Category Archives: Bar and Bat Mitzvah Photography

Jenny’s Bat Mitzvah

Jenny’s Bat Mitzvah was a great family event, with relatives from around the country and around the world coming together in Tucson to celebrate.  Congratulations, Jenny, you rocked it!

Hats (Yarmulkes?) off to planner extraordinaire Anne Bryant of Creative Events, for a seamless good time for all.  Thank you Anne, for sweating the details so no one else has to worry about a thing.

The ceremony site, Temple Emanuel, is a mid-town, mid-century modern Tucson landmark.  It has absolutely beautiful light streaming in through the stained glass the morning with intense magentas and purples that are dazzling, but make color correcting them afterwards a real adventure.

At Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, photographers usually plan to photograph the morning rehearsal prior to the Torah reading and stage a few photos that are meant to stand in for the reading itself, which is traditionally off limits. This time Rabbi Cohon graciously allowed me to photograph from the back of the temple, provided I stay unobtrusive. I was tickled – my new Canon 5D MkIII cameras’ stealthy silent mode was perfect for the occasion, as was the amazing low-light capability.

The high-energy reception was held at the ever-lovely Lodge at Ventana Canyon, somewhere I’ve been spending a lot of time lately, and really enjoy.   The spring flowers that cover the grounds were hanging on with resolve, despite temperatures that have been flirting with the triple digits.  Cocktail hour with a sunset view of the mountains was every bit as nice as it sounds.

It was a summer beach party theme and Jenny was showered with dozens of beach balls upon entering to “Let’s Go Surfing Now.”  Guests danced the night away in neon colored flip flops and sunglasses (kids and adults alike).  It was my first time working with DJ/production company Main Events, and they did a great job with everything, lights, dancing and mc’ing.

The Photo Fun Booth was a roaring success, and certainly saved me from having to take more “oh, you crazy kids” pics and then show them off on the back of the camera.  Instead I could concentrate on the adults, who were busy getting crazy on the dance floor.  Also of note was Linda Sheenhan’s  Chamelon Faces, providing clever little henna “tattoos” that seemed to pop up on almost everyone as the night went on.

In a particularly touching moment at the end of the evening, the extended family gathered hand in hand with Jenny and sang “God Bless America” together.  It was a great end to a great evening and a great event.



Jenny’s Portrait Session

Here are few favorites from a recent portrait session.  Jenny has an awesome laugh and great smiling eyes, and she was relaxed, cheerful and self-possessed.  She’s got a lot of hobbies and interests, but we stuck to simple prop-free portraiture with her and her sister, around her house and at Agua Caliente park  – a great spot for photography that requires a permit to shoot at, curiously enough.  When I found out a few days before the shoot, I wasn’t sure I could get one in time, but the kind volunteers over there fast-tracked my permit, which was awesome.

This was the first shoot with my brand-spanking-new Canon 5D Mark III, which was very exciting.  I’m hooked on Canon full-frame cameras, and I’ve always sprung for the latest-greatest because I use ’em pretty hard and pretty often. And hey, they’re a tax write-off because I do this for a living, so why scrimp?  Along with my bag of lenses, they’re my eyes, really.

It’s been more than three years since a fresh new full-frame model, which is an eternity in camera time. The previous version, the Mark II, was a great camera (as was the original version before that), but I was ready for something even better.  And cameras get tired – my original 5D camera had more than half a million shutter activations when it finally needed a rebuild, according to Canon Factory Service – and that was just one of a pair.

Because of some last minute hiccups (which don’t bother me in the least), they suspended delivery almost immediately, and I’m not sure if they’ve even started again. Not many got delivered – but one of the two I ordered made it out, so I consider myself quite lucky.

So far, it absolutely succeeds at helping me make great shots, with a better tonal range, better autofocus and better low light usability.  I’m stoked. But no new piece of gear ever gets integrated totally seamlessly…it’s also meant a byzantine process of upgrading all the software I use to process the RAW format images I prefer, but that’s another story (and a boring one).  Now all I need is a second one so I can retire both Mark II’s to the backup bin!


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