Thursday, October 05, 2017

When We Fall

I can't describe this feeling. I've photographed hundreds and hundreds of seniors, always trying to picture this day with my own son. Then the day comes. Last night, I'm there with my boy, now a young man. My wife and daughter are down below, my wife lifting up a prayer while my girl snaps a photo of me. I'm a speck on the top of a cliff face almost 60 feet up and opposite the cliff face he is on, catching the last bit of sunlight in that golden hour, and as my son is climbing up, at 30 feet he slips and falls.

My reflexes kick in. My finger is still pressing the shutter. There is absolutely nothing I can do. I can only scream his name and watch him fall - from a front row seat.
Pure helplessness.
He bounces from one ledge to the next, and finally drops the last 10 feet in free-fall. He lands flat as a pancake. I see his head hit the rock as he literally bounces off the ground.

I scramble down as fast as I can go. It feels like an eternity. By the time I reach him both the girls have him in their lap.
He is awake. He is coherent. He is talking. Pure adrenaline.
Then he wants to lay down and close his eyes, but I won't let him.
We check his pupils for dilation, he follows commands, there is no throwing up, no slurred speech, no indication he had fallen, except a sore leg, ankle and tailbone. He said his head didn't even hurt. In fact, he was hungry.
Nothing broken. No blood, full range of motion and so we start to move, trying to walk out and make it to the car in case he crashes from shock. It happened to me in Haiti years ago. I remember it too well. We reach the car and he says he feels ok.

So we prayed and we drove home. We ate some comfort food, had some ice cream, drank plenty of fluids and watched him through the night. Kari told us that the moment before he fell she was praying, and heard herself say, "Lord, please just catch him when he falls." It even surprised her. "When he falls?" she thought, and it was then he slipped.

Despite the terror of that moment, it was the most graceful fall I've ever seen. I still can't fathom how, but this morning my son is studying in his room, doing his school, and we are just praising God, grateful for another day, and thankful that He catches us when we fall.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017


The last time I photographed Daniel he was just a little boy, all dressed up in a tux and walking down the aisle of for his big sister's wedding - 11 years ago! Now here he is, all grown up, about to graduate and looking into pre-med. He was a good looking kid way back then, so of course I wasn't too surprised when, as we were shooting downtown, a carload of girls drove by and gave cat calls.
His Dad was along for the session, which was a refreshing change (it's almost always just the moms). Dad was talking about how hard this is going to be on him when his son leaves because they do everything together. I can relate.
He still had the picture on his phone of the shot I took of his little boy 11 years ago, and he told me that it's still by far the 'best picture I ever took'. :)


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Better Half

A quick shout out to this girl. My wife and my partner. She always does the final "whittling" of my images, narrowing down my shots to the best of the best before I work on them. When she does this, I can't be in the room because it's like watching someone hack away with a hatchet at my art. It drives me crazy as I argue and defend every shot and of course what I was thinking when I shot it.
Therefore, we learned a long time ago that I must leave and find something else to do. The upshot to this is that she saves me loads of time in post production.
The downside? Well, because she's along on every session and she happens to look so beautiful, I can't resist taking her picture - at almost every session. BUT, since she does the whittling, she deletes them. She's says it's out of fear that I might accidentally upload them to our clients. In her defense, that actually happened a couple of times. Sometimes I do miss the minor details. Heck, yesterday I accidentally messaged a client who is a doctor, no doubt in the midst of some very doctoral role like saving lives or curing cancer, and thinking it was my wife asked her casually if she needed me to pick her up anything from town.
Anyway, I've decided I'm going to start rescuing and saving these helpless images from the Hatchet BEFORE she gets to erase them from history. And now to my shout out: The stunning image below, does not happen without the girl to the left, and I thank you, Kari Ann, for putting up with the likes of me. You hold the lights, you make kids smile, you model a pose like a Broadway dancer, you shoot from a perspective that I literally can't see, you give direction and you talk to people so warmly and make them forget about me when I go all Rain Man and think of nothing but the light, the comp, the color, aperture, stops and ISO's.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Butterfly in a Hurricane

Do you ever feel this way,
a butterfly in a hurricane?
like maybe you weren't built
for something so insane?

Parts of you are delicate,
not meant for gale-force winds.
things just seem all out of sorts
and none of it makes sense.

Some days I think it's best
to stop trying to answer why.
Stop bearing the weight of the world,
just spread your wings and fly.

Maybe it's just a flash in the pan.
and it's gone in just a breath.
What good will it have served
to have only dwelt on death?

May as well be free!
Live, not just survive.
May as well be beautiful
While beauty's still alive.

Someday they'll take notice,
but if they never raise their eyes,
You were made for so much more
than you yet realize.

If God looks at His masterpiece,
If He smiles and calls it good,
no hurricane can take you down
the way you think it could.

For such a time and such a place,
you're right where you should be.
Bring on the wind, bring on the rain.
and be what you're made to be.

Be free.

d.c.elliott 9/13/17

Monday, September 11, 2017

Some days ya just gotta write.

That I would hear so clear a blast
To tie my heart and soul to mast
To pursue in haste with childlike trust
And yield to His chased love I must.

For none have hunted like the Hound 
To seek me lost and make me found.
To burn out the chaff of misery
And sacrifice such Love for me.

To deny would be an awful cheat.
A wasted life of vain conceit,
To think myself somehow above
Such true and unconditioned love.

The timeless depth of such great care
I cannot bear, I dare not dare.
It threads through all that I hold dear
It holds me close and draws me near

So then which would be the bigger lie?
To love Him back or never try?

d.c.elliott 9/11/17

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sydnee and Justin

Some favorites from Sydnee & Justin's engagements. We'll be covering the wedding in the Spring. We first met these two a couple of years ago when we were shooting extended family pictures. They were head over heels for each other even then, and now that love has only grown. Looking forward to the big day.

I tried a new look, well, a new look from an old technique that I used to to in the studio and at wedding receptions, by shooting a back light from behind, only this time I wanted to try it outdoors.  It was just a matter of finding the perfect path and hollow to frame them.  I liked the results.  A little magical, a little fairy tale, but not too overpowering and seemingly right in line with these two soon as I saw the tattoo on Sydnee's feet of Peter Pan and Wendy.   :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

JJ & Brittany

Had the privilege of shooting some Save the Dates for JJ & Brittany last night. These two are head over heels, and the best part was watching how much they make one another laugh. Looking forward to a Winter Wonderland wedding. Save your Date with