Saturday, June 23, 2012

Norman & Jessica's Destination Wedding + Photography Adventure (Part 9)

Part 9 - Galway to Sligo, by way of Knock and Westport

{If right now you're thinking: "Part 9?! Where the heck is the rest of the story?", don't panic! Here's where we started, and here's where Part 8 left off in case that's all you've missed..}

After leaving Galway, our first stop was Knock. If you've never been there, Knock is to Ireland sort of what Lourdes is to France. I wanted to go because I'm fascinated by how cultures celebrate and practice their religions and beliefs - one of the best pieces of television I ever saw was a British show called "Around the World in 80 Faiths" which I highly recommend if you ever have a chance to see it. I have loved all the various Virgin representations I've seen in places like Mexico, France, and even a few days before this in Cork, and have actually sort of collected her from various countries to decorate the walls of our house, although I'm not Catholic.

But somehow Knock didn't feel "spiritual" to me, it actually felt kind of weird. I don't mean to offend anybody of course, and I'm sure there are lots of people who would say it's not spiritual to me because those aren't my beliefs, but of all the religious sites and churches and cathedrals I've been to in my life, only the one in Seville compares to Knock in the way it unsettled me (in the case of Seville, I couldn't quite get over how someone at some point had spent about a jillion dollars on 5-foot tall gold statues adorning one wall about 10 statues wide and stacked 6 or 7 high..). Knock seemed like a really big parking lot surrounding a few small buildings with a couple of plaques and statues, and then a street full of very touristy shops selling plastic containers (to fill up with Holy Water), clocks with Jesus on the cross, beads for every Saint known to man, and a million other things. I have to admit to bringing home a small card showing Saint Lucy - who is the patron Saint of our street, and so seemed fitting.

Anyways, I'm still glad we went to see Knock. It was an interesting contrast from Brigid's Garden (which had much more Celtic origins), especially since we visited the two very different locations within two days.

Back on the road, we continued north along the western part of Ireland until we came to Westport. Norman had said ahead of time that it was a picturesque town, and it lived up to all expectations :) After a quick scouting trip through the very hilly core of the town, we found a place to park the car and a place to change (that's right, we didn't actually drive around wearing these clothes all day!)

Sitting in my sunporch on this very sunny Saturday, I am reminded not at all of the weather we had when we were in Ireland ;) As my lovely husband pointed out to me - you can't expect a place to have 50 shades of green without a lot of rain.. The upside to a country that sees more cloud than clear sky is that the light is great for shooting almost all the time - as long as you can miss the rain! We picked a few of our favourite locations in Westport and managed to get some pretty great images before the rain started :)
 If my house could be made from these gorgeous blue-grey and pale rust-coloured stones, that would be perfect! (who do I talk to about that..?)
 I love colour - as you may have noticed ;)  - and I especially love it when great colour combinations come together. The town of Westport will always hold a special place in my heart, for the simple reason that it seemed to me as though the people there had been kind enough to paint some of their buildings in the perfect colours to go with what we were wearing :)

Just after these last shots were taken, it started to pour rain - we didn't even have time to change back into our "normal" clothes before scurrying back to the car and continuing our trip to our final destination - Sligo. The best part about that is that when we tried to check in to our hostel by the beach in Sligo, the man there took one look at our fancy attire and upgraded us (at no extra charge!) to the classier B&B owned by the same people nextdoor :)

After settling in to our room (which I LOVED and will show you why in the next part..) we went for a quick walk to the beach and then to the pub :) To scout it out for our photos the next day, of course ;)

Sligo is so beautiful - I can't wait to show you the pictures we took in the pub, and on our much longer walk down the beach the next day... stay tuned!!

Jessica + Norman

p.s. as much as we'd love to shoot every wedding in Westport, we're actually very happy to shoot weddings pretty much wherever they happen! Email us now for more information if you're looking for a team of passionate wedding photographers (and lovers of life!)

Dress: Cabaret Vintage
Headband: Oh Dina!
Photography: Jessica Lin Photography

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gabriel Turns One!

I'd only met Gabe once before being invited to photograph his first birthday party - he was a very smiley and active baby, bouncing away in his jolly-jumper while his Mom and I discussed business and art. Since she's a designer, I had high hopes for how "pretty" this party was going to be - and my expectations were surpassed! For starters, check out this amazing cake display.. the beautiful (and yummy!) cake was made by Savera of Pretty Sweet Cakes..
 Is this (below) not the most creative invitation you've ever seen?! It helps when your Mommy is Naushin of Love, Paper & Ink - designer of custom stationary :)
Gabe was very busy at his big party - getting some birthday tickles from a friend, being picked up by everyone over the age of 5, and still finding time to fit in some walking practice!

These are by far the classiest loot bags I've ever seen! I really loved how all the details came together, and also loved how many smiles we saw at this party - everyone really seemed to have a great time :)

We had so much fun with Gabe and his family and friends, and hope to see some of them again soon for their own family portraits ;)

Thanks so much to Naushin and Andrew for a fantastic afternoon :)

Jessica + Norman

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Norman & Jessica's Destination Wedding + Photography Adventure (Part 8)

Alright - I'm slightly embarrassed at how long it's taken me to blog the story of our overseas wedding + honeymoon that happened a year ago (!) SO I'm going to step it up a bit and aim to complete the story by the end of July. It's been so nice re-living all of the amazing memories and there's a big part of me that never wants it to end, but I realize that you, the reader, may eventually want to get to the end ;) If you are new to the story and would like to start at the beginning, here it is :) If you just want to refresh your memory of what happened last, here's Part 7 - Cork to Killarney.

So without further ado..

Part 8 - Killarney to Galway

Taking the advice of the Lonely Planet guide book, we decided we need to see Eyeries as it's meant to be one of the most picturesque little towns ever in the world. It was, as this quicky little video shows..

We drove the north side of the Ring of Beara, and the whole drive was really beautiful. The biggest problem is that you want to stop every 5 minutes to take pictures (which is why we didn't actually make it all the way around the Ring!)
This is just right around the corner from Eyeries - more beautiful scenery, more beautiful light (I love Ireland!) Norman took this one of me (below, left) while I was setting up for the one of the two of us (immediately below).. there was a fair amount of chaos running back and forth and taking that jumper off and on between shots (it was freezing!), so I was always really excited to end up with an image like this one that we were both really happy with :)
Hopped out at the side of the road for this one - seemed only fair since I had my "New Bride Street" photo back in Dublin..
 And this - drumroll please - was I think my favourite view in all of Ireland :) It was called Ladies View lookout and it was simply magical..
 After such an amazing day and with my mind full of all the sights we'd seen, I had trouble sleeping that night at Paddy's Palace.. I had this panicky feeling that somehow we were going to "miss" great shooting opportunities, and that we couldn't possibly have time to really get the most of our trip. The problem is that I think once you start thinking of your trip (and especially your honeymoon!) as a list of goals of places to see and photos to take, you run the risk of not enjoying any of it. Norman and I have very different styles of approaching projects and lists (as we learned with our renovations..), so there was the added problem that we were disagreeing and that caused a lot of stress and tension on top of it all! So while I was sitting up in the middle of the night having a slight freak-out about all this, I started to do what came naturally - I made a shot list. It's funny because with other couples' weddings I make up the shot list weeks in advance, and with our own pictures here I was a few days into shooting before I actually started to sketch some ideas and list specific things I wanted to make sure we got. And even though this sounds like maybe going the wrong way about getting more relaxed, it soothed me to have a "big picture" that I could refer to. I'm so used to doing it for other people, and I think I've underestimated all this time how comforting it is to have someone take charge. So in a way I had to learn to separate myself in my mind into "the Bride" and "the Photographer" so that the professional side of me could be prepared and organized, and the personal side of me could be happy and smiling and in love. And still speaking to her Groom ;)

The next day we drove to Brigid's Garden which was fantastic. The garden is divided into four "seasons" and planted to represent the annual cycles of nature as well as the overall cycle of life - I love that they had such a beautiful concept and they did a really great job of it. This pond was full of tiny newts, which I'd never seen before, so we watched them swim around for a while before heading over to write a wish for the wish tree..
It was a really lovely day and felt a lot more like a trip and honeymoon than like a crazy assignment we'd given ourselves, which I think was exactly what we needed :)

That night after checking in to our B&B in Galway, we drove out through Salthill to Spiddal to see the coral beach (instead of sand, it's literally all tiny broken up pieces of coral!). The light was stunning for the entire drive, and disappeared just before we got there. In my new-found state of photo-zen, I tried to just appreciate the beauty we'd seen and not be disappointed in the fact that we had "nothing to show for it". I think this was the only part of our trip that was specifically a Gaeltacht area, which means they don't speak English. Other than stopping for directions once at a shop, we didn't see anyone else while we were there. 
After the beach we headed back to Spiddal town to go to Tigh Hughes pub which is famous for having Irish music and a great atmosphere. We were two of six people there that night, and were somewhat confused by the lack of liveliness until one of the men came over to talk to us. He explained that a young man in the town had been killed on the road a few days back, and out of respect for him there would be no music. We ended up talking to this man for over an hour, and he told us stories of building a hospital in the Black Forest with three guys from Belfast who showed up to work with a banjo and a guitar - it was an unexpectedly great evening. In my journal, I noted that we "managed to get back to B&B in spite of drunk navigator" ;)

Stay tuned for next time, when we visit Knock and the gorgeous seaside town of Westport!

Jessica + Norman

Dress: Cabaret Vintage
Headband: Oh Dina!