Various photos from our now pretty-much-yearly trip out to San Diego, CA.
Various photos from our now pretty-much-yearly trip out to San Diego, CA.
Some of the best decisions in life are the spur of the moment ones…
In September 2014, Jeff and I went to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, a trip that we had planned literally just weeks prior. We’d been talking about going for a long time, but circumstances somehow aligned to make it a reality. The simple truth is that attending Oktoberfest in Munich is a completely insane experience — despite having these photos and videos, I’m still not convinced that it wasn’t all some elaborate dream.
In any case, Jeff’s story on Exposure does a much better job covering the details of our trip than I ever could, so I’ll just refer you to that. What an amazing journey, to be sure.
Continue reading "Oktoberfest 2014, Munich"...
First, let me say that your little daughter is the cutest, and that you’re doing a wonderful job raising her.
She’s so polite, so funny, and so good with flying! Of course, the last bit might be due to the fact that you’re a UA Flight Attendant. Still, that’s a pretty sweet list, especially before her 2nd birthday… :) In any case, I had an awesome time sitting next to you guys; cheers-ing our drinks, high-fiving, playing with our watches, and naming everything we saw on TV. Traveling alone with a little one can’t be easy, even for a pro, and you nailed it.
Regarding the incident, I just wanted to let you know that I truly, honestly, am not upset. Shit, or in this case puke, happens. Sometimes it happens on final approach to ORD, when there are no napkins, no water, and nowhere to hide. While I’m not sure if it actually transpired in slow motion (could have been the Lana Del Rey in my earbuds) the sheer volume of throw-up shooting out of your daughter’s mouth was, simply put, impressive.
At least she looked happy.
As you said, it was probably just that particular combination of potato chips, apple juice, light turbulence, and cabin stuffiness. Whatever caused it, you certainly took the full brunt. I fortunately escaped with a glancing blow, sacrificing just my left leg and my shoes. Of course, I was able to change into dry jeans and dry Vans once we got off the plane, and my pants will be as good as new after a trip to the cleaners. But you – you had to continue on to DC wearing the same clothes, since you’d already checked your bag through. Ugh.
I really hope that you were able to clean up before catching your connection.
Above all, I hope that the second leg of your journey was much less eventful than the first.
Lauren & Brad were married at St. Catherine of Siena in Portage, MI on July 12, 2014, and celebrated at Cityscape Events at the City Centre in downtown Kalamazoo.
The girls started off the day getting ready at Lauren’s parents’ house, which has a beautifully-landscaped backyard and pool — perfect for our pre-ceremony bridal portraits. St. Catherine of Siena, their church and the ceremony location, was just around the corner. After their ceremony, the wedding party boarded a party bus, to travel to the reception in style. And what a reception it was, taking over the gorgeous Cityscape Events at the City Centre in downtown Kalamazoo. Following a cocktail hour, the night kicked off with toasts, dancing, live music, and a special song written and performed by Brad’s father. Lauren & Brad certainly did it up right!
What a perfect day, and what a truly wonderful couple. Congratulations to you both!!!
Continue reading "Wedding: Lauren & Brad"...
Here are just a few photos from Lauren & Brad’s beautiful wedding in Kalamazoo, MI on July 12. I’m so happy to be able to share these, and can’t wait for the rest. Thank you, Lauren and Brad — it was such an honor to be a part of your special weekend! Congrats!!!
While I fully expected Jenna & Alex’s wedding in Cabo San Lucas to be amazing, I was totally unprepared for the sheer level of awesome. Every single aspect of this wedding, from our home base at the breathtaking Esperanza Resort, to their rehearsal dinner on the beach at the Hacienda Beach Club, to their simple and beautiful ceremony at dusk, was absolutely perfect. Just hanging at the pool drinking Micheladas (“Ojo Rojo”) and Cabo Green Margaritas were moments that alone would have made the trip worth it.
Of course, if you know Jenna & Alex or their families, then you know that this had always been the only possible outcome… I mean, their Instagram hashtag was #jenandaldocabo. Seriously.
Here’s to Jenna and Alex: Congratulations, and thank you so so much for allowing us to “do Cabo” with you! If your wedding weekend is any indication, I know that you’ll have many more happy years of celebrating ahead.
Continue reading "Wedding: Jenna & Alex in Cabo"...
Now that I have my film back, it’s time to share a few photos from Jenna & Alex’s spectacular Cabo San Lucas, Mexico wedding! Many more to come… Congratulations, and thank you thank you thank you to Jenna & Alex!
I crossed off an item from my bucket list this past January, when I took a photo with Mike Tyson in Las Vegas. To be fair, I don’t even have a bucket list, but I wasn’t going to let that spoil the moment. This is just the type of stuff that happens when Elena, Colleen, Jeff, John, Meagan and I make no specific plans beyond “go to Vegas and eat and drink amazing things.”
Needless to say, we made good on our overall game plan: awesome meals at Bouchon, Tao, and RM Seafood; front row seats for the “social experiment” that is Rose Rabbit Lie; bottle service at Bond; BYO Champagne at The Chandelier; and plenty of other tasty cocktails & meals along the way. As you might have noticed, even though Aria was our home base, we spent lots of time at Cosmopolitan.
The best part? Only 11 months until we do it all over again.
Continue reading "Las Vegas, January 2014"...
After shooting Ashlee & Dave’s amazing Paris wedding back in November, Elena and I travelled to Brussels, Belgium, for a mini vacation. While we love Paris, both of us had already been in the past, and we decided to take the opportunity to explore someplace new. Since Brussels is only one hour thanks to the awesomely fast TGV, we figured it’d be perfect!
Needless to say, I was psyched to drink every Belgian beer that I could, and I made it through most of my list: Duvel, Orval, Chimay, Westmalle, Affligem, Kwak, Mort Subite, La Chouffe, Kriek, Maredsous, Leffe, Grimbergen, and Rochefort… Our home base, Hotel Saint-Géry, was a stone’s throw from four awesome pubs (Café des Halles, Le Zebra, Le Roi des Belges & Mappa Mundo) and just a couple blocks from the city center and the Grand Place — in short, the perfect location.
What I loved most about Brussels was the combination of truly old and truly modern. From 300 year-old taverns like Au Bon Vieux Temps to city symbols like the Atomium (built for the 1958 World’s Fair) to the European Parliament, old and new just existed together effortlessly. There’s just something so cool about visiting the Town Hall (Hotel de Ville), which dates back to the 13th century, and then speaking French with the owner of a Greek diner around the corner.
Of course, since Elena and I had a little free time in Paris, we didn’t miss the chance to explore some new areas there, as well. We were even able to check off an amazing foodie spot from my Foursquare list: Le Dauphin in the 11th. Throw in some late night drinks and a stroll by Notre Dame and you’ve got quite the wrap up for an unforgettable trip!
Here are my favorite shots of Paris and Brussels from this trip — enjoy!
Continue reading "Paris & Brussels 2013"...
When Ashlee and David asked if I “might possibly be interested” in photographing their wedding, I jumped at the opportunity. Then, when I found out that we were talking about a destination wedding in Paris, France, I understandably passed out for a brief second… Fast forward to this past Thanksgiving week, and we found ourselves walking around the beautiful City of Lights (appropriately lit up for the holidays) making memories that will last a lifetime.
Ashlee and Dave were married in a wonderful late afternoon ceremony at The Scots Kirk, a modern church in the 8th arrondissement, just off beautiful Avenue Montaigne. Afterwards, guests travelled to the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, and seemingly back in time to La Belle Époque, for an amazing cocktail hour and reception in the Salon Messager.
These two were a photographer’s dream couple, since they were just as excited to take photos in Paris as I was. Not a bit of complaining as I dragged them on a brisk walk down to the Seine for Eiffel Tower shots in the quickly fading winter light, or when we stopped traffic to get “just one more” street shot of the newlyweds. We even managed to do an impromptu photo shoot in the Louis Vuitton luggage store, complete with complimentary champagne — couldn’t have planned that even if we tried. I did learn a very important lesson, too: when the head waiter at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel offers to show you to an amazing photo location inside the hotel, you don’t ask any questions… Because after you walk down stairs and through corridors, you’ll emerge into the most famous ballroom in Paris, the Salon Opéra.
Thank you, Ash and Dave, from the bottom of my heart for a truly wonderful experience. Words simply cannot express how much I appreciate you taking me along for the ride — instead I can only hope that you enjoy the photos and the memories that we made together. All the best!
Continue reading "Wedding: Ashlee & David"...
It’s been nearly impossible to select just a few images from Ashlee & David’s gorgeous Paris wedding, but I’ve done my best… Congratulations to the happy couple, and thank you again for taking me along for the ride. I cannot wait to share the rest of the photos!
Few things in life are better than an amazing vacation, particularly if said vaca is with the two best travel buddies in the world.
This summer Elena and I, along with Jeff and Lisa, flew to San Francisco with a simple goal: spend a wonderful week exploring the city and the wine country of Napa and Sonoma. Of course, as always, we knew that it would evolve into something much bigger. From a behind-the-scenes tour of AT&T Park (big thanks to F5), to an epic party in Yountville; from ridiculous wine and oysters, to the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten — this trip had it all. And the best part is that we got to enjoy it with Jeff and Lisa.
Want some details? We hit up Duckhorn, Frank Family Vineyards, Tamber Bey, and Beau Vigne in Napa, as well as Buena Vista, Robledo, Valley of the Moon, and Paradise Ridge in Sonoma. Needless to say, there will be a few bottles of wine delivered over the next few months… Our batteries were recharged at the Donatello Hotel in SF, and the Meritage Resort in Napa proper, both of which were perfect choices.
Here are my photo memories, shot on the Contax 645 and Nikon F100 with Kodak Portra 400 & 800 film, as well as with the Fuji X100S (processed with VSCO). As usual, Jeff has a breathtaking set of his own images over on his blog. Check them out, and we’ll get back to planning our next adventure.
Continue reading "San Francisco & Napa: Awesomesauce. Literally."...
As I type this, I know that words are simply incapable of doing Hermitage Bay justice. I can wax poetic for hours about the wonderful views, the ridiculously relaxed vibe, the amazing five-star dining, and the loveable staff, but you truly must see it to believe it. Or better yet, go to Hermitage and experience it for yourself…
Elena and I had considered resorts far and wide, including St. Lucia, Thailand, Bali, and Turks & Caicos, but Hermitage Bay in Antigua turned out to be the perfect choice. We met some wonderful couples, most of whom were on their honeymoons. And the staff (Roselyn, Jillian, Anthony, and Levique, we’re looking at you!) made us feel like rock stars.
As we settle in for the cold and snowy Chicago winter, I know we’ll be looking back on these photos and our memories as often as possible. If you see me zoning out, it’s just because I’m picturing taking a dip in our plunge pool and ordering up one more round of Hermitage Gold!
And what’s a view like that without a couple of panoramas…
Bonus Video: Shot with a GoPro HD HERO3 Black Edition using a mix of 1080p, 720p, and high-resolution time-lapse. Edited in Final Cut Pro X. Music is “The Hood Internet - Houdin-o-mite (Taio Cruz x Foster The People).”
So it wasn’t all work while we were in Miami for Dawn & George’s wedding this past October. Unsurprisingly, Elena and I did manage to find some opportunities for fun with her brother George and mom. A little shuffleboard, a little design sightseeing, and plenty of great food (including an amazing lunch at Mandolin Aegean Bistro). Success.
As for this blog post title including again, you may remember that earlier this year we did our Bach/Bach in South Beach. We like Miami.
Family. Friends. Clients.
It seems like there would be clearly defined lines separating these groups of people, but those lines are simply impossible to draw when you’re talking about Dawn & George. From the moment I met them, I felt so welcomed, and I’m not the only one who shares those sentiments… That’s one of the amazing things about Dawn & George: everyone close to them is simultaneously a dear friend and a beloved family member. I’m incredibly fortunate that I was able to be a part of their beautiful wedding weekend in Miami, surrounded by their friends and family.
Their ceremony was held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, a beautiful church right in the heart of downtown Miami. From there, the group travelled to a private estate on Sunset Island for a once-in-a-lifetime poolside reception. Did I mention that Dawn & George like to have a good time, and that they are quite successful at accomplishing that goal?!?!
Needless to say, the destination wedding experience was in full effect, including a rehearsal dinner at Texas de Brazil and a post-wedding beach day at The Satai on South Beach. You know it’s a quality wedding when you need a vacation to recover afterwards.
Thank you again, Dawn & George, and congratulations to you both!!!
Continue reading "Wedding: Dawn & George"...
Just a few images from the absolutely beautiful Miami wedding of Dawn & George. Spoiler alert: the rest of the wedding and reception was just as amazing! I can not wait to post all of the photos…
Every so often, I get to travel to Madison, WI for work. It’s a great town, with some wonderful bars and restaurants — I’m looking at you Cooper’s, Old Fashioned, and Whiskey Jack’s… On this past trip, I brought along some film and lucked out with a beautiful night. These images were shot with the Contax 645 on Kodak Ektar and Kodak Portra 400.
A few people have asked about the “Table Numbers” (aka “City Names”) that we used at our wedding, and I wanted to share both the story and the images themselves.
Elena and I have been very fortunate over the years to have travelled quite a bit, and we wanted to incorporate this into our wedding. Instead of the traditional “Table 1” model, we decided to go with city names of the places that we’ve travelled together. Some are far away (Paris, Amsterdam, Florence, Rome, London, etc) and some are closer to home (Detroit, Cleveland, West Palm Beach, Denver, Memphis, etc). We made the head table Chicago, and spread the rest of the cities out among our guests.
Of course, what’s a trip without photos?!?! We decided to set the city names (using our standard Ostrich Sans font) in a small yellow heart icon, and float that on top of a photo from each of the destinations. Once all of the 23 cities were printed, we put them into 5x7” frames, trying to match the place with the frame. Good times, and I really think that everything came together nicely!
Here is a shot of the final prints, right before we framed them and packed everything up:
And here are a few examples of the finished products, now helping to make our home a little brighter:
Continue reading "Our Wedding Table Numbers"...
Last weekend, Elena and I dragged 8 of our best friends down to Miami for a ridiculous South Beach getaway to celebrate our joint bachelor/bachelorette parties. Or, as Jeff so eloquently put it: a “pre-bachelor and bachelorette party coed bach/bach weekend vacation”… As you’d expect, it was pretty awesome.
Of course, it’s not difficult to have a great time in Miami, especially when the trip starts off in a streeeeeetch Escalade limo… That’s right, since we flew into FLL, Jeff booked a limo for us to get to South Beach, and it wound up being an Escalade. Seriously, this thing was so long that it wouldn’t fit in the Walgreens parking lot when we made our driver stop for champagne and other alcohol-related supplies. What an epic way to kick it off.
The basic bach/bach activity list went like this: breakfast, pool, cabana party, lunch, beach, dinner, drink, club, eat, and sleep — with plenty of mojitos and rum & cokes mixed in throughout… We hit up the usual spots like Delano, Shore Club, and Lincoln Road Mall, but most of the time was spent at our home base of the Surfcomber Hotel, a freshly-remodeled boutique Kimpton property with a sick lobby and some of the nicest hotel staff ever. My favorite dinner of the weekend was at Tudor House, a new-to-us spot in the Dream Hotel led by Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Drinks on the roof (at Highbar) followed by an outdoor dinner for 10 w/ oysters and lamb belly? Yes, please!
More important than any detail, though, was the simple fact that the whole thing happened. Let me just say that to have 8 friends make the trek with us is an amazing thing. It’s hard enough getting people together at home, let alone for a vacation… I mean, I’m not going to fool myself that South Beach didn’t have anything to do with their decision! But thank you to Jeff, Lisa, Jason, Angela, Colleen, Laura, Wally, and Aaron for spending their time and money to celebrate with us.
And a special thanks to Jeff for basically putting the whole thing together, and for pushing me to finalize plans. Couldn’t have done it without you, buddy!
All of my photos from the trip are available on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stottsan/sets/72157629398476172/
If you’d like to know how to make planning a destination wedding look easy, just ask Jenn.
With help from her family and Maid of Honor, Lori, Jenn put together an amazing week back home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Thursday: Pub Crawl, including a tour of the Alexander Keith’s brewery. Friday: Peggy’s Cove tour followed by a seafood-packed rehearsal dinner. Saturday: An intimate ceremony at the Halifax Citadel, followed by a big party at Casino Nova Scotia. And all along the way: plenty of fun, photos, and Maritime hospitality…
Continue reading "Wedding: Jennifer & Brendan"...
Two days (and nights) of Nova Scotian hospitality and adventure with the happy couple, capped off by an unforgettable ceremony and an all-night party. Add in Jenn & Brendan's closest family and friends and you have the recipe for an absolutely amazing destination wedding!
Here's a sneak peak while I work on the rest of the images... Congrats again to you both — we were so honored to be a part of everything!
"Would you like to come to our wedding in Tuscany?" When Elena and I were invited to her cousin Alyssa's wedding, we didn't have to think too long about our response... And even after many months of dreaming about what it would be like, let me just say that Alyssa & Collin's wedding did not disappoint! It was even more beautiful and epic than we had been imagining, and these photos only begin to do their wedding justice.
Fortunately, we were able to spend a few extra days in Florence before the wedding (and a couple of days in Rome after the wedding), which certainly rounded out our Italian experience. Alyssa (and her sister Katie) lived in Florence a few years ago, and I can certainly see the attraction. The narrow winding streets emptying out into grand piazzas, the small cafes and gelato shops around every corner, the history mixed with the extreme luxury...
For this year's Big Trip™, Elena and I stowed away on my parents' RV and headed up to Canada in July. If you remember, last year we flew down to Memphis and met my parents there for a long weekend on the RV. This time around, we wanted to spend some actual time on the road, so we planned a week-long trip to Montreal and Quebec City.
This post serves two purposes, really. One: to share my experiences with you guys. Two: to write it all down so I can recover these memories myself in the future...Continue reading "Canada 2009"...
it's been a busy summer, complete with a couple vacations and a few too many cubs games. i keep meaning to post details, but of course that never happens... so here goes, time to get you caught up!
actually, summer got started back in march, with a spring break trip down to san juan, puerto rico. elena and i went with jeff and lisa, so you know it didn't suck. the timing worked out perfectly... even though elena and lisa had their breaks a week apart, we were able to overlap with an extended weekend right in between.Continue reading "san juan 2008"...
that’s right, when we go places we don’t just go… we rock them. i’m talking me, elena, jeff, and lisa – taking san diego by storm. at the mission valley resort, we got adjoining rooms to create our party home base. and thanks to some new speakers jeff picked up at the local apple store the tunes were sounding pretty smooth. but seriously, we had a great time, even though it was only for a few days.
the key to short vacas (IMHO) is to break up the days into little mini-vacations themselves. one day, do this, another, do this, etc. it doesn’t have to be a fully developed plan, don’t get me wrong… i honestly hate spec’ing everything out, since that’s more work than fun. but it really does help to focus on the key places you’d like to visit or those few things you just have to do, especially if you’re on a short timetable. take paris, where my first trip of 3 days was broken up into the following:
boom! right there i covered most everything i’d been dreaming about since i started taking french. sure, i skipped the louvre and some other key areas, but that’s what the next trip(s) are for. of course, along the way, you can squeeze a ton of little activies, too, such as “having breakfast at an outdoor cafe” or “taking the metro” or
in san diego our days broke down like so:
a little bit of everything, and most exploring done on the last day. perfect. and we have the pics to prove it.