Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Engagement

The Storytelling of a perfect moment captured…

Well… if you can’t tell by the header – Vaness and I are engaged! Crazy! Without a doubt – 100% - We know that it was because God has pushed, broken, re-built, and shaped our lives individually and together… But, with all the learning and incredible growth that we were both able to experience, everything really has truly accelerated in the past year – the point at which we both dedicated our relationship to Christ… Our relationship has truly been heaven sent and God-led… going forward, we both know that this is the only way we can continue to grow together…

The moment that was captured is, hands-down, the best picture and moment that I have taken and will ever take… and somewhat poetically – and really, fittingly – it was a picture which I was not behind the camera to actually take… the capturing of this moment could not have been more perfect and the fact that I was literally not behind the camera for it – to me – speaks volumes as to how our relationship has been guided and molded perfectly by God… sure, I was measuring and metering the exposure, and sure, I set up the camera on a tri-pod to capture it… but God led me to the idea of this moment… there was a huge degree of faith I had to have in order for the picture to be taken in the way that it was… a million things could have altered the moment and its capture… and with all my careful planning and thought… the image that is ingrained in our lives forever through this picture was more amazing than anything I could have ever imagined - a lot like our relationship – even with all the effort and planning, the current result is more than I could have ever prayed for…

A three-part theme to the entire moment as a whole is the next series of photos… The exact moments before, during, and after the proposal… each one of the photos expresses more thoughts than I could ever put into words… without facial expressions – just silhouettes – a story can be told for hours on end….

The exact story as to how it all worked is actually pretty detailed… I will start by saying that, even though everything seemed like it was captured to perfection – I was the most nervous I think I have ever been! I was pretty cool, calm, and collected going up to Hilltop Park – even while we were just hanging out together admiring the scenery – but once the moment was coming closer, I got extremely nervous…

I was thinking Saturday, March 15 was going to be THE DAY… I was so ready for the weekend… we made plans to watch the sunset and have dinner at an Italian restaurant in Hillcrest – and little did she know that those reservations were supposed to be for an engagement celebration!! But, as Saturday came, the thunderstorm of the year (literally! We haven’t had one like this in close to a year) decided to pour down on the sunny San Diego - Vaness likes to point out the “sunny” part of sunny San Diego to me all the time… =)… Vaness recommended to me to not even bring my camera when I went to pick her up… so, on our way to the restaurant as we were driving up the freeway, the hailstorm that we were experiencing began to slow down! Then, out from the clouds, the most beautiful sunset was forming… I was really disappointed and I couldn’t hide it… and, to make matters more difficult, Vaness thought that I was blaming her for me not being able “take pictures of the sunset” – uh, I was upset that I couldn’t propose on such a perfect day! Dinner was great that evening… but, the engagement had to wait until... Sunday…

We made plans again to “watch/take pictures” of the sunset for Sunday and all seemed like it was going to go according to plan this time… except for the fact that it was her parent’s anniversary!!! As we were going to head up to Hilltop Park to “watch/take pictures” of the sunset, she receives a call from her mom telling her that they had just decided to celebrate their anniversary and go out to dinner… disappointment settles in again – this time even more obviously… and Vaness felt really bad that she had to go… I felt bad that she was feeling bad – and well let’s just say that it unfolded into a day that may not be ideal for - the plan…

Monday, March 17 comes around and I get a call from Vaness in the afternoon. We were having pretty normal conversation and then she mentions to me, “You know what my dad asked me today? He asked me if we were engaged yet!?”… great… I had asked for her parent’s blessing the week before, but I guess they may have thought that the proposal was going to happen really soon (and it was!! On Saturday! And on Sunday!)… she actually thought nothing of the question and brushed it off as casual conversation… I was able to push the possible thoughts of an impending engagement by saying, “Oh wow! He really asked you that?? Maybe they are hoping we get engaged soon… Scary! I’m gonna have to talk to your parents and ask them for their blessing soon!!”… yah… I already did that.

Tuesday, March 18 came around and we are finally able to meet together, no distractions – everything seems set… the weather’s good, plenty of time, no rush, good plan… Enchanted even comes out on DVD that day (one of our Disney favorites) and so I decide to buy that for her… I called Vaness to tell her that I’m on my way to meet her - I have something for her and ask her to guess what it is… she says, “A wedding ring???” Ha. Ha. Ha. Is she serious? (In fact, V – are you sure this whole thing was really a surpise?? You SAY it is…=)) I try to shrug that bullet off by saying, “Okay okay, I’ll go get you one right now.. what kind do you want.. plastic? How ‘bout those ring pop candy things – you’ll be REALLY blingin with that one..” She says she was only kidding =)…great… I THINK she doesn’t know… well we head up to Hilltop park before sunset and everything finally seems to be going smoothly.. I got the big ol’ ring box in my left pocket, with my camera bag and sweater covering that whole side of my body… and the whole way up we just talked about little fast-food joints that we may want to eat at afterwards… thankfully she decided it was okay that we eat late, cuz the day before she really wanted to just grab something to eat or cook before-hand… I answered both of those requests by saying, “Uh, if we bring food up there, it will be kinda cold weather for a picnic… and uh, cooking may be too hard in such a short time, I don’t want to be rushed.” Actually, it’s cuz, uh, I already made reservations for our favorite restaurant, Peohe’s, for the celebration of our engagement! Duh! Wow – I think I dodged another one – AGAIN…

Of course – it couldn’t go perfect – even if I had her right where I wanted… I was so consumed with the series of events that had to happen that I must have looked like a total space cadet that day – I feel like I had this very blank stare in my eyes until the sun was setting… my hands were super clammy… all I could think about was everything going right…

She gladly decided to jump into the frame as the sun was setting... as I set up the exposure, even more things began to go wrong!! My camera, for some extremely odd reason, didn’t want to focus!!! I had to take a whole bunch of shots of her standing there just to make sure it all went right… AND, I had my ISO up to something like 1200 for some crazy reason and forgot to change it (Thus the slight grain)! On top of that, it turns out, I had the camera in Bracket mode the whole time – so immediately after a properly exposed shot, a very underexposed and a very overexposed shot follows… I normally know this, but I was so nervous that I couldn’t figure it out!! I was so frustrated!! So I ended up changing my lens to my 50mm prime lens (which ends up being a good thing because it is the only lens with which I know how to consistently get a starburst effect out of a direct light source – thus explaining those rays you see in the final product)… and even then, I’m still struggling! Well, here is a little montage of all those exposures of her patiently standing there…

All the craziness that was happening with my camera made time fly right by – Vaness reminds me, “The sun is setting! I’m sure the picture is fine!!” I was really not confident in the picture the moment that I set my camera on timer – but I had to let go – I’m convinced it was God’s way of telling me that he’s got it all under control… even if I am hesitant to let go of the reigns…

I joined her in the frame and grabbed her for a hug while trying to hide the box I have in my left pocket… I began to fumble for the ring in my pocket… the timer is running down… I struggle to find the front of the box between our hug so that I could open the box in the right direction…the camera timer clicks faster… it’s time…

I bent to one knee and said four words… “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”… ‘Click’… I swear that I had a whole lot more to say than that!! How 'bout I love you? I want to spend the rest of my life with you? You're beautiful? Hi? I guess I was just that nervous… but at least I got the important words out… She answered me by saying “Are you serious? REALLY? ARE YOU SURE? The ring is unreal! Are you serious? Are you sure? Really?”… I stood up and, after a few more of the same questions, said, “Yes, of course I’m serious… so, uh… Well?”… She finally answers, “Oh yah! Of course!! I didn’t say yes yet?”… Excitement really does cause you to forget your words…

The moment of our engagement is a collection of our two passions… My passion for photography and her passion for the sunset… the result is a perfect match and marriage of the two… as for me… Her passion for the sunset – something that is arguably the most powerful symbol of God’s undeniable and constant presence – is just one of the many reasons why I love her… not just because she likes sunsets, but because she appreciates and loves the beauty of what everyone finds to be a regular everyday occurrence… we take it for granted, if you will… but, she finds a place in her heart for those kinds of things, the details in life we all forget… not only does she remember and appreciate the details and the everyday things, but she works endlessly to ensure that in some way, they are recognized… she reminds me, a person who has a wide scope of vision and often sees a whole picture, that the little things and the details matters just as much… small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness are things that we don’t realize have a huge effect on people… she is a romantic in that way… I am in another way… and in both – we fit together…

It is a breathtaking image… A real image… Beautiful… Romantic… I couldn’t possibly take all the credit… Psalms 27:1 - The Lord is my light… the verse directly above my bed containing a picture of - you guessed it - the sunset… You cannot doubt the presence of light in every bit of what is – easily - the most perfect moment I have captured and will ever capture… The moment that I actually never really shot… the one I wasn’t behind the camera to take… God has such an amazing way…

17 comments:

Heidi said...

yay! congratulations =D i'm so happy for the two of you. and thanks for sharing the pictures and the story on your blog =) you two have so been important to me during my years in college, and i'm so happy and blessed to be a part of your lives. i pray that god continues to pour blessings on you two and your future marriage! see you two soon! =)

channing said...

oooooo congrats!

isangheart said...

yayyy!!! ditto to heids' comment! I'm really happy for you two! The minute I heard (from someone who shall remain nameless), I screamed for joy for the both of you and I wanted to congratulate you both earlier, but I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be out in the open =X. Thanks for sharing your story through your words and your pictures. Hopefully we can catch up sometime and share more stories. Congratulations Kuya and yes, Ate Vaness! =)

Rudolf Ryan said...

congratulations to the both of you! daniel, i about just teared up reading your post about the proposal. thank you for sharing with all of us your love story. i know that you and vaness will continue to be happy. i'll be in sd next month. we definitely have to celebrate! congrats again!

Kevin said...

Congratulations!

AnnRo99 said...

hey daniel!! omg im so happy for you two! your pictures are GREAT! I wish you guys a lifetime of happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ginet said...

the first thing i saw was your headline pic and my jaw dropped with an "OH MY GOD!" haha. i'm so happy for you two! CONGRATULATIONS! vaness is going to be the most beautiful bride and then a mama! haha. ok a little too soon eh? the only question i have is who's gonna be the photographer for your wedding and take as great as pictures as you do?

Aurena said...

WOW

breathtaking.

SoOo beautiful.

Congratulations! You two are made for each other =)

Jasmine Marie said...

Omigosh you're going to make me cry! :)

This was so beautifully written. I am SO happy for you two, my brother and sister. YAY!

*does the happy dance again*

ninoybrown said...

YOOO!!! I heard the news last week but never got around to saying CONGRATULATIONS!!! Peace and blessings to you and Vaness.

-Matt

Ivy said...

what a beautiful well-written story. you two are living a real life disney fairytale! :) thank you for sharing the moment with us. i am incredibly happy for you both!

Aaron said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! hearing this news and reading the beautiful story of your proposal just makes me so elated and overjoyed right now. i'm so happy for the both of you. CONGRATULATIONS again. May God continue to work wonders in your lives. Hope to see you two soon so i can congratulate you in person =D

-aaron semana

Cynthia said...

hey Daniel,

congratulations from me and Daniel!! By the way the pics are awesome!

bev said...

omg! congratulations!!!! i was tearing up and letting out awwwww's the entire time i was reading your blog. yours and vaness's story really made my heart melt. im soooo extremely happy for you guys. i know you two will continue to grow and be happy together. congratulations!

sending you love and congrats from across the country,
bev

aaron and samantha said...

Great proposal and congrats!!!

See again soon!!!

Melissa McClure Photography said...

Wow, great proposal story! I loved it and that shot is amazing! Good job!

It was great to meet you last night...even if you do shoot Nikon! haha

Photographs By Tiffany said...

What a cool post~
Congratulations!!
Love the shots you got!!