Do you remember the wedding vow renewal I shot about a year ago, with Simone and Mark? This is her daughter and future son in law. When I shot Simone and Marks vow renewal Simone told me that I should be ready to photograph Hayley and Wade’s engagement soon, but I genuinely thought she was just joking – as you can see, she was not.
Wade had told Hayley that they would just be going away for the weekend, meanwhile he had planned the most incredible engagement! He planned everything – creative sneaky ways to ask Hayleys parents for permission to marry her, organising the most stunning venue, Moledi Gorge, a game drive to a gorgeous lookout spot where they could have some celebratory champaign, and me – the photographer.
Since Hayley had no clue that this wasn’t just a romantic getaway, she could not see me around, knowing who I am and that I’m a photographer. So Wade had arranged with me to make sure I get there early to be driven out to the lookout spot before they arrived at the lodge. One of the venues staff stayed with me at the location (apparently to look after the food, but I think they were more nervous I would get attacked by baboons), while they went back to fetch Hayley and Wade.
From our spot on the hill we could sort of see a part of the road where Hayley and Wade would come up from. As soon as I saw the game truck approach I ran and hide behind this thicket to one side of the look out where I least expected anyone to try use as a lookout point, but with a clear shot at where I hoped the engagement would happen. However as soon as Hayley got off the truck she looked straight into the ticket that I was hiding behind, and started walking straight towards me! By now my heart was thumping so loudly I was sure she was going to hear it! I knew there was no way she would see me as long as she didn’t try do some bunda-bashing and get behind the thicket to try see the view. She must have only been about 2 meters away from me when she came to a stop and stood looking out at the view. Oh I forgot to mention what a hot day this was – so here I am behind this thicket, crouched over so I could use the one gap I could find so I could keep an eye on things, sweating like a pig – half from the heat and half from thinking I’m about to blow this whole mission and there is Hayley standing right in front of me! While this is all going on I can see Wade in the background (nervous as anything) looking around to see if he can try spot me!
Hayley eventually moved on and I nearly let out a little “whoop” when Wade lead her to the spot I had predicted he would pop the question. While he was busy chatting to her and getting down on one knee I was busy doing some acrobatics to get out of the thicket. So while I had been waiting I had been practicing how I was going to get out of the thicket without making a noise and without her seeing or diverting her attention. There were two rather large thorn bushes and real stick like plants that I had to get over to get out into the open and get my clear shot. The poor guy staying with me to ‘protect the food’ must have thought I was a really loony woman, because it must have taken me at least 8 tries before I perfected my soundless leaping – a few of them I half landed in the one thorn bush! Oh and have you ever tried to jump really high while holding two heavy cameras in your hand – it was quite a work out – and loads of fun!
Anyway, Hayley of course said yes, and phone calls with parents were made, and then the fun began – the photos!
So these next few pics are the reason I LOVE my clients so much – Wade and Hayley were a bit confused when I got so super excited about the light and the clouds and since it was pretty dark by this time, I think they really thought there was no way I would get a decent pic, but they trusted me and just went along with things. And after I showed them the odd pic on the back of my camera they were super happy to go along with the madness!