… on the dark side of a photo shoot


Twoo Wuhv.

When I started writing here, I knew that – even though I might want to write about the people in my life sometimes – I didn’t want to invade their privacy and I was going to have to have some rules for myself.

Nora Ephron’s mom may have said, “It’s all copy”, but I didn’t want to install a revolving door for friends and family members who made ‘good copy’, but were kind of sick of wondering if I really loved them or if I just needed a quick post for Saturday.

So I added to Nora’s mom’s thought. “It is absolutely all copy, but let’s try not to hurt or embarrass people”.

And that has been my mantra.

Until today.

Because fluck it.

Two weeks ago I went to Seattle to see what Mac and Jack were making of their lives out there and also to take their engagement photos. I waited until now to write about taking those photos because I wanted to make sure I didn’t steal their thunder and publish the pics before they could choose their faves and make them public and be all gooey about them.

But now they have, and Mac even put them in her Plog, so now I am free to write all about the day we took their photos.

The photos that speak of… wait, let me get one for you…




The photos that show the serenity and love in their young faces… That speak of a day free of stress, cares and troubles…

and freakin’ mountains …

and unplanned hiking

and sweat…


Well, let me tell you.

When Mac described her preferred place for this photo shoot, she said – in her typical fast talking happy voice – “We found a beach! It’s-a-beautiful-beach-and-there-is-even-a-lighthouse-and-it-remindeds-us-of-Maine-so-it’s-perfect!”

And I said, “Great!”

So on the day Mac declared the weather perfect for the great photo shoot, I was all excited.

I packed up my photo bag with the camera and lenses and, having asked Mac and Jack what they were wearing the night before, slid my feet into my flip-flops, tossed on a long sleeve t-shirt and some linen pants and headed, jauntily, out to the hotel’s curb to await my Mac-and-Jack-driven chariot (a mini cooper named ‘Pippin’), which would wHisk me away to the beach.

Right after breakfast.

Where I should have maybe had a reaction when Jack turned to Mac and said, “Hey, if we are going to the place that Keegan took us, should I change? Because I don’t want to be all sweaty when we get there.”


I know, I would have been a little afraid – you know, wearing flip-flops and lugging photography gear, but I was not, because look at what Mac was wearing!


I know! Those little shoes she has on have wooden heels. How much terrain could we possibly be traversing if she wore that cute dress and those wooden shoes and Jack had on his flip-flops and a dressy-type shirt?


Let’s take a look at the other photo… just a little further down the same path.


Other photo just a little further on the same path

Do you see that woman running in the background? See the position of her arms and legs? Does it not look like she is trying to prevent herself from tumbling forward down a steep, steep slope?

That is because she is!

And that’s not all with this one. In order to get to this point on the path, first we left a parking lot that we drove way, way up and then way, way down to get to. And I said, in a little voice from the back seat, ‘Um. If we are driving down, down, down does that mean we are going to have to walk up, up, up?”

And Mac made a ‘pssht’ sound and she said, ‘No.”

And when we left the parking lot, on foot, and walked onto a little road with a massive – yes, massive – hill in front of us, I turned to Jack with a not happy face and Jack said – quote -“This is the worst part.”

No. No it was not.

Shortly thereafter, I made a ‘just in case I never see one again’ restroom stop and, when I came out, Mac and Jack were standing in front of a big honkin’ map sign – the kind you find in national parks. They were figuring out what direction to take and I happened to look down at the legend and then made little calculations in my head and exclaimed, “Wait. We’re walking two miles?”

And Jack said, “Well, ya. But the trails are not that bad.”

And then I said, “TRAILS?!”

And that was the first time he offered to carry my camera bag.

Later, just about when I got ‘two miles’ to settle down in my head – like after we had walked two miles – I had the sneaking suspicion we might be lost.

I had this suspicion when I could see water through the trees and Jack said that the beach was “right up here”, but when we reached the edge of the part of the planet we were standing on…


End of part of planet we were standing on


See that sailboat down there?

It is not so little because it is so far off the shore.

It is that little because it is so far beneath me!

And so then Jack said it was no problem and follow him (?!) and then we started to walk down.

And down.

And down, down, down a bazillion or so steps. And each one I stepped down was one more I knew I had to step up when we came back.

But the whole time Mac was saying that there was a…. allow me to quote her here… “way easier way back to the car.”

And then we were at the beach.

And just so you know, those evergreens up top there? They are like 60 feet tall or more and that is the plateau – way up at the top of what you can see – closest to the water. We walked down to that!


Flip Flop Mountain

So after Mac and Jack got all pretty (which is way easier to do when you are 24 or 25 than when you are …. parental and hauling camera gear), we got to work.

Sadly, the lack of water and hot temperatures had taken their toll on Jack. He was a bit loopy.


Loopy Jack

He was also way too talk-y.


Talk-y Jack

And then he started making Mac laugh and I kept having to say ‘cut!’



And I thought I would have to slap each of them and yell “Snap out of it!” (just like in Moonstruck) but then I think that Jack realized that Mac had onions in her hash browns at breakfast and it must have been offensive because he suddenly got really serious.


Onion Breath

And then she got all bossy trying to direct me



Which really meant she was done sharing the spotlight with him, and wanted the pics to be all about her.


Mac Mac MAC

And finally we were losing the light, and Mac wanted a pic of Jack lifting her off the ground for fun…



And then Jack said something about equality and feminism or something so…


Freakishly Strong Mac

And then finally it was time to go.

I have no pictures of the walk back.

Mostly because you need to be somewhat oxygenated to take good photos and I was not really able to, you know, breathe.

Suffice to say that – lies on top of lies – there was not some magical, easier way back, but eventually we came upon the car and did not have to spend the night in the wilderness futile-ly hurling our flip-flops at bears and mountain lions.

So there you go.

And I am over it and I am not mad anymore.

No need to exact my revenge upon them at all. I thought I might want to, but now I’m calm, have gained perspective.

All is well with my world.

But there is one thing I feel that I should say because there is so much out there these days about the importance of a positive self-image.  That we should not compare ourselves to the photographed models we all see on-line and in magazines. These people are not necessarily as perfect in real life as they are in the photos, often having the benefits of Photoshop and other tools along the way. I would hate to contribute the idea that we all have to look and be perfect all the time. I feel I need to promote integrity with my art.

Mac and Jack don’t really look like this:


Not This

They look like this:



Thanks for readin’.


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