Month: July 2012

Del Mar Race – Opening Day Fashions – San Diego

In celebration of Del Mars 75th anniversay, I wanted to capture photographs with a timeless appeal. I love  looking at nostalgic pictures of times gone by when ladies and gents dressed to the nines for mid-day affairs. In order to portray classic fashions in a year where flourescent has made a huge comeback, it was absolutely necessary to shoot black and white photos.

 

mens horse race fashion opening day del mar vintage style by san diego event photographer heather van gaale

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The theme of the event was vintage. Although I didn’t spot much vintage fashion amongst the ladies, I did photograph a few classic beauties and some hats that were over-the-top fun. I seem to be attracted to any hat that has feathers or stripes on it!

Pictured above is the extraordinary hat maker Alakazia with models Christelle Tachon and Kelly Lenahan modeling his wonderous creations. Almost everyone wore hats in recognition of the tradition on opening day.opening day del mar in san diego 2012 black and white photos by artisitic photographer heather van gaaleI loved all the crazy hats but I couldn’t take my eyes off of the thoroughbreds. Number 10 was gorgeous. I spotted him in the paddock and had a hunch about him. I loved his gray mane,dappled coat and rebellious energy. The lines were long and the race was starting so I didn’t have time to place my bet.

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As you can see he  won! I wished I would have placed my bet..but atleast I managed to get a shot of him crossing the finish line.

 

If you liked this story you may like my photos of opening day at Rancho Santa Fe Polo Club here.

Feel free to repost and please email me to inquire about purchasing images for personal or commercial use.

xo

Heather

 

 

Gay Pride Parade – San Diego

The Gay Pride Parade in San Diego was a fantastical party drawing thousands of supporters. A plethora of rainbows and colorful people filled the streets. With a mutual vision of a world free of prejudice, many marched  and cheered honoring respect, diversity,acceptance and self-expression.
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For information on event photography or purchasing images. Please email us at info@heathervangaale.com

xo

Palm Springs Wedding Photography at Korakia Pensione

Ashley & Josh

Ashley & Josh celebrated their wedding with a weekend get away to the charming and rustic Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs. They reserved all 28 villas for guests to enjoy an entire weekend of poolside fun. Their wedding took place on the festive Mexican heritage day, Cinco de Mayo.

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Touches of Mexican decor in honor of the holiday were sprinkled throughout the villa. The pink sombrero (pictured above) belonged to Ashley since she was a little girl.

groomsmen party in pool at destination wedding palm springs

Destination weddings really are a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. Josh and his rowdy bunch of boys played horseshoes and hung out at the pool while Ashley and the girls relaxed in their gorgeous suite.

 

The light at the boutique hotel is heavenly. It bounces everywhere, is backlit and dramatic! We did an amazing sexy session of Ashley in the suite. The chiaro scuro light in the restroom of the Orchard House suite is similar to a renaissance painting. We did stunning portraits of Ashley near the copper clawfoot tub. She hadn’t gotten her hair or makeup done yet but her natural beauty shined. We can’t show those here though (sorry i’m a tease).

bride getting ready shot by palm springs wedding photographer heather van gaale
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Ashley wore an elegant ivory dress with spaghetti straps and a small train.  Over it was a classy white lace kimono belted with a beautiful ribbon. Her bridesmaids choose their own cocktail dresses staying within the nude/gold color palette.beautiful bridal portrait black and white beauty headshot close upbrides maids laughing candid photojournalism heather van gaale

hip groomsmen hang out on striped chairs in palm springs

The guys were also very stylish! I loved the simple gray suits paired with black ties; very Palm Springs. Love them hanging out on the striped chaises.

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The couple saw each other prior to saying their vows. The “first look” is always one of my favorite moments to capture.
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The party was starting!  Rather than doing a bunch of staged portraits we shot the family formals loosely and did mostly candids before the guests began arriving.creative palm springs photography groomsmen heather van gaalebest wedding photographer heather van gaalefun family photos at korakia wedding by photographer heather van gaale

Prior to the ceremony, Ashley was tucked away from sight in anticipation of her grand entrance. This is always a great moment for candids with dad.
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I adore the way they look at each other; every time seems like the first.

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Increasing in popularity amongst brides and grooms is having the honor of a close friend marry them.  The guests love it because its personable and sweet.  I love it because it adds a nice touch for the photos. Rather than having a stranger be center stage for all the wedding vow pics, a dear friend enhances the image. It is quite easy to become an ordained minister or wedding officiant. Check with your county clerk for guidelines.
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The courtyard at the Korakia Pensione features a magnificent moroccan door and is overflowing with hot pink bougainvillea. It really is a photographers dream. There is also a gentle sound of splashing water from the tranquil  fountain, which kept the little ringbearer busy during the ceremony (above right). Notice how the back lit water drops sparkle as they gently fall.

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bride and groom kiss rustic korakiaAfter the ceremony we did a few pics of Ashley & Josh as newlyweds then they were off to enjoy their Cinco de Mayo cocktail hour with mariachis and margaritas. mexico wedding ideas mariachi bride groom palm springs destinationwedding reception palm springs destination photographer

mariachi wedding reception with ring bearer by heather van gaaleEvent planners Celebrations of Joy!  kept things on schedule and did all the beautiful decor, allowing the bride to enjoy her day. Cathy and Dorry are based in Palm Springs and specialize in event design and destination weddings.

Palm Springs hippest restaurant Lulu, catered a wonderful dinner for the casual but elegant family style seating. They were meticulous on attention to detail. Love them!korakia wedding reception with succulent centerpiecespalm springs wedding ideas succulents flower center pieces korakia

The candle lit dark wood tables  contrasted well with the stark white flowers,plates and glassware. The succulent and cactus center pieces were a diy project by Ashley and her friends. Succulents are a perfect alternative to floral centerpieces. They are totally hip and they don’t falter in the hot desert sun . They looked clean and modern planted in white geometric pots with crushed white rocks on top.
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Over the Rainbow Cupcakes and Deserts provided the over-the-top delicious deserts. The chocolate peanut butter salty caramel cupcakes were  equally delicious and photogenic.
palm springs wedding reception

Im all about shooting fashion and portraits and setting the stage,but its the candid moments that I really love. Ashley and Josh’s reception started at dusk beginning with their first dance and heart warming series of toasts.

bride and groom share their first dance at korakia in palm springsKorakia is a quiet boutique hotel in a charming neighborhood. Loud music isn’t allowed. Acoustic guitar was played by Rons Garage Band and a few talented guests during dinner and dances.

first dance at korakia in palm springs photographed by heather van gaalewedding couple candid of toast at reception in palm springs

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night photo of outdoor reception during full moon at korakia palm springs

The 10 o’clock curfew quickly approached as guest mingled by the fire pits under the largest full moon of the season. Being a destination wedding and Cinco de Mayo, Josh and Ashley rented  a private room at the local bar Sammy G’s to keep the party going.

Sammy G’s is walking distance from the hotel so we headed over there for some outrageous fun. Before leaving I grabbed this shot of the energetic ring bearer not quite ready to leave his mommy’s side.

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Partying in the reserved room at Sammy G’s (a dive bar) was super fun. Ashley let her hair down and  still looked beautiful after a long day. Josh is an 80s hair cover band so the photos were getting really crazy. I love Josh and Ashley because they understand photography. They have a great appreciation for art and wanted me to capture the gamut from beautiful to the absurd.

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I was digging on the guests getting crazy and grabbed a paparazzi style photo of one of the groomsmen (below).

WEDDING CRASHERS!

Although we had signs that this was a private event, there seemed to be a lot of strangers coming into the room. Not just any strangers, strange strangers. Extremely unusual looking people. Josh and Ashley really love photography so don’t let it be a surprise that the couple pictures below are two of their favorites (lol). We blew one up as art for their wall. There were atleast a dozen crashers and we have photos of all them in weird moments.
non traditional wedding photography by artist photographer heather van gaale

Ashley is so naturally beautiful. Its a hilarious combination to see her paired with the the tacky party crashers.

 

Vendors:

first dance lessons by San Diego based Farrah Valdez 

event planning by Celebrations of Joy!

palm springs restaraunt and catering by Lulu

boutique hotel and wedding venue Korakia Pensione

desert and cupcakes by chef Roman Blas from Over the Rainbow Cupcakes and Desert

 

Temecula childrens photography of future FMX and motorcross superstar! Ryder

Notice how the story transitions from toy motorcycle, to bicycle, to quad, to motorcyle with dad, to finally the bliss of freedom when Ryder sits on his own motorcycle! I loved photographing this little freckle face cutie as he dreams of becoming a freestyle and motorcross racer like his dad and flying through the air. He’s so scrumptious and unpredictable!
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