Congratulations to Cathy and James

Congratulations to Cathy and James, who got married on August 6 2011 .. I was honored to be there to capture their special day.  The wedding and reception were at the Heirloom Inn in Ione, CA.  A beautiful, historic house with beautiful grounds, great shade and a ton of character.  Feel free to check out the gallery of photos!

Wedding Collage

Cathy and James tie the knot

Muscle Cars in Kirkwood

Last Saturday (July 23), I got the opportunity to go hang out with 3 classic Dodge Challengers and a Pontiac Trans Am on a drive up to Kirkwood ski resort for a photo shoot.  2 of the Challengers were green (one of which was a convertible), and the 3rd was purple, and the Trans Am was blue with white stripe… beautiful cars, and great photography subjects.  We met up at Jackson Rancheria, and made the drive up to Kirkwood where we took photos along the way.

Pet-a-palooza 2011

Emily and I took our 2 yr old Dachshund, Sammy, to Rusch Park in Citrus Heights on June 18 to check out “Pet-A-Palooza“, an event to celebrate pets and listen to live music (Michelle Branch) and hang out with other pet lovers.

They had frisbee dog demonstrations, splash dogs, Citrus Heights K9 units and more.. it was a great time – the food was pretty good, the beer was cold, and the music was pretty good too (we didn’t stick around to see Michelle Branch).  It was getting fairly hot out and our little dog was running out of steam after a couple hours, so we went home.  Overall, it was a fun event and I think we’ll go again next year if they hold it in Citrus Heights again.

Pet-a-palooza Citrus Heights CA 2011

Pet-A-Palooza 2011 in Citrus Heights CA 2011

Mark
www.geckosites.com

Pirates – in Vallejo??

On my way back from the Hot Air Balloons in Windsor, I had to make a stop to get something to drink in Vallejo.  As I was driving, I noticed some interesting folks walking down the sidewalk.  It looked like the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean were invading Vallejo.  Soon enough, I understood – I saw the big sign for the “Pirate Festival”.  Since I had all my camera gear with me, this was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

Admission was free (they collected donations), and there were more pirates than you could shake a sword at.  All over the place.  I really liked the ‘zombie pirates’.. some of them got REALLY into character and had incredible makeup.  I only stayed for about 20 minutes – enough to get some photos and then I was back on the road.  It was a cool looking event – not sure if I would have wanted to stay too long, but if you had kids, it would be a great place to take them for a good afternoon swashbuckling.

Pirate Festival Vallejo CA

Collage of photos from Pirate Festival 2011

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic 2011

Anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes knows that I’m not an ‘early morning’ person.  Conversely, anyone who knows me also knows that I’m willing to get up at just about any time of day for a great photographic opportunity.  This past weekend, my desire to capture some great shots outweighed my dislike of early mornings… my alarm clock went off at 2:15am, and I was on the road by 2:30am, heading to Windsor CA for the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic.  



The schedule for the day showed that the “Dawn Patrol” started at 5am.. so I had to hit the road early.  I made it to Windsor around 4:45am and started checking things out.  There were vendor booths set up, fresh apple fritters, breakfast stuff, munchies and other knick-knacks for sale.  People huddled up in blankets, kids napping, and people sipping their coffee.. soon enough, the 4 balloons who were participating in the “Dawn Patrol” started to inflate.  Hearing the burners fire up (and feeling the heat from them) was exciting and got the adrenaline going .. then the secondary burner that illuminated the balloons kicked in and lit up the balloons in the pre-dawn sky like Christmas lights.

After the Dawn Patrol cleared the field, dozens of other balloon teams filled the field and started getting ready for their lift off.   Over the next couple hours, I witnessed numerous balloons fight the breeze and sail away into the cool morning air.. This was my second time seeing a hot air balloon event like this in person, and it was just as fun to watch as the first time was.

Windsor Hot Air Balloon Classic 2011 collage

Collage of balloons

It was challenging to get out of bed and on the road so early, but it was absolutely worth it! I strongly suggest it to anyone who gets the chance to go to one of these kinds of events!

Mark
www.geckosites.com