Whispering Oaks Terrace Wedding // Raelyn + Will

There’s nowhere that I wouldn’t follow
There’s nothing that I won’t do for your kiss
I love you like there’s no tomorrow
Cause nothing ever felt like this

There’s nothing I won’t steal or borrow
I’ll travel on a boat or aeroplane
I’ll explore a world of sorrow
Cause when I find you I know, I know I’ma be OK

See the times are changing
And I’m sure of nothing that I know
Except this is us, and this is love, and this is where I’m home

In a world that’s breaking, where nothing is for keeps
Oh this is us, this is love and this is where I sleep
This is us, this is love and this is where I sleep.

Will and Rae are this beautiful kind of river together. Their currents are independent, yet they come together and swirl to form this powerful, emotional force that makes you stop and just watch. Just appreciate them. There are no apologies for who they are, who they have been. No rationalizations for what they’ve done or where they’re going. Just the here, the now, and the joy that is spending time with them. Will’s ear to ear smile when he see’s his magical girl, even if she’s only been away 5 minutes. The way she laughs when he whispers things to her. The way they breath the same breath together even when a hundred people are watching.

It’s always an honor and privilege to document love stories, and even more so when I walk away knowing that not only have I just witnessed the beginning of a lifetime of loving – but I am walking away a better person than I was when I walked in. Thank you both for inspiring me. xx

With Heart,
H

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San Francisco Wedding // Dominic + Stephanie

It all started two years ago, this month.

A friend said, “I have this friend who just got engaged, and really wants to do her engagement photos at the fair. Would you do that?” Yes. Clearly I would do that. “I’ll introduce on you on Facebook.” Ok. Awesome.

Fast forward a week.
The San Diego County Fair is here.

And so are Dom, Steph, Mike (Steph’s dad..our beloved wardrobe man) and I.

No consults. No back and forth about hair, about shoes, about whether or not he wears jeans. No no. Not these two. They show up looking like Hollywood had a date with Hells Angels and had a child named Fucking Awesome. Forgive my language. My soul was doing backflips.

So we did their esesh, it was amazing. We hung out more, it was amazing. We became friends…and now I’m overusing the word amazing. I’ve gotten to know their families, helped reorganize Steph’s closet, critiqued venues, and finally, it came down to San Francisco.

Stephanie is unlike any girl I know. She is stunningly beautiful…and I mean, knock you on your tail take your breath away I’m sure the paparazzi isn’t far behind beautiful. She is a master of hair, makeup, wardrobe, and being funny. She’s horsey, she’s runway, she’s champagne and green smoothies. Pair her with Dominic – who is one of the few people I’ve ever met that always gets my humor, works on his own bikes and car, is forever dressed to the nines…oh…and also has killer hair and ink to match. Together, they could take on Chuck Norris, I’m quite certain.

So off to San Fran we went. As I’m driving into town, Steph is giving me minute by minute check in’s, to ensure I hurry my butt up and meet them at Morton’s for dinner and drinks. I tornado into my hotel room, throw on something that doesn’t look like I’ve been driving in it for 9 hours, and head off to begin 24 hours of festivities! Wedding day was nothing short of incredible. The guest list was short and made of only of family, and the venue – the San Franscico City Hall – did not disappoint. With it’s sweeping architecture and old world elegance, it made for the perfect backdrop for their vow exchange. We shot some family photos and then the three of us loaded up in their limo to roll around SF and get some awesome bride and groom photos.

The Golden Gate Bridge and a few other amazing locations later – we arrived at their dinner reception hosted by the incredible Spruce. Designed and decorated by the talented Lindsay Lauren Events and LC Florals, the space was breathtaking. The service and cuisine delivered by the staff at Spruce was nothing short of spectacular, and the toasts given by the family had me in tears for about 30 straight minutes. The images speak for themselves…I adore these two and am so fortunate that they found me…and even more so to be able to call them friends. A thousand years of happiness you two. xoxoxo

With heart,
H

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Hannah + Mike // Engaged

He said over and over, ‘am I smiling?’? She laughed. I held the shutter. Moment. Frozen.

We walked and talked, they told me about ten years of getting to know each other and growing and ten years of never having gone to the movies. No really. They’ve never gone to the movie theatre together. I think it’s pretty incredible.

They’ve been dating for ten years. To Hannah and Mike, it seemed natural. To me, it was this amazing feat that you don’t find very often anymore. Let’s be honest – dating is not the same as marriage. Personally, I feel like dating, in many ways, is harder. Before marriage, everyday is a true choice. There is no paper that binds you, no rings, no same last name, or any of the other traditional type of ‘I belong to this person and they belong to me’ rituals that outwardly show the world you are otherwise spoken for. You can walk away at any time…for no reason at all, and don’t have to file paperwork to do it. In a time when relationships don’t seem to last as long as they used to, these two have been making the choice, everyday for over ten years. They’re making the choice everyday for love. For the love of another, for giving their hearts daily because they want to – because they want to share dreams and struggles and adventures. They make the choice everyday because together they are so, so beautiful. While we walked through the beautiful Santa Rosa Plateau, they told me about the dog they want to have someday, her plans to be a nurse, and Mike’s love for painting. When one speaks, the other watches. They glow for the other, they move together like the top and bottom of a melody, independent chords flowing together to make the most beautiful music. I asked him to dance with her underneath a huge oak, and while they laughed I stood off in the distance and took them in…seeing what they would be in 40, 50 years. I can see them dancing under the same tree in their 70’s, and then having a picnic with their grandchildren on the hillside behind them…with a big lazy Lab curled up near their feet taking a nap. Maybe Mike will paint a picture of it one day…and in it Hannah’s hair will be swirling in the wind and her blue eyes will be shining at him the same way they did this day.

Hannah and Mike are getting married this October in Idyllwild, and I can’t wait to spend the day with them.

Enjoy friends.

With Heart,
H

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Lauren + Elvis

This isn’t an engagement session…though it was a session booked by a girl, that wanted to be photographed with the love of her young life.

I did a post a while back on why we ride, and sessions like these bring me back there, back to why I started. I began this journey photographing horses exclusively, planted in fields and on the backside of fences and tracks and perched on pipe corrals – and I was on fire. I couldn’t wait to get home, to load my images, and to share them with the world. To see what I could do, what I could give, and how I could inspire people to see themselves and their horses they way I saw them. This session brought me back to that. Lauren is about the most lovely young lady I’ve had the pleasure to know; and over the past year and a half I’ve watched her grow from a girl into a beautiful young lady – but with maturity comes challenges. Academics become more challenging, friendships begin to become more complicated than they once were, boys and boyfriends are suddenly part of the picture, and the simple life we lead as children becomes convoluted and crowded….and it’s difficult to make time for the things that were once so important to us. That said, when I meet a young lady who, through the challenges of teenage life, has managed to maintain time and space for a pony that has meant so much to her – I am inspired. Elvis came into Lauren’s life soon after she lost her father, and for the years since, has been a neck to hug, a shoulder to lean on, a partner to fly with, and a friend to share secrets with. He is a pony in every manner of the word, and until very recently, could only be fully understood (and ridden) by Lauren.

Over the past year or so, Lauren has grown from a girl to an almost 6ft tall young lady that I’m quite certain will grace the pages of Vogue eventually…but with that, she has literally outgrown little Elvis. Just as Elvis found her when she needed him most, however – a family that was in need of a very special pony has found him. At our barn, we have all joked that Elvis hadn’t worked out for any of the people that had previously looked at him because he didn’t want to be bought. He was waiting to choose his family – and I’ve never seen such truth. He is happy, and seems ready; and so does Lauren. We chose to do their session at Del Rio Farms – where Lauren and Elvis have ridden everyday with trainer and farm owner Dee Gleason, where they have galloped bareback, flown over fences, and shared long talks about the things that girls and their horses discuss….everything.

Enjoy friends.

xx
H

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Because you love me.

This year I am 31 years old. 31 years of living, of learning, of mistakes and try again’s – of growing and experiencing and loving. I have seen so much change, and my life has at times been unstable…in true gypsy fashion; the path of a wanderer is often uncertain. Of the things in my life that have held strong and true however, at the top of it all is one person. My dad. Today is his birthday, and I’ve spent the morning thinking about what I can do from 2,000 miles away to let him know that there is no word that could be printed in a card to convey how special he is, and to thank him for the love and support he has given me.

My dad and I, we have done some living together. Adventuring, I like to call it. We have seen highs and down and dirty lows, he has shopped for prom dresses and horse trailers and sifted shavings and shoveled poop and built me a barn, he has picked me up from the holes I have dug myself into and dusted me off, telling me to keep at it and push forward. “Heath, you’re not a quitter.” No, I am not a quitter…because I am, in so many ways, my father. Dad started his life over after he and my mom divorced; and started his own business. If you ask my father today, he makes very little of the things he has done; but I know where he started, and now people come from all over the country to have him build their homes – not only because he is a gifted builder and designer, but because he is a good man, the best man; and people can see it from the moment they shake his hand. My father is so, so strong. One of the things I remember from my earliest years was my dads huge arms, and his tattoos. He used to have this big eagle on his arm, and I always thought that it made him look so tough, tougher than the other dads. He always, and still does, wear his hat backwards when he works, and every single one of my friends had a crush on him and thought he was the coolest dad ever. I watched my dad work midnights at the paper mill, and then get up and work construction by day so that we could have a beautiful home (that he built), so that I could have horses, so that my brother could have a four wheeler and play hockey, so that every year we could go school shopping and Dad and I could go to the Gap and he could pick out my wardrobe…because quite honestly, for the first 25 years of my life (and still at times, though I’ve finally got the hang of dressing myself), my father had better fashion sense than I did. My dad has always driven a great truck – a Ford truck. I learned how to drive in my dad’s white F-150 flare side; ‘White Lightening’. He let me drive the truck up and down the roads of the Acres were we lived, after picking me up from my grandparents house downtown where I would hang out during the afternoons – watching Days of Our Lives with my Gram and Gramp. He is a mirror of my Grandfather in so many ways, and after losing my Gramp over 10 years ago, and my Gram this year, it only stands out to me more how important my Dad’s strength is to my entire family. That strength that I thought was all in his arms when I was a little girl is so, so much more. Even though he is the youngest by far, the family calls him for advice, they call him to handle things, they look at him when things are falling apart…and he is always there, standing, unwavering, even when he has every right to fall to pieces. Whenever the Earth begins to shake, he stands strong.

Over the past few years I’ve taken to calling the long conversations Dad and I have, like clockwork, every time I’m home – ‘Jod-erventions’ – and quite honestly, if you’re stumbling in life…you should look him up and sign yourself up for one. They work. Some of my most frustrating and enlightening times are 1am conversations with my father about work, about kids, about marriage, about where my life is going and what I want for it. He thinks that they’re just a pain in my tail, but what he doesn’t know is that I actually look forward to them, and what he has to say. People often survive hardship in life, because we are, as a rule, much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. The key, however, is what you do with that aftermath. Will you continue to just survive, or will you flourish? My Dad chose the latter. He came through hardship and stood on a crumbled foundation, and made a decision to rebuild. He rebuilt a life, not only for himself, but in that rebuilding, he laid the foundation for me in ways he’ll never fully know. He rebuilt, and he always pushed forward. He did not quit, and never opted for the easy road, for no rewards worth having come from traveling the easy road. He taught me to be truthful, with myself first, and with others. When friends were telling their parents elaborate stories to get out of the house on the weekends, I was asking for exactly what I wanted to do, and having conversations about good choices and being safe and drinking and drugs and consequences while others were locking those talks with their parents away in the furthest corners of their closets. We were being honest, because it was just us…and we couldn’t afford not to be. As I have moved forward in life, my dad has continued to be honest with me, telling me when he thinks I’ve made a bad decision (even when I’d rather not hear it), telling me when he thinks I need to make a change, when I’ve done well, telling me he doesn’t understand how people afford to live their crazy Californian lifestyles, while I tell him I don’t know how people can survive the frozen north and driving 40 minutes to the grocery store. I can tell him anything, I call him for everything, and he has never failed me, from giving me the groundwork for life to talking me through changing out the skill saw blade over the phone because I didn’t know I needed an allen wrench instead of a screw driver. Brillant, I know. He loves his life, does exactly as he pleases, and apologizes for nothing he isn’t genuinely sorry for. He is Papa to my baby boy, the most handsome man in the North Country, ‘Big Perk’ to all of the guys, baby brother to my Aunts and Uncle, the defender of our family, the keeper of promises and my heart of hearts…and when you say ‘Jody Perkins’ around town, people all smile and have something good to say. My dad is a man’s man, a daughter’s hero, and the best friend a person could ask to have. The older I get, the more my father comes out in me; and the more I am grateful for each and every difficult day, every time he has told me my idea isn’t great, and every time he has been quietly proud when I’ve been successful, because I don’t need him to say much. I can tell, and I hope that he can as well.

Because he has loved me, I am strong. I live boldly and without fear, I am willing to work and sweat for the things I want, and I am never, every sorry. Because my Dad has loved me, I know how to love unconditionally. Because my Dad has loved me, I value my strength as well as my mind, and am not afraid to go toe to toe for what I believe in. Because my Dad has loved me, I live each day hoping to be a better version of myself…I hope that one day my son looks at me and see’s the same strength, the same conviction and character, and the same unfaltering love that I see in my father.

Happy Birthday Pops. You’re my shining star.
Forever,
Sport

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Deborah - April 14, 2014 - 7:00 pm

A beautiful letter of love.

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