I'm Tamera Goldsmith, a portrait and wedding photographer based in Colorado Springs and serving the Front Range: the Springs, Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Pueblo and the world. I specialize in wedding photojournalism and creative lifestyle portraiture, including maternity, babies, children, families and high school senior portraits. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hannah & Jason

Hannah and Jason were married on September 29th at the Briarhurst Manor in Manitou Springs. They've known each other since high school, when Jason was best friends with Hannah's brother. But even though Hannah was always the apple of Jason's eye he never asked her out because he didn't want to break the sacred guy rule: "Thou shalt not date thy best friend's sister!" Things changed a little when were reunited several years after high school, however!

As you can see from his uniform, Jason is in the Army. He's about to be deployed to Iraq for the second time, so these pictures are especially important. To Jason, I wish you safe passage, and to both of you, I wish you the warmest congratulations.

I like this image of Hannah catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror as mom Bethe helps her into her dress.

Hannah and Jason decided to meet for pictures before the ceremony. Here's the moment where he gets to see her for the first time (click on it to see it larger).

This picture was kind of a happy accident: I had just gotten Hannah all set up for a formal portrait and Jason came over to tell her she looked pretty, and the wind blew her veil just so.

Rhonda Nichols did the beautiful bouqets and floral arrangements.

Hannah's older daughter, Olivia.

And her younger daughter, Audrey.

Married 30 seconds!

Hannah shares an emotional moment with her new stepmother-in-law.

Two year-old Audrey was very interested in the cake-cutting portion of the day!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Europe Day 9

[For those of you just coming on board with this, I'm finally blogging the pictures I took on vacation in November of last year. Read on...]

Day 9, 11/11/2006, was the day we went home. How sad! We had just a couple of hours left in Paris before we had to catch the train back to London, then our plane back home. It was raining as we set out to find a cafe for breakfast. Paris in the rain is absolute poetry.

There were a lot of cafes to choose from so we just walked into the one that seemed the most inviting. Our breakfast was the classic petit dejeuner: for me, brioche au chocolat and chocolat to drink, for Pat, a croissant and cafe double. I don't know if it was the rain, the atmosphere or the food itself, or maybe just a combination of the three, but I believe it was the most delicious breakfast I've ever eaten. Pat said so too. It was so simple and lovely. The day before we had eaten a similar breakfast at the hotel, again very delicious (pain, beurre, confiture and chocolat -- bread, butter, jam and hot chocolate made with steaming hot milk), but the breakfast we had at the cafe on the morning we left was superlative. It defied all description so I'll stop raving about it now.

We had about another hour before we had to leave, so we decided to go shopping. I didn't want to buy any clothes because our luggage was so jam packed that I couldn't fit one more item of clothing in there. But I wanted a memento of Paris. Eventually we came upon a chocolatier, and oh man the chocolates in there were like nothing I've ever tasted. We just about died when we tasted one, it was insane. So we bought some! A secret stash just for us, not to be shared with anyone! And in that same shop I found the coolest teapot ever. It was really kind of a splurge for me but I just could not walk out of that shop without that teapot, it was unthinkable. The very nice lady packed it so well for me that it made it home perfectly with not a scratch. She was also very appreciative that I tried to transact everything in French. Honestly, going into this trip I really had my doubts that I would be okay speaking French in France, after all it had been years since I'd had to converse in the language, but it's amazing what total immersion can do for your memory! Even after only two days in Paris I was able to get along fairly well. I'm confident that if I'd had a month there I would have been practically fluent. Maybe next time!

Alas, the time finally came for us to leave Paris. This time there were no crazy ideas of walking to the train station -- we called a taxi and he dropped us off right at the curb. After going through security we had a short wait before boarding our train. By then we were such old hands at this that we were very blase about it, no more wide-eyed wonderment I'm afraid! I think Gene fell asleep the minute he sat in his seat. This time the TGV did indeed go very, very fast and in about two hours we were in London again, at Waterloo Station. One more train to catch: the Heathrow Express to the airport. "Express" is really kind of a misnomer because it was a rather long journey. The train stopped at every single station along the way. It felt more like we were on a city bus stopping every block to pick people up.

Once we made it to Heathrow it was late afternoon and the sun was down. We still had about a three or four hour wait before we could board our plane to Toronto. Heathrow is very strange in that they don't tell you what gate to go to until you're practically ready to board, so you just sit and wait in this large common area. Consequently there were people everywhere, some were camped out and sleeping on the floor so you had to step over them, and it was just crazy and loud. It's not like any other airport I've been to. Also, I had a little moment where I accidentally spoke to a sandwich vendor there in French; we both thought it was pretty funny when I burst out with "oops" in my American accent.

The flight to Toronto took about nine hours. Unfortunately there was a Yemeni family seated behind me, and their son, who was about eight years old, apparently couldn't sleep unless he had his bare foot jammed into the gap between the seats in front of him. This meant that his foot was practically in my left armpit. I did everything I could to avoid making contact with it but it was impossible! Changing seats wasn't an option because the plane was full. I summoned the flight attendant twice and she admonished him and he removed his foot, only to put it right back after a couple of minutes. This was truly dismal. After a couple of hours of this misery I finally realized that I could put the armrest up, yaaaaay! He didn't like that one bit but thankfully I got rid of that disgusting foot.

I was really looking forward to our layover in Toronto because I was finally going to meet an e-mail pal, fellow photographer Christine Kufske! She and I had been corresponding for a couple of years but had never met. (She lives in the Toronto area and is a wonderful photographer.) By coincidence we both have the same business name, Click Photography, and that's how we became friends. I can't remember who e-mailed whom first but it's been so much fun being her e-pal. Our flight arrived in Toronto at midnight and there she was to welcome me and give me a big hug! She and her husband Rich hustled me off to an all night diner and we sat and had some coffee and chit chat. Bear in mind that by then I had been traveling for probably about 18 hours, some of that with a stranger's foot in my armpit, and I was beyond exhausted. And poor Chris was really sick with some kind of bug! We made a pretty pair, I'm telling you. Rich took a picture of us and it's hilarious.

When Chris and Rich dropped me back at the airport it was after 3:00am. Our layover was eight hours so there was a lot of time to kill before the flight. I had planned to find Pat, Gene and Chuck and we'd all hang out together and try to get some shut eye. Unfortunately the terminal was closed and I couldn't get past the open area to where they were. So I was all alone, wandering around an unfamiliar international airport, desperately tired. I found a bench and tried to sleep for the next couple of hours. At 4:30am the customs people arrived and the travelers started queueing up. Thank goodness for cell phones because it's a really big airport and I had different information than the guys did regarding what gate our flight was to take off from. Eventually we were reunited around 6:30am after many frantic calls. I was so happy to see their faces!

The last leg of our journey, Toronto to Denver... I don't remember much because I think I was completely passed out. Jenn picked us up at Denver International Airport and drove us back to her house in Englewood, where we jumped in the Volvo and headed back down I-25 and home. We stopped in Castle Rock because we had a sudden craving for McDonald's! Yes, after all that wonderful French cuisine we couldn't wait to stuff our faces with Big Macs and Egg McMuffins. Hilarious.

We did the math and according to our best calculations, the journey from Paris to London to Toronto to Denver to Colorado Springs took 31 hours. I was never so happy to see my bed. But I wouldn't change a thing, I had the time of my life and I can't wait for our next adventure.

Pat took this extremely cool picture of me walking in the rain in Paris.

Our wonderful breakfast.

This is a French Starbucks! The bottom area looks pretty much like any other Starbucks, but then you walk upstairs into this little salon that looks like a mini-Versailles. I had to get a picture.

The Cinema Beverly was right by our hotel and it was strictly adult entertainment.

In the taxi, leaving for the Gare du Nord. Au revoir, Paris!

The Gare du Nord. Apparently there was a huge riot here a couple of weeks after we got home. We missed all the fun.

Here's what it looks like inside the Gare du Nord.

Here's what it looks like inside Heathrow.

Here I am with Chris Kufske. I was so happy to finally meet her in person! I was exhausted and she was sick, so we look really pretty here don't we? Ha! According to the data on the file this picture was taken at 3:25am, so there's our excuse for looking a little rough around the edges.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Europe Day 8

"Europe Day 8, or How To See The Entire City of Paris In a Single Day." Yes folks, we only had one full day in the City of Light and we made the most of it. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. In one day we saw the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre. I do not recommend this. For one thing, you should take an entire week (or more) just for the Louvre, but since we only had the one day I guess we did pretty well.

We began by retracing our steps from the night before, walking through the courtyard of the Louvre (much different in the morning light!) and continuing onward to l'Arc de Triomphe. It's really magnificent! I can't state this enough, but I'm soooo glad we went during November instead of high tourist season. There weren't many people there at all, it was great! It happened to be France's version of Veteran's Day, so while we were there a solemn ceremony was taking place. It turns out that the Arc de Triomphe is the location of France's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, so that makes sense. I tried to get some pictures without being obnoxious about it.

After the Arc de Triomphe we decided to break for lunch. As we walked around looking for sustenance we caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance and it was so beautiful! The image I captured from that vantage point ended up being my favorite picture of our entire trip. Just amazing, the light in Paris.

Soon we found a promising looking cafe/restaurant, where we ordered a la carte. They had the most amazing dessert too! It was some kind of ridiculously delicious flan. I don't know how the French don't end up weighing ten tons because the food there is just insane. We ate our lunch al fresco, which was very nice. Sitting at a cafe and watching the people go by was a big one on my list of things to do in Paris, and this was the closest we came to fulfilling that wish. Afterward we started wandering in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. We came upon it from the Trocadero. Wow. It's the classic view. There was a group of people dead center at the rail, but the second they moved out of the way I ran to claim the spot like some kind of touristy vulture! I had to get a shot from exactly that vantage point, it's absolutely timeless. We spent quite a bit of time on the Trocadero before we headed down to the Tower itself. As we approached it grew more and more spectacular. Yes, you've seen pictures of it but you just have to see it in person to take in how awesome it is! Of course we spent as much time as we could there, snapping pictures and wandering around. We didn't go up to the top (there was a bit of a line) but I was content to stay at ground level and admire it.

Kind of a cool thing happened to me while walking around taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower: a woman carrying a camera similar to mine walked up and with an American accent said, "You look like a photographer, can you help me out?" Her name was Adine Sagalyn. It turns out that she's a professional photographer too, based in Paris for many years now, and she wanted a unique photo of the Eiffel Tower. Apparently you can't use an image of the Eiffel Tower for commercial purposes without paying the City of Paris a large sum of money, so she thought that maybe the Tower reflected in my gigantic sunglasses would be a way of getting around that little rule. Always happy to oblige! I let her shoot as many frames as she wanted to with the glasses perched on top of my head. (I'll post an image below, she e-mailed it to me after I got back to the States.) Adine, I hope the pictures worked out for you!

By the time we left the Eiffel Tower we were getting pretty tired of walking all over the place so we grabbed a taxi to our next destination, la Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris. What a beautiful structure! I was pretty much in awe the entire time. It is a functioning church and there were services going on, so it was important to be quiet and respectful. Notre Dame is a truly wonderful example of French Gothic architecture. It took two centuries to construct and I'm sure many lives were lost (they didn't exactly have OSHA in the 12th century). I won't say much more about it except that it was breathtaking and I'm so happy I got to see it. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Next was our final stop for the day, the Louvre. This time we didn't linger outside, we went right in and Pat made a beeline for the Mona Lisa. We all decided to go our own ways and meet up at the Winged Victory at a certain time, so I had a wonderful time looking over all the Italian art by myself (that is, until I inevitably bumped into Pat again). I love Caravaggio, and to see so many of his works actually made me a little teary eyed. And Michelangelo! Words cannot express...! And of course da Vinci. Sigh. Yes, I saw the Mona Lisa (not allowed to take pictures of it though), the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory. There were also numerous masterpieces by the likes of Tintoretto, Carracci, Titian, Botticelli, Raphael, Bernini, Brunelleschi, Ingres, Delacroix, de la Tour, Corot, Poussin, Boucher, Rembrandt, Rubens, Durer and so many more, plus countless antiquities from Greece, Rome, Egypt and other ancient cultures. You get the picture. It's way too much to see in just one afternoon but I sure did the best I could! I didn't take too many pictures because in certain galleries it wasn't permitted, but I did my best to capture what I was allowed to.

By the time we reconnoitered at the Winged Victory we were all pretty much dog tired. We decided to hit the Louvre gift shops before heading back to our hotel and dinner. There are a number of gift shops and some are interconnected, so while Pat and I wandered from one to the next we somehow lost track of Gene. Seriously, he disappeared. It was like a bad dream! Chuck, Pat and I looked everywhere for him but it's a huge area and there were a lot of people milling around (there was some kind of poetry reading or free film screening going on, so suddenly all these Parisians had shown up and were swarming the place). We couldn't find Gene anywhere so we decided to sit down and wait -- maybe he would show up after a while. No dice. He had vanished into thin air. The only thing we could think of was that he had simply gone back to the hotel on his own, so we started hoofing it back there. Bear in mind that we were by then quite exhausted, not to mention extremely worried, so it was kind of a grim walk. When we finally made it back to the hotel, voila! There he was, waiting for us in the reception area. Gene, who speaks no French [other than the three things I taught him: s'il vous plait ("please"), merci ("thank you") and degagez ("get lost")] had somehow managed to navigate the unfamiliar streets of Paris and walk back to the hotel on his own. He explained that he had gotten confused when we disappeared into the gift shops and didn't come out. He thought we had left! So he took matters into his own hands and walked back to the hotel by himself. I was just happy to see him!

It was our last night in Paris, so we went in search of a good restaurant. We ended up in kind of a touristy place but that's okay. I even had French onion soup (which incidentally wasn't nearly as good as what you can get right here in town at La Baguette), then we walked around and enjoyed Paris by night one last time.

Pat took this fabulous picture, looking up at our hotel room.

The Louvre by morning light. Another great picture by Pat!

And yet another of Pat's wonderful pictures -- this is one of the reflecting pools in the courtyard of the Louvre. He took these awesome photos with a little point and shoot Olympus Stylus (on film!). Good job Pat!

Please enjoy this fine picture of the Arc de Triomphe because I nearly got flattened taking it. I do not recommend stopping in the middle of the Champs-Elysees. Let's just say the natives don't appreciate it.

It was France's version of Veteran's Day so there was a ceremony going on at the Arc de Triomphe while we were there.

First glimpse of the Tour Eiffel by day! My favorite photo of the trip.

Typical flower stand, there's one practically on every block.

Our view as we ate lunch.

They park really close together in Paris...

and the cars are teeny tiny!

Typical patisserie. These are everywhere -- it's like heaven.

Pat took this fantastic photo of the Tour Eiffel from the Trocadero, using only a little pocket camera! C'est magnifique!

My version of the classic postcard photo

Here is the photo of the Eiffel Tower reflected in my sunglasses, taken by Adine Sagalyn.

A bird in flight just beyond the filigree.

See, the French really do wear berets! I don't think this one said "Rusty" on it though.

Pat took this amazing photo of an allee right behind the Eiffel Tower. The light in Paris is outstanding.

In a taxi, going through a tunnel. Yes we did go through the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, where Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed died, but I did not take a picture of it.

Interior of Notre Dame cathedral

This woman was adding her candle to the many others. I bought a candle to take home to my mom but didn't light one myself.

Some of the famous gargoyles on the exterior of the cathedral

A fountain at the back of the cathedral. It sits in a pretty little park.

Ah, Paris is so romantic, right? Look at these lovers!

Maybe not so much. Take a closer look at her body language compared to his!

I had to take a picture of these two tourists. I think they were Italian. She's wearing red Gucci sunglasses to match her scarf and stiletto boots, and he's got ponyskin pockets on his jeans. Chic, or fashion victims? You decide!

This guy was soooooo French, sitting there at a cafe nursing his espresso, a Euro note tucked under the saucer and a cigarette between his fingers.

Back at the Louvre. I normally don't like to put things right smack in the center of a photograph, but this for some reason worked. Love the seagull perched on her head.

In France, even the police officers are hot.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

The Venus de Milo

Another view of her -- she's incredible!

La Liberte by Delacroix -- who knew Abraham Lincoln fought for French freedom?!? Just kidding. But I don't know who the dude with the stovepipe hat is.

Michelangelo's slaves. I never thought in my entire life I'd get to see a Michelangelo in person. They were breathtaking. I couldn't stop looking at them.

Cupid and Psyche

A statue of a veiled woman. I think it's amazing that the artist could articulate something as delicate as a veil from stone.

She has one of the best views in Paris, if only she could turn her head and look over her shoulder!

The view going up the escalator in one of the wings.

I glanced out a window at sunset and this is what I saw: centuries-old Berninis hailing the skies.

Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. The placard was in French but I was able to translate it: this is a painting of two sisters. The one on the right is pregnant with King So-And-So's bastard child. The nipple pinch is supposed to communicate this little tidbit of information to the viewer. Keep in mind that most people were illiterate at this point in history, so things were communicated in a more visual way! BTW as Pat and I stood there admiring this lovely painting, a little Japanese guy walked right up to it, held his cell phone about two inches from the area in question, snapped a picture and walked off.