Monday, May 31, 2010

Inadequate Words

Nick and I were in DC, walking around the monuments and memorials on the mall, talking about how heavily it settles on my heart to see names. Names put faces to wars and stories I read about in history books. At the World War II memorial, there is a section carved in stone that says "here we mark the price of freedom". I cry every time I look at that and determine to remember more often....remember those that fought, remember those that were left behind. I never want to forget the stories my grandpa's tell me. I never want to forget their reality of those stories.

As we walked around the WWII memorial, I saw this gentleman sitting with his wife and daughter, dressed in his military clothes, and heard him talking in a soft voice about his experiences. His voice was old, and he sat leaning over on his cane for support. I stood a little ways away and just started at this man that came to recount his memories, and couldn't help the tears that started. It was an incredibly touching moment and I don't ever want to forget seeing him sitting there, lost in his memories.

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Thank you doesn't say enough. It doesn't say enough to express the gratitude I sometimes forget to have. It doesn't say enough to make up for the years of separation that families go through, or the pain of lost love and lost lives. I never want to forget this moment.

I asked him if I could take his photograph, and his daughter stood up, looked at me, and thanked me, telling me that I had no idea what that would mean to him. I wanted to honor him, to thank him, and to mark his life. I have never felt so humbled.

Thank you to everyone that has given up everything for service of our country. Your sacrifice is remembered and you are honored.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ben and Sarah :: Wedding (Boston, MA)

One of the very delightful things about my profession is being able to be a behind-the-scenes part of the biggest day of the lives of people that I know personally. Of course, the truth is, I feel like every one of my clients are my friends, so every wedding day leaves me with the same feeling of intimacy with a bride and groom, however....there are the occasional moments when it's a lifelong friend, and the significance of what I have been entrusted to photograph sinks in and stuns me. Ben and Sarah are my most current example. You can read all about them, and how Ben and I know each other at their engagement session post HERE. I was looking forward to this wedding with an abnormal anticipation for many reasons: 1) Nick and I made the trip to Boston a vacation (more to come on that in a later post), 2) it was the Van Loon family!, and 3) Sarah had completely captured my heart via email over the months we chatted coming up to this day.

Sarah is a completely infectious person - her smile, her laugh, her excitement, her sparkle - it all just oozes over and plants itself into anyone in hearing distance. We had an unofficial countdown to wedding day via facebook, and if you could see the last few emails I got from her...you'd understand why I love her (and why Ben loves her, I suppose I should add :) ).

Getting ready...

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Sarah had a wonderful group of girls surrounding her, with many squeals of excitement, plenty "oh today is the day! kind of exclamations, and effusive reminders of just how incredible Sarah looked.

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Ben was a very patient groom...waiting outside for his bride to make her appearance. The tension at the front of the aisle was thick as he waited for his woman to walk to his side, where I'm pretty sure he had no intention of ever letting her leave once he got her there.

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Your pastor had wonderful wonderful words for you both. Cherish and respect. Hold tight, both of you, to that. And just for good measure - I'm adding "kiss each other a lot". Trust me...it helps :)

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MARRIED!

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The men.

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Grabbing a cigar break..

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The gals.

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All together.

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I hope the two of you remember to keep laughing, to keep making faces at each other, and to keep your heads close together.

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Ben, I hope you look at this woman every day of your life and are struck with her beauty.

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Sarah - I hope your eyes sparkle, and you talk with a smile in your voice to this man for the rest of your life.

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I hope you have years of rest and intimacy of heart. I hope you remember what it felt like to start together that day and pledge forever.

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Keep your love in front of you, and the world behind you.

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Thank you for letting me share this portion of your lives with you.

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Love to you both.

Enjoy the slideshow :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sneak Peek!

I couldn't help but post a sneak peek of my next blog post.

Be excited.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Levi, Kate and Baby

Maternity shoots are new to me, but I'm rapidly considering making them a focus of my business. I ADORE capturing these first photographs of a family together. Even though this tiny little person hasn't made an appearance outside the womb, it is loved and cherished, wanted and desired. Mom and dad are already imprinting the baby by reading stories, speaking words of love, sometimes singing, sometimes just chatting to a growing belly as the day goes by. It's beautiful.

So I give to you Levi and Kate - and their first addition - in all its family growing, belly talking, love surrounded-ness.

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Levi GLOWS when he talks about his baby. He's already wrapped around the tiny baby finger :)

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And Kate? She's going to be the most patient, hands on, life encouraging mom.

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The two of you are going to love your new addition. Your love is going to envelope this little one.

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Okay - this last photo we took in front of a purple wall because all the old wives tales were pointing to the baby being a girl. Levi and Kate were waiting to find out, but there were strong bets on a little baby girl. BUT!! Kate went into early labor and gave birth to a BEAUTIFUL baby boy, Luke William, very very early this morning. (I stole this one off her facebook page!)
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So in honor of this beautiful tiny man...I had to flip this photo into black and white, because I ADORE Levi and Kate in this one - purple wall or not!

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Enjoy your new son! I wish restful night, days of joy, and millions of new wonders upon you both as you enter parenthood!

Slideshow!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Brad and Danielle :: Trash the Dress/Love

Nick and I took a vacation last week, and it's amazing how backed up one gets when they take 5 days off work!! I have 4 shoots to post, and I'm extremely excited about all of them.

First in line are Brad and Danielle and their most fabulous, down-home kind of love. This is my second post-wedding couples shoot and I'm quickly falling in love with doing them. There is something very special and soft about seeing a couple after the wedding day, after the "honeymoon period" is over. Something that somehow makes the sparkle in an eye more meaningful. Something encouraging about a gentle touch on the arm, the tender stroke of a face. Knowing and feeling that the love of the wedding day has settled, and spread roots. It's a lovely thing to see.

Brad and Danielle met at a get together one night, and Danielle will tell you that she hadn't dolled up for a night out. Yet, she caught the eye of this man that fell in love with her and stole her heart. He wisely married her quickly!! Brad farms with his family, and we were able to use their property for the first part of the shoot. Danielle told me that they never had engagement photos done, so we took a few shots in jeans and flannels before moving on to the goods!

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We had a little partner that kept us company :)

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Danielle had the prettiest dress, with a thick train, and a soft swish in front. And the best part? She still fit in it - which might be the best feeling in life for any woman.

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This gigantic piece of machinery is what Brad manages on the farm. It was....huge. Just huge.

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Danielle, I hope you still look at Brad like this in 10 years.

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Thank you for being fabulous for me!

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I love this one.

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Aaaand this one.

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Danielle? You're beautiful.

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We headed out to Michigan City Beach at the end of the shoot to use the lighthouse. The sun deemed to make a slight appearance to grace the end of our time, and let me tell you what - these two are troopers!! I swear it was 10 degrees out there! However, I'm pretty darn pleased with the results :)

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Absolute favorite of the day. I love the messy bangs. I love the sun on the water. I love the way they are gripping each other. Yes yes yes.

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You two are absolutely marvelous. I hope your days are filled with love, laughter and cherished moments. I hope you fall more in love, remember how it feels to drown in each others eyes, and never forget how blessed your love makes you.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Justin and Sarah :: Engaged!

When I asked her to, Sarah ran towards birds for a photo. After the photo is taken, she tells me she’s deathly afraid of birds. And after my initial horror for creating a counseling moment, I thought to myself “she didn’t hesitate to run towards birds for the sake of the photo. This is going to be marvelous working with her”.

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My first impression of Sarah? “Hurray for other tall women!!” ☺ Sarah might actually be taller than I am, so to be honest with you, I liked her at first sight – instant kindred spirit. But then I spent a few hours with her, and my liking moved past the superficial things to thinking how sweet she was, and how she is really incredibly practical. Really. By the time their wedding comes in June, they will have been engaged for something like 22 months! In my book, it takes someone over the top patient and tolerant to deal with wedding planning for 22 months! AND she’s a pediatric IC nurse. Basically she’s wonder woman in my eyes – a really tall, smiley one!

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I snapped this without her being prepared. Proof that she really is just beautiful without trying.

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Justin is many things, like congenial, approachable, funny, calm. But he won me over for good when I found out he cooks for Sarah on his nights. Nothing melts my heart faster than a man that cooks for his woman! Jason works in shipping – pirates included! – and my overactive imagination sees him in a pirate thwarting cape, side by side with wonder woman, chatting on the back porch, flipping dinner on the grill. Who doesn’t love that??

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Because of their job schedules, I found out that they sometimes have to go DAYS without really seeing each other, despite sharing a home. They’ve found ways to make the very simple parts of life become date-like activities together. And you can see a quietness about them, knowing that they revel in the small moments together. It’s a wonderful kind of intimacy.

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Justin makes Sarah laugh. A lot. Not camera-smile smile…but a full blown, stop-and-stare smile.

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I also found that Justin doesn’t like sunlight without sunglasses ☺ Thanks for pulling through, Justin!

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Sarah, I promise not to send you flying towards birds on your wedding day. And I hope you both gave up on the grocery store that night and got take-out instead ☺

See you again in June. I can’t wait!