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McKenzie & Silas Saugatuck Dunes State Park Portraits

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Something about the lake always stirs my soul, calls me to deeper things. Where the land meets the sea I'm reminded of how small I am, and how wondrous and beautiful it is to simply be alive. It took several years in a landlocked state for me to appreciate Lake Michigan as deeply as I do now, so these days I'm grateful for any chance to make it to the coast. Early this foggy November morning we followed winding, forest paths and sloping sand dunes chilled by the autumn air. With the beach to ourselves, we shared stories about life, love and God, just a few miles south of where McKenzie and Silas had met and fallen in love over the summer.

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Brandi & Drew Elk California Wedding Photographer

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This session came about at the tail end of a photography retreat I attended in northern California led by Nirav Patel & Michael Ash Smith. I rose early on our final morning in Elk to take in the sunrise, and the Pacific coast greeted me with some of the most beautiful light I have ever seen in all my life. I think Nirav must have agreed because he quickly recruited Brandi & Drew for this impromptu session.

Nirav led these portraits, graciously allowing me to tag along. I snapped photos here and there—that's when I wasn’t stepping back to witness one of my favorite artists in the midst of his craft. What most marked me, though, was Nirav’s humility, authenticity, and kind heart. It became more evident that this is what shines through his poetic images, and what makes his work truly special. Many thanks to my new friends Brandi and Drew for “posing” for us, if you can even call it that. Their connection was on another level, and I don’t think there was a single false moment the whole morning.

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