Tres Surprises Keri with a Secret Proposal

I owe a HUGE “Thank You” to Tres’ mom, who called to vet photographers in Charleston for her son, and decided we were worthy of this special event!

Tres and Keri met online and have been inseparable since. Tres has known for a while that Keri was “the one”. In fact, he’s had her engagement ring since August!!! He wanted to wait for the right moment, and to make sure Keri had a very special proposal. I would say he pulled that off in spades!

Tres is from Alabama. But he and Keri now live in Charlotte. This weekend, they planned a fun “get-away” for a few days in Port Royal, with a side-trip to historic Charleston. It’s been so much fun working with Tres the last couple months, secretly scheming about how to make his proposal absolutely perfect!

Arriving at White Point Garden early, I scouted our location under the avenue of oak trees, and placed two branches in an “X” formation so Tres knew the right spot. I took my position on the curb, hid my cameras under a towel, and pretended to be a tourist reading a map. Arriving right on cue, Tres led Keri to the beautiful location he had picked, dropped to his knee underneath the gorgeous cathedral of oaks, and asked Keri to be his wife!!! 🙂

Getting to know Tres & Keri afterwards, as we walked around historic downtown, was so much fun! We captured a ton of fun engagement photos for them. These were “authentic” engagement photos because they weren’t staged months later, but actually took place moments after she said YES!!!

Eventually it was time for this amazing couple to head off to the next part of Tres’ surprise…a fantastic dinner cruise around Charleston Harbor.

Please help me in saying CONGRATULATIONS to Tres & Keri!!! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey together…

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 3

The 3rd and final day of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville was a time to celebrate!

All the Advisory Team Leaders shared the progress reports and final results from their intense break-out meetings. Recognition Awards for exemplary service were handed out to deserving recipients. And final words of inspiration were shared before the conference was finally adjourned.

It was an absolute pleasure being back in person, photographing another fabulous event for the US Grains Council!

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 2

Day 2 of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville begin with some fantastic presentations. But the majority of the day was spent in break-out meetings, focusing on different sectors of the market.

That night, everyone got to blow off some steam during an off-site reception at the famous BBQ at Zen!

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 1

Day 1 of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville started off with a bang!

A very full schedule included highlight appearances from Mayor Pro Tem of Greenville, Lillian Flemming…Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO of the USGC…Ambassador Katherine Tai…Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs…Sharon Yuan, President of The Asia Group…and many more!

A casual Welcome Reception Welcome Reception was held in Noma Square that evening so everyone could de-compress from the days events.

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 0

Following two years of cancellations, postponements, virtual, and hybrid meetings, the US Grains Council was finally back to having in-person meetings!

The 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting was held at the Hyatt Regency Greenville. The Greenville downtown area has been completely revitalized over the last decade. It’s a beautiful city, with tons to offer. And this year’s conference was held right in the middle of it!

Arriving in town the day before the conference began, I was able to photograph a wonderful reception hosted by the outgoing chairman of the board, Jim Raben. It was a wonderful evening at Jack n’ Diane’s Dualing Piano Bar. Spirits were high as everyone re-connected with one another, and prepared for the 3 days of intense presentations and meetings that lay ahead.

Evan Surprises Brianna with his Proposal

Brianna & Even met and fell in love at Winthrop University. Now living in Charlotte, he’s a financial advisor, and she’s a flight instructor. This week they came to Charleston to run the city’s half-marathon race, and to celebrate 6 years together. Evan thought this would be the PERFECT time to ask Brianna to be his wife!!! 🙂
 
I was so excited when Evan called a few weeks ago to ask me to photograph this special occasion for the two of them. He told me all about their story and how much he adored Brianna. I was hooked! So we began secretly coming up with the perfect plan on how to pull this off without her finding out.
 
When the big day arrived, I went down to White Point Garden early to scout it out and get set up. We had picked one of the beautiful avenues of oaks as the spot for him to propose. Finding the perfect angle with the best light, I placed a marker so that he knew exactly where to stop and do his magic! Then I settled into “hiding in plain sight”, sitting on the curb, pretending I was a random tourist just resting and checking his map. Later, Brianna said, “You are so sneaky…I never even noticed you sitting there!!!”.
 
Once they arrived, Even led her down a couple paths to keep Brianna guessing. Then he took her into the alley where he dropped to one knee under the majestic cathedral of giant oak limbs towering above them, and asked Brianna for her hand in marriage! It was incredibly MAGICAL!!!
 
But the surprise didn’t end there! Evan had also secretly arranged for Brianna’s twin sister, Marissa, to fly in that afternoon and hide around the corner. After he proposed, he signaled for Marissa to come out from hiding and the look on Brianna’s face was absolutely PRICELESS!!!
 
Before the three of them went off to celebrate, we strolled around the park, and up some of the old historic alleys, capturing some beautiful engagement photos to commemorate this special time in their lives. CONGARULATIONS Evan & Brianna!!! We wish you all the best as you begin your new journey together!

Wildlife Workshop with Kiawah Island Photo Club

This week I had the great pleasure of working with the Kiawah Island Photo Club as their instructor during a private Wildlife Workshop that was held at the Center for Birds of Prey!

Under the care of Stephen Schabel (Director of Education), we had a fantastic time learning about these amazing hawks, falcons, kites, storks, kestrels, vultures, and owls. It was very rewarding for me, helping everyone figure out the best settings and techniques to capture these beautiful creatures. But the most amazing part was seeing the wonder and awe on the participant’s faces as they experienced these majestic birds up close and personal!

After a fun day together, we all set our cameras down and enjoyed an insightful behind-the-scenes tour of the operating rooms and rehabilitation facility.

Many thanks to Kimberly and Gordon from the Kiawah Island Photo Club, as well as Mandy, Stephen, and Katie from the Center for Birds of Prey for organizing this fabulous program!!!

Anna & Jimmy’s Wedding at Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Jimmy is an awesome bagpiper, and a respected member of law enforcement in Charleston. I’ve had the privilege of bumping into him many times over the years as he’s played his pipes for tons of weddings and events that I’ve photographed. It was a great honor that he and Anna asked me to photograph their wedding!!!

Jimmy & Anna have known each other for over 20 years. Like many of us in life, they were good friends that drifted apart and lost track of each other. But they found their way back to each other when they re-connected through Facebook in 2014. They have been inseparable ever since! They fell in love and were married at the courthouse in June of 2019. But with the pandemic of 2020, their big wedding celebration had to wait until last weekend!

With preparations starting off at the Indigo Hotel in Mt. Pleasant, the sun was out and spirits were high! Anna looked absolutely stunning in her wedding gown. And Jimmy was quite dapper in his bowtie. Guests were shuttled to Sacred Heart Catholic Church on an old restored 1960s buss, which was REALLY cool!!! A beautiful ceremony was led by Father Jack, or “Uncle Jack” as he preferred. Jimmy’s Uncle came all the way from New York to perform the ceremony! After the service and formal portraits in the church, Jimmy & Anna stopped at the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park with me for some beautiful portraits before sunset. Then it was back to the Indigo Hotel for an awesome reception!!!

It was nice to see Sara Cavallon again, who coordinated everything at the church. I also enjoyed teaming up once more with my friend Robbin Knight as second-shooter. And Nicole with Direct My Days did an awesome job as their Day Of Coordinator. Also, many thanks to Carmella’s Bakery, Paper Dolls, Atlantic Executive Limousine, Lowcountry Valet, JW Wedding and Event, Blacktree Music Group, and all the other vendors and staff that helped make this day a huge success for Anna & Jimmy!

CONGRATULATIONS Anna & Jimmy! We wish you all the best as you continue loving life, loving each other, and loving this new journey you have begin…

Hunter & Sydney’s Surprise Proposal at White Point Garden

She was so surprised that she dropped her phone!!!

I had so much fun photographing Hunter’s surprise proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Sydney! Hunter works on the nuclear subs in the Navy, and may be getting stationed in California soon. He and Sydney have been together for a year now, and are a match made in heaven! He knew in his heart this was the girl of his dreams. So he wanted to promise her his undying love before shipping out.

Hunter & Sydney had their first date at White Point Garden. So he and I arranged for him to propose in that beautiful park, underneath a giant oak tree, near the bench where they had their first kiss. It was a magical moment! And she was so surprised that she dropped her phone!!! 🙂

CONGRATULATIONS Hunter & Sydney! We wish you all the best as you begin your new journey together!!!

USGC 61st Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 3

Day 3 of the US Grains Council’s 61st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting kicked off with more meetings in the big conference room, including great presentations, awards ceremonies, and votes for new officers.

Then I got to switch gears and turn to photographing headshots of the new board members, plus group photos of the new board of directors. I used the Nikon D5 + 70-200 f2.8 with the new Godox X2T transmitter in connection with 6 of the V860II flashes.  For destination events, I carry the Manfrotto 5001B light-stands, which are super compact and great to travel with. The flashes worked beautifully, and everyone was fantastic to work with!

Once the portraits were done, I had to pack in a hurry and head to the airport to catch my flight home. The entire event was a HUGE success!!! Many thanks to the US Grains Council Staff for all their hard work putting everything together and making it run so smoothly.

USGC 61st Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 2

Day 2 of the US Grains Council’s 61st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting started off with headshots for some new staff members. I love meeting new people!!! 🙂

After that we had tons of presentations, both in person and virtually. This was the first year of hosting a “hybrid” meeting, in which most of the international staff and attendees couldn’t be there in person. Everything went incredibly well thanks to all the hard work and planning that had been put into the conference!

At the end of the day, everyone celebrated in an off-site event. The USGC hosted “A Taste of Des Moines” at Cowles Commons, which is a big beautiful square with fountains and gardens in the heart of the city. There was food, drinks, an amazing band…everyone had a fantastic time!

With Day 2 in the books, everyone headed back to the hotel to rest up and get ready for the big finale the following day.

USGC 61st Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 1

Last year’s Board of Delegates Meeting got cancelled due to the pandemic. So it was with great pleasure that I was invited back to photograph the US Grains Council’s 61st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this year!!!

This year’s conference was held in Des Moines, IA. I’d never been there before. It’s actually a really cool city, with a truly impressive state capital building! The meetings were held in the Iowa Events Center, which was connected via a sky-bridge to the Hilton Des Moines Downtown, where everyone was staying. The first day’s highlight was the keynote presentaion by Tom Vilsack, the US Secretary of Agriculture!

I’ve been photographing these conferences for the USGC for about a decade. The staff, and most of the members, have become more than just clients to me…they’ve become my friends. It was absolutely wonderful to see everyone again, and capture all these moments for them!