I can't tell you how many times I've lay awake at night wishing I could call my grandma and ask her, "penny for your thoughts," as she used to ask me. I've wanted to ask for marriage counseling, cooking tricks, travel inspiration, and raising siblings. (Sometime, ask my mom to tell you about the time she was wrestling with her brother. She fell off the bed and pretended to be dead causing quite the ruckus.)
Now, I can only guess at my Gram's answers. I did ask her once if she was afraid to die and she said no. I asked her if she had any regrets and she said no. She would do it all again, just the same.
I might not be able to phone my grandparents (let's be real, a video chat session would be out of the question), but I can phone my parents. I am so fortunate - I can call both my parents and what better time than now? I'll share their answers shortly.
I'm also asking these questions of others in our community (elders, medical professionals, government officials, small businesses, friends, ect.) I'll archive and share the answers as we go.
Without further adieu, below are 5 questions to ask your elders today. Best to call them, but this can be done by video-chat, phone, or copy/pasted into an email.
1) Name, Profession, State and County where you reside:
2) What is your greatest challenge right now and how are you working to overcome it?
3) What will be our greatest challenge in a year and how can we overcome it?
4) Have you ever lived through anything like this before?
5) Anything else you'd like to add?
Please confirm its ok for to share your answers publicly.
All the best,
Stay home, save a life.
I’m lots of Irish and much American and so I get fired up and don’t like to follow rules. (Some of you will remember the great gas-pump debacle of my 15th year). I spend too much money and want to go to the Dollar Store for cheap art supplies, but have to keep reminding myself that I have everything I need. I am the last person who should give advice.
Alas, I do try to reflect every now and then, and seek the advice of people who know better. (How I wish my grandmother was here! Can I call yours?) I try to learn from my mistakes. If I look back at the bigger mistakes of my lifetime (you know, beyond the dumb stuff I did like trying to float the North Fork of the American in an inner tube), they stem from a lack of compassion and an abundance of selfishness.
Maybe I’m a socialist, but probably a Buddhist, or most likely I’m a kid (haha) who just wants the people I love and the people you love to be happy and healthy. I think that means I’m human.
Why do people still think the novel coronavirus is a hoax? (Even Trump has admitted that it’s here, even if he can’t get the name right).
Disbelievers are scared. They are in denial. They don’t want it to be true because it’s too frightening to believe that people we know and love will die due to COVID-19.
We don’t need nuclear attacks to destroy us – our own ignorance will do that – but that’s ok – I can relate to being scared, and so I'll try on compassion and understanding for size (I’m not a saint – if a family member of mine can’t get a ventilator, I'm going to be pretty angry that some people just couldn't stay home).
We are all in different stages of grief over this upheaval in our lives. We will volley back and forth on the Kubler-Ross scale for the next weeks, months and years, and life will be forever changed for our generation and that of our children. What do I want my children to remember from all of this? That I stayed calm, that I forgave (I’ll do my best), that I tried to protect our health, that I cared for my parents and my community, and most of all that I looked forward to a year from now when we start rebuilding and I kept compassion and understanding in my heart. We will need to come back together and heal and the beginning will be compassion.
For those of us who still don’t know what that word means – its big in concept and length – just try to see it from someone else’s shoes, or whatever the phrases is.
Today I’ll try to understand why my 5 year old is experimenting with throwing stuff on top of the fireplace (more on this later), why the little one is pulling his big brother’s hair, and why my husband wants to go outside first thing in the morning. (I’m a late morning person, myself.)
I’ll start at home and work my compassion ring out from there and I’ll check out the Kubler-Ross scale of grief and think about how this will all look a year from now.
Stay home, save a life.
All the Best,
Afraid. Angry. Confused. Worried. Stressed.
In a matter of days our lives have been turned upside down. Our towns have been made into ghost towns. Booming new businesses and growing establishments have shut their doors. They are waiting at home with bills to pay and no answers. No answers for months.
Our health is at risk, even the health of young, healthy people. Our lives are at risk, just as much as our livelihood and yet we are social creatures. We need each other to survive, but we are all assumed contagious. And so we should be.
I might try to drive an hour and meet up with my 70 year-old mother for a walk in which we stay 6 feet apart. I guess we’ll do air hugs. At least I’ll get to look in her eyes. We’ve been having technological difficulties with voice chat. I can’t even help her with her phone.
Otherwise, we are staying home, missing our friends, watching the charts and the news with wide eyes. I admit I’m frightened. I have to be here for my kids. I need my husband and partner. We are 36 and 41 respectively.
It looks like about 1 of 8 people in our age group who get sick with COVID-19 will need to be hospitalized. Men are twice as likely to die per results in China and Italy. I should be citing news sources. I could, but go look it up yourself.
Our local hospital has 52 beds. The rest of this is speculation: I don’t know how many of those are ICU beds. Maybe 10? I don’t know how many ventilators that equates to. I’m wagering less than 52. It looks like less than 52 people in our county of Amador (pop. 38,626) can get sick at the same time. (If anyone can get me these exact numbers at Sutter Amador, I'll write an update.)
In Italy they are preparing plans to decide who gets a ventilator. They are doing that in California too, but no one is talking about it, yet.
And so, daily life goes on. It’s looking quite different for most people. For us, it looks a lot the same, but without visits from our friends and family. My husband is working from home. We have enough food for month. After that we will move on to Nutella, condensed milk, and Skippy. I'm sure the kids wont mind, but they might balk at the quinoa. (Realistically, we will probably brave a runner to the store before dipping into our fallout food, but who knows. If people don't stay home, this will look like fallout in a matter of weeks/months.)
Right now, my kids are watching an Episode of Dora the Explorer and then we will go outside to play in the last of the snow. So far, there has already been a physical fight over stuffed animals. Yesterday, someone got bit. I might have yelled, but maybe that was the day before. I’m sure I wore earplugs for a time. Jesse and I are getting along well today, playing on the same team, but he’s been outside working most the morning.
That’s all for now, but I’d like to ponder the future of this blog. I believe it will wander, but I’ll try to post often, for my own record, for my contribution to art and the future. Maybe I'll work in some interviews with our public, our elders, my friends. Maybe I’ll share my latest bread baking fail, or something cute my kids did. Or maybe I’ll just continue to jabber without citing sources. Lots of people don’t believe in sources right now anyways.
On that note, most of the blabbing I’ve done here is referenced from the updates the San Francisco Chronicle is providing here.
All the best,
I'm taking some time off this week to create for my kids. This is dedicated to Barrett on the eve of his fifth birthday and Graham, newly age two. May they forever know they are loved.
A raving success. Thank you so much. More people and businesses than I can name made this event possible. Our sponsors, Hotel Sutter, Premiere Event Rentals, Rare Exception Jewelers, myself, Rustic Roots, Jenny O and our advisors - Tracy at The Clothes Mine and Tamera at Le Mulet Rouge. Special thanks to Ledger Dispatch for so much complementary adversiing and creating a special insert just for us. A true community spirit event!
What is your approach to portraits?
Candid photos are a wonderful part of your wedding photography, but it’s essential that your photographer has the ability to create portraits. I use the term create because a portrait isn’t simply taken. Portraits are truly the foundation of your wedding album and memories.
A portrait is the result of intentional lighting, posing, and composition. A portrait photographer studies your face shape, body type, and personality in a matter of seconds and sets up a series of portraits that beautifully represent you. This skill is imperative during your bridal, groom, family, wedding party, and romantic sessions.
What is your crowd personality?
I’ve literally had people climbing the walls during large group sessions. (I’m not complaining – it was kind of fun. If you’d like to hear this story, give me a call.) It was funny to me instead of overwhelming; that is my personality.
A wedding photographer must have the ability to wrangle a crowd. Many weddings have large wedding parties and large families that need to be organized into several, important group shots. Weddings are not always quiet, calm places where everyone is immediately cooperative. Your photographer should have the personality and ability to pull everyone together, guide them, pose them, and photograph them in a fun, timely manner.
What is your editing style?
Perhaps this isn’t such a surprise question. I see it on lists for brides to ask photographers, but it’s important to be prepared to hear the answer. There is quite a bit of technical jargon that can be associated with photo editing.
To you, one of the most important is probably touching up, or removing blemishes on skin, but what about also touching up the landscape, or the plaster on the wall or the hair spray on the table in your getting ready room? Or that telephone pole... or (I like to joke, but it’s true,) that cat who came around during your romantic session... Your photographer should be prepared and willing to take distractions out of your images.
Another obvious answer is correcting light and color. All your photos should be properly exposed for light, not too dark or too bright. They should also be fixed for poor white balance. Warm lights in your hotel room, or reception area, and green color-casts from the grass can and should be corrected in your proofs, but especially in your final images. Skin tones should be perfect, or close to, in your final images.
Lastly, lets discuss presets. This is a personal choice that every couple will discuss when they think about what they want their wedding album to feel like. Every photographer uses presets to some extent for pop, color, and drama. Think of these as filters, like the ones on Instagram. Some presets are trendy and will come and go in a matter of months or years. You will have your album for a lifetime and you will hand it down through your family. Ultimately, you will choose your photographer based on how their final images feel to you. My thoughts are to choose a photographer who edits for classic beauty. Think Ansel Adams instead of Instragram.
Now, give me a call and ask me these hard questions! Happy planning.
It's been a busy week around here. Phone calls, reach outs, emails, ideas, edits, orders, creating, publishing, learning...
We have some awesome ideas in the ether that are becoming realized. Keep your eyes out for an Amador wedding professionals meet and greet and stay tuned for info on a wedding expo party in the new year.
I'm doing more studio work which is a new genre for me.
I'm adding products and ordering more beautiful display options than ever.
Whew. We've been at this hustle.
And here is a reminder why I do it. My four year old with a new hair cut that he's super proud to wear. We're headed to the high country for a night of camping and a day of hiking and swimming and unplugging.
We all have a hustle and a reason why we do it - someone or something that we love more than life itself. What is yours?
Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Tips - Guest Blogger - Amador Makeup Artist - Jenny O - (Amador Wedding Photographer)
Hi, I'm Jenny-O. I'm a hair and makeup artist in Amador County. Over twenty years of work in show-business, the movies, and with brides like you, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks that help ensure my brides look and feel their best on their wedding day. Keep these in mind as you book your artist and prepare for your big day.
This is a daily choice that will make you look great for years to come, but the importance of wearing sunscreen for an entire season before your wedding day is paramount. Bathing suit and goggle tan lines are distracting on a bride and will stand out in photographs.
Having a touch of color on your wedding day is great. It makes cellulite and stretch marks disappear. It helps to hide imperfections, but it does can make you look over-saturated in photographs. It’s difficult to fix in photos where you’re posed with your groom, maids, or guests.
Glowing, Not Sweaty
In this day and age of high gloss and contrasting contour, we can get carried away with the sparkle. Too much shiny, sparkly, or shimmering make up around your eyes, cheeks, décolletage or shoulders can make you look sweaty and spectral in photographs.
A gentle facial is a relaxing way to start getting ready. Facials are the perfect anchor for makeup to adhere to and the best face to wear makeup is one that isn’t thirsty, is ph balanced and glowing. Perfectly moisturized lips will look soft and supple in dry climates.
Time management on your wedding day, especially while getting ready, is important. You need ample time with your photographer for your bridal portraits and portraits with your family and bridesmaids.
Taking a few considerations when preparing for your hair and makeup on your wedding can make a big difference in the way you look on your big day and they way to look in your photographs. After your wedding, you have three things: a new husband, your photographs, and they way you looked in them.
Luxury, lace, taste – the spirit of Amador, Spanish for “the lover.” This is where love is planted, grows, blooms, fruits and starts again. This is Amador County, California. We are famous for our spirit.
With this styled bohemian picnic shoot we wanted to show off our light and airy side. We have hot summers and an early bountiful harvest. Photographing in the spacious bridal suite of Hotel Sutter in Sutter Creek, we showcased the whites, the blues, the gentle shadows and luxurious hues of a bride as she prepares for her wedding day.
Her hair is romantic and ethereal: soft, comfortable, knots, braids and twists. For makeup, Jenny-O prepared Ellie’s skin to be natural and glowing. She has liner in the waterline to give the eye pop without looking smokey – a feminine, bridal bohemian appeal.
The bridal bouquet by Kristi Young of Rustic Roots Decorating and Designs is a loose, gathered bouquet of local Dahlias and Zinnias with eucalyptus and Dusty Miller. The summer colors were tied together with thick twine to complement the Bohemian wedding. Flowers and greens were grown in Ione at Upcountry Farms.
Ellie’s sleeveless gown is Savannah by Casablanca. It’s perfect for seasonal days in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.
In the Bridal Suite, I photographed using natural light with fill from a speedlight diffused with a shoot through umbrella. Lens is 50mm at 3.5 with varied shutter speed and higher ISO to lift shadows.
Downstairs, in The Cellar, we came home to our deep tones, the reds, browns, deep greens, and yellows of a feast. Kristi designed the picnic set and transformed the hip, relaxed space into a lavish al fresco spread where a bride and groom can enjoy a decadent moment. The Hotel Sutter Restaurant provided the indulgent Pig Fig and Goat pretzel appetizer.
For the picnic, Ellie’s dress is a bell sleeve Beloved by Casablanca Bridal called Peyton. It’s designed for a romantic, cool evening as the sun disappears.
Photography was done with ambient overhead light and a gelled speedlight with a shoot through umbrella. Lens is 50mm at 2.8 with 1/250 shutter speed to shut out most of the ambient light and ISO 2000 to help the flash brighten the dark space.
The ring is a two-tone romantic rose and white gold wedding set with a center diamond and contour band. It’s by Allison Kaufman Company and was photographed on location at Rare Exception Jewelers in Martel using an Ice Light and Speedlight. The ring in the assembled picnic spread is a composite image.
All vendors are local from Amador County:
Photography by Kelly Curtis Photography
Florals and Set Design by Rustic Roots Decorating and Designs
Hair and Make Up by Jenny-O
Model is Ellie Rodriguez
Wardrobe and accessories provided by The Clothes Mine
Rings by Rare Exception Jewelers
Venue is Hotel Sutter and The Cellar
Floral Grower is Upcountry Farms
The wine, the beauty, the romance, the gathering, the history: there is nothing quite like getting married in the Sierra Foothills Wine Country. This isn’t just Wine Country - this is Gold Country. This is at the base of 10,000 foot peaks. This is an hour outside Sacramento, a joyride to Lake Tahoe.
This is it’s own destination. This is a seasonal nature. Rivers, wildflowers, farm to fork, off the grid, grapes, harvest, wines, tiny towns one can explore on foot, antiquing, tasting, fresh air.
Our May, 2019 styled shoot was to reflect all that, but how? We started with colors, like most brides do. Deep mauves, fair blushes, teal greens, golds, cabernets. We wanted an old-word feel, reminiscent of the Duch Golden Age of art. Low-key in color and distinct in detail.
Our Venue, the Le Mulet Rouge tasting room of Sutter Creek is in a historic building, upgraded with modern touches and a beautiful bar, but true to its original character and structure.
Hair and make up was deep, flat, not shiny. Florals were big, but not busy. Table design was inviting of a long drink, a long sit, a bustling visit with family and friends. The cake was lacy and light, to contrast the heavy colors. The gown was modern and elegant, graceful and moving. Photography was heavy on the shadows, romantic, dramatic, but light and playful as well.
Because weddings are all those things and more.
Photography – Kelly Curtis Photography of Pioneer
Wines and Venue – Le Mulet Rouge Winery and Tamera Richards tasting room manger
Flowers and Design – Kristi Young Rustic Roots Decorating and Designof Pioneer
Hair and Make Up – Hair and Make Up by Jenny O of Pioneer
Cake – Ingrid Frasier Cakes by Ingrid of Sutter Creek
Party Rentals – Party Smart Rentals of Sutter Creek
Gown – Beloved by Casablanca and provided to us by the Clothes Mine in Sutter Creek
Models: Kristy Kendrick, Kate Kendrick, Garrett Gavalis – all of Amador County
See the original blog post about the Amador Wedding Collaborative.
Several months ago, myself and two other local wedding vendors began dreaming of a styled wedding shoot, but not just any styled shoot – we wanted something that would sing the praises of shopping local, shopping from women in the wedding business, and emphasized the beauty of planning a wedding in Amador County.
And so the Amador Wedding Collaborative was born: Kelly Curtis Photography, Rustic Roots Decorating and Design, and Jenny O Hair and Make Up. We became a team of creatives and professionals working together to make our dreams of an elegant, modern, stunning visual concept a reality.
Next week, our planning, creativity, and combined strengths will bear fruit in our first ever Amador Wedding Collaborative styled shoot.
On Thursday May 23, 2019 from 12:00 – 4:00 we will celebrate our local wedding industry by styling models, decorating sets, lighting and photographing, (and eventually publishing) a wedding shoot in the beautiful Le Mulet Rouge tasting room of Sutter Creek.
Our ambition is to create trend forward wedding inspiration and encourage those who might be considering a wedding in Amador County to choose us, and plan a new scope of wedding, one that will make their dreams come true.
Venue/Wines – Le Mulet Rouge Winery and Tamera Richards tasting room manger
Photography – Kelly Curtis Photography
Flowers and Design – Kristi Young Rustic Roots Decorating and Design
Hair and Make Up – Hair and Make Up by Jenny O
Cake – Ingrid Frasier Cakes by Ingrid
Decoration and Set Rental – Party Smart Rentals
Wardrobes – Clothes Mine
My friend Bianca Burton just took over ownership of Amador Yoga in Jackson, CA. Wednesday mornings, she teaches a new yoga class - a Slow Flow session for adults in which kids are welcome to practice and play. This is a great opportunity for moms, or other caregivers, to experience their yoga practice while they are charged with the care of little ones, and an opportunity for kids to see yoga in action while playing with other kids.
Slow Flow - Kids Welcome
Wednesdays 9 - 10 AM
Drop in $15 - Kids under 7 and those not practicing are free
218 Water Street
I've wanted to visit Grace Cathedral and photograph it for some time and was happy to have an hour with a sleeping baby strapped to my back to do so last week. The Cathedral itself is a master of light with her tall stained glass windows. And, the lighting artists have created a grand, yet intimate feeling within the cavernous space. A photographers dream.
Technically, architecture is a challenging subject for me. I did not add light, nor did I bring a tripod for slow shutter speeds or HDR, so instead bumped the ISO quite high in some settings (as high as 12000), but I think the 6D handled it well enough. Still there is a little noise in some of the images . Also, you'll notice some distortion with the wide lens (24mm). I didn't tinker too much in post production. Just light and color.
If you care to learn more about Grace Cathedral you can visit online.
One of my best friends and partners is an amazing florist. Kristi is the owner of Rustic Roots Decorating and Designs. She created for TWO weddings this weekend and let me capture her at work. Awesome.