Today’s Photo Ops has two-fold fun: A location I’ve been wanting to share at Barr Lake and an adorable theme fishing engagement. Being themey is absolutely acceptable (if not encouraged) for engagement photos (within reason). The couple at the center of all this fun, Ashley and Dave, share a love of the outdoors and wanted to incorporate that into their session. Their photographer, Katie Brewer or KB Digital Designs, helped them extend their fishing theme. The special touches of gummy worms and fish crackers added cute without being too kitschy. They also utilized some of my favorite areas of the park where my family enjoys spending time as well.
Barr Lake State Park: 13401 Picadilly Rd, Brighton, CO 80603
Submitted by KB Digital Designs
Barr Lake State Park is an area that I always thought would be incredible for engagement photography. One two occasions in one year I visited it and took photos because I was so convinced of that fact. I only wish I had gotten out there in winter too because I’m sure that the bridge over the river would look incredible with snow on the ground and that delicious frost on the trees. In the following gallery you can see my very amateur photography of the area and special features that I loved. When you get there, the little welcome center is adorable with a great sign that says, “Happy Trails,” on one side. As you start onto the trail there is a a beautiful bridge that spans the river with foliage on either side. If you take the Niedrach Trail loop, there is this fantastic series of boardwalks. Some many great views down the boardwalks and through the trees to the observation area with the mountains in the background. The whole loop culminates in this archway of trees (as seen in the e-session). The first few pictures were taken in Spring when there is a crazy amount of sunken tree material visible in the water. By the time fall comes along in the latter images, you can see that all of the water is overtaken by this bizarre and colorful overgrowth along the entire boardwalk area. So varied and gorgeous all year round!! (All photos below by Season Hurd – A Colorado Courtship)
Sorry it’s been a short week this week folks. Sometimes kids are monsters and awesome posts take more research than I thought they would. But I’m going to end it with some lovely and warm wedding flower inspiration. So I think that will make it up for it. ;)
With the lovely warm weather making a comeback, I wanted to share something perfectly sunny and warm with you to suit the mood. This gorgeous bouquet is made of white lilac (from the florist’s own back yard), succulents, dusty miller and lots of yellow: ranunculus, mini calla lilies, billy balls, and freesia. (Floral Design by Fleur Décor; Photography by Elevate Photography)
All images provided by Dylan Burr of Aventura Photo Video.
Do not reproduce without permission of the photographer.
If you adored Lauren Bush and David Lauren’s iconic old west style wedding portrait, you’ll go extra crazy for the real thing. It isn’t often that I come across anything in the wedding industry that feels ultra unique and “new”. But the use of early photography methods is an example of something very old becoming new again in the light of time when digital photography and Photoshop reign supreme and images are as replicable as right click and “save as”. These photos are the real deal and fascinating as all get out. No filter in Photoshop will ever be able to create the light of wet plate and for very good reason. Recently, I had the distinct honor of meeting up with a practicing wet plate collodion wedding photography expert, Dylan Burr of Aventura Photo Video. He described the process of wet plate to me and helped me gain an understanding of the way that it captures a distinct rendering of reality.
Dylan’s gorgeous camera and bulky mobile dark room setup. Photos must be developed in a speedy manner to ensure that they don’t deteriorate. Images are actually developed in a wee tent of sorts on location.
Wet Plate Collodion:
Brace yourselves folks, it’s about to get science-y! The wet plate collodion photographer gets to be an artist and chemist. The wet plate collodion process is a tricky, nuanced, and flammable one. There is a steep learning curve for the process itself as well as an individual’s equipment. The first collodion photographs were developed (pardon the pun) by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851 and constitute only the second “mainstream” photography type. The process involves dissolving a halide salt into a sticky substance called collodion that is made from nitrocellulose, ether and ethanol (all of which are not great chemicals to work around). Compared to the other solutions in the process, this mixture is more stable and can hang for awhile. In fact, it’s not even viable until it has sat for several days to clarify. According to Dylan it produces a gruffer and less luminous image as it ages so he reserves aged salted collodion for grizzled male subjects and landscapes where there is a lot of light. The mixture is placed onto glass and tilted to carefully spread an even coating. Once the collodion becomes gelatinous is is bathed in silver nitrate to form a silver halide – a compound that is light sensitive. This part has to be done in a dark room. Dylan has a portable dark room with the various chemicals he needs to perform all the steps because the next few have to happen rapidly and with skill.
The prepared plate is put into the camera while it’s still wet. Then a cover is removed from the camera (Dylan usually uses a hat..hehe) and the light is allowed to expose the image onto the plate. Collodion photographs need a lot of light to make a good image. Dylan experimented with long exposures and various light sources. He settled on a flash that can take a photo instantly (down from several minutes when he first started) but also comes along with a pretty wicked wave of energy. The next step is to quickly get the exposed plate to the dark room for developing. The image is developed by soaking in a solution of iron sulfate, acetic acid and alcohol in water. The plate is then fixed with sodium thiosulfate and varnished for protection. The whole process takes about 15 minutes from the time the collodion hits the slide. And you thought Polaroids were slow!
Who wouldn’t want to have a picture of them using this technique? Can you imagine engagement photos?
The super cool thing about this process is the images it makes. They are downright ethereal looking. The chemicals on the plate are only sensitive to high frequency, short wavelength light (actinic light). This means that the cooler end of the spectrum from green and blue to UV light that we can’t even see is registered visibly. Thus the spooky presence of phantom light and the feeling that the camera captured the subject’s energy in addition to their visage. By contrast, warmer colors like reds will not activate the chemicals on the photo and remain dark. So know going into a session with this type of photography that a pink dress will look dark and a blue dress will look white! (But don’t worry, it won’t keep changing like that pesky dress of color shifting fame.) It also means that blue or green eyes appear to glow and are indescribably enrapturing.
The sensitivity to UV light is only half the story as to why wet plate images seem to glow and have intense depth. Dylan uses a dark glass substrate for his pieces (ambrotype) or metal (tintype) which produces a positive image right out of the camera. The areas that were light in reality reflect back to you in the form of the chemicals remaining on top of the glass. The unexposed areas are removed by the developer and appear dark by the very medium the image is formed on. This dual layer image creates literal depth compared to a 2-D image printed onto paper. Back in the day, the effect was further magnified by using a thicker glass with dark coating only on the back side. The photographs are mounted for safe keeping because, just like other positive images like Polaroids, they are one of a kind creations that can only be copied by scanning them and printing them out.
You have to do a double take on this image because it looks 150 years old but features ultra-modern ghost chairs. I love the surreal quality of it all.
Dylan is one of only a couple hundred photographers who can still do wet plate photography. Typically it’s used by hobbyists and those seeking to give an antique photography experience like at Civil War re-enactments. Dylan chose to take it to new levels by mixing the old and the new. Primarily a wedding photographer, he has used the wet plate method to do some pretty cool things at weddings and styled shoots. Because the whole process takes so long, it’s not feasible as the only photography method on a wedding day. (For that he’s an incredible digital photographer and videographer). What it does superbly is artistic and impactful portraits and still lifes. I’m particularly in love with the ability of wet plate photographs to make a couple in their wedding garb look intensely present and ghostly. A wet plate photograph will draw you in and absolutely must be studied. Therein lies the true value to me.
Adding all new meaning to ghost chairs. The effect is just so hauntingly beautiful.
The Neighbor’s Project Art Show and Charity Auction:
In another modern application of the antique method, Dylan undertook The Neighbors Project to photograph Denver’s homeless population. He explained that his goal was to show the individuals as they wanted to be seen. He portrays the reality of Denver’s homeless instead of either the grizzly or romanticized extremes that prevail in the art world. Using a captivating medium helped add beauty to what were intentionally plain portraits of ordinary people who happen to be homeless. The enticing, one of a kind photographs help to lure the viewer into the story of each person and are an innovative take on raising awareness and understanding. As someone who had a relative that was homeless in Denver, I have come to have an greater understanding of the myriad reasons for homelessness and the “normalcy” of those who live life this way. I encourage everyone to check out his work!
His art show for Neighbors will be this Friday, March 27th at 6:00PM at Studio Denver. Tickets are only $5 and proceeds go to the St. Francis Center where Dylan met the individuals in his photos. Additionally, there is a film and book that can be purchased.
I wanted to do an art project that wasn’t artist self-wankery and something that could directly help a few people. I wanted to use wet plate collodion but it wasnt till I got further into the project that the process itself is an allegory to being homeless. It is a slow process that you must shoot and develop all at once without letting the photograph dry out. A main struggle for the homeless is the constant waiting. Wet plate is also a random and imperfect process. It is extremly hard to produce the same result each time. Similar to the personal stories of the homeless. Everyone has different reasons for being homeless and different things to overcome to get out of it. It is also a forgotten process and many of these people feel the same; forgotten.
My main job is photography and cinematography for weddings. This project was great for building dicipline and very different from the frantic pace of a wedding. It has made me more methodical, resulting in more purposeful digital images. No longer firing off hundreds to pick 1, I slow down to visualize, and shoot that one final image. – Dylan Burr via The Neighbors Project website
Today is both the first day of spring and the last day of ACC’s winter wedding week. It’s also Floral Friday! In honor of all these things, I have some great winter wedding bouquets to show how flowers bring the life and softness to even the most frigid of winter wedding days. Florists are our year long lifeline to summer. I think it’s great that they get so creative with unusual flowers (and even raspberries), colors, and shapes in winter. It makes for very fascinating arrangements that overcome the lack of bright colors. After sending out a request for winter bouquets, I got more great options to choose from than I expected. So today will be a Floral Friday mega-post!
Everything about this image rocks my world. But let’s focus on that killer bouquet. Composition: Ornamental kale, ranunculus, paper white, white and pink O’Hara roses, veronica, stock, anemones, lisianthus, raspberries, and plomosa. (Floral Design by Southern Charm Weddings and Events; Photography by Tina Joiner Photography)
The addition of fir tree branches gives this bouquet that something extra special and unusually beautiful. It feels winter without being at all Christmasy. Composition: Sahara & Vendela roses, white Majolica spray roses, dusty miller, fir, willow eucalyptus, and silver brunia. (Floral Design by Quintessential Weddings and Events; Photography by Sarah Roshan)
I’ve previously mentioned glamelia or composite bouquets on the site. They are a beautiful creation hand made from the petals of many flowers. This particular specimen is comprised of rose petals and ti leaves. (Floral Design by Fleur Decor; Photography by Rebecca Marie Photography)
The silver of the dusty miller and brunia berry make this bouquet the living embodiment of the winter mood. Composition: Hydrangea, spray roses, anemones, ranunculus, silver brunia berry, cedar roses, dusty miller, and seed eucalyptus. (Floral Design by Bloom Flower Shop; Photography by Sarah Roshan)
This stunner is made of pine cones, Georgia cotton, gunnii eucalyptus, dried eucalyptus pods, cotton pods, willow eucalyptus and tallow berry. Very unusual and basically amazing… (Floral Design by Bella Calla; Photography by Sarah Christine Photography)
Happy Thursday folks. Have you been enjoying the homage to winter weddings this week? I know I have. Tomorrow I will round everything out with a theme appropriate Floral Friday post. But before that, I want to share one more couple making the best of the chilly winter weather in Colorado. This Nordic Center at Breckenridge engagement feels very fresh and fun. The couple, Natalie and Chris, snowshoed on Breck’s trails, played in the snow, and warmed up in the Nordic Center. And our bride-to-be shows us how to rock the hell out of silly winter clothing. I can dig it.
Submitted by Molly Joseph Photography
Bride: Heidi Koeman
Groom: Andy Shabo
Date: January 20, 2014
Location: Crested Butte Mountain Resort
In the nineteenth century, Fritjof Nansen wrote that skiing washes civilization clean from our minds by dint of its exhilarating physicality. By extension, I believe that snow helps strip away the things that don’t matter. It leaves us thinking of little else but the greatness of nature, the place of our souls within it, and the dazzling whiteness that lies ahead. – Charlie English
Colorado is well known for its skiing. Our people are pretty wild about it. So much so that we have elevated the sport to something almost divine. I personally know of more than one couple that will surely swoon at the idea of getting married right on the slopes. In this case, Heidi and Andy’s ski wedding took place near their home in Crested Butte. They took a chair lift up and skied/boarded down the aisle to their waiting friends and family. (And I thought I was paranoid about falling while walking down the aisle.) Though I’m not an avid skier myself, I am in love with the bright, crisp photos and lively group shots. This wedding is pure fun and clearly extremely personal to the couple. While this sort of ceremony is certainly not for everyone, for those who live on the slopes in winter it is something of a fairy tale.
Submitted by Sweet Tea Studios
For our second installment of the Ode to Winter Weddings week, we have a popular location shown to us in a whole new way by BTW Photography. This winter Chautauqua engagement captures all the things I love about Colorado winters. The days that follow a snow are typically so bright, sunny, and almost warm that it’s possible to be outside as if it were spring. There is something about the light of a snow day. The main header picture for this post is a dream shot for an engaged couple. Of course the cherry on this ice cream sundae is the undeniably photogenic quality of the couple, Anastasia and Nathan. Winter in Boulder – That’ll do.
Bride: Tuyen Lam
Groom: Simon Chiu
Date: February 24, 2015
Submitted for your approval today is a dreamy elopement in the snow. That alone would be a beautiful thing (as I’ve proven in a previous post just last week). But I’m about to up the ante big time: Puppies! Yes, I think all dogs are puppies – even the big, strong kind that pull laughing lovers around in the snow. This wedding is yet another example of how two people in love, a few personal details, and beautiful photography can tell such a story that you’ll never miss the 5 tiered cake. Tuyen and Simon flew from New York to Breckenridge for this tiny wedding ceremony in the snow. I love their little moments captured in vibrant sunburst bokeh and their giggles as they fly through the snow. Enjoy!
Submitted by The Photogenic Lab
Photo by Gena McMillan
I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Next week on ACC is all about winter weddings and engagements. I will be breaking some of my normal publication rules for this beautiful theme week I’ve planned (like I won’t have too much background and focus on eye candy). But I hope everyone will love this farewell to winter…which sadly was scheduled before I knew it was going to be a hot week in March. If you need a little cool off, swing by each day this week to see couples frolicking in the beautiful Colorado winter landscape. And if you simply cannot wait, please revisit some of these great winter posts:
A snowy wedding proposal
Sparkling New Year’s Eve wedding
Ice Castles bridal shoot
Engagement session at the Performing Arts Complex with flurries
A sensational mountain engagement session that feels like stills from a movie
Colorful aspens and snow in Vail
Snow angels and chair lifts in Keystone
Cute and snowy engagement at Little Man Ice Cream
A dark winter elopement
A winter ranch wedding complete with a horse drawn sleigh
Happy weekend A Colorado Courtship readers! I wanted to let you know about another great wedding show that you should put on your list – Wed Wonderfully. Taking place at the beautiful Villa Parker in Parker, Co., this show is a solid bet for couples and vendors alike. Here’s the skinny:
Sunday, May 17, 2015
10750 S. Pine Drive
Parker, Co 80138
For more info and a list of vendors, check out the event website
Wed Wonderfully is a boutique wedding show filled with a curated collection of the best Colorado wedding vendors. Enjoy a lovely spring day dedicated to helping you design your perfect wedding! Come taste, talk and see what options are available to create the day you have always dreamed of. Featuring $1,000s in prizes, a champagne and mimosa bar and a handpicked selection of the best wedding professionals in the state.
Click the image above to go the event website