One morning last October, while sitting on freezing cold bleachers in Fremont waiting for Todd’s baseball game to start, I got an email that began with the words “Hello Ma’am”…
We all know I am way too young (cough) and informal for such a greeting, but I kept reading. The message was from an Air Force pilot that was deployed and planning to ask his girlfriend to marry him when he returned. He was looking for a photographer to secretly photograph the proposal. I immediately found myself getting emotional.
I looked around at all of us sitting on cold bleachers, laughing, sipping coffee, ready to enjoy the simplest pleasure of a kid’s baseball game and imagined this young guy, far from home, doing a job that so many of us take for granted that someone else will do. I was a bit overwhelmed, but didn’t have to think for a second…I was in 100% and I emailed him back before the first pitch.
Over the next few months we emailed back and forth. We talked about his desire to pay for my services, and my desire to honor his service with a fun photoshoot. I was, and still am surprised that this kind of simple support and kindness towards our troops is not a regular and everyday occurrence. Why is that? I’m going to resist my urge to get on a soapbox here, because this is about Jimmy and Kelli…but I reserve the right to come back to it…and to share more about the amazing gift that Jimmy gave me that day.
But this is about the proposal!!
As we emailed, it was fun to learn more about Jimmy and conspire to capture his special day, (I even forgave him for being a Dodgers fan). I got to hear a little about Kelli, also active duty Air Force, currently in med school on the East Coast, completely unaware of all of the plans this extraordinary guy was making. I was anxious to hear when he arrived back in the States safe and sound, and as the big day approached I was excited and nervous.
The day of the shoot was actually hilarious, I brought Todd and Matt with me for cover. Jimmy and I were texting to coordinate, which included him sticking his hand out of a third floor window to show that he saw us on the hotel grounds while Kelli finished her hair. I wish I would have taken a photo of that! As they came out and went for a “stroll before dinner”, the three of us took off tailing them. Anyone who knows us, knows we are the least covert family on the planet….but somehow she didn’t notice us. The clue was going to be when he stopped to take a “selfie” of the two of them, I would know it was coming.
When he took that phone out, time stood still….and it was perfect….and she said yes!! And then we met for the first time, even though I had tears in my eyes and felt like I already knew them. They were/are two of the most genuinely beautiful people I have ever met. I am so happy for them, and so grateful to have experienced their special day, and to have been able to share it with my little family…and now to share their photos with them.
Thank you Jimmy and Kelli….for everything.
There are few things better than being asked to photograph a family more than once. I first photographed Luca when he was just 1. The original blog post is here. I was lucky enough to photograph him and his cute parents a few more times through the years. Now he’s about to be a big brother, and we returned to the scene of our first shoot for a little more fun!
I got a little carried away with the comparisons, but they were so much fun! Below is the slideshow from our latest shoot! Thanks Gina, Jason and Luca (oh and T-Rex too)!
This location spoils me for all other locations. I love this ranch, everywhere I turn is another color, or texture to work with. I also love this family, so cool that I have been able to photograph many of them through the years. This one was fun….got to hang out with a wonderful young man, and his lovely sister, and their mom that I have known forever. Thank you all for being good sports and trekking around the property with me!
This was my first Bat Mitzvah and I found it to be so beautiful and moving, and FUN! When my friend Dayna first told me the story of the prayer shawl (that I will not call the correct name) I got goosebumps on my goosebumps. Every time I thought of it, more goosebumps, and as we went into the Rabbi’s office to prepare, the goosebumps were in full force. Somehow I managed to quickly hit the video button on my camera for a few seconds when Dayna shared story again, as she and Ivan wrapped their lovely girl in it for her ceremony. Seriously my favorite moment, and I couldn’t be more honored that I was asked to be there to capture it. Congratulations to Raven! She is very loved indeed.
Once again, the 10th of the month snuck up on me. I’ve started a new job that is kicking my you-know-what. Honestly, I woke up thinking about what I was going to photograph, then got at my desk and things went wack-a-doo and I didn’t think about it again. It was close to 7 pm when I finally decided to get out and take a walk to clear my head…I was about 3/4 of the way done…just starting to feel like maybe I had this whole thing under control when I realized “Oh crap, I should have brought my camera!”
Of course, I had my phone…so I slowed down and strolled the last 1/2 mile or so grabbing a few shots here and there. I love my town…I love the things that have been here my whole life, and the life of my parents, and grandparents and even great grandparents. I love thinking about past generations of my family walking by the same old church, or the jail when it was a jail. I love those connections. I’m also a fan of the messages I see on signs…and of course, I always walk by the apartment building where I met Matt. I look at the windows and remember finding myself and my independence in that place, and then when he moved in across the way, I found love there too. Sigh…I’m pretty dang lucky to live where I do, and I’m grateful for this project, even in the 11th hour with only my phone, reminding me just how lucky indeed.
Wow…another 10 on 10 is here! This month in addition to my usual 10th of the month paperwork whirlwind, it is Salmon season. My brother is the latest generation of our family to be a commercial fisherman and I work with him to market his fish, which means when he comes in, I’m there for the offload. This month the 10th was an offload day…it gets a little crazy (and dirty) out there so I used my handy dandy iphone to capture my mobile office for the day!
Now go check out the awesome Stephanie and the rest of the circle of 10 on 10!
One random afternoon I got a call from a number I recognized as being East Coast, I picked up, ready for a telemarketer, but on the line was a lovely woman that wanted to know about gift certificates. She said that her daughter lived in Half Moon Bay, and wanted me for her birthday! I’m always excited when someone finds me online and likes what I do, especially because I’ve been woefully bad at updating my web presence.
It took us a while to connect, and we were all set to meet around 5, while the weather men spent the day saying that was around when the rain would begin. We decided to race it…and while it caught up with us, the skies were beautiful and so was this family.
Its that time again! And this time there wasn’t a Jiu Jitsu tournament. Instead the 10th of April was a busy work day for me, so busy I forgot to pick up my camera until I was done with a huge pile of monthly projects for the Property Management business and halfway out the door to get Todd. As I waited for him, he called to tell me he’d be late because I forgot about his new after school science class….so off to more work, and a cute drawn on boy impromptu photo shoot on the front porch, with a furry audience, some homework and then bed.
Check out what the lovely Andrea is up to this month and follow the circle of awesomeness! I can’t wait to do the same!
I swear that there is more to our lives than Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, it just so happens that both February 10 and March 10 were dates of competitions. After our trip to LA for Kids Pan Ams last month, Raul was inspired to host a competition here at our school. It was a bit of a last minute plan, but it turned out to be pretty amazing.
Unfortunately for my photo project, I was working most of the day and couldn’t take too many creative photos…but I did manage to grab my 10 shots. Including the medal I designed and my work space.
He was less than thrilled right after…he really felt he had the match in hand and was disappointed that he couldn’t pull out a win on his home turf. He got over it though, and we all enjoyed another awesome day with our RCMA Family.
Next month it looks like the 10th will fall on a non-Jiu Jitsu tournament date, so I promise I will shoot something else.
For now, I am really looking forward to clicking through the whole circle of 10 on 10 photographers this morning, starting with the awesome birthday girl Micah and because our circle is a little out of sorts this morning…please also check out Stephanie.