Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Marriage of Cultures

Akiko enters the church

Ken gives advice to Mark with Akiko not able to hear

Fun with bubbles

We met Mark many years ago through his parents and got to know him when we photographed his older brother Ken's wedding to Brandie in NY 5 years ago. Mark has an identical twin named Adam. These three are seemingly quiet brothers with a real quirky sense of humor and definite romantic streaks. Mark is very into Japanese anime and video games. He had gone to the extent of frequently traveling to Japan and learning how to read, write and speak Japanese so that he'd be able to play the video games in their native format. Mark met Akiko (pronounced "ah-kee-ko") over in Japan. They were both very much into playing and working on video games. We got together months before the wedding to photograph engagement portraits.
For some in the Asian cultures it is customary to take formal wedding photos of the bride and groom before the wedding day in their wedding day finery. Such was the case with this lovely couple. Their wedding happened on a hot Sunday afternoon in June. The ceremony took place at the chapel of St Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Pflugerville, Texas where the groom's family had attended services for years. Family members had traveled from as far as Japan and New York to honor this joining. In actuality, Mark & Akiko had been married in Japan for her family to attend and then again here to allow Mark's family to participate. Their reception was held at Fountain Glen in Leander, Texas. Guests were treated to appetizers of sushi and Mexican 5-layer dip while family photos were taken. Dinner was BBQ and beans while drinks were plum wine and various types os Sake. Origami favors, jelly beans and Chocolate covered pretzel sticks abounded on the tables while Amy's Ice Cream was served before the cake was cut. The two brothers of the groom made some truly heartfelt and at times really funny toasts including some marital advice for both Mark and Akiko. Her sister and brother stood up as well to welcome this new family. After the formal wedding events were completed they made the rounds of the room greeting and taking photos with all their guests, family & friends. The end of the day occurred with bubbles as do may weddings but they went way beyond to the extent with a beautiful dipping of Akiko amid bubbles(great job, Mark) and then they began blowing bubbles at each other. We cant wait to see what happens next with this family.... Adam has already said we'll be his wedding photographer when that happens...though he hinted it could be anywhere up to 2018. We cant wait....we'll be there, Pflugerville, California or Hawaii.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Underwater Anniversary

Barton Springs PanoramicToday was the 21st anniversary of the day I married my best friend. I love Ray. We have had a number of adventurous anniversaries (the backpacking weekend hike where raccoons got in the tent, the weekend in Mazatlan, scuba diving off the California coast, tubing down the Comal River, etc) This anniversary we spent in a more low key manner. A relaxing day at Barton Springs Pool in Austin Texas. Black BassFor those who are unfamilar; in the heart of Austin's Zilker Park is a 3 acre pool fed from an under ground springs which averages 68 degrees year round. (believe me when it is over 100 degrees outside this feels great!) It has a natural rocky bottom with water plants and native Texas fish. Red Brested SunFishWe had gotten an underwater camera housing for our little point-n-shoot camera at Christmas. (Hey, there was no way I was getting one for the "real" cameras) Well, we had some limited success previously capturing fish photos but it turns out the camera has an underwater white balance setting so we were hopeful that we'd get some decent images today. (Underwater white balance setting means that the camera trys to compensate for the color of the ambient light underwater) Well, Ray rigged up a stability pole for use with the camera's video setting using a small light Underwater Camera Rigstand and a brick. We arrived about 10am at the pool and put on our wetsuits....haha, actually, we had accidentally switched when I put his on I had to laugh as the collar was up to my eyes and it was sagging below. After getting suited up correctly, we entered the pool with camera and snorkels. The fish were so very curious of the stability pole and we had so much fun "fish wrangling" them towards the camera. According to other websites Barton Springs is home to 2 varieties of Bass and 3 varieties of Sunfish as well as turtles, catfish and tetras. Well, I didnt see any catfish or turtles but we did see plenty of sunfish and bass. They were so colorful and not too skittish unless we swam within a foot of them. After about 2 hours swimming in the pool (and having the camera batteries die) we decided it was time for some coffee and so headed to Starbucks (yes, boo, hiss, but so consistent) We checked out our photos and videos while sipping coffee and holding hands. Though we had planned dinner out we ended up having a nice candlelit dinner at home on our wedding china. :) Maybe, we'll go out for dessert....I know for sure we'll be back at Barton Springs...tomorrow morning.

Just added underwater VIDEO FOOTAGE on YouTube - just for fun - nothing to serious

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Twice Married

Cell Phone Announcment and Making Potato Salad

Lighting Candles
Family Pledge of Support

Grooms Cake

Sun Light Church / Bridal Image

Shaun and Enhelika were married again on their first anniversary. Their 2008 wedding was at the Justice of the Peace in Round Rock, Texas. This was to honor Enhelika's grandfather who had asked that they not live together before marriage. Sadly, Grandfather had passed away before this couple said their vows but he was there in spirit, in their hearts and in a photograph they had specially made for this wedding. Our spirited couple had found us through Enhelika's cousin Melissa whose wedding we had photographed in Lubbock a number of years ago and who is now our neighbor in Round Rock. We photographed their engagement portraits at Mills Pond in Round Rock, Texas and then later for bridal portraits at Sun City in Georgetown. Sun City is a lovely location with wonderful water features and year round greenery. Enhelika's dress has this amazing cherry red edging on the bodice that leads to a triangular panel that really sets off her dresses train. Their wedding colors were silver and cherry red so the girls were all in red and the guys had either red or silver vests. The eventful wedding day started early with the ladies at 2 different salons getting their hair done at 8am. Having two photographers at separate locations helped Enhelika see the entire day. Due to the early arrival of Shaun's niece(That day!) Shane, the groom's identical twin had to pull out of the wedding as best man and be with his wife at the hospital. One of Enhelika's cousin's was promptly promoted from usher to groomsman and had to run to get a tux. Luckily they had one in his size. At her Mom's house that morning relatives frantically chopped, mixed and cooked to get the BBQ, beans, & potato salad ready for the wedding dinner. After getting Enhelika all laced into her dress we headed off to St Helen's Catholic Church in Georgetown. The ceremony was beautiful with the light streaming through the windows and family of both sides present. Good thing they are such an easy going couple who thought all the little hiccups that occurred this day were hilarious. Like, her little brother passing out during the ceremony. After the ceremony and family pictures at the church we all headed off to the Elks lodge. The reception started out relaxed with a wonderful homemade BBQ meal and then got rockin' as the dancing and partying commenced. Midway through the evening Shaun was given the family pledge of support (and to keep him in line) surrounded by all of Enhelika's male relatives. We are sure looking forward to many more events from this extended family.