Wedding Photography Paranoia

Mark Steinhoff - Robin Hirsch wedding 09-08-2014Over my years as a news photographer, I photographed presidents, would-be presidents, a pope and the Queen of England. I was at shot and missed, swung at and hit. I braved fires, floods and famines. (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating about the latter, but I DID go without lunch a few times.)

I waded in flood waters where I realized I represented high ground to the snakes around me, and I stood next to a water tower in a lightning storm hoping to get a good photo (with Wife Lila holding an umbrella over me. She was my insurance policy: I figured God wouldn’t strike HER with lightning).

So, where did I draw the line?

Weddings

I used to say that the only weddings I’d shoot were those of friends, and I defined a friend as someone who wouldn’t ask me to shoot his or her wedding.

Why did I feel that way?

  • I hate set-up shots, and most wedding photography I had seen was a collection of cliched set-ups.
  • I don’t herd cats well.
  • Because of pilot error, technical snafus, processing mistakes and just plain bad luck, I have blown assignments, exposing me to scorn and ridicule from my peers and ugly conversations with editors. None of that scares me like the wrath of a bride’s mother who has just found out her Princess Perfect’s wedding photos didn’t turn out.

Wedding Plan B

Mark Steinhoff - Robin Hirsch wedding 09-08-2014In the few times I couldn’t wheedle my way out of shooting a wedding, I’d set a ground rule: I wouldn’t deliver the prints until they had been married a year. If the marriage didn’t last that long, they wouldn’t want them anyway.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t walk around shooting candids at a wedding. That was a way I could keep from having to make small talk with folks I didn’t know, it would give them stuff that the formal photographer didn’t shoot, and it would insulate me from mad mothers.

So, when Robin and Brother Mark got married on her birthday, September 8, 2014, I did my wander-around-taking photos thing. Since they made it past the one-year mark, I guess it’s safe to post these pictures.

Wedding photo galler

Here’s where we all were a year ago. Steinhoff weddings are as unconventional as Steinhoff funerals. I’m happy to deliver these photos. Click on one to make it larger, then use the arrow keys to poke around.

 

Florida Steinhoffs Invade Cape

Mary Steinhoff meets Finn 06-16-2015Niece Amy is getting married in Tulsa this weekend, so there has been a mass exodus from Florida headed to Oklahoma. It wasn’t exactly on the path, but Sons Adam and Matt, their spouses and their brood, stopped by to see Mother, who is very much on the mend.

She and I both finally got to meet the newest arrival, Finn Levi Steinhoff. You can click on the photos if you want to be exposed to excessive cuteness.

Four generations

Mother, Matt, Malcolm and I got together to update the last four-generation photo we took several years ago.

It was decided that three months was too long for me to go without a haircut and beard trim. (Like my barber says, “There are two kinds of men with hair on their faces: those who have beards and those who don’t shave.” I’m pretty sure I had slipped into that second category.)

I polled my Facebook friends and got several suggestions for a local barber. My requirements: “I want an old-fashioned barber. I don’t want a stylist, I don’t want the place to smell like hair spray, and I want a REAL barber chair, not some light-weight aluminum job.” Basically, I was looking for Ed Unger, but he retired in 1983.

I eliminated the ones from Bill Hopkins that suggested PETCO and a barber who is pretty good “when he is sober.” For the record, I was very happy with Scott at the Varsity Barber Shop.

Cards keep coming in

When I mentioned that Mother loves getting mail, scores of you sent some really cool cards. This one, by Jane Paquin, 74, of Seal Beach, Cal., was one of the most unique.

Tower Rock Whirlpool

Malcolm - Sarah - Matt Steinhoff Tower Rock 06-15-2015The whirlpool south of Tower Rock kept trying to get organized, but it would dissipate before it got going good. Still, it was fun for the group to guess whether a floating log would get pulled into the swirling water or if it would escape and go straight downstream.

I’ve driven the road between Cape and Wittenberg so many times that I take the hills and curves a little on the fast side. About two-thirds of the way there, Daughter-in-Law Sarah looked at Malcolm and warned, “I think we’re about to have a Dramamine moment back here.” I slowed down.

Gerard to the rescue

When we made it to the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum, Gerard Fiehler came to the rescue with a can of soda to calm things down. Before long, Malcolm was listening to Gerard tell him (and let him see for himself) the difference between how a harpsichord and a piano make sounds.

He liked the whirlpool, liked the museum, liked picking up railroad spikes along the train tracks, but he REALLY liked driving his great-grandmother’s riding mower around the back yard.

“Look at all the alligators”

Riverfront 06-17-2015When we went down to the riverfront, Graham looked at all the logs floating down the river and said, “Look at all the alligators!” You can tell he’s a Florida boy.

They got to splash rocks, see a towboat taking on fuel, touch the river and look at the mural on the flood wall. It’s a good thing they didn’t see this woman doing The Foolish Frolic in the floodwaters. They’d have probably tried it and ended up in New Orleans.

River walk photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. In order of tallness: Adam, Carly, Graham, Elliot and (being carried), Finn.

Easter Decorations

Mary Steinhof Easter decorations 04-18-2014One of the problems / advantages of retirement is that you don’t have to know what day of the week it is. I shot these Easter decorations in Mother’s living room before we embarked on a ramble. Some of them, like the clear plastic tree with the ornaments on it, have been around since I was a kid.

We were bouncing down a road in rural Perry County when I asked, in all innocence, “Do you know what day it is?”

“It’s 2:32,” she replied.

“No, I know what TIME it is. I want to know if today is Saturday.”

One of us is “ready for the home”

Mary Steinhof Easter decorations 04-18-2014

Brother Mark and I keep telling Mother that she’s close to being “ready for the home,” but the glance she gave me clearly indicated that she was pretty sure either I was testing her or I was the one who was ready for the home.

We got to Altenburg and saw our museum buddy, Gerard Fiehler, out mowing his lawn, so I pulled into the driveway and said, “You look like you could use a break. Why don’t you get off that thing and let Mother finish the job for you?”

He said he had read how she was death on dandelions, but he wasn’t ready to turn his mower over to someone with her reputation for hot rodding.

“Do you know what day this is?”

Mary Steinhof Easter decorations 04-18-2014During a lull in the conversation, Mother leaned over me and asked him, “Do you know what day this is?”

He hesitated like he was looking at a mental calendar. “Not the date, but the DAY. What day of the week is it?” I filled in.

Now, he was SURE it was a trick question. “It’s Friday,” he answered, hesitantly.

Mother gave me a smug smile

“I could have sworn it was Saturday and I had this really timely post ready to go up on Easter,” I said.

So, that’s why you are getting this gallery of Mother’s living room Easter decorations on Saturday instead of Sunday. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Birthday Season #92

Mary - Mark Steinhoff 10-17-2013_8605October 17 marked the high point of Mother’s extended Birthday Season, which kicked off way back in August when Steinhoffs from Oklahoma, Florida and Missouri stopped in. Mother is showing Brother Mark a letter she got from a hearing aid company offering her a discount on a hearing aid. “I thought you guys were getting together to buy me a hearing aid.”

Still has the lung power

Mother-and-CandlesShe might have candles on her cake representing 92 years, but she can still puff them out with a single breath of air. Click on the photo to watch her blow out the candles. (This is a fairly large file, so it might take a little while to load.)

We were going to fill the cake with a full 92 candles, but the firefighters in the station across the street saw the delivery truck from Acme Birthday Candle Company pull up and intervened.

Other Birthday Seasons

Mark - Mary Steinhoff 10-17-2013_8591