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Mendocino County Wedding Photographer|Dylan and Michaela

What is more romantic than a proposal by burried treasure?  Yes folks, Dylan built Michaela a treasure chest, burried it on Pudding Creek Beach and took her on a treasure hunt.  He even orchestrated a photographer (sadly I did not know the beautiful couple at that time) for the day along with a videography crew.   I mean, Dylan is what you would call a true romantic.   After hearing the proposal story, I was not surprised by the labor of love that went into their wedding day.

Our morning started off at Mendocino Baptist Church. The hustle and bustle of  wedding day preparations was alive in the sancuatary. Everyone was excited and happy to see each other.   Alan Reaves would officiate the wedding ceremony.  He was alive with excitement for this young couple who he had watched grow in their love for each other.

Cyprus Gove is a very beautiful location for a wedding. February did not provide the most pleasant weather. Despite that, the ceremony was beautiful.

It was a tad blustery out at Cyprus Grove for bridals, so we headed over to the Mendocino Hotel and captured the love between these two wonderful newlyweds there.

McFadden Studios

McFadden Studios

McFadden Studios

Even more refreshing than the romance was this couples love for the Lord and their devotion to keeping each-other pure prior to marriage.  Yesterday, Cameron and I got to witness their Very. First Kiss. EVER.  Some may say that it’s old-fashioned, unheard of, not possible, but for Dylan and Michaela, it is true.  I will never forget the excitement in the preachers voice as he introduced them as husband and wife. I don’t think anyone will ever forget Dylan twirling Michaela in the air as they celebrated their union.  The day was so special.  It was an honor and a privilege to be invited to share it with them.

McFadden Studios

I had the pleasure of attending church services with Dylan’s family when I was a child. I also was one of his father’s students in Junior High School.  So for me, it was like watching old friends celebrate a joyous union.  Siblings were on hand to make the event even great.  One of my favorite photos from the day is of Dylan and Michaela surrounded by Dylan’s Brothers and their wives.  They wanted a photo together welcoming their “newest” sister to the family.

Desserts were prepared by family and friends for the dessert table. Just another example of the love that was put into this special day.

Karina’s Catering prepared a family style meal.  Paella is Karina’s specialty and it was amazing. She prepared it out on the back deck of  the reception hall. We had the opportunity to take some photos. It was one of the most beautiful dishes either one of us has seen.

Flowers were provided by Susy Kitaharah of The Garden Cart.  Michaela wanted something like wild flowers.  I had the opportunity to speak with Susy for one fleeting second at the ceremony, she was so concerned about whether the boutonnieres were going to be the right color.  She chose green rose buds and they were PERFECT!

McFadden Studios

Thank you Dylan and Michaela for sharing the beginning of your ever after with us. We are immensely honored and overwhelmingly blessed by both of you.   For just a few more photos from this beautiful day head over to their facebook album and show some love.
As always, if you have an questions for us, or would like to sit down and tell us YOUR love story, please don’t hesitate to contact us at mcfaddenstudios@gmail.com or 707.964.7150.


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Our Love Story Part 2| Looks Can Be Decieving

In Our Love Story|Part One you learned what a “real date” looks like.  Apparently Cameron is just a hopeless romantic, what can I say.  Today, a totally new chapter to the story. In which you find out, something you may not know about either one of us.

Did I mention that when I met Cameron for the very first time he was the pastor of my church? No, dear readers, your eyes are not deceiving you. Cameron and I met in church.  I had a beautiful 2 year old at the time. You may know him. He’s my eldest child.  He was adorable then like he is now.

I walked into the sanctuary that day as I always had before. My 2 year old toddling along with my parents a few feet behind me.  At first glance, Cameron thought I was single. He took one look at me, thought, “now there’s a girl I would like to date”. I took one look at him, with his goatee and rugged good looks, thought, “pastor, no way, never going to happen”.  In my mind, Cameron was unattainable.

I sat down and prepared to listen to a sermon from our new, very good looking, young pastor. Aiden crawled up in my lap.  Cameron noticed Aiden.  Thought “she’s married” and crossed me off the list.

Boy were we both terribly wrong about each-other.  See, looks CAN be very deceiving. What you think is true about someone may very well turn out to be completely false.  At first glance, I was a married woman. In Cameron’s head my husband was off at war, working, or hunting.  I thought, pastor of a church, not my type. not at all. I am the “bad boy” type of girl. I mean I had just finished up a few dates with a Harley Davidson riding, smooth talking, firefighter just weeks prior to our first encounter.  Little did we both know, there was a much bigger picture to the whole ordeal. We would soon find out many truths about each-other. We would go through some life changing moments together.  And that my friends, is why, looks can be deceiving.

Stay tuned for part 3.  I think this series will have several parts. I’m enjoying telling the story.

Cheers,

Chelsi

As always if you have any questions about our photography or if you just want to drop us a line, our email is mcfaddenstudios@gmail.com


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Mendocino Wedding Photographer {Our Love Story-Part One}

Cameron and I have been together (not married, but together) for almost five and a half years. Five and a half years ago Yesterday, Valentine’s Day, Cameron asked me on our first official date.Yes. I said official.  Our first “date” was actually on January 20th BUT Cameron didn’t realize that he was taking me on a date.

Photo by That's Amore Photography in Los Angeles

He thought he was just being a nice guy and taking me on a kayaking trip. Apparently, he had no idea that a date consists of three things:

1. Picking up a girl from her house.

2. going and doing something actively (IE Kayaking, hiking, rowboating, walking on the beach, ETC.)

3. Preparing or going out for a meal.

Yes, my friends, he picked me up from my parents house, brought a picnic lunch, and we went kayaking on Big River.  The man is amazing. He thought he was just being nice. Then he was reeled in. Less than a month later, he asked me to go to dinner.  We ate at Taka’s Grill (a local Japanese Grill).  That’s just the beginning of the story.

Stay tuned, and I will tell you the rest of our Love Story in my next post.

Cheers,

Chelsi


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Suggested Reading?!?

**UPDATED**

Apparently there is suggested reading for children before they ever enter preschool. There’s really a suggested reading list for every grade level. Why didn’t I know about this? I know there is one for every grade of highshool, but for preschool? Really?!? 

I am glad that I have always read to my children. We start reading to them the second they arrive. Our youngest will sit on our lap for hours and read books. It’s GREAT!

It is my goal for 2012 to start reading through the suggested reading lists for all three of our children.  Up until this year we haven’t had the need to motivate our little ones to get good grades and behave in school.

That has changed since our oldest is now in first grade. He is very studious and extremely smart, but sometimes requires incentive to sit down and do his reading homework.

I have thought for many years that we should do a reading chart. 100 books buys you a trip to xyz theme park or something.

We have grown accustomed now to our 7 year old being in school all day. Over week long breaks it is hard to find things for him to do. This will be great for those times.

Let the READING begin!

Our 2012 Reading List:

(you will notice that some of the suggested titles are already crossed out. That’s because, we have already read them! )

  1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  2. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel
  3. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  4. The Berenstain Bears series by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  5. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  6. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
  7. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
  8. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault 
  9. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  10. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell 
  11. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judy Barrett
  12. Curious George by H.A. Rey
  13. Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff
  14. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! By Mo Willems
  15. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
  16. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  17. Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London 
  18. George and Martha by James Marshall
  19. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss 
  20. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  21. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
  22. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? By Jane Yolen
  23. I Stink! By Kate McMullen
  24. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura J. Numeroff
  25. Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
  26. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
  27. Leo, the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
  28. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
  29. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  30. The Magic School Bus Series by Joanna Cole
  31. Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh
  32. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  33. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  34. Miss Nelson is Missing! By Harry Allard and James Marshall 
  35. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  36. My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett 
  37. Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  38. Owen by Kevin Henkes
  39. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  40. Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig
  41. Pierre: A Cautionary Tale by Maurice Sendak
  42. Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault
  43. Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky
  44. Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
  45. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  46. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  47. Tough Boris by Mem Fox
  48. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf, by John Scieszka
  49. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  50. The Velveteen Rabbit Bianco, Margery Williams
  51. Yoko by Rosemary Wells
  52. The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed– Cooper, Helen
  53. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?- Martin, Bill Jr.
  54. Chewy Louie– Schneider, Howie
  55. The  Complete Adventures of  Peter Rabbit– Potter, Beatrix
  56. Corduroy– Freeman, Don
  57. Deep in the Forest– Turkle, Brinton
  58. Edward and the Pirates– McPhail, David
  59. The Foot Book- Dr. Seuss
  60. Frederick– Lionni, Leo
  61. The Gingerbread Boy– Retold by Richard Egeilski
  62. Goodnight Moon– Brown, Margaret Wise
  63. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse– Henkes, Kevin
  64. Little Bear– Holmelund, Else
  65. Maisy Drives the Bus– Cousins, Lucy
  66. May We Sleep Here Tonight?-Koide, Tan
  67. Max– Graham, Bob
  68. Max’s Dragon Shirt– Wells, Rosemary
  69. The Napping House– Wood, Audrey
  70. No Jumping on the Bed-Arnold, Tedd
  71. No, No, Jo!- McMullan, Kate and Jim
  72. Owl Babies– Waddell, Martin
  73. Red’s Great Chase– Lia, Simone
  74. Rolie Poli Olie– Joyce, William
  75. The Secret Shortcut– Teague, Mark
  76. The Story of Little Babaji– Bannerman, Helen
  77. The Very Hungry Caterpillar– Carle, Eric
  78. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt-Rosen, Michael
  79. Where’s My Teddy?-Alborough, Jez
  80. Truman’s Aunt Farm– Rattigan, Jama Kim
  81.  The Grouchy Ladybug Carle, Eric.
  82.  Tawny Scrawny Lion Jackson, Kathryn.
  83. The Poky Little Puppy, Lowrey, Janette Sebring 
  84. Piper, Watty.  The Little Engine That Could
  85. Seuss, Dr. Hop on Pop
  86. Quick as a Cricket –Wood, Audrey
  87. The Josefina Story Quilt Coerr, Eleanor
  88. Charlotte’s Web White, E.B.
  89.  The Boxcar Children Warner, Gertrude Chandler 
  90. The Lorax Seuss, Dr. 
  91. Stone Soup Brown, Marcia
  92.  The Story of Ferdinand Leaf, Munro
  93. Amelia Bedelia Parish, Peggy
  94.   The Ant and the Elephant Peet, Bill
  95. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Seuss, Dr. 
  96. Amos & Boris Steig, William
  97. Make Way For Ducklings McCloskey, Robert
  98. The Runaway Bunny Brown, Margaret Wise
  99. The Snowy Day Keats, Ezra Jack
  100. The Rainbow Fish Pfister, Marcus

Whooo, do we have our work cut out for us!!  Wish us luck!!

If  you are wondering where I got this list, it was compiled from three websites. 1.Education.com 2.brightly beaming resources 3. preschool read-alouds at education.com


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Mendocino Wedding Photographer {I like talking about you you you usually. . .}

I just absolutely love Toby Keith. Don’t you?  I mean, really do like talking about you usually, but occasionally, I like to talk about meeeeee!

I’m going to do things a big differently here on the blog for the next few posts.  Usually, everything here is about YOU and your gorgeous photos, or advise on how to make YOUR photographer work for YOU. For the next few posts however, I am going to talk about ME. That’s right readers, I’m going to tell you all sorts of useless information about ME, in hopes that WE can get to know each-other.  I will start with the easy stuff and then we will get more into the heavy stuff.  Will go on this journey with me?

1. What made you get into photography?

This will be a two part answer.  First, I have been playing with SLR cameras since I was 10 years old (for those of you who don’t know how old I am, that was in 1993).  My first camera was a Minolta Maxxum 600si.  My step-father was into nature photography before he met my mom.  His camera somehow ended up in my hands more than it did in his, so it was only natural that he would give it to me when he got his first Digital Camera.  I played with it some in high school and college, but then life got busy, and I put it down.  It wasn’t until I had my first child that I really picked it back up.  I took countless photos of our eldest son Aiden.  I really started to enjoy black and white photography.  I was probably spending about $50 a month on developing film.  When our middle child Christian was born in 2008, I shot a whole roll of his first day home with us.  My then 4 year old promptly dropped the undeveloped roll into a glass of water.  That’s when my husband decided it was time to upgrade our then Nikon N80 to a Nikon D40.   It was all over from there. I took hundreds of photos every day of our growing boys.   I was smitten.  I had no intention of going pro. Ever. However, fate had different plans.

Now,I have been shooting weddings professionally since 2009.   Also something I never saw myself doing, but after my first one, I was hooked.  There is something about LOVE that just reals me in.  I love to hear the stories. I love to watch the groom as he sees his bride for the first time in her wedding dress.   I watched amazed as the little flower girls walk down  aisle in their princess dresses.  I tear up every.single.time the bride and groom say their vows.

It’s always an honor and a privilege to be invited into a persons life to help them capture their most precious moments. I simply wouldn’t have it any other way.

wooo, now that the one question that most of my readers already knew the answer too, now on to the fun stuff!

2.  If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

My original thought on this was Lois Lane.  I mean what girl doesn’t want to date a super hero?  Then, my imagination got the best of me. Without a doubt, I would be Mickey Mouse. Really? Who doesn’t LOVE Disneyland?  Mickey is the object of every person’s affection, he’s a cultural icon, and he’s just so darn cute.  Why not Minnie Mouse you say?  Well that’s simple, she simply doesn’t get as much attention as Mickey. :)

3. How would you describe yourself in three words?

Honest, sometimes too much so. I can’t see any reason to hide how I truley feel about things. My feeling is that if you feel you have to lie about it, you probably shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

Loyal. Even when the person or thing I am loyal to, may or may not be loyal to me.  Yes, it’s true. You CAN count on me.

Enthusiastic, sometimes annoyingly so.  If something excites me, I’m all over it. I’m even enthusiastic about boring things. Just ask my husband. He’ll tell you.

4. If you were a Star Trek® [or Star Wars® ] character, which one would it be?

I’m definitely Hans Solo.  Fierce, fiery, unafraid and uncomplicated.  Enough said.

Well that’s it for today. Maybe tomorrow I will answer some more “serious” questions.  For today however, my quirkiness will have to suffice.

Cheers,

Chelsi

If you are wondering where I got my “quirky” questions, look no further than Hub Pages.


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Mendocino Wedding Photographer {Attitude VS Gratitude}

For those of you who are reading,

Let me begin by saying, it is totally not in my character to come unprepared to any situation.  That being said. . .

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a couple who will be getting married in June.  The morning that I was to meet with them, I exported a slideshow of our most recent work from Photoshop Lightroom 3 (for those of you who have no idea what that is, let’s just say, it’s a digital darkroom) onto my handy dandy flash drive. When I went to make sure that the file was there I found that the program had exported my slideshow as a MPG4 file. I had never seen such a file before nor would any computer in my procession open such a file.  I was in panic mode. I had two hours before my meeting.  I am always a nervous wreck walking into a consult but this just made it fifteen times worse.  I went back into Lightroom to see if I could export it some other way. Much to my dismay, after exporting, LR3 ate removed my slideshow.  I didn’t have time to remake it.  Needless to say, I walked into this consult, flash drive in hand, hoping and praying that the wedding coordinator’s computer could access the file.  It couldn’t.  I was completely and utterly unprepared.  My hard fast rule is to always be prepared.

This particular day, I failed.   However, I put a big smile on my face anyway and decided to roll with the punches. We had a nice chat, I left my information for them to contact me, and we said our goodbyes.

Needless to say, I did not get hired to shoot this particular wedding.  I walked out of the meeting knowing that I had not made the best first impression possible. I walked away knowing that they would choose someone else.  You know what, I was okay with that.   WHAT?!?   Yes dear readers, collegues, partners, friends, I was OKAY with it.

I don’t shoot weddings because I have to. I shoot weddings because I want to. I shoot weddings because I believe that every bride and groom deserves a flawless, stress free, happy day.  Hopefully they only get one day to celebrate a beautiful and perfect union. That’s why friends, I am okay with not being hired by ever single person that I have a consult with. That’s why I am not jealous of other photographers in my area.  I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with whoever is somehow inspired by my work or has been referred to me by someone who is. I am grateful to live in a place wrought with beauty.  I am grateful to be surrounded by so many talented people in this wonderful industry.

When I walk into a consult  I hope to bring with me something that inspires people.  If they LOVE my work. Great.  If they don’t, that’s fine too.  More importantly, I want them to LOVE me.  Yes I say LOVE.  I hope that if you are a newly engaged bride searching for a photographer that YOU like Love the person that you are going to hire. You LOVE their work. You LOVE their style. You LOVE the shoes they wear. You LOVE their personality. I will go so far as to say you LOVE their letterhead.  It is so so so important that you are completely comfortable with your photographer.  Many things will disappear and be forgotten from your wedding day. Your photos are forever.  Make them count. LOVE your photographer. Spend the money and the time.  Do your research.

So that friends, is why, I’m OKAY with it. I figured that it’s better to have gratitude than an attitude. Am I right?   And because no post is complete without a photo, I will leave you with this one:

“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.” -Elizabeth Edwards

Cheers,

Chelsi