I met Daniel & Kelsie in a "fever." At home one day, doing my thing, then off to photograph their surprise engagement and proposal during a gorgeous sunset in Playa Samara, Costa Rica the next.
For a week Daniel and I plotted his big moment. We exchanged numbers, found each other on WhatsApp, he sent me a photo of himself and his pending bride-to-be, then we hatched our plan.
We decided we would discretely "cross paths" just before sunset at Locanda, a small hotel and beachside restaurant located at the quieter end of the beach in Playa Samara, Costa Rica. It would be Daniel and Kelsie's first day in Samara after travelling in from Monteverde (the cloud forest) earlier that day.
Daniel would convince Kelsie to go down to the beach with him to take some photos with his own camera before they went out for dinner. I'd be lurking quietly at table with friends, dressed in my teal and white striped beach dress with my camera sitting on the table next to me. Once Daniel and I made eye contact, I was to follow them super-stealthily towards the beach until Daniel could get down on one knee, and at which point I could then start shooting my little heart out!
Thankfully, that's exactly what happened. Other than the insane nervousness (lots of sweating not entirely due to the 38 degree temperature) of making sure I didn't blow my cover, it went off superbly!
Daniel fiddled around with his camera and tripod while Kelsie remained relatively patient. He stood her up for a photo and when she turned to face the sea for a moment, he grabbed her hand. As she turned back to face him, he was making his way down on one knee. I saw her other hand gasp her mouth as she instantly put the pieces together.
Boom. It was game time for me.
I had been floundering around on the beach taking photos of "seabirds" at quite a distance, so I had to run up to them as fast as I could as to not miss photographing the proposal.
The light that night was perfect, the beach was relatively quiet, and the moment was insanely intimate for this genuinely happy couple. I could barely hold back my own tears!
I am positive that Daniel and Kelsie got every rush of emotion from this experience as two people should get as they become engaged. For me however, despite the fact that I was over-the-moon to be their photographer and I just adore these engagement photos, this opportunity was more than just a photo shoot in my beloved Costa Rica.
The past few years have been quiet for me as a destination wedding and engagement photographer, much by choice. I was tired, burnt out and needed time to find a way back to myself; back to the core elements of all the things I love about my job.
It's so easy to get lost in the fog. The constant thickness of information, images, and directives being thrown at such a rapid pace every single day. For two years I have painstakingly tried to detach from these toxins, exploring every corner of my mind; forcing myself down paths I knew weren't right and at times when I clearly wasn't ready.
Sure, everything happens for a reason. But it is without a question in my mind that everything actually happens when you finally let go of control.
When I received Daniel's email, an extremely last minute request, I knew it was time. I knew I was ready. I knew I had let go enough to start again.
So off I went. To my absolute most favourite place in the whole wide world where I proceeded to shoot the h**l out of this incredibly touching moment.
In an instant, there it was. I found it again. Love of a thing that can't be described except for by what I've created for this newly engaged couple below and a heart so full I could explode.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
Kelsie and Daniel, what a pleasure to meet you both and share that evening with you. I hope you love these photos, always. Congratulations and thank-you!
p.s. Daniel, I love the bike!