I pulled into the parking lot of Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass. and my phone rang. In fifteen minutes I was set to meet a young couple named Ally and Mark for their engagement session. The voice was Ally's, sounding anxious.
"We have a bit of an emergency," she said. I steeled myself. "Mark doesn't have any pants."
I took a moment to reflect on this development. "Well, is he completely pantless or just without nice pants?"
Mark was in sweatpants, following my advice to hang the outfit he selected for the shoot during the ride out to western Massachusetts. Problem was, his pants for the shoot were on a hangar at home in his closet. I offered Mark my jeans but we weren't close to the same size. Fortunately, Ally made a few calls and found a friend willing to play courier, but it'd be at least 90 minutes. No pants? No problem! We'd shoot the first half of the session from the waist up. A tiny part of my job is pushing the shutter button - the rest is problem solving.
Directly across the street from Stanley Park is Westfield State University where Ally and Mark met and fell in love. The picturesque park was a favorite spot for the young couple to get away from the bustle of campus life.
The sky was cloudless and we had a fantastic time exploring the grounds. While Stanley Park is privately-owned, it's open to the public (free admission). It's a great day trip.
The park's duck pond was an ideal spot to capture a loving moment. The working water wheel was a gorgeous backdrop.
Ally is an extremely creative person and I loved the outfits she put together (check out Mark in pants!). The bond she and Mark share really comes through in the photographs.
Ally and Mark both love to get outside and are avid hikers. In addition to Stanley Park's gorgeous gardens, we wound down its hiking trails to find the perfect setting for a private moment.
We headed over to Westfield State - the place their relationship commenced and grew - for a final shot near the iconic globe sculpture which sits at the center of campus. As we walked toward the common Ally and Mark commented on all the new development since they had been here last. New brick, wood and glass dorms and classrooms cast shadows around us. Then, Ally and Mark stopped suddenly in their tracks. The globe was gone! (Incidentally, the sculpture was damaged beyond repair following the post-Super Bowl celebration in February.) We changed course and the couple took a stroll down a familiar path. Hand in hand, a preview of their upcoming wedding day when they'll embark on another journey together.