Brad & Brooke held their wedding at Brooke's parents property near Eagle, Wisconsin, a stone's throw from where I grew up. Brooke is a librarian; Brad is a historian, now pursuing a law degree They meet at UW-Madison, but have since moved to Boston to pursue their career/education stuff. My favorite thing about them is they never try to be cool. Which makes them awesome. Brad told the most awkward engagement story, knowing it was awkward, and he pulled it off with aplomb. I love it when people bravely, confidently, zealously do their own thing. Nothing is more beautiful than that.
These two did their wedding their own way. There were no bridesmaids or groomsmen. No cell service. No stuffiness of any kind. Just lots of love and joy. The bride made her own gorgeous dress, which the groom helped her put on (with duct tape) before the ceremony. I'm not sure, but I think the location was chosen primarily for its proximity to good mountain biking. Pretty awesome.
Thanks Lakewoods Resort (hosting skiers, bikers, and general outdoor lovers for over a century), Emily Balsley (see the hand-illustrated wedding invitations) and TechNoir (Madison's raddest 80's cover band) for raising the bar for this party.
Arborists are folks who take care of trees. And trees need some care if you want them to be healthy, good looking and not fall on your house or kids. When I was a kid, dad always did the tree hacking around the yard, so I grew up thinking it was normal for homeowners to climb, trim and take down their own trees. Then I grew up and realized Dad just does everything on his own, no matter how dangerous or if he knows anything about the thing. He's real DYI.
Photographing arborists is one of the few spheres of work where my camera and climbing skills overlap. I have climbed trees with ropes a number of times, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to ride a lift truck up. It's easier! But I gotta say, it was much less flexible. I got up there, established an anchor, and then I couldn't move much. But the guys could move themselves and the truck around me, so it worked out.
Mallon Tree Service is based just outside Cooksville, WI, one of my favorite little towns south of Madison. Whenever we paddle Badfish Creek, we stop at the general store there for ice cream. I don't know how or why Cooksville got so cute, but they have a great collection of little brick houses, plus a couple great old churches. I would live there.
I don't know much about tree work, but I can say Emma & Kyle are fantastic to work with. Kyle learned his trade with the City of Milwaukee; some time after, he and Emma moved out to the country, where some family land became available. Turns out Emma's grandfather is John Wilde, whose work I've seen at MOMA; her dad is Jonathan Wilde, whose work I often admire at Artisan Gallery in Paoli. So the Mallons are carrying the family heritage forward, taking care of the earth and making it beautiful too. Really fun to help with their project.
Roche NimbleGen is a Madison biotech firm owned by Roche, a much larger Swiss company. Roche invests in staff headshots as a way for their employees to know each other better. As a multi-national business with thousands of employees, headshots associated with email and other internal technologies enable co-workers to pair sharp, modern, flattering images with work communications, which in turn fosters closer, more intimate relationships amongst far-flung staff. It's certainly not the same as being able to enjoy a coffee break in person with a co-worker, but I love that the firm sees the value in providing this service for their staff.
Michal's mom had been asking her to please, please, please take some updated photos of her and Gavin, since her most recent ones were from their wedding a decade ago (or something like that). So Michal finally relented to stay in Mom's good graces. We talked about where to shoot and settled on a breakfast shoot at their place (though a cyclo-cross shoot was also considered). Done deal.
Michal actually didn't know how to cook eggs, which was awesome. Everyone should maintain a few basic things you don't know how to do, because it makes for great photos when someone teaches you. This is why I still don't know how to ice skate.
After breakfast, we walked out to the barely-frozen Monona Bay. I often walk the rails over the land bridge here early in the morning, it's a great place for capitol views, or to see folks on the lake. The trestle bridges are old and tastefully unimproved, always a nice contrast against a couple beautiful people.
It is such a strange, blessed fall we're having. Last week, we sat comfortably on a pier, watching the sun go down on Lake Mendota, wearing only t-shirts. Something seems wrong about that, but I'm not complaining. I just feel lucky, and slightly worried that we'll have to pay for this mild weather, sooner or later.
Last year, it was pretty tough to get either of these kiddos to look my way, let alone smile or act naturally. But this year was completely different, which made this shoot incredibly fun and easy. This family feels so comfortable with themselves and I think that really comes through in the images. It smells like good parenting, but I'm no expert.
Where is Nashotah? It's next to Oconomowoc. Lake Country. Honestly, there's a lake around every-other bend in the road, and there are lots of bends. When you live on a cute little peninsula, staying home for your photo shoot is a no-brainer.
Extended family portrait sessions are a great excuse to get together. These boys were not too interested in posed family portraits, so we pulled the wagons out and played in the street. Playing in the street is cool! Everybody is doing it.
The adult-to-kiddo ratio was strong here, so I was able to sneak off with each couple for those portraits that are so easy to forget about once kids dominate family life. Personally, I think having a recent photo with your mate is pretty important, so I try to request it when nobody is pulling on my leg.
This kid is cool, probably because his parents are cool. Coolness is genetic. This dad is infamous in his family for being un-photogenic, but I didn't experience that at all. Funny how some people get that reputation, usually from some isolated photo were the camera caught them in in a momentary cross-eyed moment, but then they can think they look bad in pictures forever. I like to wipe that slate clean.
I love Olin Park for family photography sessions because there is such varied landscapes within a short walk. Lakeside, parkside, big oaks, forest, field, playground... it's all close at hand. And it's separate enough from residential areas that it's usually pretty quiet too. Recommended!
There is nothing quite as classic and pure as a newborn baby. We had a huge house available with lots of big windows and beautiful natural light, and our best images were the simplest: tender compositions, simple backgrounds, intimacy and family. This baby was the most cooperative little model I've ever worked with, sleeping, waking, posing, and smiling as if reading my mind. A special morning.
An intimate, nearby locale seemed appropriate for this small wedding party. After a ceremony at the Federal Courthouse off the square, these folks stopped for a drink, then sauntered over to tiny Period Garden Park, a favorite Madison treasure of mine. The Period Garden is hardly a secret (how can anything along E Gorham be a secret?), but it's so easy to drive or walk by it daily and not notice it.