Cyber Monday Deal

Get all three books for $25 + $5 S&H. That’s the original One Dress, One Woman, One World hardcover, Jennifer’s new memoir When it Clicks, and the companion smaller full color photo book also called When it Click. Deals are good thru December 1st.  

Slovakia and Spain

Given our car issues we decided to book a second night at the airport hotel (originally we planned just one for our flight). From there we figured we would take a train to Slovakia. In one way, this was our one big mistake of the trip (Not that we had much of a choice). Cheap, yes. Location, yes. Everything else a big no. Noisy, smoky, cruddy, and exactly what you’d expect from an airport hotel. However, we weren’t doing much there other than sleeping so we made the best of it. Also, we grossly underestimated how long it would take to get back to Vienna. What should have been a 5 ½ hour drive turned into a 10 hour, four border-crossing ordeal. So in some ways we were lucky we didn’t add a fifth crossing into Slovakia.  We had a crappy dinner at a local restaurant and crashed for the night. The next day we headed to the train station to navigate our way to Slovenia. We purchased the tickets from a machine without a hitch, but figuring out the right way to go was problematic. Either option seemed to get us close, but not there without some level of […]

Bosnia

We were sad to leave Croatia and Carlo’s hospitality, but excited for our next stop, Bosnia. It wasn’t on our original itinerary, but it was only about 10 miles out of the way. How could we pass up the opportunity to see a country we normally wouldn’t have a chance to experience? Our jubilation ended quickly though, because as we crossed the border, the guard asked for the car’s registration, which turned out to be expired. We were both at a loss for words. What do you do now? The guard repeated to us, “It’s expired.” We gave him a dumbfounded look. Really, what are we supposed to do? He directed us to a building and said buy one there. OK, not the end of the world, but when I headed in no one spoke English. I held up the registration. “No here,” was the response. I tried a few more doors, but had no success. So we went back to the guard, got the look, and he waved us on. Fortunately, it was only a few miles to the hotel. However, we hadn’t listed Bosnia as a country we were visiting so we didn’t know the ramifications if we […]

Croatia

Croatia was our next stop. Pictures of Plitvice National Park drew us to the heart of Croatia and was our only planned stop in the country. Originally, we hoped to hit Dubrovnik, but the thought of a 9 hour drive back to Vienna deterred us. Instead, we planned four days staying at the Plitvice Lodge so we could explore every nook and cranny of the park and make sure we shot during the best light and hopefully the least crowds. Our ordeal started when trying to find the lodge. The GPS took us to the Plitvice Hotel. Strike one. The receptionist pointed us in the right direction and said we were about 5K away. After driving 4K we stopped and asked again. We were pointed in the same direction and given exactly the same directions and told we were still 5K away from the lodge. At this point we plugged the lat and long into the GPS. PAIN! It said we were an hour and a half away. So we trusted the 2nd set of directions and continued on. We found the supposed turn by the blue bridge and were dumped into no man’s land. After winding around for a […]

Slovenia – Lake Bled and More

Next we headed to the postcard perfect Lake Bled. Expecting a tourist trap, we found nothing of the sort. The crystal clear greenish-blue lake was 6 kilometers around and feature the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria planted on an island in the middle of the lake, the Castle Bled sitting high above, and another quaint church at the foot of Castle Bled. The water was clearer than any natural body of fresh-water we’ve seen. You could see the fish, fallen trees, and plant life right to the lake bottom.  We stayed at the Hotel Jadran, a vine crusted hotel with views of Lake Bled. Although, we didn’t pay for the balcony rooms facing the lake we got one of the rooms with a window view. The hotel was basic, but we were paying ~$65 euro a night during peak season. We quickly went to work and explored the circumference of the lake for all vantage points. We decided to focus on shooting the castle and trying a night shot with Jennifer in a row boat. Besides the technical challenges, there were logistics to work out. After walking around the entire lake, everyone had the same schedule for boat […]

Austria

After the non-stop whirlwind trip over Christmas and injuries that followed, we knew we needed a slower paced trip this summer. Unfortunately, our spring breaks did not coincide so we couldn’t travel until the June. We decided to travel on the early end of the summer and our trip almost didn’t happen. My dad unexpectedly passed away a few weeks before we left. The ensuing chaos and family matters almost prevented us from going. Luckily, we got things squared away and left for Austria. Given our horrid flight experience coming home from Australia, we hoped for better headed to Europe. That illusion ended quickly at the airport. We arrived 3 hours before our flight fantasizing about using extra air miles upgrade to business class, but we couldn’t even get a straight answer from US Airways on which line to stand on. After wasting close to an hour we gave up and just checked in. We headed to security. The line didn’t seem that bad until we turned the corner and saw it stretch all the way down the hall. We quickened out pace and found the line to be never-ending. It turned another corridor and stretched to within 10 yards […]

Sydney, Australia – New Year’s Eve

New Years in Sydney is a bucket list item for many.  Despite my ambivalence for large mob scenes, it has long been on my to-do list as well.  It takes 12 months to prepare this world renowned 12 minute show. I am excited but can’t figure out how 1.6 people are going to cram into the area surrounding the bridge and opera house to enjoy the much anticipated, spectacular show.  We know crowd management is a concern and Jeff made an outstanding choice to buy a seat (aka-patch of grass) to see the fireworks from “A Lawn with a View”  in the Royal Botanic Gardens right in front of the Sydney Opera House.  We check out the map a few days before the 31st and are stunned with the choice real estate we will have access to on New Year’s Eve. We were warned that they are very strict about security and what comes into the seating area.  Toward that end, we brought very little other than the dress, camera and the smallest of tripods.  We arrive at 7 pm to join a very long queue.  Security barely glanced at my backpack but I am not one to flout rules. We pick up our […]

Australia – Sydney Day 1

We have a very aggressive Sunday in Sydney as everyone wants us to shoot prior to being on Sunrise Monday. Our first shoot is at 7:30 am at the Skytower. We walk a mile to get there eyeing very cloudy skies. We are met by very friendly staff who take us up to the tower. We get harnessed as “I Come From the Land Down Under” plays in the background. Opening the hatch they switch “Eye of the Tiger” as we hook in walk out. The harness is clipped into an intricate rail system that allows you to safely move freely in a 360 degrees so you can see all the city highlights including the bridge and Opera House. Unfortunately the rain begins and cuts the shoot very short. We may try again later this week.   Sky Tower Eye Second Attempt with Better Weather Next stop is Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum. They forgot we were coming but we’re spotted by cleaning staff who fetch the manager we need. She gives us free reign to explore and even has a young staff member join us to assist. It feels odd to be next to such life like representations of the […]

Australia – Uluru

As challenged by Samantha Armytage from Sunrise, we are headed to the hot red sands of Uluru on December 23rd. Our first day, we have two shots planned straight away. Tamma greets us at our hotel the Sails in the Desert and gives me a coveted gift- her me her flat iron to tame my mane! We have a rendezvous with local dancers at 3:30 before their 4 pm performance. The guys teach me the emu dance. Unlike the graceful bird, I am awkward at best but have fun and repeat the dance three time for Jeff to get a good photo.     After a short break we are headed out early to take some photos at the Sounds of Silence  which we will enjoy after a bit of work. The weather is troublesome, the wind whipping wildly and dark clouds closing in on us from every direction. We pop a quick shot of me receiving a glass of champagne as the guests do upon arrival. We planned to shoot me eating an assortment of delectable canapés. I get just one mouthful of delicious smoked crocodile on cucumber which makes my stomach growl for more, but with rain on […]

Cairns Tropical Zoo

I am relieved that our next shoot is at the Cairns Tropical Zoo.  They have been enthusiastic since our first email reaching out to them and I love animals (all except the arachnids that is).  We picked them over a larger Sydney zoo simply because you can’t do a Koala Cuddle anywhere but Queensland. To our surprise we found an amazing gem just 20 minutes north of Cairns. They are a highly interactive zoo with many options to get up close to the animals.  They have immaculately kept grounds and enclosures and even offer a wedding chapel for nuptials and blessings. While they feature all the Australian regulars they also house many exotic animals from Asia and beyond. Visitors can cuddle a koala, hold a boa constrictor, and hand feed tame kangaroos.   I have agreed to work with birds, wombats and a komodo dragon but it’s the koala cuddle that has me so excited.  We are given a warm welcome and introduced to Venetia who will guide us through our shoots at the zoo.  It is hot, humid and sticky so I am thrilled to hear that the wedding chapel has air conditioning.  We head out the chapel to […]