—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

Black and White 1-25

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I took this photograph of Vesta on April 24th, 2011, just before we photographed our first wedding. She was pretty nervous. Me, well I guess I was too.

Right now, we are in the process of merging our websites with my defunct blog and adding photos we took along the way and I’ve just finished April 2011, which was a good month for us. We didn’t know just what kind of photographers we were gonna be yet, we just knew our money was running out and we had to make money with our cameras.

Vesta was a VIP member of model mayhem and had seven or eight shoots scheduled, both seminude and nude and she did her first nude shoot on the last day of the month. Plus we did our first large family shoot in the middle of the month.

Scary stuff. Well it was back then. But not so much anymore.

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Everyday, first thing, I check my Facebook feed to see what’s going on with my FB friends. Usually, I come across something that makes me smile and gets my day started off in a good way. Sometimes not so, though.

Sometimes, bad stuff happens. Sometimes sad stuff happens. Then I get kinda bummed out.

It seems, as I’ve aged a bit, that I’ve become sort’ve like an empath. I don’t know why, cuz growing up, I’ve never been very emotional, but now I can laugh like a kid seeing his first clown or cry like a little girl whose doggie just died.

And it’s not fair. I liked the old, not smily, mustached Ken way better than the sympathetic, empathetic, laughing, teary eye’d guy I’m becoming. Maybe I oughta grow that mustache back. Maybe that’s it.

Fortunately, Vesta and I are wedding photographers, cuz weddings are a very happy occasion and as it turns out, I go through the whole day, happier than a lottery winner.

But not so fortunately, we’ve been doing this long enough that we’ve seen some of the couples we’ve grown to know and love stop loving each other and get divorced and that’s like a knife blade to my heart. I don’t know why, it shouldn’t be, but it is.

Anyway, last night a friend was over and asked me how come I didn’t take the care with Hillary’s picture that I take with most of the other photos I post.

“What to you mean?” I said.

“It’s like a snapshot and you don’t post snapshots. You post photographs.”

And I thought about what he’d said, after he left. And he was right.

Vesta said, “Girls rule.”

Hillary said,” That’s right.”

They shook hands and I took Hillary’s picture while they were shaking and I posted it, but I didn’t give it the care and attention to detail I usually do. I suppose cuz I viewed it as an event and not a photograph making opportunity.

So I stayed up late last night, working on this picture I wanted to turn into a photograph, thinking about Kate’s dad and Afton’s new baby boy as I worked.

Yesterday morning, when I checked my FB feed, the first post I saw was from my friend Kate. She’d posted how sad she was cuz her dad had just passed away and I felt awful for her.

The next post was from my friend Afton and she'd posted that she’d just given birth to a beautiful baby boy named Jack. How cool is that?

So, I spent the day roller coasting between sad and joy as I thought about Kate and Afton. I’m not so close to them now as I once was, but I’ve known them both since they were children and they matter to me.

It’s funny, we’re born, we live, we die and all happens in a blink of God’s eye and we never really know what it’s all about. Kate’s probably miserable right now. Afton’s overjoyed. I pray Kate heals soon and Afton stays overjoyed forever.

I remember when my dad died and it was heartbreaking. I remember when my kids were born and it was exhilarating. So I know just how these two young women feel and right now I feel both ways at the same time, so I think what I’m gonna do today is go out with Vesta to our bridge, make our photograph, come back, go to work and tonight, I think maybe I’ll drink some wine and move on.

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Here is Taba, which is short for Tabasumu, which is Swahili for smile. But in her life, she’s probably never been to Kenya, never spoken Swahili. But I like her smile, so that’s what I named her.

The girl who posed for this image is from Zimbabwe, which was called Rhodesia when I purchased this small likeness of her. It’s made out of green soapstone and stands about three inches tall.

I bought it from the artist, who had a small stand at the little airstrip by Victoria Falls. Two years later, Vesta and I were wandering in and out of touristy shops in Cape Town and we came across another soapstone carving of the same girl. This one was six inches high, her hair is pulled back and she looks a couple years older.

Of course, we bought it.

I don’t know anything about Taba, except I got the impression the artist was her father, and I was glad to see he was still carving soapstone images of her and that at least one of them made it all the way to a tourist shop in South Africa.

I hope she is still alive. I like to believe she is. She makes me smile.

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Here are Jessica and Justin. They came over the other day for their Engagement Session. Oh, I almost forgot, they’re Engaged to be Married. Anyway, they came over for their Engagement Session and Vesta and I were sitting in the living room, thinking about an unopened bottle of wine in the kitchen.

When Jessica texted Vesta, saying they were gonna be late.

“Do you think we can open that wine now?” Vesta said. We don’t do that until after our engagement sessions.

“No, we should wait.” I wanted to open it too, cuz it was getting dark.

“Another text from her,” Vesta said.

“What’s it say?”

“But we’re bringing lots of wine.” Vesta turned to me. “She couldn’t hear us could she?”

“You can’t hear someone over a text message,” I said.

“Still, it’s kinda spooky.”

“They sound fun,” I said.

And a half hour latter, they showed up with not only a couple bottles of fine red wine, but a bottle of Champagne as well. They wanted them for props in their photos and Vesta and I helped ‘em drink those props as the session progressed.

And afterward, when those props were all gone, we opened some of our own. And when 11:00 rolled around, Justin ordered an Uber car, cuz everybody knows it’s not wise to drink and drive.

There’s a moral to this story and it’s a good one. If you’re gonna be late, bring wine and all will be forgiven.
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Meet Nellybelle. She’s a therapy dog who works at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada. Renown is a huge hospital and it’s very easy to get lost in it, which happened to me and Vesta this afternoon.

And while trying to find our way, we found Nellybelle. She’s nine years old and she is huge. Her dad was a St. Bernard and her mother a giant poodle.

Her human partner told us she spends a lot of time with children and if I was a kid in the hospital, I’d just love to spend time with her. She’s just as wonderful as you could ever imagine a dog being.

Of course, if she were a normal person’s pet, you’d have to take out a second mortgage just to feed her, but other than that, she’d be great to have around.

Someday, I’ve got it on my bucket list. I’m gonna call the Renown folks and see if they’ll let me photograph her with the kids. Maybe that’s not possible, but if it is, I’m gonna do it. If they’ll let me.

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The sun was not quite up yet and Vesta and I were out by the Virginia Street Bridge, where we started our 365 Days of Faces Project two hundred and fifty-one days ago, when Vesta lifted up a chain which had a sign attached to it, which said: Warning, General Public Keep Out. Authorized Personal Only.

“The sign says we can’t go there,” I said.

“Don't be silly. They don’t mean us. We’re not the general public.” She laughed. “We’re photographers.”

“Oh yeah! I forgot.” So I followed her to where general people can’t go, but photographers and others who are authorized can and I made this photograph.

Then we took several more of the new bridge, which is gonna be done in a couple three months.

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At the end of this hall, through the last door on the right, you can get biscuits and gravy and hard boiled eggs. Waffles, oatmeal and yogurt. Toast and English muffins too. It’s that not so good, but okay free motel breakfast you get when you’re on the road.

But if you were there, would you wonder who’s behind all those doors you pass and what they’re doing inside those rooms?

Are you passing by a young high school couple making love for the first time? Or a forty-five year old salesman in town selling medical supplies? Or a young woman dying of cancer, seeing America on the cheap, before she dies? Or a poet down on his luck? Or a young ballerina in town for a two night performance?<

Or are you so wrapped up in your own life that all the wonder has gone out of it?

Children wonder. They wonder a lot. Big people, not so much.

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The problem, as I see it, with this snow business, is when it stops snowing, the snow on our roads doesn’t go away. They got these guys in these big trucks with plow thingys on the front, who come by before the sun comes up and push it onto the sidewalks, where it turns to ice, which is real slippery.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m here to say, as a downtown sidewalk user, I don’t like slippery sidewalks.

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The three of us were staying in a motel and Devon had just come back from swimming, which is why his hair looks the way it does and is why he’s wearing a wetsuit.

Obviously this photo wasn’t taken yesterday or even last year. But I really like it. Vesta does too. And needless to say Devon loves it. But then he loves every photo he’s in.

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We went to Huntington Beach to do Laura’s trash the dress photos. She wanted to have them done at sunset at the pier, so that’s what we did. And lucky for her, for us too, it was was gorgeous sunset. And if you like you can click on our “Portraits” link and see lots of the photos we made of her that day in living color.

The cool thing about walking around just about anywhere with a girl in a wedding dress is, that people tend to honk, wave and shout out congratulations. We even had a cop car drive by and they honked and waved too, as we crossed the street from our motel to the beach.

We started out photographing Laura under the pier. There were a lot of other photographers out and about, because it was the beach and the sunset was gorgeous, but they all stayed well out of our way. It was Laura’s white dress. People just feel good when they see a bride getting her pictures made. Everybody smiles, nobody gets in the way. It’s so cool.

As you can probably tell by the Santa hats, it was pretty close to Christmas (a week before) when we made these photographs. That’s the wonderful thing about Southern California, basically it only has one season and it’s a good one.

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L'Eglise du Mouillage,

I took this photograph before Hurricane Lenny and I’m guessing the restaurant and the other buildings in front of the Cathedral were destroyed by Lenny, because the buildings in the recent photos I’ve seen online are different.

We were anchored in front of the Cathedral when Vesta heard of the wrong way hurricane heading straight for us on her little radio. It was in Jamaica at the time and I had a hard time believing what what she said she was hearing through her earbuds. But I did believe her and we left, which was a good thing, because the boats that stayed were sunk.

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We were driving along on New Zealand’s Highway 1, when we saw a sign that said geysers, so we made a right, wound up on a dirt road and after a bit, we ran into this, so we stopped.

We’re not stupid. This was a warning. But a warning about what? Vesta thought it meant do not pass and she said, “Maybe we should go back.” But I reasoned there were on guns in NZ, so we’d probably be safe, cuz, you know, no one was gonna shoot at us if we kept going.

But only a short way past the skull, we came across a small, hot pond that really stunk.

“Don’t drink the water!” Vesta said. “That’s what they were trying to tell us.”

Then a mound, which turned out to be a geyser, next to the smelly pond spouted off, filling the air with foul, acrid steam.

“Or maybe they were trying to tell us, hold your breath when the geyser goes off.”

“They coulda just used words.”

“Wouldn’t have been any fun,” she said.

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On Top of the World.

We lived a year in New Zealand and while we were there, we consumed a lot of fine Cabernet from their Marlborough wine country, saw a lot of sheep, took several driving trips and we did a lot of touristy things and one of those was the helicopter ride to the top of the Franz Josef Glacier, which we were told was like being on top of the world. You can hike up it, but it’s a long, cold looking, slog, so we took the chopper.

But before we got in, I asked the pilot if anyone had ever died going to the top of the world in, you know, a helicopter. He said no, it was perfectly safe. However, ten years later I saw on CNN that a helicopter crashed into the glacier, killing all seven people aboard and I hoped it wasn’t the same guy. And, I suppose, the moral here is that nothing is ever perfectly safe.

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This guy came zipping down our street yesterday afternoon, doing fifty at least. The only thing I could think of was that he was late for lunch at Mickey D’s or maybe he had a hot date.

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Corey, Parker and Ashley.

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