Wishing You A Happy and Peaceful New Year!

Whew!  Christmas is a crazy time of year.  There are presents and parties and dinners oh my!  I love it!  Not sure yet about the stupid bell Dad and Mom insist on putting on my collar every year but all in all it has been a great holiday season. I do have a thing for those holiday-themed rawhide chew bones.  Not sure why they taste different this time of year.  Dad says its like a hotdog at the ballpark, they just taste better.

The gift part is ok, but I enjoy the wonderful times spent with family and friends the most.  There is food, drink, fun conversations, food, laughter, lots of petting (the dog type you sickos) , joy and oh such wonderful food scraps!   It seems like you humans really pile it on those plates this time of year, that is not a complaint by the way.   It could wear a dog out, but never fill one up!

It's Hard Being The Brown Wonder

Plus this year we survived the end of the world AGAIN, I think this is one of those made up events so Mom, Dad and friends can eat and drink like there is not going to be a tomorrow.  We made it, albeit a little sluggish on a couple of mornings.  From now on I think we should follow the Dog calendar. The Mayan’s clearly made some cool temples but did not  have that day counting  trick down.

I also have to tell you that whole Santa Claus deal is a bit weird.  Parents telling their children that an overweight, long haired jolly stranger brings their presents to the house in a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer seems a bit strange to me.  And you expect that even I would sleep thru such a clatter, HA, not a chance!!!   Where do humans come up with stuff like that?  By the way, if I was Santa, I think I would have some nice blonde Labradoodles pull my sleigh.  Just saying.

For our family this Christmas has been a blessing as we have had many great moments filled with happiness and joy.  We thank all of our family and friends for their love and support.  Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones this year.  We hope they find peace and happiness in loving memories.

Dad and Mom say the beginning of the New Year is the perfect time to reflect on where you have been and anticipate the places you will be going.  I like that and I think I will spend some time napping and thinking about where I will be going in the coming year, beach, boat, park, lake owen, any comfy bed, and that damn car…….. (have you seen how traumatized I am after riding for 22 hours in that rolling steel crate?)

Happy New Year!

Cheers,
Beau

Bridezilla?

I heard Dad and Mom talking about a Bridezilla which sounded kind of scary to me. I used my Beau Phone to look it up on Wikipanion. This is what I found:

Noun
Bridezilla
A woman who in the course of planning her wedding exercises or attempts to exercise a high degree of control over all minor details of the ceremony and reception.

Upon further investigation, I found that Bridezilla is the name wedding vendors (yes even Dad and Mom) bestow on brides who are particularly difficult and obnoxious. Some say these brides are just reacting to the stress of what it takes to pull off the “perfect” wedding day but many women plan beautiful weddings and manage not to become a she-beast.

Dad says the tricky thing is that their transition from sweethearts to creatures from hell sometimes cannot be foreseen…apparently not even by the future husbands.

Thankfully Dad and Mom say that encountering a Bridezilla is kind of like getting hit by lightning. You hear about it on the news and internet, but rarely does it happen.

Dad always meets with his brides-to-be ahead of time and says that in that first meeting he can tell if it is someone with Bridezilla potential.

If you are a bride-to-be and are reading this, try not to earn the title of Bridezilla. It is NOT a good thing. Plan ahead, prepare and then relax and enjoy your special day. If everything does not work out exactly as you planned, roll with it because in the end you will end up the same way…married to the love of your life!

Now where the heck is that tennis ball? GRRRRRR…
Beauzilla

A Camping We Will Go

Today I thought I would weigh in on the fun of tent camping.  For those of you who read my blog, you know that most of our non-wedding photography adventures involve sailing and the ocean.  Not this time.

When the hot mid west weather broke on a weekend with no wedding photography occurring Dad asked if we wanted to go camping.  Since it sounded like fun we agreed and he researched areas we could go in Missouri.

He found out about Paddy Creek Wilderness Area in the Mark Twain National Forest.  It is about a 5 hour drive from Kansas City and is near, get this, a town named Licking.  It is funny that a town is named after one of a dog’s favorite pass times.

Paddy Creek turned out to be a particularly beautiful area in a very isolated old growth forest.  There are huge trees, deep ravines, rocky bluffs and spring fed creeks.  We found a great campsite that was very private and about 10 feet from the creek that yours truly got to play in whenever I wanted.  I had forgotten how nice it is to be able to drink fresh water when I swim.  The salt water in the ocean has bad effects on my gastrointestinal system.

The park has great trails for serious hikers and backpackers.  We took a 12 mile hike that took us about six hours.  We hiked up steep bluffs, through dense forest and crossed many creeks.  I’ll give you one guess as to which part was my favorite.  It was beautiful, challenging and a lot of fun  However, we were all very glad to get back to the campsite, sit by the fire and rest our feet.  We were all dog tired.  My parental units said I  smelled like a dog so I spent some time laying in the creek freshening up (what the heck I am a dog).  I don’t complain that they smell like humans…I’m just sayin’.

I like camping a lot but there is one thing I could do without. Those blasted buzzing bees really bug me.  They make me want to hide in the tent in Dad and Mom’s sleeping bag.  Well anyway, that is the excuse I use when I want to curl up in their really nice and cozy bags.  It’s not a bad way to nap.

On a weekend when Dad and Mom aren’t being wedding photographers (which is not often) camping in the wilderness is a really fun thing to do.  I might even try carrying a backpack next time (or not)!

Must rest now.
Beau Out

Parlez Vous Francais?

Talk about destination weddings!  Dad and Mom were recently hired to shoot a wedding at the American Cathedral in Paris. 

The American Cathedral Paris France

The bride and groom are from Magnolia Arkansas and managed to have many family members and friends in attendance (not easy for a destination wedding that is so far from home).  The church was quite beautiful and it was a lovely event.

The Friday night before the wedding Dad and Mom attended the rehearsal to get a feel for things.  The Canon (not the camera type, the officiant collar wearing type) that was performing the ceremony told them right away that she normally did not allow photographers but was thinking of changing that rule.  Dad and Mom would be the test case and in so doing would be a part of her final decision on whether or not she would begin allowing photographers during the ceremony.  She was very adamant when she told them they had to be very discreet, very unobtrusive and they had to stay in the back of the church..  She went so far as to say, “During the ceremony if I see you or hear you, I will fine you”.  Needless to say that that gave them something to think about.  

Church restrictions pertaining to photography vary widely so Dad and Mom were not too surprised and decided they were up for the challenge.  Dad has very good lenses that can get good shots from a distance and when shooting a church wedding he never uses a flash.  He always respects the ceremony and tries very hard not to draw attention to himself.  He says it’s always a good thing to find out the rules ahead of time so there are no issues and that having the bride negotiate with the church coordinator usually works better then him trying to do it. Remember it is the bride that the church wants to keep happy, they really think that people like dad and mom are a necessary evil in the process.

To get a feel for the lighting they took a lot of shots during the rehearsal.  Everyone seemed relaxed and upbeat.  



Dad Shooting at the Rehearsal

The day of the wedding was sunny and warm.  Paris at it’s best.  The bride’s two adult sons walked her down the aisle and different family members took part in reading and singing. They all lit the unity candle together.  Dad did a lot of hiding behind pillars and ducking behind pews but managed to get some nice shots of the overall service.  No small feat in a large church with a small group that you can’t get close to.


The Wedding Ceremony


The Bride and Groom

After the ceremony everyone went to the Park Hyatt-Vendome where there was a lavish cocktail hour with a beautiful sushi bar and champagne (the real stuff I might add).  Everyone then went to another room that had several tables set for a feast.  The focal point of that room was a beautiful white grand piano that sat right in the middle.  

Sushi and Champagne

After the dinner (that I hear I would have drooled for) one of the guests played the piano and the groom sang for everyone.  It was a special touch.  The bride and groom danced to the next song then there were toasts from a few of the guests.  Mom is still talking about how wonderful it was using words like “tres magnifique” (whatever that means).   

The First Dance

Dad and Mom stayed a few days extra and got to take in the sights, smells and tastes of Paris in the summer!  One of the good things about shooting destination weddings is getting to see all the different places.  This one will not be forgotten!  I wonder if I could learn to bark in French…

Au revoir,
Beau

Wedding Etiquette Tips From The Four Footed, Furry Wedding Coordinator

Somedays I do a lot of napping so no one ever knows if I am listening to their conversations or not. I actually love to hear Dad and Mom’s wedding stories when they get home at night so I try to pay attention to these. There are a lot of questions that couples seem to have about wedding etiquette. I did a little canine research and here are some things I learned, with thoughts of my own thrown in:

An engagement party is optional and may be hosted by the couple or either set of parents. Gifts should not be expected. (Dogs SHOULD be allowed to attend.)

If a bride wants to wear a color other than white it is okay. On the other hand it is also acceptable to wear white if is not your first wedding. (Don’t make the dog wear something embarrassing either, maybe a tie but that is where I draw the line.)

Does This Tie Match My Coat?

The groom’s mother and the bride’s mother should talk with each other and coordinate what colors they will be wearing. (You don’t want them to clash or be to matchy-matchy…think about seeing them together in photographs.)

A receiving line is not necessary for a small or informal wedding. (In my opinion they are torture for everyone involved, kind of liked getting brushed: your back hurts bending over trying to keep us wiggling canines in place, and we just hate it, period.)

If you have children it is okay and quite nice to include them in the ceremony. (This applies to your favorite canine children also. I can carry a pillow with rings on it down the aisle better than most of those reluctant 4 year olds that go kicking and screaming.)

It is okay to have an “adults only reception” but it is not okay to say “no children” if children are involved in the service. If they carry flowers or rings (you know they hate doing it) they should be welcome at the reception. (I am personally starting a campaign to banish all “No Pets Allowed” signs.)

It is not proper etiquette to ask for cash only as a wedding gift. (You probably should not ask for things like dog treats and a new collar either.)

Your thank you cards should be sent out within two to four weeks after the wedding. You should mention the specific gift and how you plan to use it. (For example; Thank you so much for the new tennis ball. I cannot wait to get it in the backyard and play catch with my dad. It will be so much fun!)

And finally, if there are more than two sets of parents (step-parents) be sensitive to everyones feelings and come to an agreement beforehand about seating and such.

Remember good etiquette is important. If it feels wrong to do something it probably is. If it feels right, wag your tail.

Nap time.
Beau

Pick The Right Wedding Photographer

I’ve been listening to my parents talk about their experiences as wedding photographers and have come up with a few ideas on what a bride and groom should think about when choosing their photographer.  Preserving the moments and memories of your wedding day is very important, right up there with feeding me.  Not only is it a reminder of the joy and happiness of the occasion, but it stands as a legacy for years to come.  Here are some key things to look for:

Style – Look at their website, Facebook page, etc., and make sure they shoot in the style you are looking for.  Is it journalistic wedding photography you are looking for?  It is the hardest style, by far, to master so make sure you pick somebody who really has it down. Did somebody say “down” that must mean I have a treat in my future. Drool.  Don’t forget, my dad was trained for years as a photojournalist. He gets it!!

Personality – Would they work well with you to get the photos you are looking for?  Are they personable?  After all they will be in your face with their camera all day long. Will they interact with your guests in an appropriate manner?  Mom and Dad often come home dog tired after shooting but almost always feel like they made new friends.  And why do they call it “dog tired” anyway?  Unless there is a ball, food or a dinghy ride to be had, I am always tired.  Oh, I guess I answered my own question. Woof.

Dog Tired

Experience – Ask to see samples of their previous work.  Make sure it is more than just one or two photos because anyone can get lucky occasionally.  Dad says a broken clock is right twice a day.  Ask to see an entire wedding they shot, not just a handpicked portfolio.

Availability – Are they able to meet your needs for the day?  Can they be where you want them to be when you want them?

Pricing -Find a photographer that fits your budget.  However, this is not the area in which you want to pinch pennies.  Your wedding photographs are the gateway to all of your memories.  Long after that cake topper has freezer burn, it is your photographs that need to stand the test of time.  By the way Real Deal Wedding Photography is very affordable.

I took a nap and just woke up with a few additional tips for the bride and groom:

Interact with your photographer, don’t be afraid to show your emotion. Wag your tail, it is your big day.

Communicate to the photographer what your expectations are.  You might want to show them images from magazines or friends weddings that illustrate what you are looking for.

Allow enough time to get all the photos that you want and don’t try to rush through them.  Dad says I tend to rush through my dinner.  I can’t help it, I am always so hungry.

Book an engagement photo shoot ahead of time.  This allows you to get to know each other and establish a relationship and rapport.  I just sniff tails, but you humans seem to find that awkward.

Remember that your photographer is the one that creates the images that will help you remember your special day in the years to come.  We pride ourselves at Real Deal Wedding Photography as being personable, experienced, flexible and reasonably price.  These things are important to us because we are passionate about our work.  Isn’t that what you want in your photographer?  I’m just sayin’…

Beau

Beau Sails South Part 2

Day 4
Hurray we got to sleep in today! Dad found a new place to take me for my morning business. It has a funny name…Gilligan’s Island and is only about the size of a basketball court. No one lives there so I have lots of privacy and nobody around to make more RULES about dogs! Mom made burritos for everyone for breakfast. I love it when she makes that because she always gives me the last bite of her burrito.

After breakfast we all piled into the dinghies to go exploring. We went to Cayo Costa State Park, which is its own Island and only accessible by boat. We walked about a mile to the other side where there is a beautiful crescent shape beach. The island has cabins you can rent and tent camp grounds. There were a lot of people there on spring break.

When we returned to the boat we just hung out for a while. The humans all went to dinner at the famous little restaurant on Cabbage Key. They were talking nonsense about taping a dollar bill to the ceiling, and leaving it. That is like me leaving a perfectly good dog biscuit on the ground at the park. Those humans, sometimes I just don’t get them. On the bright side, I got another trip to Gilligan’s Island. Tomorrow we head back north.

Day 5
We weighed (that means raising it I guess) anchor at 8:30 a.m. (I am getting good at nautical terms.) We decided to go up the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). At first I was horrified that we would have those awful big waves again because it was very rolly but that was just when we were crossing Charlotte Harbor. The water calmed down and we had a beautiful trip. We went through our first swing bridge and Mom was at the helm for the first time going under the next draw bridge. She looked kind of nervous, but did a great job.

We dropped the anchor in Lemon Bay by mid afternoon. We took the dinghy to a little restaurant on the water called the White Elephant. They allow good dogs to join their parents for lunch. Everyone was very nice to me and the humans loved the food. All I got was water but that is ok because everyone walked by and petted me and told me how handsome I am. I let them fawn over me because I know it makes my dad happy. Then it was back to the boat where everyone read or napped for a while.

The humans dinghied over to Bob and Carol’s boat for cocktails and dinner and left me to sleep the afternoon off. They had salmon and pasta and Dad told me it was very good. There is a very nice park near the anchorage where Dad took me before we all turned in.

Day 6
Before we weighed anchor this morning Dad took me back to the park and joy of joys I found a tennis ball. He threw it for me over and over. I LOVE tennis balls and thought it was nice that someone left one there for me to play with.

We went through EIGHT bridges today. Wow was it every crazy. There were boats everywhere, especially around Venice where my GG and Papa like to visit. Who knew that so many people liked to drive around in boats, both with and without sails? We were lucky that a friend had given us a list of the bridge names and opening routines so we knew what to expect at each one. I was so relaxed that I slept through part of it but at times I would sit up in the cockpit and watch the bridges go up. An interesting observation; whenever one boat passes another everyone waves at each other. I would wave to if I could but…

We pulled into Sarasota mid afternoon and dropped anchor. It is very pretty there. They have another fun water side restaurant called O’Leary’s that allows dogs to come with their parents. They even provide real water bowls to drink out of. We spent some time there and walked around a small park for a bit afterwards so Dad and Mom could show me where they have shot engagement photo sessions for some of their destination wedding bride and grooms.

The humans walked into town to Barnacle Bill’s for dinner. I stayed behind and rested. Then it was down for the last night of our great adventure.

Day 7
We weighed anchor at 9:30 and had a nice motor sail across Sarasota Bay. We went under the Longboat Pass Bridge and into the gulf about 2 hours later. The waves were really big again but this time they were following us so it wasn’t quite as bad according to my dad. I was nervous and yes you guessed it, my mom gave me medicine to help me relax. It was a really fast sail, sometimes going around 7 to 7 1/2 knots and at one point we had dolphins swimming in our bow wake for about 10 minutes. They were really big and would roll over and show us their tummies. Sometimes they would even jump out of the water. I like dolphins a lot and my dad and mom always get excited when they see them.

We pulled in to our marina about 4:30. The humans cleaned the boat inside and out then we relaxed for the rest of the evening marveling over the fun and beautiful weather we had. It was a very exciting adventure that Dad and Mom are still smiling about. Being a sailing dog is a great thing. You should check it out if you ever get the chance.

Beau

Beau Sails South

Day One
We threw off the lines and left the marina around 5:00 p.m. to anchor out at Emerson Point (Dad calls this staging). I was so excited that Karen was with us, because she loves on me like my mom and dad. Bob and Carol followed in their boat (Island Packet 380). After the anchors were set they came over to hang out with us on our boat. They kept reminding each other that it was 5:00 somewhere. I didn’t get it, but I was hungry.

Bob and Carol brought over a beautiful piece of pork that Dad cooked on the grill. It tasted heavenly. I give it two paws up!

After dinner Dad and Bob took me to shore to do my business. It was dark so Mom tried to help by blinding us with a spot light from the boat. She didn’t realize she wasn’t helping. Dad took Bob and Carol back to their boat and we all got ready for bed. Karen slept in the V berth and I joined her for a while. She has a nice comfy blanket and I quickly fell asleep occupying more space than any other 80 pound creature could possibly occupy.

Day Two
What the heck? Dad and Mom set their alarm for 7:00 a.m. Do you realize that the sun is not even up at that hour and I had not even thought about breakfast yet? Dad took me to shore then we pulled up the anchor and set off on our adventure.

The plan was to sail south to The Crow’s Nest in Venice. However, the wind was on our nose (not the forecast) which I now understand means the equivalent of putting my head out the window while Dad drives down the highway. It also meant the boat moved up and down a lot which made me feel a bit queasy. Mom, however saved the day and gave me the right medication.

Dad didn’t want the crew to know about his anxiety upon arriving at a marina he had never been to before (it is know for strong currents). I knew he felt a bit anxious but Mom didn’t have a clue. He did a fabulous job of docking the boat! My dad is the greatest captain ever!

Once in the slip Mom took me for a walk then Karen took over and let me drag her around. I love being a boat dog. Everyone says how handsome I am and that makes me so happy. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Day Three
We left Crow’s Nest around 10:00 a.m. We had planned on leaving earlier but it took me a while to decide what patch of grass to do my business on.

When we got out into the gulf Dad and Mom tried to raise the main sail but it was all bunched up in the mast and they couldn’t unfurl it so we motor sailed with just the head sail. It was ok for a while but then the waves got really big. Dad thinks about five to six feet. It was a very rough ride and I was scared to death! Mom and Karen tried to calm me down but I wanted off this boat. Finally Mom gave me some medication and I relaxed enough to lay down. Karen laid by me on the floor of the cockpit to try and keep me calm. I really do not like BIG waves.

FINALLY we arrived at Useppa Island around 4:00. It is a really beautiful anchorage. We took the dinghy to Cabbage Key where I did my business and the humans had an adult beverage and I had my favorite beverage…water. It is quite a charming place and I bet it would be a great place for a destination wedding. I’m getting quite good at knowing things about wedding photography and good venues.

We returned to the boat for a dinner of Lake Chicken, rice, salad and Brussels sprouts. I could have done without the sprouts but the humans seem to like them. YUCK.

Off to bed for now. We have to rest up because tomorrow we are going exploring! Can’t wait!!

More to come, pictures of me to follow.

Woof, out.

Destination; Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Several times a year Mom and Dad shoot destination weddings. They are going to Paris this summer and have shot in Mexico numerous times, but most often the weddings are in various parts of Florida.

Recently Real Deal wedding Photography went to The Pink Shell Resort in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. My two upright masters who feed me explained that no pets were allowed at the resort. That means that I got a mini vacation at Debbie’s house (see previous post).

The Pink Shell Resort is a beautiful resort for weddings. It is situated on a sugar-white sand beach at the tip of Estero Island and is surrounded by calm gulf waters with spectacular views. The staff was very attentive to every aspect of the wedding details.

Beach Wedding at The Pink Shell Resort

This particular destination wedding featured a striking couple from Kansas City (of all places!). Dad and Mom really loved spending the day with them and their families.

Josh and Adrien

The weather this winter in Florida has been amazing but this particular Friday, rain was in the forecast and unfortunately the forecast was right. It started raining very early but as if on cue, the rain stopped just in the nick of time for their morning beach wedding to come off without a hitch.

Most of the time the reception is held inside the resort. However, for this one everyone boarded a bus and were shuttled to the Sanibel Harbour Marriott. The party was on board the beautiful Sanibel Harbour Princess Yacht (located at Sanibel Harbour Marriott) as it cruised around the gulf coast. The Sanibel Harbour Princess accommodates 120 passengers in two indoor upper and lower salons as well as two outside observation decks. A private salon in the bow seats 16. There are bars on both decks. The captain and crew did a wonderful job of making sure that the 50 plus guests had a spectacular sit down meal.

Sanibel Harbour Princess Yacht

Afterwards there was dancing and cocktails on the upper deck complete with the bride’s 84 year old grandmother doing push ups on the dance floor.

Push Ups On The Dance Floor

Boy was Dad impressed! Said grandmother asked if dad would get the Captain to dance with her. Of course, Dad made it happen because at Real Deal Wedding Photography we aim to please!

We recommend you consider The Pink Shell Resort and/or the Sanibel Harbour Princess if you are planning a destination wedding in Florida. It goes without saying as to who you should hire for your destination wedding photographer. Just make sure there is room at Debbie’s dog spa for your favorite canine!

Beau

If I Only Had Thumbs, I Would Be Captain Beau!!!

Marina life is quite an experience for a dog.  We have the greatest boat neighbors.  One of them is Karen and she is from Canada.  She is a very nice lady.  I like her a lot!  She is very kind to me and keeps a box of cookies that she shares with me (actually they are dog cookies so SHE probably doesn’t eat them but I love them).  Dad and Mom have tried to teach me good manners like do not beg and other silly things but sometimes I cannot help myself.  I get the urge and I just have to run to her boat and give her the cutest look I have.  I have several different cute looks and pull out the best ones for the really good treats.  It works every time (even if I am drooling stupidly, damn that pavlov!) Two paws up for Karen’s cookies!!!!

Our Friend Karen

We have another good boat neighbor.  His name is JJ.  JJ is a kind man that comes and takes me for walkabouts and talks when Dad and Mom are off shooting weddings late at night.  He is fun.  He has this awesome boat named Rowdy (Pacific Seacraft) and I am going to jump on it some day (when the time is right) and check it out.  I hear it is pretty cool inside.

Our Friend JJ

Anyway…JJ will come to walk me and we have the most amazing conversations.  Often it is about the girl dogs on the dock (yep there are some hot ones). Other times it may be about eyewear selection, world issues, politics, Ayn Rand,  and sometimes it is about my poor gastrointestinal decisions.  But like I said he is kind and he never gets mad about how much of my “stuff” he has to pick up when he walks me.

JJ and I Discuss Eyewear Selection

There are a lot of other nice people that come on the weekends…they like to call me Beauregard which is my given name and it makes me feel a bit haughty.  They all know where I liked to be scratched and petted and never get tired of me hanging around with them.  Some of them even have really cute dogs of their own.  I try to remain aloof so I don’t appear to be easy but sometimes I just have to let them sniff my nether-regions.

One of the really cool things about living in the marina is getting to see dolphins swimming by our boat.  They make the weirdest noise when they surface.  You know they are mammals, not fish, so they have to breathe.  All the humans get crazy when they see them.  They point, smile and stare. Then dad tries to grab his camera, but the dolphins always seem to know and swim way down deep.  That is why he calls it a dolphin repeller.

There are other interesting people that we meet.  I hear a lot of stories when I am laying around acting like I’m asleep.  Some of them are your everyday run of the mill BS but a lot of them are true adventure stories.  In my next life I think I want to be a human because if I had thumbs I could actually help sail a boat…or maybe better yet…CAPTAIN a boat just like my dad.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful??

Do These Make Me Look Like A Captain?

If it’s gonna happen…it’s gonna happen out there!
Captain Beau