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Welcome to our blog!  Sierra Blanco Photography is committed to creating progressive wedding and portrait photography with an artistic flair.  Our blog is an extension of our business, designed to bring you the latest in our professional and personal lives.  Enjoy and please feel free to participate by leaving your comments!

All images are the Copyright of Sierra Blanco Photography.
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9-2-12 Sedona Wedding Photographers KMWed00.jpg

Kimberly, aka Kimmi, and Mark were married Labor Day weekend in Sedona.  Their wedding was held at Sedona Golf Resort and their reception took place at The Hilton Sedona Resort and Spa.  Though the weather looked ominous just before the ceremony, it lifted and headed out just in time.  This was a beautifully elegant wedding with the cutest bulldog in a tutu you have ever seen :-)!  Thank you Kimmi and Mark for having us as your wedding photographers.  You were a true joy to work with!!

A special thank you to Corey Schwartz who did an amazing job second shooting this wedding!

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VENDORS:

Ceremony Venue: SEDONA GOLF RESORT
Reception Venue: HILTON SEDONA RESORT AND SPA
Wedding Flowers: BLISS EXTRAORDINARY FLORAL
Wedding Cake: SEDONA CAKE COUTURE
DJ / Entertainment: PURE ENTERTAINMENT DJ
Wedding Videographer: SEDONA WEDDING VIDEO
Wedding Photographer: SIERRA BLANCO PHOTOGRAPHY

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10-7-12 Destination Wedding Photographers KMTTD00.jpg

The day after their wedding I met back up with Kelli and Michael to photograph their trash the dress shoot.  Amazing the difference a day makes.  On their wedding day it was sunny and almost 90 degrees.  Not on this day!  A weather front moved through overnight and I woke up that morning to thunderstorms, pouring rain and cold temperatures.  Luckily the rain moved on, however it didn't get out of the 50's all day.

We still had a great time despite the weather, though it did put a kink in Kelli's idea to get in the water :-).  We started at Enoch Winery, where they had their reception, and did some portraits with their adorable corgi pooch.  We then headed over to their farm and mingled with the cows and one very affectionate donkey named Dolly.  Ahhh, Dolly, how I love thee :-).  Seriously, Dolly took a real shine to me and I quickly feel in love with her.  If I could have smuggled her home on the plane, I'm afraid Kelli and Michael would have come home from their honeymoon to a missing Donkey :-).  After that we headed to a sprawling, country property owned by the father of one of Kelli's bridesmaids and played in the woods for a while.  We had a fantastic time ... just too bad it was too cold to get into the water.  I think the results are just as good without the water shots though.  Great shoot you two!!

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This posting is very special and dear to my heart!  Kelli and Michael were married in my wonderful home state of North Carolina.  I am from Raleigh and the wedding took place about forty-five minutes southeast in Benson, where Kelli grew up.  Benson is a very small farming community that has changed very little since I was a child.  It is also special to me as it is where my mother grew up and where my grandmother and great-grandmother have lived their entire lives.  I have many fond memories of staying there in my childhood and being surrounded by fields of tobacco and lots and lots of pigs, which is what my grandparents used to farm.  I have always loved animals and took a lot of delight in riding with my grandfather to see all the little baby piglets!

As you may have guessed by now, this wedding relates to my family :-).  Kelli is my cousin ... there are only three of us on my mother's side, myself, Kelli and Lee.  We are all only children.  Kelli and Lee are especially close as they grew up practically next door to each other and they are close in age.  Me, I'm a bit older than they are and I left North Carolina when they were still children, but I have still been fortunate to see them at special family events throughout the years and I was so thrilled when Kelli asked me to photograph her wedding!  I am the type that would much rather be photographing the wedding than be a "guest" so I was very pleased.

Kelli and Michael's ceremony took place at Stones Creek Advent Christian Church and the reception was held at Enoch Winery on October 6th, 2012.  The night before, Kelli's matron-of-honor went into labor and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  Of course Kelli was thrilled, but also a bit nervous for what other wrenches might be thrown into the wedding.  Fortunately the big day couldn't have been any better ... sunny and warm and everything else went off without a hitch ... except for the late limo driver, but he wasn't too late and Kelli and Michael didn't sweat it too much.  A candle wrapped in a pink ribbon was placed on the stage during the ceremony in the location Kelli's matron-of-honor would have been standing in honor of her and her new baby.  I gave Kelli my veil to wear as her "something borrowed" and it couldn't have gone any more perfectly with her dress.  She looked radiant!

Kelli and Michael, thank you so much for asking me to do this!  It was so wonderful having a chance to do what I love to do surrounded by familiar faces and people I love.  My mom even stopped me at the end of the ceremony and told me what a great job I was doing :-).  It just made me happy for her to finally see what I do behind the photos she looks at all the time.

Love you Kelli!  And Michael, welcome to the family :-)!  Hope you enjoy the sneak peak!

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This is our little family portrait.  I was a little stupid and didn't think about the fact that I would be in photos so this is not me at my best, but that's okay :-).  From left to right, my Aunt Janet and her son, Lee, my grandmother, Kelli of course, her mother and my Aunt Billie, my mother and me.
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My Grandmother surrounded by all her grandchildren :-).
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This next sequence of Kelli sharing a dance with her mother was a real tearjerker!
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Aby Rouhi:

I love your Art work,same as always another masterpiece everyday Iam looking forword to see more wedding coverage.

(10.26.12 @ 02:51 PM)
Jewel:

Mr & Mrs Blackmon; Congratulations, and have a good life together. - Mt 19:6
Loved the photos...yay!!!

(11.06.12 @ 12:14 AM)
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We had such a blast photographing Jessica and Dean's trash the dress shoot in Sedona back in May!  We started out at Red Rock Crossing and finished up at Merry-Go-Round Rock, before heading to a wonderful dinner at the Elote Cafe (thank you both for that) where we felt just slightly underdressed :-).  These two are beautiful people inside and out. We really enjoyed spending time with them and hope to see more of them in the future!  Thanks you two!

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5-26-12 Destination Wedding Photographers LJWed00.jpg

We are posting this story, our story, for both photographers and brides alike so that you may hopefully learn from one of the worst experiences we have ever had personally and professionally.

This occurrence took place on May 26th, 2012 at Leah and Josh's wedding in downtown San Francisco.  First let us begin with the very kind and compassionate letter Leah sent us a few days later.

"Hi Tina and Kevin,

I am writing to tell you what an amazing job you both did last weekend at our wedding....I truly couldn't have asked for a better day!! Josh and I had the time of our lives and we were so happy that you were there to share it with us!

I found out the next day about the break in that happened outside the venue just before the wedding and my heart literally broke thinking about how devastated you two must have been.....especially after the hard week you had back in Arizona. You two were so professional the whole time and didn't appear the least bit distracted or upset which is so incredible to me. I would have been in tears and unable to go on if something that tragic happened. I can only imagine how hard that day must have been for you both and I can't tell you how sorry I am for what happened. I am not sure how I can help out but if there is ANYTHING I can do at all, please let me know. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you did that day!

Take care,
Leah"

This email brought me to tears!  The previous "hard week" Leah refers to goes back to the fact that five days earlier we had to put our 14 year old dog, Yoshi, to sleep.  He was like a child to us and as anyone who has gone through this knows, it is terribly traumatic.  So we didn't think things could get any worse, but they did.

A couple of hours before the wedding was to begin, Kevin and I parked in front of the venue - in what we believed to be a safe neighborhood - and we took a walk to get some lunch.  When we returned, now an hour before the wedding was to begin, I walked to the driver's side of the car and noticed shattered glass laying all around the ground.  My eyes darted around and fixed on the back passenger window, now gone.  At first, I simply couldn't process what I was seeing.  Then it hit me.  I frantically began searching through the car and realized it was all gone ... I told Kevin, "It's all gone!"  All our photography equipment and two laptop computers were gone ... tens of thousands of dollars gone.  Words really can't adequately describe how one feels when faced with this type of violation.  All at once you feel bewildered, defeated and helpless and that helplessness to change anything leads to extreme anger.  To top it off, it really didn't help when a local woman walked by and exclaimed, "welcome to San Francisco."  Needless to say, I had a few choice words for her.

We have been asked if our equipment was in view.  No it wasn't in view, however we did drive from Arizona to San Francisco for the wedding and our rental car was packed full.  This probably helped to make us a target and there are some that feel we may have been targeted before reaching the venue.  We had stayed in a hotel just around the corner and had checked out and loaded our equipment into the car minutes before we took the short drive to the venue.  Whatever the reason, it happened and we quickly had to pull ourselves together and come up with a plan to photograph this wedding.

This was not the easiest feat, being in a strange city and not knowing anyone we could turn to.  Had this taken place in Arizona, we could have called on one of our many photographer friends to lend us equipment, but that was not an option.  Renting was also not an option as we had to immediately leave the wedding and drive overnight back to Arizona to be at another wedding the following day ... needless to say, it was a long drive back.  Fourteen hours of driving at speeds of 80mph with a garbage bag swooshing and banging against the vacant back window the entire way, all with no sleep for over 24 hours.  Long indeed.

To complicate matters it was a holiday weekend and we were terrified we would not be able to find any professional photography stores open.  Luckily we remembered that Calumet, a large nationwide distributor of professional grade photographic equipment, was based in San Francisco.  That was our saving grace!  We were able to get there, purchase enough new equipment to get us through the wedding, and get back in time to begin our jobs.  We were only about 15 minutes late.  Luckily Leah didn't even notice.  We were also lucky to get the same exact cameras, lenses and flashes we had stolen, so there was no learning curve as there would be with different equipment.  We simply moved on, put the whole ordeal out of our minds for the time and concentrated on photographing this beautiful couple on their wedding day.  FYI, everyone, guests and family alike, new what had happened with the exception of the bride and groom.  It was not the time to tell them ... it was their day and we wanted them to be free to enjoy it.

Since then, we have also been asked if we had insurance on our equipment.  The answer is yes, we did, however ...

Photographers, learn from our mistakes.  Update your insurance regularly.  We took out our policy when we first started our business eight years ago and we never really gave it much thought again.  We simply payed our premiums each year and forgot about it.  As you add new equipment, you need to increase you coverage.  We did get money back but not nearly the equivalent we lost.  Also, be very cautious of your surroundings.  We thought we were.  In the same year we had been all over the U.S. and even to Rome and Nigeria for weddings.  We were so cautious, especially overseas, but we let our guard down in San Francisco and we paid a heavy price.  For the record, we were fortunate.  We didn't lose any previous weddings or shoots.  Everything had been backed up at home before leaving for this trip.  Always think about things like that.  Back up your files in multiple locations and if you have memory cards in your cameras that haven't been backed up, take them out and keep them with you until you do.

Brides, PLEASE make sure when looking for a wedding photographer, that you do your homework and hire a professional.  We can't stress the importance of this enough.  There are a lot of people out there these days who have picked up a camera, charge very little for their services and call themselves professionals and we know how tempting it is when planning such a costly event to try to save money when possible.  Sadly, many of these people are not professionals and you will pay the price in the end if something like this happens as they will not have the means to handle the situation.  A true professional photographer is established in their business and has the industry connections and monetary means to replace equipment last minute if necessary.  They also have the experience to handle something this horrible and carry through to produce the same wonderful photos you hired them to produce ... all with a smile on their face and a positive attitude.  Do your research and remember, you really do get what you pay for.

Again, we wanted to share this experience in hopes that those reading it may take something away from it in order to help them avoid pitfalls in the future.  Take it for what it's worth ... a cautionary tale.

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