September 21, 2015

Wedding in the Poconos at Camp Oneka

When I opened Bob and Liddy’s email asking if I’d be interested in heading out to Pennsylvania to photograph their wedding in the Poconos, after first making sure I didn’t soil myself with excitement, responded with a much subdued HECK. YES.

From the very beginning, I felt like I had known them forever. Old friends. Part of the tribe. A year passed between their inquiry email and the day I finally got to meet them IRL.

I had just ended a pretty horrible series of flights and layovers, a few hours of driving much later into the night than I expected, and hungry – by the time my flight landed all Chik-fil-A’s were closed. I pulled into the camp – which, to my delight, is very much in the middle of nowhere, hours outside of Philadelphia – to find Bob, arms wide open coming in for a hug. There are few memories in the ol’ Mind Palace that are still hanging in there, but that one I’ll never forget. It was like seeing an old college bud I hadn’t seen in years. Familiar but new. He walked me to the campfire he and Liddy and all their guests were hanging around, drinking beers and enjoying life beside without cell service. He showed me my bunk and encouraged me to join the gang when I’m all settled in.

Obviously I did, and obviously I brought along a camera. And that’s where the photos begin.

Their wedding at Camp Oneka was straight out of my imagination. Cabins, forest, lakeside, no cell service, all day hanging with your closest friends and fam. Their wedding day began with a morning yoga session, crispy air and all, and continued on with that pace and cadence. A summer storm swept through in the afternoon and turned this already whimsical place into a dream.

OK, OK, normally rain would ruin a wedding day. But I really feel like it added here. Not only were Bob and Liddy and all their people ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about it, we got to move the ceremony inside this amazing Wes Anderson-esque hall, take photos with umbrellas, and slosh around the mud in golf carts. It was perfect.

I’m sipping on an IPA while writing this and just realized how long it’s gotten. Though I could write on and on about how amazing this wedding was, I’ll wrap it up here with this. Bob. Liddy. You guys will never know how much it means to me that you let me photograph your wedding. It was truly a memory I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life.

Love you guys.

EDIT: The story of Bob and Liddy goes on, this time in Ireland…


[…] Bob and Liddy’s wedding was easily one of my most favorite. All their friends and family spending the weekend together on a lake in the Pennsylvania wilderness couldn’t be beat. ‘Twas perfect. Fast forward a year later and here I am standing on Irish soil photographing their family tromp around the land Bob’s mom used to call home. We managed to fit a shoot in between those infamously unpredictable Donegal storms. It was a day full of rain showers, fog, gorgeous mountains, nostalgia, and pints of delicious Irish beer. What more could you ask for? […]

brandon – the new website looks so good! i was browsing and noticed your rad flash work for your receptions. are you using a flash grid or snoot? zooming your flash? i really like the look compared to dragging in a bunch of off-camera speedlites. If you don’t mind sharing your technique, i’d love to learn how you did the dancing shots in this session.
always a joy —

Hey thanks for the kind words!! Yeah, so I use 600EX-RTs, but this can be done with any decent flash. Bare bulb, always. What I do is set my flash to manual mode, lowest power output (1/128), and then zoom the flash to about 70mm or thereabouts. That’s with a 24L lens. If you use a wider lens, you can zoom it less. Shutter speed is typically about 1/10 second but I adjust it a bit depending on ambient light. ISO is at 400 and aperture is around 5.6. Then I set the focus point to center point only and have it focus when I press the shutter instead of focusing (like I usually do…) using the back button AF (if this is gibberish, just ask and I’ll clarify, haha). I set all this setting nonsense as a Custom Function (C1 on the dial) so I can just switch it into dance mode quickly.

The aperture is set to 5.6 for two reasons… 1. I can be a bit less careful with where it’s pointed and things will still be in focus. Most of the time I’m shooting overhead and can’t see the viewfinder, so this is important. Just takes practice to start hitting your target with out looking. And 2. so you can use the lowest flash power setting possible. This is important for both battery life and so you aren’t annoyingly blinding the people dancing.

Hope that helps! Email me if you want to chat more! 🙂

THANK YOU. That wasn’t gibberish at all (which means my studying is starting to pay off…!). Thanks for such a thorough and helpful answer!