Photo Byte Friday: Caribbean

Pitons of St. Lucia
Pitons of St. Lucia

This week’s FriFotos theme is Caribbean. I’ve only been to the Caribbean once—on our honeymoon to Saint Lucia in February 2013. We stayed at Sandals La Toc, which proved to be a truly bizarre experience. They say the devil is in the details, and that was definitely true of this place. It was a lot of little things that made us disenchanted with this tropical retreat. From the photos on the website looking drastically different from reality to the the pool guy scaling the 6-foot wall of our “honeymoon hideaway” at 5 a.m. to stand outside our bedroom window to clean the pool, it just didn’t quite live up to our expectations.

The best part of the trip by far was the day we spent with Ray from Karay Media. We’d booked a photo shoot with him to do a “trash-the-dress” session. I wanted those gorgeous beach wedding pictures without actually getting married on the beach. Ray came to our resort to pick us up, and whisked us away on a daylong adventure, complete with beaches, waterfalls, and a sunset swim. It was magical, and we now have beautiful pictures to prove it!

Love in St Lucia

Love in St Lucia

Such a tropical paradise!

Such a tropical paradise!

Posing in St. Lucia's Botanical Gardens

Posing in St Lucia’s Botanical Gardens

Trash the Dress Photo Shoot in St. Lucia.

Trash the Dress Photo Shoot in St Lucia.

St. Lucia Photo Shoot

St Lucia Photo Shoot

St. Lucia Sunset Kiss

St Lucia Sunset Kiss

Here are more pictures from an earlier post.

Photo Byte Friday: Black and White

My favorite black and white friends!
My favorite black and white friends!

I’ve been posting “Photo Bytes” for a while now—giving you a glimpse of a destination. Each week, there is a themed photo sharing event called FriFotos, which is just plain fun, so I’m going to start sharing my favorite photos each week based on that particular theme. I hope you enjoy Photo Byte Fridays!

This week’s theme is Black and White. I love photos that are completely devoid of color. There’s something magical about them. They have a timeless quality. They’re a perfectly preserved memory—a captured moment from journeys gone by.

Timeless tranquility in Charleston, South Carolina.

Unwavering oaks of the South.

The journey ahead in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.

A fleeting sunset kiss in St. Lucia.

I love creating black and white photos of places that hold a lot of history. They’re recognizable. Everyone knows the stories they have to tell. But it’s as if the life has been removed from them, and they stand silent, frozen in a moment.

Alcatraz sits in the San Francisco Bay. This was during the 2013 government shutdown when National Park land was closed, and thus, no one was able to visit the island—which made it all the more eerie. I was able to visit the following year.

The USS Arizona Memorial is anchored over the sunken ship in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” -Virgil

The Shores of St. Lucia: Trash the Dress Photo Shoot

When we decided to go to St. Lucia for our “real” honeymoon, we knew we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful landscapes. You see, our dream was to be married on a beach—however, it didn’t quite work out that way. It’s pretty impossible to have a destination wedding with your family if your family doesn’t want to travel. So we decided that if we couldn’t have our beach wedding, we could at least have our beach pictures!

Having long since booked our stay at Sandals La Toc, we started looking into photography options. Sandals itself cost about a zillion dollars for photos, and wouldn’t take you off property. We wanted the dramatic Pitons in our pictures—which we later learned were over an hour away from the resort.

After some research, we stumbled upon Karay Media. I started conversing with owner, Ray, about the most beautiful picture, where a couple was out on this giant rock in the middle of the ocean, with the Pitons looming behind them. I wanted to recreate it.

Ray agreed to take us out for the day for only $450USD (photos included). Little did we know, it would basically be a tour of the island. He picked us up at our resort, and whisked us away to a quiet beach with a phenomenal view of the Pitons. Unfortunately, we didn’t get our rock shot, as it was raining off and on, and there was no boat to take us, but it was for the best. Ray didn’t mention he gets very motion sick (on land and sea!)—and I wasn’t anxious to leap from a tiny boat onto a huge rock anyway. I just wanted that great shot. Check it out on Ray’s site!

We got some beautiful pictures on the beach, and Ray decided to take us to Diamond Falls Botanical Garden—a tropical paradise! We got some incredible and completely unexpected pictures there.

Diamond Falls Botanical Garden

En route to our next destination, we ended up getting some shots from this fantastic vantage point. You’d never guess we were just pulled off on the side of the road!

Our ultimate goal for this photo shoot was to “trash the dress”—a trend in wedding photography. Typically the bride wears her actual wedding dress, and essentially destroys it. I’ve seen beautiful images of brides in oceans and lakes, but I’ve also seen shoots where the bride is hiking through the woods, playing with mud, or engaged in a lively round of paintball! Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how you look at it—I wasn’t able to wear my own dress, as it weighed so much, I knew I’d sink to the ocean floor if I got it wet. So, I got a new dress, and played in the waves at Ti Kaye Resort—a private resort that Ray often uses for sunset pictures.

Ray was an absolute delight to work with, and took incredible photos. The day we spent with him was our absolute favorite in St. Lucia. We realized if it hadn’t been for him, we never would have gotten to explore the island. We would have only seen the Pitons from the airplane window, and we never would have gotten to soak up some local culture. Ray had all kinds of interesting stories he told us, from getting almost mugged on the beach during a photo shoot, to how he got kicked in the ribs by his pet goat the day before. It was amazing he made it through our session, what with his motion sickness and goat-related injuries!

I highly recommend Karay Media for any special occasion photography—or just as a great way to see St. Lucia and capture some memories in the process. Here’s my review and all of our pictures on KarayMedia.com.

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