Alli And Scott Engagement Photography at Caldera Springs

Alli and Scott live in Eugene and are getting married in Sunriver this summer. So they had a limited amount of time to get their engagement portraits done and could only come to Bend in early March. Anyone who lives or has ever been to Central Oregon knows our spring is worse than most peoples winters. The afternoon we set to get our pictures done, at Caldera Springs in Sunriver, proved to be a horribly wet and windy day.

To be honest, I didn’t think we could pull it off.

These people, perhaps because they come from “The Valley” as it’s called, aren’t bothered by any stinking rain. We had an amazing portrait session together and made some amazing pictures. The clouds allowed me to turn off the light at a few key moments so they could just be themselves. They’re amazing together. I love when people can have fun and ignore the camera for a few minutes. Those moments become the iconic pictures of any day.

I’m looking forward to their wedding this August.

Now to put some of these on my wedding photography website.

Alli and Scott at Caldera in Sunriver.
Alli and Scott at Caldera in Sunriver.

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This picture is going onto my Bend Oregon Wedding Photography website. It was a moment inside a moment and an example of where I've been pushing my photography in the last couple years.
This picture is going onto my Bend Oregon Wedding Photography website. It was a moment inside a moment and an example of where I’ve been pushing my photography in the last couple years.

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A Profoto light mixed in with a split second moment between two people in love makes a humongous difference.
A Profoto light mixed in with a split second moment between two people in love makes a humongous difference.

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The winding path behind them was a problem, but they, in their moment together, overcame the problem.
The winding path behind them was a problem, but they, in their moment together, overcame the problem.

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I love getting moments like these. They happen so fast. A person needs to be ready.
I love getting moments like these. They happen so fast. A person needs to be ready.
The black umbrella against the lighter water made a nice contrast. The Profoto with a 1x4 strip and grid flipped horizontally popped a small amount of light in on them.
The black umbrella against the lighter water made a nice contrast. The Profoto with a 1×4 strip and grid flipped horizontally popped a small amount of light in on them.
The Profoto with a 1x4 strip box and grid flipped horizontally popped some nice light in on them.
The Profoto with a 1×4 strip box and grid flipped horizontally popped some nice light in on them.
Alli wanted a picture of them without the light. The black umbrella pulled back a little allowed enough natural light in to make it happen.
Alli wanted a picture of them without the light. The black umbrella pulled back a little allowed enough natural light in to make it happen.

My Bend Oregon Wedding Photography website and SEO

The pre-dawn light appears ethereal at the Temple of the Sun in Capitol Reef National Park.
The pre-dawn light appears ethereal at the Temple of the Sun in Capitol Reef National Park.

Looking at this picture cheers me up. Just starting to read a book on SEO and how to improve my Bend Oregon Wedding Photographer website doesn’t cheer me up. In short: I haven’t the faintest clue how to improve the standings of my fledgling website and I’m sure whatever getting done now to the site is the totally wrong solution to the problem.

As it stands now, any bride finding me on the new site will have the determination of an arctic explorer on a dog sled searching for one of the poles. It’s simply not showing up and I haven’t the faintest clue how to make it go to the first page. If it’s not on the first page I might as well not be doing any wedding photography in Bend.

There’s one idea to improve the links to the page: send a 16 x 20 print in to the annual WPPI print contest. I remember seeing a list of entries with website links on the WPPI website last year. Having a link to an international photography website will be like finding a golden egg at the top of a giant bean stock. It’s the rest of the SEO stuff I’m really concerned about. Where to start? How to make it better? When will the site start moving in the right direction?

I need to come up with a list of relevant sites to try and get links from and to and help in that way. The other place might be…? What dragon have I awoken with reading this book? Is the dragon real or is it just a windmill and I’m panicking over nothing?

We’ll see. It’ll take lots of time and energy to conquer, but I’m a person who’s done quite a bit of conquering obstacles in his life.

First I’ll get busy and read the book all the way through while making notes of important actions to take. Then I’ll start working on the actions.

One is this Google+ thing. Have to start figuring that one out this week and make it the first challenge.

Have to get to dinner.

Landscape Photography: a green portfolio

An Irish in-law recently emailed and asked if I could put together a portfolio of green landscape photography. Having been to Olympic National Park on quite a few occasions I was more than happy to help her out. Olympic National Park, especially the Hoh Rainforest, is one of my all-time favorite road-trip destinations. A person can’t help but feel the energy when walking through the Hoh. I’m of course always on the lookout for elves and Hobbits in the forest, because if they exist anyplace, it’s in the Hoh.

So after a day of working on these pictures I had a look at my favorite current landscape photographer Marc Adamus last night. It was enough to make me start crying and wonder why I even bother with doing landscape photography and don’t just concentrate on being a Bend wedding photographer instead. His stuff is surreal. Looking at his stuff and then looking at my stuff I noticed he uses an unbelievably wide lens for most of his work while I tend more towards the longer focal lengths. I think it’s the photojournalism training and wanting to fill the frame with the subject at hand instead of showing a big giant scene. He has some amazing Hoh Rainforest images and I’m wondering where he found that pond in the middle of the forest. I’m thinking it’s on the southern end, south of the river, because a 30 mile walk in the Hoh will get you all the way to the glacier on Mt. Olympus.

This small green portfolio can be found on my Pete Erickson Photography proofing page. There’s no password to get into the pictures. If you have some spare change and wall space, buy one!

A dew drop covered fern in Olympic National Park.
A dew drop covered fern in Olympic National Park.
Ferns in the Hoh Rainforest.
Ferns in the Hoh Rainforest.
More ferns in the Hoh Rainforest.
More ferns in the Hoh Rainforest.
Filtered sunlight lights a tree in the Hoh Rainforest.
Filtered sunlight lights a tree in the Hoh Rainforest.
Ferns in the Hoh Rainforest.
Ferns in the Hoh Rainforest.
A cedar tree with green leaves in the Hoh Rainforest.
A cedar tree with green leaves in the Hoh Rainforest.
I don't know my plants too much, but these bushes have needle-like thorns and grow anyplace where there's water. Tom Creek in the Hoh Rainforest.
I don’t know my plants too much, but these bushes have needle-like thorns and grow anyplace where there’s water. Tom Creek in the Hoh Rainforest.
The Hoh Rainforest.
The Hoh Rainforest.
Green beyond belief wherever you look in the Hoh Rainforest.
Green beyond belief wherever you look in the Hoh Rainforest.
A Roosevelt elk has lunch in the Olympic Rainforest.
A Roosevelt elk has lunch in the Olympic Rainforest.
Greens and browns in the Hoh Rainforest.
Greens and browns in the Hoh Rainforest.
The Hoh Rainforest.
The Hoh Rainforest.
An ancient snag with new growth in the Hoh Rainforest.
An ancient snag with new growth in the Hoh Rainforest.
Another picture much like the last in the Olympic Rainforest.
Another picture much like the last in the Olympic Rainforest.
Rain covered leaves in the Olympic Rainforest.
Rain covered leaves in the Olympic Rainforest.
The Hoh Rainforest path zig-zags right past these trees. Most people don't see them in late afternoon light however.
The Hoh Rainforest path zig-zags right past these trees. Most people don’t see them in late afternoon light however.
My last Hoh Rainforest fern, I swear.
My last Hoh Rainforest fern, I swear.
Tom Creek in the Hoh Rainforest.
Tom Creek in the Hoh Rainforest.
The Oneonta Gorge in the Columbia River Gorge.
The Oneonta Gorge in the Columbia River Gorge.
A meadow near Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park.
A meadow near Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park.
Grasses in Yosemite Valley.
Grasses in Yosemite Valley.
The American Elm in Yosemite Valley.
The American Elm in Yosemite Valley.

Betsy and Russell at Camp Sherman

My co-shooter Todd signed up Betsy and Russell for us to do at Camp Sherman a couple weeks ago. When Todd signs up the couples, I never get to meet them before the wedding. So it always takes a few minutes to get the feel of what kinds of people I’ll be working with for the day.

When I first walked into the tiny cabin where Betsy was getting ready I was very pleasantly greeted by a super nice bride, her family, and her friends. Meeting nice people makes for great pictures. They had her set up in a very small and dark room at first. I walked around the cabin and the room at the other end had much better lighting options, so I asked if they could move to the better room. They were very happy to do so, and we all got busy getting ready for their fall wedding.

The room proved invaluable for placing my Profoto with a beauty dish outside and having fun popping the light through the window. I was happy there was no wind during the day because my assistants were all busy and the light had to stand on it’s own.

One of the bridesmaids had helped a photographer with a reflector in the past and was invaluable with the closeups of Betsy in a doorway with the Profoto taking up half the room to light her.

The kid’s up and yelling at me to do stuff for her. It’s impossible to continue.

Enjoy the photos!

Today’s shameless keyword link: Bend Wedding Photography

The dark room had one advantage: getting a picture of the dress in the window.
The dark room had one advantage: getting a picture of the dress in the window.

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Had a great time with Betsy posing for me with the Profoto and beauty dish outside the window.
Had a great time with Betsy posing for me with the Profoto and beauty dish outside the window.

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Profoto beauty dish to camera right, white reflector to camera left. A recipe to make a bride glow.
Profoto beauty dish to camera right, white reflector to camera left. A recipe to make a bride glow.

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I try to keep the photography to just a 35mm lens and an 85mm lens, but the 20mm comes out for key pictures at every wedding.
I try to keep the photography to just a 35mm lens and an 85mm lens, but the 20mm comes out for key pictures at every wedding.

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Loved this moment. Loved it especially in black and white.
Loved this moment. Loved it especially in black and white.

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Loved these colors. Here and gone so quickly every year.
Loved these colors. Here and gone so quickly every year.

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The leaning tower of cake. This cake had more personality than almost any wedding cake I've ever seen.
The leaning tower of cake. This cake had more personality than almost any wedding cake I’ve ever seen.

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Metal Printing – Wow!

I’ve been wanting to see what my pictures might look like as metal prints for a long time. When talking to potential bride/grooms about printing and why they want to pick my print shop instead of Costco to make their prints I was only talking about prints, canvas prints, and foam back prints. My Central Oregon wedding photography website talks about metal printing, and I knew they look amazing because I’ve seen them in coffee shop shows, but never before yesterday had I made prints from my own work.

When the box arrived I grabbed a sharp knife and very carefully cut through the copious amount of packing tape. Why so much tape? Is it going to Afghanistan? Anyway, after a couple minutes of cutting, checking places needing more cutting, cutting more tape and peeling away the styrofoam, I got to the pictures. They were wrapped in paper with yet more packing tape and took a very frustrating couple more minutes to peal away the paper. With the paper finally pulled away I got my first glimpse of my very own first two metal prints.

All I can say about them is, “WOW!” Those things look amazing. Looking at other peoples work I noticed they did some post Photoshop tricks with grain, old age look, etc. and they looked good, but what’s wrong with simple black and white Ansel Adams style? These were amazing.

Here’s the first two:

The pre-dawn light appears ethereal at the Temple of the Sun in Capitol Reef National Park.
The pre-dawn light appears ethereal at the Temple of the Sun in Capitol Reef National Park.
A crow flies past Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
A crow flies past Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Of the two, the one from Capital Reef National Park is absolutely amazing. The creamy light that dawn looks amazing in either black and white or color. I wanted to see these in black and white on metal, and so that’s the way this one was printed. The Half Dome with the crow shot looks good, but the whites are a little bright and contrasty. It still rocks, however.

So today, for most of the day, I’ve been combing through pictures that might look good as metal prints. I think all these would look killer, but I had to choose just four to both keep the costs down (they are very expensive to do) and to limit the amount of space being used. I don’t want to fill the space where they’re going and then do some pictures in the future and not be able to put them in this space. So from these I culled four more. Any of these would look great as a metal print, and maybe eventually I’ll have a metal print show someplace and try to recoup some of the money from the initial printing. We’ll see.

Enjoy!

Dried mud in Capital Reef National Park.
Dried mud in Capital Reef National Park.
Snow used to be a common feature in the Yosemite valley in winter. Now it's a rarity.
Snow used to be a common feature in the Yosemite valley in winter. Now it’s a rarity.
Morning fog in Yosemite Valley.
Morning fog in Yosemite Valley.
Morning frost on Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park.
Morning frost on Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park.
Clouds on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Clouds on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Morning frost on a leaf in Yosemite National Park.
Morning frost on a leaf in Yosemite National Park.
Foggy morning on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Foggy morning on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Morning dew on a dandelion in Wisconsin.
Morning dew on a dandelion in Wisconsin.
Trees in the Hoh rainforest in Olympic National Park.
Trees in the Hoh rainforest in Olympic National Park.
Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park.
Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park.
A Roosevelt elk eats leaves in Olympic National Park.
A Roosevelt elk eats leaves in Olympic National Park.
Reflecting light on the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park.
Reflecting light on the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park.
The Horseshoe bend near Page, Arizona.
The Horseshoe bend near Page, Arizona.
The Narrows in Zion National Park.
The Narrows in Zion National Park.
Sand dunes in Death Valley National Park.
Sand dunes in Death Valley National Park.
Sand dunes in Death Valley National Park.
Sand dunes in Death Valley National Park.
A clearing rainstorm over the Sierras.
A clearing rainstorm over the Sierras.

Getting burned

One thing I always try to do when meeting people is make sure I don’t sound like a Slick Willy used car salesman. I’ll bend over backwards trying to be real and not slimy. Nobody likes slimy. I’m not a slimy person in real life. Just ask my wife, Mary. She’s smarter, certifiably so, than me and would never spend more than five minutes on a date with a slimy person, much less have a kid with, and get married to him.

Recently I got a few cold calls from salesmen telling me the new Bend Oregon Wedding Photography website could be at the top of the page. How could a person NOT want to be at the top of the page for a search? Most of us would like better business and really work hard to help our websites get there.

My old website was at the top of lots of searches. It cost me a pile of money every month to be at the top. I had a problem with it after a couple years, however, because my business growth was stagnant. After doing many, many hours of research of other peoples sites all around the country I discovered most wedding photographers have sites which reflect the style of their photography. Some have amazing looking sites for not-so-amazing looking pictures. They boost their look with an amazing site. I have no idea what kind of business they’re doing, but their sites sure look like a million bucks.

When I emailed to cancel my old site, by the way, the sales rep called me and left a message about how she was going to call me just that week to let me know they were going to drop my prices for the site, but I could pay more if I wanted them to fix broken links and even more if I wanted a mobile version of the site.

So I started researching websites and discovered, after watching a wedding photography marketing webinar, a template made by a company called Tonic. It matched my style pretty well and the blue made me think of my bow ties. They only made 25 of the template I use and I bought one within a couple weeks of researching. It took a few more weeks to get it going because I bought it in August and was super busy with weddings.

This was right around the time I got one of the cold calls from a company claiming to be offering me an amazing good opportunity to have my site at the top of the search. My new site wasn’t barely even up and I’m concerned it won’t be high enough to generate much business this year. I called them back and started with the process of singing up for a few months to see what might happen with the new wedding photography site.

During the conversation it started to very slowly come out they were going to have their own website on top of the one I had just spent a great deal of money purchasing and then a great deal of time building to look fantastic. It really bothered me how they tried sneaking it in at the last second before I spent any money. So I cancelled immediately and thought no more of the near rip-off.

Then yesterday a company called BrandRep called with another amazing offer: I could buy keywords to use through the month AND keep my own site. I asked at least ten times about using my own site. The Slick Willy salesman assured me ten times over he was looking at and loving my site and I would be using my own site. For three months it would cost me $300/month. I thought to myself ” I can sign up for three months, and see how well it works. If it results in a few bookings, I can keep going until the year gets booked and then cancel.”

So I go through the very long process of signing up. I was sort of curious when they asked how I take money: cash/check. That’s not part of using keywords to find my page. But I kept going.

A couple hours later they call and tell me one of the keywords I wanted couldn’t be used, but they could switch words to ever so slightly better for the new price of $327/month. I was on the fence at this point, but it wasn’t that much more and the business might benefit. I ask them about how much it will cost for Bend wedding photography, because that’s one of my main keywords all through this blog and my website, and he comes back with the unbelievable amount of $600/month.

No way, Jose.

Then a couple hours later they called back and what do you know? All of a sudden my website isn’t working on the Googlechrome! They’ll need to make a new website and piggyback my website at the end! So I download Googlechrome to see if it works, because the Slick Willy at the other end of the line claimed it took four minutes or so to get my site online, and somehow when I do it the site takes about 1.5 seconds to load. It takes about that long for every page, too. The pictures for the Brian/Stephanie wedding portfolio look a little odd at the beginning, but it works perfectly well.

So in my mind I’m seeing a website costing me MORE than my old website, looking like crap, and giving BrandRep free, paid by me, advertising. I asked many times over about NOT having my much loved wedding photography website piggybacked onto something else and they reassured me many times it wouldn’t be. And now they’re trying to pull a fast one over on me.

Then I tried canceling. The asshole on the other end was shouting at me about why I shouldn’t and how they were offering such a great deal for my site and how my site would never in a million years show up anyplace online. After five minutes of getting shouted at, he transferred me to another line to stop the whole fiasco from costing me a pile of money.

What do you know? It cut off after about 15 seconds and I spoke with no one.

So I sent them this email (the account info is eliminated):

Hi,

I didn’t like getting the first call back to talk me out of an extra $27 a month and I really didn’t like getting the call back saying something about how nobody can all of a sudden open my website and how you guys would build one for me to link to my already existing and perfectly good website. 
The website thing was something I asked repeatedly about and you guys said you didn’t need to do that.
So now I’m on the phone like a fool waiting for someone to talk to me and don’t know if I’m even still connected.
Cancel my plan immediately please, and refund the $327 to my account. I’ll be checking to make sure you refunded the money.
I really don’t enjoy feeling like I’m being scammed by people. It’s not something for which I have either the time or the energy.
It’s funny, because when you were originally calling me none of you had any trouble at all pulling up my website. Then all of a sudden there’s a big problem with this. I loaded Googlechrome onto my computer and my website works perfectly fine. 
While I’m at it, please take me off your call list. You’re the same people who almost talked me out of some money a month ago, but I caught the website thing in time. This time you had me sign up, pay money, and then tried to pull the second website thing on me.
I might be dumb, but I’m not stupid.
Did I say cancel my subscription? Please do so at once.
Cancel my plan immediately please. 
Cancel, cancel, cancel. 
This is so we don’t have any confusion about what I want done right now.
Thank you for your time,
Pete Erickson
I’m about to check my account to see if they actually refunded the money. This kind of thing really bothers me. I highly recommend people beware of these kinds of cold calls and anything that sounds almost too good to be true.
The internet is the new place for scam artists to take advantage of people wanting to improve their odds of success.
This year, while I figure out how to do my SEO, might be a little slower than last year. No more taking cold calls from marketing companies. Maybe I’ll do the Google Adwords, but that even seems like a scam to me. There’s nothing like the hard work of tap, tap, tapping on a keyboard lots of new content filled with keywords.
Beware of Brandrep!
Oh, if anyone out there has used them and their sites, could you email me at pete@peteerickson.photo to let me have a look at what they do?

Bailey and Joe: Wedding Photography in the Oregon High Desert

I love these two. They are my ideal couple to work with. Now to figure out how to only hire the Bailey and Joe’s looking for a wedding photographer. Fun to be around, having fun with each other and willing to get creative for their pictures. It doesn’t get any better for me. Well, maybe if they wanted me to be their destination photographer in Tahiti or Hawaii, then it would get better.

They’re a great example of the kind of couple I need to do the “reverse sale” with in the future. The idea of the “reverse sale” comes from my favorite wedding photography business people Justin and Mary. This idea, they said, comes from watching The Office on TV. It’s the idea of making people sell themselves to you so you can get the best, most creative and animated couple possible. These couples will then become what’s called your ‘sneezers’ and will spread your word to their friends.

It was obvious to me when I did their engagement portraits the upcoming wedding had a high probability of becoming a very rare portfolio wedding on my Bend wedding photographer website. It’s interesting how I just know when a couple has the potential to have a portfolio wedding. As a matter of fact, I just last week signed up another couple with the potential for a wedding next September. Like Bailey and Joe, I can tell they’re enthusiastic, wanting to get creative, and wanting to have fun.

This super couple were married at a ranch located way, way out in the middle of nowhere near the power station on the road between Prineville and Madras. It was one of those super hot and bright days in the Central Oregon summertime.

When I showed up, the first photo I did was the group shot of Joe and his groomsmen all wearing their cowboy hats. The porch was perfectly lit in the shadow of the building and I knew right away the old photo black and white would work perfectly. It’s always interesting to know exactly what will work even before doing the photo. After getting the shot I knew the boys were covered in the best possible way and so I walked up the dirt road to the house were Bailey and her bridesmaids were getting ready.

The living room where I found them was colored in a nice, rich, warm earth tone and reflected these nice colors all over the room. It had a great east facing window acting like a giant softbox and hitting the room with the reflecting warm light almost perfectly. I had a great time making lots of super fun pictures of her and her friends. We actually got too many nice pictures in this setting. It was tough editing down all the super pictures to fit into a reasonable number for the portfolio.

The wedding, the portraits, the group shots, the toasting, the sunset pictures all came out super. At the end of the night my assistant, Hannah, and I jumped into the back of a pickup for a ride way out to the middle of nowhere to get some nighttime photos. My Pocket Wizard remote wasn’t helping fire the Profoto as well as I would’ve liked and I didn’t have a tripod to freeze the tree. (Two things I’ll have to fix in the future) Even with those problems I scored a pile of super portraits of them next to the tree with the stars and the remnants of the day’s light and also a quick idea to have them dancing in front of the truck with the light from the truck behind and the Profoto lighting them from the front.

We didn’t get home until 2AM. The next day I shot Stephanie and Brian’s wedding at Black Butte Ranch and scored another portfolio wedding. What a great weekend to be a wedding photographer!Groom group photographyWedding detail photographyGetting ready wedding photographyBride detail photographyReflectionsMom helps with neclaceWedding ring detail photographyBridal portrait in a doorWedding toasting photographEmotionBridal selfieThrough the screen wedding portraitWedding photography of the ceremonyOverall shot of the ceremonyEmotion at the ceremonyNice lightQuiet momentBride with groomsmen portrait photographyAnother idea for a wedding portraitCentral Oregon wedding day lightAnother wedding portrait with the Central Oregon lightProfoto to the rescueThe Profoto catches a tearMother-son dance with the Profoto B1The garter belt in the darkThree light danceStarry night with the Profoto B1

Amy and Steven wedding at Rock Springs Ranch

I haven’t been very consistent with the blog posting lately. Two time consuming activities have filled my calendar instead. The first activity being the shooting, editing, and sending out of my wedding and portrait photography. Setting up my new Bend Oregon wedding photography website being the other time consuming activity. Websites really suck the life out of a persons mind. Sitting down to type and add photos to this blog became impossible.

Now it’s been so long I can’t remember what weddings are in here and what I had to say about them. So I’m going to start from scratch and add a pile of pages over the next couple weeks and try to catch up with the weddings and maybe the portraits.

I’ve already gone through this blog and redone most, if not all, of the links to the new wedding photography site. Now to put in some of these weddings as both posts and as portfolios in the portfolios section of the menu at the top of the page. I think there’s an entire wedding from Corey and Morgan still up there and it’s still linked to the old website. There’s a pile of work to take care of, and soon, before the old site comes down and I’m left with an endless supply of broken links.

This first one, Amy and Steven’s wedding at Rock Springs Ranch, happened about a year ago now and I think it might have already been blogged about. I’m redoing it to match the portfolio on the new wedding photography website and will include these photos into the portfolio section in the blog menu.

Amy works at Brasada Ranch and Steven owns Barrio Restaurant in downtown Bend. They’re a super couple and I love running into theme every now and then. The food at Barrio rocks. My kid Eimear and I love hitting that place every now and then.

My favorite two photos from this wedding are the ‘cake-n-the-face’ and the ‘log’ at the end of the wedding. The cake-in-the-face was done with my little on camera SB-900 flash pointed up and around to the back to bounce off the wall behind me and the log photo was done with the flash pointed straight up at the entryway ceiling. The photos aren’t about the fancy camera techniques I used, but rather about the moments they show. I love the face Amy makes when pushing the cake into Steven’s face. She’s a-gitten him with that cake. He’s caught completely by surprise. I love the log photo because even though it’s posed, all the characters in the picture show something different. The friend out in front helping with the posing really puts it over the top for me.

I love when people show their natural selves in a picture because it makes the picture genuine. Most people aren’t models and can’t fake emotion. I’m horrible at creating emotion for pictures. It looks artificial. Plastic fantastic looks might work in a Prada ad in Elle magazine, but it really doesn’t work with real people at their wedding. I love giving people a direction to go and then watching what happens. Some people require a giant push, others not so much. Beer and tequila consumption on their part helps with the prodding because it greatly lowers peoples inhibitions and brings out their natural selves for photography. This is a big, big reason why I always try to talk people into having open bars: it helps with the photography because people are having the times of their lives.

 

Getting ready for the wedding at Rock Springs RanchGetting ready for the wedding at Rock Springs RanchWedding portraits of getting readyGroom and groomsmen getting readyButtoning the shirtDetail wedding photographyWedding day portrait photographyFirst look wedding day photographyWedding day portrait photographySigning the ketubahWedding ceremony photographySeven timesThe kissDetailsGroup portrait photographyThe log shotFun portrait wedding photographyFather daughter danceToastingTraditional danceHora danceTraditional danceHomemade cakesReception fun wedding photographyThe drunk coupleFriends having funBubbles and camera wedding photographyDrunken guestsHaving a great timeSinging and dancingBend_Oregon_Photographer-1001-2Having fun

 

PeteErickson.photo

I’m hoping it’s not too soon to announce this, but I started a new Central Oregon Wedding Photography website yesterday. Now to change all the links in this blog and do some other changes associated with this big move. It’s something I’ve been working on for quite a while.

The purposes for the new site are many. The biggest is so I can save a pile of money on the website. The current site costs me money every month and more money every time I make a change. The changes have been happening so quickly in my wedding photography  that it would cost thousands of dollars to make them as fast as they happen. If you look at how much I’m currently charging for my wedding packages you will read this:

“Preserving your memories starts at $1,500 for five hours of coverage. I offer a full range of products and services for you to customize your wedding package to best suit your needs. I still have openings for 2015 and beyond. Please contact me for more information.”

That’s not nearly enough to afford an expensive site.

That first reason and the second reason, to make changes reflecting my current work, are one and the same.

I have absolute and unwavering confidence in my current and growing body of work. There’s a new portfolio shot made at almost every wedding. Paying $250 for every change gets prohibitive real quick.

So there you have it. These are the samples I have in the brochure section of the Central Oregon Weddings website.

 pete_erickson_cow-9Great time dancingpete_erickson_cow-7pete_erickson_cow-6pete_erickson_cow-5pete_erickson_cow-4pete_erickson_cow-3Wedding portrait photography in Camp Shermanpete_erickson_cow-1

Road Tripping

Camping in my Big Agnes one-person tent in Dusy Basin last week on the last night of a backpacking trip in Kings Canyon National Park.
Camping in my Big Agnes one-person tent in Dusy Basin last week on the last night of a backpacking trip in Kings Canyon National Park.

Many, but not all, photographers love going on road trips. My favorite road trip destinations are to the nation’s National Parks and other wild places. Balancing my wedding and portrait photography work with venturing into the wild country gives my mind and spirit the food it needs to stay sharp with the money making work.

I had my eye on going to Dusy Basin and reaching Evolution Valley in Kings Canyon National Park for several years. Every time I would sign up for the backcountry pass over Bishop Pass to Dusy and then over to Evolution something would come up and ruin the plan. Year after year I would pay the five bucks and then not make it down there.

Finally this year nothing happened to dash my chance of getting there for a quick trip. Mary had a triathlon on Saturday (she placed fifth of all women!) so I had to cut it a day short. My goal was to make it to Dusy Basin, then to Evolution Valley, then back to Dusy Basin, then out in four days.

My knowledge of this place came from studying the National Geographic Trails Illustrated map and looking at pictures online. I was curious to know why nobody has any really amazing photos from Dusy Basin and had the idea maybe people hadn’t really gone to do pictures. Maybe they’d just passed through to Le Conte canyon and the other places.

On the first day I got a late start because the knob to loosen the ball on my Arca Swiss tripod head wasn’t working and I had to hit Ace Hardware and pick up a channel locks to force it loose. Not having it be able to tighten cost me a picture the night before in the White Mountains, but that’s for a different blog post.

Then my trekking poles weren’t tightening.

So we have a late start and a key piece of equipment failing. I should’ve taken these as signs to not try for so much during the trip, but of course didn’t.

Even though I had studied and studied pictures and maps, nothing can prepare a person for walking with a pack in Kings Canyon. It’s all up or down 2,000 – 3,000 feet with steps. Steps and steps and steps, like a never ending session of lunges in a gym. The steps themselves vary in height from about 12 inches to 2 1/2 feet.  Very little smooth sailing hiking.

Trekking poles might have saved the day, but they were sitting unused in the truck miles and miles and downhill away.

The first day I jammed up and over Bishop Pass in sub-30 minute miles. Got to Dusy Basin with a few minutes to spare before sunset and did a few photos of the eastern four mountains reflected in one of the pools of water. It was an ok photo but not amazing.

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The coudy day in Dusy Basin. These mountains have names but I'm too lazy to look them up. It's the only real place where any afternoon or morning light hits Dusy Basin in Kings Canyon National Park.
The coudy day in Dusy Basin. These mountains have names but I’m too lazy to look them up. It’s the only real place where any afternoon or morning light hits Dusy Basin in Kings Canyon National Park.

That night I ate the freeze-dried ProPak dinner and then went to stand up. Uh oh. The body was growing stiff from the work of getting over the pass.

The next morning I woke up early to do some photos and noticed no light whatsoever hit any hill around. Now I had an understanding of the lack of pictures from Dusy Basin. It hits four hills to the east at sunset and those same four hills block the sun from hitting anything for miles around at sunrise. Good to know. Hard lesson to learn, but good to know.

After working the stiffness out of my body I start heading towards Evolution Valley. To get there a person needs to hike a few miles through Dusy Basin and down a hill to Le Conte canyon. The hill is around 2,000 feet in a couple miles. It starts off steep and ends up fairly steep at the bottom.

By the time I reached the bottom my body was entirely too sore to make it back up 3,000 feet to Muir Pass and then to Evolution Valley. The canyon is so deep and blocked with trees that there would be no pictures that day. So all the effort to get to this place and no real pictures done.

Not only that, but I had to walk back up that 2,000 foot hill to Dusy Basin and no light the next day.

Let me say, I was pretty well exhausted by the time I got back to Dusy Basin the next afternoon. I camped at the first lake on the trail and climbed up the hill to the west of the lake to see what kind of evening light might happen.

The clouds and mountains to the east side of Dusy Basin in Kings Canyon National Park.
The clouds and mountains to the east side of Dusy Basin in Kings Canyon National Park.

Wow. Stop the press. Getting this photo was some work. Maybe the hardest backpacking I’ve ever done.

So the next morning I wake up early and get back up the 300 foot hill to see what sunrise might look like. There was nothing. The light hit a very distant hill way to the northwest near Muir Pass and that was it. You have no idea how disappointed I was with the light in this place. Especially for how hard a backpacking trip it was.

Afterwards I packed up and started out. By this time my body had three days of walking up and down big hills of stiffness accumulated in the legs, back, and shoulders. It was up a thousand feet to the pass and then down 2,200 feet to the parking lot in around 9 1/2 miles. I did ok up to the pass and down to Long Lake. The last two miles were torture. I counted every tenth of a mile on the Garmin watch, repeating it every couple steps. “Eight tenths of a mile to go. Eight tenths of a mile to go…”

I got back. Went down 395 to the hot springs for a shower. Back up to Jack’s diner in Bishop for a Texas omelet and then to the Atlantis hotel in Reno for a night of sleep.

Sore and tired can’t begin to describe what my quads were feeling that afternoon. It took three days to recover.

Will I go back to Dusy Basin? Maybe. I STILL want to see Evolution Valley. Maybe explore the route from the north. Definitely take five or six days to get it done, and make sure the trekking poles work before leaving the house.

I have a new Central Oregon wedding photography website up. It’s the reason why I haven’t been blogging lately. Now there’s no excuse.