On the phone, I mentioned to the bride-to-be, "maybe you'd like to get in the water after the ceremony for some awesome trash-the-dress shots?"
Bride-to-be: Hmm. Maybe.
She seemed to like the idea. But something was holding her back. I didn't get the impression it was her concern over the dress.
A few days later I understood much better.
Things started to become clear when we met the bride and groom-to-be in the parking lot near a Wailea beach.
Her gown wrapped her gently and spilled elegance. But she wasn't constrained by the dress. Instead, her body language seemed eager, adventurous.
However, the groom's body and the language it spoke said something else.
He's tall, probably 6'2". He has the frame of a runner, muscular and taught. His haircut was short and neat. Glasses sat on top of his nose with purpose. This guy seemed all business.
After a few minutes of attempted and failed jokes, I could see my usually devastatingly good photographer humor was not going to work. He wasn't about to give me a spontaneous smile or nod or anything. He seemed almost emotionally immobilized in his impeccably tailored seersucker suit.
After failing the small talk fight, I went the more direct route-interrogation. "So, Mr. Groom, what do you do for a living?"
"I am a commercial airline pilot," he said.
Ahh, so he's not even a mister, he's a captain, I thought to myself. That explains a lot.
Garnering absolutely no rapport points, I decided I should probably just keep my mouth shut until the ceremony.
Mercifully, the officiant made it to our spot within a few minutes.
First, the chants. Then the bible opened. Kissing. More chants.
I was busy taking pictures. Long shots with my telephoto. Then closer shots with the 50 mm. Mostly, I trained the camera on her.
Her face seemed to register the event. I could see her eyes saying, this is how I imagined my wedding.
His gaze revealed much less. It seemed to say, roger, 1-niner we are approaching matrimony.
So I clicked on. I thought about the changing light. Whether the couple would appreciate the wide aperture shots that I love or whether they wanted more of a landscape look to their photos.
Snap. Snap. Snap. I continued.
Then, the day, or least my view of it, totally changed.
Mr. Granite...err, Captain Granite had something glistening under his left eye.
Was that sweat, I wondered? No, way, this guy is always cool.
Then, it donned on me. It was a tear. He had shed a tear during the vows.
Now, I was inspired. The story was how this man whose made a career out of being strong let his bride see just how much she meant to him. That was cool.
By the end of the ceremony, I felt a bond. The couple's shoot went great. Stunning photos.
So I asked him, want to try getting in the water?
He didn't even hesitate. "I am not going swimming," he said emphatically.
Air Traffic Control this is Captain Granite, that's a negative. I repeat, negative!
Ok. Had to ask, I thought.
Even without the trash-the-dress shots, I was satisfied. I had witnessed---no photographed---a very rare moment. That time when love conquers ego and the world gets to watch.
(I am not posting identifying photos...but these are actual photos from the shoot).