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No matter the season or conditions, whether hot, cold, wet, or dry, Italy never disappoints.  So on this blustery, wet, cold spring day, Eva and Rick along with their guests of about 12 (that would include Gia, Elena and me) had all the makings needed for a perfect and very intimate Italian wedding.  Beginning with the Bride’s preparation at the Palazzo Ravizza Hotel, now one of my new favorite hotels in all of Siena, she then made her short walk to the “courthouse” for the ceremony.  Well, maybe I should explain just a bit about an Italian courthouse.  Let me just say this is no ordinary courthouse.  The Palazzo Pubblico, built in 1297 houses some of the most stunning architecture and artwork from medieval times which has its beauty rivaling the most ornate, palatial Italian Villas & Castles.  So to say this place is just an ordinary courthouse is a bit “pazzo”.  With the help of my good friend, Tuscan Event Planner, Ben Singleton (an unbelievable painter by the way, www.bensingleton.com), we were able to weather the rain and the cold to create some beautiful and timeless photographs.  We are very grateful to Eva and Rick for appreciating our photography enough to include us into their romantic and intimate wedding plans.  We hope they’ll enjoy their photographs for a lifetime to come.

 

 

One of the greatest benefits to photographing weddings in Italy is that, well, you’re in Italy.  There is no better setting for a bride and groom that I’v ever experienced (more on that later).  However, what Italy is all about for Elena and I is inspiration.  And that inspiration comes from the culture and the landscape that this heaven on earth provides for not just a photographer, but for anyone who has been blessed to visit.  So early mornings, before the girls get out of their concrete bed (the hardest mattresses on the planet are here) I take some time for some exploration with my camera.  Street shooting, for me, is my most difficult challenge as an artist.  No control at all.  And the little time I had to shoot made it especially challenging.  If I’m not back with a cappuccino before Elena starts her day, I’ll be noutare con i pesci.  Look it up.  It’s not pretty.  Putting yourself in uncomfortable places creatively does a remarkable job in honing your senses to your surroundings and painstakingly disallows me to be the control freak that I am.  To ease that discomfort, I had to make a portrait of Elena’s beautiful Zia Francesca.  Zia is the word for Aunt in Italian.  The portrait represents a very strong but incredibly loving Italian woman who has suffered her share of loss.  The two photographs in the background are her late husband and son.  Both died way too young.  The two empty chairs were theirs.

 

 

 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve went out to shoot for myself.  So when my good friend, Michael Schuhmann, asked me to join him on his annual pilgrimage to the Arcadia Rodeo, I was in like a tic on a pig’s rear.  So tooled with my new X-E1 and a small prayer not to be injured by a two ton bull, I jumped in the paddock and let it all happen.  Are you kidding me?  I’ve shot everything from professional football to hockey, baseball, and even polo and have yet to witness anything quite like this.  There’s no “boy” in these cowboys.  As tough as it gets is all I can say.  It’s not if they get injured, it’s when and how bad.  From broken femurs to blown knees to crushed cheek bones, every rider I saw today was aided by a some type of medical device.  They travel thousand of miles at a time for an 8 second shot at the title.  How’s that for doing something you love.  This world needs more cowboys.  This world needs more men doing what they love.

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