There’s nothing like professing your love on the North shore of Kauai, Hawaii.  And no way to capture it without your own personal paparazzi!  It was a great pleasure to finally give back to my loyal and devoted long time second shooter Ryan Mylnarczyk.  For years he has tooted my horn as his photography mentor, but I can’t emphasize enough what a gift it is to see someone’s work and style blossom under my wing and for his work to become truly his own, having his signature style.  Plus there’s nothing a more I can ask for  having his championing as one of the things that has kept me going through the years. Ryan has made me cry with his enthusiasm for my work, but more than that he has given me and our clients exceptional photos again and again!  FINALLY I have been given the opportunity to turn the camera on him and return the favor! Paparazzi style!

When I heard Ryan talk about his new skype friend, his face would grow soft and he would suddenly turn to mush! “Hmmmm, this must be some special lady!” I thought to myself.  Everything he described was magical and simultaneously seemed like a mirror of himself. And upon meeting her ( he flew her out to Kauai and she stayed!!), his glowing words could not even begin to capture Constance’s true radiance and loving heart. These two are a pair for life, I believe it.  I have been blessed to live with them both on Kauai, sharing meals, enjoying community gardening and lively conversations as well as heartfelt hugs, tears and laughter. I thank them both, Ryan and Constance, from the bottom of my heart for their love and support and I look forward to witnessing and participating in their life together <3


  • Ryan Mlynarczyk - December 22, 2012 - 9:45 pm

    Omg this is sooooooo sweet Rachel Dolma Balunsat (Dolma)​​! It’s been a true honor to have you in my and now Constance Stauffacher​​’s lives and I’ve been engaged before and THIS IS the last time…which makes me so greatful that I was blessed enough to have you, my wedding photography mentor and idol, of all people, be a part of our engagement and be able to have your Increadible eye and camera turned on us to record this special moment that we will have for the rest of our lives!! Some of these pics will be hanging on our walls and we can’t wait to show the tearjerking video to our kids! We have and will continue to watch it daily!ReplyCancel

Since creating a second life in Kauai, my shooting has suddenly become more dynamic!  Engagement shoots are one thing … but proposals photographed  guerrilla style from the bushes is a whole other monkey!  The angst I feel! the things I get to see!!!

My first shoot ever accompanying one of Ann’s dinners was an honor that included a mess of excitement, adrenalin and everything that goes along with keeping a surprise a surprise and making one of the most important days of a person’s life EXCELLENT! Ruben thought of everything, a trip to Hawaii, the convertible,  and of course….a surprise catered dinner for 2 on a private Kauai beach quietly protected by reef.  A romantic Tikki lit table on a bed of sand dotted with lava rocks topped the day off with fine wine and a 4 course dinner of salad colored with edible flowers, lilikoi grilled shrimp, and as if a reward were necessary…. finished with grilled pineapple atop rum buttered banana confit comforted by a pillow of coconut ice cream, live fudge and raspberry decadence, chef’d by the amazing Ann Eu.

…oh…. and their own personal paparazzi….. 😉

This wedding may be the Envy of the year, but I must say… ever so humbly. Sherri is one of the most PHENOMENAL painters I have ever seen, her love of horses and movement flows through her paintbrush. Like Picasso’s realism (before he became cubist) every feeling and tender curve of the horse is rendered with lavish emotion and grace. Mark meets Sherri’s grace on the dance floor and matches her contagious smile with his enormous heart. If ever a couple were meant for each other it was these two.  Mark’s Envy Winery in Calistoga was the perfect setting for this intimate affair blending their tastes in perfect style. A reflection of humor and good nature, this evening put a spell across the land casting laughter into the echoing valleys of the mountains which daily frame their evening walks.

I can’t possibly post this image without an explanation….Uhhh… okay I can’t explain it… Just exactly what the heck are these friends doing in the wedding couples’ bed????   …. apparently it’s an inside joke… feel free to laugh along….

From the first moment I spoke to Helen on the phone I immediately loved her! I knew this was going to be a wedding with ease of heart and true inspiration.  Upon meeting Sam it was confirmed…. a loving couple with generous spirits who love their friends and family… and who know how to have a good time. I honestly have never laughed so much at a wedding. Behind the scenes of elegance and beauty were absolute fun and good humor. Pulling off a two day traditional Eritrean wedding can’t be easy, but Helen and Sam communicated with their multitudes of people with grace and kept the good times rolling!