Mr. Knight’s Message of Love – Slab City Wedding, Salvation Mountain

Slab City Wedding, Salvation Mountain

Leonard Knight came out to Slab City, near Niland, and liked the area. He began building this as a result for his deep passion for The Lord. He started one week. One week turned into another, then one year into another.

The “Toxic Nightmare”: Saving Salvation Mountain ¬†In summer 1994, the county hired a toxic waste specialist to test for “contaminants.” Even before the test results were back, they cordoned off the area and labeled it a “toxic nightmare.” The tests predictably came back claiming high amounts of lead in the soil. The county petitioned the state of California for funds to tear down the mountain and haul it to a toxic waste disposal site in Nevada, a state that seems to be rather good at this sort of thing.

However, local residents collected hundreds and hundreds of signatures were collected on circulated petitions. Thanks to the help of many old and new found friends, Leonard dug soil samples from the very same holes as the toxic waste specialist had dug, submitting it to an independent lab. The new tests revealed no unacceptable levels of any contaminants, including lead. Salvation Mountain was saved. Just a few year later, in 2002, Salvation Mountain was entered into the Congressional Record proclaiming it as a national treasure. Mr. Knight hopes that someday the museum will hold photos and artifacts of the mountain, including his struggle with the county supervisors, as well as his art. But more than that, he hopes that his message of love and compassion for all will be seen by more.

And indeed, Mr. Knight’s message of love and compassion could be seen in full display. Sara and Mike, residents of Slab City, held a wedding reception at Salvation Mountain in April 2012. Here, Mike puts a ring on Sara.

They were lovely, kind, warm people, and I was happy to be a wedding photographer again, if only for a short while. ūüėÄ

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX AF 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens For Nikon

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Featured Photo: Valentine’s Day – Creative, Romantic Wedding Photos!!!

For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to write about wedding photography. ¬†But this isn’t a how-to on wedding photography, oh no. ¬†That would take a book. ¬†Or three. ¬†And besides, this is the Featured Photo section, not the Photo Tip Of the Month. ¬†No, today, I’m going to simply suggest that you, whether you are a wedding photographer with a staff or a friend attending a wedding with a point-and-shoot, think about capturing creative, one-of-a-kind moments. ¬†And some of these moments can be lighthearted or funny, not just the more obviously romantic shots, although those are great too.

Let’s start with very INformal wedding portraits, just because we can:

Informal Wedding Portraits

Very Informal Wedding Portraits: ¬†here, I’ve got the bridesmaids posing silly and the guys holding beautiful bouquets. ¬†

Above: ¬†Is there a better way to get people loose than by gettin’ silly? ¬†I thought not. People can be stressed out at weddings. ¬†It’s a big day. ¬†But bringing a sense of fun to the portraits can get them to relax, enjoy the day more, loosen them up for the more serious formal shots, and get some really silly photos in the process. ¬†And who doesn’t want that?

Minnie Mouse Bride

Minnie Mouse Bride. ¬†‘Nuff said. ¬†ūüėÄ

Above:  Do I really need to tell you how many kinds of awesome this is?

Bride with Unbridled Joy

Bride with Unbridled Joy. ¬†Part of capturing a wedding, whether you’re a professional wedding photographer or their drunken friend with an iPhone, is capturing spontaneous moments like this of the bride dancing. ¬†Look at that expression. ¬†You can’t fake that. ¬†This is a photo that the bride and her family will have forever, and how cool is it that you can capture someone simply having the time of her life?

Above: ¬†Spontaneity. ¬†It happens everywhere. ¬†Be ready. ¬†This is what’s great about iPhones and compact cameras. ¬†It ain’t a photo unless you take it, is it? ¬†Now, the above wasn’t taken with an iPhone. ¬†But I was ready nonetheless, and that’s what matters. ¬†Have fun, get to know people, and keep your hand on that camera. ¬†Look at the expression on the bride’s face. ¬†A bride with pure, unbridled joy (should I even apologize for that pun?). ¬†No posed photo can get across the pure joy she is feeling.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day. ¬†I discussed wedding photography today, but it doesn’t have to be that sort of love. ¬†And sure, it may be a day created by a corporate greeting card company. ¬†You may not have a significant other right now. ¬†It’s alright. ¬†Focus on love anyway. ¬†Focus on your dog, your cat, your goldfish, your friend, your sister, your brother, your mother, your father, your family, your parakeet, your friend who lives far away, your Facebook friends, whatever.

Wedding Dance

Wedding Dance:  Capturing those moments.  Like a previous blog mentions, sometimes, images can be more striking in black and white, accentuating the sweetness of their expressions during their wedding dance.

Equipment:  Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, SB-600 speedlight flash, Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce.