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dear, loved, costly,  · magmaghal, mahal´in (mag-:-in) v. to hold dear, to love. Mahalin mo ang iyong mga magulang. Love your parents.


dear, sweetheart, loved one “little love”

I can not think of two more appropriate words to have had etched not just into their wedding bands but also into the hearts and thoughts of everyone who was in attendance at Mabel & Helmut’s wedding.  Dear- they are dear to each other and if you were there then you are dear to them.  Loved- friend and family were one and the same, definitely loved.  Costly- love and life can be very costly in so much more than the literal sense.  When you risk love and to be loved it can cost you everything and that very same cost can be returned to you tenfold if paid out to those that give back freely and selflessly.  Love your parents- you may or may not ever be a parent but you will always have a parent and the sheer magnitude of what a parent feels for their child can rarely be measured.  It is a weight that anchors your very being, sometimes existence and when you the child are happy and fulfilled and safe it is a weight that dissipates into the air faster than the sea wind can carry the clouds.  Little love- ahhh, the sweetest of all, not just because Helmut is this tall, handsome, strapping man and Mabel is this delicate beautiful woman but for the simplest of loves, the purest of loves, the kind of little loves that impact us so much more than grand gestures but…  also because Helmut is tall and handsome and Mabel is delicate and beautiful ;-)

I have so very much to say about the experience I had at the wedding celebration held at the  Coyaba Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  This post will be long and it is not to discount any other posts long or short because the length of my ramblings are not necessarily equivalent to the depth of my experience, however…  Having said that, the length of this particular post most certainly represents not just how I feel but how I felt and how spending time on an island with an amazing group of people has impacted my life.  It seems that I have had a long string of epiphanies.  Mostly induced from the relationships I have formed through the years with strangers who became clients who became friends.  I am floored when I look through my records and I see 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th degrees of referrals from the wonderful and thoughtful people who I am honored to have spent some of the most poignant moments of their lives.  A super special shout out to the lovely Rachel and Bill who linked me to Heather & Robin & Han who linked me to Nhat & Arthur who linked me to Mabel & Helmut who have already linked me to the amazing Jody & Marcus.!!!

So yes, There is no question as to the why when I ponder how these referrals come.  It is an exchange…a rather simple one at that.  For your trust and vulnerability, your laughter and your tears, your pureness in the moment and your ability to not care whether you can pull off the cool, sexy or artsy side of yourself – I will exchange with you my zen like calmness, ability to keep your trust and vulnerability safely cradled within my minds eye and heart,  my laughter and my tears and the pureness of the moments that we share and the coolness of the moments that we make!  This is the currency that we trade, it’s the currency that should rule the world!  Of course there are fees for my services but those fees merely gain you entrance.  They are but a small investment made in the scheme of the experience that we provide when working with my studio.

I know that not everyone wants to be that deep and that’s more than okay.  For those that know me, have worked with me and love me you know that this is merely scratching the surface.  The real goal is human connection and it is something that we all long for.  How can you share happiness, triumph, joy, pride, excitement when alone, In a world where technology has made it so easy to be virtual we are pushed towards the longing of and we gravitate to virtually anything and everything that can make us feel more real.

In Jamaica, on the day before, the day of and the day after, I could not have felt more real or more relevant, appreciated and more than anything else… A part of a very intimate and emotional celebration of two people in love that was shared with a handful of people who traveled across the world to spend a few days relishing in each other and in this union.

It is interesting that they chose such a boutique styled resort.  Coyaba Resort is nestled on 4 private acres of beachfront property with 50 rooms and 3 restaurants serving everything from great lunch bites to fine dining, it is an oasis!!!  The word COY-AH-BA comes from an Arawak Indian word meaning “a kind of heaven where time is passed feasting and dancing.”  Well… that pretty much sums it up!  In the hours and days before the wedding and afterwords I had the pleasure of making friends, chatting with, hanging out, soaking in the sun under a thatched umbrella facing the ocean with the kind of friends that anyone would be lucky have in their lives.  It is no surprise if you have ever had the pleasure of meeting either Mabel or Helmut.  They are two completely lovable, sincere and truly beautiful people on the inside, where it counts and on the outside for those that it matters to.  There were no pretenses, no need to search for perfection in the day, the perfection came in the enjoyment of each other and those around them.  Their personalities made it very easy to provide for them a collection of images that they abso-freakin-lutely love because they said, do what you do.  Everyone here matters to us and having you here we know that you will capture all that matters and more!  No pressure, ha ha.  It’s a photographers dream to hear these things because you know that no matter what is suggested the answer will be yes!  For example, I know we all have flip flops on, let’s climb up a jagged cliff together.  Okay ;)  Having no boundaries and having all the trust that anyone could have plus a beautiful location and sprinkle in people who adore you equals the perfect storm!

I wish I could share the whole collection, but  20 or 30ish of my faves will have to suffice or I’ll be here all day blogging and my boss always nags when I blah blah blog for too long =)  I will however leave you with the single most impressionable moment for me.  The sun had set and the darkness had settled in blanketing us with a feeling of closeness as the impending storm was ushered away by the tropical winds.  Laughter and clinking of glasses echoed off of the shore and carried back to us by the breeze blowing off of the water.  My eyes had adjusted to the faintest of ambient light left and I caught a glimpse of Mabel’s dad standing in the cabana where the bar was located.  He was heavy in thought as his body bent towards the papers that he had prepared earlier in the day.  It was like a movie playing out as Helmut walked over to the corner of the bar to meet him.  I could not hear what they were saying but I could tell by the closeness and the way that they embraced that the next few moments would be special.  As Mabel’s father approached the long table where the guests were seated and as he began to speak I could hear the trembling in his voice.  It didn’t tremble out of fear.  It was the outpouring of emotion, the kinds of emotions like pride and thankfulness and love and hope that only comes from a well deep inside of us.  It was too dark for him to read his notes so I handed Helmut a video light to help illuminate the papers… the words that were spoken from this man resonated with everyone that heard them.  These words touched a part of me that I hold dear, being a parent myself.  He thanks everyone for being there with him to celebrate with Helmut’s parents and his daughter & Helmut his new son in law but that Helmut was worthy of being more than a son in law- he was more like a real son.  Likened to the son he never had.  He thanked the lord for keeping Helmut safe and bringing him back safe and sound from his deployment in Iraq and most of all as he looked into his daughters eyes…  He made a plea..  He said ” Please take good care of Mabel as she is the only one that I have left, she is my Joy in this world and she constitutes my whole family.  Please respect one another and more importantly put your love above all things.”

Yep, I can’t freakin see now cuz I’m crying like a child who just had her doll or iPad stolen.  I don’t know if it was because I have a daughter, an only daughter or because of the respect that Helmut has earned to have warranted the words and the trust that ensued.  All I know is that once your child leaves your  protective wings as a parent you don’t always  breathe a sigh of relief.  No matter how old they are you will always worry but you do feel relief when they are gone and you know they are safe and loved elsewhere.  It is a source of gratitude that cannot be explained.  I am affected.  The warmth of the island was no match for the outpouring of warmth and love from all sides.  Now don’t get me wrong, there was some crazy booty shakin’ going on and all I got to say is, stay away from the island punch!

So, to all of the beautiful people that I met on this trip, xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo I know that I will see you all again =) Until then may we all take a little extra time to love the ones that are here and to remember that moments like these can be fleeting so cherish them.

  • Tanti Lina - This bride is so gorgeous!! And of course, your works speak for themselves!

The ominous storm clouds hover over us as I listen to Mark and Diane tell me the story of how they met on the playground of their elementary school.  Running and playing and who knows maybe even some hair pulling on the very same pavement  that  we  were standing on that day.   To think that I don’t even remember most if any of the kids I went to elementary school with & these two began their relationship then!  Time has a funny way of slipping through your fingers so when I hear stories like this it makes my heart smile.  We all change as we get older and experience different things.  We all grow towards something whether it is to be more educated, cultured, stable, etc. So, when I have clients tell me they met in elementary school and I see the beautiful bond that they have forged as adults it is a true testament to love & to the different kinds of love that you can have and to how that love too can grow and change and develop.  Marriage is work.  Never believe otherwise.  To do so would be a naive belief that almost always ends poorly.  If you work hard enough at loving each other regardless of change, age, good & bad times then that’s what will happen, you stay together.  You will span the test of time spending it growing towards each other for all the chapters of your lives.  This is what I think of when I spend time with Diane and Mark.  I’m blown away by how well they know each other, how I’m sure that they are probably not the same people they were in their pre-teens but the people who they have become have gravitated back towards each other.  I think of how intuitively comfortable they are laughing at and with each other and most of all,  how Diane just fits, she fits so perfectly in the crook of Mark’s arm as if that’s where she’s been for many years.  Wait!!!  She has been there for many years, duh!  Makes total sense now!

Spending their wedding day hanging out with them only further strengthens everything I felt when we created the images for their engagement session!  After a beautiful ceremony we headed to Citizen Bank Park for a little session then off to Cescaphe for the reception. Ahh, loving spending time with people in love surrounded by the people who love them…

  • Tanti Lina - WOW! That last shot was STUNNING!

  • Cindy - Why thank you ma’am!!!!

There are people who the sun seems to shine down on even when skies are gray.  There are those that no matter who you ask whether it be family or friends they will always be described as someone who is joyful and full of such positive energy that everyone loves being around them.  Katharine is one of these people…  Words alone cannot describe the way that people feel about her.  Even the images of her mom and dad so happy to be a part of the day speak volumes.  She is welcoming and sincere and so very easy to work with and It’s easy for anyone to see how Bob fits in the picture because he is the same.  They love so easily and laugh so wholeheartedly when they are near each other, it makes working not like work for us and more like a day at the beach hanging out with two people in love and a group of family and friends that know how to laugh and get down!  So yeah, we worked hard today but not in the normal context of working, more like we worked hard because there was just so much available for us to capture!  Not every day is like this so I’m gonna soak it all in and relish in the fact that the sun is shining both from above and inside =)

I always love arriving to a session where you are welcomed like a familiar face!  Hanging out with families where you have shot several weddings, maternity, family sessions, babies and now a first bday!!!  I love it =) After Deb tried shoving loads of yummy food on me, which of course I gladly accepted, I got to hang out and share in some really cool moments with Michaela as she got ready for the big #1 celebration.  A feisty little redhead with sparkling blue eyes and the sweetest of dispositions.   Oh Michaela, I know that you already have a fan club but you may as well add one more.  Happy birthday to you !!!

M o r e   i n f o
M o r e   i n f o