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Sitting here watching the snow start to pickup, doing some California dreaming….here’s some favorites from our recent Los Angeles engagement photography session. We’re so excited about shooting Andy & Allison’s NH destination wedding this summer, but for something a bit different we flew out to Southern California to meet them and shoot their engagement session on the west coast. LA offers SO many options for amazing engagement photography locations, the same reason silverscreen and silent film era movie makers were drawn to Hollywood in the early 1900’s. Very glad we were able to take advantage of a number of them! Here are the places we shot at: Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice Beach with it’s colorful, modern wall murals, Malibu Creek State Park; gorgeous, scenic park with the Santa Monica Mountains, beautiful live oaks and amazing light (kept our eyes peeled for mountain lions!), this Park has been the location for many a Hollywood movie and tv production, including MASH, Planet of The Apes, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid and Tarzan, to name a few. Finally, we ended up at El Matador Beach State Park with its rocky arches. It was a stunning backdrop at sunset to finish out our Southern California engagement shoot. California is one of our favorite places to work and play. We know there are many great Los Angeles wedding photographers to choose from, but if you feel a connection to our photography, please consider adding Birch Blaze Studios to your short list. Drop us a line, let’s talk. We’ll even wave travel charges for certain packages. We had a great time working with Andy & Allison in and around Venice Beach & Malibu, can’t wait for their wedding, August of 2017!

 

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As we get ready to say goodbye to this crazy year of 2016, I’m struck with how many icons of my youth I’ve watched melt away. I feel the weight of this year continuing its descent right to the very end like a giant thumb turning and rubbing out any vestige of its targeted foe. After hearing the news yesterday of my very first big screen crush, Princess Leia, that is to say, Carrie Fisher, passing…today came the dizzying news that her Mother, mid-century starlet Debbie Reynolds had succumbed to what one could only assume, a broken heart. The weight of losing her beloved Daughter simply too much for the 84-yo moviestar. We don’t normally post photographs taken by other photographers, but in my search to somehow make sense of, or perhaps at least better understand the impact of this kind of tragedy on a family I came across an uncredited photo so hauntingly beautiful…and at the same time so poignant, so touching, I had to share it. This incredible black & white image doesn’t even show faces, but its documenting of the Daughter-Mother bond is so powerful and heart-wrenching, particularly in light of what has now transpired. Chilling. The photo so perfectly demonstrates “the art of real,” and the reason that no matter how we feel about ourselves we must allow ourselves to exist in photographs. Rest in peace Debbie and Carrie…

 

Carrie Fisher watches her mother, Debbie Reynolds perform. May they both rest in peace. (Photographer unknown)

A very young Carrie Fisher watches her mom, Debbie Reynolds, on stage at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, 1963 (photographer unknown).

 

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Cecilie & Stan’s New Hampshire camp wedding is a perfect example of why we LOVE shooting at new (to us) wedding venues. Not infrequently we get the question from inquiring couples, “Have you ever shot at “xyz” venue before?” Not that that question isn’t valid, there can be some advantages to returning to a venue we’ve covered before. But that doesn’t mean there are disadvantages to venues we’ve never shot at. If anything, new venues are creatively exciting to us both. Ogontz Camp in northern NH was just that! Originally a women’s finishing school built in the 1930’s, it is now a summer venue that hosts all sorts of events, including of course, weddings. You don’t have to spend much time with us to know that we’re all over anything vintage and historical. So you can imagine how excited we were to see how the buildings and grounds here have retained most of their original rustic charm and natural beauty. We highly recommend choosing Ogontz for your wedding, and while you’re at it why not have Birch Blaze join you? We would absolutely LOVE to come back to photograph a wedding here…speaking of returning to venues ;)
Cecilie & Stan’s wedding plans were certainly worthy of this charactered White Mountain wedding destination. We’ll let the imagery do the talking, but suffice it to say Bride & Groom, along with weekend-of planner, Dena Tremblay, Ogontz’s own Andrew Lidestri and Sarah Veninsky as well as our weekend compadre Emily Herzig (Emily Herzig Floral Studio) all did not miss any opportunity to match this historic venue with perfect decor and well-thought-out logistics. The day was just lovely, and made even more so by the 9-piece cello ensemble, Low Strung. I have never had a musical experience quite like the one this group presented, demonstrated by the tears that filled my eyes during one of their arrangements during the ceremony. Breathtaking. Another highlight of the day was a stunning piano performance by Cecilie’s 99 year-old great Aunt that had everyone completely mesmerized. From Cecilie, “…Her claim to fame: beating Leonard Bernstein in a piano competition at age 16 playing Clair De Lune. She played this piece thousands of times and this [was] the last time, at age 99, at my wedding…This was the ultimate gift, the gift of music…” What an amazing day! Lastly, Stan & Cecilie, their Family and friends, were all a delight to work with and we wish them the most joyful of dances throughout their life together!

 

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  • December 8, 2016 - 7:16 am

    Spring - I’ve been dying to shoot there and you just made me want to even more!!! Wow so pretty and what a great story with the music ❤️ReplyCancel

    • December 8, 2016 - 5:17 pm

      birch - Thanks Spring! We had never even heard of this place, but it was pretty fantastic! We didn’t mention it in the post, but the food was great too. We both commented that we’d like to come there just for fun sometime.ReplyCancel

      • December 8, 2016 - 6:45 pm

        Cecilie pope - Luckily for everyone, They have open camp week in the summer! Can we say, adult summer camp?!ReplyCancel

Here are a few of our favorites from Lis & Joe’s Camp North Woods wedding, also one of our favorite venues. The boys camp provided the perfect palette for a late summer lake front wedding celebration. It was our first time working with Kate from Kate Dawson Events and we thoroughly enjoyed working with Kate and her crew! Florals by the uber-creative Emily Herzig. Lis and Joe came all the way from Los Angeles for their New Hampshire destination wedding, along with lots of friends and family…what a fun group! Many of them, including Lis & Joe, are members of the film & TV industry. We were happy to show them all how gorgeous a New England lakeside wedding can be! We give you….#campfidrow

 

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  • December 1, 2016 - 8:14 am

    Emily - Oh how we love a beautiful wedding in the woods! Loved this one! Thank you Birch Blaze!ReplyCancel

From what we’ve gathered, senior pictures and senior portrait sessions are not quite as big of a thing in New Hampshire and Maine as they are in other parts of the US. But NH & ME do have a lot to offer in the way of gorgeous backdrops for senior portrait photography. For lovely Sarah’s senior pics we found some breathtaking mountain scenery along with some incredible waterfalls and came up with some of the more classic imagery for her yearbook photo, but then we took it up a notch and got creative, for which Sarah and her Mom were completely onboard. Besides being a hoot to work with, she made our job easy and worked it like a pro! Congrats, Sarah, on your final year of high school (woot-woot!) and thanks for choosing Birch Blaze Studios!

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  • October 19, 2016 - 6:30 pm

    Jennifer Christian - Oh My goodness!! Amazingly creative and beautiful shots.ReplyCancel

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