Amanda and Morgan (engagement session)

Amanda and Morgan had some great ideas for their engagement session. They wanted me to spend some time with them at their house, capturing things they like do. They prepared some cucumber dip together in their beautiful kitchen, which was a lot of fun. I suppose they were practicing for their wedding cake cutting ceremony, feeding each other crackers and dip!

I noticed they had some travel books and maps out on the coffee table, so I asked about them. Turns out they had been planning their honeymoon trip to Europe. So I sat them down and got a few shots of them doing some intense planning. Not sure how much they accomplished with me there, but I like to think I helped in some way.

Morgan and Amanda also like to garden and work around their house, so we headed out into the backyard. Chickens!! Chickens are fun to photograph, although you have to move quickly. We explored their extensive vegetable garden on the side of the house. And then they took me up on the roof of their two-story house, where they like to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sunset. They have a great view of the valley they live in, with a 360° panoramic view of the mountains.

Then we headed out to Corriganville Park in Simi Valley, to catch the last rays of sun. That’s an amazing park with a Wild West feel to it. I’ve shot there several times before for fashion clients, but never for an engagement session. So it was exciting to head back there and reinterpret the scenery.

Amanda and Morgan were such a joy to work with! They were no-nonsense at first, but a silly streak soon emerged. They had me laughing so hard at one point, I couldn’t operate my camera! I seem to recall I might have been two stories up at that point. I’m really looking forward to photographing their wedding in September.

Technical notes: I shot these images using my Mamiya 645AF with an 80mm f/2.8 lens (around the house) and a 150mm f/3.5 lens (at the park). I also used my Nikon F5 35mm camera with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. My Yashica-Mat captured some black and white shots…the square one below is from that camera, using Tmax 400 film. The other two black and white images you see below were originally captured in color and then converted. The color images were shot using Kodak Portra 400 for the most part, as well as some Portra 800 indoors.

For the kitchen shots, I set up a Nikon SB-28 and bounced it off the wall, to give a little punch to their immediate area. I think I set my camera’s exposure to normal, and then set the flash -1 stop (making it almost a fill light). This blended the window light and strobe so that the look was very natural.

And finally, I used my Nikon D200 dSLR for the final shot. I’ve had that camera converted to infrared, so that it doesn’t capture visible light. While I could be a die-hard and use infrared film, I find it difficult to shoot 36 exposures of infrared for a client at one session. It’s an effect best used in moderation. So this is one of the rare times I use digital!



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