I spent months planning out exactly where I wanted to be during this scouting trip to Portland. This was where I want to call home eventually. Over time I want to shift my home base to the PNW instead of remaining solely in Chicago. I’ll still be servicing folks in both places, there will just be travel costs for Chicago folks once I move entirely over to Portland. And while some plans changed, some changed for the better. My day at the beach turned into one hour at the beach.
We arrived one hour before sunset. I squeezed in a glorious bathing suit beach boudoir session with my host and friend Marr for thirty minutes. Stay tuned for those photographs. Then I waited. I was kind of nervous to see Michael because it had been quite a long time. I’d changed a lot, I wondered if he’d be weirded out by my transition. More so, I was nervous about meeting Irish. I wanted her to feel comfortable being my friend too.
We reconnected moments after he decided to get married. Literally…within the hour. When I got him on the phone, he further explained he had fallen in love with a woman from the Philippines he’d known for years as a pen pal. His love would blossom for her over time with patience and respect. When she visited him, they both just knew. So instead of paying gob loads for Irish to go home and apply for a fiance visa, you’d think why not elope? No. Not Michael. Instead…why not plan a fifty some odd guest Mt. Tabor wedding in 28 days to beat the system?
We knew I’d be their wedding photographer, but what we didn’t know was we’d be doing a surprise engagement session at the beach too. About one hour before we left, he texted me to see if I wanted to see the wedding location with him. Instead of doing that, I decided to invite him and Irish to model for me at Oceanside. Right as the sunset started, with just enough time to capture them before the tides came in, they ran up to my squad hand in hand. Giggling. Casually late, which was on par with what I remembered about my high school buddy Michael. I’d known him almost 15 years and he didn’t change very much at all.
They hugged me and took off towards the sunset before I could get a word in. I love couples who know how to lead. It’s not necessary, part of my job is giving you natural prompts. It’s just a different outcome photo wise when folks let go in the moment. Magic happens. Cinematic moments occur naturally. These two were present in all the best ways. It was nice to exist uninterrupted while the subjects in my composition authentically connect and love each other.
Time kind of just stops in this set.
Her smile was so contagious. It was truly wonderful to meet Irish in such a fun authentic way. They played in the water together, they giggled, they snuggled together. They were up for anything and that is the attitude you want for your session (within means, of course! safety first!)
And just as we were about to leave, Michael insisted we go into the tunnel. I wasn’t sure my feet could do it but I thought it was worth the additional pain for the shot. And boy was I rewarded with an astonishingly lucky cotton candy pink clouds with the two of them silhouetted against the sky. The cave walls shimmered in the glisten of the golden sunset lighting. I could have stayed there the entire time but there was an entirely other side of this tunnel with even more beauty to experience. Me, Michael, Irish, and all my hosts crew followed me out of the tunnel into the stone beach.
It was there that we found ourselves fighting the clock for light. I wish sunset lasted so much longer than it did but we managed to snap some more silhouettes of the two of them against the magenta waves and now orange sky. My final shot from this session was of my host standing off to the side collecting rocks for their rather large arsenal of them waiting at home already. The blue dress is really beautiful against the color of the sky. Oregon is the first place I’ve seen a west coast sunset in a very long time. I’d almost forgotten the beautiful neon warm tones the sky can get towards the end of the day. Last time I’d seen it was San Diego but I’m a big fan of both locations. Midwestern skies rarely turn colors, golden hour is a sliver of time. It was nice to capture the elaborate blue color tones of the beach against the contrasted magenta skies.
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