McClaniversary 5 Year West Coast Road Trip!

This year we celebrated our 5–year wedding anniversary! It's hard to believe that much time has elapsed since we embarked on our marital journey, but we decided it was a milestone worth celebrating. We had the opportunity to fly to Seattle to photograph the wedding of our friends, Bjorn and Lia, close to our anniversary (there are some cool images of Bjorn and Lia part way down this post) and we decided to rent a car after the wedding and spent a week driving highway 101 south to San Francisco. Because we founded McClanahan Studio shortly after getting married we haven't had much time completely unplugged to focus 100% of our attention on one another. We viewed this week as an opportunity to do just that and it was AWESOME! We highly recommend that all married couples schedule time to unplug and have an adventure once in a while. It re–calibrates your unity and is refreshing to the soul! The following post is a hodgepodge of Instagrams taken on our iPhone and photographs taken on a Canon 5dMkIII. Our self portraits were lit with a speedlight and some of the fine art photographs were captured using neutral density filters to slow down time (sort of like Hermione in "Prisoner of Azkaban"). Our journey started in Seattle paddle boarding with friends and visiting the infamous bridge troll. Then we headed south along the Oregon coast, spent an afternoon sand–boarding some epic dunes, ventured through Redwood National Forrest, toured a couple wineries in Napa Valley and concluded with a day of biking through San Francisco and a sunset overlook of the Golden Gate Bridge. We would encourage adding the NorthWest to your bucket list and taking the time to experience these views for yourself! If you have specific questions about where we stayed and what we did, leave a comment and we'll fill you in. We hope you enjoy our images!

McClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coast Dan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coast McClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coast

Ode to a Beard, Part 1

This past Winter Dan gave his first attempt at growing a full beard. Alex sacrificed 5 long weeks of bristly kisses while the impressive manfuzz filled out to a thickness reminiscent of a young Abraham Lincoln. When spring rolled around we decided it would be best for Dan to not look homeless during our upcoming wedding season, so the beard had to go. We couldn't bring ourselves to say goodbye without paying our respects the best way we know how: commemoration in an epic photograph. The resulting images will make beards all around the world envious of the luxurious sendoff Dan's received. And before you ask, we will preface by telling you that the sandwich is real! Complete with 2 pounds of bacon (it was a delicious week). The taxidermy was borrowed from Dan's 10-year-old cousin Abby (her first buck). Enjoy:

Here's a BTS pullback shot so you can see how we lit the image to give it a utopian "movie poster" look:

Lastly, we gotta give a loving shout out to our good friends Eric and Marty for helping us with the setup on this shot! Two of the coolest dudes in Iowa right here:

 

Jay & Holly (married)

We've had the privilege of getting to know Jay's family over the past few years so we were extra excited when Jay and Holly got engaged and wanted us to be their photographers! Their December wedding ceremony took place in the chapel at Hope Lutheran Church in West Des Moines. Thanks to the extremely mild winter this year we were able to photograph most of their portraits outside. Holly's Ivory dress with fur coat and Jay's tan suit looked stunning against the golden browns of winter trees at sunset. It was a treat to witness their joy. Their reception took place at the Foxboro in Johnston. It was immaculately decorated by Jay's parents Sheri & Stan, two wonderful people that have the gift of touching the lives of everyone they come in contact with. They sprinkled the ceiling with snowflakes and filled the room with Christmas trees, lights and decorations that transformed the room into a winter wonderland. It was the perfect end to a wonderful wedding day.

Oregonian Adventure

Greetings friends! Last month we had the privilege of flying to Oregon to hang out with some of the nicest people in the world and teach at Professional Photographer's of Oregon's "Focus" conference. We took some personal days before and after the conference to find inspiration in the beautiful Northwest. Our trip began in Portland:Shortly before this trip we acquired our first iPhone and discovered Instagram (the most fun camera app ever). You'll see a lot of Instagram's scattered throughout this post. The app captures images in a variety of retro square formats that look like this:That orange Dodge Caliber was our trusty rental car that helped us tear up the coast! Shortly after landing we met up with two of our talented and fun–loving friends from college, Björn and Lia:

After thoroughly exploring Portland, we spent a day driving to the coast and exploring Oregon's beautiful terrain and weather patterns. Over the course of the day we experienced warm sunshine, fluffy snowflakes, rain, more warm sunshine and hail. It was bizarrely fantastic:

And of course no McClanahan vacation would be complete without an awkward jumping self portrait:We brought along 2 Canon 580's with our beloved Radiopopper PX's to turn Cannon Beach into a studio and had fun creating some images for the sheer joy of it:

After parting ways with Björn and Lia, we headed back to Portland for the Focus conference...

Here's a shot of our PPO class! We spent 7 hours with these guys and we can sincerely say that they were a joy to hang out with. Lots of great questions, lots of great insights and I think everybody in attendance was inspired (including us):

We want to give a huge thanks to Millers Lab and Radiopopper for donating sweet prizes to give away to these guys! It's a huge blessing to have the support of vendors that we love! We also want to give special thanks to Chea Barns, a PPO member that agreed to let us photograph her (below) as part of a live demo during our class. We photographed Chea inside using softboxes provided by Larson Enterprises (what we use in our studio) and studio equipment provided by Lisa Dillon (We love Lisa! She organized the conference and did a rockin' job)! To create the image below we composited Chea into a Portland cityscape that we photographed the night before:Once the conference was over, we headed to Mt. Hood for some snowboarding action. Along the way we came across Multnomah Falls and photographed arguably our most extreme "little people/big world" self portrait to date:

It was raining really hard and we had to take the image from a tripod without destroying our camera. We bought a poncho from the gift shop and borrowed an umbrella from the "Friends of Multnomah Falls." The camera still got pretty soaked and it was tough to get a frame with no raindrops on the lens (because the camera had to be angled up into the rain), but we got the shot. To accomplish the image, each of us was photographed separately (Dan shot Alex, Alex shot Dan). We took turns running 1/2 mile up the slippery, wet trail to get to the bridge and combined the images in Photoshop. Here's the setup:

Another noteworthy happening was Dan's new red pants from H&M (trying to pass as an Oregonian hipster). He'll probably get beat up when he tries to wear them in Iowa, but they go wonderfully with beards and strange red cars. We made it to Mt. Hood and enjoyed some of the best snowboarding we've ever had thanks to 19" of fresh powder.

We'll end this post with a few dusk images from our beach adventure with Björn and Lia. We used combination of on-camera-flash and iPhone flashlights to mess with light-painting. If we were an indie band, these would be our awkwardly abstract promo images that adorned the walls of the dorm-dwelling cool kids:

Thanks for reading! We need to go back to Oregon again to hang out with our new friends and see all the great stuff we missed. If you enjoyed this post, do us a favor and leave a comment letting us know you were here!

Meredith & Matt (married)

Meredith and Matt first met in a nursing class at Creighton University in Omaha. Matt had been working up the courage to talk to her for a while so he asked his friends to be his "wingmen" and sit with him in the row behind Meredith during their next class. After Matt sat down, his friends filed into the row behind him, leaving Matt completely alone in his row. We were able to get into the very same classroom where it all started (see below) on Meredith and Matt's wedding day. Their ceremony took place at St. John's on Creighton's campus and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. We photographed portraits on campus and downtown around the Magnolia Hotel, where the reception took place. Meredith's attention to detail was impeccable and her reception was no exception. We personally enjoyed the eye–popping, drool–inducing candy bar where guests were encouraged to load up a keepsake bag of sweets for the journey home. The candy bar also made for some creative craziness in their photobooth (which will be our next post later this week!). We feel blessed to have been a part of this magical day. Meredith and Matt — much love and success in your new life together!

Whitney & David (married)

Whitney & David's wedding day unfolded at Prairie Moon Winery in Ames. Their day was one of the hottest of the year, but that didn't hinder morale. Whitney & David's excitement to marry one another was infectious and spread among everybody present. Both families and the wedding party were rock stars and let us take them outside for portraits (thanks guys)! Bottled water and fans were provided for guests to keep them cool through the late-afternoon ceremony, which took place on the fringe of the beautiful vineyard. The reception kicked off with a cocktail hour immediately following the ceremony inside the air–conditioned Prairie Moon reception hall. Whitney ensured that the day was chalked full of personal touches — everything from custom made wine bottle centerpieces to a locket on her bouquet containing photos of her late grandparents. After reception formalities we were able to sneak the newlyweds back into the vineyard for some sunset portraits to end the day.