Moraga is a beautiful area in San Francisco’s  East Bay, with fantastic  light and topography. Crystal and Jason’s wedding day began with a bit of overcast and chance of rain, but as it came time for the ceremony and reception the sky cleared and the weather was fabulous.

Gretchen and Tom’s wedding was truly elegant, with the ceremony outside at the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the reception at A New Leaf,  a wonderful facility with an incredible amount of open space. It was incredibly hot but as the party moved from the Belden-Stratford, to the loop for a round of photos and back to the conservatory everyone kept their cool and had a great time as the Air and Water show went on almost overhead.

Shelly and Shawn’s wedding and reception at Cafe Brauer qualifies as one of those magical evenings. The weather wasn’t too hot to keep guests inside, allowing them full advantage of the verandas and city views across the lagoon. And as the light settled the Cafe began taking on the magical lighting and color that the space is famous for. The place was literally glowing, as were Shelly and Shawn who looked spectacular.

Polaroid interpretation (c)1997 Marlene Binkley

I did a talk last night at the Chicago Public Library about vintage cameras, film and where this “antiquated” technology might fit in as creative tools in a digital world spun out of control. I brought in some old-timers for the audience to look at and handle, gave an overview on how they worked and how to make pictures with them again,  and some of the attendees were clearly intrigued by the possibilities. But most weren’t, having more interest in which Canon or Nikon to purchase and what to do with all those digital files sitting in their hard drives. Which I completely understand, as what to do with all of those digital files long term is an issue for all of us, amateur or professional. And I’m happy to help.  As part of the presentation I made prints from images made with some of the cameras, my Graflex Series C 4×5, a Diana, an old 620 folder and an SX-70. Yes, a Polaroid, and one not really old at all in comparison to some of the others. But being that Polaroid is defunct and no film was available until recently when a new company took over the technology, I figured that it warranted inclusion. I could go on and on extolling the virtues of this particular camera and film; the beauty of the images, the funky art quality, the immediacy of the finished image and the creative opportunities in manipulating the print surface. But the point of this post is simply about an image I came across as I was searching for a sample to print. It was shot at Cafe Brauer, Chicago many years ago as I was scouting the location for an upcoming reception, and my wife Marlene added the finishing touches. She was great at manipulating them, good enough to have images on national tour and in print, and looking back I marvel at the beautiful, whimsical feel she created. Old technology.

Just a quick photo in passing. It’s De Rigueur now to desaturate the colors in wedding photos, and for the most part I think that doing so enhances  mood more often than not. But once in a while the color is just right, just as it is, right out of the box. Raspberry red. Beautiful.

Jenn & Joe are getting married at the Monaco in October, so we elected to start there late afternoon and explore the surrounds. And Joe is into home brewing, so it was appropriate to kick things off with a cold one before moving out into the warm summer air. The Wacker/Wabash stretch of the loop is one of my favorite places to shoot, with myriad colors, textures and play of light between the buildings, CTA  and Michigan Avenue. And of course Millennium park always beckons.

This session was a lot of fun. We met up at North Ave. Beach late in the afternoon on a pretty hot day. But the lake kept us cool and once the light started to soften a bit the pictures started flowing. Jessica and Bobby were great fun to be around and up for about anything including shots in the middle of Michigan & Wacker with cabbies rolling by, blowing their horns. We moved from North Ave, to couple of downtown locations, to Adler Planetarium where Bobby (originally) proposed, and finally to the Riverwalk where we wrapped up around 8:00.  I’ve posted just a small group of the 500 or so shots that made the edit down from about 1,000, and it was tough to do.


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