I returned to the rocky mountains of Colorado a couple weeks ago to document the wedding weekend of Ali and Drausin in Vail, Colorado. It was a wonderful crossroad of my past and my future. Ali, has been a buddy of mine for years now. Back in college, while my journalism peers were seeking out newspaper internships, I opted instead to work two summers as a summer camp counselor at Cheley Colorado Camps. Ali was a campfire counselor at the adjacent girls camp. It was a job that paid pennies but rewarded you with an entire summer exploration of the surrounding mountains while sharing your passions, skills and goofiness with great outdoorsy kids. It’s amazing how certain places in your life really leave an impact on you. My two summers in Estes Park, Colorado and the people I met there, like Ali, played a big role in making me a better person. Besides helping to shape me on my path, the experience gave fruit to really great friendships. I was lucky to keep in touch with her.

When Drausin and her emailed me about photographing their wedding rehearsal and wedding day back in the mountains stomping grounds of my earlier youth, I was stoked. I love mountain weddings! The soon to be newly weds decided to have a causal relaxing rehearsal “dinner” at the base of the Vail ski mountain at the Manor Vail Lodge. It was quite the place. Instead of a formal sit down dinner, they had a tapas style buffet and a bar which worked out really well. It allowed everyone to go at their own pace and socialize.

They also spread out the toasts throughout the evening rather than one right after the other. It gave each speaker a chance to really express themselves without feeling rushed. It was so special to listen to the incredibly eloquent speeches from friends and family in such a warm (and green!) setting. There is a lot of love and support for these two newlyweds. Here are some of my favorite images from the evening. I’m hard at work finishing the wedding photos. So excited to show you all. It was quite the weekend. Stay tuned… -M

To see the entire rehearsal dinner photo shoot click here.

Montana! I love it! Especially when it means I get to make a road trip through the state to photograph a wedding up near Glacier National Park. A couple weeks ago, I headed north towards Bigfork, Montana where I photographed Cierra & Brian’s wedding day festivities at the Cougar Trail Ranch. These newlyweds have been making a life together working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but decided they wanted to marry closer to home, their friends and their family and opted for a Montana wedding. The place they found, the Cougar Trail Ranch, was in a classic northwest Montana setting complete with dense, surrounding lodge pole pine forests that opened into golden grass pastures bordering the property line. The big fancy house offered tons of space for the wedding party staging and it’s huge big windows offered this photographer great light to work with. Cierra, an old college rugby friend of mine, contacted me about a year in advance to book my wedding photography services and it was great to finally watch her walk down the isle to marry the boy of her dreams. It never gets old photographing the weddings of old buddies. The day went off without a hitch. As the festivities turned to dancing, I struggled to hold in my laughter at the sight of seeing some of the wedding guests cut loose and begin tossing kids into the air as they danced, celebrated and sang the words to every DJ song. It was one big, awesome Montana party! Such wonderful energy throughout. I had a blast documenting these guys. I wish them all the best for many years to come. -M

 

To see Cierra & Brian’s entire wedding click here.

Whew what a ride! The last month has been busy with weddings and traveling back and forth to California. It’s great to have a little destination wedding photographer adventure on my weekends and it allows me the challenge of photographing in new places. Northern California never ceases to amaze me with all it’s buried treasures. I just finished up my latest photo story of Jenn and Chris’ Wedding Day that took place two weeks ago at the Ralston White Retreat in Mill Valley, California. These guys were a riot and were an absolute blast to photograph. It was also one of the most unique weddings I’ve ever attended. Jenn and Chris found me through the recommendation of some good friends of mine that saw me in action at a wedding a couple years ago. We talked about what they wanted out of their wedding photos and were looking for my documentary approach. These two were a wise couple who booked me early almost a year in advance and it was exciting to finally get to photograph it. As their website boasts, The Ralston White Retreat, “Is an old 1913 wedding venue for group retreats or special events nestled in the slope of Mt. Tamalpais which is located on 43 acres in beautiful Mill Valley, California.” It was a place of so much old fashioned character. I totally geek out to photographing in places like this. It was a very personable wedding to attend. The two had their ceremony outside in the front lawn which was followed by a relaxing cocktail hour that flowed into a lovely dinner inside the large house. Right away the group had great energy and I give personel props to their friends for their creativity as a pirate/ninja attack skit ensued forcing the groom to fight back “nerf style” for his fair maiden. It was totally random and awesome all at the same time. You got to love a group who still use their imagination and can play like kids. As the evening progressed I documented the guests laughing and playing in the Greener Visuals Photo Booth or get heavy into playing late night Garage Band video games. A great time was had by all and it was a pleasure to be apart of their wedding celebration. Wish you guys all the best. -M

To see all of their wedding photos, you can follow this link here.

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to return to Montana, my favorite place on earth, to photograph the wedding of an old college friend Christina and her new husband Ryan. I got to know Christina during my time tromping around the Big Sky state while attending The University of Montana in my pursuit of my degree in Photojournalism. In between my time fly fishing mountain streams and trying to make it to class on time, I came to know her through mutual friends and her involvement in the Missoula art scene. Christina, a Montana native, is a very talented painter and ended up getting her degree in the Fine Arts. From there, it was off to New York City for her where she eventually met her fiancée Ryan randomly at a friend’s apartment. Oddly enough it turns out that they both were from the same western Montana town of Whitefish located up close to the entrance of Glacier National Park. I’m always amazed at the curveballs of coincidence life can through at people sometimes. Two years apart in age, Christina and Ryan never new one another growing up but found each other in one of the biggest cities on earth. Go figure. As they grew closer in their relationship, the two parted ways with the “Big Apple” and have since made a life together living and working in Portland, Oregon. When it came to plan their summer wedding the location was an obvious choice.

On their wedding day, I awoke early to drive north of Missoula (where I had been visiting my parents) past the cherry orchards along Flathead Lake and eventually made my way northeast towards the entrance of Glacier National Park. Christina and Ryan chose a cute little 40-acre ranch just outside of Coram, Montana called Glacier River Ranch that was bordered by the gin clear blue waters of the Flathead River. There are few things in life more picturesque than a Montana backdrop and that day I couldn’t think of any. I arrived early so I could scout around the area and get a feel for the place. As family members were helping to set up, I decided to walk around the grounds for possible portrait locations. As I came around the side of a big ponderosa pine tree I startled a young black bear (about 30 yards away from me) and he quickly stood up on his hind legs to get a better view of the blond haired photographer that had interrupted his mid morning berry feast. Soon uninterested, it sauntered off until the delicious smells of a wedding reception food brought it closer to the wedding location so much so that the ranch owner had to scare it off with some warning shots of her deer rifle. Only in Montana. Love it. The rest of the day mimicked the visions of a good Norman MacLean novel. The late August weather was perfect and their afternoon streamside reception was stunning as the golden Montana light lit up the trees as it slowly made its decent behind Teakettle Mountain. Like any proper Montana wedding the rest of the evening was spent eating roasted pig, drinking fine wine and Montana microbrews and dancing to live music from a local string band. It was so great to spend the day photographing such a fun couple and an honor to be asked to photograph the wedding of a old friend. I wish them all the best. -M

You can view the very best images from Ryan and Christina’s wedding under my portfolio wedding stories section here.     Or…

To see the entire wedding take you can see them all on my Photo Archive here.


Fall has come to California and I find myself meditating on my good fortune to have had the opportunity to photograph so many of my friend’s weddings this year. But none have had so much anticipation and impact on me like Zack and Anna’s wedding did. I’ve known Zack and Anna for almost four years now. They were some of the first friends I made after arriving to my first newspaper job in Redding, California. When the time came to move on from Redding and travel to South America with my brother, Zack and Anna left their positions as bird researchers and began graduate school in ecology at The University of California Davis. Little did I know that upon my return to the states, I would get a new newspaper job close to Davis and would eventually become roommates with them and four egg-laying chickens.

Unlike other weddings I have photographed in the past, being roommates to an engaged couple automatically made me apart of the wedding planning. It was fun to watch their excitement grow as the months and weeks counted down to their big day. Because of my inclusion in the preparation, I felt the whole wedding day to be all that more important. We headed out towards Lake Tahoe to a beautiful secluded log mansion for their wedding weekend. They completely made the day all their own with the help of their great friends. Everything from the two wild pigs that were shot then roasted to the homemade decorations to the relentless energy and good spirits of their guest that helped keep the party going long into the night despite plummeting temperatures. It was incredible to see the amount of giving each of their friends and family members gave to help celebrate the union of these two individuals. We had a great time and I was proud to be apart of it. There are countless photos from their wedding day and I hope you get a chance to check them all out. You can find all of their wedding photographs here. I wish them all the best. -M






The Greener Visuals photo booth is open for business. For it’s inaugural run at Zack and Anna’s wedding, the photo booth was an instant success. The idea was to set up a camera rig that would allow all of the guests of the wedding to make photos of themselves from a remote radio camera trigger. I had never done this before so there was a bit of a learning curve. Despite the frigid mountain temperatures numerous people found their way over to make some pretty creative photos with the help of the costume box from distinguished members of the UCDavis Ecology crew. Thanks for your help guys! I uploaded the entire take to show the progression of the evening. To see more of the fun go here. Truly a great time was had by all.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing an old friend and colleague’s wedding in Chico, California. I worked with Lauren when I was a staff photographer at the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, California. At the time, she was a reporter and for over a year, we would accompany each other to assignments around the town. You really get to know your colleagues well at a newspaper because you are all working together to put out the newspaper everyday. Often times while waiting for an assignment to begin, conversations turn to personal stories and day-to-day ramblings in your life. For me it was always about my latest fishing trip. For Lauren it was her boyfriend in Chico. For as long as I’ve known Lauren, she was living in Chico and then would commute up to Redding for work. An hour drive on a good day. I could never understand why anyone would willingly put themselves through that kind of inconvenience. And during our assignments together, I would constantly let her know I thought she was crazy. Looking back on it, I don’t think I was seeing the big picture. Her reasoning was always the same. She kept talking about her wonderful boyfriend turned fiancée now husband Richard and the life they were living together in Chico. When Lauren called me up a couple months ago asking me to shoot their wedding, I just had to smile. It was a long time coming. Last weekend I finally got to meet Richard and from the very moment I saw them together, it was clear that they were head over heals for each other. I realize now that her driving commute was small sacrifice compared to the overall happiness that these two shared together as a couple. To Lauren it was well worth it. Ah, the things you do for love. It’s good to see.

The wedding was a lot of fun to shoot. A beautiful outdoor ceremony in Bidwell Park then the wedding party walked through downtown to the reception. You couldn’t ask for a nicer day. I love watching friends get married through my lens. Here is a sampling of photographs from the wedding. To view more wedding photos you can find them here.