oh.my.lanta. Boy this was a good one and I had to put my non descript photographer skills on for this one. I was connected with John a week and some change before this surprise proposal was going to go down by way of his soon-to-be sister-in-law-to-be (fingers crossed she says yes!) as I have photographed her family on multiple occasions when they were welcoming their son into the world. John was going to proposed to his girlfriend Rebecca (not this Rebecca y’all – an equally awesome but way more beautiful even in yoga pants Rebecca than this Rebecca – HA!) and he was going to do it at the place they first met – a baseball/softball/kickball field at a park in the Oakwood area of Downtown Raleigh.
They met playing softball or maybe kickball – I can’t remember – but it was an intramural team and well I guess some sparks went flying at some point in the dug out or well we will the baseball bases out of this, but anyway they started dating and here they are madly.in.love. And it was awesome to be asked to photograph such a special time in someones’ life and love – it always is. This one was tricky though.
I am not a sports person really, well I don’t play sports but I do enjoy watching them and the one thing I was thinking in prep for this shoot was it’s a baseball field – where in the heck am I gonna hide with two cameras, full on wedding gear and not look obvious like I am waiting for something?!?!? The plan was for John to be at the picnic shelter away from the field and for Rebecca’s sister Rachel to arrive with her kids and John and Rebecca’s dog, Rachel was going to fake some diaper or bathroom emergency with the kids and tell Rebecca to go down to the field with the dog. Then the whole clan would descend down the hill with the kids leading the pack with some special signs they made asking Aunt Rebecca’s “special friend” to become their uncle essentially.
John and I must have both been nervous about the upcoming events because we both arrived super early; he so he could get his thoughts together and me to camp out and figure out my plan of attack. Of course I get there and the entire field is completely fenced in everywhere and there was one lonely bench waaaaayyyyyy in the outfield that I could sit on so there I sat and I decided I was just going to pretend that I was taking pictures of the sky because it was quite interesting that day and try and be artistic with the fences and stuff. There was literally no way for me to not look like a wierdo in the outfield so I embraced it. Thankfully it was a little cold that day and it didn’t seem odd for me to be wearing a winter coat that came down to my knees as my attempt to hide I had a full arsenal of cameras and lenses on my person. I mean – who goes to a baseball field with thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of equipment to take pictures of the sky?!?! I DO! Ha!
Funny/not funny – the time had arrived and we were minutes from what the planned upon time was for the caravan of the hopefully bride-to-be and her family to arrive and a random guy comes down to the field with his two dogs. Interesting enough, there is a dog park also at this park and so people bring their dogs to run and play but they typically stay across the street for that mess. This guy comes down to the field with the dogs and is throwing a ball and playing and I am like you HAVE GOT TO GO. There is no way this is going to work with their dog and all that mess and I can get a clear shot with this random guy and his dogs running around right where they are going to join up to do this. I stand up from my lonely bench in the outfield and start walking – probably somewhat aggressively – toward this guy and his dog starts to run right for me barking and carrying on. I am a dog person, this does not scare me but this guy was the one human that was standing between me and a successful shot of John on one knee. Random guy yells across to me “she won’t bite! She may lick you to death though!” Either he saw I was somewhat stressed or something because he continues to walk straight toward me and I for lack of a better descriptor flash open my coat and say “there is going to be a marriage proposal here in minutes and they have a dog – PLEASE can you leave because this is going to be so off if there are others on this field too.” He said “sure, just let me know when they are here.” My reply “that is just it – I don’t know exactly when that is going to be but it is any minute now.”
Out of the corner of my eye I notice a car pull up and see Rachel get out of it. He looks right at me and said “is that them?” “Yes, it is” is my reply. He gathers his dogs and they leave. PRAISE.THE.SWEET.BABY.JESUS he leaves. Whew.
Rebecca and I have never met so she wouldn’t know me and it isn’t strange for us to not greet each other but still though – random lady walking around the outfield is a little strange so I kept my distance and then the parade of kids, Rachel, and John started descending down to the field. Rebecca knew something was up by this point I am sure of it.
I start walking quickly and with the camera to my face shooing away praying that I would not trip over something and I think I made it to maybe the second base line when John hit a knee and said I have no idea what because I just couldn’t hear at all from that far away. Her non verbals were that of excitement and joy and John had a permagrin plastered on his face – even though they were both wearing sunglass I could tell – SHE SAID YES!
There were tears and hugs and squeals and kisses and all of us recounted the experience from our own point of view. It was exhilarating! I LOVE these shoots because there is a total peak and all the mess after it of emotion and excitement. Interesting enough after all settled down Rebecca asked if I was Rebecca that had photographed her sisters’ family a few times. I told her I was. She said “I follow you on instagram!” Oh sweet lord, I am glad I didn’t post anything when I was camped out in the outfield!
Well that is it in a nut shell – they are engaged to be married and I was there to witness the blessed event AND we did some portraits right after and of course we had to take some pictures of the bling because JOHN.DID.GOOD y’all – whew he did good with the ring. And Rebecca; well she was a total sport – because she wasn’t even at all not into taking some pictures with her husband-to-be even though she was in athletic gear, pony tail and no make-up. She is a total sport and there was so much love that day!
I only hope I get to see some more of their love story:) Hopefully this is a stay tuned type of scenario in which they will be on the blog again soon for some real engagement pictures and the wedding! GAH! It’s gonna be a good one I can already tell!