We drew the correlation to how life is a mix of light stuff and dark stuff, despite our desperate attempts to keep it all light and cheery. For some, the dark can feel overpowering for a time… but even in dark photos, there is still light. To avoid drawing a million tangents on the subject, I’m going to leave the correlation here and move on to a story about love.
Looking back now, it appears too obvious that Morgan and Andie would end up together. Both of their stories took them through very similar mountains and valleys, but not together (at least at first). Their mountain summits were beautiful and wonderful; brilliantly lit in warm sunshine with a panoramic view of the path they laid behind. But their valleys… they plodded on into thick darkness with no end in sight. I’m talking about the deep shade cast by heartbreak, divorce, child-custody fights, mental illness, abuse, broken communities. Real stuff. At times, they could tell you it felt like the darkness overwhelmed the picture of their life; at the same time, they’ll also tell you that even in those moments of overwhelming darkness, there was still light. Light they could see… and faith that there was a whole lot more light coming as long as they continued putting one foot in front of the other.
So they did. Morgan and Andie continued putting one foot in front of the other, and one day it landed them both in a young adult group at a church. He walked into the meet-up having no idea what to expect. He knew he needed to build more relationships with people at his new church “because that’s what you do when you go to a new church…. you make yourself meet new people.” He didn’t, however, expect to have his breath taken away at the sight of the firecracker blonde he would later come to know as Andie. Andie also noticed him because really, who wouldn’t notice the tall quiet blue-eyed firefighter. Really.
Their love story unfolds as most love stories do, but the more interesting and amazing part of the story is one layer deeper. For Morgan and Andie, finding each other and falling in love didn’t just become another summit in sunshine, falling in love restored the light to once overwhelmingly dark stories. The support and laughter they found in one another helped rebuild what had been broken and they continued putting one foot in front of the other. Side by side, hand in hand, they began the ascent out of the valley. Something I find absolutely dazzling about these two is their determination to not leave out or hide all the terrible-ness they’ve been through. Most people wish to leave trauma and tragedy by the side of the road as soon as humanly possible because there are so many reasons to… It’s awful to relive it when you re-tell it, it makes you wonder if you’re too damaged to find love again, it feels like it taints peoples’ perceptions of you, etc. However, Morgan and Andie haven’t left the hard parts of their journey out of their story. Instead, they’ve invited those chapters of their stories to show scale… to be the dark that accents the overwhelming light in the story of their life. The contrast brings flavor notes of joy and redemption and an relief, and it makes me want to jump up and down and fist pump with excitement.
Their wedding is coming up this weekend and I cannot wait! I’m packing some extra tissues in my camera bag…
Here are some favorites from Morgan and Andie’s Lake Cuyamaca engagement shoot…. get ready to prop that jaw back up when it falls, they’re THAT good.
This past weekend, after a thorough chapter of honing his craft and achieving international acclaim, Jeff opened Bear Coast Coffee‘s first permanent location in San Clemente, California. This must-see coffee enthusiast destination is the quintissential nod to California beach culture, located in the heart of San Clemente with a scenic view of the historic pier. Not only is the coffee top notch, but the design and feel of the space is gorgeous, crafted by the esteemed Puertas Design company. Seriously, it’s the best coffee between central Orange County and San Diego. I could not be more proud of Jeff and all his hard work. It’s so inspiring and encouraging to see someone willing to work hard to serve others with his dream of good coffee and good community.
So… If you have the time, steal away and pay them a visit. Grab your cup and sit outside to enjoy the ocean breeze, or walk across the street to the sand and take in the exquisite California coastal experience. It’ll be the best thing you did for yourself all week.
And special thanks to Rich for being a gracious coffee model while we had our business chat. I think this is my new favorite place for business coffee meetings!]]>
The unfettered joy I witnessed was electric and the intentionality woven into every detail of the day made photographing such an event more than an honor. What a cool experience to be invited into such an intimate experience. It’s with great excitement that I share my favorites from their wedding day in Dove Canyon…
Kory and Mikaela, I am SO HAPPY for you two and I feel so honored you asked me to photograph such a momentous occasion in your lives. I wish you a long long long life together full of adventure, deep friendship, and belly aching laughter. Three cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Kraning!!
Dress: Stella York, Custom Suits: Combatant Gentleman, Venue: Dove Canyon Courtyard, Coordinator: Gayle White, Hair Stylist: Tina Collman, Makeup Artist: Anna McAllister, Floral Design: Bellatula Floral, Assistant Photographer: Ning Wong, Videographer: Aaron Wagoner, Officiant: Kent Kraning, Caterer: Stonefire Grill, DJ: Jerry Pechac, Linens and Rentals: Signature Party Rentals]]>
My dear friend Asher Gardner and I decided we both needed some of this stillness and planned a mini trip together, and off to Palm Springs we went! It was wonderful to say the least. On our final evening in the desert, we decided to go out into the wide open space with our cameras and “play”, and I just wanted to share some photos from our time as a sort of Definition of Ebenezer. The creative life, if we’re not careful, can choke out the space and stillness needed to foster a good story… as fast growing plants soon over power the garden. But the creative life, if we are careful, can stand out from the status quo of smoke and mirrors and tell a really beautiful story.
While out in Joshua Tree National Park for their engagement shoot, we made light conversation as we drove through the painted desert. They filled me in on their hobbies and work life, their recent adventures with family in Colorado, and their upcoming wedding plans. To be quite honest, these two are the epitome of #relationshipgoals. They have great jobs, they ADORE one another, and they’re two VERY active adventurers. At one point during the shoot, Linda had taken off her jacket and shoes and was free climbing boulders right behind Joel. We had so much fun exploring around Joshua Tree together and I am thrilled to be able to share some of my favorites from their engagement shoot…
Joel and Linda, thanks for making me climb boulders, go off the beaten trail, stand in high places, and run through the park chasing the sunset. You two are exhilarating and I CAN’T WAIT to photograph your wedding this March. You guys rock! (pun intended)]]>
Their love story is one that’s timeless and classy, one that highlights redemption and passion, one to tell the grandkids over and over while roasting s’mores over the campfire. She noticed him first, he took a little while to warm up to this feisty beauty of a girl. They were friends first, but quickly realized their relationship was deeper than most… it felt different somehow. After camp, they went their separate ways, but kept talking and trying to figure out why they missed one another so. Then it clicked, they didn’t want to be apart. Months of long drives from San Diego to Fresno and many late night talks led them to fall head over heels forever in love. He asked her to be his forever, she gave a resounding yes…. and all of camp cheered in celebration.
To document their engagement, they thought there would be no better setting than a place that holds deep meaning in the convergence of their stories. Here are the highlights from their shoot….
As we kick off the holiday weekend in which we celebrate our hard won freedom, I can’t help but feel grateful. I’m grateful for those who’ve sacrificed to get us where we are today, and I feel the weight of that sacrifice as I see many fighting for the same privileges around the world. I’m grateful for the freedom to enjoy the fruits of my labor, to feel safe from harm, and to savor relationships with loved ones. I’m grateful for the beauty of diversity and culture I get to enjoy. But most of all, I’m grateful and feel very lucky to be in love in the United States of America.
Special thanks to Allie and Ryan, our lovely models, to Sarah of Love & Whiskey for the fashion styling, and to Vivian Tran of Vivian Tran Hair-Makeup Artistry for lending her talents. And…. to all those who have fought, and continue to fight to protect our freedom, THANK YOU.]]>