Vista Point is a great place for a wedding! It’s big enough to handle even the largest of wedding receptions, and it’s flexible enough to handle smaller events equally well. Alexa and Justin’s wedding photos take place at a few different locations, including Vista Point of course. The ceremony was held at St Gregory The Great in Virginia Beach. (this is going to be the interesting part of the story).
My assistant was sick. Not a good thing. Under normal circumstances, no problem. I am used to, and quite comfortable shooting without any help at all. But, this was a different kind of wedding. It was really big. Large wedding party, large families, and large guest list. 4 locations, and storming outside in a way that would inspire Ark building to prep for the flooding it was causing. I was screwed. So, I called upon two other assistants I’ve worked with in the past. Both unavailable. What to do? Call in the big guns! I contacted Grant Perry of Grant & Deb Photographers. Very luckily, he moved a few things around, postponed some personal plans, and bailed me out of a BIG jam. Grant helped me shoot prep and the ceremony. (prep, I thought, would be where I’d need him most, but more was to be revealed).
Did I mention it was raining in a biblical way? Prep was in the bag and we all converged on St. Gregory the Great for the ceremony. Why are there no lights on in the church? Why is there another wedding just finishing with a photographer trying to shoot formals with on camera flash in the dark? It looked like indoor lightning, and the photos are going to look horrible. What the hell? There’s NO POWER. The entire grid in the area of town that St. Gregory the Great resides is completely dark. No street lights, no nothing. The sanctuary is DARK. There are some emergency lights (but the batteries are obviously not going to last long), and some candles (but you can only light so much of a HUGE indoor space with a few candles).
Grant and I decided to just crank up the ISO on our cameras as high as it would go and PRAY. (we were in a church after all, seemed appropriate). Funny thing to me was that we shoot the two two competing brands of pro cameras. I shoot Nikon, and Grant shoots Canon. (and I have to mention that we are both gear geeks) So, in the face of adversity, we were kind of excited to see how things would turn out Nikon vs Canon. And, if I’m going to acknowledge saintly acts in this post, I have to mention that I’m extremely grateful that Carolyn Cox (of Carolyn Celeste Weddings) was coordinating. She’s a great planner, and a cool head when stuff goes sideways. She kept the wedding parties and families cool as cucumbers.
The ceremony was so dark, I went to manual focus, I’m used to it, and I’m faster on manual than my cameras in THE DARK. It was an exercise in very carefully executed best guess photography. The good news? Both Nikon (my choice) and Canon (Grant’s choice) did absolutely great. So, in my opinion, it’s not the hammer, it’s the person swinging it that makes the most difference.
I made a mistake on this one that I have to acknowledge. At the time, I really didn’t publicly thank Grant for stepping up and helping me the way he did. At the time I didn’t think anything of it. I’m a pretty quiet person when it comes to blogging and social media. But, I didn’t consider that it might seem like a slight. So, I want to go on record in a public apology to Grant
The wedding at St. Gregory, and the reception at Vista Point went off without a hitch really. It kept raining, and it was horribly windy. But, I was able to get the wedding party and Alexa and Justin outside during breaks in the storm (which were brief!) to get some shots on the water. Their photos turned out great, and this is one I will not soon forget.
If I was inexperienced, and didn’t have many good friends to rely on in this business, it would have been a much different story.
I’ve not posted any shots below that were taken by Grant. But, his stuff was great too! (Grant and Deb shot OUR wedding, and we couldn’t have chosen better).