I saw a request on a local site called Neighbourly which is like Facebook but only amongst people in your immediate neighbourhood. Linda made this post.
I couldn't resist offering to photograph this special occasion for free, just for the privilege of being there. The celebrant Gareth Duncan was initially volunteered by his wife but was glad that she was so quick to respond and was happy to do it at no charge. A reporter turned up as well and asked for some images as soon as possible for their story on stuff.co.nz and I sent a few small size samples but when they made their choices I forgot to edit those as well before sending them off - besides the reduced quality of the website images the lighting was not the best. Because the weather has been so hot I discussed options with the celebrant, Gareth, and we chose to move the whole party under a large tree which was actually quite dark, especially compared to the bright sunlight at the time.
I had been pleased with the overcast weather of the morning thinking the shoot was going to be easy, only for the sun to come out in full force during the ceremony and then, once it was all over, it clouded over again with nice diffused light. That's how it goes with wedding photography, you can't choose your lighting during an outdoor ceremony which is probably why I normally prefer high speed photography. The ceremony was held at Hamilton lake in New Zealand. Originally Linda wanted to have it on the other side of the lake near a nice half-moon shaped brick bench/structure but because it was a narrow area close to the road there wasn't much space for any extra people who may turn up, so the celebrant suggested we move to the other side where there was a nice open area that could take a lot more people.
We were right under this tree....
Flash had to be kept to a minimum along with close-ups. We had been asked to be very discreet as "Micky can get upset quite quickly" so we had the 18-200mm on Lisa's D7000 and though I had the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 on my D7200 it was mostly too wide for the situation so I resorted to the 18-140mm lens on my other D7200. No point having ultimate sharpness and quality with a wide prime in that situation while upsetting the couple. Though I know everyone says "primes give better quality" etc. but at this particular wedding where we were asked to keep our distance the zoom lenses allowed us to be discreet while also allowing the occasional wide shot without having to change lenses. I was quite happy with the results from the 18-140mm lens.
What really impressed Linda was the fact that although Michael has a really bad memory the morning after asking her to marry him he asked if they were still going to go ahead with it, and on the morning of the wedding when we met at the car she told me that when they woke up that morning Michael said [add Scottish accent] "Today's the day!".
Normally I wouldn't dream of photographing a wedding without meeting with the couple first but Linda was concerned about making Michael feel too pressured so in line with being especially 'discreet' for a particularly sensitive situation that was all 'last minute' I had to settle for simply meeting on the day as they walked to the spot. Everything went just perfect!
The party consisted of close family and friends but there was as much joy there, if not more so, than any other wedding I have been to.
The ceremony went very well and there was a lot added emotion to the occasion. From where I was standing I could see Linda mouthing the words "I love you" to Michael, several times as she stared intently into his eyes. The celebrant read Michaels vows to help him out, but to think that even in that state of not being able to speak the vows himself, he had remembered it was their [second] wedding day when he woke up that morning.
A close friend helped Michael put the ring on Linda's finger. The tissue had helped remove some of the "liquid emotion" that was starting to trickle down Linda's face as she went through with the ceremony purely to make her husband happy.
Just like newly-weds. [More pictures on my gallery]
Having lively subjects always makes you want to keep taking pictures. Linda's face lit up with one emotion/expression after another, a dream to photograph. Normally when a couple are standing in the same place for a while you get 4 or 5 images then think "Not much point repeating these images" but in this case every few seconds called for a 'new' photo.
When some of Michaels favourite Scottish music started played he was thrilled and lit up - also encouraging the guests to join in! I had left my little Nikon J1 on a tripod to record the event as a bonus but didn't have much time to monitor it so not the best quality but better than nothing I suppose.
I had taken a few pictures of their feet as a reminder - because once that music was playing quietly in the background Mick's feet wouldn't keep still - he wanted to dance! His one foot kept lifting off the ground in time with the music.
At one stage Linda and Mick turned around and she whispered to him "That's our photographer" and he gave me the thumbs up. I actually felt like that was more than enough payment for my time and efforts, it felt so good to be appreciated by this man. And to think, it didn't cost me anything to enjoy this event!
For video all I did was leave my little Nikon J1 on a tripod - not the most professional results but if anyone wants to see the whole 43 minutes it's here.
There was this one moment just before we left where I was the only one standing out in the open and Linda was engaged in a discussion and Michael caught me out of the corner of his eye, as his expression changed and he slowly turned to face me directly I realised it was time to slip my camera behind my back and walk in the opposite direction. This was his day - I wanted nothing to spoil it. I must say I did find it rather amusing afterward and it reinforced in me why Linda had specifically requested that we remain discreet with the cameras during the occasion. Well that kind of rounds off my story for the day - I imagine everyone will soon be reading about Linda's side of it all the women's magazines that will be sharing her story soon :)
All the best Linda and Michael - thanks for letting me be a part of your very special day!
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