Beautiful chaos. Isn't that what life is like with kids? Days full of energy, noise and sticky fingers. Each child brings their own special sweetness to the mix, their own personality to both delight and drive us crazy at times. But we wouldn't be without them, would we?
"It goes by so fast", that's what they tell us, those old ladies in the veggie aisle. "Enjoy it", they say. And we're sure while we're experiencing it, some days, that it most certainly is NOT going fast. Some days bath time just can't come soon enough. But some time in the future we will look back and realise that it has gone by like a freight train. That's when those fleeting moments caught on camera become even more precious.
Larrissa and Craig asked us to capture some of those moments for them a few weeks ago. So we headed off to Brayshaw Park to play with six year old Isobel and her twin brothers Harry and Louis.
While I might have a particular image in mind, (and sure, it's probably a goody!) however kids being kids will often create their own image. And you know what? I actually rather love the series of Isobel helping her little brothers to see what's through those windows! Turns out I ended up with the best of both worlds, I got the image I was after AND this fabulous series leading up to it!
This is Harry. He's the kid that lights up in front of the camera. He's got that pizazz and seems to realise how EXTREMELY cute he is!
When I told Harry that there might be a mouse in my lens, Isobel simply couldn't help coming to check it out!
This is Louis (the French sounding Louis, as in Lewie not Lewis!) This boy is full of life and cheekiness!
These boys really are the best of friends!
And Princess Isobel, who just lost her top teeth. This girl is such a great big sister!
How's this for a GREAT looking family? Larrissa and Craig are fantastic parents, their kids clearly adore them.
And once again another spontaneous series. Never ever put the camera down!
A wee trip to the blue wall to make the most of the rest of the kids energy!
And so we finish with what I think is the shot of the day. People, I couldn't have orchestrated this even if I had wanted to!
Larrissa and Craig, it was such a fun experience getting to know your family. Those kids are so cute, I don't know how you can stand it!
It was New Year's Eve, with the engagement ring ready Toby considered asking Bonnie to marry him at the six60 concert, but decided he'd wait until the next day when it would be just the two of them on the beach. So the evening was spent with a touch of worry as the ring was stashed under the seat of the car. And, thankfully, it was still there safe and sound in the morning and things could go ahead as planned!
Stopping at the beach on their way home, Toby asked Bonnie to go for a walk with him. Jokingly she said, "you're not going to ask me to marry you, are you?"
She walked on ahead, and when she turned around there was Toby, on one knee in the sand with a ring in his hand.
And she said YES!
So in a few months time these lovebirds will become HUSBAND and WIFE! If our engagement session was anything to go by we are going to have an absolute BALL! Toby and Bonnie are so much fun to be around!
Bonnie, you are going to look absolutely amazing as a bride!
And not to forget our dear Toby, who learned first hand how to be a model. I think ya surprised yourself there, hu?
Well Bonnie and Toby, my new friends, I cannot WAIT to be part of your wedding day! It's going to be fantastic!
It wasn't hard to find things to laugh about, even though our lives are lived about as far away from each other as we could possibly live them. We shared the same Grandma, but I just happened to be born over the other side of the world and they were in Holland. I don't know if you know what I mean when I say I felt at 'home' with this distant family I had only ever met once before, but this is exactly how I felt. My Uncle was a sweet echo of my own Dad, my Aunty warm and inviting and my cousins were great fun.
Renske and Jim are my cousins, and along with their 'significant others' Jeff and Joyce, we headed out to have some fun together!
The weather had been horrid that day, Spring in Holland can be beautiful indeed (a hint of tulips in the next blog post will prove this!) but the time we spent in Holland the weather decided it didn't really want to play along. We found a window of niceness early in the evening and we all dashed out. Within a few minutes the sky started closing in. Here you'll notice Thor, the cat, warning us to get inside. (Perhaps he was just playing too, but I think it's more fun to imagine he was warning us)
I looked up only to see the clouds closing in on us, and with only moments to spare I called out to Renske and Jeff to quickly get in front of the door so we could get a shot with them there too.
The wind hit, then rain and then hail. Like, all within about 15 seconds. BAM. It was time to run back inside.
So we chatted and laughed and ate some more and waited for the weather to fine up again. During this little interlude, I'd like to properly introduce you to Thor.
Then the wind and the rain and the hail passed, and the sun came out again. Dried off and changed the troops came back outside to play.
Jeff and Renske have a beautiful relationship. She calls him 'friend' and he cooks her amazing food.
Jim and Joyce are full of life and laughs, and Joyce's smile can light up any room!
So there you have it, another little piece of my family puzzle pieced together. I loved being in Holland and getting to know my Dutch family. I loved seeing myself in the culture and the people, somehow it felt like home and I could tell that this was where my roots truly lie. And you can bet I'll be coming back sometime! (And next time, Aunty, we'll try and do the photos when you're not soaking up the sun in Spain!)
Last year Simone and Kai had us come to Germany to photograph their wedding, as we hugged them goodbye in August last year I honestly didn't think I'd be back over that side of the world anytime soon. Surely this was a once in a lifetime opportunity? Well, nine short months later and we're back in Europe to photograph another wedding. I rejoiced heartily, with happy dances and the like (which may or may not have included finger snapping and fist pumping, I'm that cool). We ate the cheese, we smiled at the locals (while trying not to get run over by their bikes) and we caught up with good friends. Because that's what Kai and Simone had become, friends. It's funny how life can bring you friends from places you just never expect. I like that about life.
So here we were, we had a day to cruise around with Kai and Simone and left it entirely in their hands as to where we'd explore. Our first stop was an abandoned coal mine. Zollverein has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in Essen, and Simone and Kai knew that we would never have seen anything quite like THIS before. Boy, were they right! To say this place is huge would be quite the understatement! Gargantuan would be closer...
We wandered around finding all sorts amazing little spots. This 'window' was super cool, but the light was just not quite right. We really hadn't packed a full kit of equipment for our wanderings, so Paul asked if I wanted some more light, picked up a white plastic table, holds it up and reflected the light right to where I needed it. Epic.
Selftimer coalmine trees.
You can just walk around this place for miles, I don't know if it's the quality of light on the other side of the world, or if it was just because the entire place was made out of redbrick and steel, but we saw loads of amazing light that you just can't get back in New Zealand. If only we could pack it in our suitcase!
Thanks to Kai for taking the camera and making us do a little of the modelling too!
In the winter this stretch of water freezes right over and they open it up as an iceskating rink! Excuse me? How many coolness points would that earn Essen? More than I could count!
Simone, you are so much fun to photograph! Such a beauty!
Ummmm.... I don't know about you, but this sign didn't fill me with much confidence.
After our adventures in the old mine, we went for a walk (and dinner!) in a VERY old little township. Like, really really old.
As we were driving home and the sun was getting low, I spotted these fields on the side of the road. What was it? Maize, corn, wheat? No idea, but it was beautiful and we had to go check it out!
And so we had done it all in one day. Old abandoned mine, seriously old village and then this beautiful piece of nature. I'm officially in love with Germany! I'm so thrilled to have made such great friends, Kai and Simone - you guys rock! Next time you'll have to come here and we'll show you some of our prettiness! How's that for a deal?
The first time Vanessa laid eyes on Adam he was wearing a Wallabies jersey, among a sea of All Black supporters. It was the 2012 Bledisloe Cup and as the evening wore on, and the All Blacks were absolutely thrashing the Wallabies (ahem 22-0), Adam couldn't take his eyes of this pretty Kiwi girl with the amazing smile. Vanessa had already noticed Adam's equally gorgeous smile beaming back at her, and decided not to make it TOO easy for Adam. He was really going to have to work to get Vanessa's affections. Well, whatever he did sure did the job because not quite two years later and here we are on their wedding day! The weather was absolute perfection and Marlborough sure put on a spectacular show of light and colour for the occasion!
Not long after they had met Adam had to go off and work in Antarctica for four months, and absence most certainly made the heart grow fonder and the warmth of Vanessa's love was waiting at home on his return. They both knew exactly the treasure they had found in each other and wasted no time getting engaged.
Vanessa took a moment before getting into her dress to read her speech, I love how she cracks herself up.
And there's that amazing smile!
I love love loved her Dad's reaction to seeing his little girl as a bride!
And OH MY GOODNESS what a gorgeous bride she is!
Vanessa told me that the only reason she decided to wear a veil on her wedding day was because she had read me saying how very much I love veils. And I do. I very much do!
While the girls were out getting their hair and makeup done, Adam snuck into the house and delivered a letter and left it where he knew she'd find it.
Which proved to be very appreciated!
Meanwhile Adam shows absolutely no signs of nerves.
Just genuine happiness that the big day has finally arrived!
Why is there an exchange of money and rings? I have no idea. Pretty funny though!
Vanessa and Adam opted to see each other and have their main portraits before the ceremony, this left the rest of the day free for them to relax and spend time with their guests. Such a brilliant idea!
And then it was time for the big reveal.
I'd say that's a win.
From this moment on it was tricky to pry them apart, they were just SO into each other!
I'm pretty sure that if there was an award for the wedding with the most laughing, this one would win gold.
Then a quick stop at the Auntsfield Road to capture a little bit more of Marlborough's amazing scenery before we headed to Wither Hills Winery for the rooftop ceremony.
Overlooking a scene like this, it's easy to see why Adam and Vanessa chose to have their wedding here in Blenheim. I, for one, am absolutely thrilled they did!
Jacqui Leslie created a beautiful ceremony.
And then, just as the sun was setting, we brought Adam and Vanessa back outside to make the most of the amazing light.
There are so many reasons to have your wedding in May, when else do you get light and colour like this?
Paul was demonstrating his ninja-post-climbing-skills in order to get to his shot.
I'm loving the royal wave. Clearly making the most of the fact that the Royals, Will and Kate, were in this very spot only last month!
Then it was time to go inside for the reception where the laughs continued into the night. In fact there was so much fun and laughter, it's a good thing Wither Hills Winery aren't surrounded by close neighbours wanting to nap!
Vanessa and Adam, your day was absolute perfection, thank you for allowing us to capture it for you! We can't wait to show you all the rest of the images, in the meantime have an AMAZING time in Hawaii!
And that brings us to the end of our 2013/2014 wedding season! It's been an absolutely magical year full of beautiful brides and grooms, loads of laughs and adventures and thousands upon thousands of photos. We're still here, however, and about to launch into Family Portrait mode, so if you're keen to book a spot do get in touch for more information!
So here we are only hours away from Adam and Vanessa's wedding and instead of feeling flustered and nervous about the day approaching, you just couldn't get the genuine smiles of excitement off their faces - not even for a 'serious' shot. They are just THAT HAPPY about getting married!
Neither Adam nor Vanessa are from Marlborough, Vanessa is from the North Island and Adam is an Aussie boy - although let's not hold that against him (or me, for that matter!) They both just love Marlborough for the scenery, and our super awesome Half Marathon that they rocked just last week!
So tomorrow is all set to be the most perfect day, the weather looks like it's going to be amazing, the colours about the place are spectacular and this couple is pretty darn good-lookin'! And with their likability factor through the roof, it' going to be one fun day!
Adam and Vanessa - we can't wait to share tomorrow with you both! It's going to be perfect - see you soon!
The email came in the middle of the night and after reading it, I have to admit, I was a little bit too excited to sleep. Julia and Björn had asked if we would consider coming back to Germany to photograph their wedding! After our experience last year photographing Simone and Kai's wedding in Germany we knew that we were keen as mustard to do it again.
So here we are, back in Germany. This time in the city of Münster. I was warned that Münster was seriously beautiful, and OH BOY how right they were! Julia and Björn's wedding was everything we could have hoped for, full of light and love and warm smiles.
Julia and Björn met and fell in love at school over a decade ago, and since then life has taken them on an amazing journey of adventures and travels, a beautiful little son (you'll see him soon!) and they now live in Sweden. Münster, however, still holds a very special place in their hearts and so it made perfect sense to get married here.
Looking pretty dapper there Björn!
Meet Theo, a bundle of absolute cuteness. This boy can melt the heart of anyone with the use of his cute giggle and eyebrows alone.
Julia and Björn opted to have their wedding portraits done before the ceremony so that we had time to wander through this amazing city to take photos and it left them with plenty of time to mingle with their guests afterwards.
I love the look on Björn's face as he sees his bride for the first time!
The wonderful thing about photographing in the city is that we were able to visit places that were significant to Björn and Julia. And it just so happens that those places are dropdead gorgeous too!
Münster is known as the bicycle capital of Germany. To say there are a lot of bikes around would be an understatement. You have to really have your wits about you when you're walking around because a bike will hurtle towards you out of absolutely nowhere (well, so it seems to me anyway!) Turns out what looks like an everyday ordinary footpath is actually a road for bikes, you can tell because the bricks are a slightly different colour. Just a little heads-up if you're ever in Münster. You're welcome.
But Björn and Julia weren't in the least bit worried about the bikes, and turns out wherever we went we were met by the tinkle of friendly bike bells. Just like in New Zealand we'd have cars toot their horns as they drive past on a wedding day (I'm fairly sure that's because of the bride and groom and not me...) in Münster the cyclists congratulate using their bells. So cute!
The people of Germany are seriously lovely, so lovely in fact that when we were taking this photo everyone on the street would stop and wait until we were finished so as not to get in our way. However, we were really wanting people to add interest so had to insist that they just carry on right into our image!
It was a market day, which meant that there was a happy buzz on the street. These ladies were giving out free hugs. I don't know why, exactly, but hey, they seemed happy about it!
As we walked through the city we came across Julia's old school. She admitted that she never would have thought that this would be the place she would be having her photo taken on her wedding day!
And then there just happens to be a castle, of course, just casually being used by the university now.
You can't help liking Julia and Björn, they're gorgeous and friendly and I absolutely want to take them home with me.
But they seem pretty settled here, so maybe I'll just let them be!
While I could have happily wandered around for several more hours photographing in the city, the church bells started chiming in the distance signalling that it was time for the wedding!
Of course the ceremony was entirely in German and while I had no idea what was being said, it did add to the coolness somewhat!
Scattered around the church were several little tables and each table hosted a different quote, the guests were asked to read all of them and choose which one they'd like to sign their name to.
The ceremony was full of singing and happy people. It was wonderful! Actually, the choir was the very one that Julia used to belong to when she lived here in Münster.
And then they were married!
Any regular blog readers will know how much I love a good accent, so you can imagine how over the moon I was to be here in central Europe surrounded by all kinds of nationalities and glorious accents! (yes yes, I realise that *I* am actually the one with the accent here...)
I love this moment Julia had with her Dad.
I also love the red lipstick moment.
Julia you are truly stunning, inside and out!
There's no mistaking how much these two absolutely adore each other, sure being in a historically and architecturally beautiful city filled with amazing light is nice and all, but when you are faced with a couple like this that's when the real magic happens!
And then it was time for the reception! Germans really know how to throw a good wedding, you don't just eat, dance and leave, you enjoy party games and all manner of fun deep into the night.
And when you are given money as a wedding gift, it comes in extremely creative ways!
Ever been to a wedding where the guests are asked to don painting shirts and paint their best wishes onto a canvas? Neither had I until this one!
I've given up counting the cool points, lets just say there this wedding has earned LOTS of cool points.
This game had Björn and Julia singing a Swedish lullaby. These are the moments I wished we were videographers!
Julia and the girls rock out their dance they choreographed at the hens party. Such fun!
And a generous amount of un-choreographed fun!
The thing about German weddings is that the bride and groom just turn up to the reception with no idea about what is going to happen, that's all up to their close friends to arrange. So at different intervals during the evening someone will stand up and announce a song or another game. During this game a word was held above Björn and Julia and the guests had to act it out in front of them.
Which produced some pretty funny results!
And while in New Zealand we will have wrapped the party up by 1am, the Germans are just getting started. 1am is sausage time. Apparently this is pretty common.
Björn and Julia, I can't even begin to say how much we enjoyed our time here in Münster with you and your lovely family. Thank you for your warm welcome, for sharing your incredible day with us and for being an absolute joy to photograph!