It was raining…. and not even a predictable rain. Intermittent showers were expected all afternoon. An hour outside of Tuscaloosa - traveling back from my uncle’s wedding in Louisiana - I was hoping that the weather would be forgiving for this engagement session.
My couple, Christopher and Brett, has been managing a 10+ hour long distance relationship between Florida and Alabama. This weekend was probably our best chance to get a warm(ish), fall engagement session before the winter wind tugged the last burnt leaves from their branches.
Our plan was to hit Lake Nicol and then make our way over to the University of Alabama for the last rays of golden hour. I looked to the sky, pleading with the sun to gift us an hour of photographing. To be honest, I’d never trekked out into the mud with clients before today. I was certainly ready for the adventure, already dressed in hiking boots and some rugged jeans, but did not want to ask that of my clients.
As I arrived to meet Chris and Brett, I saw them standing at the other end of the parking lot. Chris, in a gentlemanly fashion, was holding a black and white striped umbrella overhead, shielding the two of them from the inconsistent patter of rain.
“Ready if you are!” I don’t remember which of us asked for confirmation, but all three of us affirmed that we were ready for the challenge. If they were disheartened by the rain, it definitely didn’t show. I loved that this couple who was down for anything.
We piled into the car and began the drive to Lake Nicol. Having never met the couple before, the car gave us the perfect time to mingle. Chris and Brett, both engineers (and obviously hella smart), had met as undergrads, and both are pursuing PhDs in the same discipline. They shared with me their ways of managing a long-distance relationship, their mutual love of Chick-Fil-A, and their recent trips and adventures.
Once at the lake, we scurried to the pavilion built on the small peninsula that protruded into the water. We warmed up, snapping some shots under the protection of the roof, before venturing out by the shore. A rickety pier looked like a perfect stage over the water. Disconnected from the physical edge, Christopher and Brett gingerly stepped from stone to stone before contacting the wooden platform.
It’s funny how we remember things. Even now, I’m sure that it wasn’t perfectly quiet – me giving direction, the clicking of the camera. Yet in my mind, this part felt peacefully still. Christopher and Brett have such a sweet and understanding love. Looking back through the pictures, I caught moments of Chris tucking Brett’s hair behind her ear or subtle knowing looks between the two of them. They let me take pictures of them dancing on the lake’s edge and walking through the lake’s trails. It was all so tranquil and beautiful. In hindsight, I’m glad for the rainy day. Not only did it give us perfect colors, but the rain gave us a blanket of privacy and a stage only for two.
We headed back to campus, stealing shots in some of their favorite places, places where their love began. We squeezed every last bit of light from the day to wrap up an incredible engagement session.
Thank you to Christopher & Brett for an awesome session!
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