A quick sneak peak from last weeks wedding in Tiverton, Devon. Just after the ceremony and emotions were running high. In the excitement I might have possibly encouraged Alan to shake the Champagne bottle just a smidge too much.
Having spotted the fancy stuff earlier on in the day I had hoped to get a taste - just not from across the patio. I'm still cleaning the bubbly off my lenses now...
Location: Maunsel House
After Aynhoe Park, Maunsel House ranks as one of the quirkiest venues in the South. Filled with medieval decor, suits of armour and even a full sized stuffed bear, the house is a treasure trove of interesting items.
Thankfully, on this wedding I didn't crash my car or split my trousers, so with the feast of photographic opportunities in front of me it was a great day! Helen and Nat were also fantastic, very relaxed and confident in the documentary style which allowed me to capture some fun images.
I need to give Nat special mention here too, having performed just about the best recovery I have ever seen. Picture you are standing at the alter waiting for your beautiful bride to come down the aisle. Just as the music begins you start to well up, tears filling your eyes. Ordinarily not a problem, however Nat was wearing a particularly mischievous contact lens that was determined to make a bid for freedom.
As the bridesmaids start to come up the aisle ahead of the bride, I watched helplessly as Nat's contact lens completely ejected itself from his eye, at which point he performs the first amazing recovery, catching it and lining it up for reinsertion in one graceful swoop. Seconds later as Helen appears at the end of the aisle he has it balancing on the end of his finger and travelling towards his eye. With no mirror, a shaky hand and tearful eyes Nat expertly completes the recovery, slipping the lens back in, taking a deep breath and managing to look like nothing has happened as Helen arrives at his side. Smooth!
Sadly, that wasn't the only thing that didn't go totally without hitch, but this time it wasn't my fault! Unfortunately the DJ, who was a really nice bloke, managed to forget most of his lighting rig, including the main support bar and nearly all of the cables to connect his equipment. Not wanting to see a fellow professional struggle (and also wanting to get the first dance done before midnight) I helped him to bodge together a semi-acceptable set of lights and dig out some old crusty cables to get the speakers working.
Just over an hour late Helen and Nat took to the floor for some amazing dancing.
This was a memorable wedding to say the least and I have quite a few images I'd love to share from the day but this post is already big enough! So, without further ado, here are some of my particular favourites...
Location: Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe
The next wedding on the catch up list is Keith and Holly's beautiful snowy wedding at the Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe. Their wedding took place at the peak of the bad winter weather and many of the guests had serious issues getting to the venue - with some not managing to make it at all.
The guests weren't the only ones to face problems - I had a fairly severe car crash just 400 meters from my house whilst on the way to the venue which caused several thousand pounds worth of damage and very badly smashed one side of the car such that neither door could be opened. Living on top of a hill right on the edge of Salisbury plain, the roads all around me had just turned to sheet ice. Despite going 2 or 3 miles an hour and doing everything by the book (including driving a 4 wheel drive!) the conditions were just too bad and my car lost grip on the back end, sliding sideways right the way down one of the hills, crashing into a post at the bottom.
Fortunately I was uninjured and, figuring I'd already crashed so I might as well continue, I managed to limp the 30 or so miles to the venue, arriving 1 hour 45 minutes after I planned but still an hour and a half before the ceremony. If ever there was an example of leaving enough time to deal with any eventualities, this was it!
I was very concerned about being late and missing part of the day but Keith and Holly were fantastic, very understanding and just happy I made it!
That wasn't the end to the drama though as shortly after I had arrived the Vicar phoned to say he wouldn't be able to attend for the blessing. Undeterred, Keith sourced a 4x4 from somewhere and a rescue party was sent out to retrieve the stricken man from the depths of Wiltshire's snow covered landscape. With just minutes to spare he was deposited at the Church and all was well again.
Then, even more problems! Thankfully the registrars had managed to make it (a little late), but despite what everyone had gone through and my protestations, they point blank refused to allow photography during the civil ceremony. The only profession that takes itself more seriously and affords itself a lower position in the hearts of those who encounter them are traffic wardens. I swear, if a traffic warden ever gave a ticket to a registrar the resultant explosion of indignant self-righteous self-importance would level the landscape for miles around.
This was certainly the most eventful wedding of 2010 for me and next time is see snow on the ground, I'll be strapping a pair of snow chains on straight away! In the mean time, here are a few of my favourites from this unforgettable day...
Six weeks since my last blog! It only seems like a few days has passed and there's been a huge amount going on here behind the scenes with the approach of this years main wedding season, including lots of behind the scenes changes we're very excited about. Most importantly, we are delighted to welcome Andy Rapkins on board as Associate Photographer here at Allister Freeman Photography.
A fantastic photographer with a great eye for capturing delicate moments, not to mention his brilliant portrait abilities, Andy's brings his own unique style of photography that fits perfectly alongside mine and Allister's. Take a minute to pop over to Andy's site and have a look at his portfolio.
In the mean time, it's time to catch up on some blogging! I have quite a backlog of weddings to show, so expect to see at least one or two a week over the next 8 weeks. You might recognise a few shots from joint commissions that have appeared over on Allister's blog, but everything you see here will be my photography.
First up it's Jamie and Emilie's gorgeous Wiltshire wedding, with the Church service right here in the beautiful village of Aldbourne...
Ceremony: St Peter's Church, Great Haseley
Venue: The Crazy Bear, Stadhampton
The Crazy Bear has to be one of the darkest venues I have photographed in, aside from a few spots within Bovey Castle or Woldingham School. It was so dark in fact that it was decided by the staff that the speeches couldn't start until another light could be found and set up so that the guests could see the speaker!
Surprisingly quickly an uplighter was found, from where we shall never know, and was, really quite annoyingly, placed directly behind the speach makers with its dimmer switch set on full blown nuclear furnace setting. Now, I'm not adverse to a silhouette or two but I suspected I might not get away with 20 speech silhouettes! Anyway, any hope of balancing the 150w floodlight against the delicate glow of the romantic candle light was immediately destroyed and with about 1 minute until the start of the speeches, so was my hope of a stress free event to shoot.
Thankfully, I always keep a pair of individually packed speedlights in my bag, complete with a full off camera radio trigger set in each pack, which stays within arms reach wherever I go. With time so short it was certainly a fly by the seat of your pants moment but I managed to unpack, activate, gel, site and test both flashes sited on opposite sides of the room as well as get the transmitters on the cameras and set exposure all whilst stubbornly maintaining at least the appearence of 'natural' lighting that fits in with my documentary style.
I'll admit, it was a difficult test, but being prepared for these moments is what sets you apart as a professional so I knew it was not an option to have just thrown my hands in the air and given up. Actually, I was very pleased with the results, which did look surprisingly 'natural' and one of the subsequent images I made has found it's way into my portfolio.
And so - the moral of this little tale of woe for the photographers out there? Obvious! Ask them to turn the light down...