and staff arrived in Savannah, GA, last week for the US Grains Council’s 20th International Marketing Conference and 63rd Membership Meeting. These annual events are an important time for everyone to focus on challenges and opportunities around the world, and celebrate the Council’s rich history!

The winter meeting is an annual opportunity for corn, sorghum and barley farmers, as well as members of agribusinesses, who make up the organization’s membership, to meet with Council staff, working together on behalf of U.S. producers. The guidance and information each member contributes during this meeting, combined with input from A-Team leaders, helps to guide the roadmap for the Council’s near-term strategy.

At the end of an intense second day of meetings and presentations, it was time to unwind and network at the eclectic Service Brewery. Everyone had a great time, the food was delicious, and the live music was outstanding! It was an honor and a pleasure catching up with everyone, and capturing all the key moments of another USGC event in such a beautiful old historic city!

* Nikon Z9 (x2), Nikkor Z 14-30 f4, Nikkor Z 24-70 f2.8, Nikkor Z 24-120 f4, Nikkor Z 70-200 f2.8 *

USGC 20th International Marketing Conference – Day 2

Attendees and staff arrived in Savannah, GA, last week for the US Grains Council’s 20th International Marketing Conference and 63rd Membership Meeting. These annual events are an important time for everyone to focus on challenges and opportunities around the world, and celebrate the Council’s rich history!

The winter meeting is an annual opportunity for corn, sorghum and barley farmers, as well as members of agribusinesses, who make up the organization’s membership, to meet with Council staff, working together on behalf of U.S. producers. The guidance and information each member contributes during this meeting, combined with input from A-Team leaders, helps to guide the roadmap for the Council’s near-term strategy.

Held at the Hyatt Regency Savannah, the second day of the conference was full of invigorating debates, keynote presentations, and productive meetings. It was an honor and a pleasure catching up with everyone, and capturing all the key moments of another USGC event in such a beautiful old historic city!

*  Nikon Z9 (x2), Nikkor Z 14-30 f4, Nikkor Z 24-70 f2.8, Nikkor Z 24-120 f4, Nikkor Z 70-200 f2.8  *

USGC 20th International Marketing Conference – Day 1

Attendees and staff arrived in Savannah, GA, last week for the US Grains Council’s 20th International Marketing Conference and 63rd Membership Meeting. These annual events are an important time for everyone to focus on challenges and opportunities around the world, and celebrate the Council’s rich history!

The winter meeting is an annual opportunity for corn, sorghum and barley farmers, as well as members of agribusinesses, who make up the organization’s membership, to meet with Council staff, working together on behalf of U.S. producers. The guidance and information each member contributes during this meeting, combined with input from A-Team leaders, helps to guide the roadmap for the Council’s near-term strategy.

The 3-day conference took place at the Hyatt Regency Savannah. It was an honor and a pleasure catching up with everyone, and capturing all the key moments of another USGC event in such a beautiful old historic city!

* Nikon Z9 (x2), Nikkor Z 14-30 f4, Nikkor Z 24-70 f2.8, Nikkor Z 24-120 f4, Nikkor Z 70-200 f2.8 *

Chairman’s Reception at Churchill’s

It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know Chad Willis, capturing all his accomplishments as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the US Grains Council.  Chad has been farming since 1997 and has worked in both the corn milling and feed industries. He was a member of the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council before serving on its board. After joining the Council, he served on both the Value-Added Advisory Team (A-Team) and was a vocal advocate for creating the Council’s Ethanol A-Team before serving on the Council’s Board of Directors.

So when Minnesota Corn Research sponsored his Chairman’s Reception at Churchill’s Rooftop Bar in Savannah, I jumped at the chance to cover it! The event space was filled with a “who’s who” of leaders in the world of grain commodities. Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO of the US Grains Council, shared anecdotes and accolades on a job well-done.

CONGRATULATIONS, Chad!!!  May you have plenty of time to rest and recuperate from all your long days and tireless efforts….

US Foods Awards Banquet

The US Foods Lexington held their annual Awards Banquet at The Sweetgrass Inn within Wild Dunes Resort last week. It was such an honor to be a part of this special celebration of last year’s impressive achievements, and the amazing individual accomplishments of their team members.

Many thanks to Parke for all her help organizing this event.  CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners!!!

* DJI Mavic 3 Pro, Nikon Z9 (x2), Nikkor Z 14-30 f4, Nikkor Z 24-70 f2.8, Nikkor Z 70-200 f2.8, Flashpoint Li-on R2 (x6), Manfrotto supports

150 Year Birthday Celebration

When Mr. & Mrs. Aucoin asked if I would photograph their combined 150 Year Birthday Celebration, I was absolutely DELIGHTED!!!

I had been recommended to them by their good friend Elizabeth Gardner, who’s son’s wedding I photographed last year in Florence. Bryant and Mary Beth’s wedding was so much fun. So I knew the Aucoin’s birthday bash would be as well!  🙂

The celebration took place at The Lake House at Bulow. I remember photographing the property for the original owners, Bill & Coy, before they sold it to the James Island County Park system. It’s a gorgeous property with a huge log cabin, nice lawn, and wrap-around decks, overlooking a pristine lake.  They’ve also built a picturesque bridge that goes over to an island covered in tall pine trees.  I’ve photographed weddings held on that island, surrounded by those majestic trees.

With close friends and family coming from far and wide, the festivities began on a gorgeous spring afternoon. The air was filled with chatter and laughter as people reconnected, played games, enjoyed good food and drinks, and celebrated this amazing couple. As day turned into night, the party continued with music and dancing, toasts and roasts, and so much more!

It was an absolute pleasure being a part of this special celebration. CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. & Mrs. Aucoin!!!

Paulina & Ben’s Greek Orthodox Wedding

Two weeks before the Covid-19 “shutdown”, I had the pleasure of photographing Sommer & Frank’s wedding. Several years before that, I had the privilege of photographing Sommer’s sister’s wedding, when Sarah & Trent got married. Now…3 years later…after the pandemic bans on public gatherings have been lifted…it was my GREAT PLEASURE to photograph Frank’s sister’s wedding!  Paulina & Ben tied the knot on a beautiful blue-sky afternoon at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity!!!

If you haven’t already, check out the beautiful story of their Secret Proposal here:  https://chrisandcami.com/ben-proposes-to-paulina-at-the-holiday-festival-of-lights/.

When the big day arrived, I met up with Paulina and the girls on the top floor of the Harbour Club at Westedge, where they were all getting ready.  The atmosphere was fun and festive.  And Paulina looked stunning!  I absolutely LOVED the pride and joy in her Dad’s eyes when he came in for that “First Look” with his little girl!

Meanwhile, my good friend Robbin caught up with Ben and the guys, who were all getting ready at the Courtyard by Marriott Charleston Waterfront. I think one of the most special moments of the day was when the trolley was taking Ben the guys over to the church, and he had them stop so he could come up, lean his head on the outside of the door, hold Paulina’s hand, and tell her how much he was looking forward to marrying her!

Once everyone was at the church, a beautiful, warm, candlelit sanctuary welcomed friends and family from far and wide. The ceremony was FILLED with so many special moments…from Paulina and Ben’s brothers laying out the aisle runner, to Ben’s mom singing a soulful rendition of Ave Maria…from Paulina’s Dad singing in the choir, to her godfather being the Koumbaros and assisting with the Exchanging of Rings and The Crowning ceremony. Father Ari led a touching heartfelt ceremony. And Ms. Cleo did an amazing job of keeping everyone on schedule. It truly was a special ceremony I’ll never forget!

A highlight for me personally was getting to spend a few minutes in a private session with Paulina & Ben at Brittlebank Park on our way to the reception.  The vibrant orange glow from the final rays of sunshine, and the transitioning sky as “blue hour” set in, provided a dynamic backdrop for a few dramatic portraits of the gorgeous couple!

Then it was on to the reception back at the Harbour Club at Westedge.  Robbin had already covered the cocktail hour.  So once Paulina and Ben had gotten a few minutes to catch their breath (while he changed into a suit and she put her hair up), it was time for the Main Event!!!  After an enthusiastic welcome for the wedding party, Paulina & Ben’s first dance as husband and wife, and some touching toasts, DJ David kicked things into high gear!  I always love the energy and enthusiasm of Greek dancing.  And WOW…did this group know how to do it right?!?  Everyone had a BLAST, while Robbin and I captured all the excitement of the evening!

Many thanks to Ashleigh with Everything After the Ring for the beautiful florals, and for keeping everyone organized throughout the day.

CONGRATULATIONS Ben & Paulina!!!  You are so perfect for each other!  We wish you all the best as you begin this new chapter in your lives…

Trident Health Holiday Gala

I’ve been photographing Trident Healthcare’s Christmas Party for almost a decade now…sheeesh that makes me sound old. 🙂

Held at the old historic Francis Marion Hotel, I set up a portrait station by the Christmas Tree just outside the banquet hall. This includes a Nikon D5, 4 Flashpoint Speedlights, Manfrotto supports, and Westcott umbrellas. As soon as each couple gets checked in, I snap a photo of them, which is instantly transferred to the laptop, where Cami fine-tunes the image if needed, and sends it to the DNP DS40 5×7 printer. Within seconds, their print comes out and is slipped into an elegant black 8×10 folio.  Guests can take them right then if they wish.  Otherwise, we lay them out on a table for them to pick up as they leave for the evening!

Once everyone has arrived, I switch to the Nikon Z9 for candid photos of everyone mingling during cocktails, catching up during dinner, and enjoying the presentations and awards by the CEO of Trident Health, Christina Oh, and her team.

Capturing the couple’s photos, candids, and awards ceremony at the annual Holiday Gala for Trident Health has become a milestone I look forward to each and every year!!!