Dan and Nora: The Proposal
Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, plan, hope and make it happen. I was on a mission: to capture a moment for 2 people I had never met and without them knowing. That morning, I decided to re-scout the location and be ready in plenty of time. Fortunately I was early- because the couple was too. I felt a little self-conscious sneaking around in the woods; hopefully undetected. And hopefully not scaring the wildlife and tourists- the location is fairly popular.
"Dan and Nora first met in pre-school when they were 3 years old, attached is the class picture that Daniel tried to hide from me because he had crossed out every girl in the class...except for one. When I asked him why he didn't cross that girl out he stated "That's Nora Mom, she's my friend!".
Dan is the only one with a tie and Nora's back row and, you know, the only girl not crossed out! Lol!!"
– Julie S (Dan's Mom)
I had a feeling Dan was on a mission and this was going to happen sooner than later. There were really only 2 options: Plan A: Very long distance shots. Already he was scanning the area (I was convinced he saw me with my camera). At one point the couple got up and moved my way. Retreating and then running around left, I captured the distant embrace. I could have gotten closer, but it wasn't worth risking spoiling their private moment. Plan B, which was very likely, just too obvious: approach the area a minute or two after Nora had the ring. A casual greeting, camera in hand, a few shots just beyond the couple- I was shooting scenics, right? "Hi, how are you?" I asked. Nora broke the ice- "We just got engaged" she said with a very big smile. I casually offered to take a few shots... and I was in.
It might not have mattered if I had to come clean that the photo session was set up ahead of time, but I had hoped I could maintain the surprise that Dan's Mom and Dad had planned. It worked.* What mattered was that I had recorded a moment that can never be repeated and one they can pass on down to their family. I think it mattered to them and it mattered to me.
*Photographer's Note: As Nora said "Couldn't have been better than if it was planned." It was. They had figured it out later that day. But I think the initial mystery added to their day. It certainly all added to mine.