Brittney and Mike | — Vesta Irene —

Brittney and Mike


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We shot Mike and Brittney’s Engagement Shoot in beautiful Rancho San Rafael Park. However, the park maybe wasn’t as beautiful as it could be, because it was winter. Reno wedding photographers prefer spring, summer, fall or even winter if there is snow. But there was no snow and with no leaves on the dead looking trees, the park looked a bit barren.

Plus, it was like 10:00 in the AM, so the beautiful morning light both photographers and brides love was an hour and a half gone.

We were stumped for a few minutes. We needed beautiful photos, because that’s what an engagement shoot is all about. Usually, at the park, we can at least depend on the two lakes to give us a good blue background.


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But the lakes were frozen over and looked ickey. Not good for engagement photography. Not good at all.

Then I remembered an old carpenter’s axiom. “If you can’t hide a joint, emphasize it.” That’s what we did on the sailboat we lived on in the Caribbean. We moved the settees (sailor’s words for couches on a boat) back and we were confronted with ugly plywood flooring instead of the varnished teak.


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There was no way would could hide where the new teak was going to meet the old teak. It was going to look terrible. Then I remembered that axiom and we ran a purple heart strip between the new and old teak and when we were finished, it looked beautiful.


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Well, the park was all brown. Not a green leaf in sight. So we decided to emphasize that brown, make it the theme of the shoot and here are the results.

Vesta Here  now and here's where I get to say a few words:

Mike and Brittney wanted their engagement photos taken at Rancho San Rafael Park in the dead of a Reno snowless winter day. Ken and I know that park pretty well, because our back gate used to open right into it and we’d walk and run and play around in it every day of the week. It was like it was our own backyard.


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Now add to the fact that the only time we could work out for the photos was 10:00 in the morning and I was wondering how we could get good, romantic photos, because when I shoot couples in the winter at San Rafael, if I can’t have leaves on the trees, I like to go for evening photos, when the sun is about to go down, so at least I can get that wonderful light.


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But Ken said not to worry. San Rafael Park is the prettiest park in Reno and it’s never let us down before and it wasn’t going to this time. We’d get great photos, he told me. “So don’t worry, it’ll be just fine.”


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I trusted him, but I worried some anyway, I can’t help it, I want my photos to be the best they can possibly be. Both the park’s lakes were frozen over and kind’ve yucky looking, so they wouldn’t make good backdrops for engagement photos. Those trees, like I said, were barren, not good for engagement photos either. The sun was bright in the sky, so no magic light to bath the couple in. Yes, I was a bit worried.


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But Ken had a secret place in the park that I had never seen. He wanders around there a lot. He still does, even though we live downtown now, and he knows every nook and cranny in it. And when we met Mike and Brittney his face lit up and when I saw his big smile I knew we were going to get great pictures.


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He told them about this place by the lake on the west end of the park that nobody knows about. You have to go down a small embankment and through some trees and brush, where there is the remains of an old, horse drawn wagon. The place just reeks of 1850 he said.


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Mike and Brittney were eager to go there and I was too, actually, because I really thought I knew everything there was to know about San Rafael. Ken’s spot turned out to be just the right place for this couple. This spot coupled with the way they were dressed, really does make the photos look like they were taken over a century and a half ago. 


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Vesta Irene Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529