Wow! Another year has seemingly flown by. Memories have been created and stories have been told. Some add yet another chapter while others stories are just beginning. As I always do at this time of year I look back on what chapters of my life have been written and in this case came across a story of two close friends that I wanted to share, Wes and Lindsey’s Christmas engagement.
It actually happened a few years ago. Wes called me one day and asked if I’d photograph his proposal to Lindsey. Saaaayyy wuuuut!?! “Absolutely, yes of course!!!” was something close to my response. How could I possibly have any other reaction? I had gotten to know Wes well through his leadership of the photography team at Lifepoint Church and even more after he became one of my go to second photographers. Though significantly younger than me, I always found his insight vastly wiser than his years and had great respect for him both personally and professionally. I didn’t know Lindsey that well at this point but I did know how Wes felt about her and well, that was enough for me.
The day of the proposal arrived and was gorgeous. The setting was a Christmas tree farm that I hadn’t heard of before. I’d been to places like this before and pictured in my head people all over the place. Families excitedly buzzing around cutting down trees, kids running around chasing siblings, that sort of thing. When I arrived ahead of them to get my bearings and plan my positioning, there wasn’t a single person there. Just a handful of kittens! I’d been game planning on being able to camouflage myself with my camera amongst the crowds in order to photograph his proposal without Lindsey having any idea I was there. How in the world was I going to stay out of sight? If Lindsey saw me there, alone without a single other human being around, she’d surely know something was up. I did however keep these thoughts to myself. My guess was, no matter how I was feeling, Wes was likely more nervous than me. A safe bet indeed. The plan was for them to kind of stroll around the farm searching for that perfect tree. When the moment was right Wes was going to text me that it was time to begin photographing them. I was then going to, while remaining out of sight, photograph what would be one of the most beautiful scenes I’d ever seen. I cannot image how nervous he must have been working up the nerve to propose while also considering communicating the timing to me. And how on earth was he going to justify having his phone out while they were spending time together? Yes, I’m sure he was feeling quite a bit of nerves!
So here’s where this story gets really tricky and basically becomes like a scene from Mission Impossible. I mentioned before that there was NO ONE else at the farm. It was Wes and Lindsey, me and my camera. As they were walking around all in love, kanoodling and stuff I was doing everything I could to be inconspicuous all the while watching them out of my periphery. I had their movement down and was tracking effectively until… their path was going to lead them directly in front mine only about 20-30 yards away. Surely my cover was about to be blown! Thinking quickly with no cover to hide behind in what was a completely open field, I basically hid behind my camera. I raised it in front of my face and hoped Lindsey hadn’t already seen me or get curious about why random dude was just lurking around a Christmas tree farm with a ginormous camera lens. Do I even look like a bird watcher? Just past where they were walking was a pond with a duck conveniently swimming in it with a pal or two his. And so, I pretended to be there taking pictures of them as they walked just beneath the view of my camera lens. Being careful not to let Lindsey see my face I was sure it was tucked behind my camera and…lost them from my view. Oh crap! A few seconds later Wes sent me THE TEXT. I can hear them off in the distance but they’d walked into an area with these HUGE trees everywhere and were completely gone from sight. I had no idea where they were in there but could here them. I ninja stepped through the trees and could hear Wes begin what was no doubt a well thought out and probably thousand times rehearsed speech and found them. The scene was beautiful, absolutely breath taking. It literally couldn’t have been planned any better.
As Wes recited to Lindsey how much he loved her, how she’d changed his life in so many profound ways, her expressions changed from surprise, to adoration to pure joy. What an incredible moment for them. From a simple trip to a Christmas tree farm to a moment that would no doubt set the foundation for the rest of their lives. It was all perfect. After Lindsey said, yes, (I mean of course she did or I wouldn’t be telling this story!) they kissed and embraced and a new chapter of their lives began in stunning fashion.
When their moment ended and they were ready to resume their Christmas tree quest I appeared from behind the trees beaming with joy and congratulated them. We spent the next 45 minutes or so taking photos walking around and laughing. It was an honor to be a part of this remarkably special time in their lives. Wes’ nerves finally settled and they were able to soak each other in, catch their breath and enjoy the moment. And oh yeah, they did indeed find themselves a Christmas tree.
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