Thursday, September 29, 2011

I totally love my job! {New Braunfels photographer}

New Braunfels, Austin and San Antonio fashion and glamour photographerI've had a few stinker jobs in my past. I won't start with the summer my dad put me to work weeding his garden for 50 cents an hour because he thought I spent too much time in front of the television and needed a lesson about life. I won't get into the McDonald's job where I suffered from a severe lack of training that caused me to serve raw fries at the drive-through and discover what happens to dehydrated pickles when you leave them in the deep fryer all evening.

There was the busboy (or would it be busgirl?) job at a Chinese food restaurant where I was routinely chastised for eating the broken fortune cookies the owners saved for bad tippers. There was the grocery store bagger job that I always ended up working the late shift on. Ever wonder who cleans up the bathrooms in the early morning hours of an all night grocery store -- that was me. Not a pretty job in a college town trust me.

New Braunfels, Austin and San Antonio fashion and glamour photographerI've had my share of bad bosses and nasty coworkers. But all of the turmoil and all the bad jobs I've had have molded my experiences and led me to this moment in time where I can sit back, take stock of what I do on a daily basis and announce to the world that I absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt, LOVE my job. It was totally worth it to clean up barf in a Scaggs Alpha Beta bathroom stall at 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning at the age of 19 so that I could sit here and tell you that I've had the good the bad and the ugly when it comes to employment and I would not trade anything for what I have now.

I made this realization on Monday morning. A bright crisp morning of about 65 degrees as I rode in the back of an all terrain vehicle through the depths of the Canyon Lake Gorge on a private tour with a beautiful professional model fresh from a stint in New York, a fabulous clothing designer, and our own personal guide and getting paid to be there. That's the moment that it all hit me that I was doing exactly what I want to be doing. I was directing a fashion shoot in a beautiful location with a beautiful model and a talented clothing designer and getting some really great results.

New Braunfels, Austin and San Antonio fashion and glamour photographerLooking back on the past few years, I've had lots of fabulous assignments. There was the gorgeous bride on the beach in Grand Cayman -- followed by the most amazing day spent on a private little piece of paradise. I also loved the all day boudoir sessions that had me hamming it up with some of the most beautiful ladies I've ever met. The birth sessions where I made witness to the dawning of a new life -- a brand new baby taking his very first breath. I've shot hundreds of families in locations all over the state and had access to some of the most beautiful countryside. I never knew our own state was so absolutely breathtaking until I started getting down and discovering these locations.

Every seminar that I attend is a blast it's hard to believe that I'm actually learning something while hobnobbing with some of the greatest photographers in the world.

When I finished the Canyon Lake gorge session we headed back to my home studio -- which is really just my living room right now until we finish that gosh darn garage studio project we started a year ago -- where we spent the morning photographing all the new designs for Naps and Nites Studios.New Braunfels, Austin and San Antonio fashion and glamour photographerIt was great to be able to use my studio skills as well as my natural light skills on one assignment and before you knew it, the morning was over. Time flies when you're having fun and that's really the only drawback I've found with my life as a photographer. My days are flying by faster than I ever knew they would. Gone are the days of sitting behind a desk watching the hands of the clock as they sloooooowly ticked their way to 5 p.m. Gone are the days of Sunday evening blahs when I realize that Monday morning is almost here. Heck, when every Monday morning is like the last one I had, I'll take 5 every week, thank you very much.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. I have a pin-up seminar in Houston next week (can't wait to start offering pin-up photography), I'm turning 40 on the 6th (ouch, but I really don't mind it so much), I have an amazing River Walk wedding coming up, a super cool costume ball that I've been invited to, a trip to New Orleans in January and a trash the dress session that is so outrageous that I can't say a word about it here. Just wait until you see it! And so many family sessions, seniors, newborns, weddings, that I can't count them. But every single one of them is so rewarding in their own way. I can't wait to see what 40 brings me!

Lisa On Location Photography

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crystal River Inn

The Crystal River Inn in San Marcos is one of the more popular venues for weddings. It offers a nice, intimate environment that probably comes from the fact that it is a working bed and breakfast, managed by the Dillon family. That gives it a certain coziness and intimacy not often found with most wedding venues.

Lisa On Location offers exceptional wedding photography at the Crystal River Inn wedding venue in San Marcos

The first thing noticeable about Crystal River Inn is that there's a lot more room than meets the eye. The turn-of-the-century sits on a narrow lot facing the street, so it appears the available space is restricted. However, in back of the house extends a very deep yard where the Dillons maintain a lovely wedding garden as well as a tent pavilion and a covered patio complete with fountain and gold fish pond.

Lisa On Location offers exceptional wedding photography at the Crystal River Inn wedding venue in San Marcos

Crystal River Inn is well-suited to hosting small to mid-sized weddings. They offer accommodations for intimate weddings with as few as 20 guests (plus the bride and groom, of course) or larger gatherings up to 200 guests. They have a well-regarded on-site catering service that is also available for gatherings of up to 400 people off-site. They offer an array of packages to suit everything from brides on a tight budget to families planning an extravagant celebration. There aren't many locations as flexible and willing to work within a budget as Crystal River Inn.

Lisa On Location offers exceptional wedding photography at the Crystal River Inn wedding venue in San Marcos

The grounds really come to life at night, with lighting strung throughout the garden and pavilion to create a truly memorable scene. Even during the day the garden is cool and inviting, lush and green with the marriage arbor beckoning. Naturally, I couldn't resist the opportunity to photograph so much vibrant vegetation in infrared, converting the summer scene into the striking winter wonderland below. All that's missing is an ivory-gowned bride to make the picture complete, right?

Lisa On Location offers exceptional wedding photography at the Crystal River Inn wedding venue in San Marcos

Cathy and Mike Dillon are great folks, very friendly and ready to answer any of your questions. If you're in the San Marcos area and in need of a wedding venue, go ahead and drop them a line. If you're already married, check out their popular Murder Mystery Weekends, or just book a room for a quiet getaway. I did say they were flexible! But if you do plan on getting hitched at the Crystal River Inn, give Lisa a call to ensure you have top-notch photography to preserve the memories of your special day!

Lisa On Location Photography

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Glamour with Collette {New Braunfels photographer}

So I had another solo glamour shoot the other week, this time with Collette, a part-time model from San Marcos. She wanted some diversity for her portfolio, and expressed an interest in an aquatic setting, so the San Marcos River was an obvious destination for us.

New Braunfels glamour photography in the San Marcos River

We met at Stokes Park early in the morning 1) to avoid late-afternoon crowds and 2) to avoid the blistering afternoon heat. Mission accomplished on both of those counts. Collette was a real trooper, taking one of the team to get fully immersed in the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River. I only got in up to my knees, but I can assure you that the water was freakin' cold!

New Braunfels glamour photography in the San Marcos River

I confess not every shot is thoughtfully planned out in advance. This one here, for instance. With the starlight diffraction spikes? Total serendipity. I was shooting Collette, trying for some general backlighting, and the filtered sunlight coming through the trees was simply dazzling reflecting off the flowing water. So Collette waited patiently as I scrambled to change lenses and attach an old-school star filter. The result? Sparkly special effects that are accomplished completely in-camera. Sure, anyone can add whistles and bells using Photoshop these days, but to me there's something a bit more substantial in accomplishing these things in a traditional manner.

New Braunfels glamour photography in the San Marcos River

We ended up spending more than two hours at the river--going way longer than we'd initially planned. We were having that much fun, and getting such good results. Collette even managed to work in an outfit change. A few fishermen set up shop downstream and watched us with amusement. A jogger or two passing by with their dogs gave us little notice. The kayakers navigating the shallow waters, however, were quite vocal in their approval of our efforts. All in all, it was a productive way to spend the morning.

New Braunfels glamour photography in the San Marcos River

Lisa On Location Photography

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Burning of My Hometown

Bastrop fire, New Braunfels photographerI've been a bit silent on the blog front lately and I apologize. I'm sure you've missed my musings on trash in the middle of the street and various inconsequential observations.

But this past week I've been distracted. I was raised in Bastrop, Texas. Bastrop High School Class of -- never mind. I sat in horror for many days watching the news, searching for information, listening to the police scanner broadcast from Bastrop, and logging onto Facebook as one after another after another of my friends posted of their lost home, or their parents or loved one's lost home. I lost count after a while and it seems every time the news updated the figures -- first 300 homes, then 500, then 600, 1,100, 1,300 homes destroyed -- I grew numb at the shock. I sat in disbelief at the shear size of this monster fire that wiped out everything in its path. It didn't discriminate based on wealth. It destroyed tiny rural shacks and multi-million dollar estates.

My mother and my brother and nephew were forced to evacuate their home as well. She had time to grab her insurance paperwork and her wedding album she said. What about all the boxes of photo albums of my childhood? I asked. They're in the closet under the stairs. At least my family was safe. We watched and waited as day after day more homes were burned. The homes I spent many times in. Slumber parties, Friday nights after the football games, birthday parties, study groups. One of my BFFs, Shelli's home was one of the first to go -- along with all her high school memorabilia. She always thought it was safe in her old room. Then went Tabby's, Kristine's, and on and on. One after one, my friends' childhood homes went up in flames and I wondered if my mom's home, or my childhood home was next.

Bastrop fire, New Braunfels photographerIn the end, my mom's home survived. But it's hard to see a silver lining among all that smoke. So many people homeless. So many beautiful homes gone. So many gorgeous pine trees. Almost all of Bastrop State Park. The place I learned to swim. The place I hung out in summer time my whole life. The place my daughter -- the champion Landa Park Dolphin -- learned to swim at the tender age of 4. So many memories, up in smoke.

Bastrop fire, New Braunfels photographerI went to town Sunday to see the damage, visit with my family and take stock of the situation. I was amazed to see FEMA setting up camp in the parking lot of the old hospital. The furniture store where I got my dining room table was the site of dozens of insurance company trailers camped out to help people file their claims. And everywhere were tents protecting donations. Tons and tons of donations. Most of them with large signs at front saying "no more donations please." The kindness of the community in Bastrop as well as the rest of the state is overwhelming this small town and the people who have more kindness showered on them than they know how to handle. Although I really don't see why a family who just lost their home has any need for the stack of JC Penny catalogs from 1993 that I saw in the midst of one donation site. I really hope some aren't taking this as an opportunity to clean all the junk out of their closets and claim it as charity.

Bastrop will rebuild. It's a strong town. Everyone who lost their home is surrounded by their friends. We take care of each other. The homes will be rebuilt. And the state park will survive as well. The trees will grow back. It may not be next year, or the year after. But the Lost Pines will be found again.

Lisa On Location Photography