Wedding in Baja - first snippets

I'm hired on as a videographer for this wedding, but as a stills photographer at heart, I can't help but snap some single frames and panoramas for myself. The wedding is off to a banging start - I'm getting into the flow of managing 3+ cameras to get multiple perspectives to visually tell the story from the sandy beach to high up in the sky. Enjoy this set from our rehearsal yesterday. T-minus 1 hour till we rock and roll for the main day! πŸ€™πŸ½πŸŒŠ

Big thanks to my man @vidulove for this opportunity!

Baja

I'm in MΓ©xico. To be precise, the bottom tip of California.

This is Eliu. He picked me up from the airport. Eliu is originally from Mexico City. He liked it there quite a lot, he tells me. He spoke of the diversity of people and cultures there, of the arts, the foods, how alive everything is. He laughed and then added "if you like traffic too." Eliu left a number of years ago (exactly how many slips my memory), and thinks that it's too hot here in Baja, but ultimately believes it's a nice place to live with clean air, nice environment, relaxed vibes, a good job that pays him well and raise his 2 kids with his wife.

I joked with him that 2 is plenty, as they are quite expensive. He laughed and agreed. We then laughed about his uncle who's lived in Los Angeles for 40 years and still speaks not a word of English because he lives in a neighborhood where everyone speaks Spanish. When I asked him if he has an interest in visiting him, Eliu said no. He seems content with his life here.

We talked nearly continuously for most of the drive to the town center. My brain got to exercise a part of its memory that hasn't been activated in a while. Speaking a language you haven't yet mastered requires a heightened level of focus that also puts me into a state of appreciation. In this case, I most definitely appreciated Eliu's slowing down his speech and using simple words to convey his thoughts. I appreciate the ability to connect with another human who's doing what he can to create comfort and happiness for him and his family. I appreciate that he's the first Mexican in Mexico that I got to chat with, because I gotta say - the narrative that much of society in the U.S. paints is not a relatable, working young father like Eliu.

I was really struck by these mountains when we drove out of the airport. Gorgeous ridge lines. I'm glad I caught the moment Eliu pointed at them to tell me about them. I didn't take this with a fancy camera. If you've gotten this far, it's because the story held your attention. And for me, this photo will always jog my memory to that car ride towards the late afternoon sun, realizing again how much us humans have in common rather than different.

Stories like this are made possible thanks to my patrons-supporters on Patreon, a platform that allows content creators like me to get financially supported. You get more perks than simply ensuring that content like this continue to be made and shows up on your newsfeed - head to www.patreon.com/subtledream to find out more. :)

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I'm back in California!

I'm back and ready to take your photograph, video, or tell your story!

I recently returned to California from my 5th trip to Nepal. This time I spent 7 weeks in the Himalayan country, and all but 3 days were with the Conscious Impact community continuing our natural building, agriculture, and youth empowerment projects.

This community that I've mentioned so often encompasses the locals it serves, locals who work alongside us, the volunteers - both Nepali & foreigners, and our supporters spanning the globe. To date, we've had about 500 volunteers representing ~40 countries from every continent except Antarctica. It's extraordinary.

Together we've (re)built 32 homes, 2 community centers, an orphanage, a school, a business building, and many micro structures on the land where we dwell, cook, live, play, and share stories, craft, and practices with one another. We've stuck to our principles of earth stewardship, natural building, and selfless service to the community by listening to and responding to their needs while holding firm on our permaculture (systems thinking and design for coexistence and abundance for all living beings and the earth) roots.

This trip back was important and special for a number of reasons, some of which I've written in recent posts and on Patreon where I share (and will continue to) more with my amazing supporters.

Meanwhile, I'd be delighted to connect for the photoshoot idea that's been on your mind, with your recently engaged friend who seeks a photo/videographer, or other documentation/visual storytelling needs that you or someone you know could benefit from. Know that all paying work allows me to sustain this livelihood to work/serve/play/explore/thrive, as it is my main source of income. Know that my income often goes right back into purchasing gear that helps me capture moments better and continue pro-bono or discounted work for individuals and organizations like Conscious Impact. Know that I always do what I can to minimize my environmental & social impact while fostering regeneration. And, as most of you are aware, I happily travel for a good gig or opportunity. Try me πŸ˜‰

Jonathan H. Lee, at your service!

PS: this was from an awesome wedding where I partnered with the talented Vidu Love & Kristin Cameron to capture the very special day of Christina Leung & Kevin Sun βœ¨

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Presenting you...

What a fun and joyous day that was this newly wed couple! A little teaser before I go offline for a couple days. Gonna go recharge amongst the Sequoias.

It's been a few years since I've spent considerable time in the Sierras. I adore those mountains and the beautiful landscape and ecology. They are my kind of sanctuary. πŸŒ²

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Ready for this wedding!

Ready for this Himalayan wedding in the monsoon! What a memorable journey it has been already with all the pre-wedding ceremonies and happenings these last few days. I can't wait to write and share more after the wedding.✌🏽✨

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Jennifer & Tom Wedding

Now this is a wedding I'll be talking about for a while.

I've known both Tom and Jennifer since 2009 and 2010, respectively, and we've really gotten to know each other well having lived and spent time in and around Seattle between 2015-2016. I simply had a blast being with them while meeting and photographing their family and friends spanning across the states, plus Honduras and Ghana. There were about 120 wedding guests, and most opted to stay in the rustic cabins or pitched their own tents in the woods of Camp Cedarcrest in the town of Orange, Connecticut. I already love the outdoors and so an all-outdoor wedding feels very natural, especially when the temperature and weather were so agreeable as they were that whole weekend. Like many family members and guests, I arrived early to help out with the setup of the wedding. Jennifer and Tom opted to Do-It-Yourself, which involved many of us putting up lights, posts, signs, torches, set up games, tables, and also the phoot booth. It was such a fun experience making it all happen and nearly immediately watch everyone enjoy the space that we'd just created. I am tremendously grateful for their friendship and feel honored to be their wedding photographer. Many more years of friendship ahead, I am certain. A huge and heartfelt congratulations to you two! 

We took this photo several months after their engagement in 2015 on an overnighter bicycle trip to Orcas Island. So amazing to have cultivated a deep friendship together and capture their special day!

We took this photo several months after their engagement in 2015 on an overnighter bicycle trip to Orcas Island. So amazing to have cultivated a deep friendship together and capture their special day!

Here are the hand-picked favorites from our 2 days together. Scroll further to see a few bonus photos and words at the end. 

I remember Jennifer & Tom saying very specifically that, "we wanna make sure YOU are going to have a good time too." I can say very confidently that I absolutely did. It was my joy to capture their special day to the best of my abilities in that beautiful environment surrounded by loving family and friends. A shoutout to Rachel Rimmerman for snatching my camera away on several occasions to also ensure I have a chance to boggie and not be "working" the entire time. She took some great photos on the dance floor, too. Thanks Rachie!

Much love to you both, Jennifer & Tom! <3