The last few senior portraits I’ve posted were all of lovely graduating ladies, but today, I’m excited to share just a few of my favorites from a recent senior shoot with Dylan. Dylan is graduating from high school this year and will be attending Azusa Pacific University! He requested we do his portraits in the streets of Laguna Beach for more of a rough urban feel to them. Dylan, I’m so proud of you! I know you’re going to love APU and you’re going to do so well there! Well done, grad!
Today I received some exciting news in my inbox. Bret and Hannah’s stunning fall wedding has been featured on Colorado Weddings Magazine’s Blog today! Woohoo! They included a little bit of Hannah’s narrative of the day and a look back on the style of the day. If you have a few minutes, check it out and congratulate these two love birds on a wedding style job well done! You can see the full post here.
I went down to visit Nana a few days before I was set to leave on a life changing trip. As I drove down the coast toward her house, I thought about all the books on missionaries I had been reading earlier that week and tried my best to choke down fear and uncertainty. This was about to be the biggest and most stretching adventure I’d ever been on, and I was terrified to step foot on that plane. I sighed deeply as I closed the car door and walked into the cozy little house that smelled of coastal air and fond memories. There was a tennis game on and pastel colored yarn was strategically scattered around her as she worked on her latest knitting masterpiece. She smiled, I smiled, we hugged and sat. We chatted about this and that, who’s up to what and the latest family news. She asked about my trip and what I would be doing, I filled her in on what I knew and I’m almost positive my eyes filled her in on all I didn’t know. She must have seen through my poorly constructed facade of confidence because she said in a very Nana-esque tone, ” You know, IIIIIII never went ANYWHERE.” Her gaze indicated that she had a deeper meaning to such a simple statement. ” Your parents…. your Mom and your Dad… they LOVE you. So Go. Go on your trip, and if you don’t like it or if it’s not working, you can allllllways come home.” With that, she nodded once with her mouth turned down resolutely, her eyes moved back to her knitting. The tennis match played softly in the background and I reclined a little deeper into her silk pillows. “I can always come home.”
Nana passed away while I was still serving as a missionary in Thailand, but those words still stick with me. Taking risks is scary… sometimes terrifying. Some people never leave their comfort zone because it’s too scary. But it’s important to start… to go… to take that risk. Because you can ALWAYS come back to the place where you can find comfort, support, and love.
The family recently gathered together (typically a once every 10 years kind of occasion for my family) to fulfill her burial wishes and to celebrate her life. Nana wished to be scattered at sea, the place where she believed she was conceived. Her parents emigrated over to America from Japan on a boat and she was born soon after their arrival. My dad, his 3 siblings, and my cousins all boarded a fantastic yacht in Newport Harbor and set sail into the deep blue Pacific. It was a meaningful time together and it was so great spending time with the family. I took my camera to document the occasion and I’m so glad I did…..
Nana, I think you’d be proud to know that I went on that trip. I even stayed for the duration, though I wanted so badly to come home when you passed. Since then, I’ve taken your words to heart in every big decision I’ve made. I’ve gone on countless international adventures since then, I met the man of my dreams and married him, and I’m working as a wedding photographer… my dream job. Thank you for your strength and encouragement on that late summer afternoon…. it’s what I needed. I miss you terribly, but I’m so thankful to have known such a woman as you.
Mariel was working in Paris, France and she had been away on this assignment for a few weeks. She was expecting a friend to come visit (because, really…. of all the places in the world to be sent to work on a project, Paris HAS to be the coolest!) and on the evening the friend was supposed to arrive, the love of her life showed up instead. (Cue romantic music….) She got a phone call from an unknown number and looked down from her window to the street below and there standing IN PARIS was her sweet Travis. Unexpected. Romantic. The perfect cure for a little homesickness. The weekend that was planned to be spent with a friend (the friend was never planning on going to Paris, in case you missed it), was instead spent with her handsome man. They ate in romantic French restaurants, went sight seeing, held hands, and enjoyed being lovers in the most romantic city in the world. One of their nights together, they watched the sun set against the silhouette of the Eiffel tower. As the soft glow of daylight passed into twilight, they watched the tower light up for the evening. It was then, in that perfectly timed moment, that Travis got down on one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him. Obviously she said yes! OBVIOUSLY. How AMAZING is that proposal story?!
These two ooze sweet romance and I was pretty much exploding with sunshine and rainbow hearts the whole time we were shooting their engagement photos. Travis loves her so well, and Mariel brings out the best version of him. Together, they’re sweeter than honey and I’m really excited to share these photos with you. They chose a few favorite locations in Long Beach to shoot their engagement photos, the final one being this amazing fountain that plays a choreographed show with music at night. So cool! Here are my favorites from the evening…