A London-based film production company Make Productions did an amazing job and I thought that I would share.
Once in awhile, we have the great privilege of photographing a wedding of a family member or friend. We recently had this opportunity when we photographed our dear friends, Brandon and Nikki during their beautiful and intimate ceremony on the beach at Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, California. As the sun set on the bay, they exchanged their vows and pledged their love in front of their family and closest friends. The day couldn’t have been more perfect and we were honored to have been a part of it.
I recently had the privilege of photographing an adorable couple, Jamison and Gina, in Santa Cruz. We had a lot of fun with this shoot. They were kind enough to share their proposal story.
I always thought I would know when Jamison would propose to me. I was sure he would be acting weird, seem really nervous, and it would be somewhere like a 311 concert or a Giants game. We have been together for over 6 years and I thought I knew him like the back of my hand!
I always knew Gina was the one, and I had been waiting for the right time to propose. I was considering proposing on our trip to Costa Rica in November 2011, but decided that it was too risky to travel with her engagement ring and to try to keep it a secret from her. In December, we had another trip planned to North Lake Tahoe and I decided that it would be the perfect time to ask because I could tell she wouldn’t be expecting it.
On our second day of the trip, Jamison suggested that we go to the South shore for a day. After a little gambling, he asked if I wanted to do something else like go up the Gondola at Heavenly or go ice-skating. I agreed to do either, but once I saw how steep the Gondola ride was, it took some convincing! It wasn’t snowing, but it was a pretty cold day, about 8 degrees!
We found out the Gondola makes two stops– one at the observation deck and the second was at the lodge which is higher up on the mountain. I wasn’t sure if the lodge had a view or not, so I decided it had to be at the observation deck. Once we made it to the observation deck, I quickly realized Gina was more nervous than I was because of the height. We had an incredible view of the entire Lake, so after some hot chocolate and a couple of photos, Gina was ready for the next stop at the lodge.
I was absolutely freezing on that deck! First off, I am pretty scared of heights and it didn’t help that it was SUPER windy! Neither of us had hooded coats, so our ears were freezing. Jamison hugged me to keep me warm, and in turn I was breathing hot air on his ears (weird, I know) and then covering them with my gloves. I asked Jamison “Do you think people think we are weird?” and he replied “Yes”. I looked at him and he said, “That’s ok thought because you are my best friend and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Then he got down on one knee, and asked if I would marry him. I was so excited! It was such a perfect proposal and a beautiful ring– he knows me really well because I didn’t want to change one thing about the ring!
I was so excited when Gina said yes! I had never seen her cry while being so excited, and it was hilarious to see her reaction every time she looked down at her new ring! She kept “cry/laughing” and holding it up in the sun
Gary and Marilou had spent countless hours planning the perfect beach wedding. However, when it came to the big day, the weather had different plans. Unfortunately, the rain had set in on Half Moon Bay, but this didn’t seem to damper the mood of the day in any way. Gary and Marilou knew that despite their plans, their wedding day was about making a covenant with each other, before God, family and friends, to serve each other for the rest of their lives. Their covenant was a cause for celebration. The vibe and setting of this celebration was perfect. The legendary Sam’s Chowder House, Gary and Marilou’s favorite place to eat in Half Moon Bay, put on a great show with its old time charm. Despite the rainy weather, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We decided to return on a different day, once the weather had cleared, to take advantage of the beautiful backdrop Half Moon Bay offers.
I had so much fun photographing this engagement out at Rancho San Antonio County Park. Michael and Haley have such great chemistry and I’m really looking forward to their wedding in August. They were kind enough to share how Michael proposed to Haley. Enjoy their story!
We traveled to Nicaragua in March 2011. We had just arrived in colonial Granada on the banks of Lake Nicaragua, and decided to take a boat ride out to see the many islets (365, one for each day of the year). At one point we stopped to explore an island fort. We climbed to the top and were admiring the view; from there you could see dozens of jungle-covered islands and the lake stretching out as far the eye could see. Haley leaned in and could feel Michael’s heart pumping a million miles per hour and his breath was short. She had visions of having to coordinate Michael’s medivac out of the country using her rusty Spanish and asked him if he was okay. He assured her he was fine. Then he got down on one knee, on top of that old Spanish fort on a tiny uninhabited island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, and asked “Will you marry me?” He held out the same ring his father gave his mother 30 years before when she left to live in Australia.
Michael claims Haley’s response was “Are you sure?” (Haley doesn’t remember this, and even if she did say that it’s just another way of saying “Really?!” in a happy and excited way…). But she ultimately did say “yes” and we spent the next 10 days of our trip basking in the glow of our engagement.
Typically, I post about all things photography, however, I thought that I would take an opportunity to give you a little insight to the guy behind the lens when I’m not behind the lens.
I absolutely love being a wedding photographer, but there are a few things I would consider myself to be before a photographer. I am a father of two and a husband to my beautiful wife, Stacy. Family is above my job and my faith in God is above it all.
I love being Daddy to my two kids. Havyn is our three year old, blonde hair, blue eyed, princess. She’s our firecracker and has me wrapped around her little pink polished finger. Her favorite things at the moment are princesses, ballerinas, castles and all things pink. Luca, our little boy, has a shorter resumé as he is only 6 months old. This little guy is a stud. He also has blue eyes and blonde hair, just not as much. We think that Luca is going to be the quieter, more laid back one of the two. He always has a smile for you and is always happy. That is, unless you get between him and a snack or a nap.
Stacy works a couple mornings a week so I get to play Dad. Luca just goes with the flow at the moment but Havyn requires a little more effort and planning. Last week, I had the brilliant idea that Havyn and I would use my mum’s recipe and bake a tea cake for our bible study that night. The only hole in my plan was that I don’t really know how to bake. However, Stace does it all the time and it doesn’t look that difficult so i figured it couldn’t be that hard. Famous last words.
We had a lot of fun measuring everything out, cracking eggs and making a mess in the kitchen. With a little help from Google and a few calls to Stace, I was feeling confident that we had pulled it off. That familiar tea cake smell began wafting through the house and I gave myself a pat on the back as I could already imagine how my first slice would taste. The oven timer went off and I rushed over to take a look. It looked perfect so I opened the oven and pulled it out. I looked down at my cake and the perfection I just saw through the oven window was now a little tarnished. What was once a perfectly rounded cake now looked like the Grand Canyon. I emailed a picture over to Stace to show her my failed attempt. She emailed back saying that it actually looked okay and to leave it in the pan until she got home, which would be shortly. The problem was that there was a little gap between the time she sent her email and the time I read it. Enough time for me to evaluate the situation and conclude that the best thing to do would be to get the cake out of the pan as soon as possible. No sooner had I seen all of our hard work come out in two, not so elegant, pieces did I get Stacy’s message to wait.
Now, in the mean time, I had set Havyn up with a painting project at her art easel while our cake was baking. In addition to being a princess, Havyn is also a talented artist. She loves to paint which was helpful as she was keeping busy while the above catastrophe took place. She was singing and painting while I was cleaning the mess in the kitchen. I was almost finished when she appeared in the kitchen and this little conversation transpired.
Havyn : Uh-oh, Daddy. Uh-oh.
Me : What happened sweetie?
Havyn : Uh-oh, Daddy. I made a mess.
Me : Can you show me?
Havyn leads me to the scene of the crime.
Havyn : Uh-oh, Daddy. I made a mess on the wall.
Me : Yeah, we don’t put paint on the wall do we Havyn?
Havyn : No, Daddy.
The handprints have since been washed off the wall. The cake, which I insisted on taking to our bible study, even though it was just crumbles by the time Stace scraped if off of the bottom of the pan, was a hit and tasted great despite its looks. I am so thankful that my job gives me the flexibility to have these mornings with my kids. It is a special time that I know we will never get back. I love being a dad and I feel so blessed to have my little family.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of photographing Gary and Marilou’s. It was a beautiful and intimate wedding at Half Moon Bay’s own Sam’s Chowder House. It was here that I met the event coordinator of Sam’s, DanielIe. I am always excited to meet new coordinators at locations that I love. Danielle was a gem to work with. She was knowledgable, fun and she does her job really well. Sam’s provides a beautiful and unique location, delicious food and an atmosphere unlike any other. What’s not to love?
Last month I got an email from Danielle with a gender reveal request. I have to be honest and say my first thought was, you want to do what?? It didn’t take me long to get on board after looking at some of the images she had attached and doing a little Google research for myself. Though the idea was new to me, I quickly saw the appeal. What a special way to learn of your sweet baby’s gender. I was honored to be asked to have a part in this special, unforgettable moment.
I asked Danielle and her husband, Michael, to share a little about how they got to this point, why they chose to learn their baby’s gender this way and what was going on in their minds in that special moment. Enjoy!
When Michael and I decided that we wanted to find out the gender of our 1st child, we always knew that we didn’t want to find out in the Ultrasound office but in a more personal setting. The last thing I wanted to do was to share that moment with someone I didn’t know (The Tech) and have my shirt pulled up and my belly exposed with jelly as I had my husband sit 2 feet away from me in the chair unable to have those immediate intimate emotions come flooding through with an audience. I knew that I would always want them to write it down on a piece of paper and open it at a different time, at maybe our favorite restaurant, the place where he proposed, or with the support of our anxiously awaiting families.
I have always been a fan of photojournalism. You know that moment caught forever of an emotion that happens naturally and the reaction in people’s faces. So, finding out the sex of our unborn child and having that moment captured for them to see one day was perfect for us. It took a bit of planning. Fortunately for us, Scott Wilson was a natural choice. I’ve seen him in action as an event planner and not only witnessed his unobtrusive presence and artistic interpretation in the making, I’ve seen the finished product. Each time, his photos magically took my breath away and it was a perfect fit for capturing this ONCE in a lifetime moment for us.
We gathered up 20 Pink and 20 blue balloons, the vintage truck, a helium tank and the key to our kingdom- the still sealed envelope revealing the gender – and delivered it to a trusted friend. Trust me, it took all I had not to peek at it in suspense as I drove back from my Anatomy Ultrasound appointment at week 20. The friend was given specific instructions to open it, swear it to secrecy, fill the truck with the color balloon that matched the gender and make sure it was locked. Any evidence of broken balloons or extra balloons were sealed in a container so my wandering eyes wouldn’t see.
My entire life I was excited to have a baby girl, a little mini me, dressed in patent leather shoes and hair bows. However, this pregnancy was different – I referred to baby as a “he”. We were focusing on boy names, boy room décor and neutral strollers. I played to the old wives tales that if the heartbeat was around 140 or less it was a boy and upwards of the 180’s it was a girl. My heartbeats were 144, 147, 142 – I was convinced boy. One old wives tale said that if mama is glowing, it’s a boy, if not it’s a girl because you are giving the girl your beauty – I felt like I was glowing.
Walking to the field I was calm and collected, almost sure that blue balloons were going to shoot out of the trunk. I was about to give my husband’s last name a legacy and we were almost settled on “his” name. As the moment approached, I stood there as my heart raced. There was this excitement brewing and I could hardly catch my breath. We finally lifted the lid to the trunk and I saw pink. Pink?!?! My first initial thoughts were that a mistake was made. Someone is playing a joke on me. Michael’s eyes swelled up and I was blissfully unaware of the magnitude that was very slowly taking effect. I looked at him and threw my hands up and said “What the heck, I was sure it was a boy” as if I was always right and had to prove it. I was having a girl… a little girl…a sweet little best friend. I was in shock, in disbelief. We hadn’t really thought about girl names, or how to plan her room. Holy cow – tutus and Barbies were coming our way. I kept looking at the balloons floating away and it was magical. It was a perfect. It was caught forever and since the moment was fleeting away as fast as the helium carried the pink balloons into the sky, I was so excited to see my reaction and share our reveal with everyone.
When I received the photos, I was overjoyed with this little piece of history forever documented and the quality of the moment captured so perfectly. Since my family was back in Rhode Island and Michael’s was in Colorado we knew that sending the first photo of us holding the sign would definitely draw some excitement the first night. We then posted it for Facebook and started generating lots of guesses, with the promise of the reveal photo the next day! The comments started flooding in… It’s a Girl! It’s a Boy! And then it was known… It’s a girl!
And as she made her gender known to everyone, it became apparent not only to us but to the world – that this very special, very loved little girl was the most amazing surprise we could ever ask for and a moment that we will remember for generations to come.
I highly recommend investing in the little moments in life – because once they’re gone, you can’t recreate it.