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The Mount Family Downtown

We photographed the Mounts last year, and we must have done something right, because they asked us to do it again this year! ;] This time we decided to head downtown, taking the water taxi from Navy Pier over to the Museum Campus to get some photos with the Chicago skyline in the background. Since it was a free admission day at the Field Museum, we even got to sneak in there for a bit so Jimmy could introduce "Miss Elephant" to a life-sized friend.

Thanks again, Jim and Kristy -- we always have a great time hanging out with you! :]

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Liz + Dan — Johansen Farms Engagement Session

Johansen Farms is a quaint little pumpkin farm and "children's" zoo in Bolingbrook, and it turned out to be the perfect setting for Liz and Dan's e-session. We had a blast photographing them wandering through the corn maze (or as I like to call it, the "maize maze"), playing on a giant air slide, posing in front of cheesy stand-ins, petting llamas, feeding goats, and going on a hay ride. And at the end -- apple cider donuts! Mmmmmmm...

Liz and Dan -- thanks for being so fun! We're so looking forward to photographing your wedding next weekend! :]

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Simone + Matthias’ Wedding — Solothurn, Switzerland

I knew from Simone and Matthias' airport engagement session a couple days prior that their wedding was going to be a relaxed and fun occasion. To give you one example, they took the nicknames "broccoli" and "aspirin" for their wedding -- Simone works for the Switzerland Vegetable Growers Association, and Matthias is a pharmacist (they love their jobs).

Simone and Matthias's wedding largely followed the same pattern to which I am accustomed, but there were a few differences. Most notably, there was not a large wedding party. Simone and Matthias each had one "witness" -- Simone's sisters Nadine and Daniela. This made the morning getting ready portion a relatively calm and low key affair!

The wedding ceremony took place at a church in the tiny mountain village of Ifenthal, population 310 (yep, you read that right). Of course, being in the Swiss mountains, the scenery was gorgeous! The service was about 90% German -- thankfully it was a standard Catholic Mass so I could follow along pretty easily. During the priest's homily (sermon), I got a bit of a surprise when he busted out a large print of one of the couple's Zürich Airport engagement photos, which I had posted on Facebook only the night before. I felt so honored to have one of my photos be a part of their wedding...even if I couldn't understand what was being said about it. ;]

After the ceremony a large portion of the wedding guests took buses to the train station in Olten, and from there rode the train (in a train car that Simone and Matthias had reserved for this purpose) to the old medieval city of Solothurn, billed as "Switzerland's most beautiful baroque city" (an apt epithet). Matthias works in Solothurn, so we were able to do a really fun mini-session in his pharmacy.

The reception was held in the Landhaus -- a historic building right on the Aare River. In keeping with the bride and groom's fun, sunny personalities, sunflowers were used liberally in the decorations. Simone and Matthias had secretly prepared an awesome first dance, which did not surprise me after seeing them dance at Ioanna and Andrew's wedding last year. ;] Their overwhelming love for one another and obvious happiness together gave their entire wedding a great vibe from start to finish!

Simone and Matthias -- thank you again for giving me the opportunity work with you. I had so much fun at your wedding and feel truly lucky to have met you. I still don't believe I deserved for you to fly me all the way to Switzerland to photograph your wedding, but I am SO glad you did. I hope you are happy with the results! :D

And special thanks again to my brother, Lawson, who was my second shooter, and to my dad for helping carry our gear all day! Also, thanks to Simone's dear friend, Alena, for helping organize the family and get everyone together for group photos. I definitely couldn't have done it on my own!

Alena - September 26, 2011 - 13:21

Beautiful pictures! Thanks for the shout out Austin! I am so glad to have been part of their special day. You did such a great job capturing all the priceless moments for Mony and Matz! Awesome!!!

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Simone + Matthias — Zürich Airport Engagement Session

My first encounter with Simone and Matthias was photographing them briefly as they tore up the dance floor at Ioanna & Andrew's wedding last year. When they asked me to photograph their e-session and wedding in Switzerland where they live, I was absolutely blown away. There's no way I am good enough to justify flying me 4,500 miles to take photos! But thankfully, Simone and Matthias were not aware of this. ;]

I can easily say that I have never had more fun with a camera in my hand than when I was photographing this e-session. Simone and Matthias became fascinated with airplanes several years ago when their apartment used to be under the airport flight path -- instead of complaining about it, they had fun with it! And as luck would have it, Zürich Airport (Flughafen Zürich, as it is called there) is one of the few airports remaining in the world where visitors are not only allowed, but encouraged to come right up to the perimeter fences and watch the air traffic. They even have holes cut in the fence at intervals to accomodate large telephoto lenses! If you look closely, you can see an example in one of the images below. (The military patrols the perimeter regularly, and there has never been an incident.)

This access is so rare, in fact, that as far as I could tell from my web searches, no one else had ever done a portrait session outside at an active, major airport! (Please let me know if any of you do find another example -- I would love to see it.) So we could absolutely not pass up the opportunity to do an e-session right at the airport.

Simone's and Matthias' excitement watching the planes was contagious, and we had a blast the whole afternoon. Even biking around in an off-and-on heavy downpour could not dampen our spirits. :] At the last spot we visited, we were inside the strip of landing lights -- the landing planes would scream by only 50 feet overhead! o_O It easily qualifies as one of the most awesome experiences of my life!

Simone and Matthias -- thank you so much for giving me this great opportunity to work with you and get to know you in such an amazing setting! I hope you enjoy these images, and stay tuned for your wedding pictures which I'll be posting in the next couple weeks!

A big thanks also to my brother, Lawson, who was the second shooter for the e-session and wedding, and to my father, Wendell, who held lights, an umbrella, and other gear for me in the pouring rain -- I couldn't have done it without you guys! :]

[…] knew from Simone and Matthias' airport engagement session a couple days prior that their wedding was going to be a relaxed and fun occasion. To give you one […]

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