Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wedding Mayhem

Phew. So our wedding was a week ago. Exactly a week ago, we'd finished cutting the cake and Kim and I were busy greeting and chatting with our guests. It seems that as time progresses more and more of that day becomes a blur. My cousin already has an album up of pictures he took (Kodak gallery warning). I had originally intended to post something a day during the wedding time just to record some of the mayhem; but I didn't have the time to do even something quick. Hence I will try to recall what I can.

Both of our parents arrived Wednesday night; with Kim's parents and Amy's flight arriving at 11pm, it was nearly 2 am by the time we got to bed (had to rent the vans, drive them to the hotel, etc...). On Thursday morning we had to be at Willow Heights by 10am (hence we needed to get up at 7) to show our parents the place and to drop off all the beverages. During the remainder of Thursday Kim and I went shopping with our respective families to buy stuff for the wedding. That evening we had a big family dinner at Coconut Grove (one of the few places that can satisfy psuedo-Chinese and Indian (not to mention vegetarian) food desires).

Bright and early on 8am Friday morning Kim and I went to buy all the wedding flowers. We need several dozen roses and carnations; roses for the garlands and to give to all the female wedding guests; carnations for the garlands. The flowers were all stored in two buckets until they were needed. For the rest of Friday afternoon Kim came with me and my parents to finish much of the shopping needed for the Indian ceremony. For lunch on Friday we went to Bombay Garden (in Fremont). I'm rather fond of Bombay Garden, the lunch buffet is reasonable ($10) and you get a lot of food and can sample both north and south Indian cuisine. The mango icecream is also amazing. It turns out this was also Allen's first time trying Indian food. He seemed to struggle with the utensils a bit and commented on how flavourful the food was but he also looked like he was having a good time. On Friday evening Kim and I invited all of our out of town friends and sisters to dinner at Krungthai. I had planned to bring my 5D and newly acquired 35L but in all the hurry I left both at home hence no picture :(

As Saturday ticked by the stress of all the wedding planning was starting to get to us (no nervousness mind you, just tired). We both spent the day running around, getting things together. Our dinner consisted of Chinese takeout at 10pm, after which we went a loaded the banana trees into the van. We both knew we needed to get sleep so we tried to get to bed as early as possible (I think it still was 12 by the time I managed to fall asleep).

As the big day arrived there was much to do for me in the morning. I had to drop Kim's mom off at the apartment as Kim was getting her hair and make-up done. I also had to drop off Amy, Sue and Jan for their hair and make-up. While that was happening I raced back to Komala Vilas for a special wedding day brunch my parents had arranged for my relatives. After much running around I managed to get up to Willow Heights by 1. I think it was at that point that I stopped worrying and started having fun. We managed to start only 20 minutes late but were able to stay more or less on schedule for the rest of the day. In the end I think all our guests had a good time and the day was worth all the time and money spent over the last 8 months. I think for the first time in a while Kim and I had a very restful sleep that night.

On Monday we actually slept in! Well 7:30 is sleeping in for us these days :) We had a nice breakfast at Willow Heights then drove back to see our parents. Kim's family wanted to visit San Franciso but before heading out Kim and I did a quick photo session with her saree and our garlands (the top-most picture). We also stopped off at Pho Queen (down the street on Lawrence and Tasman) for lunch; not a bad place to get decent Pho for cheap.

While in SF we mostly stuck to Fisherman's Wharf where I was able to endulge in a crepe once again (I went for the Ghirardelli chocolate, Kim the Strawberry). After a quick drive-by tour of Chinatown we headed back to the hotel. On a side note Kim and I discovered a Thai place in Milpitas (on Calaveras blvd.) that wasn't too bad.

Thursday morning Kim and I woke up early (6:30) to drive Kim's aunt and uncle to the airport (SJ) and then to also drop off Kim's parents (and Amy) at SFO. Then for the rest of the day Kim, Sue and Allen came with my parents and sister for another day in SF. Like the day before we again hit Fisherman's Wharf (this time for lunch) and again I indulged myself with a crepe :) On our way up we stopped off at a beach just outside Pacifica; turns out it was Allen's first time to a beach. He seemed to be having fun though.

We managed to see and do a lot that day including hitting the Ghirardelli factory (and indulging in the sundae), driving up to Muir Woods, and finally catching a sunset by the Golden Gate bridge.

On Wednesday I drove with my parents to the airport and dropped them off. I went back to work but was only there for a bit since I was too tired. Things have slowly started to get back to normal (though the apartment was a total mess until today). We also just now finally managed to go through and open all the gifts (thanks to everyone for their generous gifts!).

Today Kim realized that we had forgot to ask our photographer to take shots of our rings to include in the wedding album; so we improvised a mini studio in the dining room and took a few shots ourselves; hopefully Mark (our photographer) can include one of them in the album. Hopefully things will fully return to normal in the next week or so and we can actually start doing stuff on evenings and weekends again :)

Finally a big thanks to all our friends and family who came to our wedding; especially those who endured the discomfort of air travel these days.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monterey Bay Aquarium

With the wedding fast approaching you'd think we'd be hard at work doing planning work and not at the Monterey Bay Aquarium huh? Well actually we are hard at work, its just that my sister Janani arrived Friday evening and we figured we should have at least one day where she could see the California sights. Since Kim and I hadn't been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium either, it seemed like a good choice. Edward also joined us for the day. Sadly I don't have time to talk about all the interesting marine life we saw so I'll just post a whole bunch of pictures (click on them for larger versions) instead :)

Oh yea I shot everything at the aquarium with the Canon 1D (mostly at ISO 1600 too) and it performed really well. As you can see when sized for the web the noise isn't too much of an issue (I watched my exposures), the full size images exhibit a bit more noise, but once they're run through NoiseNinja everything is ok.

Fun's over, now its back to getting this wedding planned and done. I'm going to try to post wedding related stuff for the next several days; lets see if I have time (my posts will be short).

Technical Specs: Canon 1D, 17-40 f/4 @ 40mm, ISO 800-1600

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hair and Makeup trial

Today Kim got her hair and make-up person to come over and do a trial before the wedding. That way they can do all their experiments now and when the big day comes she can just come in and do the exact look that Kim wants with efficiency. It was an interesting learning experience, especially when it comes to make-up.

Something I knew before but was able to really see was the fact that makeup doesn't show up easily on camera. What I mean by that is you really have to lay it on thick otherwise the person just looks like they aren't wearing any. For a wedding this has an interesting consequence; on the one hand you want your wedding pictures to look great; but on the other hand you don't want around looking gaudy at your own wedding.

We did several experiments that night (Kim was worried about having too much make-up on) so we went back and forth taking pictures, adding more make-up, taking pictures, etc. I think we finally found an amount that Kim was comfortable with but would also look nice on the camera.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, Tamron 28-75 @ 75mm, ISO 1600/1000. Excuse the color cast it was a rather nasty mix of tungsten and fading sunlight.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Visiting Customers

Yesterday I went on my second on-site customer visit (my first was a couple of months ago to PDI). This time we went to two retouching/processing/printing places in San Francisco. The first was dmax imaging which where the above picture was taken. These guys have all kinds of nifty clients and they do a lot of work with advertising. Naturally they are heavy Photoshop users and routine push the product to its limits. Apart from learning about how customers use Photoshop (and getting their feature requests and pain points) the customer visits are also sometimes really interesting for the tidbits of information you learn about their business.

In this case I learned a LOT about printing large (both in size and volume). I had always figured that with the quality you get out of an Epson 9800, it would be sufficient even for large print houses. Turns out the total cost of doing a LOT of prints and the relatively slow speed of an inkjet like the 9800 makes these big print houses look for other solutions. One such solution is the Chromira 50 (pictured to the left) which is this massive photographic printer that uses LEDs to expose photo paper. This means that the printer requires a dark room and the paper must be loaded in complete darkness (not easy feat considering the size and weight of a roll of paper).

The second place we visited was newlab. These guys offer all kinds of printing services such that even you or I could drop stuff off to get printed. They also get a lot of film related stuff; hence I saw a lot of high quality drum scanners. One of the really cool things I saw here was a genuine old school darkroom (pictured left); something I haven't seen since I was in high school and something that is becoming more and more rare. If you do ever get the chance to visit these guys in person, I would highly recommend checking out some of the work they have in their 'lobby' area. These prints (done by them of course) were part of a project they did for the whole San Francisco earthquake centennial. They scanned up a bunch of the original negatives and reprinted them. Not only are the prints exquisite but the shots are truly inspiring.

I had a great time and am looking forward to more customer visits (I think I have one next week).

Technical Specs: Fuji F30