There were just so many good things happening in Josh and Virginia’s wedding. They made their way from California and were treated to perfect March weather in New Orleans.  The Tree of Life, a massive and storied oak tree just outside the walls of the zoo, provided an amazing setting for their ceremony.  A charter bus took us through St. Patrick’s weekend parades into the French Quarter for the reception at Pat O’s Briar Suite. Beads were thrown from the balcony, pies were eaten (appropriate for the most Pi of all Pi-Days – 3.14.15) and the best dance moves I’ve ever seen by people in superhero masks were shown off.

I lost sight of them at the end of the night as they trailed off through a packed Bourbon St. before I could tell them what an awesome time I had with them, but the pictures should make that pretty clear.

A big congrats to Virginia and Josh!

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Amanda and Andrey had a beautiful Sunday morning wedding at Franklin Park Conservatory. Snow covered the ground outside, but inside it was bright and warm and perfect for a wedding ceremony. The decorations tell the story of their travels and origins. Andrey is from Russia and his family was Skyped in so they could be a part of the festivities.  I got to use a large portion what I remember from my one random Russian language class in college, the basics, such as introducing myself, asking how you are, and saying I love beer.  All in all it was a wonderful, relaxed day for a wedding!

За жениха и невесту!

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I wanted to pick out a few of my favorite pictures from 2014 weddings and engagement sessions, but this is a lot harder than you’d think. Every engagement session I looked through made me smile – seeing couples make happy faces, then serious faces, then goofy faces, then the faces asking “You want us to climb up where?” or “Why are you climbing that tree?” Every wedding comes with a flood of gorgeous detail shots – rings, cakes, dresses, flowers and venues. The best parts of looking back at weddings are reliving the big moments that brides and grooms had been planning for months or years, or maybe even better, are the little moments that weren’t planned at all.

To those I got to meet and work with in 2014 – much love and endless thanks for letting me be part of your weddings. To those already signed on for 2015 – it’s going to be a big year and I can’t wait! And to those still looking for a photographer – open spots on my 2015 calendar are quickly disappearing, so don’t hesitate to contact me!

Happy New Year to all!

-Steve

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Maybe the cold, gray days of Ohio’s January are already getting to me. Maybe the anticipation of upcoming travels are reminding me of past adventures. Maybe I looked at the calendar and found it hard to believe that it’s already been eight years since I went on this trip. In any case, I have so many great memories from the ten weeks I spent traveling around in Costa Rica and I wanted to share a few here.

Just a little background – A few weeks after my college graduation I skipped town and spent something like four weeks taking spanish classes and living with home stay families just outside of San Jose, and the rest of the time staying with my uncle and cousins at their house in Barva. On the weekends we’d travel. I hit just about every part of the country and even ventured down into Panama. Most of the pictures below were taken with a little six megapixel point and shoot, and a few were taken by others. I won’t ramble on in detail about the stories behind the pictures. These are just a few of the things I saw.

Manuel Antonio – Where somebody took a picture of me taking a picture.

Our little travel group of three Germans, three Americans, and an Australian waiting for a bus. …and me being oblivious to the fact that a picture was being taken.

Locals playing a night game.

You know exactly what they’re trying to say.

So. Many. Perfect. Sunsets.

We got back into town late at night. The first cab that approached us ended up being unmarked and unlicensed, which we smartly decided against taking. It was a better idea cramming five adult passengers into another tiny car that bottomed out over every little bump.* *Costa Rican roads have nothing but big bumps.

My uncle’s property.

I got to spend about six weeks here.

One night in a little speck of a surf town called Montezuma, this guy came strolling down the beach twirling flaming batons. He was not good at it… but hey, nobody got set on fire that night.

The students at the language school would all hang out together on evenings and weekends. There were a handful of bars and clubs around that we’d get into and spend the night creating hazy memories like this.

I’m pretty sure they were hiding dinosaurs in this crater.

I have no idea where exactly this is. It was a stop on one of the road trips I took with my family.

Arenal Volcano

Moo.

Ants are f*cking awesome. This trail of ants carrying leaves ten times their size stretched on forever. Oh, then there was the time we ran through an area of forest covered with the big, biting, bastard ants. Those ants kinda sucked.

While I’m talking about bugs, here’s a giant, murderous spider to give you nightmares. It’s probably hiding in your bathroom somewhere right now. Waiting…

In the northwest side of the country, just before going into Nicaragua (which we almost did by accident) there are still people living like cowboys, riding horses around beaches.

Dead tree, sitting on a beach.

Yes, I put this coconut here for a picture.

I mentioned the sunsets, right?

When you live in a mountainous, volcanic, rain forested area, the roads are going to be terrible. Half of the stories on the evening news would be about all the trucks and taxis that had gotten a little too close to the little cliffs on the side of the road.

I saw more than my fair share of waterfalls, as well as people doing stupid things like jumping off of said waterfalls.

The wheel of a traditional Costa Rican cart.

Ribbit.

Why clear out debris when you can just build on top of it? Eventually you’ll have a bridge made of collapsed bridges.

Coffee plantations dotting the hillside.

I can’t remember exactly what these were called, but they’re related to raccoons, and they’ll swarm cars on the side of the road if they think you’re going to feed them.

Volcanic pools. Go swimming if you dislike skin.

Rio Celeste has a sky blue color due to all sorts of volcanic minerals floating around. This pool was actually safe for swimming.

La familia

The little town of Barva held a big sculpture exhibition.

Connecting pieces of huge sculptures.

The language school I went to.

This sloth was in the middle of a road and a guy stopped his car to pull him across.

This giant fish made the mistake of swimming too close to the beach and this group of guys pulled it out with their bare hands.

Expanding the Panama canal.

Riding through the locks in the Panama canal.

Attack of the seagulls.

This guy – trying to lasso a bird.

A view of Panama City from really far away.

How do you rebuild an old monastery? One brick at a time.

Not pictured are a million other things including but not limited to… Street dogs everywhere. The most amazing night sky I’ve ever seen. Fresh fruit every day. Jogging up and down steep hills. Nothing but diesel cars on the road. Being slipped counterfeit money. Long, bumpy bus rides. $6 a night hostels. Beans and rice. Driving 5mph through impossibly foggy mountain roads in the middle of the night. Being asked for bribes by border officials.  Relearning how to get around and make plans without cell phones. Thieving monkeys. Old school internet cafes. Trying to figure out foreign bus systems on my own after having completely lost my voice. Sleeping surrounded by books at my uncle’s house. Being a stared at like an alien by indigenous Panamanians. Learning which local soccer teams to root for. Being the only one in travel groups that spoke Spanish well enough to negotiate with taxi drivers (i.e. prevent us from getting ripped off). Accidentally driving across country borders. Leaving the country, looking out the window from the plane, seeing clear overhead views of the volcanos, forests, beaches, and towns I’d seen from the ground.

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