Wedding inquiry season has begun! The proposals have been done-did you see my last one? Well, check out the Surprise proposal here. The venue may not yet be set and the dress is so totally on order but the planning has just begun. So, here are some of my favorite Napa Sonoma wedding venues. Mitzvah or party or corporate event? Good for those too! The venues: Of course, the backyard event would be YOUR backyard or that of someone you know. But you get the idea. It provides a unique and intimate setting that may only be yours and yours alone! That is pretty cool. Artesa is a simply AMAZING space. The view, the wine, the food, the hospitality and just all of it but THE VIEW is to die for. Even if the view is fogged in, the space and ambiance, art just make for a wonderful day. Quintessa Winery! Oh how I love the adorable owners of Quintessa. Now, this was actually their home and I cannot say if this space is available any time or to the public. However, it is worth checking out and if not, the other parts of the winery are just beautiful too. Andretti […]
This surprise proposal had been in the works for months. Juan first reached out to me in the summer for his date in November. Quite the planner right? Meticulous, detailed and so romantically thoughtful, it was indeed splendid. The idea for me was to photograph them around downtown and near the Loews Hotel where the proposal would take place. Just a nice gesture on his part as they never have good photographs of themselves taken. So, sure, I can do that. No acting involved this time just the hopes I keep my mouth shut and don’t say the wrong thing! So he surprised her with me just outside the hotel and we walked a bit and stopped in random places to take photographs. Spending this time with them was just so fun. They are both from Guadalajara but met thousands of miles away in Valencia while going to school. What are the odds? I mean seriously! You are from the same home town but randomly meet there. Of course that is just a sign that they are connected way beyond the usual. They were so easy going and so open to do crazy things like dance in the middle of […]
What, you are going to propose and want proposal photography? Oh yes, please! I love these scenarios and the planning and the secretiveness and the working to get it all just right. Well, this one was perfect BUT he told her to get a manicure and he was busted at that very moment. She still played it cool though! She was obviously very happy as the images will show and enjoyed the San Francisco portrait experience, ahem, till things were put in place and voila!!! This couple was in town from the mid-West on vacation. He had the plan in place for some portraits at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts. It went perfectly with friends setting things up behind the scenes. The one hitch was battery operated candles versus fire because anyone who has been under the rotunda knows it is a massive wind storm. Alas, she said she did know it was coming but the smile on her face from the moment she walked under the rotunda and saw him through to the end, still said it all. Congrats!!! Hey, have camera will totally fly in for the wedding!
Joe Bonamassa rocks The Warfield Joe Bonamassa guitar virtuoso at The Warfield, San Francisco
Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals and do I all I can in writing petitions, volunteering or pet sitting. (Still waiting for someone to say “babysit my pig”). Last spring I took a road trip and actually volunteered at Best Friends Animal Society. It was amazing and fun and hard and beautiful and memorable and awesome. Recently, it was Strut Your Mutt, San Francisco and yes, people did strut too! Once again, I volunteered for Best Friends but for their Strut Your Mutt event. How do you not? Photos, San Francisco, dogs, dog lovers, walking, food AND raising money to “Save Them All” and a lot of local rescues as well. It was a hot day oddly enough and trying to track and photograph dogs that have a LOT to take in was not easy but I had a great time. I will say my cats were not happy with me on my return home though. I did not smell good at least on their terms. I was quickly forgiven though! If you can, if you have the time, if you have the desire, please help your local rescues with your time or cash. There are a […]
Proposal in Napa, Wedding in Bali and Family Portraits San Francisco The family that photographs together, stays together! I first met the Chens when they were two singletons and Sam was hoping she would say yes to his surprise proposal at the beautiful Castello di Amorosa. Then, I photographed their beautiful wedding on a black sand beach in Bali. Now, a year and a half after we first met simply by chance, I’ve photographed this GROWING family with family portraits San Francisco. Your photographer for life… I say this all the time and the Chens have totally taken me up on the offer! Quite often, I meet people randomly for things like engagement portraits or proposals or even head shots. From there, the relationship continues as new occasions or family additions or family milestones happen. It means the world to me when people come back. I truly feel like one of the family with these lovely people. They keep me updated on new milestones and when I traveled to Bali, their families made me feel like we were neighbors not people who lived thousands of miles apart. When they came for a family vacation in San Francisco and the Bay […]
There are rock stars then there are the rock stars of the technology world. I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the Turing Awards this year at the Westin St. Francis. The speakers and honorees are people who have changed the lives of all of us. This year’s winner, Tim Berners-Lee, created the world wide web. Yes, THAT www. It was a most intense two days. In all my time doing event photography, this event totally kicked my butt. I learned so much though while listening to the talks and chatting with some of the previous winners. The Turing Award is the most prestigious award in the tech industry. Think Nobel Peace Prize for geeks. I had such a lovely time meeting them and watching how some, especially Don Knuth, were like rock stars with groupies! After Don’s lecture, he was just inundated with people wanting to talk to him and get photographs with him. For me, what was most endearing about him, was that I had been sitting by him in the front row for a bit when he was leaning over the chair taking a nap. The first image below, was how the event started. See, it was […]
It was a total honor and thrill to photograph ILEA Northern California Chapter’s Gala, Wanderlust. The Regency was turned into not the music venue that I am very familiar with from photographing events at the Ballroom and Social Hall but continental amazement by amazing vendors. This event gave me the opportunity to showcase San Francisco event photography at its very best. I definitely work with some amazing vendors in the wedding and event industry in San Francisco. This event brought together many of them to showcase their wares, experience and skills and it was just amazing. The event started in The Social Hall space with the continent of Africa. Greeted by some beautifully costumed and very handsome men and a cocktail is a good way to start a party. The Ballroom was dressed for Europe. Fine dining settings, opera entertainment and a three course dinner impressed everyone. Then last but not least The Lodge hosted desert, MORE cocktails and all that is South America. Dancers and acrobats that had everyone mesmerized. These events are a fantastic way to see just what people can do, meet new and talented vendors in the industry and actually even do some good. A silent […]
I’m just going to say it. I saved the best for last. Best Friends Animal Society CAT WORLD. Yes, I have cats. I’d have more animals like a dog and a goat if my apartment and San Francisco allowed me to but, I have just two delightful, rescued cats. This was the largest group of volunteers I encountered by far. Bunny House was just me, Dogworld and Horse Haven were three. There were about eight this time. We watched a video and were then told about the different cat houses we could see. Sure, it was tempting to see kittens and the yungins but I knew immediately what group was probably best for my goal – documenting and sharing this experience in hopes more people will volunteer. I spoke up immediately in case anyone else wanted it and was assured I had chosen well. I chose the special care cats at Quincy House. Our host was pleased too with my choice. I walked in and it was by far the craziest scene even with rabbits in dining rooms and hallways at Bunny House with cats rambling about, people milling and working and cat “stuff” just everywhere including the middle of […]
Best Friends Animal Society Horse Haven was stop two on my schedule. I completely anticipated scooping manure when I had my time at Horse Haven but what I did not expect is just how beautiful and educational it would turn out to be. Ron was there waiting for us and just as nice as could be in his cowboy hat. It was a great morning at Dogworld and the afternoon at Horse Haven was a great finish. We hopped into the car (I know it has a name but it escapes me now) and left the main stable area to go to the other areas. First stop was to check out three mares in a massive area. It was just breathtaking to see the natural beauty and how the pasture blended perfectly with the surroundings. Ron told us about the horses characters and we took either a rake or brushes. Curly Sue came right up to me so I started to give her a brushing. Nope, it was ok for a while but what she really wanted was to just have a pet and a scratch. Ron was right, they were just sweet and friendly girls. However, there was a beautiful […]
Another stop at Best Friends Animal Society Bunny House. Surprisingly, I would say this is where I worked the hardest. You don’t think a rabbit would need much, want much or use much but they do! Michelle showed me how to clean the pens and then it was my job to go down the row. They do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. The rabbits have indoor and outdoor access. Each pen, I was only in one building and there are more, took about 10 minutes to clean out, sweep, wash and replace linens, toys, bowls and litter boxes. Some rabbits were friendly and almost wanted to join in and others shot outside not wanting any part of it. It was, to me, an astounding amount of things needed for them from fresh water to linens and hay and toys. This is only a small part of what happens here. There are numerous people who help at the Bunny House. There are full time and part time employees, seasonal volunteers and then random volunteers like me. Many of these rabbits came from hoarding situations and some have special needs and each rabbit gets the care they need. Michelle was very adamant too […]
I love road trips. You pack up your car and keep the agenda to a minimum and just go. I’ve wanted to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society for a long time. I’ve known of them for years and have been a supporter. But, it finally just worked out that a road trip was doable and time at Best Friends finally in the calendar. Best Friends Animal Society Dogtown provides amazing homes for a wide variety of animals who are available for adoption and if not, will always have a home. They became better known when they took in the “Vic Dogs” and the TV show called Dogtown put them in the spotlight. They are a no-kill shelter providing homes for cats and dogs to pigs, goats and horses and feathered creatures too. Most of my friends would say I am a “cat person”. But this is solely because, well, I have two cats. I just don’t have the means to provide the right home to a dog living in a small apartment in San Francisco AND I like big, sloppy, hairy dogs. I registered for four different areas and Dogtown was stop one. I KNEW I’d have “sleepovers” so made […]
One of my favorite gigs of the year is the Napa Seafood Summit. So while I’m the official event photographer, I also eat and drink-a lot. It is three very full days with fish mongers. Yes, I said fish mongers! They do exist but let’s just say it isn’t like you see in Seattle at the market. This diverse group comes from around the world to talk business, eat, drink and be merry. It isn’t all fun and games though. There is an abundance of EVERYTHING but they know how to give back to. Many of them contribute to foundations that help others in the fishing industry. I learned that poverty in Alaska is a serious thing. I had no idea. One foundation is helping a small town who rely solely on fishing deep in Guatemala. I have a great time at this event and feel as if I’ve been on a 3 day bender after but it is fun and truly rewarding. This is just about the details and what Napa and its people have to offer. If you are interested, I highly recommend any of these vendors and spaces. They were instrumental in making it all happen and […]
ILEA Napa Sonoma does it again! ILEA, officially International Live Events Association, had their latest event at the Freemark Abbey in Napa. I had the total pleasure of photographing it for them. They are a great group if you are in the industry and truly the best people in their chosen fields and just for who they are. The day was perfect and the event was fantastic and I learned something of course as well. The speaker was Erin Rose Opperman and she did a great job. It was about really taking advantage of social media. I’m not a fan but I know I must. Freemark Abbey History I wasn’t aware of the history of Freemark Abbey but they do a great job with showing you exactly what it is. They have been around since 1886 and were involved in “The Judgement of Paris”. They have these incredible photographs around the site that integrate an old photograph with a new one and it is fantastic! I’m a total history buff so for me, this is just a great idea. The space is really unique with history and the renovations make it fantastic for an event space. They can completely accommodate […]
Doctors, Surgeons, Nurses, Anesthesiologists, Techs and Me A few years ago I traveled to Dominican Republic to photograph International Surgical Foundation‘s endeavor to help a few people with severe medical issues. It was an amazing experience to be in the surgical room, in scrubs, and so close to something so amazing. I just recently did it again and it just still amazes me. What happens and how it helps and changes the lives of people is off the charts. Here is just a sampling of what is going on currently and how and where they are involved–URGENT. The number of people involved to make this happens is astounding. Truly. It is dozens from around the world. People from Jamaica, Bermuda, San Francisco (me), Arizona, Michigan and of course the locals in Santo Domingo. The handful of surgeries done by this group will help change the lives of many and provide a future when there may not have been one. It gives hope to see people volunteer to make a difference. My Role My role is pretty minimal in the scheme of things, but it is an honor to document the stories of this amazing group of people as well as those […]
As a house photographer for GoldenVoice I never know who I will see. So I was really pleasantly surprised by Gavin James and Tori Kelly. The Regency Ballroom show was sold out and the poor people in front were totally crushed! But they really, seemingly didn’t care at all.
I had the pleasure of being the event photography sponsor for the Gay Vanity Wedding Show put on by the lovely guys at Sullivan Botello Events. I do so adore them and love being a part of the event. I am proud to say if I wasn’t the first I know I was among the very first to photograph LGBT weddings over 10 years ago and well before being a wedding photographer was actually cool. It was a fun time and the fashion show was truly delightful! Love is love and the people at this event are proud supporters. I highly recommend each and every one of them. Bently Reserve Classic Party Rentals Verducci Event Productions 49 Square Catering Napa Valley Linens Silvestri Co. Today’s Bride Janene’s Bridal Boutique San Francisco Bay Times Circosphere A52 Signs and Graphics Laurel Designs Florals The Klipptones Puma Donna Makeover Itani Dental le Meridien Magnolia Jazz Band
I admit that I had no idea who or what a G-Eazy is. But I left this show pretty impressed with the guy. This show was a first in my music photography career. No particular reason why just one of those things. It was a fun show and the guy knows how to work the crowd.
Lily and Nathaniel know how to laugh and have fun to be sure. I cracked up a lot at this wedding from the funny stories during the vows to the silliness of these two when they are together. Their guests, well, the same goes for them as well! Live, love and laugh seemed to be the motto for this bunch and why I selected so many fun and funny images. Every wedding is unique and I don’t go in with a set list of images in mind. I just go with what happens and quite frankly make stuff up as I go depending on the light, the time, the people or whatever may come. Photographer are trouble shooters more often than not! Gloria Ferrer Winery has always done an amazing job. Their people really take care of everything and keep the flow going and make sure problems just don’t even happen. Some of the other people who made this possible were Anne Appleman and the just really beautiful florals she brought to the table, Ramekins Catering who put some really yummy food in my belly and DJ Jerry Schultz who had guests not just dancing but singing and really, literally […]
I really, really love the small and intimate wedding. It can be in a backyard, a winery or in this case Beltane Ranch in Sonoma wine country. Whatever the location, details like the eclectic items hanging on walls, the horses, the friendly roaming cat, and natural fauna at this Beltane Ranch wedding warm me to the core and feel like home. The Chuppah This Beltane Ranch chuppah was the most beautiful I have ever seen. It was a collaborative effort of Carol Attia from Under The Chuppah and Spiral Hand Design. They chose to use birch, which has always been a favorite of mine. Even with its modern design, it still fit in with the natural scenery of Beltane. Simply amazing. Beltane Ranch Wedding – Small and Intimate The guest list for list this wedding was small and kept to 13 people, all from the East Coast. Quite the destination wedding! They dined under the big tree in the yard with food by The Girl and The Fig, one of my absolute favorites, with music by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. When it came time for the hora, the groom surprised everyone by sitting on the shoulders of his best mate instead of the […]
Arista Winery in Healdsburg is one of my favorite venues. There are so many options and opportunities for a photographer that I come away totally satiated with images. My love is outdoor weddings in a natural, beautiful location. Don’t get me wrong I like doing hotels and the like as well. There is however, something to be said for Mother Nature and all she provides a photographer. Tait and Linsday are just utterly adorable. Funny, charming and just a match in every way. All the bestest to you both! Thank you for having me a part of this special day.
Chris and Malin decided to marry in 3 days. Yes, 3 days! They were a fun bunch to be sure. I knew instantly her dress was from the past then found out it was her grandma’s actually and she wore it with some awesome boots. This is why I love San Francisco City Hall weddings. No pomp, no circumstance just waiting, queuing and a 4.5 minute ceremony. Then the fun begins.
Tim Hockenberry is a talented musician I’ve worked with on occasion over probably 10 years now and just a nice guy on top that. He wowed the audience at The Throckmorton with some cover tunes and some great original music and even doing some with his quite talented son! There is something about the simplicity in a performance that I much prefer over an over the top dance and flash show. Seems the more the pomp then less the talent. Not with Tim! Rock on Tim, fellow Michigander! Blog by Misti Layne
SteelMedia UK hosts some fun events around San Francisco bring all types of people together in the gaming community. This event was 111 Minna Gallery and had a competition this time along with the talk looking for new games. It’s quite fun to see the excitement people have in their creations!
A celebration at the beautiful San Francisco City Hall to celebrate the new Harvey Milk stamp was a great success and appreciated by many. The event was hosted by San Francisco and the mayor and all those who helped get the stamp made attended. A celebration was held in the gallery next door and hosted by EQ/CA. Harvey’s nephew was there to celebrate him and the stamp and people of all walks came to celebrate. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir was just amazing to hear in the rotunda. A great day!
I missed Rodriguez when he played The Warfield last year so was really happy to be able to go this time. I have to admit I only heard about him from the film “Searching for Sugarman”. I loved the movie and just the man it showcased. His music is amazing and I think he is someone that easy to respect heart and soul AND talent. Thanks for the show!
I have always adored David Byrne. I think his music is just the kind that gets in your head and stays there for a long time AND it’s ok. You don’t mind. Seeing him at The Warfield in Atomic Band to honor William Onyeabor was far different from what I know him doing in the past with Talking Heads. But it was great to see him and hear some great musicians get together and rock a full house.
I can’t say that I was a fan of Emmylou Harris but I appreciate any musician who follows their heart and never stops. Emmylou played to a full house and those there were obviously long time fans and very thrilled with her performance. It was heart warming to see her kind of blush and be embarrassed by the applause after her first song. Blog by Misti Layne
My new web site that is! I am so pleased to finally have this up and running. As most people know, this is not an overnight process. What fewer know is this is a life long process from experience to the past images to those that have yet to be created. So please know I appreciate every moment you spend here! Thank you and thanks to all for letting me to what it is I must–photography. Blog by Misti Layne