Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heath & Kimberly....FINALLY!

I've been shooting Boerne high school sports for three+ years and have gotten to know a few of the coaches, or at least they know me as the guy with the camera.  A couple of years ago I had a request to shoot some photos at a football game that were basically candids and technically marginal, but turned out to be very important to one coach.

That simple request came from a beautiful woman, so it wasn't a hard decision to say yes. ;-)  Time goes by and then late last Wednesday night I get an email...."call me, I'm proposing to my girlfriend tomorrow night and need a photographer"...more or less.

Cool, would love to do it.  Sounds easy and fun. (1 out of 2 ain't bad)...Famous last words...

Let's see, I can't get close because the girlfriend knows me, it's dark, (really dark), I have to shoot them after dinner, then beat them to the proposal site and figure out how to be the only 6'2" guy around with bright silver hair and a really big camera and not be noticed. No problem I say to myself, deal with it, you get paid to solve problems...and the opportunities continue to present themselves. ;-)

So between 10-12pm Wednesday night, I'm discussing plans with Heath, surfing Google Earth for location photos, trying to figure out how to be a stealth photographer, at night, with no light to speak of...and still get at least a few photos that are memorable.  Oh yeah, did I mention that Kimberly knows it's not like I can be a tourist asking for her photo.

The original plan...a carriage ride through downtown San Antonio, a proposal from his knee in front of the historic municipal auditorium and then dinner at Paesano's.  Easy....

Did I mention the things we figured could go wrong... He had no fall-back date, it had to be Thursday.  It was a work night, Kim wasn't really in the mood for dinner (and the next day was feeling marginal), Kim wouldn't want to stay out late for the carriage ride. Not sure where carriage would stop and where I could shoot from. Oh yeah, I drove by the auditorium before the shoot and it was under construction with a traffic lane closed much for my preplanning there. (Did I mention Heath twisted the truth a bit for about 48 hours..."Yes, honey, everything is prepaid, we have to go."

Then I find out that since San Antonio is experiencing a heat wave from hell, the carriage horses can't come out until after dark, so Heath and Kim have to go to dinner first (not looking good for me).

So, I manage to get some photos of the carriage after dinner, that can only be termed, charitably, as documentary in nature....

then I'm off running to the car....and waiting on four other cars to pay out at the parking lot...the clock is ticking.  I try not to run down too many tourists as I rush down Presa St. to find a place to park at the auditorium...while Kim and Heath enjoy their leisurely ride in 98F heat.

I get to the auditorium and rush into the shadows, having not a clue where the carriage will stop due to our pre-arranged 'problem with the carriage lights'.  The carriage drives by me, keeps driving....and stops on the other side of the mall space.

I grab my cameras, run through the ground cover and hide behind a war memorial as Heath and Kim get out of the carriage....and Heath goes to his knee!  "Wait, I'm not ready!" Got to get closer, no light, she's in the shadows, tree in the way, this sucks!  So after ten more seconds of privacy for them I go into paparazzi mode and grab my other camera, rigged up with a wide-angle lens and flash.

For some strange reason Kim stays focused on Heath and the ring and not me, (go figure) so I was able to get a few candids and then we all relaxed and shot a few set pieces, with Kim being kind enough to stay emotional during the whole wonderful event....

My apologizes to Kim and Heath, I'm a pretty good photographer, but a lousy secret agent and marginal paparazzi... and was thrilled to be the guy taking the photos for them.  ;-)
You can see more photos at Ralph Mawyer Photography in their public gallery.

Carriage - The horse's name is Susie and the patient, wonderful driver is Tim (210-480-1637).  He has the only carriage downtown with the cool red lights..and even he said this is the best proposal he's seen, as most are just done in the back of the carriage.  Contact him for a ride sometime, I think I will.


Gear - Nikon D700 and 70-200/2.8 at a ridiculously high ISO and Nikon D300, 16-85/3.5, SB900 strobe with diffuser.