Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gavin & Mai-Li

I met Gavin probably about 12 years ago. It was a brief meeting. He handed me a pink pack of Ernie Ball Slinky's (guitar strings, not contraceptives - I know it sounds like that) and I handed him lots of small change, no doubt. He was working at "Musical Paradise" and I was still a first year student. I recall then briefly meeting some of his band mates from his old band "Elephant Sun", and then through my years of frequenting musical stores seeing him at different places, most notably "Paul Bothers" and then later on, the store he opened with his late brother, "It's Music". At the latter store, where I often just dropped my guitar off like a novice, pretending not to know how to string it (hehe), Gavin would patiently string my guitar for me, so I could come back and simply pay, leave and play. Anyways, one day we got a 'chatting and well, what do you know, we start talking photography (he played for artists like Natti Simone, who I also photographd) and we officially actually met after a decade of interactions. Then he mentions his upcoming wedding and he takes my card and well, to make a long story short, I ended up shooting it on a rainy 25 April, in Philadelphia, at the Old Mill. Rain? I always said, when life gives you rain, take better pictures.

Note: it helps if the bride is a model/ex Miss SA finalist, and totally not phased by a camera. It also must be the first time the marriage officer (yup, the priest dude), also happened to do the make-up, the bride's hair, the event decor and the actual sermon.

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The ceremony happened inside the Mill, while it was pouring away outside. All I knew is that we were off to a stud farm after the ceremony, and I might get wet. I packed plastic wrap (to cling-wrap my flashes) and black bags (to cover me and the camera gear) and hoped for a reprieve  in the rain.

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Arriving at the farm the rain cleared just enough for us to make it to the shed without too much spoiling of the hair, dresses and gear. Once inside all we had to do was dodge the horse caca-poo-poo everywhere and get stuck into some shooting while it was drizzling outside. I managed a couple of nice images there, and then the rain cleared just enough for us to head outside for some extras.

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At this stage I was still looking for horses, but didn't see any. I was keen to get to the stables for some equestrian matrimonial images.... The light was fading fast and I got the best man to hold my light for me, and being a graphic designer by trade, he was the best man for the job.


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I love shooting weddings with strobes, because it allows nice dramatic lighting effects, especially if the sky is just one massive soft-box. Now some people like that..., me I like the drama of directional light. The sky does help to create even back-light and opens the door for my creativity. At this stage we also found the horses and were able to capture a couple of shots where the horses weren't trying to eat the flowers off the groom's jacket.

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After about 40mins of frantic shooting we had to scramble to get back to Philladelphia for the reception, and the rest of the goings on.

Now a lot of photographers fear rainy days..., me? I don't know, it's always brought about something special. I've always like rain anyways.

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