Ocean Beach San Francisco Engagement Photos

This is part 2 of 2 for Marie & Charlie’s Ocean Beach and Sutro Baths engagement session. For part 1 at Sutro baths, click here. After “golden hour” at Sutro Baths, Marie and Charlie changed into an elegant ensemble of a black suit and a flowy white cocktail dress for the 2nd part of their engagement session at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The Great Highway has been closed to cars for a couple years now, and during the day the road is full of cyclists and runners and strollers, but at “blue hour” midweek, we had the Great Highway entirely to ourselves. After making a few portraits in the middle of the road, we headed up onto the dunes. The last licks of light were spectacular as Marie and Charlie explored the dunes and watched the last of the sunset.


Sutro Baths Engagement Photos

This is part 1 of 2 of an epic engagement session spread between Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach. Marie, Charlie and I met near San Francisco’s Sutro Baths for their engagement session. We started in the shade at Point Lobos where we made portraits amongst the cypress while the sun was still a bit higher in the sky. Then we made our way down the hillside stopping along the way in good light until we reached the rocky shore of the Pacific Ocean. Down on the rocks we were joined by birds and ocean spray, which made for some majestic images. Satisfied with our time during “golden hour” at Sutro Baths, we headed over to Ocean Beach for “blue hour.” click here for the Ocean Beach engagement session photos.


Thomas Fogarty Winery Wedding

Lisa and Alex were married at Thomas Fogarty Winery on October 23, 2021. Lisa had first reached out to me about photographing her wedding, almost exactly two years previous on October 24th of 2019. While they did intend to have their wedding at Thomas Fogarty on October 24th 2020, I wouldn’t put it past Lisa to find a photographer two years in advance. From that initial Zoom conversation I felt great excitement and anticipation about Lisa and Alex’s wedding. She was so positive and organized, and a delight to communicate with. Well… we all got to hold onto that feeling of anticipation much longer than we thought we might.

Lisa and Alex met as college students at UC Berkeley. Their friends and family were scattered across the country and globe, so gathering at Thomas Fogarty Winery with its hilltop retreat feeling was appealing.

After more than a year, we finally had the chance to meet in person in May of 2021 on the UC Berkeley campus for their engagement session. But more about that in the blogpost about their delightful UC Berkeley engagement session here.

Thomas Fogarty is a special type of winery and vineyard. It is both perched on a mountaintop, and yet a comfortable drive from San Francisco. The approach along Skyline is glorious: a wooded ridge line reveals views out into the valley. The Winery itself is composed of a series of generous buildings built into the hilltop with the view at top of mind. Almost every room looks out over the sky, the vineyards, and the valley below.

We began Lisa and Alex’s wedding day with a Chinese tea ceremony out on the deck under the gaze of a large double happiness symbol and a floral arch incorporated into one. The tea ceremony ritual that centers the elders and the ancestors took on a deeper meaning as a result of the delay caused by the pandemic. Finally the elders were able to gather safely to bless the young couple . Even at the height of the pandemic, an elopement was possible at a dining room table over Zoom, but this in-person blessing of elders could not happen safely before the vaccine, and finally, here it was. After the tea ceremony, Lisa and Alex changed out of their qipao and changshan into outfits a bit more suitable (get it?) for dancing, and we ran out into the vineyard to catch the last of the light and make a few photographs before dinner, toasts and dancing.

Thanks to everybody who made the day run so smoothly, especially Jutta Lammerts of a Day Like No Other, who dotted all the is and crossed all the ts.

Venue : Thomas Fogarty Winery
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Hair and Makeup : Lydia Song, Brides by Lydia
Wedding planner: Jutta Lammerts, A Day Like No Other
Catering : Global Gourmet Catering
Videographer: Justin & Georgina from Weddings on Film
DJ/Band : Stefano Bortolin from BIG FUN Disc Jockeys
Florist: Janelle Jacky from Green Petal Designs


UC Berkeley Engagement Session Photos

For Lisa & Alex’s engagement session we returned to the site where they fell in love, The UC Berkeley Campus. We met at Sather Gate to start our session. This was May, so the Berkeley campus was busy with happy graduating students. Outside of the Valley Life Sciences Building we found a sweet sliver of light, and made a few portraits. As we walked through the UC Berkeley Campus, Lisa & Alex shared a few of their memories from their time as students. Our tour brought us past Moffitt Library, and the Doe Memorial Library. We rested in the crook of an inviting tree, and then on the lawn at the Memorial Glade under the Campanille. Then we made portraits outside a dormitory on the grand staircase where they first kissed. As the sun edged toward the horizon, we climbed further up the hill and the light got better and better. For Lisa & Alex’s wedding at Thomas Fogarty Winery, click here.


2021 Year-in-Review Bay Area Wedding Photography

In 2021 I photographed 24 weddings in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. All but a couple happened in the 2nd half of the year. I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness as I look back on all of the beauty and connection I was invited to witness and document. There’s nothing like a pandemic to remind a person how incredibly good it feels to gather friends, chosen family, and family to celebrate love.

2022 is looking to be a fuller year for weddings… My year is 70% booked, and will bring me up to Mendocino Sonoma and Napa, out to Walnut Creek and Lake Tahoe, and down to Half Moon Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I can’t wait for all these adventures to come.

-XO

Paul


Pacific Heights Engagement Photos – Michelle & Hayden

Michelle & Hayden’s Pacific Heights engagement session fit my ideal to the tee. It took the shape of a fun and casual date meandering through meaningful haunts. All of this in the good light of course.

We used the occasion of the engagement session as an excuse to revisit their old Pacific Heights stomping grounds. When they first met, they were both living in Pacific Heights, just a few blocks away from each other. We met up for a drink at a sidewalk cafe called Palmers, that they had visited many times in their early years of dating. From there we explored the neighborhood. We stopped in front of their old homes for portraits, and continued our walk down towards the water, eventually we made it to the Marina, and on to Crissy Field East Beach to catch the sunset. The weather and the light treated us remarkably well.


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