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        This is a photo of a surprise. I’m posting it because it was included in Junebug Weddings list of the top 50 engagement photos of 2018 (See all the photos here). Which is such an honor. Seriously. I’m beside myself to be included with so many other incredible artists and visionaries. Engagement photos are such a place to reach outside the box and to do things differently.

        Honestly, this photo wasn’t even my first choice for what I thought was my best of 2018. It was one that as I was sending in the list, I had a “oh yea, I’ll include that too.” I’m so surprised and thrilled. But, there was so much surprise in the way that this photo was taken. For Cheryl and Vinson’s engagement photos, We had been taking sunset photos at Sunrise at Mt Rainier (ironically at sunset) on a hazy day last summer. The photos were good and it had been a wonderful session. But, as the sun went down and the evening cooled, the haze started to settle into the valleys around the mountain. As we drove down the hill, we could start to see the stars above us. So, I suggested we stop and take a quick photo of them holding hands. So, I set my camera on the roof of the car, using my phone and wallet to get the correct angle and used the 2-second timer on the camera for the long exposure. After a couple of images ruined by cars driving by, we got one that looked good. I picked up the camera off the car and was about to tell them that we were ready to go home when I realized the Milky Way was cutting through the frame. I hadn’t planned it and couldn’t see it with my naked eye, but with enough experience photographing the Milky Way, I knew right away what I was looking at. We excitedly made a few more photos, but the accidental framing of the first image (and the shooting star that only came out in post) was the best that came from it. No matter how long you do this, there is still a lot of surprises to be found. In case you’re interested, you can see the before images at this link.

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