Some like roses. Some like daisies or lilies…this girl is in love with snapdragons. No matter what color, my favorite flower in God’s entire creation is the snapdragon. Don’t get me wrong, I like all flowers in every color, shape and size, but this one has a particular place in my heart  and is filled with memories from my past. Growing up, snapdragons of all colors and hues lined the walkway of my childhood home and I fondly remember my sister and I pinching the flowers to make them open up, and if you pinch them just right they “sing.” We made them sing all kinds of songs.  Any kid would understand how amazing this is. Somehow as an adult I haven’t lost my love of this stunning flower and every time I see one I can’t help but giggle. This stunning flower is oddly known to symbolize grace under pressure or inner strength in trying circumstances, which may be another reason this flower makes me smile.

The key to my heart is not through roses or lilies, give me any color of snap dragon and my heart will sing a thank you.

snapdragons at Ford Gardens

The oddly beautiful snapdragon – Ashography

Bride looking into mirror

Bride To Be

The nerves before a wedding are palpable. The smiles are real but the nerves even more so. This beautiful bride needed one last look before saying “I do.” One last check, one last view of the dress, hair and makeup…one last look. These are the moments before he gets his first look. Cheers to those last precious looks and those beautiful moments just steps before those important words.

I watched as a WWII veteran showed a four-year-old little girl in fairy wings the medals on his uniform. Inquisitive and wide-eyed, she asked about the bars as he chuckled and smiled his wrinkly smile. He was the grand marshall in the small town parade and she was there for the candy. They met over burgers at the Rico fire station cookout and it was one of the sweetest moments I’ve seen. I was the lucky one to have caught this odd little connection on camera.

vietnam veteran showing his medals to a little girl

Stories from a Vet to a Fairy

These are the moments I want to remember. You can’t stage them, you can’t fake them and you certainly can’t recreate them. These private heart warmers are why I look through my lens and pick up my camera. I have to admit that at times all my insecurities flood  out and skew my reality, bullying any ounce of confidence in attempting to make it as a photographer. Good grief, at times I can’t even white balance my camera or tell you what settings or aperture I’ve got my camera on. More often than not I feel like a failure when I can’t tech talk around fellow photogs or brag about the latest and greatest gadgets. Everyone else seems to have it all figured out and I just feel like a hot mess.

But I can capture a connection. God has given me the ability to create connection, capture it, and gift it back. That I can do.

I look back over shoots from past years and I cringe at some of my shoots that I shall deem my “learning moments,” but then I come across some priceless shots that I know made a difference in someone’s life. Some people can go a lifetime without ever stepping out to do what’s on their heart and what lights them up. I am grateful for the moments through my lens that have lit up my heart and taken me to places I never dreamed. It’s moments like these between a tough-as-nails vet wearing the scars of war and a little four-year-old fairy that remind me that more than anything life really boils down to the human connection, no matter how unlikely.

One of my favorite moments shooting a wedding is stealing the bride & groom away from the masses for just a few minutes right after the ceremony when smiles are genuine and love is in the air. As a guest attendee I completely understand that this can be fairly annoying because we all want to get on with the cocktails, congratulations and the rest of the celebration. However, in the wedding photographer world these moments are priceless.

This is what as a photographer we get paid to do. Couples hire me to capture the day and in particular to create and capture these exact moments. I am paid to sneak them away from all the cell phones and ipads aimed in their direction and to professionally capture those moments of joy as they have eyes only for each other–and there is no joy as raw as right after wedding vows have been spoken and the deal is sealed in a kiss. The moments I capture will go on the wall, will come out on anniversaries, and will be put into albums and memory books for years to come…and that is an honor and an awesome responsibility.

Sneaking Off

couple sneaking off holding hands

Sneaking Off

This particular couple said their I-do’s on a bridge over a spillway waterfall at Big Meadows in Southern Colorado in a private elopement ceremony with just eight attendees. The hugs and nerves of excitement were genuine and this adorable couple were as good as it gets. Even though their were just a few friends and family there I still pulled them away under the bridge to take a few moments to kiss and snuggle behind some boulders to capture their mountain wedding. As we snuck away the groom grabbed the bride’s hand and the breeze swept her dress in a way that only nature can playfully do. These are the moments that make me smile.

This is why I do what I do. Cheers to wedding season.