After moving to Oak Harbor, I heard the term "island time" get tossed around quite often...especially when comparing to the mainland. It was used to describe why movers were late, or the line at the post office, or even service at a local restaurant.
Joining two lives together in marriage is always the start of an adventure, but when the military is involved, it's taken to a whole other level where flexibility, patience and a good sense of humor is always needed. I was originally scheduled to photograph Claire & Carl's off-island wedding late this October,
I love autumn on Whidbey Island, the air is crisp, the leaves are turning warm hues, and there's such a sense of beauty when the seasons are right on the cusp of change. I first met Kristen and Jason around this time last year for holiday photos,
Engagement sessions are always the best way to get to know a couple before their big day. We get to explore, laugh and chat in a relaxed environment, all with some stellar Pacific NorthWest backdrops behind us. Nadine and Luke are getting married close to the Canadian border this summer, and they ventured down to the Whidbey Island area for some photos down at Deception Pass.
Young love, finally reunited after months of separation...what could be sweeter? After a few setbacks and delays, Casey was finally able to fly home to his beautiful girlfriend Kaityln who traveled from the east coast to be there for his Navy homecoming.
Everything about Ashley & Dave's historic mansion wedding was completely swoon-worthy. From the monogramed robes, immaculate garden landscape, incredible floral arrangements to the sparkler-send off, start it was an incredible day start to finish. The weekend was a total whirlwind.
These two were so electric, narrowing down favorites was almost impossible. This radiating session down at Rosario Beach was such an amazing experience. From the way Omar looked at Cearra, the sun beams illuminating her hair, the dynamic background and the beautiful golden dress she wore, the whole shoot was just perfect.
It's such a cliche', but I swear the older I get, the faster time goes. These moments of toddlerhood, childhood curiosity, snuggles and dependence are so fleeting, which makes photographs so important. I loved shooting Leo's first birthday cake smash photos. His mom, dad and grandmother all adore this little boy and it totally shows in the photographs.
he connection between mother and daughter is such a fiercely strong and powerful thing. AJ reached out a few months ago to set up a session to surprise her mom with a portrait session. Willow is a photographer herself, and both of her daughters are artistic women, so it was such a wonderful experience to collaborate with a trio who brought so much creativity and beauty to the scene.
Whidbey Island is gorgeous. It's rugged, dynamic and free. The turquoise waters envelope us, and snow capped mountains stand tall in the distance, even in summer. So when this darling family contacted me to ask about a session while visiting Washington from their home in California, I knew the scenery here would not disappoint. We met at Deception Pass and explored the coves, beaches and trails together. Their two daughters were the stars of the show, sharing huge smiles, giggles and laughter.
Everything about this Whidbey Island wedding ceremony was magic. From Angie & Erik's first look deep in Fort Ebey's beautiful forest, to their I-Do's at the historic Crockett Farm in Coupeville, the whole day just transitioned from one memorable moment to the next. The couple exchanged private letters with each other before walking down the aisle and becoming husband and wife. Guests drank signature cocktails and played lawn games before creating custom hamburgers catered by Front Street Grill.
Ryann and Jeremy were probably one of the most relaxed couples I've had the pleasure to photograph over the years. Every interaction between them was just so effortless and joyful. Their connection was so genuine and they'd just be giddy whenever they looked at each other. They were married at Nature's Connection Place in Arlington outside in a beautiful garden. Guests enjoyed stone fired pizzas and a Baskin Robbins ice cream bar as they danced the night away! Many hugs to the new Mr. and Mrs. It was a delight!
Mount Baker was standing proud in the background on the most stunning afternoon when Julie and David were married in Anacortes. With a first look at Cap Sante overlooking their ceremony site at Seafarers' Memorial Park, the couple shared an intimate moment before joining their families and becoming husband and wife. Not only did they exchange vows and rings, but they serenaded each other under during the ceremony to a beautiful rendition of "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts. It was a lovely afternoon full of joy, and I was thrilled to be there the document it.
Marrying into the military means a life full of unpredictability, flexibility and adventure! And Ryan and Abby's new life together will be no exception! Not only is Ryan getting deployed with the Navy, but Abby will soon be joining him to begin their journey as husband and wife stationed in JAPAN! I met this darling couple Friday morning at Deception Pass where they had a private and beautiful elopement ceremony. They had an intimate vow exchange married by a family friend, and then walked the beaches through the pacific mist as a newly married couple.
I love working with this family. I first met Katy and Kyle when they had just brought their newborn twins home for an in-home lifestyle session. This time we were able to connect again with their whole crew, and it was so adorable watching the big brothers love up on their siblings. And when there's 4 kiddos, 2 of them super active, what better place to have a photo-shoot than at the park!
The bond between a family is a powerful thing, and how amazing is it to know from day 1 that you have a line of strong, caring, and committed women surrounding you with love. This Anacortes lifestyle session was so special because baby girl not only was wrapped up in her mother's arms, but also the arms of her grandmother and great-grandmother! 4 generations together, loving up on this sweet little lady.
The story of the military family is one of strength, resilience, and love. It's one of unpredictable phone calls, trying to explain to little ones why daddy or mommy can't tuck them in at night, and count downs of days until being reunited. It's also a story of joy. The excitement and anticipation of being able to have a conversation face to face, the camaraderie and bond you make with your fellow military families, and the pure elation across both parent and kiddos face when finally in arms reach of each other.
Last night's stylized session was a dream come true! A few months ago my wildly talented photographer friend Kim (of The Big Day) and I were catching up at Whibey Coffee, and a vision of collaborating on a Roman inspired wedding shoot began to evolve. We imagined the rocky cliffs of Rosario Beach and a beautiful bride in a gorgeous flowing gown standing upon the rocks at sunset...
Talk about the epitome of the PNW at its finest! Usually the turquoise waters surrounding our island are in the distant background of photos, but for this maritime wedding, it set the scene for one of the most unique ceremonies I've photographed. Tiffany and Jon celebrated their I-do's surrounded by their closest family and friends on a whale watching tour boat docked out of Anacortes. For about 3 hours we cruised the open waters, passing bald eagles and various densely forested islands I didn't even know existed, until we came to a stop to watch an orca pod breaching and tail slapping in the distance and eventually coming right alongside the boat.
I get teary at weddings....it's just what I do. The pure joy, the heightened emotions, the candid moments...So who knew I'd also be turning on the water works at a graduation celebration?! Photographing Columbia College's graduating class of 2017 at NAS Whidbey Island was such a moving experience. I loved hearing the students' personal stories of what their degree meant to them, watching the ceremony unfold, and documenting the pride and sense of accomplishment on not only their faces, but also on the faces of their loved ones.
Taylor & Caleb's PNW engagement session was the first time I actually was able to meet this darling couple in person. I had spoken to Taylor a few months ago on the phone as she was out of state, planning a wedding back in Arkansas while engaged to a handsome fella stationed here at NAS Whidbey Island.
Twin sessions will always have a special place in my heart, for obvious reasons of course...and so when Katy reached out about taking some family photos with her boy / girl twins while her mother and grandmother were in state visiting, I was so excited. #1) It gave me a chance to talk "mom of multiple" life, #2) I got another excuse to see her little ones. (The last time I saw them was at their newborn session, and my, have they grown!) and #3) I always love getting outside and exploring with my camera.
Last night's time behind the camera made me happy...and for so many reasons. First off, it's beginning to feel like summer here on Whidbey. I know, I know....we're just hitting spring now, but last night the sun was out, the breeze was just right, and the air was just cool enough to enjoy the warmth of a bonfire. Being surrounded by the beauty of the PNW is therapeutic enough by itself, but paired with a day like yesterday....ahh, heaven.
There are 3 top reasons I love being a photographer. 1) Telling stories through images, 2) meeting awesome new people, and 3) exploring different places that I probably wouldn't discover on my own. Ysabel & Brett's engagement shoot was no exception!