Honored... to be a top 10 wedding photographer in the world for 2013

 

...to say the least.  I wish I had more words to describe my gratitude for being included in such an unbelievably talented group of photographers.   I've followed this edition in previous years and I truly can't believe I'm on the list.  Thank you to American Photo and to my peers who have recognized my photography as something special.  An honor of a lifetime.  One more thing.  My apologies for the poor image quality of the first dance shot.  I evidently sent them a working file instead of the finished one.  Ouch!

 

 

 

We're Off To St. James Jamaica...

We are off and traveling, again!  This time to St. James, Jamaica.  Our wedding will take place at the Rose Hall Great House.  The Rose Hall Estate truly creates an unsurpassed vintage elegance.  Built in the 1700's, its majesty was unparalleled for the island mansions.  It is surrounded by expansive green lawns, lush gardens and a private pond which creates for the perfect wedding day ceremony & reception.  The Rose Hall Estate which is exclusively operated by The Ritz-Carlton may ring a bell with some readers.  It did us, when we met with our lovely bride.  We had to ask if Rose Hall was ever on one of those most haunted places on Earth shows?  My answer, it apparently was...

The estate and great house has been amazingly restored to its former glory days when Annie Palmer walked the halls.  We'll let you know, when we give you a preview of this weekend's wedding, if Annie still walks those halls.

Happy Travels,

Ryan & Elena Joseph

 

Destination Italy... a journal of our travels in Italy this summer highlighting hotels, restaurants and more!

Journal Entry #2

The bride and groom had acquired exclusive usage of the Villa and its rooms totaling about 14 which accommodated all of their guests.  The Villa in itself would make a fabulous location for an intimate wedding as the formal gardens are absolutely stunning.

In traditional Pakistani attire, the bride was escorted by her brothers to the rehearsal dinner.  She wore a beautiful jade green dress as is traditional for a Mehndi celebration.  We love cultures of all kinds.  Being able to capture them, is just priceless!  With the aroma of food filling the night air, the guests were treated to not the typical Italian spread, but rather, an Indian one.  Ryan was a bit disappointed when we had to leave without getting to sample the Indian cuisine.  It generally doesn't agree with one of our stomachs.

After the rehearsal dinner, tired and hungry, off we went,  to find our hotel room in Florence's city center, called Albergo Firenze.  Unless you are a native Fiorentino or Fiorentina, we strongly suggest you not even try to navigate the streets of Florence by yourself in a rental.  And definitely don't try it after calling the hotel for directions and hearing the reception desk clerk say, you'll never find it.  Luckily for both of us, because at this point (I did mention we were both tired and hungry, right) we had circled the entire city by way of all the one way streets Florence had to offer, Ryan had a brilliant idea.  Quick note… never be embarrassed to ask for directions in Italy, but think of yourself brilliant when you ask to follow a taxi driver to the hotel!  So after getting into the taxi while Ryan tried to follow behind in the rental, we soon arrived at Albergo Firenze which translates into Hotel Florence. It's a great hotel for the budget conscious traveler.  Within walking distance of everything you would want to see in Florence, the hotel has spacious comfortable rooms (I didn't say beds, but comfortable beds are not easily found in Italy) and costs less than $100 per night.  For those of you who know us personally, I bet you could guess who that matters most to.   We ate and slept comfortably before the next day's wedding day festivities.

We found ourselves very well rested the morning of the wedding.  So after a quick espresso and brioche we checked our emails in the lobby (not available in your room), then took an early morning stroll through the streets of Florence.  It is actually much easier to navigate the city on foot.   Our first stop, the camera store. Quick tip... never send your battery charger with your family to the south while you head to the north.  So after finding the only store in Florence with any chance of having a Nikon compatible battery charger, we were disappointed to have learned they didn't have the one we needed in stock.  A solution the store clerk seemed to like was our agreement to buy a new battery and have him use the store's charger to charge it.  We left without a charger, a battery and 70 euros less in our pockets.  While we waited Ryan perused Florence's fine leather, and I looked at everything else.  Florence is very well known as the place to buy your leather goods, but when you already have several leather bags of a multitude of colors and sizes, it is highly recommended that you take notice of your wife's glare, if one is given.  In this case, one was definitely given and we continued our walk with the rest of our currency still in our pockets.

As we continued our walk we took notice of places to bring the bride and the groom after their first look. They had agreed, albeit last minute, to see each other prior to the wedding.  Their decision to do so allowed for us to incorporate additional imagery of them with beautiful Florence as a backdrop.  Always a good idea!

So upstairs I went to get ready while Ryan retrieved the battery from the nice clerk who made an easy commission.  We decided to keep the rental in the parking garage and take a taxi to the Villa for obvious reasons, but an added one was because taxi's are afforded leniency with regards to parking in the city center which the everyday driver is not.  Finding out you are illegally parked could cost you up to 200 euro.

(more to follow)

A presto,

Ryan & Elena Joseph

Villa le Piazzole www.lepiazzole.com/lepiazzole/home-it.html

Hotel Florence www.hotelfirenze-fi.it/

 

Destination Italy... a journal of our travels in Italy this summer highlighting hotels, restaurants and more!

Journal Entry #1: Having left Tampa on Tuesday night for Rome via Gatwick, London, was a tiring start to our first day in Italy.  Quick note…  When planning a trip to Europe, we suggest you plan nothing for at least 2 days upon arriving.  The long airplane ride, with a probable layover somewhere, accompanied with the lack of sleep from a six hour change to your normal time zone, has you struggling to keep your eyes open.  In short, you just feel like a mindless zombie.  So we highly recommend you not take the time to rent a car for a 5-6 hour drive to Florence, because you'll probably just stop along the way from sheer exhaustion.  So back to our story…  We then arrived in beautiful Rome, Italy and were greeted by the most amazing family (Elena's) who whisked away our little Gia and her nonna and headed south while we took the time to rent a car for our 5-6 hour drive to Florence, stopping along the way from sheer exhaustion.  We found the closest hotel to the A1 (autostrada).  As we struggled to keep our eyes opened, we noticed about 20 mack trucks meticulously lined up, one by one, in the hotel's parking lot which had one of us wondering what kind of hotel this was.  After sending in the man who spoke no Italian (Ryan) to "check out the place," we agreed that we had found the nicest truck stop we had ever seen!  Another quick note…  On your first day into Italy, ask for a late checkout.  So, after waking up, to our surprise around 10 or so, we had to hurry along in order to check out in time.

 

Our 11 hours of sleep and our first cup of espresso in Italy had seemingly given us enough energy to make it the rest of the way to Florence.  We even arrived 30 minutes early to the scheduled site visit of Castello di Vincigliata for the wedding we were going to capture the very next day.  Always in awe of the antiquity of Italy, the castle and its grounds were no exception.  Just breathtaking!  We left the site visit with one feeling… excitement!  That was, until our Florence lodging plans changed.  So a quick ride on the Internet Super Highway had us randomly finding a hotel through our favorite site, Hotels.com.  With no time for a check in before having to photograph the rehearsal dinner, we took out our map and followed the roads for Fiesole.  If you have never been to Italy or even to Europe, you probably think the roads are somewhat similar to the ones we have in the States.  I mean it is the 21st century.  Right?  Not a chance!  Outside of the Autostrada, the roads were built long before there were cars.  So the "suggested" 2 lane road is actually barely large enough for 1 car.  The good Lord was shining down on us as we only had to straddle the edge for 1 car coming down as we were going up.  Did I fail to mention how mountainous Italy is and the lack of guard rails?  With hearts pounding from an intense ride up - or rather MY heart, we arrived at Villa le Piazzole.  Quick note...  Ladies, for a reason that has baffled me to this day, our men, behind the wheel of an Italian car in Italy, quickly turn into "Italian" drivers.  For those of you who have had the privilege of either driving in Italy personally or experiencing a taxi ride in Italy, you know what I mean.

(more to follow)

A presto,

Ryan & Elena Joseph

 

British Airways www.ba.com

Thrifty Car Rental www.thrifty.com

Hotel Domenico www.domenicohotel.com

Castello di Vincigliata www.castellodivincigliata.it/

Villa le Piazzole www.lepiazzole.com/lepiazzole/home-it.html

Bridal Hair  www.Armillabeauty.com