Two things come to mind when I think of Ashley and Chris’s stormy adventure shoot.
1.This is one of the best shoots we’ve ever done.
2.It didn’t start or end very well.
Some of the most solid advice I can give to Photographers and couples planning a sunrise shoot is to NOT have a dance party/birthday celebration at the local bar with live music until 2 am the night before.
Ashley and Chris were only in town from Park City Utah for a week. Ashley didn’t know it but the night before our shoot was her surprise 30th birthday celebration. For me, this coincided with my business wife Gayles birthday as well, and I had to miss dinner, so when Chris text me at 11:30 pm that Ashley was done for the night and they should probably just head home to get sleep for tomorrow, I naturally convinced them waiting for Timmy and me to arrive from Tampa was actually the better choice.
Insert dance party here.
My alarm went off exactly 2 hours and 28 minutes after I fell asleep. I dutifully got up and text both Ashley and Chris and much to my exhausted delight I got no response for another glorious hour and a half. We knew rain was coming but decided that even an hour and a half late and far beyond the sunrise it was worth the risk of getting soaked.
The early morning humidity hit us like a wall. It was the kind of balmy sticky Florida air that feels heavy and smells like mist and drizzle and is usually reserved for later afternoons.
The world changes on thunderstorm days. That impending feeling of something coming. The light that filters through gray and black roiling clouds. It just goes hand in hand with the feeling that there’s magic to be had.
And magic there was.
Ashley and Chris are a lot of things.
but unquestionably the most important thing they are is best friends.
They’re truly good too, and good for one another. They support each other without jealousy, without keeping score, and without self-interest in mind.
If I had to describe their love in one word it would be “admirable”.
We hopped from spot to spot along our adventure trail laughing, crab hunting, and describing breakfast foods in sexy voices. Storms threatened but never made good on their promise. The more humid it got the crazier my hair got per usual, and somehow Ashley’s just kept looking more wind touselled and beautiful. By the time we’d arrived at our final location, the sun was back out shining so brightly we had to squint. I got a call from my husband that I answered on the Bluetooth. I think the sound on the other end sent all three of us into an immediate panic! Coming far too loudly through the car speakers was my son screaming bloody murder and my husband shouting “where are you, where are you, I need you to come home now!”
This is by far my WORST new mom nightmare come true.
He was very short and frantic. He told me Henry cut himself and he couldn’t stop the bleeding, asked where I was, and when it was clear that I was too far to be useful he hung up on me to call 911. I didn’t even pull into a parking spot, I just looked at Ashley and Chris and said I’m sorry I have to go.
Henry had grabbed a coffee mug off the counter we didn’t yet realize he could reach and turned to run with it, because of course, that’s his move when he knows he has something he shouldn’t. He slipped on the tile, broke the glass mug, and sliced his nose. He needed six stitches. We beat the ambulance to the hospital and Ashley and Chris waited with me for them to arrive.
You feel a lot of things the first time your first child gets seriously hurt.
As seasoned parents of boys who’ve done everything including shoving legos up their nose, I couldn’t have asked for a better couple or better friends to be on the verge of a panic attack with. We sat in the waiting room making jokes and dreaming about moving to Tennesse together like some kind of new age polygamists so that no one has to make emergency room trips alone ever again.
While ending the day with a mini water shoot would have been far less stressful it wouldn’t have been nearly as adventurous.