I had the great pleasure of photographing a wedding at the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, MD for my old friend Jamie and her awesome husband Ryan. I love working with couples like them, they were super laid back and easy to work with, not to mention fantastically fun. The ceremony was really uniquely personal and beautiful and the reception was epic. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, and this fall wedding was all about color and warmth… loved it!
My friends at the Sikh Coalition asked me to cover a hearing for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Human Rights, and Civil Rights concerning hate crimes and domestic extremism. This was a really special event for a few reasons: It was historic for the Sikh community because it marked the first time a Sikh had given testimony at a Senate hearing. It was very well attended, over 400 people filled the hearing room and the overflow room. It was also my first time shooting a Senate hearing, and inside a Senator’s office. Like I said, historic.
A young man, a teenager, named Harpreet Singh Saini gave the most moving testimony of the day. His mother was killed in the Oak Creek Gurdwara attack and he eloquently pleaded for his mother to “have the dignity of being a statistic.” Apparently, the government doesn’t keep track of hate crimes against Sikhs, a fact that surprised me. Harpreet did an amazing job delivering his testimony. His bravery and leadership were a real inspiration.
On a photographic level, the whole experience was really amazing for me. I was working for the Sikh Coalition, not a news organization, so my goal was not to just to get one or two shots for a news story, it was to document the event for posterity as well as getting those key shots for the inevitable press releases the next morning. Jobs like this are really physically demanding. I shot a lot, and I delivered a lot of photos very quickly. I was up very late that night, but it was all worth it because the experience was thrilling.
Here are some of the photos I took before the event, during the hearing, and after the hearing at the press conference.
Speaking of the C-SPAN video: I’m in it! Check out this screen grab of me being all kinds of photogenic:
Back in June my brand new wife and I went on our honeymoon to the amazing island of Antigua (pronounced An-tee-ga, you learn something new every day!) We had an amazing time, I have never been so relaxed. The vast majority of our trip was spent by the pool, or in the pool, or by our own private pool, or in our own private pool, or by the ocean, or in the ocean. Also we spent time eating… we did a lot of eating. All that relaxing didn’t leave a ton of time for photography, but I did manage to carve out a few hours for some quality time with my first love… photography.
I was in New York a few months ago and saw the awesome NYC band Bridget and the Squares totally rock the house. Look them up, buy their music, and go see them when they play near you. You won’t be disappointed.
Laura and Kyle were awesome enough to write the song ‘Dear’ at my request as a wedding present for my wife. They just released that song on a brand new single called ‘Don’t be Sad,’ it’s pretty freaking great, go pick it up at bridgetandthesquares.com. While you’re there, buy their new albums Kill and Destroy!
You can also check them out on Facebook. Do it.
This year I spent Independence day and the following weekend on the Jersey Shore with my wife and some of our awesome friends. The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, who doesn’t like cooking outside and watching stuff blow up? I also love taking photos of fireworks, I love long exposure photography in general, but fireworks in particular are always really fun. They don’t happen every day, and when they do they’re over pretty quick, so there’s some challenge in it as well.
Whenever I prepare for a professional shoot I have a little checklist that I complete the day before. I put all the equipment I think I’ll need in a bag, I make sure I have a couple extra memory cards, and I make sure my battery is charged and that I have 2 fully charged spares. I’m a little more laid back in my personal life. My camera usually has a good charge, so I don’t really worry about it too much. As it turns out, that is a mistake.
On the 4th I left the house with my camera and a tripod. I didn’t even consider bringing an extra battery. I happily snapped away on the boardwalk all day long. As soon as it was dark enough I found a spot and I took a test shot to check my exposure. Unfortunately, that test shot was the last picture I took that night. My battery finally gave up the ghost with about a half an hour to spare before the big event!
I learned an important lesson this Independence day: Treat every shoot like it’s your most important paid gig, even for personal shooting. There are few worse feelings for a photographer than knowing that you’re missing great shots because of your own dumb mistake.
Luckily, Wildwood has a fireworks display every Friday, so I had another chance to get some shots. They were not quite as spectacular as the ones on the 4th, but I’m pretty happy with the results. Here are some of my favorites…
On June 9th I got married to an amazing woman. She’s smart and funny and beautiful and just perfect. She supported me pursuing my passion for photography from the beginning, and I couldn’t be more proud to call her my wife!
We had our ceremony at the DC War Memorial on the National Mall, and the reception at the American Legion Post 8 in Capitol Hill. It was an unforgettable day with many of our amazing friends and family, and everybody had a blast.
It was really important for me to incorporate some form of photography into the reception, so I came up with the idea of creating a photo booth. I had some lights, and a backdrop stand, and of course a camera. All I needed was a fun backdrop and some props. I bought a bunch of props at a party store and borrowed a few more from some friends. I looked around online for a backdrop, but wasn’t really happy with my options, so I decided to make it myself.
My future mother-in-law and I took a trip down to the local fabric store and picked out some awesome sparkly material in the color palette I wanted. Then she cut the fabric into long strips (I’m apparently useless with scissors!) Next we made a sleeve for the crossbar to go through by cutting off the end of an old bed sheet and then pinned the strips of fabric onto the sleeve. Finally I hand sewed the fabric onto the sleeve where we had pinned it.
I’m really happy with the end result, I think it looks great, and our guests LOVED it! I’ve already come up with some ideas to increase the quality of the backdrop next time around and I’m really excited to try it again!
If you want me to run a similar photo booth for your next graduation, wedding, corporate event, or any other party, just send me a note! You can use this backdrop, something really simple like a solid paper background, or I’m also happy to custom build your backdrop for you with whatever colors you want. I’ll be sure to get somebody skilled to work the scissors!
I was really excited when Aaron and Lauren asked me for an engagement session. We’ve been friends for a long time, they’re a great couple, and just awesome people to be around. We ended up at Yards Park in SE DC, which is becoming one of my favorite places to shoot in DC. They were so fun and easy to work with that we ended up shooting for far longer than we planed, but that’s okay, we came away with some great photos. Oh yeah, and there’s a shot with Marine 1 in the background! How flippin’ cool is that?
I was recommended to the NYC based Sikh Coalition by my friend Scott at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The Sikh Coalition needed a photographer to cover their press conference launching the brand new app: FlyRights. The app is designed to make it fast and easy for travelers in airports to make official complaints to the TSA and the DHS when they find themselves the victims of discrimination by TSA screeners. Of course, this app isn’t just for Sikhs or other religious minority groups, you can use it to report discrimination based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality, or disability. I think it’s a great idea and I’m proud to have played a small role in it’s launch. Here are a few of my photos from the press conference…
Thanks to Scott for referring me!
A woman in DC proposed to her girlfriend over the weekend. That’s exciting news, but what’s really cool about it, from my perspective, is how she did it. The idea was that she would propose while the couple’s friends held up photos of places that were important to them. They chose a restaurant (Vinoteca), a bar (The Red Derby), an apartment building near Dupont Circle, and the church they want to be married in (St. Mark’s in Capitol Hill). She asked me to produce those photos. I’m so honored to have been a part of such an important event for this couple. Below are some of the photos I produced for the project.