Are We Human, or Are We Dancer?

degas

It’s been a couple of months since attempting my first “dance” experience, and I have learned that I am not a dancer. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting — it was difficult enough when I was 13 trying not to fall over my feet as my jazz teacher showed us how to do a kick-ball-change, but now at 29 maybe I thought I had gotten used to my gangly legs. Mm, not so much.

I am not altogether uncoordinated, and learning ballet positions bit by bit is fun because they are isolated exercises — I can get my foot to point and my leg to extend and it’ll look somewhat like it’s supposed to, but add in the other leg, or add in arm movements, and everything falls apart. When more than one limb is involved, I can feel the disconnect between my brain parsing out what I should be doing, and my arms and legs that are just flailing, and I realize, oh, dancing is hard. It feels like the buzz in the back of your head when you’re trying to solve a math problem that doesn’t make sense yet. Except, for me, the problem cannot be solved.

It’s funny — I thought that taking beginner dance classes would be freeing, like, Look! I have taken the first step to becoming a real dancer! Instead, it’s shown me that my strengths are elsewhere. I will probably never be able to present my creativity physically and gracefully. And this isn’t a defeatist attitude! Not at all! I’m still going to go to dance classes because, if I don’t take it too seriously, it’s fun and thoughtful and my mind is flexed in ways that it usually isn’t. But it’s also grounded my dreams very quickly (and somewhat harshly).

Have you ever done anything that’s outside of your usual comfort zone? How did it go?

Painting: The Rehearsal by Edgar Degas

Marie & Rohit | Lakeside Indian Fusion Wedding

woods bay wedding photos

The drive from Missoula to Woods Bay (near Big Fork, Montana) was a beautiful one: mountains and rolling hills, a hint of water, and suddenly — that gorgeous, expansive lake was alongside us, and with that sky…! 

Marie and Rohit brought me along for their amazing Indian-Western fusion wedding just a stone’s throw from Flathead Lake, and it was gorgeous. It was shimmering and colorful, with the warm, excited noises of family getting to know each other and revisiting old acquaintances.

Clouds rolled in during their rehearsal and mehndi ceremony, as buckets of water sloshed down on their rented cabin. The same weather threatened their outdoor wedding in a cherry orchard, but luckily the good weather held, and we were rewarded with a glorious, roiling sunset before their day ended. I hope you enjoy these photos of Marie and Rohit’s wedding — just a small representation of the color, joy, and happiness that occurred that crisp August day.

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Products I Love: Wedding Photographer Edition

It’s been a… I wouldn’t say slow summer, but it’s been hot, and the Austin wedding scene is not too busy when it’s hot. Hence, not many photos going on around here, and no blog posts. However, there were things to do! People to see! Places to go! Montana was pretty amazing — I mean, I had to wear a jacket in the middle of August, which blows my mind. My new go-to vacation spot :)

Anyway, this brings me to this post! I’ve been re-evaluating my gear and objects that I appreciate. Somewhere between Los Angeles and home, I lost my prism. I misplaced a pair of specialty earplugs too. I’ve changed up my wedding-wear. So this post is about all the stuff that ISN’T gear that I love. The little stuff that isn’t vital, but makes a big difference to me in getting the job done. Products I love!

thingsilove

1. Etymotic Earplugs.

After hanging around in front of speakers every weekend, my ears were ringing when I got home. When I tried normal earplugs — the foam type you stuff into your ears to muffle snores and street noise — they blocked out everything, making it hard to hear DJ announcements or quick requests from guests during the reception. These earplugs siphon off noise in a way that my eardrums aren’t blasted out by the music, even if I’m standing right in front of the speaker to shoot the dancing, but I can hear conversations held at normal volume if I need to. Best $13 you can spend!

2. Spider Holster.

For the longest time, I was using a strap system for my camera body. I switched to the Spider Holster earlier this summer after one too many weddings where my shoulder kinked up. You don’t realize how much weight you’re hauling around until you’re trying to recover the next day. I bought the belt and holster system, and I love it (despite how nerdy it makes me look) because the weight of the camera is distributed all along my hips instead of concentrated on one shoulder. The camera clips into a plate and can be released quickly. It took a little while to get used to it, and I am still hyper-aware of how much wider my hips are when squeezing through a small space now, but the relief I feel in my back is pretty extreme.

3. A Vapur water bladder.

I fell in love with this as soon as I saw someone carrying it in an airport. It’s genius — a thin sleeve with a screw-off top for filling, and a pop-top for drinking. I think it’s the perfect water bottle for flying, because you can roll it up in your purse to get through security, and then fill it up at a water fountain near your gate. It’s as heavy as the liquid you put into it, so as you hydrate throughout the wedding day it gets lighter (always great for your Shootsac-holding shoulder!) and can clip onto things with the carabiner. I used to carry around a glass Lifefactory bottle everywhere, but all that glass is just added weight. This little BPA-free water tote is perfect, perfect, perfect.

4. Leggings as pants!

I know, I resisted the leggings-as-pants trend for the longest time. But I’ve opened my eyes. These UNIQLO pants are thick so they look like slacks, but feel like they have no seams and they breathe well too. Wearing a holster belt with a dress didn’t feel right, so I switched to pants and these are fantastic. Bonus: they’re only $20 a pair and are so flattering! I have them in black for weddings, and in olive, herringbone, purple, and grey for home!

I hope you enjoyed this little post! Just a note: the 3 links to Amazon are affiliate links. More weddings next week, so stay tuned! :)

elissalean

Here’s a photo of me leaning over a wedding guest to take a photo. Oops. Well, my holster looks great. Shot by Caitlin M.