Monday, June 30, 2008

Impressive AND Expensive Weddings... a.k.a. "Platinum Weddings"

If you haven't checked out WeTV's Platinum Weddings, you're missing out on some over-the-top and extravagant productions! And I say productions because they really are major productions! The coordinators, lighting specialists, table top specialists, florists, etc. that help bring it all together really create some impressive displays that hundreds of thousands of dollars can buy! The budgets are averaging $500,000! Sometimes into the millions. Check out a sneak peek from the show!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Note to Visitors in Our National Capital Region

Okay, put on your sense-of-humor hats for this one! I think the locals and those who've lived in the DC region can REALLY appreciate this post! One of Denise's friends forwarded this to her and it had me rolling!

The DC Metro area is near the top of the list regarding heavily congested roadways. Believe me, I deal with it almost everyday! For the record, I did not write any of this =) Just wanted to share what's floating on the web and through emails.

For those who plan to visit our area, here are a few rules to follow...
  1. First, you must learn to call it by its rightful name. It is DC or 'the District' - only tourists call it Washington.
  2. Next, if your road map of Montgomery County is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and buy a new one. It's obsolete. If you are in Loudon or Fairfax County and your map is one day old, it's already obsolete.
  3. There is no such thing as a dangerous high speed chase in D.C. It's just another chase, usually on the BW Parkway.
  4. All directions start with 'The Beltway'... which has no beginning and no end, just one continuous loop that locals believe is somehow clarified by an 'inner' and 'outer' loop designation. This makes no sense to ANYONE outside the area.
  5. The morning rush hour is from 5 to 11 AM. The evening rush hour is from 1 to 8 PM. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning, especially during the summer on Route 50 eastbound. Avoid the Chesapeake Bay Bridge unless you pack a lunch (possibly dinner too).
  6. If there is a ball game at Fed-Ex Field (Redskins' stadium), there is no point in driving anywhere near PG County. (Tip: Never say PG County to anyone from Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro or Fort Washington (it's Prince Georges County). They'll blow a vessel in their neck and go into a seizure. And for the record, I live in Prince Georges County =)
  7. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended and shot at. If you run the red light, be sure to smile for the $100 'picture' you will receive courtesy of DMV. (However, if you don't go as soon as the light turns green, you will get cussed out in 382 languages.)
  8. Rain causes an immediate 50 point drop of IQ in drivers. Snow causes an immediate 100 point drop in IQ and a rush to the nearest Giant or Safeway for toilet paper, bread, and milk.
  9. Construction on I-270 is a way of life and a permanent source of scorn and cynical entertainment. It's ironic that it's called an 'Interstate', but runs only from Bethesda to Frederick. (Unless you consider Montgomery County another state, which some do). Opened in the 1960's, it has been torn up and under reconstruction ever since. Also, it has a 'Spur' section which is even more confusing.
  10. All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, 'Oh, we must be in Takoma Park or Silver Spring'.
  11. If someone actually has their turn signal on, they are by definition, a tourist. Car horns are actually 'Road Rage' indicators. Please heed the warning.
  12. All old ladies in Buicks have the right of way in the area of Leisure World & Ryderwood.
  13. Many roads mysteriously change their names as you cross intersections. Don't ask why, no one knows. And despite what MapQuest or Expedia or Google Maps tell you, there are no roads actually named 'Local Road'.
  14. If asking directions in Arlington, Langley Park, Wheaton or Adams Morgan, Spanish helps. If in Annandale, Cambodian or Vietnamese will come in handy. If in DuPont Circle, Capital Hill or U Street Corridor areas, tolerance for same sex helps. If you stop to ask directions in South East... well, just don't.
  15. A taxi ride across town will cost you $12.50. A taxi ride two blocks will cost you 16.75. (It's a zone thing, you wouldn't understand. Laws requiring meters have passed but the cabbies are fighting it.)
  16. Traveling south out of DC on Interstate 395/95 is the most dangerous, scariest thing you will ever do. This traverses a stretch of roadway locally referred to as The Mixing Bowl.
  17. There is nothing more comforting than seven lanes of traffic cruising along at 85 mph, BUMPER TO BUMPER!!! (Truer words have never been written!)
  18. The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 85. Anything less is considered down right sissy. If police are present, then 55 are acceptable, but as soon as the police are out of view, the speed goes back to 85.
  19. The open lane for passing on all Maryland interstates is the far right lane because no self-respecting Marylander would ever be caught driving in the 'slow' lane. Unofficially, both shoulders are fair game also.
  20. The far left lanes on all Maryland and VA interstates are official 'chat' lanes reserved for drivers who wish to talk on their cell phones. Note: All SUVs have priority clearance to use the far left lanes at whatever speed the driver feels most comfortable multi-tasking in.
  21. The Beltway is our daily version of a NASCAR reality show. Strap up and collect points as you go. Baltimore's Beltway is a kiddie ride compared to ours.

There you have it! Hope you got a laugh!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nationals Park.. the Nats Beat the Angels!!!

It was warm day at DC's Nationals Park, but the Nats beat the Angels, finally a win! Sorry Becker! Whoo hoo! Probably nothing to really brag about considering their non-winning streak lately, but a win is a win =)

Our seats were really high up and I was struggling with my anxiety about heights, lol. You'd think after jumping over the side of buildings back in the day I'd be okay with heights... naaahhh, not really. =) The seats were group seats Denise's firm got for us. They fed us some of the usual tasty ballpark fanfare eats too! Thanks Venable!!

Anyway, just some fun images...

A shot of the Masonic Temple I took while standing on the King St Metrorail platform in Alexandria, VA

Fun day, can't wait to go again!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lombardo Massage Center =)

Relax & Rejuvenate!

Treat yourself or someone you know to something special...

Connect with Amy soon! I know I will!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Amanda Trashes the Dress... the Prom Dress!

Many have heard of trash-the-wedding-dress photo sessions, but once in a while the Prom Dress gets the beat down :). Amanda & I had a blast wrecking her little black prom dress at Brownie's Beach over the weekend. I love photographing her, she's got striking good looks and so easy to work with in front of the camera!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Superstar In The Making!

I love it when I meet multi-talented people!

Okay folks, just when you thought my George Michael "FAITH" video was the bomb, check out this new 18 year old singing/photographer sensation!! C'mon everybody, give it up for the next American Idol! My colleague/friend/fellow photographer, Kristen Leigh!!!

She really got into it at the 35 second mark, hilarious! Not to mention her little blunder after that. I must add that when we shot together a couple times recently, she was singing outloud in the car on the ride to the wedding AND singing to some of the songs the DJ was spinning at the wedding. She'll probably kill me for reposting her video! C'mon, isn't she cute though singing her heart out?

Good times :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sarah & I Rock Out Another One!

Such a busy wedding season for everyone! I had a rockin' time at Tracy & Erik's JMU wedding with uber cool photographer Sarah Hodzic of Blink DC Photography! Check her blog for the fabulous work she did! Sarah's a fellow Pictage user who I met through our local DC Pictage Users Group meeting last year. Not to mention some fun times we had in Vegas at WPPI in March! Many people are unaware of the growing trend and new world of thinking in the photography industry. I am so happy to be part of a growing group of folks that help each other out at weddings, referring business to one another, sharing resources & knowledge, and just having fun! DC is still a fairly traditional market for wedding photography, but that is changing :)

Check out Sarah's blog for more about Tracy & Erik's wedding! I LOVE second shooting because it gives me a chance to just shoot, hang out with good friends, and have some more freedom with my work, AND I get to shoot the primary photographer in action, haha! All images below were shot for Sarah's studio Blink DC Photography. Visit her website & blog, give her some love by leaving some comments! Feel free to leave me some too, haha :)

Sarah working her magic!

While Sarah was setting up the group shot, Tracy saw me shooting her shoes so she tossed the bouquet right into the frame... nothing like a touch of color :)

More fun group work, but this time I focused on the photographer :)

I was happy to create some images of the guys. I'm a guy so I know how we like to look like nobody's business, so I like to make 'em look more like rock stars instead of a groom and groomsmen at a wedding.
Even got the ring bearer, Jack, in the mix! Here's one of the images.

Jane the flower girl was just too cute!!! She brought along her friend Tigger.

Tracy was just a stunning bride and easy on the camera. While waiting for the gathering of family & friends for formals, I used that short window of time to shoot this desktop-wallpaper-worthy image :) I shot multiple frames and decided to show this one. Whatcha think? I think Sarah liked it ;)

We all see the photos of the newly married couple dancing, what about the guests??
Or what about the kids? YAY!!! This little guy must've had some sugary treats, he was all over the place!

And he wasn't alone. I somehow manage to capture kids doing cartwheels at every wedding, why is that?? LOL

And of course.... Sarah! Sporting some kid's tie she found on the dance floor, lol :)

Thank you Sarah for inviting me along, and for the fun 2 hour car ride enjoying delicious dark chocolate covered Raisinets.... oh man I love dark chocolate!! It's like a drug addiction! HAHA!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back in the day... it was video!

Many people look at me funny when I tell them I started shooting wedding videos before I got into wedding photography. Sometimes I wonder if they even believe me, LOL!!

So here's one of the last videos I ever edited, some of you may or may not have seen it before. I posted it late last year. Noah Hayes shot this with me. It was actually my cousin's wedding. Yep, I actually shot a family event. Anyway, that was a while ago and I don't cover family weddings anymore... I prefer to be a guest! So here it is for my new readers!

NOTE: Check out the photographer when the dad gives the bride away, he's like right up there with them and in the way of my shot! LOL

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The R-Strap for Photographers... A Camera Strap Solution

Okay friends, one of the reasons I cannot stand a camera neck strap is that it gets very uncomfortable quickly. Not to mention I feel like I'm on a noose! So I use a hand strap. But even that limits me at times with just one hand free. Well I heard about Black Rapids R-Strap and I am excited to share this info with you ... check out Ron Henry's promo video and website. I do not have one yet, but it looks like it might be worth checking out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jackie of Eleganza Intima

I recently met up with Jackie Achekian, owner of Eleganza Intima, a wedding planning company for the couture couple!

After lunch in Old Town Alexandria, we had some time for a few fun head shots. At first I was going to have her take her sunglasses off, but she indicated that they're her trademark accessory.

She's so fun to be with... and so Hollywood :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

So Many Emails... But Some are Spam! Any Filter Suggestions?

So I just looked at my Inbox and I think this is the most unread emails I've ever had... 142!

Most of the emails look legit. But 25% of it looks like "new" junk mail I need to filter out. I know I've been reminding myself to get on the ball and get a good spam filter software. I've just been busy focusing on growing my business and life, that I just didn't make time for any research on killing spam, lol.

Soooo....Has anyone tried Spam Arrest? It looks pretty good, I might give it a try. Any other suggestions for spam filters, please leave me a comment!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Client Gifts! UPDATE: This is now a contest!

I normally don't get gifts from clients, but it's so great to get them! One of my former clients gave me a Playstation 2! Like I have time for it? Ha! I know my boy Nate will like it, but I already have an Xbox. But when they threw in a few games, one of them was Gran Turismo 4! Clearly they did their homework and knew my love for cars & auto racing. Now all you gamers out there are probably thinking, "Armin, that game is almost 3 years old!" Well it sure is, and it's still awesome! Not to mention there's already a PS3 out, but so what. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I enjoy the down time once in a while :)

Thank you!!!!

I do have Forza Motorsport for Xbox which totally rocks, but I'm really loving GT4, it's awesome!

Here are my whips I've acquired so far in the game. All cars have been modified for even higher performance, woohoo!
CONTEST: If you are the first one to list the
make and model of each vehicle in the comments section I'll send you a $25 gift credit towards prints or your lifestyle photo session! Current or potential clients only can play. Leave your answers in the comments field.

EDIT: The winner is Kristen Mills... Congratulations!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hadiya & Akeel...and with Kristen Leigh...again :)

Kristen called me almost at the last minute to shoot another wonderful wedding on Saturday. It was an unbearably hot & humid ceremony with a heat index of around 105, ugh! But that didn't stop us from capturing a great wedding which will be featured in I DO FOR BRIDES magazine (page 74-75, winter/spring 2009 issue for DC/MD/VA)!

Yup, just ask Kristen how hot it was, lol!

Kristen is a professional...and a goof. But you gotta wonder sometimes :)
Even the garden staff was looking at her funny, haha!
Be sure to check out Kristen's blog for more great pics from the wedding!

Here are just a few images I took.

The look he had was priceless!

Time for a few details

Thanks Kristen for letting me return the favor and second shooting with you!
Looking forward to shooting again!

Be sure to check Kristen's blog for more.