Elizabeth Bay House & Catalina Restaurant Wedding: Dominique & John – Part 1

Today we’d like to share the photos from a stunning, elegant wedding at the beautiful historic estate Elizabeth Bay House. When we met Dominique and John, they seemed like very down-to-earth people. They told us that they met at the gym in Sydney and wanted to have a relaxed and fun celebration for their wedding. It was definitely relaxed and fun, but they also took every element of their wedding very seriously and put together a sophisticated affair with lots of dramatic touches! Dominique got ready at her mother’s beautiful home which provided an ideal setting for the photos. There was also no shortage of amazing details. Could her engagement ring be more gorgeous?!

Beautiful engagement ring, elegant wedding detail photosBride getting ready before Elizabeth Bay House wedding

I thought Dominique was very brave to select these sexy high heels for her wedding day. As you’ll see she wore them well the entire day—impressive!

Sexy wedding shoes, Italian Wedding shoes, bride wedding day preparationsWedding details, wedding shoes and engagement ringSilk wedding gown, bride wedding day preparations Sydney

I guess you can tell that we really enjoyed photographing Dominique’s ring… soo beautiful!

Bride

Dominique had a corseted silk gown custom-made just for her.

Creative wedding photography, wedding getting ready photos

Bride getting ready before Elizabeth Bay House wedding

Bridal wedding day preparations

Like all corsets, it took awhile to lace up, but fit her like a glove!

Bride getting ready for wedding, corset wedding gownBride getting dressed in custom wedding gown

I love this one. It was a team effort!

Creative wedding photojournalismBride getting ready before Elizabeth Bay House wedding

These shoes looked amazing on Dominique! I’m still super impressed she wore them all day.

Getting ready wedding photos, sexy wedding shoes

Pictures of bride getting ready for Sydney weddingElegant wedding photography Getting ready wedding pictures, Sydney wedding preparations

This beautiful sofa was just perfect for some portraits. You looked stunning, Dominique!

Elegant and modern bridal portraits

Beautiful custom bridal gown, corset wedding gown photos

Wow, just look at that gown (and the beautiful lady wearing it)!  Simply gorgeous.

Modern and beautiful wedding photography

These are some of my favourites. Soo beautiful!

Beautiful and creative wedding photography, beautiful bridal portraitsSydney getting ready wedding photos

Beautiful wedding photography, elegant wedding photography

Dominique chose a striking bouquet of black and deep red roses. All the florals for Dominique and John’s wedding were done by Grandiflora. We’re saving the really impressive bits for the next blog, but watch this space! Grandiflora really lived up to their name and created the most grand and impressive reception florals we’ve seen in awhile! Back to Dominique here, how beautiful was she looking?!

Beautiful and modern wedding portraits

Bride getting ready on her wedding day

Bride getting ready before Elizabeth Bay House weddingSydney getting ready wedding photos

Dominique’s grandmother had been waiting in the next room. We could tell that Dominique’s family all have a very special relationship with her grandmother. It was the sweetest moment when she came out to see her granddaughter for the first time as a bride.

Wedding photography in photojournalistic styleWedding photojournalism pictures

Bride getting ready on her wedding day

Meanwhile, John was getting ready with his family and eagerly anticipating the ceremony. John was looking handsome in his all-black suit and tie.

Groom wedding day preparationsPhotos of groom getting ready on his wedding daySydney groom getting readyCreative wedding photography groomGroom wedding day getting ready

After the last-minute phone calls and time-checking, it was time to get to the ceremony!

Wedding rings detail photo

We arrived at Elizabeth Bay House just prior to the ceremony, in time for a few more portraits with our beautiful bride.

Portrait of bride on her wedding day

This historic house is now both a museum and an event venue. Its amazing curving staircase is the perfect wedding “aisle”!

Photos of bride at Elizabeth Bay House SydneyElizabeth Bay House wedding ceremonyWedding ceremony at Elizabeth Bay House

Dominique and John hired Jasmine Strings for the ceremony music. We’ve seen them in action before and they did a wonderful job once again! The strings sounded amazing in this beautiful space.

Jasmine Strings violinists at Elizabeth Bay House wedding

Creative wedding photography

John had a big smile on his face as he caught his first glimpse of his gorgeous bride.

Elizabeth Bay House wedding ceremonyBride walking down aisle at Elizabeth Bay HouseGroom watching bride walk down aisle Elizabeth Bay HouseBride walking down aisle at Elizabeth Bay House

What a dramatic entrance!

Elegant wedding at historic house New South WalesHistoric Elizabeth Bay House wedding photosElizabeth Bay House wedding ceremony

I love this. What a special and unique place for a ceremony.

Creative wedding photography at historic estateBride and groom at wedding ceremony Elizabeth BayWedding at Elizabeth Bay historic house

Dominique and John lit their unity candle as their family watched with smiles.

Elizabeth Bay House wedding ceremony pictures

Elizabeth Bay House historic estate wedding ceremony

Bride and groom exiting wedding ceremony at Elizabeth Bay House

I love these of our happy couple exiting the ceremony!

Wedding photography in photojournalistic styleElizabeth Bay House bride and groom portrait

How gorgeous! We can’t wait to share more beautiful portraits of our happy couple, and their stunning reception space. Stay tuned—part 2 will be coming soon!  Friends and family of Dominique and John, leave a comment below for the happy couple, or just to let us know what you think of the photos! Leave your email address in the email field if you’d like to be notified when the full gallery of images is available online for viewing.

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Jessica Vella - WOW!!!
Amazing moments and memories forved captured! Gorgeous day, gorgeous photos, gorgeous couple. Xoxo
Can’t wait to see part 2!

Donna Marin - Simply stunning photos Dominique and John! Can’t wait for part 2!! Xxx

Tokyo, Japan: An Endless City of Contrasts

Last year, Jeff and I got to tick one more long-overdue destination off our travel bucket list, and took a trip to the amazing metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. Jeff spent two weeks there on business with Canon, after which I would join him for an unforgettable cultural experience, delicious food, and of course, amazing photography opportunities! I knew that Jeff was already loving it, so I was excited to join him, yet a little unsure of what to expect.  After just a few days in this incredible country, feeling absolutely enamoured, I arrived at the only logical conclusion—that I was definitely, most certainly a Japanese person in a past life. Even though your language and many aspects of your culture are naturally unfamiliar to me, I feel like I just get you, Japan. You obsess over flowering trees, fine food, attention to detail, really hot hot springs (onsen), cool fashion and style, organisation and appealing design, shiny new things, and the perfect cup of tea. You have super fast trains, and you all walk just as fast as me! You love your perfectly manicured gardens, and they make me want to take up meditation. You have cat cafes, and I think I need a yearly membership. Japan, if I wasn’t a member of your club in a past life, can I please join now?

Skyline cityscape of Tokyo, Japan

I have never felt more interested in learning the local language of a place that I have visited. I could hardly believe how welcome, respected and even appreciated I felt, by complete strangers—and in this place, Tokyo, which is definitely the largest, most overwhelmingly huge, dense urban landscape I have seen. I wouldn’t even say city. Tokyo is a landscape, a three-dimensional maze that was a joy to get lost in. And people, this is coming from a city girl who used to live in Los Angeles, one of the most notorious examples of urban sprawl that exists on our little planet. I’m sorry L.A., you’re just a medium-sized country town in the true global perspective. New York once amazed me, then was surpassed by Hong Kong. But Tokyo, you got ’em all beat, my friend.

Skyline cityscape of Tokyo, with Mount Fuji in the distance

On a clear day, a sea of skyscrapers can be seen stretching almost endlessly toward the horizon, seemingly impeded only by a majestic mountain range. Yes, that’s the famed Mount Fuji in the distance.

Skyline cityscape of Tokyo, Japan

Jeff and I had heard people say that visiting Tokyo was like stepping into the future. There is no place where this vision is more startling than the Blade Runner-esque ward of Shinjuku. Here, every skyscraper is illuminated by a glowing wallpaper of neon lights, in an arms race to capture the fleeting attention of Tokyo’s residents. Indeed, Tokyoites are the biggest technophiles anywhere; they’ve embraced technology in almost every aspect of their daily lives, while still holding strong to their own cultural identity.

Crazy neon lights of Shinjuku, Tokyo, JapanNeon streetscapes in ShinjukuCrazy neon lights of Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

The one thing that struck me the most, though, was just the sheer number of people. I have never seen so many people in one place. On every footpath, every alleyway, every train, filling every cavernous subway station down to every hole-in-the-wall sushi bar, were people. It was impossible to walk anywhere without bumping shoulders, elbows, or handbags with someone else. This felt like a glimpse into an overpopulated future Earth, heads bobbing down the streets in an undulating wave, lapping against the urban terraformed landscape.

Famous pedestrian scramble crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo

Above is the highly-recognizeable scramble crossing near Shibuya Station, Tokyo’s answer to Times Square. Below, you can see a street overflowing with shoppers in nearby Harajuku.

Harajuku?

Yet the flow of crowds never seemed too suffocating. With a sprawling metro system that runs like clockwork, and a culture that highly values politeness, the city’s population of over 35 million people coexist harmoniously. It was mesmerizing just to watch the endless commuters ebb and flow from the train stations, as seen here from a cafe in Shinagawa Station.

Sea of people going to work at Shinagawa Station

Sunset over Tokyo skyline

Stashed amongst all the huge, luminescent buildings, were these incredible tiny laneways, a glimpse of what Tokyo was like before the rise of its skyscrapers. These miniature mazes within a maze contained endless tiny bars and restaurants, many with seating only available for four or five people at a time. Our guidebook mentioned a few places to try, but forget trying to locate a needle in this haystack. Not unlike the narrow laneways of Venice, you just have to lose yourself amongst them and wander, and see what you happen upon. And this was, of course, a part of the fun!

Shinjuku Golden Gai lanewaysTiny bars in Shinjuku Golden Gai

Above, you can see one of the tiny bars in the Golden Gai area of Shinjuku. The nearby area of Omoide Yokocho, pictured below, can get chock-a-block with salarymen (and women) grabbing a quick bite of yakitori and a few rounds of sake on their way home from work. Fun Fact: in Japanese culture, it is traditional to bring a gift to your spouse if you plan to stumble home drunk!

Omoide Yokocho laneways under Shinjuku Station

In a few of the alleyways, we happened upon some alley cats! This sushi shop was closing up, and the manager’s cat looked awfully satisfied. I can’t really imagine a better place (from a cat’s perspective) to live than near a sushi bar!

Sushi restaurant near ShinjukuLaneways in ShinjukuLaneways in Shinjuku

Tokyo is heaven for foodies. It boasts of having more Michelin-rated restaurants than London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco… combined!  As you’ll see, we were a bit obsessed with food on this trip. Jeff and I have long been huge fans of the Japanese food that has made it to the West (sushi, ramen, udon, tempura, etc). What we got so excited over in Japan was the discovery of so many more sub-cuisines we were yet unfamiliar with, like Motsunabe and Okonomiyaki (more on that in Part 2), and the endless array of dessert carts and kiosks dotted throughout the city.

Izakaya (Japanese pub) in Tokyo

We were lucky enough to catch up with an old college friend on the trip, our buddy Tad from our uni days back in California. Tad speaks Japanese (and clearly has great taste in restaurants) and dragged us to some amazing hidden establishments that we, without a doubt, would never have found had we been on our own. We have to say that Tad’s local expertise really added to our enjoyment of the city and made our most memorable meals. (Thank you, Tad!) On my first night in town, Tad took us to this hidden little Izakaya (basically a Japanese pub). In addition to some of the usual suspects, he ordered one of his favourite dishes, a Japanese delicacy. What is it about the word “delicacy” that usually means a bit more than just “delicate” flavours? Here it is, can you guess what it might be?

Shirako, Japanese delicacy of cod sperm sac, at Tokyo Izakaya restaurant

We asked Tad what it was and he said hesitantly, “Uhhh… you might not want to know.” We thought we would probably agree with him and decided to try it first. To me it looked like a weird kind of macaroni noodle salad. The thought crossed my mind that it could be brains of some kind (shudder) but it looked actually more appetising than I would imagine brains to be. The texture was a bit different, but the flavour was actually pretty good. Then Jeff and I made him tell us what it was: shirako. Translation? Cod sperm sac. We both thought it was a bit tastier before we knew what it was, but it wasn’t bad!

Izakaya sushi

Tokyo is amazing and overwhelming by night, but it is also beautiful by day. Despite the crazy urban sprawl, the city is dotted with a number of gardens and parks (some of them quite vast).

Tokyo Imperial Palace, Chiyoda

And they still hang on to their cultural past. Japanese architecture of old is just stunning. This is the Tokyo Imperial Palace, which unfortunately is only available to tour two days per year, but it looks impressive even from the outside.

Tokyo Imperial Palace, Chiyoda

We visited just prior to the Sakura season (the time of spring when the cherry blossom trees all bloom in synchrony). We were two weeks or so too early for the main cherry blossom bloom, but to our delight we were lucky enough to see a handful of trees that were starting the party early. The Japanese seem to be pretty obsessed with their flowering trees (as are many of the tourists who come from far and wide to see them in full bloom) and I certainly share their obsession. They are absolutely beautiful!

Old style house in Tokyo

Tokyo’s many temples and shrines are also quite the sight. It may sound cliche to say it, but Tokyo is truly a city of contrasts of old and new. Here is the Asakusa Shrine juxtaposed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building:

Old and new juxtaposition in TokyoAt base of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

We visited Harajuku in the hopes of seeing the crowds of young people that appear there in all kinds of colourful and outrageous costumes. Sadly though, none were to be found on the day we visited. But we took a walk through the nearby Yoyogi Park surrounding Meiji Shrine. This park was so huge it felt like walking through a forest in the middle of Tokyo.

Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi ParkSake barrels at Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi ParkSake barrels in Yoyogi Park near Meiji Shrine

In addition to the parks, Tokyo has other little escapes from the maze of the skyscrapers. You can hop acrosss this bridge via monorail to the suburb of Odaiba, which offers a bit more breathing space and some nice views back over Tokyo.

Bridge and monorail path to Odaiba

To my delight, in Odaiba we found a row of “cherry blossom” trees in full bloom! We were later informed that they were more likely plum blossoms, but to me they were just as beautiful! Lots of little birds were out enjoying the springtime sunshine too.

Cherry blossom trees in spring in Odaiba, TokyoSakura trees in spring in Odaiba, TokyoCherry blossom trees in spring in Odaiba, TokyoSakura trees in TokyoView of Tokyo from Odaiba

Above you can see Tokyo from Odaiba in the East, while below is the view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo’s West.

View from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

It was hard to believe that in all 360 degrees, as far as the eye could see, was urban concrete jungle.

Tokyo skyscrapers from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

In addition to their Sakura trees, the other icon of Japan is the omni-present peak of Mount Fuji, visible from just about everywhere in Tokyo on a clear day. Here is the view from across the Tama River in Tokyo’s South, and from the World Trade Center in Tokyo’s central Minato Ward. It is a place of huge significance in Japanese culture, and is even considered a semi-deity in Shintoism.

View of Mount Fuji across Tama River from Canon building in ShomomarukuMount Fuji beyond Tokyo skyscrapers

In response to our desire to sample more unique Japanese cuisine, Tad took us to this stylish spot in the trendy district of Roppongi. I just loved these kinds of places! Not a word of English was spoken and all of the menus were in Japanese. We tended to steer clear of places catering to foreigners, which meant that without Tad we’d usually resort to picking things at random from the cryptic menus, or to just kindly ask for the chef’s recommendation.  But despite the fact that we were obvious tourists, every establishment from the fancy restaurants down to the “fast food” stand-while-you-eat noodle shops, not to mention every other shop in Japan, would welcome us in classic Japanese tradition. When you open the door, the entire staff erupt in a chorus of “Irasshaimase!” meaning “Welcome!” It did the trick. I have never felt so absolutely welcome in any city.

Blackened ramen in Roppongi

At this particular restaurant, we tried a delicious burnt-ramen broth. If your exposure to ramen is limited to Cup O Noodles, you are missing out! Ramen of all flavours is a staple of Japanese cuisine and can be found in every nook and cranny in Tokyo. It was perfect for the cold nights experienced during our trip.

Tiny ramen shop in Tokyo

Tiny ramen shop in Tokyo

We also got to try this new twist on a traditional noodle soup: Abura Soba. YUM!

Abura soba noodles in Tokyo

Many restaurants in Tokyo specialise in just one specific type of Japanese food. Many of these restaurants are miniature establishments like the one below, with bar-style seating only. Something about this really excited me—so many tiny restaurants, each a potential new little gem waiting to be discovered!  Jeff and I felt like we needed to try them all. Still completely full of noodles from lunch, we’d see some new sub-cuisine we’d never heard of before, and think “Well, we have to try that!” Here we are at a kushiyaki joint, where everything is served on a skewer! The chef just keeps bringing them out until you’re full, and you pay based on the number of sticks left in the fish’s mouth.

Kushiyaki restaurant in ShibuyaKushiyaki restaurant in Tokyo

One evening, while walking down the streets of Shinjuku, we suddenly caught a glimpse of this interesting sandwich board (below). Considering the overwhelming signage everywhere, I’m somewhat surprised I even noticed it. But we paused, I saw the cat photos, the word “Open” and “Close”, the red arrow with “Entrance is 6F”, and the emphatic “OK!!!” I turned to Jeff and said, “Do you think they really have cats that you can go see on the sixth floor of this building?” There was so much to see in the exterior of Tokyo’s streets that I hadn’t even thought of venturing into the bowels of an unknown building to see what might be inside… but we just had to check this out. Once we walked down a narrow hallway and found a tiny elevator, we pushed the number six and headed up. The lift stopped on other floors where customers got in and out. Suddenly we started to realise how many other tiny, unknown businesses are tucked away in each and every one of these huge buildings, on each and every floor, in a huge three-dimensional maze.

Cat cafe in Shinjuku

Once the doors opened to the sixth floor, my eyes lit up: a cat cafe! It was a clean, two-storey cat mansion, with an entry area and a wall of lockers. For about $10 per hour, you could remove your shoes and don a pair of Japanese slippers, enter with a visitor badge, order a milk tea or a snack, and sit with the cafe’s 52 cats. Jeff knew that there was no way we weren’t going in to this cafe (well, he wanted to go in too, but I was a bit obsessed with the idea)! There were tourists and locals alike in the cafe, including city dwellers who did not have enough space to keep a cat in their own home. What a brilliant idea, I thought! These seemed like very happy, well-groomed, and well-cared for felines. There were 25 different breeds!

Shinjuku cat cafeCat cafe in Shinjuku

OK, maybe I look a little bit like a crazy cat lady in these photos, but I couldn’t get over what a cool business idea this was! It seemed to make so much sense in a city like Tokyo, where living space is so limited for its residents.

Tokyo cat cafe

After another day of sightseeing, Tad took us to another hidden restaurant on a nondescript floor of some random skyscraper that we will never be able to find again. How many more of these hidden establishments were there, windowless and hidden from the outside world, waiting to be discovered? This place was one of our most memorable meals of the trip! In typical Japanese fashion, we had the opportunity to choose our sake cup, and preview the range of vegetables that were to be prepared so meticulously for our enjoyment.

Japanese sake

I was slightly perplexed as to why the wait staff showed us the raw brown onion and the plain raw mushrooms before we finalised our order. Previewing the seafood? Sure, that made sense to me… but the brown onion? But when this onion came out, served on its own, roasted to perfection with a dash of sea salt, I got it. This is how seriously the Japanese take their craft, even if they are only cooking a lowly brown onion. The onion received as much respect as the premium seafood. It deserved an introduction, and the process of cooking it turned it into art. I swear it was the best onion I’ve ever had.

Shirako was again on the menu, but we also tried a new mysterious delicacy: liver of the weird-looking deep-sea Angler Fish!

Shirako (cod sperm sac) and Anko (angler fish liver) sushi in Tokyo Sushi in Tokyo

Japanese plum wine, or umeshu, quickly became another favourite drink with our meals.

Japanese plum wine (umeshu) at Tokyo restaurant

We continued to explore the numerous and varied neighborhoods of Tokyo. Here is Kappabashi, also known as Kitchen Town, the place you go for anything and everything kitchen-related, including the kitchen sink.

Kappabashi Kitchen Town

Kappabashi Kitchen TownPlum blossoms at Sensoji Temple

Nearby at the Asakusa Kannon Temple, we were seduced by a large number of street vendors cooking up delicious desserts! One thing we appreciated about Japan was how serious everyone is about their craft, including this red-bean pastry chef along the street.

Sensoji Temple also known as Asakusa Kannon TemplePastry maker along Nakamise at Asakusa Shrine

In contrast to the shops along the temples and in the outer neighborhoods, here is the modern high-end shopping district of Ginza, in central Tokyo:

Ginza shopping district

And no visit to Japan is complete without a stop at the notorious “Electric Town” of Akiharbara:

Akihabara Electric Town in Tokyo

Another must-see was the Tokyo Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market. We followed advice and arrived at 4:00am, only to discover that we were just a little too late to view the famous tuna auction! Though we missed out on the spectacle of giant tuna selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, we did get to see lots of action in the general market:

Tsukiji Fish Market in TokyoTsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo

We were rightly advised that a visit to the fish market would not be complete without a sushi breakfast! We had heard about the legendary Daiwa-Sushi restaurant, but when we showed up around 8am, there was already a queue around the block with a three hour wait. Three hours! After a bit of debate, we decided to join a much shorter queue for one of the other popular sushi restaurants.

Waiting in line for sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market

We waited a “mere” 40 minutes or so before sitting down in this tiny sushi bar with about six other customers. If Daiwa-Sushi is the best restaurant there, I can’t imagine how good it must be—because what we ate at this place was, no doubt, the best and freshest sushi meal we’ve ever had!

Sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo

We really enjoyed watching the chef up close and personal.

Sushi breakfast at Tokyo Fish Market

With one night left in Tokyo, we had to celebrate with another huge dinner and sake fest. Jeff and I became quite accustomed to enjoying a bottle or two of sake with every meal. Somehow, it perfectly suited the food, the weather, and the customs. Kanpai!!

Yakitori and sake in Tokyo JapanPouring Japanese sakeDramatic sunset over Tokyo syline from World Trade Center

Well, what more can I say. Tokyo overwhelmed us, excited and amazed us, and left a lasting impression. We have never stuffed our faces with so much amazing food. We did get to venture beyond Tokyo and see more of Japan, which continued to amaze us—we can’t wait to share the photos in the next part! If you’ve never been, we hope we’ve inspired you to visit. Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think! Arigatō gozaimasu! :)

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Matt Thomas - I’m in Tokyo now and it saddens me that I won’t scratch the surface of what you’ve seen.

T - nice photo.

けん - nice photo!!

thankyou——–!!

A Japanese - I admired the beauty of the photograph. Is it a single-lens reflex camera? I am very glad for you to enjoy Japan fully. I am doing work of the sightseeing. Please come to Miyagi Prefecture next time! Sorry for poor English.

Marcy Izawa Heil - Hi, Ms. Wong. I was so amazed about your beautiful photos and your food experienses in Tokyo. I’ve been living in Orange County in CA. almost 25 yeas. But I’m a Japanese came from Tokyo and still my mother and sisiter live there. So, I visit Tokyo every 2 years if possible. But,everytime I went back to Tokyo, it changed a lot and I felt like I was a tourist.(Even I’m still Japanese) Anyway, I love your photos and details of restaurants in Tokyo. It made me miss Japan so much! By the way, if it’s possible, can you please tell me the name of restaurants and area you went to? Because, I really want to go these restaurants next time when I go back to Tokyo(hopefully, this year). I’m sepecialy interested on the one it showed a brown onion! Thank you and I’m grad you really enjoyed and loved Tokyo! (^0^)/ Marcy

skan - はじめまして。京都に住んでいるskanと申します。
写真がどれもすばらしくて引き込まれました!!スゴイ\(@_@)/
東京旅行を満喫されたようですね。

また日本にいらしてください(^^)/

tatsuya - Your photography skills are amazing.
And, beautiful, very good point of view.
Even I lived in Tokyo, I am impressed.
Please come to Tokyo come again.

Murthy - Hello!

Your blog has been introduced in
http://news.searchina.ne.jp/disp.cgi?y=2013&d=0412&f=national_0412_007.shtml.
(in Japanese)

Thank you !

August Hayek - Fantastic photos!! Which Canon camera and lenses did you use?

Charles - Dear Wong Couple,

Thanks for sharing these photos. My wife and I visited Tokyo last August (incredibly humid and hot!) and relive the fantastic experience we had there, although you explored still more things than we did.

Regards, Charles

Steven - Truly stunning photos… they almost transport me there (I wish!) ツ

Q Station Wedding: Aislinn & Luke – Part 2

Our happy couple Aislinn and Luke had just been married! We loved the smiles on their faces as we headed outside for some portraits. It was too wet and windy to venture far, but the Q Station hospital ceremony grounds provided some attractive and handy cover. The Q Station was once Sydney harbour’s quarantine station, but these days the historical buildings have been transformed into a lovely hotel and variety of event spaces in a quiet, peaceful setting.

Manly Q Station wedding photos Sydney

Sydney northern beaches wedding photography

What a good looking couple!

Q Station wedding picturesBride and groom portraits Sydney Harbour National ParkWedding party at Q Station Manly

Q Station wedding photographers

Creative and fun wedding photography Australia

I love these! What a beautiful (and handsome) bridal party!

Sydney wedding photographers northern beaches eastern suburbs

The beer and champagne were definitely flowing! Cheers to the bride and groom!

Fun bridal party pictures Sydney Q Station wedding bridal party portraits

The views from Q Station are lovely, looking back up Sydney Harbour.

Sydney harbour wedding bridal party portraits

Aislinn and Luke held their reception in the Governor Bourke Room, which was once an old school hall. It was beautifully decorated with fairy lights, candles and sheer fabric.

Wedding reception Q Station, rustic wedding venue, old school hall wedding, dance hall weddingQ Station wedding reception Bourke Room

Aislinn created miniature paintings and collages as table numbers, representing places that she and Luke had travelled to together.

Q Station wedding reception detailsAustralia rustic wedding barn wedding reception

They also had an incredibly cute Polaroid photo corner set up for the guests!

Manly wedding reception details

Aislinn and Luke chose to have a croquembouche for their wedding cake! Incredibly, it gave the entire hall a sweet smell of sugar. I have never experienced a sugar smell quite that potent. I was salivating the entire reception!

Croquembouche wedding cake pictures

Then in came the bridal party, followed by our new happy couple!

Q Station wedding grand entrance photos Fun and vibrant wedding photography AustraliaManly beach wedding reception SydneySydney wedding reception photos Manly

How beautiful did the Governor Bourke Room look?

Creative wedding photography Australia and New Zealand

The Q Station staff was hard at work preparing the food in the hidden back room, while the first speeches and toasts were underway.

Q Station wedding dinner food pictures Q Station Burke Room wedding dinner speechesQ station Manly wedding reception speeches

The reception hall glowed in the twilight light, amidst some dramatic storm clouds. Its location on the hilltop felt so secluded. Beautiful! Click this panorama to view it larger.

Wedding photography Australia and New Zealand, Q Station Manly wedding venue Australia

Creative wedding photojournalism Australia New ZealandCandid wedding photos Sydney northern beachesQ Station wedding reception bride groom speechWedding photojournalism SydneyAustralia rustic wedding reception venue photosManly Q Station wedding receptionWedding photojournalism Sydney Manly Beach Q Station weddingNatural wedding photography SydneySydney wedding photographers

The best man’s speech had everyone in stitches!

Fun and natural wedding photos Australia and New ZealandQ Station Manly Bourke Room weddingQuarantine Station wedding reception Sydney

Now it was time to cut into that insanely-good-smelling-croquembouche!

Cake cutting pictures Sydney harbour weddingQ Station wedding reception cake cutting

I loved this—Aislinn snuck in another cut of the big cake on her own! Hah!

Fun wedding photojournalism Australia

I think it must have been yummy…

Wedding photography photojournalism Australia New Zealand

Next, the band arrived! Aislinn and Luke hired James Willing and he and his drummer were amazing! Jeff and I were so impressed!

Creative wedding photography Australia New ZealandQ Station wedding reception pictures

The guests were loving the photobooth props. Hilarious… love that pipe!

Fun vibrant wedding photography AustraliaRustic wedding barn wedding reception, James Willing live band

The music changed tempo and it was time for the first dance.

Rustic wedding barn wedding reception bride and groom first danceManly beach wedding reception first danceQ Station wedding first dance photos with live band, James Willing musician

Love this one…

Creative and elegant wedding photography Australia New Zealand

Q Station Bourke Room wedding first dance

Old school hall wedding venue dance photos

And then the party really went into full swing!

Q Station wedding reception dancing picturesJames Willing live band at Q Station weddingFun wedding moments wedding photojournalismQ Station wedding photos reception dancingSydney Q Station wedding reception with live band

The band had everyone on the dance floor, and even inspired this brief bit of karaoke from one of the guests!

Manly beach wedding photography receptionRomantic and fun wedding photography Australia

The crowd was cheering on the band. They really kept the energy up and sounded amazing! Wedding couples out there, you should go hire them. :)

James Willing musician performing wedding live entertainmentCreative and fun wedding photos Australia New Zealand

Congratulations, Aislinn and Luke! We loved being a part of your first day together as husband and wife. Thank you for letting us capture these wonderful memories for you! Friends and family of Aislinn and Luke, leave a message for the happy couple below, or just let us know what you think of the photos! Click here to see Part 1 and Part 2 of the full gallery of images.

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Q Station Wedding: Aislinn & Luke – Part 1

Recently Jeff and I had the pleasure of photographing Luke and Aislinn’s (pronounced Ash-linn) wedding day at Q Station in Manly Beach. This beautiful, classic affair and all their happy, smiling guests were a delight to capture on camera. Aislinn and Luke told us that they were more “pub food and beer” type people, but they certainly went très elegant for their wedding day! We started off the day with Aislinn and her bridesmaids. We just love the location she chose to get ready. Lots and lots of natural light spilled through the big windows making it perfect for makeup and portraits. What a beautiful home! Aislinn chose a very elegant gown with an intricately beaded bodice and gorgeous Grecian draping at the waist.

Manly Beach wedding photography

Aislinn was looking gorgeous even before her makeup and hair were complete.

Photos of northern beaches wedding preparationsPhotos of bride getting ready for northern beaches wedding

The make-up artist and hairstylist (not to mention us photographers) were all loving the natural light!

Pictures of bride getting ready for Sydney northern beaches weddingSydney Manly wedding day preparations

Outside it was damp and grey, but the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits! Everyone was already in a celebratory mood.

Manly Sydney Photographers

I love Aislinn’s unique and absolutely gorgeous engagement ring!

Bridal preparations Sydney wedding photographyWedding makeup and hair Manly Beach wedding

Aislinn chose these beautiful suede shoes as her “something blue”, although she could almost have already ticked that box with her amazing blue eyes!

Photos of wedding details, Q Station Wedding

Aislinn’s bridesmaids were also looking stunning, each with their own distinct hairstyle.

Photos of wedding day makeup SydneyManly Q Station wedding day getting readyCreative wedding photographyWedding day florals and hair, Sydney wedding photographers

I just love this braided, loose updo hairstyle. Beautiful!

Vibrant wedding photography, northern beaches wedding photosBride getting ready for Q Station Wedding SydneyPictures of bride getting ready Sydney ManlyNatural and relaxed wedding photographyBeautiful and elegant wedding photography

With the finishing touches complete, it was time to put on that gorgeous wedding gown!

Creative and vibrant wedding photography

Bridal prepartions Sydney weddingBride putting on wedding dress before Sydney beach wedding

Doesn’t she look stunning?

Sydney wedding photographers

Beautiful and elegant wedding photography

I love these two portraits. So beautiful, Aislinn!

Elegant wedding portrait of bride

Creative wedding portraiture

Looking beautiful, ladies!

Sydney wedding bridal party photos

Meanwhile, the guys were relaxing over at Q Station’s Boilerhouse Restaurant.

Creative photos of groomCreative photos of groom

The guys enjoyed a laid-back lunch with plenty of beers and good laughs!

Guys getting ready for Sydney northern beaches weddingGuys getting ready for Sydney northern beaches wedding

The surrounds of Q Station are quite unique! Although it’s just a minute or two outside of Manly, Q Station feels like a relaxing retreat with its bushland surrounds and harbour views.

Q Station wedding day preparations

Back in the wedding suite, it was time for a quick outfit change before the ceremony!

Sydney wedding photos groom and groomsmen getting readyPictures of groom getting ready Sydney weddingGroomsmen wedding day getting ready photosGroom getting dressed for his wedding daySydney wedding photographers Manly Beach Q Station wedding photos

Each of the guys had their own custom cufflinks, designed to represent their nickname! So clever! This stethoscope was for “The Doc”.

Groom wedding day details picturesPhotos of groom and bridal party wedding preparations

More custom cufflinks – what a fun idea!

Creative wedding photography groom bridal party

Luke was looking smart!

Groom on his wedding day at Q StationGroom on his wedding day at Q Station Manly BeachQ Station wedding day preparationsSydney harbour view from Q Station wedding dayQ Station Hotel Wedding preparations

With the ties tied, jackets on, and rings ready to go… guess what was next?  The weather had failed to lift, and so the ceremony was moved to a lovely indoor space. The harbour was so choppy, we all watched as the giant ferries bobbed up and down as if in a bathtub. We were all glad we weren’t on board!

Sydney harbour view from Q Station wedding day

As you can see, everyone was still all smiles despite the rain!

Candid and natural wedding photosWedding photojournalism Sydney northern beaches

The anticipation began to build with the ceremony just moments away. I love this shot of Aislinn and her father. What a special moment between father and daughter.

Natural and emotional wedding photographySydney Q Station wedding photography

Luke smiled fondly as he saw his bride come down the aisle.

Sydney Q Station wedding hospital ceremony groundsCreative wedding photography SydneyWedding photojournalism Sydney  Photos of Manly Beach wedding Sydney wedding ceremony picturesNatural wedding photojournalism SydneyNorthern beaches wedding photojournalism

Aislinn’s bridesmaid recited a lovely reading as our bride tried hard not to cry.

Natural and emotional wedding photographyQ Station wedding ceremony

The parents of the bride and groom looked on lovingly as their children said their vows and exchanged rings.

Sydney wedding photojournalism

Aislinn and Luke were just beaming with joy as their celebrant pronounced them husband and wife!

Elegant and natural wedding photography SydneyCreative wedding photojournalismFun and natural wedding photography

I just love the reaction of this little girl. It looks like she is already dreaming of her own wedding someday. Too cute!

Sydney Manly Beach wedding photosSydney fun and candid wedding photography

What a gorgeous happy couple!

Creative wedding photojournalism

Congratulations, Aislinn and Luke! What a beautiful ceremony. Wait until you see their amazing reception – stay tuned for Part 2, coming to the blog soon! Friends and family of Aislinn and Luke, leave a comment for the happy couple below or just to let us know what you think, and click here to see Part 1 and Part 2 of the full gallery of images!

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Fraser Island: Australia’s Most Unique Island

The day has finally come for us to share with you the photos from our camping trip to the incredibly special, wet, wild and wonderful Fraser Island! Yes, in my opinion, Fraser Island is Australia’s most unique and special island, and that’s saying a lot, since Australia itself is one heck of a unique and special island, surrounded by many others. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting—and if you like the look of the photos below—I suggest you add Fraser Island to your bucket list, pronto. Fraser Island will always have a special place in my heart. I have been to Fraser Island about 12 times, having had the privilege of visiting this amazing place as part of my former job working for a study abroad organisation. We used to take our student groups on day trips to this remarkable island as part of their orientation to Australia. Those were some lucky students, and every time I swam in the Evian-like waters of Lake McKenzie, even on the trips where I was sick, or we had torrential downpours, I knew I was one damn lucky student adviser. Having shared stories with Jeff over the years of exciting dingo sightings, erratic weather and king tides, crazy bus incidents, unusual sea life washed up on the beach, and the never-changing beauty of Lake McKenzie, I was extremely excited that he would finally get to see it himself, along with my sister and our dear friend, Matt. This very unique World Heritage island is the largest sand island in the world, and the only place in the world where you can find rainforest growing straight out of sand above 200 metres. It’s also where we happened to see one of the most spectacular sunsets we’ve ever seen.

Fraser Island beach photo spectacular sunset, Australian landscape photographers

There are only a few very short stretches of paved road on Fraser Island, branching a few hundred metres around the main barge transfer point and the one hotel on the island. The rest of your driving terrain, like the rest of the surface of the island, is just sand. Beautiful, soft, white and pale peach sand-dune blowy sand. The inland tracks, sticky and flat when they are wet, morph, rumple and bulge into fluffy tire traps when they are dry. The tricky and ever-changing driving conditions on the island make it strictly 4WD territory. Seventy-Five Mile Beach, pictured here, is an actual highway (with road rules and a speed limit!) running up the coast of the island. Parts of it even function as an airstrip, and it is not uncommon to see small airplanes taking off and landing on the beach. There is definitely something crazy and fun about driving along a beautiful beach like this.

Australia Fraser Island beautiful landscape photography

Did I mention that Fraser Island is literally one huge pile of sand? Whether the random tour guide—who claimed the sand could cover the entire Sahara desert if spread out—is correct or not, it’s still one heck of a lot of sand. In fact, it used to be called The Great Sandy Island, continuing the tradition of extremely creative Australian names such as Western Australia, South Australia, and the Snowy Mountains. Other than the sand and the rainforest, Fraser Island is famous for its incredible perched lakes, which are like permanent rainwater puddles trapped on the tops of the dunes. A few places on the island allow you to see out over the giant sand blows to the ocean beyond.

Fraser Island nature photography view of Lake Wabby and ocean

In the interior of the island, the view is quite different through the towering rainforest!

Fraser Island inland track and rainforest, Australian landscape and nature photographers

I may have accompanied my student groups on huge, Star Wars sandcrawler-style buses with a tour guide for our day trips, but truly the best way to see the island is by hiring your own 4WD vehicle and setting off with a small group for at least three days. This is the way I first saw the island back in 2001 when I was a student, and I have wanted to do it the same way again ever since that trip. The island is quite sizeable, and travel over the sandy tracks can be very slow. You could easily spend a relaxing week on the island and not run out of things to see. Here we are with our hired 4WD, feeling a bit goofy. We thought our Steve Irwin look went well with the old-school style 4WD, don’t you?

But our first stop would require an outfit change!

Camping and four-wheel driving on Fraser Island

The first lake we visited was Lake Birrabeen, which is very similar to the more famous Lake McKenzie. These freshwater perched lakes are unlike any other lake you’re likely to have seen. The water is as clear as water running from your tap, and tastes no different. The lakes have a impermeable layer of old matted vegetation lying deep below the sand, which prevents the water from seeping into the dune. The result is a pure, clear rainwater puddle, and swimming in it feels much cleaner and more refreshing than being in a swimming pool!

Beautiful waters of Lake Birrabeen, Fraser Island, AustraliaLake Birrabeen photos, Fraser Island, Queensland

The sandy shore drops off steeply into the lake, creating three bands of colour along the edge.

Fraser Island holiday Lake Birrabeen shoreLake Birrabeen Fraser Island pictures, Australian travel photos

We were concerned about rain on our visit, as the forecast wasn’t exactly for clear skies the whole time. On our drive into Hervey Bay, the jumping off point for Fraser Island, we encountered a tremendous thunderstorm. The rain must certainly have qualified as flash-flood intensity, and we watched the giant red and black splotch on the weather radar as it passed right over Fraser Island and on to the coast where we were driving, slowing our vehicle to a near crawl. Though we weren’t too excited at the prospect of camping in that type of weather, the timing ended up being perfect. When we got to the island the next day, we realised that the deluge had left us not with water-logged roads, but with sandy tracks pounded flat. We didn’t get bogged once!

4WD driving on Fraser Island inland track

Though I’d been to Fraser Island many times, the student-group tours that I’d been a part of always followed the same itinerary and visited only one lake. So I was quite eager to get my first glimpse of Lake Wabby, a lake stained by tea trees and slowly being swallowed up by its giant dune neighbour.

View of Lake Wabby from lookout, Fraser Island nature photographers

These weren’t aerial shots; this spectacular overlook is the start of one of two paths that you can use to get down to the lake.

Photos of Fraser Island Lake Wabby view

I was somewhat surprised to see that there is life in Lake Wabby!

Lake Wabby shore, Fraser Island

Kate even found a two-meter croc lurking in the waters!

Swimming in Lake Wabby, Fraser Island AustraliaLake Wabby Fraser Island photos

Fraser Island nature photography, Central Station Rainforest

We spent some time driving through the island’s interior, where you can find ancient rainforest growing straight out of sand. It is quite the sight!

Fraser Island Valley of the Giants rainforestFraser Island Nature Photographer, rainforest landscapeFraser Island rainforest photos Australia

Fraser Island is also famous for its enormous Satinay trees, like this one pictured below. They can live for well over 1,000 years! Sadly the island was once logged heavily, but now it is a fully protected area.

Fraser Island giant Satinay tree

Of course, visiting beautiful Lake McKenzie was a must. We arrived here shortly before sunset to find a deserted lake, which is a fairly rare sight especially in summer. Your best bet is to visit early in the morning or late in the evening for a crowd-free swim.

Lake Mckenzie Fraser Island photosSwimming in Fraser Island Lake Mckenzie

We returned again another morning, and were the first ones there! Ahhh… these photos make me want to go for a splash right now!

Fraser Island landscape photography Lake Mckenzie

I gotta say, in the past, I haven’t been a huge fan of swimming in lakes. I think I had a bad introduction to the nature of lakes as a child. I remember attending some other child’s birthday party, the activities for which centered mostly around swimming and playing in a dark, sludgy lake. The water was not deep, but it was black and viscous, like some kind of metallic-looking ooze used for special effect in a sci-fi film. I practised treading water almost continuously, my legs getting tangled in slippery reeds, as I tried to avoid setting down my bare feet on the slimy, spongy layer that coated the bottom of the lake. Ugh. That’s enough of that thought! After that first lake-swimming experience, I stereotyped all lakes to be of the slimy, icky nature… until I met Fraser Island!

Lake McKenzie Fraser IslandBeautiful clear waters of Lake McKenzieAustralian nature and landscape photography

Like we did on our visit to Queensland with my parents, we had another go at a drip castle. You can polish your jewellery with this sand!

White sands of Lake McKenzie, Fraser IslandAustralian holiday photos, swimming in Lake McKenzie

We had some fun with this waterproof deck of cards. Thanks, Mom! :)

Fraser Island holiday picturesFraser Island holiday picturesLake McKenzie Fraser Island nature photographer

Ahhh… I think swimming in Lake McKenzie wins the prize for the most relaxing and refreshing swim, ever. Every time I would visit with my students, as we left the lake, I would always make a little silent wish that I would get to visit again, tossing an imaginary coin into this natural Trevi Fountain.

Giant sandblow Fraser Island Australia

From another point on the island, we were treated to views of another giant sandblow. The rain came in again, but it didn’t stop us from taking some close-ups of the flora and fauna.

I don’t know the name of the creature that does this, but I think they should be called Graffiti Worms.

Fraser Island native treesAustralia Fraser Island plant lifeInsects on Fraser Island QueenslandPlant life photos Fraser Island AustraliaAustralian nature photography Fraser Island

Every night, we took the opportunity to camp somewhere along 75-Mile Beach. One of the perks of camping along an East-facing beach is the view you get to enjoy in the morning!

Sunrise over Fraser Island beach, Australian nature photographer

This is the famous Maheno shipwreck, which has slowly been disintegrating since it beached there in 1935.

Fraser Island shipwreck, landscape photographyThe Maheno shipwreck Fraser IslandFour-wheel driving on Fraser Island beaches

One of the most common places to camp on Fraser Island is right along the beach, behind the first set of dunes. We found a spot one evening and decided we’d make a timelapse video of us setting up our campsite:

We meant it to be longer, but in the middle of setting up camp… THIS happened! Who cares about that timelapse now?! This was such a spectacular sunset, we hardly knew what to do with ourselves.

Amazing sunset Australia Fraser IslandVibrant sunset over Australian beach

The only thing to do was to jump for joy!

Amazing sunset Australia Fraser Island

Or to do cartwheels…

Incredible sunset over Fraser Island Queensland Australia

If you catch a night without clouds or rain, the remote location of Fraser Island means that the skies are quite the sight.

Milky way and night sky as seen from Fraser Island

This brings us to the end of the Martin Family visits to Australia—we hope you’ve enjoyed the glimpse into our last-Christmas holiday! We’re continuing to get caught up on our travel photos, and the next travel post we’ll be featuring is from a trip that surprised, amazed and inspired us, and filled our stomachs much too full with sushi and sake. You can guess where we went! Stay tuned, and let us know what you think of the Fraser Island photos below in the comments!

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Tyson - Guys your photos are absolutely amazing! Honestly I’ve never seen so many good photos of Fraser Island before…so well done! It looks like you guys had a great time on the Island…I’ve never seen Lake Wabby that busy before! Make sure you come back to Australia some time soon!

Peter - Stunning shots guys – especially that night shot at the end!

Gina - Always love the 3D feel of your images. Beautiful island!

Matt - Unbelievably beautiful! Love that timelapse sunset!

Rich - What a ridiculously beautiful place! I officially need to visit Australia now! Gorgeous images!

Narrabeen Beach Engagement Session: Frances & Gordon

When Jeff and I photograph weddings and engagement sessions, it never really feels like “work”, but our afternoon with Frances and Gordon in Narrabeen transported us straight to a relaxing holiday weekend state-of-mind. Being Surry Hills locals, we rarely venture up to Narrabeen, but this most recent visit has made us wonder why! Frances and Gordon suggested doing their session in Narrabeen as it is the place they recently decided to make their home together. We love to do photo shoots in places that are significant to our couples, and so we jumped at the idea! Photographing near their home also made sense somehow because these two first met when they became housemates whilst living in London (lucky flatmate find that was)! We absolutely loved this location, and felt even more on holiday hanging out with this sweet, soft-spoken, relaxed, loving couple. Frances and Gordon not only seem perfectly suited to one another, they seem perfectly suited to Narrabeen. We just loved everything about this session! Check out our snaps of this beautiful couple:

Narrabeen Lakes engagement portraits

Frances and Gordon had so many fun stories to share with us throughout the afternoon, and evening, when we had dinner together at one of their favourite local restaurants, Mexicano. Apart from impressing these California natives with their refined Mexican-food-and-beverage palate (two thumbs up for delicious jalapeño margaritas!), Gordon amazed us with tales of growing up and travelling in Africa. Frances and Gordon have done a fair share of travelling together since meeting in London, and have more planned with a possible African safari honeymoon!

Sydney north shore vibrant engagement photosRomantic portraits Narrabeen Lakes Sydney

These reeds by Narrabeen Lakes worked as an awesome backdrop!

Creative engagement photography Narrabeen and Sydney north shore

Natural pre-wedding photos Narrabeen Lakes

Outdoor natural setting engagement photos Sydney north shore

Lakeside engagement photos Narrabeen Sydney

I love these next two. Looking good, you two!

Narrabeen wedding photographers Sydney

We found this collection of cool trees by the lakeside.

Creative pre-wedding photos Sydney northern beaches

Aren’t they so cute together? I loved their choice of laid-back, beachy outfits with a pop of colour, that seemed so “them”!

Narrabeen Lakes engagement portraits

Next we headed down to the lagoon. Love this one!

Candid and relaxed pre-weding pictures Sydney

Frances and Gordon are crazy active people. Gordon is an accomplished surfer and Frances is learning. They both love to run, cycle, skateboard and snowboard, too! No wonder they love this beachy suburb.

Narrabeen lagoon engagement photosSydney Narrabeen lagoon engagement sessionBeautiful landscape engagement photos Sydney

We discovered the underside of this bridge, which even surprised Frances and Gordon at low tide. What a cool spot!

Colorful engagement portraits Narrabeen Lagoon Sydney north shore engagement photographersNarrabeen lagoon bridge couples photosPre-wedding photographers Narrabeen and Sydney northern beachesFun engagement session photos Sydney northern suburbs

Frances and Gordon decided to bring along some champagne to enjoy atop the sand dunes at the beach.

Beach picnic engagement session SydneyRelaxed colourful and vibrant pre-wedding photos

Pink sand and sage-coloured grasses… and diamonds. Gorgeous!

Romantic beach engagement photos Narrabeen SydneySydney northern beaches engagement and wedding photographers

Some of my favourites that Jeff took:

Creative wedding and engagement photographers SydneyCreative engagement and portrait photography Sydney beachesSydney beach picnic themed engagement shoot

…And some that I took. Frances, you are beautiful!

Engagement portraits Sydney beaches Pre-wedding photos Sydney northern and eastern beaches

Next we took a quick walk up the local bush walking track, to this lookout over Narrabeen.

North Narrabeen reserve engagement photos

Too cute!

Colourful and creative engagement photos Narrabeen ReserveNorth Narrabeen reserve pre-wedding photos

Our last stop for the evening was Narrabeen pool. If you read our blog you can probably guess what we were hoping for at the end of the shoot: calm, still water and a spectacularly vibrant sunset. It was neither calm nor crazy vibrant, but I have to say I just love how these turned out. The sky and sea showed us a beautiful pastel palette, and the sea pounded the nearby rocks giving us some really impressive splashes!

Narrabeen beach pool engagement photosNarrabeen beach pool pre-wedding photography

It’s hard to pick favourites from this session, but the next three are up there for me!

Beautiful landscape engagement photos Sydney

Beautiful landscape engagement pictures Narrabeen beachRomantic pre-wedding photos Narrabeen poolFun engagement photography Sydney beaches

Of course, we had to take a few panoramas. Click them to view them bigger!

Narrabeen beach and pool panoramic photo

Colourful beach engagement photography SydneyNarrabeen beach pool couples portraits

Narrabeen looked beautiful bathed in blue.

Narrabeen beach twilight sunset panorama, Sydney engagement photographers

This one is my favourite. It should definitely be viewed larger to be appreciated, so click away!

Beautiful vibrant engagement and wedding photography Sydney, Narrabeen beach sunset

With that, it was time for a jalapeño margarita and a fun chat about Frances and Gordon’s wedding plans. We’re so excited about what these guys have planned. We won’t spoil any of the fun, but you’ll definitely want to check back in a couple of months to see their beautiful wedding day! Friends and family of Frances and Gordon, check back soon for a link to the full gallery of images, and in the meantime, let us know what you think of the photos in the comments below!

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Balmoral Beach & Bathers Pavillion Wedding: Frances & Gordon – Part 1 » The Wong Couple :: Sydney Photographers - […] their personalities shine through in every detail. You’ll remember this beautiful couple from their engagement session on Narrabeen Beach earlier this year. As beach lovers, it just made sense for them to hold their […]

Matt - Amazing photos! The couple must be thrilled. Especially like the under the bridge shots!

Balmoral Beach Wedding: Kylie & Justin

How do we know Kylie and Justin are a lucky couple? For one, they live in Bermuda. Yep, that’s right, as in the mysterious airplane-scrambling triangle that contains mostly ocean, and a small bit of gorgeous tropical island. This half-Aussie, half-American couple got lucky when they both landed in there separately and love brought them together. Land a job in Bermuda, fall in love in Bermuda, stay in Bermuda? Isn’t that the life! Kylie and Justin did the nice thing and Skyped with me with a blank wall behind them, instead of the view—no doubt—of the slivers of white, turquoise and blue that gleamed just outside their window…ahhh. They giggled simultaneously when I asked to hear the story of how they met. Their chance meeting took place at a bar in Bermuda, where Kylie proceeded to ignore Justin for a full two hours. But Justin was intrigued and determined and at last, after a great conversation, he knew he had to ensure that he could see Kylie again. With Kylie’s imminent departure looming, and no contact details in hand, Justin resorted to a self-described “Jedi mind trick”, which Kylie said she fell for completely. He said, “Oh, gosh, if I had a business card on me I’d give you one!” Kylie said she replied automatically, “Oh no worries, you can have one of mine!” Nicely done, Justin. Nicely done. Although we only got to know this sweet travelling duo briefly, Jeff and I could tell they seemed so well suited to one another, and this is another reason we know Kylie and Justin are definitely one lucky couple.

Rocky point park wedding photos Balmoral Beach Sydney

Kylie and Justin got married at beautiful Balmoral Beach, one of my personal favourite harbour beaches, at the lovely Rotunda, surrounded by their family. It’s hard to beat Sydney beaches (except of course, perhaps by places like Bermuda)! Their luck travelled with them, and we were blessed with a beautiful summer’s day. There was no telling what the weather would do, but it was warm and bright and happy!

Wedding ceremony at Balmoral Beach Rotunda Sydney

Justin anxiously awaited his beautiful bride.

Wedding ceremony at the Rotunda at Balmoral Beach

Kylie came into view with her father and both of their faces just lit up!

Balmoral Beach Sydney lunchtime wedding ceremony

Justin gave a huge smile as he caught his first glimpses of Kylie, looking radiant in her gown.

Bride walking down aisle at Balmoral Beach wedding ceremonyWedding photos at Balmoral Beach Rotunda SydneySydney north shore wedding ceremony pictures

Julie Ferguson did a lovely job officiating the ceremony.

Balmoral Beach Rotunda mid-day wedding ceremony photosEmotional and natural wedding photos SydneySummer beach wedding photos Sydney north shoreSydney north shore wedding ceremony photosWedding pictures Sydney Balmoral Beach Balmoral Beach summer wedding photosSydney north shore beach wedding ceremony photosSydney beach wedding ceremony photos

I love this one. What a gorgeous new married couple!

Balmoral Beach and Sydney north shore wedding photographers

Their families were so happy and proud!

Candid and natural wedding photography SydneyNatural and relaxed beach wedding photography Sydney

Then it was time for some portraits with just the bride and groom.

Balmoral Beach wedding portraits

Looking sharp, Justin!

Groom portraits at Balmoral Beach

Kylie, you are stunning!

Bride wedding portraits Sydney north shore

And don’t they just look great together?

Balmoral Beach bridge wedding pictures

Wedding photos on the bridge at Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach wedding portraits

We went for a walk in the beautiful Rocky Point Park in the middle of the beach. I love Balmoral for this unique feature.

Bermuda bride and groom weddingCreative beach wedding photography SydneyBride and groom portraits at Rocky Point Park, Sydney

Wedding photos in Rocky Point Park, Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach is so scenic. What a beautiful day it was.

Beautiful wedding photography Balmoral Beach Sydney

I just loved the way the sea breeze flowed through Kylie’s beautiful dress!

Rocky Point Park wedding pictures

Bermuda bride and groom wedding

Kylie and Justin’s lunchtime reception was held in the venue on the sand, Bathers Pavillion. Their guests gathered in the Blue Room.

Bathers Pavillion photos Balmoral Beach SydneyBathers Pavillion wedding venue Balmoral BeachWedding lunch reception at Bathers PavillionCake and details at Bathers Pavillion weddingBathers Pavillion wedding receptionBride and groom at Bathers Pavillion wedding receptionFun wedding photos

How cute is this cupcake-eating photo? Love it!

Fun and creative wedding photography SydneyBlue room wedding lunch reception at Bathers Pavillion

There were several touching speeches to warm everyone’s heart. I love this part of weddings.

Wedding speech photos SydneySummer lunchtime wedding at the Blue Room in Bathers PavillionEmotional wedding speech photos SydneyPhotojournalistic wedding photography Sydney

I just loved Kylie’s ring—there’s something special and unique about emerald cut diamonds. So beautiful!

Sydney and New South Wales wedding photographers

Kylie and Justin, we loved meeting you both and are so happy to have been a part of your wedding! Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your amazing lives, and we wish you many, many more years of amazingness, travel and friendship as husband and wife.

Friends and family of Kylie and Justin, click here to see the full gallery of images! In the meantime, let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Biju Photography - Brilliant pictures. Loved all the clicks. Beautiful light and awesome location. Another wedding nailed. :)

Natalie - I love how soft the couple looks even in the bright sunlight!

Erik Hornung - Beutiful photos as always you guys! Looks like it was a nice intimate wedding!

Gina Lewis - Love the cliff shot and the last ring shot. All great images! :)

Emily Heizer Photography - Lots of happy fun sunshine!!!! They look super happy and I love how their eyes are shining!

What’s the orange drink in the tea cups?

Kylie - Erin & Jeff – you really did a wonderful job. I love the one of Justin’s face as we were feeding each other the cupcakes! You captured that moment wonderfully. I can’t thank you enough! Kylie

Justin Tomas - Hi Erin and Jeff,

Thank you so much for the sneak peak! These look great. I especially like the introduction and compliment for the jedi mind trick.

Talk to you soon and thanks again,

Justin & Kylie

Sydney City Post-Wedding Session: Richie & Kathy

We’re going to take a break from travel blogging and share with you a fun post-wedding/honeymoon/trash-the-dress session! Last June, we travelled back to Los Angeles for the beautiful wedding of my brother-in-law Richie to his gorgeous new wife Kathy. Their wedding was huge, amazing, tons of fun and beautifully captured by The Youngrens, who as you may remember, photographed our own wedding! For part of their honeymoon, Richie and Kathy decided to come visit us in Sydney. So, just like my parents, a big thanks to Richie and Kathy for being so patient waiting for these photos. Kathy decided to bring along her wedding dress—which filled an entire suitcase—and we think it was definitely worth it! We love the idea of a post-wedding or “trash the dress” session (although as evidenced here, you definitely don’t need to literally “trash” it)! After all, when are you going to get to wear that beautiful gown again? Richie and Kathy liked the idea of some urban photos, so we took a jaunt through Martin Place.

Sydney CBD wedding photos, Sydney city wedding photographers

Now that Richie and Kathy are happily married, I can share a funny story with you (and them). If you look closely at our own wedding photos, you’ll notice that Kathy helped out with the officiation—she translated our whole ceremony into Vietnamese for our Vietnamese-speaking guests. At the time that Kathy agreed to do it, Jeff jokingly said to me, “She’s going to be in all our photos, so they better get married now!” To which I laughed and said, “Of course they’re going to get married. They’re perfect for each other!” It always seemed obvious to me that Richie and Kathy would tie the knot. Ever since he met Kathy, Richie has just seemed high on life. They share much in common, but also love to share in finding new hobbies and having new experiences together. They’re the kind of couple who frequently send syrupy-sweet facebook notes to each other that just make you wanna go “awwww.” They also sing pretty well in duet, too! Check out this amazing song they recorded for their wedding, written and composed by my other talented brother-in-law, Steven. These two just make each other deliriously happy, and it is so wonderful to see!

Martin Place wedding pictures, Sydney

This epic hallway was just perfect for Kathy’s gorgeous full Pronovias ballgown and cathedral-length veil. I love the dip!

Martin Place wedding photography Sydney

So grand and elegant!

Sydney CBD wedding portraits, rock the frock session

Wedding photography in Martin Place

I just love the way Kathy’s train looked blowing in the breeze. Richie was looking pretty sharp, too!

Sydney city trash the dress photos

Sydney day-after wedding photo session

Don’t they make such a cute couple?

Sydney wedding photographers, Martin Place portraitsPost-wedding photography Sydney

Looking very handsome, Richie!

Natural wedding photography Sydney cityCreative urban wedding photography SydneySydney city romantic wedding portraits

Adorable!

Martin place trash the dress wedding photosNatural wedding photography Sydney CBD

One of my favourites here! Love this one in the crosswalk.

Creative urban wedding photography Sydney

Of course, walking down to the Opera House was a must for these honeymooners.

Sydney Opera House wedding photography
Sydney Opera House day after wedding photo shoot

Kathy, you are just stunning!

Natural wedding photography Sydney Opera HouseSydney wedding photographers

More of my favs!

Creative wedding photos Sydney Opera houseUnique wedding photography Sydney, rock the frock session

This wintery sunset turned out to be beautiful, despite any clouds in the sky. It was chilly, but the light was so deliciously warm.

Sydney harbour sunset wedding photos

Creative wedding photography Sydney Australia

I just love these – how Kathy’s dress glows in the light. Beautiful.

Beautiful sunset wedding pictures Sydney, rock the frock photo sessionElegant wedding photography Sydney Harbour

We waited for the city lights to come on to capture a classic skyline panorama.

Wedding pictures with Sydney city skyline

Click on this one to view it larger!

Beautiful panoramic wedding photos on Sydney Harbour

Once the session was over, we decided to go for a celebratory drink at Altitude Bar, top of the Shangri-la Hotel– one of our favourite places to take visitors for a drink.

Bride and groom at Altitude bar at the Shangri-la Hotel, Sydney

Richie and Kathy, it was so lovely having you visit in our neck of the woods during your special honeymooon. We wish you a lifetime of happiness together and look forward to many more travels and future family gatherings!

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Biju Photography - I think my wife had to remind me that i had my mouth wide open while viewing these pictures. They are stunning. Your pictures not only capture the right moments and the beautiful couple but also showcase Sydney beautifully. Love the city and i miss it a lot.

Kristine Ko - The architecture along with the couple together are breathtaking! Makes me miss Sydney even more!

Gina Lewis - As always… beautiful. Your wide angle shots are always my favorite! Great work!

Emily Heizer Photography - These are super fun. I love the images with the landmarks and the archetechetrial details. I’m more of an outdoorsy, out in the woods kind of gal, but it’s nice to mix it up sometimes and I really like these! And I bet you had a great repertoire since you’re all family! + I loved the story!