Douglas Ellington

Bethani and Joel's Asheville Portrait Session by Michael Oppenheim

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of photographing a beautiful couple, Bethani and Joel, whose wedding I will be shooting in July here in Asheville at the Grand Bohemian.  We were originally going to head straight to the NC Arboretum and the Blue Ridge Parkway to take advantage of the spring foliage and colors.   But when I saw Bethani in her peach colored mini-skirt and Joel in his sharp bluish suit I knew immediately where I had to take them.   Asheville City Hall, one of architect Douglas Ellington's masterpieces, has an amazing entryway that features vaulted ceilings, pink granite, and a wonderful tile mosaic wall.  Bethani and Joel's attire and "look"  dictated a more urban, architectural backdrop.    Douglas Ellington is arguably Asheville's most celebrated architect having designed the S&W Cafeteria Building, First Baptist Church, City Hall, and Asheville High School. After wrapping up at City Hall we headed to the NC Arboretum and traipsed around the grounds, taking in the wonderful scenery.  For some of the images I used a 50mm f1.0 lens that I've had for many years.  When shot at f1.0-f.1.4 it produces very dreamlike images with a very shallow depth of field.  At f.10 the falloff in focus is dramatic.  It can be a challenging lens to shoot with but can create some remarkable images, soft and ethereal.  I've included some of those in this collection of images.

We ended our shoot on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Having scouted out a location the day before I found a nice spot that highlighted new spring foliage on the trees.  We were at about 4000 ft in elevation for these photos.  The views were obviously spectacular.  Because Bethani and Joel are avid readers we did some fun shots with books as props.  Additionally, given the fact that Bethani lives in New York City and Joel in Washington, D.C. they were wanted to take advantage of Asheville's natural surroundings.  I think we did pretty good with this particular view!

After we wrapped up the shoot, I had them follow me up to Mt. Pisgah to show them where George Vanderbilt's old hunting lodge used to be and to not  only see the view incredible view looking back to Asheville but to also get a sense of how much land Vanderbilt used to own...basically from where we were standing all the way back to the Biltmore Estate.    Also,  at 5000 feet the landscape was still barren and Spring still had not touched many of the trees.   Pretty amazing.

I hope you enjoy these images.  Again, such a wonderful couple and I cannot wait to photograph their wedding!  And thanks to Bethani's mom, Sandra, for playing chauffeur for Bethani and Joel!


Melissa Deboer - Make-Up

Cody Louise - Hair