Apollo fields

Running a Business with Your S.O.

Running A Business With Your Significant-Other | Husband and Wife Photographers | Destination Weddings Lifestyle Blog | Apollo Fields

I woke to the sound of a sweeping rain over Montauk Lake, spraying the French doors of our friend’s guest bedroom like the ocean smashing against a cluster of coastal rocks.  White caps shifted about the marina like tiny crowns of the sea as the wind buoyed the boats with a sort of smooth violence. Emerging from beneath the clean and warm white sheets of the bed posed a difficult task as Heather and I have been traveling up and down the eastern seaboard the past few days, but such is the hustle of the life of wedding photographers.  

Since this past Friday, Heather and I have spent over 20 hours in the car together.  As much as I love her, anyone who’s traveled that much with their significant other can imagine the frustrations that might arise.  Now imagine that your significant other is also your business partner.  Those 20 hours now sound like they could be that much more tense—and they absolutely can be. Yet as tired and frustrated as I have been (and still am) I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The sounds in our car during a road trip vary from Kendrick to talk radio, from laughter to earnestness, and business to barking dogs.  The mood shifts from conversation-to-conversation, state-to-state, and from day to night. Long road trips with a significant other are common litmus tests to see if the relationship is the real deal; but a long road trip for a professional and romantic partnership is an endless loop of perfecting the way you communicate.  Heather and I’s flare-ups range from disagreeing on something as trivial as choosing where to eat or when to stop, and something as serious as our next big business move.  But the most important thing is to keep the conversation going.

Ironically, sometimes the best way to do that is to embrace a silence.  So often we are quick to fill a void in time with mindless chatter, a podcast, or background tunes and we forget that our seemingly restless minds just wants us and our senses to shut the fuck up.  Silence can be a great teacher, and giving the space for the tensions of our relationships to dissipate into the air can prove to be much more productive than spewing whatever our egos or inner selves are dying to say.  Sometimes in a disagreement—no one person is right—and sometimes you both are. Taking the time to share a few moments of silence together has helped us more times than I can count.

This morning was one of those mornings when you wake up after you’ve traveled so much that you forget where you are.  The constant waves of rain gently splashing against the doors gave me a sense of ease amidst the chaos, reminding me that there’s always beauty to be found in any given situation.  Sometimes we don’t realize how fast we’re moving until we stop for a moment to look at how far we’ve come; then after we wipe the sweat from our brow, rest a little, and take a deep breath, we can go back to bouncing up and down in the tide, moving naturally with the wind through time with a sort of smooth violence.  

– Terrence

Naomi & Johnny's Wedding at The Pines at Genesee in Golden, CO

    Long Distance Relationships Can Work | Johnny and Naomi’s Wedding in Golden, CO | The Pines at Genesee Weddings | Apollo Fields

    Many take the idea of having a long distance relationship as a futile effort at romance, but Johnny and Naomi have proven that nothing can stand in the way of love and communication.  For the past several years, they have each been stationed at Air Force bases in different states, only managing to see each other once or twice a month. Yet the irony of their relationship is that the distance between them brought them closer together.

    Johnny and Naomi’s first date was actually on Johnny’s birthday five years ago at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  That’s a lot of expectation to place on a Tinder date—but obviously his gamble paid off. They met up for coffee, spoke about their respective trips to Israel, and took a short walk to Naomi’s favorite waterfall.  Their conversation was natural and fluid and Naomi thought the date went really well until Johnny said at the end, “we’ll keep in touch,” which was not exactly the most reassuring of phrases to conclude a romantic evening.  Naomi would later learn that phrases like these were just quirks of his personality.

    Over the next few years, as distance became an issue, the small moments they did share obviously became more valuable.  In the pre-wedding questionnaires we gave to them, they both spoke about times where they were about to spend an extended amount of time apart, and each of them said or did something that made them realize they really loved one another.  For Naomi, it was when Johnny returned from summer break one year and asked if she “wanted to spend every night together,” knowing that in the near future he would be shipped off to Air Force training. For Johnny, it was when Naomi was training for ROTC and began getting very nervous.  She was so stressed that she started talking to her socks, and it was then that Johnny knew that they each represented a calming presence to each other. It was because of these timing restrictions that they learned to express their appreciation of one another.

    Naomi and Johnny like to joke about a time they went canoeing when Naomi would just put her paddle in the water to make them go in a zigzag or circle pattern rather than floating in a straight line.  I like to think about that story as an analogy to their relationship as they maneuvered through the difficulties of long distance dating with attention and appreciation for one another. They say that they almost hit a boat of fisherman—just like I’m sure there were points in their relationship that seemed like they thought they were going to crash.  But because of their effort, trust and honest communication, they were able to carve out time for one another and laugh as they floated through time like they floated down that river.

    Working as a wedding professional, I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a “perfect relationship,” where every moment of every day is like the song “So Happy Together” by The Turtles is playing in the background.  Like every other great thing in life, a solid relationship requires work, and more often that not the path of our canoe is going to zigzag or go in circles. The important thing is having a partner that can work towards a shared goal and laugh while doing it.  If you can manage to find a partner like Johnny and Naomi have in one another, then you can embrace every adventure and hardship with an equal hand; where the serenity of a mountain lake with a beer in your hand is that much more sweet, and the sunshine reflecting off a field of yellow flowers is that much more bright.  Distance is only an obstacle for your relationship, but with the right amount of effort and love, it can be conquered and wind up bringing you closer together.


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Hey, it’s us!

We’re Heather & Terrence— the husband-and-wife team behind Apollo Fields. Feel free to reach out and say hi or sign up for our newsletter below!

The Vendor Team:

Photography: Apollo Fields
Getting-Ready Venue: The Dove Inn
Ceremony Venue:  Pines at Genesee
Party Planner / Day-Of Coordinator:  Vivian Weinress
Officiants: Rev John Witkop & Debbie Kintish
Florist:  Fleur de Liz
DJ / Band:  Drake Dawson "DJ Drake
Dress : Allure Bridal | Purchased at The Bridal Boutique
Veil was made by "the Button the Needle and the Wardrobe" (alterations), everything else is Etsy!
Suit: Dillards
Rings : Goodman & Sons in Virginia | Engagement ring was Johnny's grandmothers
Hair and Makeup: Prodigy Salon
Invitations and Save The Dates:  My Big Day Designs

Anet & Ian's Engagement Photos on a Farm

Anet and Ian’s engagement photos | hunterdon county wedding photographers | apollo fields | New York wedding photography | farm wedding photographers | wedding writer

There’s something about looking out into a field from the wooden porch of a farm that makes you want to take a deep, full breath.  Maybe it’s the way that twilight seems to color the evening sky a little longer than it does in the city. Maybe it’s the smell of dinner from the stove that sweeps through the house and makes the screen door squeak.  Or maybe—it’s just the company that we find ourselves in.

Heather and I plan to create such a life on a farm together one day...but it looks like Anet and Ian are going to beat us to the punch!  We can’t wait to photograph their wedding next May at The Farmhouse at the Grand Colonial in Hunterdon County, New Jersey because we love being on farms with wandering animals, freshly cut grass, and seasonal vegetables.  And if it’s up to Heather, we’ll being feeding our horse, Limbo, through the kitchen window from the palms of our hands one day. 

Funny enough, Heather met Anet over 10 years ago in the—you guessed it—horse world.  As an equestrian novice, I’ve learned that the bond between a rider and their horse should never be underestimated; and apparently neither can the social ties between horse people.  It’s one of the everybody seems to know everybody kind of communities; a blast to be a part of and an absolute mystery to the rest of us.  In the years to come I hope to be integrated into the community through meeting people like Anet and Ian, who is also apparently a pretty deft hand at polo.  (I, on the other hand used to think that the players hit the ball with the small end of the mallet. facepalm.)

For us, one of the most alluring aspects of the living on a farm is learning to utilize fresh produce all-year round. Whether you’re storing, preserving, pickling or crunching into a spear of asparagus fresh out of the soil, there ain’t nothing quite like biting into some really fresh, homemade food.  Despite the fact that both Anet and Ian are afraid of birds, they’re also excited to start a farm and get some chickens—and we’re excited for them!  (We miss our little Colorado flock!) Anet and Ian’s plan after their wedding is to begin their family farm in the hills of Ireland and we couldn’t be happier for them.  As long as they share their vegetables.  

    Shooting weddings on farms feels like we’re part of a family or something.  Like we can hear the dinner bell and remember to hide the grass stains on our knees.  It’s the comfort of a shared table, the waves of chatter, and the clanking of glasses and silverware.  It’s the raucous bursts of laughter. There’s so much warmth in my thoughts when I think of farm life that it makes photographing weddings on farms one of my favorite things to do.  It may be because of the fresh food and long summer evenings—or maybe—it’s just the company we find ourselves in.

Happiness in the Workplace: The Life of a Wedding Photographer

Apollo fields | Denver wedding photographer | New York wedding photographer | Wedding photos | Engagement photos | wedding writer

Most people don’t enjoy their jobs.  Whether it’s the fluorescent lighting or the no windows casino approach to work environments, the tired early morning commute or the death by a thousand cliches like “happy wife, happy life,” working in the 21st century is at best and worst a dull sort of suffering.  The intermittent good days make the job not quite bad enough to quit, and the benefits of a stable job outweigh childish millennial pursuits like happiness in the workplace.  Lucky for us, we don’t have that problem.

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Heather called me yesterday after her 4th wedding of the weekend (!!), and I could hear her smiling through the phone.  She was beaming about being in the center of a 30-minute horah (Jewish wedding dance celebration) and reflecting upon how grateful she is to have an occupation that lands her in the middle of these powerful cultural traditions.  Despite having no ties to any sort of religion ourselves, more often than not, we are educated on and included into these intimate spiritual circles rather than being forced to the perimeters and relegated to the role of outsiders.  Take that “multicultural day” at the office!

This wedding season, Heather has already shot weddings in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, soon to be Maine, and at the tail end of the season, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Travel is part of our jobs and we’ve learned that there is love to be photographed everywhere! In the past, we’ve photographed weddings from the Dominican Republic to Quebec City, Canada, and we’re excited to the places our jobs will bring us in the future.  Our ever-changing workspace keeps our eyes fresh and the hundreds of miles of open road keep our hearts for adventure well-fed.

That being said, the life of wedding photographers can be stressful and inconsistent.  We don’t have work until we book it ourselves, making security and stability in our profession an autonomous responsibility of discipline and dedication.  We don’t have windows in our office either, but that’s because the sun is on our shoulders; and we can’t hear cliches because we’re too busy dancing to the live band.  Sure, it can be hard to keep the energy level high as the season wanes on, but every time it begins to fade there is a tear-jerking moment to bring us right back into the fold.  I would trade the dynamic difficulties of our job for the static grinding of the human will that permeates office culture a hundred times over—because at the end of our workday—we’re growing towards love rather than withering towards retirement.

Lindsey's Maternity Session in Wheat Ridge, CO

Lindsey’s Maternity Session in Wheat Ridge, CO | Colorado Maternity Photos | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

This sweet session gave me all the feels! Lindsey and Jeff were one of my 2017 couples who had an amazing wedding at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion in Denver. It has been so fun capturing their relationship through their engagement session, wedding, and now maternity photos as they prepare to meet their sweet little girl in just a few weeks!

I love specializing in weddings and it has been great for my business to be able to really focus and hone in my skills; however, there is something so amazing about getting to follow my couples through the years as they begin to grow their own families. I love switching things up by taking on these sweet maternity sessions whenever the opportunities arise. Lindsey and Jeff have such a caring way about them that is such a joy to photograph.

We got to spend the afternoon in Anderson Park in Wheat Ridge soaking in the light and some of the first sunshine that Colorado had seen in days after a stretch of cold and gray days. CO boasts “300 days of sunshine” but last week was not part of that count apparently. When we landed in Denver on Thursday, we were excited to hit the ground running with sessions but the freezing rain with no mountain visibility forced us to rearrange our plans a bit. Lindsey and I were checking in all day for this session because the skies were doing some wonky things and the weather reports were all over the place threatening to storm. But we decided to go for it anyway and look at the amazing light we got! We struck gold and I’m so excited to share these sweet photos.

It was such a privilege to capture this time for Lindsey and Jeff as they prepare to meet their little babe at the end of the month (hopefully she comes on time because then I’ll also be back in town to do her newborn pics)!

Heather is a Colorado & New York based wedding photographer who loves to follow her couples through their milestones after their weddings. Reach out to set up your own session or chat about your upcoming wedding!

Wedding “I-Dos” and Don’ts: The Inside Scoop

Wedding Planning Tips from Photographers Who Have Shot Over 100 Weddings— The Inside Scoop on How To Prioritize Your Timeline and Budget

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Wedding “I-Dos” and Don’ts:

Things You Should Know For Your Wedding Day

Some people have been thinking about saying “I Do” since they were marrying their stuffed animals in a fort underneath their coffee table; while others, well not so much. Whether or not you have a Monica-sized binder of wedding ideas, rest assured that your wedding day is going to be a wonderful experience. It’s a day where you’re doted upon like royalty as friends and family deliver their support, love, mimosas and/or whiskey and everything in between.  There will inevitably be stresses, but if you safeguard the experience of your wedding day by heeding a few of our industry tips, you and your significant other will live happily ever after.


I Do…

Host Cocktail Hour Before the Ceremony

This one may be controversial as it goes against the tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony, but everyone knows the feeling of sitting through a wedding ceremony when cocktail hour starts to creep into your mind. By welcoming guests with hors d'oeuvres and beverages upon arrival, you’re able to ease your guests into the day, creating happy bellies and heads to fully enjoy your wedding ceremony. Yes, you may run the risk of your irresponsible relative or friend loading up on a few drinks, but as long as you keep it short they won’t have much of a chance; or better yet, save the hard liquor for after the ceremony.

You will find that you create a much more relaxed, welcoming atmosphere where people can be themselves, especially for those guests who arrive late. We initially thought of this for our wedding because we wanted to create the vibe of a dinner party, knowing how critical it is from a hospitality standpoint to make someone feel welcome as soon as they enter an event. We felt more like gracious-hosts than guests-of-honor, and encourage couples to create their own timelines to reflect their personalities as well.

Take The Edge Off With A Little Bubbly Before The Ceremony

Take The Edge Off With A Little Bubbly Before The Ceremony

 

I Don’t…

Schedule Your Itinerary Down to the Minute

With all of the moving parts of a wedding day, it makes sense to want to be hyper-organized when it comes to your itinerary. The thing that most couples don’t realize is that while you may be organized, that doesn’t mean the rest of your guests and event staff will be up to the task.  It is all too often that we get a four-page timeline that goes something like, “6:47PM Welcome Toast, 6:51PM Blessing By Bride’s Father,” and we know how impossible it is to adhere to that tight of a schedule. So when you’re charting out your day, keep in mind that you have to account for things like: wrangling your uncle’s four cranky kids when taking family formals, finding a chair for grandma to sit on, the changes in location when the weatherman was wrong yet again, and how the staff forgot to set up for your special seating arrangement sign.

I’m not trying to say all of these things will go wrong -- but I am saying that something inevitably will -- and when it does, your perfectly laid plans will start to stress you out because you’re quickly 4 minutes, then 7 minutes, and then 10 minutes behind schedule. Our advice is to treat your itinerary like a guideline, not a schedule, that way you have a structure to follow, but you can still be flexible to accommodate for the many variables of your wedding day. Figure out what actually needs a concrete time and let everything else bend with the breeze. For us, those were our guests arrival time and when the DJ would begin playing music—everything else—had some room to breathe. One of our favorite 2017 brides put it best when she said:

Our wedding (and life) was rough around the edges, but straight from the heart.
— Alli Bell
Roll With The Punches And You’re Guaranteed To Have A Good Time

Roll With The Punches And You’re Guaranteed To Have A Good Time

 

I Do…

Have a Backup Location for the Ceremony

Most venues accommodate for this, but you would be surprised how many weddings we’ve been to that when the weather got cranky, everyone stood around staring at each other wondering what to do. It is super important that when you book your venue, you know where the backup ceremony location is and that you’re happy with it.

We could tell you some war stories about shooting in torrential rains, subzero temps, nor’easter floods, sideways hail, and hotter-than-hell sun because there either: (A) was no backup plan, or (B) the bride simply would not get married anywhere else. I have literally watched a group of 200+ guests get pelted by hail while the couple is standing at the altar pretending like shit isn’t hitting the fan.

Maybe we’re superstitious, but we tend to believe that the more content you are with your backup location, the less likely it is that you will actually need to use it! Similar to the itinerary advice, you have to gauge your expectations to the many variables of the day, and this is especially true for the weather. Be realistic and aware about the seasonal weather patterns of your locations, friends! (i.e. it is probably going to be crazy-humid in NYC in August / you can expect a wet day in Seattle in May / and it’s not unheard of to have a September blizzard in CO.)

We’ll Be There, Come Hail Or High Water

We’ll Be There, Come Hail Or High Water

 

I Don’t…

Spend Big on the Cake

Yes, we all want to mush cake on our significant other’s face to get back at them for beating us at Scrabble (is it just me?). And yes, we all want to seize the opportunity of having a tiered custom cake made to our specific wishes and desires—but think for a minute—can you specifically remember any cake you had at a wedding?  According to WeddingWire, the average couple spends about $500 on their wedding cakes. I’m not saying that the bakeries are over-charging because they really aren’t, but maybe your wedding isn’t the time to live out your Cake Boss fantasies. This is a great place to trim the fat (literally) and reallocate some of those funds to some real memory-makers.

Chances are you’re going to be too busy tearing up the dance floor to actually tear into the cake with grandma over a cup of decaf coffee anyway. So instead of shelling out for something that will most likely wind up in the trash (we see it ALL the time), go for a dessert that your guests can enjoy on the fly, like an assortment of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, or try thinking of a fun and healthier option! (We had a caramel apple bar with slices of apple on sticks and melted chocolate and caramel for dipping.)

Cupcakes Are A Great Money-Saving Alternative To A Traditional Cake

Cupcakes Are A Great Money-Saving Alternative To A Traditional Cake

 

I Do…

Take a Few Minutes for Yourselves

The other side of being treated like royalty on your wedding day is that everyone wants a piece of your time. As wedding photographers, we’re almost part-paparazzi part-security in how we snap pictures of a couple as we shuffle them along through gauntlets of friends and family. The flow of the day can quickly feel like you’re being shuttled from one place to another without stopping to enjoy the day that you spent so much time and money planning.

As hospitality professionals, Heather and I recognize when this is happening and always encourage a couple to take a moment to duck out in a room to take a few breaths and steal a few kisses.  Everyone who has gotten married will tell you how “the day goes too fast,” so slow it down by finding some quiet time to take it all in. Go to the bathroom, drink some water— it sounds obvious, but you might be surprised at how even the most basic of needs can fall by the wayside on your big day. According to The Knot, the average wedding celebration clocks in only around 5 hours (although it feels like five minutes). What good is having a wedding if you don’t thoroughly enjoy it!?

Sneak Away For Sunset

Sneak Away For Sunset

 

I Don’t…

Stress About Wedding Favors

Have you ever taken a wedding favor and thought, “this is amazing, I can’t wait to use it?” Us neither. Yet we’ve heard so many couples talk about how difficult it was to choose something to give as favors to their guests. Some ideas can get expensive very quickly, so what are some ideas that are inexpensive but not “cheap,” and won’t go directly into the trash?

We like to suggest things that are edible (especially if it’s good for soaking up booze), like specialized cookies or popcorn you can make at home, or something that is eco-friendly like wildflower seeds. The average wedding produces about 400lbs of trash and 63 tons of CO2 according to the Green Bride Guide, so we love the idea of doing something to give back to Mother Nature in lieu of a crappy present.

Another great option is to donate some money to a charity of your choice and tastefully let your guests know which organization you went with. The reality is, like wedding cake, odds are people aren’t going to remember it, so direct your stress and your funds to something that actually adds to yours and your guests’ experience! Take it from a Pro Event Coordinator with The Pines at Genesee:

Less can definitely be more, people don’t miss what they don’t know isn’t there!!
— Erika Norcross
Eco-Friendly Flower Favors

Eco-Friendly Flower Favors


Hi and Welcome!!

We are Heather & Terrence Huie— the husband-and-wife team behind Apollo Fields. We are a photojournalist duo who have worked weddings big and small all over the United States as well as International Destination Weddings. As vendors who have also been through the process of planning and executing a wedding ourselves, we have a unique perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly that can happen on your “big day”. What works for us certainly won’t work for everyone, our hope is that our inside scoop can help you and your fiancé prioritize your wedding timeline and budget in a way that actually serves you (and your guests).

The Davin's: Revisiting One of My Favorite 2016 Couples

The Davin’s Family Photos | Blauvelt, NY Portraits | Piermont New York Photography | Apollo Fields Wedding Photographer

I had such a great time revisiting one of my favorite couples of 2016 to do their family photos this weekend in Blauvelt, NY! It has been over three years since they’ve been on the other side of my camera and it was so much reconnecting and catching up with this fun and dynamic family! I shot their wedding in Blauvelt, NY which is where Alex grew up. Rae is a dancer from Norway and they met on the basketball court, which is one of Alex’s passions as he used to be a pro basketball player. They own and run AD3 Fitness in NYC and are a total power couple.

They are also one of the sweetest — and obviously gorgeous — couples! They have two daughters, Denise and Jackie, who are both so outgoing and fun to be around. It is definitely a house full of strong women which I obviously love, and Alex is just so in love with his family that it is great to shoot! We met up at their house in Blauvelt and Jackie was just finishing up her nap. She was so sweet when Denise woke her up to do pics because she was obviously still half asleep, but the minute we got to Piermont in the park she immediately livened up!

The girls had a great time running around and playing with the snow, and it was quickly Jackie’s favorite thing to do. She would get quickly distracted (the woes of being 2!) so we eventually realized that the best way to get her attention, get her to hold still, and smile for a pic was to have big sis Denise pretend to fall! Something about that just made Jackie crack up and became our secret weapon. Luckily, Denise was a great spot and was totally game to keep pretend falling to get a reaction out of her little sister.

Denise is also full of beauty and attitude. I was telling Rae that I’ve never photographed a 13 year old kiddo who knows their angles better and can work a camera more. I remember her bringing the same energy at their wedding when she wasn’t even 10 yet, so it’s no surprise that she’s growing up to be such a confident and photogenic young lady.

I had a great time shooting this fun, athletic, and energetic family in NY this weekend and I can’t wait to do it again soon!

Photography: Heather Huie for Apollo Fields

Location: Piermont, NY

Naomi & Johnny's Virginia Engagement Session at Noland Trail and Oozlefinch Brewery

Naomi & Johnny’s Engagement Session | Oozlefinch Brewery | Noland Trail | Norfolk Virginia Engagements | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

It’s no secret that we love to travel! It’s one of my favorite things about the business so we always jump at the opportunity to shoot destination engagements and weddings. Throwing the dogs, cameras, backpack of clothes, and a board game or two in the back of the car and hitting the road is what we do best.

We got the chance to shoot Naomi and Johnny’s engagement session in Norfolk, VA because they are air-force and have been stationed in separate states. Naomi is currently in Colorado and Johnny is in Virginia, and this was going to be their last weekend together before their wedding in May so we cruised down the east coast to meet up with them for a rainy afternoon. We began the session at Noland Trail which is where they got engaged (fittingly enough it was also raining that day) but we could only stay for a short amount of time before the weather really moved in.

So off to Oozlefinch Brewery we went! We were so excited when they suggested this location because we’re totally craft-brewery people and were already mapping out our brew tour of the east coast :) The beer was all amazing and we gladly enjoyed a few flights together. It was great to hang out with them, snapping pictures, chatting about how they met, and wedding planning. We’re shooting their wedding in May at The Pines at Genessee in CO which we’re really excited for! We are also looking forward to recognizing a few faces in the crowd since Naomi is the cousin of Dylan (one of our 2017 grooms) and how we originally met this fun couple!

Virginia Engagement Photography: Apollo Fields

Locations: Noland Loop Trail, Noland News Virginia | Oozlefinch Craft Brewery, Hampton VA

Our Wedding Video Compliments of Mary Erny

Our Wedding Video | Honeymoon Acres, Ramsey NJ | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography | DIY Weddings | Farm Wedding Video

When we began wedding planning, the photography was a no-brainer: We knew that we would want to go through the business and use our associate shooters. But when it came to doing a video, we didn’t really have a specific vision. We knew we wanted something but somehow it kept falling lower and lower on the to-do list as our season was flying by with shooting our own weddings and prepping for the big move!

My sister is also in media and has spent most of her career camera-in-hand as well. We didn’t have a formal “wedding party” but she was part of the crew that we wanted up there with us and as so, we didn’t want to put too much pressure on her to also shoot video. But she was so awesome and stepped up and got some great coverage and put together this sweet video for us!

I just love watching it and seeing everyone’s faces and getting to re-live the awesomeness of that day. Everyone talks about how fast it goes by and I can 100% say that is true! The whole thing feels like a blur but watching the video and going through the pictures is the best way to bring back all of the celebrations and joy of the day. Also, Rumor is way too cute during the ceremony. I mean, how many dogs literally jump on their owners during the first kiss!? Unreal.

The farm looked so beautiful and we loved having all of the animals around. We couldn’t imagine getting married without the dogs there, but having the horse and donkey and pig and goats and all of the other four legged friends just made it that much more indicative of us. We love casual and personal weddings so we knew when we were planning what we wanted that we weren’t about to have a formal or traditional wedding! Instead, we broke outdated traditions but embraced the ones that actually spoke to us. We made it our own and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way!

So here’s a huge thank you to my sister, Mary, for not only helping us the whole weekend, but also sneaking in some great footage of the day!


– watch our wedding video below –

Happy Birthday, Heather!

Apollo Fields Photojournalism | Farm Wedding Photography | Wedding Writer | Adventure Wedding Photographer | Colorado Wedding Photographer | New York Wedding Photographer

Heather’s Birthday Post – November 15, 2018

Happy Birthday to the woman who has taken the best parts about me and brought them to the surface. Without her, I wouldn’t be a published author, small business owner, or husband—AKA everything that means something to me at this point in my life. I honestly have no idea where I would be without her—and I look forward to all of the places we will be together that we do not yet know.

Heather is the kind of person to triple book herself, crush each event, then ask for more. I’m the kind of person to bring her a bottle of whiskey and an empty tumbler. That’s how we differ yet that’s why we work. In a constant state of give-and-take, we spin through our days like ice in a mixing glass, swirling around our personalities like flavors, combining our contrasts into a well-balanced drink—smooth yet strong, and the lingering taste leaves you asking for more. It’s not perfect but it does keep us happy.

This time last year we were driving to an AirBnB tucked in the mountains, safe from the chill with a cozy wood-burning fireplace. This year we’re riding the LIRR to carouse about NYC and enjoy a different side of life. Seemingly always on the same page, Heather and I are writing our story together with a pen we share, speaking different voices onto the page with the same ink. Every year that passes every take stock of all of our experiences and each year exceeds the last. I’m just grateful to have a partner to explore so many worlds with.

In the last month we moved cross country, made all the food for our wedding, got married, took a honeymoon to Jamaica, and settled into our interim home in Long Island. Just writing that made me tired, yet at no point during it did I feel fatigued. We approached each day as a team, working towards a shared goal in each of our imperfect ways. By sharing our individual energies, we rejuvenate each other along the way with jokes, side dishes, and healthy dollops of silliness. It’s like when you work with someone behind the bar long enough that you know where they put the Maraschino cherries, only when you get there the jar is empty and you look up at them to see them making a ridiculous face. Everyday of our lives is like that and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Somehow on her birthday I started talking about the great things about us and strangely enough, I don’t know a better compliment for a person. Heather is a facilitator, a happy haggler, an absolutely messy chef, and will be an even better mother. When I think about the journey of life and how each year represents so much yet so little, I remember the infinitude of infantile moments we’ve laughed through and the major milestones we’ve high-fived to. It’s entirely too easy to get lost as we move through different stages of my life, but this day has me grateful for Heather’s face, happily illuminated over her birthday candle to help guide my way.

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Jamaica Honeymoon - Day 6

Apollo Fields Photojournalism | Wedding Writer | Jamaica Honeymoon | Destination Wedding Photographer | Farm Wedding Photographer | Wedding Blog

Final Day in Jamaica – Pam’s Birthday

Mid-flight en route back to New Jersey – Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

When I opened my eyes on the last full day of our honeymoon in Jamaica, the pale blue sky peered over the balcony and climbed into our four post bed into the space between dreaming and reality. Light and ethereal, each blink revealed a bit more of the world I’ve come to love, inviting me to ease down the floating wooden staircase one more time. I didn’t know then, but in those fleeting moments, the lens through which I’ve viewed the world finally lined up with the way the island of Jamaica communicates to your soul.

I started the day by setting down a steaming cup of coffee on a table right outside of Pam’s room. It was her 61st birthday and I knew that that would be the first thing on her wish list. Stepping outside into the blaring sun, we gently made our way down to the volcanically-formed cliffs of Negril at Sun Down Villa, careful not to spill any of our precious liquid energy along the way. We stumbled upon Rick and Steve lounging, plucking at a ukulele as the notes drifted and eventually faded into the warm, Caribbean air. Pam and Rick decided to take a cruise on their Vespa down to the beach where their love of the island first began over thirty years ago.

Heather, Steve, and I abruptly made a move towards Just Natural Fish and Veggies, the local food joint in the bush of Westmoreland. Our first trip there, Pam had her eyes on a locally-crafted blue canvas bag with a crudely-but-beautifully painted sunset and we knew we had to get it for her. We enjoyed another meal and chatted with our favorite hosts, Theresa and Christine, as they shared unsolicited marital advice about loving one another and your children. Our favorite anecdote was Christine’s memory of when she first got married: “oh in those times, we would make love anywhere it was dark — in the bush, in our bedroom, it didn’t matter. But remember, always lock your door and wear a nightie!” Satiated in body and mind, we scooted from the richest Jamaican experience we’d had to date.

All of us eventually regathered and began our trip to various cliffside resorts. It began at the Tensing Pen, where we were met at the gate by a security guard who stared at us like we stole her lunch money back in high school. After authoritatively mumbling into a walkie-talkie, she granted us access with a stern finger wag in the general direction of the bar. Nonetheless, the resort was cozy, kind of like the Lost Boy’s huts in Peter Pan, connected to one another by rope bridges and shaded winding cobblestone paths. We originally planned to go to there to jump from one of these wooden bridges suspended over the sea, so Pam could wave her proverbial finger to the process of aging, but we were told by the security guard that we weren’t allowed to enjoy any of the amenities. After quickly slugging our round of Red Stripes, we were on to the next one.

Lucky for us, the next stop was much more accommodating. No finger-wagging security guard, no restrictions, only a large modern lobby to welcome us like something out of Forbes magazine. We normally wouldn’t expect genuine hospitality from a place as lavish as the Cliffs Resort, but two men changed it all. Trevor, who went by Johnie Walker, and Omighty, shortened to Omight, rolled out the Jamaican equivalent of red carpets. These two healthy, young, vibrant Jamaican men made drinks while they sang to their favorite tunes like they were bartenders out of the movie Cocktail, giving us free shots and asking us if we wanted to snorkel on The Cliff’s private coral reef. Nothing like any of the other resorts we visited, we felt the camaraderie that’s typically found in Irish pubs in New York City, like you can have any conversation with the person next to you (for better or worse), all while gazing out at a pink Caribbean sunset.

Our final stop on our invasion of all-inclusive resorts was a place called Xtabi. The dining patio was sprawling with empty candlelit tables and vacant chairs, making the space seem sad with lost opportunities of romance. A small cat meandered between the legs of our chairs, quietly mewing and purring with the hopes of a free meal. Pam and Rick ordered their favorite dish, lobster thermidore, which I consider a cheap (albeit expensive) favorite, because anything would be delicious smothered in butter, garlic, and cheese. Steve ordered the shrimp scampi which strangely came with rice and it made me wonder how available pasta is on the Caribbean islands. I ordered fried chicken because my ambition at trying local cuisine hit the roadblock of Americanized resort food. The best part of the meal was walking beneath the resort in the caves, listening to the waves slam against the tunneled walls, echoing their strength into our ears. I felt like I was in a scene from the Goonies.

The first couple days in our AirBnB we were a little hesitant to walk the streets as motorcyclists tore by the vendors and local restaurants with reckless pride. We wanted to engage with the real Jamaican culture, but were not sure of a proper access point for two under-informed tourists. Yet like those hummingbirds in Barney’s garden, Heather and I hovered from place to place, learning to stop and trust the people inside those brightly colored shacks one at a time. We made friends at resorts, Johnie Walker and Omight, and local spots, Theresa and Christine, learning that there are friends all around us if only we are open enough to look. Upon our initial arrival, we stayed behind the high gated walls of Sun Down Villa, but in the end, we saw that the sunrise and sunset, in all of their naturally beautiful glory, were just as welcoming as the pairs of eyes that greeted us behind all of those brightly colored doors.

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Jamaica Honeymoon - Day 4

Jamaican Honeymoon in Negril | Travel Couple | Adventurous Honeymooning | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

Jamaica – Day 4 ~ 8:00 am, local time

We woke again at sunrise, as the dark turned to light. The breeze from the fans and the sea swirled all around us, stirring us awake. We’ve adapted to a different sleeping schedule here, one that is dictated by the rising and setting of the sun rather than binge watching and rolling over in bed. You get more out of the day living this way.

We started the morning with breakfast at a local restaurant called Sips n’ Bites. It was one of the many colorful open places that lined West End Road with a chalkboard out front that listed their offerings. As Heather and I looked over the menu, a woman came outside to tell us that they only had a couple of the items. It was refreshing to know that they wouldn’t just serve us any old stuff laying around. I stayed within the familiar, ordering curried chicken while Heather tried to order something vegetarian. When our plates came they were heavy with Jamaican staples: festival, their version of a zeppoli; an unripe banana; sautéed greens reminiscent of kale; fried plantains; and rice and beans drizzled with coconut oil. My curried chicken was authentic and succulent while Heather was served something that looked like scrambled eggs. Tougher in consistency, we asked the waitress what it was and she responded that it was either cod, cat, or conk fish and it left our palates puzzled. We later found out it was ackee and salted fish, an acquired taste that we had not yet acquired. It was no problem as we washed it down with the freshest squeezed orange juice that I’ve ever tasted.

We saddled back onto the Vespa and headed towards Pam, Rick, and Steve to do some snorkeling. Right before we boarded the yellow and black boat, a storm passed through, throwing rain sideways beneath all the thatched roofs. After the sky cleared and the sun poked back through the clouds, we were well on our way to the coral reefs with our local guides. Gently coasting on the Caribbean, we peered through the six fiberglass windows on the bottom of the boat, watching sea urchins and starfish live beneath the sea. Once we dropped into the water, I rotated my head to the left and right like a security camera, trying to spot the exotic fish in their natural habitat. I’d been snorkeling in the Caribbean before and didn’t really see anything I haven’t seen before, when a sort of omniscient peace washed over me. It wasn’t about spotting the Moby Dick of the Caribbean anymore, it was just about swimming along, undisturbed, watching life as it unfolded whether I was there or not. I could’ve stayed there all day.

Instead, we coasted back to Rick, Pam, and Steve’s resort, the treehouse, before we made our way to Rick’s Café. Heather and I stopped at another local jerk chicken joint and I had my first favorite food item - jerk sauce - its sweet at the front like mole but packs a much bigger punch after a few seconds. When I’m at a new restaurant, I always sample the sauces on the table before the food arrives. We ordered a light pineapple cole slaw that made the ¼ pound containers from delis back home feel like a heavy glob of old cabbage and mayonnaise. The service was slow but warm-hearted, and I will take a delicious slow meal over a fast fake one anytime. By the time we got to Rick’s the sun had set and the cliff jumping suspended for the day. I wasn’t going to jump anyway, as I had far too many red stripes and pulls from joints to desire to plunge into the water from a fifty foot cliff.

We ended the night at a patio bar called LTC with a bartender called Jason, AKA Big Red AKA Porn Star. He’d gotten that last nickname working at another resort where he’d dance and eventually take his clothes off. He said it was just in his nature, then cackled to himself as if he was a schoolgirl revealing an embarrassing secret. In the comfort of a warm bartender, the company of family, and the cool of a Jamaican night, our minds had no other choice but to enjoy ourselves. It truly is the Jamaican way.

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Jamaica Honeymoon - Day 3

Apollo Fields Destination Wedding Photographers | Negril, Jamaica | Honeymoon Adventures

Jamaica – Day 3

Sunday, November 4th, 2018 ~7:35 am, local time

Another morning waking to the ebbs and flows of the Caribbean Sea.  There’s something about the sound of waves crashing that lures your mind into the rhythm of nature, reminding you that everything that comes will also go.  The whitewater that sprays into the air, jettisoning from the sharp rock face, shows no concern for my presence, or for any of the other creatures that cling to their cratered homes on this violently-formed beautiful façade.  Yet it’s these wall-dwelling sea creatures — these Jamaican mussels and crabs — that taught me that we need to carve a small niche for ourselves, where we can brave the onslaught of life’s elements,  if we want to survive in this otherwise unforgiving world.    

We took a right out of Sundown Villa this morning for the first time on our Vespa, passing Rick’s Café among the other horribly named Americanized resorts like ‘The Palms’ and ‘Lover’s Paradise” as the wind whipped around our bodies on our way to a place called “Barney’s Hummingbird and Flower Sanctuary.”  Heather clung to my back like a baby koala as we veered off the pavement onto a dirt road, her lips stammering through the worried words of her mind like mental pot holes.  We passed a man walking down the road, sharpening a machete and were reminded of our cab driver who told us that all the goats that roam the island are owned by someone — and if you were to say, pick one up — you will find yourself on the wrong end of one of those blades.  We swerved around the man and slowed as we approached two large, faded green doors that hung on rusted hinges.

“Hello!” Said a thin pale-skinned old man donning a worn trousers-and-suspenders outfit as he swung the gates open.  “Welcome to my hummingbird and flower sanctuary. I am Barney, the proud German-Jamaican-English owner of this place,” he added.  As he led us through the narrow walkways of his garden, the flutter of hummingbirds moved all around us, kind of like the sound of tiny handheld toy fans.  Palms and large leaves hung down as geckos and other insects fed from the vibrant pink, red, and yellow flowers that boomed in contrast to the blue sky.  Barney gave us all tiny bottles with punctured red caps that dripped with sugar water to lure the hummingbirds in.  We held our outstretched arms in the air, mimicking the branches that reached over the garden’s pathways, hoping that the birds would come feed from our “flowers.”  Patiently walking around, the birds began to trust us one at a time, holding fast in midair right in front of our faces, mother nature’s natural helicopters, hovering in place, wings effortlessly flapping seventy times a second.  Barney grinned a grin that only a hummingbird expert could grin, or maybe it was because of the six-pack of Red Stripe.

Eager for local cuisine we stopped just up the road at a place called Just Natural Veggies.  Simple enough, I thought.  From there we ordered rum punch, a vegetable plate, lobster salad, sweet potato and plantain, and a bean and rice burrito.  As we walked to the side of the restaurant we followed a path into the jungle, tables and chairs scattered about like a diner inside the woods.  There were checker board tables that used plastic bottle caps and Red Stripe caps as checkers and each table had an orange bottle of locally made hot habanero hot sauce.  We ate our freshly made dishes in the middle of the jungle, no one around but the smiling faces of the restaurant, who laughed and joked as they set down our plates.  They could’ve been feeding us fried gecko for all we knew as we sat mesmerized in this restaurant that made rustic concepts back home look like four-star hotels.  In the jungle and of the jungle, we walked out of there happy and full.

There are niches to be carved, if only we are wise enough to see them.  These experiences will stick to my heart like the geckos on the flowers and the mussels on the rock wall.  As the trip continues, I can only hope to unearth more things that I can learn from and grow closer to carving out my own crater I can call home.   

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Jamaica Honeymoon - Day 2

Jamaican Honeymoon | Negril, Jamaica | Apollo Fields Destination Wedding Photographers

Jamaica – Day 2
8:00 am, local time

Another welcoming morning on the Caribbean Sea.  The birds fluttering overhead, searching for scraps and seeds while Heather sits up in bed scratching at her mosquito bites.  The waves crashing with a regular familiarity that’s impossible to forget, kind of like your mother calling you home for dinner from the front porch.  Who knows what the world has in store for us today, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The first two nights Heather and I cooked and stayed in after dark.  A combination of the mysterious foreign streets and a travel-induced fatigue, we drew a bath and enjoyed each other’s company in a tub of lukewarm water.  There is a definite fear of the unknown, of sitting on a wooden stool in a straw shack on any of the thousands of dark streets in Jamaica.  Horror stories from the United States embedded in me creating a hesitance like that of a lost child.  I am ashamed for it.  It makes me think of the role that caution plays when a person finds themselves in a different culture and how trust is linked to the environments that we know.  

Heather’s uncle, Rick. is a great example of this.  Conservative through-and-through, he comes down to Jamaica to shake hands and bask in the safety of nostalgia, eating dishes that he knows in bar stools that he’s warmed.  Surrounding himself with other light-skinned tourists, there isn’t much difference than home, other than everything that exists outside of the Treehouse’s gated walls.  When does caution or comfortability take too much control of one’s assimilation into another’s culture?

As of this morning, I’m as stifled as Rick.  I want to stop at an authentic Jamaican restaurant tucked onto the side of the road like a beach shanty, but because I’ve seen none of them populated by tourists, deep down I consider them unsafe.  It feels like a hard-wiring that pulls back on the reigns as I ride through a culture I do not know.  Today, I will make a better effort at launching myself into the Jamaican culture and trusting those that I my ignorant instincts tell me not to trust.  It’s funny how trusting people is usually my strongest attribute, yet when put to the real-world test, I’m as cautious as anyone.

Yet yesterday I jumped from cliffs at heights I’ve never leaped from before and snorkeled in rough waters close to dangerously sharp rocks.  There’s an adventurous spirit in me that needs to be nudged into action, but once the opportunity arises, I tend to bypass the safety valve and dive head first.  Even riding a scooter for the first time on the opposite side of the road was pretty daunting.  In these moments, it’s either you do what you are afraid to do, or you live with your cowardice.  The many times in life my that I’ve approached this dilemma, I’ve found that great relief lies just beyond the other side of fear, hiding behind the louder voices in your head, waiting to see if you will do it.  Today I will silence those voices and immerse myself in a culture I do not know.  

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Jamaica Honeymoon - Day 1

Westmoreland, Jamaica | Sundown Villa | Honeymooning | Apollo Fields Photojournalism | Blog

Jamaica, Day 1

Friday, November 2nd , ~ 8:09am, local time

I woke up several times to the luminescent glow in the sky of a Jamaican sunrise, stirring to the sounds of life’s reawakening to the smell of fresh fires and morning birds.  Looking out onto the rigid horizon, my view was divided in two — the sky and the sea — one blue, darker and in constant motion, while the other floated in its own lightness.  The semi-frequent car horn blared from the street, bringing me back to the march of civilization that we thought we left in New York.

Hungry, I waited as Heather ruminated on her back in a lounge chair.  She stared at the same dialectic view, but I know her eyes told her a different story.  She saw the way the light struck the different crests of the ocean, the way it played with the rocks, creating shadows and depth as geckos crawled between the dark and the light.  She heard the birds and the cars but she reached another plane of mind by sheer will, wrestling her otherwise purposeful mind into a peaceful submission.  It took a bit of effort, but she got there, perhaps reaching an even more placid mental state than my own.

Most things are competitions for us and why would relaxation be any different.  I told her while I was reading Shantaram that it seemed a task for her to sit still, that she should go start breakfast because 1) I was hungry, and 2) I thought that it would provide her productive mind with something to do.  She disagreed, saying that it wasn’t difficult, that she found no trouble or resistance in the open space of an unoccupied mind, but I could see the struggle.  The struggle of a relentless spirit meeting no opponent, of a force pushing forward to find no resistance, where effort was not rewarded but yielded to.  What does a warrior make of passivity on the battlefield where victory reveals nothingness?  Where there is no one to fight and nowhere to go but inside one’s heart?  I imagine the war is explosive and silent.  I’m just happy to see her relax.

I don’t know what to expect from our time in Jamaica, safely tucked into our Airbnb on the cliffs at Sundown Villa, somewhat immersed in the culture while staying at an arms length.  Before we arrived, dad and others preached caution, forewarning danger, but our host, Nadine, exudes nothing but the warmth Americans have come to expect from Rasta and Jamaican culture.  Clouded in the smoke of ganja, I hope to brush shoulders with locals and eat from their authentic tradition, whether from the street or between the walls of celebrated staples.  I hope to return to the States revitalized and hungry, rejuvenated yet ready to begin the search for our new home. 

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Farewell Colorado (For Now)

Farewell Colorado (For Now) | Apollo Fields Heads Eastward | NYC Wedding Photographers

Both of our going away parties began on picnic blankets in parks, surrounded by fresh fruit, local beer, and our closest friends. There were games and laughs, children, and sunshine. But as the days wore on, Heather and I grew closer to the reality of leaving with each farewell embrace. Lucky for me, this time around, I managed to avoid the emotional minefield of “this is the last time I will [insert memorable experience ‘x’] in [insert city ‘y’],” recognizing it as a self-imposed trap set on disturbing the logic of ambition and transition. Despite my valiant effort, both parties ended with me in tears.

I’m a long way from being ashamed of crying in public and even further from trying to hide it. I mean, what’s wrong with coming toe-to-toe with your emotions and ceding to their validity when they creep up behind your eyes? I actually find a problem in trying to suppress them. Because if we try to hide our feelings from our closest friends, then who can we be vulnerable with? In times of happiness and sadness alike, it is in our best interest to try to understand why we feel the way we feel.

In Colorado, my tears finally came when I hugged my friend, Brandon. Although only a friendship of a couple of years, the density and depth of our interactions has stretched our connection over what seems like many more. There is a candor in our exchanges that reflects contemplation and curiosity, the bedrock of understanding. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him, it’s that homemade bread will always be better than store bought. Making goods by hand is more than artistry, it is a source of value beyond our taste buds and aesthetic eyes. Thank you for teaching me this and for your friendship, Brandon.

To all of the others who came to see us off, I’ll never forget those last couple of weeks in Colorado. The Great American Beer Festival, Lake Street Dive at Red Rocks, the Rockies game, and finding a home for all of our beloved furniture. Carya and Thomas, Andy and Elaina, and Shane and Lexi, you all showed up when we needed you most and we barely had to ask. Large events like moving or weddings always bring people together and we aren’t just lucky or #blessed, we are #inyourdebt. Not like the bad kind of debt like student loans but the good kind of debt like owing your neighbor a cup of sugar or carton of eggs. The kind of debt that includes open door policies, late night pickups, and sending you home with a Tupperware of leftovers despite a bevy of polite refusals. I hope to be in debt to you all for a long time to come.

Finally, thank you to Frances & Bryce for sending us on the road with delicious food in our bellies. Whenever I think of Denver I will think of the mountains we climbed and the friends we climbed them with. Here’s to the friendships in our lives that make the Rockies look like molehills.

Processing Pain: The Legacy of Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain’s Death | Parts Unknown | Eric Ripert | Apollo Fields Photojournalism

Watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown with Eric Ripert offers insight into the turmoil behind Bourdain’s infamous irreverence. Around every corner of conversation Bourdain’s slinging some cryptic or grotesque piece of humor, landing upon Ripert’s matter-of-fact ears like juvenile jabs from a close friend. It is entertaining albeit haunting, to hear the words “death” and “I want to die” come from Bourdain’s mouth. Perhaps the saddest part though, is that the callous, cynical persona that we all fell in love with was slowly consuming the host of Parts Unknown right in front of our laughing eyes.

Hindsight is 20-20 of course, and now watching the show is an exercise of recognizing his blunt, unforgiving humor as the red flags of a man publicly processing his inner demons. Bourdain’s trip to Buenos Aires in one episode is particularly poignant as it cuts in and out of a therapy session where he explores and laments his character. Bourdain says that he wanted nothing more than to look out the window and think, “life is good,” but couldn’t see past what he considered an unfixable, untreatable “character trait.” The reality is that he was processing his pain the way he was accustomed to—using lewd jokes as bridges for cross-cultural conversations—it’s just a shame that we didn’t see these devices as explorations of his mental “parts unknown,” rather than hilarious quips.

Yet that’s exactly what our mental machinations are to each other: “parts unknown.” Bourdain knew he would find no sympathizers with his woes because, let’s face it, he had a job we all could only dream of. But I’m beginning to believe that our feelings, the things us millennial are infamous for, are perhaps the only knowable truths in our lives. Yes they are subjective, but no set of objective circumstances can make them invalid. Bourdain felt suicidal despite the objective reality of a world full of open doors. He told us his truth in his way and we loved him for it. His opinion on life is valid. If his unfortunate demise is to teach us anything it is to further explore and explain our own mental “parts unknown.”

I see a problem today is that avoiding our introspection is easier than ever. We dive into any form of social media and relate to each other or fictional characters with similar problems but never really engage with our “parts unknown.” We recognize social media as a problem in the same breath that we launch an hour long conversation about Stranger Things or Black Mirror. I do believe that we all want to be stronger, but few us of have the will power to shut down our apps and sit in uncomfortable silence. Just the other day, when I was asking a friend what he thought about a current painful event in my life he recommended watching The Good Place and American Vandal on Hulu and Netflix respectively. I called him out and couldn’t help but think that we are treating our “parts unknown” with a healthy dose of social media. But I don’t want to distract the pain away, I want to engage it.

And I think that’s exactly what Bourdain was doing. Let me be clear, the irony of me opining about social media consumption while learning a life lesson from social media is not lost on me—it is a reflection on a particularly honest man. Bourdain’s death is a representation of what can happen when we conflate our mental machinations, our feelings, our “parts unknown” with consumable pieces of entertainment. If we don’t learn to resist the urge to hide our feelings in our favorite characters and friend’s Instagram stories, I fear that we all increase our likelihood of realizing the same fate. In a nod to Mr. Bourdain and to all of the pain in the world, be strong and speak on it. Not just on social media, but to your friends and family, and more importantly, to yourself.

Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter

Carline & Scott's Western Riviera Wedding at Lake Grandby, Colorado

Carline & Scott’s Wedding | Western Riviera Wedding Venue | Lake Grandby, Colorado | Grand Lake CO | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

This was one of those weddings where we were driving home and I had a pinch-me-is-this-real-life moment in the car. I just felt so lucky to have the job that I do! My second shooter, Sarah, and I drove up to Grand Lake early to grab a little brunch in town before the day kicked off. We were all geared up, dressed, and ready to hit the ground running, and it felt good to be able to chill at a little coffee shop in the cute downtown area of Grandby before everything got rolling.

Then we split up, I went to the gals and Sarah went off to the guys, and we got to hang with this sweet family while they prepped and primped. Carline and her step-daughter were getting their hair done at a quaint little salon in town and we were able to snap away some details and getting-ready shots while the day began to pick up.

Then I headed over to the venue to say hi to Shelby (their day-of coordinator who I have worked with on a past wedding) and get some detail shots. Carline and Scott were having an intimate wedding with about 25 guests which made the space feel really open and welcoming. One of the benefits of having a smaller guest count is that they could put more of an emphasis on details and food and everything. I loved their wedding favors, too— yankee candles for each guest to take home! Such a great idea.

Their friends and family began arriving and before long, the ceremony was beginning. Scott and Carline decided that instead of having a big wedding party, they would have Scott’s two kids stand up at the altar with them. They had a beautiful ceremony with the awesome mountains and lake in the background. Cocktail hour was sweet and upbeat and we were able to do family formals totally stress-free out on the patio.

When the sun began setting we got a great golden hour so I snagged Carline and Scott and went down to the water to do some romantics. Much like their engagement session, they had such a great chemistry between the two of them that made photos so much fun! One of my favorite parts of the whole day was when they were out on one of the docks and a boat drove by and began to sound their horn and everyone started clapping.

Okay maybe I lied, I think that was my second favorite part of the day. The best part was when the adorable mom-and-pop ice cream shop next door, Miyauchi’s Snack Bar gave us FREE ice cream to celebrate and do some pics! They offered Sarah and I our own scoops, too, so OF COURSE we said yes! We were literally eating ice cream cones on the docks taking pictures against the sunset and I kept thinking to myself how cool my job is that I can literally do this for a living!!

Colorado Wedding Photography: Heather Huie for Apollo Fields

CO Wedding Venue: Western Riviera Lakeside Lodging and Events, Grand Lake CO