Rusty Pelican Sunset & Twilight Wedding with Mary & Jason

Rusty Pelican in Tampa waterfront view of Tampa Bay provides the background for the wedding couple

You really never know where you might find a wedding photography job.  Back in February I was still considering other work to supplement the photography business.  I was at some nursing college in Tampa to interview for an English teaching position there.  One of the other two applicants was Mary.  During the mind numbingly boring 2-hour class we were "requested" to sit in on we got to talking and it turned out she was engaged and did need a wedding photographer.  From that very chance encounter, it ended in me photographing her wedding to Jason at the Rusty Pelican along Tampa Bay.  Oh, and though we were told we were the only candidates for the jobs, no one was ever contacted again!

Inside the lobby of the Westin Hotel in Tampa was this very cool waterfall background that presented a challenge to photograph well.

I started photographing their wedding from their apartment near downtown Tampa.  Mary was getting ready there as well as the bridesmaids.  Then I was off to the Westin Hotel to meet Jason and the groomsmen.  The lobby of the Westin was really cool looking and I was excited to have a very modern looking glass waterfall to use as a background.  

Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/4 ISO 800 1/40th Strobist: Nikon SB-800 to left & Nikon SB-600 to right

I have to admit it took me quite a few tries to finally get the exposure correct so that the colors in the waterfall could be seen and that the groomsmen were all adequately lit up.  To get the above image, I had to use a settings combo that I never had before.  I had to have very steady hands while using 1/40th of a second shutter speed.  I told the groomsmen to likewise hold there poses as statuesque as possible.  In the end I was very pleased with the results and gained a lot of new experience from shooting in such a unique location.  

 At the Rusty Pelican, father of the bride walks her down the aisle to give her awayThe weather cooperated perfectly for Jason and Mary's outdoor wedding ceremony at the Rusty Pelican.  It was not even that hot.  The sky had just enough clouds to make an interesting backdrop for the ceremony and later the formal portraits.

Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/80th Strobist: SB-800 to left and SB-600 to rightThere were two other weddings earlier at the Rusty Pelican.  We were fortunate to be last because that meant I was already well setup for getting the best sunset and twilight backgrounds for my photographs.  Two other photographers had to scurry for lesser spots.  

Making a group portrait like this at twilight would not be possible without a 2-strobe setupOver the course of this year I added a second strobe to my strobist setup for sunset and twilight portraits.  This allows me to properly light a wide group of people like the nine adults in a row above.  This is one rare, highly specialized skill that is available to clients who choose Jason Collin Photography.

A Wedding Kiss at Twilight from the Rusty PelicanOn their shot list, Mary and Jason wanted a photograph of them under the Rusty Pelican sign.  Time was running short, as often tends to happen with wedding photography, so as we were walking in to the reception, I had them stand under the sign while I quickly setup my 2-strobe technique with my camera bags being hurriedly tossed aside (closed though!) and was able to get several different shots of them while placating the Rusty Pelican staff person urging them to get inside to their guests.  

For me, that was the last tough, time pressured shot of the night.  From there it was off to the free flowing shooting environment of the wedding reception.  Mary and Jason's wedding was a great technical challenge that allowed for me to produce some of my most creative shots of the year.

Gateway Church St Petersburg Wedding with Bianca & Derrick

Treasure Island Yacht & Tennis Club docks provides the background for this wedding portraitYou may recognize Bianca as I recently featured her in my new Bride Series.  She married Derrick at the Gateway Church in St. Petersburg.  Their reception was at the Treasure Island Yacht & Tennis Club, a place I photographed at twice before (New Year's Eve, Admiral Farragut Graduation 2010).

Bianca and Derrick take their vows inside Gateway Church in St. Petersburg, Florida

Bianca and Derrick were about as ideal as wedding clients could get for me.  First and foremost, Bianca wanted non-traditional photographs and trusted my candid style to let me tell the story of her wedding through my own artistic vision.  Also, they are super friendly people and though I had only met them once before their wedding, I already felt like friends with them and that I was not photographing a stranger's wedding, but people I already had some kind of connection with.  Again, this is ideal for me.

We would all eventually get stuck at a long drawbridge before reaching the reception on Treasure Island!It also really helped that I was very familiar with the Treasure Island Yacht & Tennis Club.  I knew exactly where I wanted to take them for some quick outdoor shots (see top photo) before we all melted in the searing midday Florida sun.  I am really glad we all made the effort because the lead shot above turned out to be Bianca's favorite.  

Hershey's Kisses cleverly placed amongst diamondsThere was plenty of time to get all the shots I wanted.  I could even use my macro lens some to get the above detail shot of the centerpiece to Derrick and Bianca's table at the reception.  As a child I would very carefully unwrap Hershey's kisses and save the white label for some reason.  

One of these would soon be in my stomach.Cupcakes have become a huge dessert trend in the U.S. over the past few years.  The above cupcakes were laid out on a multi-tiered tray in the reception ballroom and I eyed them immediately.  Walking past them from three feet away I could still literally smell their sweetness.  As my time photographing their wedding came to a close, I was ecstatic that Bianca said I could take one home with me.  Little did she know I might have photographed her entire wedding for a tray of those cupcakes rather than cash money.  Maybe.

the flower girl ruled the dance floorThe last thing I photographed was some very lively dancing buy the reception guests.  The DJ knew how to get a lot of people up and moving.  However, everyone made way for this boy and the flower girl and to my surprise he was twirling her and doing complicated dance moves!  I always like the last shot I take while on a job to be a high note, and the kids above made that easy this time.

I thank Derrick and Bianca again for choosing me as their wedding photographer!