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Polka Photos Wins Accolade of Excellence!

Santa Monica, California
I decided to enter some prints in the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) 8 X 10 Competition. This was my first time entering and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
Today I received an email that one of my prints won the Accolade of Excellence!
From the accompanying press release:

“Aleks Bienkowska of Playa Del Rey, CA, has received special honors in the WEDDING & PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHERS INTERNATIONAL (WPPI) 2008 WPPI 8 x 10 1st Half Print Competition. Designed to recognize outstanding photographers, the judging was held in Santa Monica, CA on June, 2008.

“Sea of Love” received an Accolade of Excellence in the Engagement category.

Bienkowska competed against an international field of photographers to win such honors.

The 2008 competition included 932 prints in 18 different categories submitted by photographers from all over the world. “

And here’s the winning photo of Selina and Steve:


Denise - CONGRATS!!!

Ala - Congratulations! The photo is fantastic!

Melanie Avila - Congratulations! It’s a fantastic photo and you are very deserving!

Mama - This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Mama - C*O*N*G*R*A*T*U*L*A*T*I*O*N*S*!

Beach Wedding

Hermosa Beach, California
Last weekend I had the pleasure of second shooting for the awesome Mark Harrelson. His clients Rob & Michelle are a super cool couple. I had so much fun photographing their romantic beach wedding held on the fourth anniversary of their first date.
I usually photograph the bride getting ready so it was fun to switch it around and start at the groom’s place. It was hot inside and Rob stayed cool surfing in front of the fan.
I followed the guys to Hermosa Beach. As Michelle finishes getting ready, Rob anxiously waits.
Their ceremony was on the beach right in front of the gorgeous Beach House hotel. Guests were given cute beach towels personalized with the couple’s names, wedding location and date.
Michelle touches up her make-up.
Jim, the father of the bride, walks her down the aisle. And yes, both are wearing sandals.
I love the way Rob and Michelle look at each other.
Michelle sliding the ring on Rob’s finger.
The priest blesses the newlyweds as the sun starts to set on the water.
The new Mrs. gets a big hug from her father-in-law.
The newlyweds walk back to the strand and start walking towards the pier…
… passing by popular Hermosa Beach hangouts.
Rob and Michelle’s first date was at Club Sushi, where they chose to have their first dinner as a married couple.
This is one of my favorite moments of the night. Michelle steals a kiss from Rob without noticing I’m there.
Congratulations Rob and Michelle! Many thanks to Mark for letting me second-shoot.

Ghosts of Hollywood Past

Hollywood, California

Our friends Kim and Denise were visiting so we decided to see a movie at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Guess which movie? Click on comments at the bottom of this post and add your guess. First three correct answers win a prize. Bonus prize if you also identify the director.


Anonymous - Is it Vertigo produced by Alfred Hitchcock?

smuah on the chittie lounge

Anonymous - Movie guess:
Alfred Hitchcock – Rear Window?

– moonlight

Polka Photos - You’re close…. but no cigar

Eugene - North By Northwest by Alfred Hitchcock?


Eugene - Smuah’s last guess

Dial M for Murder by Alfred Hitchcock

Polka Photos - Getting closer.. Phone calls were an important part of this movie.

But the blonde actress is not Grace Kelly, although her first and last names do have three syllables total.

Polka Photos - And the director is correct. How did you all guess it’s a Hitchcock movie? I’m impressed.

Anonymous - Vetigo was my second guess.

Total guess – The man who knew too much? I am pretty sure that is Doris Day.


H. L. Dyer - Yup, moonlight. It’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, all right. 🙂

— Kiddoc

Polka Photos - Hmm I can see why it looks a little bit like Vertigo — it’s Doris Day’s suit isn’t it?

Well the answer is….. drumroll please…..

The Man Who Knew Too Much

This was never my favorite Hitchcock movie ( & I love his movies & shorts) but seeing it on the big screen made such a difference. The tension really hit home.

So moonlight & Kiddoc are the winners 🙂 I think smuah deserves a prize too for guessing the director and naming every other Hitchcock movie with Jimmy Stewart.

Sea-worthy Wedding

Dana Point, California

Leah and Oscar love the ocean. I took their engagement photos on a sailboat so it wasn’t surprising they carried the tropical theme throughout their reception at The Beach House. The tables, decorated with seashells and sand dollars, were named after islands and the placecards were colorful cocktail umbrellas arranged in sand boxes. To top it off, a pair of glass seahorses crowned their wedding cake.
The newlyweds are serenaded by a mariachi band as they make their entrance.
The bridesmaids are ready to dance the night away.
The cake feeding got a little messy…
Their first dance
It’s not a party until the conga line is formed.
This was a dancing crowd. The floor was packed as the DJ spun his best.
Bouquet toss….
Garter toss…
Looking at the world through heart-shaped glasses.
Let’s twist again…

Happy Independence Day!!!

Marina del Rey, California

No 4th of July celebration is complete unless it includes fireworks. Some of my best memories from childhood were taking the train to the Chicago lakefront where we would listen to the orchestra perform Stars and Stripes Forever as the fireworks danced across the sky.
Michael & I decided to see the show tonight from the Marina del Rey bridge. Although we didn’t hear the music, the pyrotechnic display was amazing. The fireworks lit the sky with dazzling colors as the crowd oohed and aahed. Here are my favorite red, white and blue:

Anonymous - HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!