Before I was photographing weddings, I began work as a family photographer. In those green years, I met-- and reunited-- with many sweet families from all walks of life, and learned so very much. I look back on those years with great fondness and appreciation; my family work has undoubtedly prepared me for the wedding photography I do now.
During those early years I met one of my most favorite families-- The Littons. Ashley and Kevin, Logan and I, all attended the same church, where Kevin happened to be our children's pastor. He is FANTASTIC with kids, and Ashley, who also helped in church, was the coolest girl I had ever seen walk through the doors of a Baptist church.
Getting to know these two, when their first born Oliver was just a bitty man, was an incredible pleasure. Shortly after their second son, Isaac, was born, they packed up and headed down south, where they were called to work.
Luckily for me, and everyone else in our church/the area, The Littons moved back!
When we got together for our first scheduled session, we met on a gorgeous fall afternoon in Suffolk. Our plan was to walk about the woods, find beautiful light, and go from there. (With loads of chatter in between).
Everything was going as planned when Oliver went to inspect a tree. A tree that housed about a bajillion yellow jackets. As I was photographing the children, I noticed Oliver's face twist in confusion/pain/fear. He then began to wail.
Immediately I realized he had been stung by bees, and knowing that bees will most likely always swarm and attack whoever/whatever is near to defend their colony, I did the only thing I knew how to do-- I ran as quickly as I could, screamed at Kevin and Ashley to get Oliver and Sydney, scooped Isaac up like a football, and continued to R-U-N. I'm not even sure they knew what was happening at that point, or why I was running up a hill with their child. I'm still not sure how I managed to run that fast.
You guys. We ran. And ran. And ran.
We stopped a few times to make sure we were all together/etc. and each time we stopped we were attacked. This entire ordeal lasted for at least 10 minutes, as we had to find our way out of the woods, around the fields at the park, and back towards their car... WHERE THE BEES CONTINUED TO ATTACK!!!
The boys, Ashley, and I were all stung. Thankfully Kevin and Sydney were OK. Once I assessed my own stings (I got stung between 5-10x), I realized I was in a ton of pain. That evening was one I hope none of us will ever have to experience again. Especially when one of the boys declared that those 'were the WORST family pictures ever'. (Totally not something you'd EVER want to hear!)
Given that the first session was so traumatic, I have to say when we were all able to meet up again (at a park with NO BEES, thankyouverymuch), the kids were PERFECT. They hadn't forgotten--Oliver made sure I was OK from the stings, and that there weren't any other bees around--but they were resilient, happy, and excited to hang out. Well, everyone except for Sydney. She. Will. Never. Forget. (Totally just kidding... she just isn't as keen on me as her brothers are ;)
These are the images from our second session together.