Blueberry Festival & Parade 2017 - Plymouth, Indiana

Blueberry Festival & Parade 2017 - Plymouth, Indiana

Today was the parade at the Marshall County Blueberry Festival in Plymouth, Indiana and I was there to take a few photos!  My daughter was marching as part of the Jimtown Marching Band, so I definitely couldn't miss this event!

The morning of the parade kicked off with a series of running races of various lengths.  South Bend firefighters were in the race, in full gear, and they actually finished near the front of the pack!

Many of the area fire departments were represented today including Plymouth, Bremen and Polk Township along with others.  All of these brave firemen had a warm welcome from the streets lined with people.

The children were in awe of this fireman who was there to make friends.  Between throwing candy and giving high-fives, I think at least a couple of these children may grow up to be on the fire department for sure!

The 2017 "Miss Blueberry" was on the parade route along with the Culver Academy exhibiting beautiful marching horses.

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It's a dirty job but someone's got to clean up the mess!

The various veteran organizations were well represented as well including the Disabled American Veterans and POW/MIA - a special thanks to all those who've served this great country!

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Ronald McDonald!

What parade would be complete without the world famous Ronald McDonald showing up!

Baseball teams, pageant queens, Shriners and antique tractors!

The Purdue baton twirler was very skilled and was a huge hit with the crowd!

The Jimtown Marching Band was by far the best (of course I'm a bit biased since my daughter is a sousaphone player!

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Blueberry Ice Cream!

 

Everything is blueberry at the Blueberry Festival!  Ice cream, donuts, shakes, pies, you name it!

Of course we had to take a walk through the festival in Centennial Park as well.  Lots of rides, great food, shopping and fun entertainment!  Overall it was a great day full of beautiful weather and celebrations in Plymouth!

{ Miranda + Cristian | 07.02.17 }

I have to tell you, this was some of the most fun that I've had with a couple during engagement photography!  Miranda & Cristian are clearly made for each other!  They both love all things music and the connections don't seem to stop there!  We were able to meet up at one of my new favorite spots in Elkhart - Cobus Creek County Park for this session.  The gorgeous flowers and wide open spaces were perfect for showing off the love between these two!

I'm so excited to see them get married in December!  I'm sure the wedding will be gorgeous and so heartfelft for these two!

CONGRATS Miranda & Cristian!

{ Alayna + Ryan | 06.17.17 } Wedding

{ Alayna + Ryan | 06.17.17 } Wedding

I'd like to extend a very special thank you to Alayna and Ryan Busse for being so open and welcoming and allowing me to be part of their wedding day!  The love and faith in God that these two families have was absolutely amazing to be a part of for the day!

We started the day off at St. Mark Church in Mishawaka and they decided to do a first look.  The excitement and anticipation was overwhelming for them!

We were able to gather the wedding party up and head to Battell Park in Mishawaka for photos.   The Lord was looking down and decided to bless us with perfect weather too!  The bridesmaids and groomsmen looked amazing with the bright pink and gray colors!  Alayna's wedding dress was just amazing as well!

What a beautiful ceremony at St. Mark Church.  I'm so happy for Alayna & Ryan, they make a perfect couple!  Congrats!

The reception was at Riverside Terrace in Mishawaka.  What an absolutely stunning venue!  The wedding cupcakes looked perfect and tasted great too!  The dance floor was packed and the DJ made it a ton of fun!

Exploring Elkhart Parks & Shooting Locations

Exploring Elkhart Parks & Shooting Locations

I set out in my truck on Saturday morning, camera by my side, with the goal of finding suitable indoor or outdoor covered locations in which I could take brides/grooms or wedding parties to shoot photos on wedding days.  On a typical wedding day I like to find a scenic area in which I can photograph the bride and groom as they see each other for the first time during the "first look" event.  As anyone in Indiana knows, the weather can be quite unpredictable in the spring, so an indoor or covered location is good to have as a backup "plan B" to fall back on, just in case!

As I made my way from Jimtown towards downtown Elkhart, I remembered a cool little park - Cobus Creek - that's set off the beaten path a bit, so I stopped for a quick look.  I had forgot just how beautiful the flowers and plantings are.  Pathways lead back through really interesting gardens.  The covered shelter has a gorgeous stone fireplace at one end and is perfect for group photos.  I'd encourage anyone around the area to take a visit for a picnic to this park, you won't be dissappointed!

Cobus Creek Park
Cobus Creek Park
Cobus Creek Park

I left Cobus Creek and ventured towards downtown Elkhart, next stop was High Dive Park near downtown.  As I parked I noticed a large group of folks pulling into the park's tennis courts - amateur tennis league on Saturday morning - what a great use of our local recreational facilities!

The park is full of photo opportunities, including this beautiful shaded lake that makes a great backdrop for bridal portraits.  The dark green foliage provides the perfect contrast to a bridal gown and wedding vale.  

The covered pagoda was really neat, although not the ideal rain location for wedding photos in bad weather, as it's quite a long walk to get to it.

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Next on my list was Island Park, situated not very far from High Dive Park and actually connected to it by a foot bridge!  The park is, as it's name implies, situated on a small island in the middle of the St. Joseph River near downtown Elkhart.  The park was very spread out with plenty of room to throw a Frisbee, take photos, stroll along the river or eat a picnic lunch.

There were plenty of friendly folks to talk to....

This little guy found a patch of sun to take lay down for a rest!

This little guy found a patch of sun to take lay down for a rest!

This dog was having a blast running around Island Park!  So many sticks to fetch...such little time!

This dog was having a blast running around Island Park!  So many sticks to fetch...such little time!

This little girl was really having fun drinking and playing in the water fountain!

This little girl was really having fun drinking and playing in the water fountain!

Grandpa and grandson were heading to their favorite fishing spot

Grandpa and grandson were heading to their favorite fishing spot

This shelter was just what I was looking for!  Not too far of a walk from the parking lot and plenty of room to take photos for an entire wedding party, parents and family photos or just the soon to be married couple by themselves!  The archways and red & tan paint colors were awesome and the stone bench seating would make a perfect location for an engagement photo session as well!

Another find within High Dive Park was this wooden stage.  This would make a great spot for couples photography indeed!

Another find within High Dive Park was this wooden stage.  This would make a great spot for couples photography indeed!

As I strolled through the park, it was clear that spring was here and the wildlife were enjoying the park just as much as the people!

As I strolled through the park, it was clear that spring was here and the wildlife were enjoying the park just as much as the people!

Next on the list was the renovated Lerner Theater directly downtown Elkhart.  The main sign out front is a definite photo opportunity as well as the gorgeous stone facade and architecture, pillars, sconces and dark walkway.  The long, narrow walkways around the building all offer great lighting and visual interest for photographing a wedding!  The inside of the Lerner is magically ornate as well, however it's a little difficult and expensive to gain permission to bring a wedding party inside for shooting.  This is definitely top of the list for downtown Elkhart wedding photography attractions!

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There are really interesting and amazingly real statues located throughout the downtown Elkhart area.  More than once, while walking around, I was taken off guard by these "folks" as they looked eerily real!  The violinist just outside the Lerner was my favorite, so I had to spend a little while photographing him!

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The straight lines and contrasting colors of this archictecture in downtown Elkhart caught my eye!  The bright blue sky behind made a great background.  There's room under this awning for couples photography for sure!

The straight lines and contrasting colors of this archictecture in downtown Elkhart caught my eye!  The bright blue sky behind made a great background.  There's room under this awning for couples photography for sure!

By the end of my 2 hours roaming around, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of photo opportunities that I found, all within a 1 mile radius!  I'd highly encourage anyone in the Mishawaka, South Bend, Elkhart and surrounding Michiana area to explore what is offered and take advantage of it for family photos, picnics, fishing or just plain hanging out!

{ Kristy + Brent | 04.29.17 } Wedding

{ Kristy + Brent | 04.29.17 } Wedding

Brent & Kristy are MARRIED!!

A big, huge congratulations to Kristy & Brent Fleming and their beautiful family!  My wife and I have been friends with Brent for a lot of years, going back to our time spent in college at Purdue University (wow, such a long time ago!).  We always knew Brent would find someone with a big heart and warm personality like Kristy!

We made the trip down to West Lafayette, IN on Friday night before the wedding and did a little sight seeing on the Purdue Campus as well as scouted out the church and reception venue.  Next was the rehearsal at Saint James church in Lafayette...what an amazing and beautiful church!

The wedding ceremony was just amazing inside this church with glorious stained glass windows and a beautiful, expansive sanctuary.  Before the ceremony we were able to gather Brent and Kristy and the wedding party at the Purdue Memorial Union to capture some of the wonderful scenery there.

The newlyweds exited the ceremony amid friends and family showering them with bubbles and warm wishes of happiness!

The reception was a great time for friends and family to celebrate the start of a beautiful marriage!

{ Ana + Brayan | 10.16.16 } Wedding

{ Ana + Brayan | 10.16.16 } Wedding

Where do I start....I think I'll start with the family.  The Garcia & Santos families were so wonderful to work with and made me feel I was part of both families!  I knew this was a huge day for all of them and I really wanted to capture everything I could, to preserve it, and to ultimately allow them to share this day with the many generations of family that will come after them.

The morning started off with heavy downpours and dark clouds overhead, but we made the best of it.  The ladies all had good time getting hair & makeup done.

Before the ceremony, I was able to grab a few shots of Ana, Brayan and the wedding party making final preparations.  The ceremony was beautiful and was followed by Ana & Brayan pulling away in an awesome classic car, heading to the beautiful Lerner Theater in downtown Elkhart for the reception.

All I can say about the reception is WOW!  The Crystal Ballroom at the Lerner is such an amazing, grand space and the fun this family had made it even more spectacular!  Lots of dancing and games on the dance floor by everyone, adults and children alike.

Congratulations to the Garcia & Santos families and a big thanks for allowing me to capture this for you!

{ Danae + Justin | 9.3.16 } Wedding

{ Danae + Justin | 9.3.16 } Wedding

Danae & Justin were married 2 weeks ago and I got to spend the day with them to document it!  They are one of the funnest and happiest couples I've been able to get to know in a long time.  Their families are truly blessed to have them and their wedding day turned out to be a special event for sure.  Congrats guys!

Here are a few photos from the day!