Being a photographer is more than just catching a moment, it's writing a story through that moment. This of it like this, a little girl catches a butterfly. You know what happened, but you need the details to actually see & feel the moment. Was she wearing a blue dress or a yellow dress? Was she wearing a dress at all or was she wearing a well matched outfit her mother picked out for her? Was the butterfly flying already or did she pick it up off of a leaf?
With photography, you are the storyteller. You're there for their story.
To preface this surprise proposal, I have never met Jacob. He first contacted me a couple weeks ago because he found a previous McAfee's Knob proposal I had photographed and knew, this was where he wanted to ask his girlfriend Lauren to marry him. After we spoke & worked out the details, everything was set, all he had to do was get her here. The weekend finally came & I was so hopeful for the weather to clear. Although it was a bit hazy & you couldn't see but maybe 3-4 ridges deep, Jacob & Lauren packed their car & headed to Virginia for what Lauren thought was a med school interview for Jacob. Having to travel from Ohio (yes - they traveled all the way from Ohio) , they decided to make a weekend trip out of it. Come to Roanoke, hike McAfee's Knob (the most photographed spot off the Appalachian Trail), enjoy their time while he "has an interview" & then head back tot Ohio...... Little did she know, her weekend plans were about to change! Unfortunately, there was no interview but, there was a new beginning. The quicker the sun rose, the faster Jacob's knee fell. From the moment he & Lauren reached the summit, we caught eyes & he was ready - so waiting and boy can't you tell?
Not being from the area, we had to plan every little detail and via text at that. Details such as where to enter the trail, how long the trail was, trying not to text each other at 4:30a because his girlfriend would going to wonder who he's texting at such an early hour, trying to hide so they could enjoy the moment, asking people to move out of the way so their pictures can be "strangerless", etc. It's all part of the game but, a game that has to be well planned! Even though its a little stressful & can be difficult, you have to laugh through it all because the story you write to describe their tunnel vision experience is definitely worth it. Congratulations Jacob & Lauren - it was truly a pleasure to meet you & capture your milestone proposal at McAfee's Knob!