Point San Luis Lighthouse

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For many years Avila Beach near San Luis Obispo has been my favorite California beach.  But recently, Crystal and Homer contacted me to be their wedding photographer at the Point San Luis Lighthouse there.  I had never been on the property but immediately said yes because I just love the area so much.

Point San Luis Lighthouse is the only surviving Prairie Victorian model lighthouse that remains in existence on the West Coast of the United States. We are talking about a complex of buildings from the 1880's.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is being refurbished by the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers, a volunteer group.  The group of docents that were working the day of the wedding were great.  Everyone of them was friendly, helpful, and proud of the property.

One thing to note is that your guests do not drive directly to the lighthouse.  Instead, there is a trolley provided.  I wish that I had captured some photos of the long, single lane that must be traveled to get to the lighthouse because it ended up being a fun part of the experience.

The property is somewhat small.  What I mean is that any wedding party over 125 people will be hard-pressed to fit.  I'm not even sure if they could take a group that size. The Saturday in July that I was there had perfect weather (in the 70-80 degree range) which helped result in some great wedding photos that featured ocean views.  Additionally, the docents opened up all the buildings for us so that we could take some wedding shots inside the lighthouse in the old Victorian building and in the small museum like setting.  I believe they do that for everyone just so the wedding guests can roam around and enjoy the site, too.  The reception dinner was also held in one of the building which supported a view of the ocean from each guests' table.  So, my thought is that this is a good venue for a smaller, family-focused wedding.

The couple hired a musician named Justin Martinez.  I would highly recommend him if his style and approach appeals to you.  His guitar playing provided such a perfect backdrop for this setting.  There were no cheesy songs, nor were there any forced attention away from the festivities.  Instead, everything just fit and the experience of being in this great setting was enhanced.  I'm sure that his skills would work in a number of other local venues, also. 

I've included a slideshow that shows a little of Crystal and Homer's wedding just in case you are thinking about this as a wedding venue.  If you want to see more photos from this wedding, you can find them in this Smugmug portfolio.  If you want an excellent acoustic guitarist, email Justin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  And if you want to contact the Point San Luis Lighthouse to inquire if it is the right place for you, call them at (805) 540-5771.

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Pure Bitcoin Beats Fine China

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 Over at Cointelegraph.com, Darryn Pollock wrote an article that just might signal a new trend in wedding gifts.  I've excerpted a few comments, but if you are interest, go there to read the entire article.

More and more tech savvy couples are recognizing the value of Bitcoin as an investment option for their new lives together, putting the digital currency at the top of their wish list on wedding registers.

There are cases, especially in the US, where couples have either received Bitcoin or asked for it, as a gift. ... A young couple who are usually starting their lives together have forgone fairly useless things like kitchenware and crockery for a digital currency that has the potential to double in value in a short time.

Business Insider editor Emily Cohn tweeted that the Bitcoin her and her new husband received back in 2016 proved to be the “the best gift we got.” In September last year, at the time of their wedding, one Bitcoin was worth $230. By the end of the year, they had already doubled that and a year later the currency was worth $2,383.

Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesman for the Bitcoin advocacy group Coin Center, explains: “Because it is so volatile and has a learning curve, use your best judgment on whether or not the happy couple would genuinely appreciate a cryptocurrency gift,” he said.

 

Millennials drive Bitcoin gifting

Honeyfund's chief executive officer and co-founder Sara Margulis believes that it is only a matter of time before Bitcoin starts to play a big role in gifts for wedding, as well as honeymoons, but only for those who know and understand the digital currencies.

“I would expect it to pop more as Millennials come into the wedding age,” Honeyfund’s Margulis said. “It’s something you will do if your friends and family are already into Bitcoin — not something most couples would do.”

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What are the costs of a Wedding at San Francisco City Hall

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By far, the wedding venue that I get called back again and again to photograph is San Francisco's City Hall.  And there is a very straightforward reason for that: the costs are low and the photography possibilities are huge.  And this popularity extends beyond the locals because about 35% of my City Hall clients have been from the east cost or from foreign countries (the UK, China, Israel, etc.).

The marriage license itself is $99, and the civil ceremony is $75.  For this price you will likely be married in the Rotunda which is located at the top of the grand staircase on the second floor.  I say "likely" because at least one officiant insists on doing his weddings on the stairs themselves, and sometimes the building is so busy with events the Rotunda is unavailable and another location is used.  So, technically that's it, $174 and you are married!  I believe this phone number (415) 554-6068 will reach them.

Both parties must be present and have legal photo identification. Once you’ve made your appointment for your marriage license, you’ll pick it up from the County Clerk’s office (room 168) on the first floor.

However, there are options to rent spaces for a more private wedding on either the fourth floor or the Mayor's Balcony, starting at $1,002; visit or call the Events Office at City Hall for more info (room 495).

Naturally I believe that you will want to add a photographer to this special day.  There are a number of talented and knowledgable photographers but it is important to select someone with experience because not all shots are obvious.  A good photographer will have upped his/her game over time at the same venue and a great photographer will continue to seek new ideas even after 200 weddings.  Depending upon who you hire, expect to spend between $500 and $1200 for a 2-hour session.  I keep my costs toward the lower end of that range.

If you would like to know more about my services, click here: martinomingione.com/sfcityhall.html 

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Troy Aikman at Super Bowl 50

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It dawned on me a little late that with Super Bowl 50 being held nearby at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, there should be photo opportunities -- ideally ones that pay!  And as fortune would have it, VividSeats hired me for their Troy Aikman Tailgate party.  I think chalk-talk might have been more accurate description since we were not in a parking lot, nor was there any vehicle or BBQ in sight.  But none-the-less, it was a lot of fun to be at.

If anyone reading this is contemplating attending a future VividSeat event, I can testify that they did a great job with this event.  The food was great, the bar was complimentary, Troy Aikman was funny and interesting, and the people were ready to party.  They even had a 90'x60' clear tent set up for the party and Super Bowl ticket distribution ready to go.

If you are interested in seeing more of Mr. Aikman and his fans, click here.

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Cloudy Skies over the Bay Bridge

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The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge is a complex of bridges spanning the San Francisco Bay.  It opened in 1936 six months before the Golden Gate bridge did.  And ever since it always lost out in appeal to its more iconic companion -- the Golden Gate bridge.  But the Bay Bridge is the city's workhorse.  It supposedly carries 240,000 cars each day.

I must profess that the Bay Bridge has always held a certain fascination for me.  The fist time that I sat in my car somewhere near the anchorage in San Francisco and gazed at the marvel of engineering, I was hooked.  Also, for some reason I love driving through the brief tunnel on Treasure Island , the half-way point of the bridge.

The photograph attached to this article was taken on a stormy January morning.  I was near Firefox' headquarters (or Gap's headquarters) while the morning commute was just beginning to kick in.  Once again I found myself staring at the Bay Bridge.  So I captured what I saw with this image.

But I soon discovered that I was not the only person who has a warm spot for the Bay Bridge.  A recently married couple saw this photograph at my desk while I was working on it.  (I had also photographed their wedding up in the Healdsburg area).  They immediately commented about this photo saying that when they were engaged, one or the other always had to travel across the bridge daily so that they could be together.  She later ordered a float mount framed canvas version for his office.  It turned out beautifully.  I've also gone one to create a few prints on Polar Pearl paper which brings out a great metallic sheen to the bridge's structure.

If you are interested in receiving a high-quality copy of this image, contact me.  Naturally, the watermark will not be in your ordered image.

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