What an amazing time you can have in two hours with a dramatic fall sky, paperback novels, orange foliage, a jack-o-lantern, barns o-plenty, and the award-winning photojournalist, Ms. Jennifer Chase.
I've got to say, Jennifer is a professional through and through, a true artist above all--one who's not afraid to roll up her sleeves in the late October cold, get down in the Virginia soil, and make amazing things happen with lighting, her lens, her aesthetic sensibility of rustic elegance, off-beat moments, and that quirky, genuine spark between a couple.
We began the session at the knarled root structure at the base of the cypress tree, the one nearest the Carriage House at Oatlands. Chris and I, dressed in dark jeans and green and blues, snuggled in tight and pulled out a paperback novel, pretending to read to each other while we tossed a beautiful green, cypress fruit that had fallen from a branch above us.
Next, we made our way to the mansion, with Chris and I relaxing into each other, back to back, on the steps of the portico. In the wonderland gardens, Jen shot us between ivy archways and snaggled turns, and even spread out in the grass with our heads resting against one another, ours eyes staring up at the sky.
In the cow barn beyond the garden wall, Jen snapped us in silhouette, against the light coming through the wooden beams and rafters--Chris against a green ladder, me resting into him, at other moments us dancing on the barn floor, twirling in a patch of sunlight.
In the twilight, the sky bruised and dramatic, we walked up the hills and back to Oatlands proper, Jen capturing us on the long, winding gravel roads, on the back of a wooden cart, and high up in the branches of a bright yellow dogwood tree.
Near darkness, we drove down 15 South to the small brick Episcopal chapel and carved a jack-o-lantern, a lopsided heart. We lit it up, and hovered over the flame, Chris and my silhouettes caught by candlelight, the pumpkin and our faces the only light in all the darkness.
Words can't begin to describe the experience--how do I express it, that intimacy and childlike play, the fun of working with someone so wonderfully adventurous and whimsical?
"I love how adventurous you are," she said to us, "these pictures are amazing," and with that Chris and I hugged her goodbye, giddy for our next photo shoot with the amazing Ms. Chase on our wedding day proper.