Why not? People get married everyday. I guess mostly weekends are preferred dates to get married. But in a public way everyone gets to celebrate with you. This couple was rushing along to get pictures along the boat lake in the park. Okay I get the photographer dressed casually. The bride has pants under the dress and her jacket over it. The groom might need to grow into his tux. My first impression is that his shoes are not formal either. No matter, a newly wed couple is always a fine photo opportunity.
I shoot other people when they get married. No problem. It’s considered okay. You are in public and considered a fair target. Harsh? My kids get embarrassed when I whip out my camera and shoot. I’m not in the wedding or anything like that. I just like the formality and the fact that this is a special day for someone. We were walking along the new Brooklyn promenade below the Brooklyn Bridge. And the view of the Manhattan skyline is “free!!!” Great backdrop!
I began the transition to digital photography in 2003. I was given a Canon G3 by Lisa. She shopped and took the advice of the salesman. It was a good call. I continued to use slide film for another year. During that time the kids and I built a slide storage unit to last for the next twenty years. We built 26 brand new drawers. It would be less than half full as I suddenly switched to digital with the Nikon D70 in June 2004. It was an abrupt end to using film. It was eventful using the G3. Though by count I shot only several thousand images, there was a lot of action that occurred during that time. I shot images at two weddings, Amy and Katelyn. No no, I was not the primary photographer, but as friend of the family, I got to experiment with digital and slides all at the same time. I had yet to learn that taking a thousand digital images at an event was all for the cost of a memory card. Though I’d love to do weddings, I realize that I’m better at my day job. I did, as a favor to Susan (Amy’s mom), shoot Scott’s second wedding. Come to think of it, I shot his first wedding also. There was a school play. You can shoot in virtual darkness handheld. It sure beats slides which are held to a single low ISO. You learn to push the technical edge of your equipment. And I first realized that digital images could be adapted to Powerpoint for teaching. Anyone remember Kodak carousel slides at the national meeting?Lisa and Jules took it to Italy on vacation. I think that this would be Venice. Pardon the fat arm, but selfies do suffer from wide angle distortion. Though it sits on a shelf passed up by later cameras that came into my life, I did get a lot of important shots with the G3. Lisa was indeed prescient in her gift to me. And most annoyingly, she would not hesitate to smugly tell me, “I told you so.” And this would not be the first time she was right.
Farid is pretty certain that I am due to be shot. He keeps telling me it’s not a good idea to point and shoot my Canon. Hey it’s silent and no one ever really pays attention to a point and shoot camera. And if you don’t look at the LCD while you pull the trigger… it’s called ‘street photography.’ Julia hates me for it also.
This gal was in the front row, groom’s side during the wedding ceremony. I presume family, perhaps sister? She got up during the ceremony and walked up the crowed isle. So I got to notice the dress for a long while. It was different and certainly noticeable. With all the black lace it was hard to see where the dress and the woman were separated. I realize that a grab shot does not do the dress justice, but it was Farid who was pulling my arm as I tried to line up the shot. Happily I shot, but did not get shot. I never did find out if she was Sherbel’s sister.
There is a certain order to things at a wedding. At the altar there was a best man and maid of honor. There was no room for anyone else after the photographers and videographers staked out their turf. At least that’s my presumption. You have to figure this young woman is part of the wedding party. The dress is a bit too fancy not to be part of the bridal party. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. No one was around to explain things to me.
Farid didn’t want to attend the reception. It was kind of funny. He has a very large extended family in Beirut. On the other hand this is my first trip to Beirut. I am not familiar with the wedding practice here. I just took my cues from him. Because the church was so crowded he stepped out to avoid blocking the view of the guest sitting behind us. I figured that I’m from America [many thousands of miles] and from Jeddah [another thousand] and from Saudi Arabia. Unless someone pushed me aside, I was going to get a view of this wedding. What a rewarding shot! Just as the ceremony was complete they peeked around. Got it! And even better, they knew we were there. As I said, I was a bit uncertain that it would have been impolite to skip the reception. It was only a few minutes later that Farid and I congratulated the parents and the wedding couple before we beat our retreat. I almost [not quite] made him stand in that golden sunset light for a picture.
They have to be accustomed to the way things work. I already commented on the light level in the chapel. I mean you can see the hot spots in the last post. It was bright! It’s the custom, so they tell me. The priests are pretty good about it all. Well, just as the reading starts, all the power in church goes out. The video lights were drawing so much power, everything gave out. The place isn’t wired for a modern wedding. The light to the right is coming in from a single door open at the back of the [warm, stuffy] chapel. This particular door opens onto a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea facing west. And it’s about twenty minutes to sunset. And though it had been raining and misty the day before, this day was going to develop into a grand sunset evening.
I don’t think the lights were out for three seconds before someone had lit a candle and brought it to the altar so the reading could continue. It took a minute of so to restore full lights again. When the ceremony was complete, the bride and groom did not exit but stayed at the altar to take some family group shots. And, of course, the power failed one more time. But now it was sunset. Everyone [photographers and videographers] were facing the altar and the wedding party. That glorious sunset golden warm light was streaming in the door just begging for someone to use it and take some memorable wedding shots. No! They kept at it with harsh flash in that crazy shadowed altar. I could hear my family admonishing me not to interfere. After all who am I? Sometimes, you just don’t know what to do.
I have already been informed that if I try this trick at my daughter’s wedding, I be killed instantly. And I have no doubt that is what will happen. So, there’s a million people all around the bride at the altar. The wedding party was probably kept small to accommodate videography and photography. Really, don’t they know it messes up your background to have those tacky photovests with your company name in just about every photo. One of the videographers kept exhorting the bride’s maid to smile for the video. I expected him to start interviewing her right there at the altar.
About halfway through the ceremony the guy in the white shirt just ambles up to the left of the altar and starts firing away. He pushed the paid photographers out of the way. Another [presumably family] man had already been clicking away from that side. Just come on up, everyone’s welcome.
It was interesting in that the video light was bright enough to shoot without flash. But the photographers were happily flashing everyone in sight. And the priests [two, count ’em, two] were conducting a ceremony completely nonplussed.
And did I happen to mention the ‘dress?’ It was so large. We arrived late, so I missed the entrance of the wedding party. The dress was draped over the back of chair so the bride could sit at the appropriate times during the ceremony. As large as it was, I was fooled into thinking it was a table or an animal next to the party at the altar. Or maybe [just for a moment] the groom was marrying two women. No, that would never happen. That’s a lot of lace for one use and one wear.
I backed into a wedding in Beirut recently. It’s a long story. But to be brief, I attended because a general surgeon had been invited and he never showed. And instead [uninvited] I had ended up with a warm invite to a small chapel to attend a [typical Lebanese??] wedding ceremony. I say chapel because the venue was terribly small. Quaint, but there just wasn’t enough room for everyone to get inside.
You expect a church to be dark and poorly lit. Inside it was a bright as midday. The video lights were blaringly bright. But I digress. With three photographers with flash, and two videographers crowding the dais, it was hard to tell the wedding party from the film crew. With everyone in their place, photographers and wedding party, how does anyone get a shot that is different. Well here you are. From where I stood [unfortunately I stood in front of sitting guests behind me], the flower girl and her young male counterpart, were seated to the side. Yup, they had that bewildered bored look wondering when this long interminable ceremony would wrap up. So that’s my shot and I’m taking it.
As to standing in front of other guests sitting behind me, I was not alone [standing with several others beside me], they didn’t object, and I figured that everyone knew that I was from far away and they would forgive my ignorance. It worked.
I can reasonably sure, I’m the only photographer to get this shot in this wedding. Hey that’s what makes things special. But keep in mind that I’m not doing this for money or hire, so there’s no pressure to come away with anything.
In my other life, I was a wedding photographer. Not really, just a fantasy, otherwise it would be work and not fun any more. But, I get to do some without the pressure of being lead photographer. In this case, Julia asked that I bring the mini-DV video and shoot the ceremony. (Laura asked.) Then she (Laura) changed her mind… no video. Her father (Laura’s) said bring the video. Oh boy! And, Julia said don’t bring it. Well, I carried it and then took it out just before the ceremony at the request of the bride’s brother. Too dark, it was too dark. So I switched over to the Canon G12 and shot video from that. I had almost forgotten that point and shoots have pretty good video. And that f2.8 lens can see pretty well in the dark. Video solved and without making the bride or her father disappointed. After the ceremony, I got to walk around getting ambient shots, crowd shots, family shots and so forth. No one minded. There was a hired photographer. She used as mounted flash and AA batteries. I hope she got some good ones. I wanted to tell her she should be using a Quantum rechargeable battery. It was a dark venue. The bride’s father was wandering around passing his Nikon D800 around and using the on camera flash. You should at least have an SB900 flash. Am I too snobbish? But as in all things, it’s not what you use as much as being in the right place at the right moment. Without pressure, I got a few shots and Julia has the memories to share with her best friend.