Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweetheart session - Brigid and Carl

'Plan C' had been activated by the time my shutter closed over the first photo from my shoot with Brigid and Carl. Plan A (the WEstfield carpark roof top) was shut and plan b (Geelong botanical gardens) was shutting when we got there.

So by the time we actually got to the photo taking, it had turned into a bad comedy of errors. Lucky for me and my organisational skills, Carl and Brigid did not mind.

In fact, I think they found it all a little hilarious.

I got an email from Brigid a while back inquiring about photography for her wedding. We had a laugh about it, because she didn't realise it was the Meaghan Cook she knew. Last she heard I was still up in Shepparton, so she thought she was just contacting a random photographer. She said she was surprised when I wrote back all excited and asking how her mum was.

Tee hee.

Carl and Brigid talk, a lot. And I think that's what I like most about them. You can really see them sitting in their rocking chairs on the verandah when they're 80, still chatting.

Their wedding is only twenty something sleeps away. Perhaps even less than that! I can't wait because I'll be able to see more smiles like these.

* Meaghan

Storm in a tea cup?

The best camera you have is definitely the one you have with you. Hence these photos taken on my ipone.

After yesterday's events we all needed a little spoiling so we headed to The Dunes for milkshakes and smartie biscuits. And so did everyone else who had been on the beach when the storm hit. The kids wolfed down their treats and were ready to burn out of there. No one likes an overcrowded cafe, especially when their power has gone out.

There was a tiny slice of time when it wasn't pelting with fat rain, so Miles and Ryan made a break for the beach.

As you can see Ryan is totally fine. He was a little bit quieter than usual. He did a lot of sitting on the couch with his comfort blanket. I think he was still a little bit dopey, but that was probably due to the excitement of the day before, not his head injury.

Seeing him so well today made me feel a thousand times better. But perhaps a little foolish? Did I do the right thing by calling the ambulance? Perhaps I was overreacting. But my friend Lara rang and said I absolutely did the right thing. She's a doctor, she would know.

The beach is the best place to watch a storm rolling in.

See, Ryan good as gold.

Do you remember when you used to try to walk against the wind, and make it look like you were in a slow motion action movie scene? Miles was doing that.

Abandoned surf rescue boat. All the lifeguards were up in the cafe drinking hot chocolate to thaw out.

Blowing off a bit of steam, yelling into the wind and generally klutzing about was what we all needed. I think the wind blew off our overhanging feelings from the day before because we all went home in considerably better moods.

Thank you all so so very much for your love and thoughts. I was overwhelmed by the phone calls, text messages, comments on my blog, facebook messages and tweets. I'm very lucky to have you all.

* Meaghan

What I'm reading: Miles' 'what to bring' list for kinder. He starts on Wednesday!
What I'm listening to: Noble Beast by Andrew Bird

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A ride no one ever wants to take

My eyes are puffy and stinging. I can feel a strain in my shoulders. My hair is tired and limp. Because today was a harrowing day.

Because today I had to call 000 for one of my children.

Miles and Ryan were playing on our front verandah. They had their trains, a pile of large rocks, and were creating a mini world for their cabooses to run through. They were being cranes themselves. But the rocks were heavy, too heavy for little boys.

Ryan screamed a scream I'd never heard before, nor want to hear again. I screamed a scream I'd never heard before either. I knew that it was a good sign that Ryan was crying, that he was responsive. I rushed him inside in my arms.

On the top of Ryan's head, on that sweet spot that smells so good when they're a baby, the place they call the 'soft spot' towards the forehead was a lump the size of his fist. And it was growing by the second.

After the crying slowed and the whimpering started, Ryan grew very groggy. His eyes lids were so heavy. I could see him trying to raise his forehead in the hope of keeping his eyes open. He became listless. He was looking through me.

I reached for the phone and dialled 000.

In the brief time we waited for the ambulance Ryan perked up again. He was sitting up on his own, chatting a bit. When the ambulance arrived he perked up even more. All kids love seeing ambulances, and even in his state, Ryan was no different. After a quick assessment the calm and lovely paramedics assured us that Ryan was okay. His eyes were responding to their little light, his pulse was on target, his temperature showing up fine.

'But to be on the safe side', they said, 'he should take a ride to the hospital.'

So I carried my little boy, cradled him to my chest, into the ambulance. My heart broke with every step that I took.

During the ride there Ryan worsened. He became groggy again. He fell asleep and his breathing slowed. I cried as the paramedic lowered an oxygen mask over his mouth.

If the paramedic was worried he didn't show it. He did however squeeze Ryan's bare foot every 30 seconds to make sure that Ryan was responsive. By the time we reached the hospital, Ryan was awake, and shooting nasty looks at the paramedic. No one likes being woken up when they're asleep, least of all by someone squeezing their foot.

The doctors reiterated what the paramedics had already said: Ryan was going to be okay. I didn't totally believe this for myself, thinking he could drop unconscious from bleeding in the brain. I thought they had missed something, that they were being complacent. Oh how your mind works when you're terrified your baby is going to slip away from you. It wasn't until Ryan was propped up on pillows in the massive hospital bed, drinking orange juice and watching Winnie the Pooh on my iphone did I let myself believe that he was going to okay.

He's home now. The doctors watched him for a few hours. By the time we left Ryan was doing fake hiccups and making the nurses laugh. He's tucked up in his cot sleeping soundly and deeply. I'm checking on him constantly, leaning in close, listening to his breath and making sure his chest rises and falls. I know he's fine, totally fine, but I'm still nervy. So checking on him more than I probably need to makes me feel a little bit better.

Maybe it's being overly dramatic, actually, I know it is, but today I really did feel how tenuous our grip on life is. And how tenuous my grip on my sons is. No matter how much I try to protect them, there will be some things that I cannot protect them from. Like an accident with a heavy rock.

I'm going to bed now. I'll check Ryan again (probably twice) before I go, and kiss Miles gently in his sleep. Tomorrow I will cuddle Ryan, give him panadol for the enormous headache he will undoubtedly have. Amba will move the rocks away from our front verandah. We will probably go to the beach and push memories of today far away. I'm still quite teary, but perhaps that is because of the overwhelming relief that everyone is okay.

* Meaghan

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just cruising

Over the long weekend we piled into the car and took the windy road to Lorne. Sure, Lorne has changed. Development has made it's home there. But I don't mind. I still love the shore line, the pier that's not too far from the pub, and the formidable hills that overlook the town.

Amba, Miles, Ryan and I wandered the beach, ate some very overpriced hamburgers, bounced our lunch up on the trampolines and paddled about on the river.

Okay, so Amba did the paddling, the boys did the fish spotting, and I did the standing on swing bridge drinking hot chocolate. Paddling just ain't my thing. My legs are too short.

* Meaghan

Monday, January 25, 2010

The time I happily came second

I recently had the wonderful experience of helping out photographing a wedding. I was the 2nd shooter. The right hand man. The bag carrier, gear looker-afterer, errand runner. And it was bliss.

Caroline Bowen was shooting her first wedding. And she was nervous. Rightly so. Photographing a wedding always makes me nervous. No matter how many times I do it I get butterflies in my stomach. So you can imagine the size of the butterflies in Cazz's tummy.

So I went along to help her out (not that she needed much help). It was Connie and Matt's joyous day, and it was a blast.

There's a fine art to 2nd shooting. It's not just about following around the main photographer, and shooting over their shoulder. You've got to look for the alternative shot. The alternate angle.

Like this one. Cazz was taking a stunning photo of Connie from front on. So I stood in the wings, and got this lovely contemplative shot of Connie from the side.

There's no use taking exactly the same photo as the main photographer. Why would a bride want two shots that are exactly the same?

Being the 2nd shooter also enabled me to get a lot of quiet moments. Often when I'm shooting a wedding I'm looking for the main action shots. It can be hard to remember to take a step back and get the little things. It was an absolute joy to spend the day tuned in to the understated.

Connie and Matt's ceremony was held overlooking the water in Portarlington. It.was.perfect.

And I have to make special mention of Mat. He looked an knock out! Seriously, the details in his suit were incredible. He looked so fine, so dapper.

This would have to be one of my favourite photos of the day. Children notoriously never look at the camera. While Cazz was trying to get the little flower girl to look at her for this family photo, I was able to snap this side view. And I love it.

Thank you Connie and Matt for having me as part of your wedding day. I hope I didn't get in the way (which is the other main job of a 2nd shooter. Don't get in the way!)

And thank you Cazz, for having me there with you. It was a great learning experience for me, which will go on to enrich my work.

Be sure to go and see Cazz's stunning photos from Connie and Matt's wedding day here.

* Meaghan

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sweetheart session - Diana and Scott.

I wanted a big shovel to fall out of the sky so I could dig a mammoth hole and crawl into it. The sky was squally and looking very volatile, it really wasn't such a far fetched thing to ask for.

I'd been hanging out with Diana and Scott for over and hour when I realised I'd been calling Scott the wrong name. Repeatedly! Please tell me he looks like a James?! Okay, so he doesn't, but for some reason that name stuck in my head. And I kept blurting it out, much to Diana and Scott's amusement.

'James, can you look this way?' I'd say, all caught up in getting the photo.
'Who me?' he'd quizz me with a laugh in his voice.
"Ahhh, I've done it again!' I'd yell to the clouds.

(I'm pretty sure I'm in love with this photo)

Scott was so good about being called the wrong name. He even kindly offered to wear a name tag on their wedding day, just so I got it right. What a fella!

Scott and Diana live on a far just north of Shepparton. So I wanted a rural feel for their photo shoot. What better than some wheat and canola stubble.

These two are so sweet with each other.

Diana is one of those people who makes you feel good when you're around her.

Sometimes I talk to much. On my blog, and in real life. But sometimes I'm quiet enough to capture moments like this.

Thankyou to the formidable Shepparton sky, and the rare love these two share, for aligning to bring me one of my favourite photos. Ever.

No really, Scott, sorry! I promise to use your right name on your wedding day. And if I don't, you have permission to call me Tina.

* Meaghan

Sweetheart session - Chrissy and Dan

My love affair with Melbourne is growing. I love driving atop the Westgate bridge and seeing the city swelling beneath me. I don't know the names of all the buildings, but I could draw the skyline in my sleep.

So I jumped at the chance to hang out with Chrissy and Dan, in Federation Square, and take some photos. I love Fed Square. I love the greens of the glass, and the deck chairs around for people to lounge in. It has a relaxed communal vibe. And seeing people sitting on the steps on their laptops makes it feel like 'Melbourne' to me.

Chrissy, you are mesmerising.

I love when new people come into my life, and when I get to reconnect with others. That's the case with Chrissy and Dan. Chrissy emailed me a while back and I instantly liked her. Meeting her in person confirmed that she was great. I've known Dan for, hmmm, let me think. Ages! We're both from Shepparton, and when you've lived their long enough, you get to know most other people in the town your age. It was wonderful to see Dan again, to hear what he'd been up to.

More Melbourne goodness. That's the Forum in the backgound.

Chrissy gave a little squeal when she saw the ferris wheel. 'Seriously, I LOVE ferris wheels,' she exclaimed. This one's for you my dear!

It was oppressively hot when we did the shoot. You know how the Melbourne smog is really good at keeping the heat in? So we ducked inside the Atrium for some air-conditioned goodness. I love this space. The criss-crossed beams, the higher than high ceiling, and the gorgeous streamlined wooden chairs make me very happy.

I'm very excited about Chrissy and Dan's wedding. Not because it's in an awesome location. Not because I can't wait to see the colour of the bridesmaides dresses. But because I'm so happy for them! These two have a serious connection. They rebound off each other in perfect timing. Without ever missing a beat. I always get a little sentimental when two perfectly matched people find each other.

* Meaghan

Sweetheart session - Becky and David

Some people make you laugh with your whole body. You know that laugh where everything jiggles. Even the parts of you that you really wish didn't jiggle.

Becky and David make me jiggle.

It's really hard to hold the camera still when you're jiggling!

These two were awesome during their sweetheart session. Even when I asked them to lie down in the middle of a pathway. Sure, they looked at me funny, and perhaps questioned what on earth I was doing, but they went with it.

I love having couples who find me from all the way on the other side of the world, like Becky and Dave who live in England. But the down side is that they then go back home after their wedding, and I secretly wish they lived around the corner so we could catch up for coffee on a lazy Sunday morning.

I'll just have to settle for being grateful that wonderful people like Becky and Dave come into my life at all. And even more grateful that I get to be their to witness their weddings, and capture those moments that they will talk about for the rest of their lives.

* Meaghan

I've already written about their wonderful (stylish!) wedding. Be sure to check it out here.


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