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June 27, 2011  -  Engagements

megan + brian

"We figured it's more of a hassle with the canoe back there...so we nixed it." And with that one line in an e-mail, Megan officially crushed me. When she and Brian came to us with the idea of shooting their e-shoot in their canoe and in the woods, two things that are big for them, we were, to say the least, excited. And by excited, I mean, we were giddy. And by giddy, I mean the kind of giddy that comes when a tweener meets the Beibs, giddy. And without warning, Megan sent off an e-mail saying they changed their minds and were thinking of just going to a park. And I imagine if you were within a couple blocks of our home that morning, you heard a "Noooooo!" wail coming from our little studio.

So, immediately Rich and I started talking about what we might be able to say to them to change their minds back. You see, at the end of the day, we will happily shoot anywhere anyone wants to shoot and we'll help with ideas. But if someone comes to us with a really killer idea and then changes their mind, we'll also do whatever we can to change their minds back. :) Because, really, how often do you think it comes up that a couple wants to shoot in their canoe? I'll tell you - once. Once in the five years we've been doing this crazy thing, and it was one of those moments for us that we just fell in love with not only the idea of the e-shoot, but also the idea of becoming kayakers.

We'd been talking about buying a kayak for, literally, years. My sister's family are big paddlers, and we love going out with them when we visit them, but we'd not yet bought a boat of our own. We had a bunch of excuses not to - but here was the perfect reason to finally buy our boat. And with one quick e-mail, we were suddenly back on the kayak-on-the-back-burner-maybe-next-summer bandwagon. When we went out to shoot them, one day after the official one-year-til-the-wedding day (we'd been postponed the day before, or it would've been exact - adorable, right?!), Megan said that she and Brian thought it was a bit extreme for us to buy a boat for their e-shoot. Now, I see how it comes across as that's exactly what we'd have been doing, and I don't know if they'll ever believe it wasn't that, but really - crazy, we are... but not that crazy :) So, I'm sure you're wondering, since these shots look like they're on land, did we do the shoot in their canoe? Did Rich + Alyssa finally become kayakers?
Hell yeah, we did!!
I don't remember a time before you were typing that. Not only did we drive out past Rochester to buy a sweet deal of a kayak that can fit our whole family, but when we pulled it off the roof of our car (imagine, if you will, a 15-ft kayak on our old, beat up two-door-and-two-suicide-door Saturn Ion - it's ridiculous.) Megan says, "Oh, wow - I see you guys got the 'divorce special!'"

You see, there are a million special moments in any relationship that define them and make you understand and further reaffirm why you married the person you did. Trying to paddle together in a large tandem kayak is not one of those moments.

So I paddled out from Beaver Island behind Megan and Brian, and my lovely wife photographed until we hit Strawberry Island. Also, I bet if you went to summer camp pretty much every summer a a kid like I did, you can't get "A boy and a girl in a little canoe" out of your head.

Yeah, about two seconds in, you were like, "so, just don't paddle - you take photos; I'll paddle." :) Worked well for me - it was definitely one of the most relaxing shoots we've ever done, getting to shoot from the princess seat. At the same time, though - it was one of the most incredibly difficult shoots - with the exception of maybe 20 minutes we were on land, we shot the rest of the shoot from the kayak. So, it was constant adjustment with an inability to control the angle I was shooting from (sorry babe, you did a really good job getting me close to where I wanted to be, but I'm so used to being able to get on my belly, climb up on something, move a foot to my right, and that's not how it works from a boat). At one point, I congratulated myself and Rich was like, "yeah, congratulations - you took photos. You're a professional photographer." So, that was kind of embarrassing :) Next time, I'll just congratulate myself in my head :)

Anyway, for as tough as it was to lose the ability to move around, I'm totally smitten with this shoot - and that is mostly because of how adorable Megan + Brian are. Seriously, it was early. Real early. And they were so sweet and happy and comfortable, it was so much fun to shoot them.
Brian is super into paddling, to the point where he was telling us about crazy-long trips he and his dad have taken, battling chest-high waves in their kayaks and generally being super hardcore. I don't know if we'll ever get into the kayak scene quite that deep, but it is definitely addictive and we've only had a kayak for a couple weeks. We haven't had the kids out in the Necky yet, but that needs to change, maybe even later today. (We have a ridiculously adorable infant flotation device "thing" for Dexter and a full UV 50+ suit. He looks ludicrous and amazing in his little protective cocoon of gear.) There's just something about being out on the water. I've always loved being out in a boat, any kind of boat (ask us about our ill-fated purchase of an old sailboat in Hawaii sometime - THAT was a divorce special, and we were only just dating then). I think if you're into it, there's just always an undeniable urge to get out there.

And Megan, well, I wore my hipster-bear-holding-a-speed-graphic-camera shirt on our shoot because Megan is a real, no kidding bear zookeeper. That's about as awesome a profession as I can imagine. I know it's a ton of hard work and data collection and long hours, but at the end of the day, you also kindof get to say, "These are my bears." And that's a pretty amazing thing to get to say, right?
I think being a zookeeper is maybe the coolest job ever. Probably in a I've-romanticized-it-well-beyond-it's-reality way, but it's so amazing. Guys - thank you a million times over for letting us shoot you in your canoe. We had an amazing time and cannot wait for this year to fly by (and it will!).

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