The last line read "Her kiss was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering." It gave me goosebumps.
I carried this good feeling with me until I reached the Montgomery station.
I got off, walked along Kearny and made a left at Sutter. It was 8:00 am. It was a gorgeous Saturday morning in the city. The weather couldn't be more perfect.
I go in La Boulange, thankful they were open. I was welcomed by the delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee. I take it in as I observe the trays and baskets of pastries. My eyes focus on the macarons, neatly arranged in tiny colorful lines. I think of my dear friend, Cindy. She's been obsessed with them lately.
I tell the lady behind the counter I wanted one each of the coffee, vanilla, and pistachio. She hands them to me and I take my bag and sit outside. They tasted as heavenly as they looked. I was in the middle of wallowing in guilt when I saw the Muni 30.
I get on, prepared for the twenty minute ride. We pass by Chinatown and I make a mental note to take my cousin there when she visits in a couple of weeks. Each passenger got off at different stops until I was the only one left as the bus worked its way toward the end of its route.
This has happened to me a few times. I'd start chatting with a stranger and when we come around to asking what the other person did and I tell them I'm a photographer, they bust out their phone (or their camera if they have it) and show me pictures they've taken. We'd go through thumbnails of photos and each had its own story. They'd move on by asking me what I thought of each photo and I love how they'd smile proudly when I point to a photo I particularly liked. By the time we're about to part we've already bonded and have planned our annual reunion.
We reach the end of Jefferson. "See you later," I said to him.
I walk towards the beach and take notice of all the activity going on. There was another photographer who had already started a photo shoot with a family. People jogging and biking and rollerblading.
They were going to be a few minutes late so I decided to walk around and survey the area. I was taking test photos of the Golden Gate when I noticed somebody approaching from my left. I usually haven't met the people I work with and have no clue as to what they look like but I almost always know that its them when I see them.
I turn to the lady walking towards me and knew it was Roxana. I smiled as I greeted her and saw Anthony walking behind her. She was apologizing for being late as she introduced Anthony and I told her it was no big deal and we started to work our way towards the beach.
Men and women in shorts, running shoes and tank tops passed by us as they went about their morning exercise. I made a comment about my lack of it and described mornings when I feel "This is it. This is the day I'm going to start my workout routine." and it never happens. They laughed along with me as if they understood my sentiments and we reach the beach.
The view was gorgeous. The huge red bridge calmly stood in front of a blue cloudless sky. The shoreline wasn't too packed and I saw a perfect spot for us to start. They held hands as they walked away from me and then towards me. The Golden Gate, the dogs splashing by the water and the waves surrounding them made it all look as if it was meant to be on a postcard. I was happy.
I proceeded with closeup shots. Roxana leaned on Anthony's chest as if it was the most comfortable place in her world. This was the first time I had a good look at Anthony. His youthful face beamed underneath his salt and pepper hair as soon as Roxana wrapped her arms around him. You wouldn't think that by May next year, they'd be celebrating their fifth year anniversary. He smiled like a teenage boy hugging his first girlfriend. His nose crinkled just slightly every time he'd fondly look at Roxana.
A few more beach shots and we decided to walk to the Palace of Fine Arts. Anthony made a quick run to the car to get their change of outfits. They've never had an engagement pictorial before they got married. Seeing more people jogging past by us as we waited for Anthony, she mentions that she just recently lost forty pounds and Anthony thirty pounds. I am easily excited and my eyes almost pop out secretly thinking about how that's the same amount of weight I'm struggling to lose myself. I blab and blog about my own struggle but John (shhhh)wants to lose the same amount Anthony had. I love the way they supported each other, pushing the other to be their best. She tells me they're on Jenny Craig, join the Beta Breakers every year and try to run everyday if possible. There really is no shortcut to it. Dedication and commitment are the key. Thinking about it, I blurted out that now's the perfect time to have the pictorial. What better way to show off their new bodies. Shoot, I thought to myself, I'd make a full twelve month calendar of boudoir photos of myself when I lose that much weight. Made a mental note of adding that to my to do list.
We circled around Beach Hut to another spot just to the side of the beach where there were huge rocks leading to the sand. Roxana shyly asked me if we could do this pose made popular by the royal couple, Prince William and Kate. I smiled and thought of how she had that Pippa (Kate's sister) look about her. At the same time, I remembered Ericka and Ralph, whose engagement photos I took just a couple of months ago at Crown Memorial Beach in Alameda. Ericka specifically requested for that pose as well.
It turned out beautifully, especially with the bridge in the background. Then I said "Let's try to outdo the royal couple," half joking and half serious. They kept the same position then kissed.
I love the way their faces lingered just a couple of inches away from each other after every kiss, as if savoring each one and waiting for the next. I was reminded of the last line I read from my book, "Her kiss was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering." They were the perfect couple to shoot - beautiful, much in love and in great shape.
Anthony didn't say much but requested to have some photos with their sunglasses on and we did at an old, unusual dock that circled to the side of the marina. The boats in the background were perfect props in the background.
We proceeded to the Palace and headed to the Exploratorium where they could change. A couple of days before the shoot, Roxana emailed me that she had this dress she's never worn that she wanted to bring to the pictorial though she was a bit apprehensive as it was green and black and might come out too dark. Reading her email, I felt she loved this dress and insisted on her bringing it. I'm glad she did because it was gooooorge!!! It looked like it came out of a sixties Vogue. It modestly fell just below her knees but made up for it with the low neck cut out showing just enough clea-vahge. She totally rocked it! I looked down and proudly smiled at the sparkly ribboned pumps. She did real good. Anthony, like the perfect husband, understatedly complemented his wife with a dark shirt on top of his khakis. Perfecto!
We walked through the huge pillars of the Palace taking photos at different nooks and crannies. You couldn't go wrong at this place, with this amazing light, with this pretty couple. We reach the dome and I was glad we had it to ourselves. I had them go to the center and asked Anthony to dip Roxana. They easily obliged and it turned out amazing as I was working on the photos.
We strolled by the pond and took more photos by the fountain with the giant dome in the background. I had them sit on a bench and decided to focus on the dress. I wanted it to pop out. Had I seen that dress in a store, I would just go pass by it. Roxanna, though, had the vision of how amazing it could look and obviously the accessories to match it.
Roxana and Anthony, I am glad you found me. And I feel blessed to have met you. I've only been married for a year and in five years, I would like to see myself and my husband in the happy place where you are. Supporting each other , in great shape and still savoring each kiss.
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