I can finally say that I have seen my life flash before my eyes! It sounds dramatic, but hopefully after reading this small novel you will understand. It all began a few weeks ago when I met up with Matt and Diane for their bride and groom session. I can’t believe a year has passed since I shot their engagement session. Matt and Diane have the sweetest love story. They met on a cruise ship that sailed across Europe and they continued to date after their vacation even though they lived on opposite sides of the United States. After months of phone calls and flying to see one another, Diane decided to move out to California where they quickly got engaged. Matt and Diane had originally planned to have a big ol’ Cinco de Mayo wedding this year, but when they looked at the extent of their year long engagement they decided that a year was too long to wait. Last February, these two lovebirds flew to Diane’s hometown in Florida and on February 18, 2012 they got married with an intimate ceremony with just their families. They used their wedding money to buy their dream home and now they are happily married in sunny California.
With the change of events I was unable to photograph their wedding, but Diane brainstormed a new idea. She bought a beautiful wedding dress that she didn’t wear on her wedding day and she still wanted to be photographed in it. We planned a Bride & Groom session and incorporated their favorite settings–nature and beach. We met in an amazing location (founded by Diane) where we were surrounded by hills and tall trees. After shooting for an hour we carpooled to the beach where we encountered a gorgeous pier and of course the beautiful ocean. Diane being the fun spirit that she is decided to spice up the session and she suggested the idea of walking into the ocean with her wedding dress on. I of course LOVED the idea! Since we were the only people on the beach we placed all of our leftover items high up in the sand. We took off our shoes, set aside our wallets, phones, and because my camera bag is so large I decided to leave it safely in the sand so that it wouldn’t get wet while I shot in the water. We found a beautiful wall where the waves were calmly crashing against and began our ocean photo shoot adventure. The waves were mild, but the wall was the perfect prop to make it look as if huge waves were crashing around us. A few pictures in we were surprised with a powerful wave that created a huge splash behind Matt and Diane. Soon after, we looked over our shoulder and saw a set of waves that looked large, fast, and powerful. Before I could say anything I started running toward my camera bag (which was left unzipped because I just changed lenses) in attempt to save it from the rushing wave. The wave was quicker then me and when the water met my feet I fell into the sand (with the camera in the air) and the wave rushed over me. Diane was unable to move because her dress became so heavy with the water so it was up to Matt to run and save my camera equipment. However, the wave was faster than us both and while laying in the sand I saw the set of waves crash OVER my camera bag and for a few seconds my camera bag was completely under water (unzipped). Instant tears came to my eyes as I saw my lenses, flashes, memory cards, ipad, cell phone, and wallet get engulfed by water. It took me years of photo shoots/weddings to individually purchase each item and they were all about to be ruined in a few meager seconds. When the waves drifted back into the sea Matt picked up my bag from the sand and we watched the water drip from every crevice. I opened the flap of my bag (expecting the worst) and to my surprise all my equipment was as dry as a bone. My lenses, flashes, memory cards, ipad, cell phone, and wallet were in multiple compartments of my bag that went completely underwater and yet they were completely dry! As I write this I am still in disbelief how that is possible, but I am SO thankful. Somebody was looking over me while I laid helplessly in the sand. However, the wave did steal my shoes that I bought the day before, but hey… I’ll lose a new pair of shoes over my equipment any day. Once we realized everything was ok we couldn’t help but laugh at how comical we must have looked. A bride stuck in the ocean by the weight of her dress, a photographer face planted on the beach as a wave rushes over her, and a groom running chaotically toward a bag that was swallowed by the sea and then later buoyed onto the sand. The cherry on top of this story was when a surfer appeared out of no where (or my camera bag angel) and said, “hey dudes, it’s high tide” and then walked away. That day will always be one of my most memorable photo shoots and I am thankful I had such an amazing couple to experience it with. Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Hart!