This was one I won’t be forgetting any time soon. It started with a 6:30am direct flight from San Diego to Chicago. An arson fire knocked out a flight tower that knocked out Midway airport in Chicago. No matter, rerouted to go from San Diego – Reno – Chicago and landing later that evening. Would miss the rehearsal dinner but at least get in on time.
By the time I landed in Reno the nation had figured out just how bad this was becoming. The fire had effectively knocked out both airports in Chicago rendering all east-bound flights into Chicago futile. Roughly 2500+ flights would be canceled that day. Unfortunately my time in the air rerouting through Reno also meant the rest of the nation had booked most of the available flights into near by airports (St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Urbana all out). The next best thing they could do was fly me back to San Diego and fly me out to Chicago on Sunday, effectively missing the entire wedding on Saturday.
In a frantic 3-4 hours in Reno, I buried away at my laptop looking for another flight and any other option. At one point I realized how crazy this was and my last ditch effort to get on a flight was sidetracked by an epic meltdown of another customer in front of me. I called the bride and informed her the news and wished her the best. I couldn’t image dealing with such a thing a day before getting married…Nadia and Joby had some serious calm.
I remember sitting down and thinking just how fruitless this all seemed. I sat defeated and uttered a prayer. In all the chaos, I had tried everything I could with my own hands. I wasn’t even praying for a miracle, but that the couple would have a glorious day and that the people that really mattered (bridesmaids, photographer, and bride’s family) would make it.
I decided to look one last time and found a flight. Could it be?! United had a criss-cross nation flight…and it would arrive in Chicago at 9am on Saturday. With the wedding at 10am…un-believe-able!
The journey which started at 6:30am Friday, detoured through Reno, would land in SF with a red eye to Philly and land in time for the wedding. I I purchased the last tix and boarded the flight. The next morning I landed in Philly and ended at the gate to Chicago. The gate boarding screen displayed “FLIGHT DELAY 30 MIN”. Cutting it beyond close but still possible.
“FLIGHT DELAY 60 MIN”
“FLIGHT DELAY 90 MIN” my heart sank. 3200 miles later and I would land 30 minutes into the wedding. I couldn’t come this far and have this happen!
The delay ended up ~75 mins and they made up some time in the air. Divine providence would have it that my new flight was with United and having traveled to Singapore a few times last year my silver premiere status finally came in handy as my luggage was one of the first off the plane. My sister’s friend Esther gracious picked me up and got me to the church in a hurry.
As I entered the church I dropped my luggage in a corner and got to work. It was already near the later half of the ceremony and I knew I’d have to make up a ton of footage of the reception to make this worthwhile. Adrenaline carried me through most of the day. At the end of it, I was extremely bummed I had missed key moments in the ceremony. Not that anybody could have done anything, but I still felt for the couple.
As I was unwinding, my mom nudges me and says “hey, look what I captured on my phone”. Now if we can pause right here. This was an asian wedding…and so yes there was invariable an ipad, a few phones sticking in the air taking pics. it’s the bane of every photographer and videographer, but I was so tired at the end of the day I humored my mom.
footage courtesy of Mom and Kam K
I jumped out of my chair. This would be a crowdsourced video! At this point, I have to give a huge shout out to my mom who realized I was going to be late and asked the guy next to her with a camcorder to record a few clips. Between my mom’s footage and a family friend with a camcorder, I had the vows, the rings, and the bride’s entrance! No joke here…my mom’s smart phone is a Nokia 521, that goes for about $65 unlocked. It’s quality should be no where near usable footage but it’s there in the final cut! I still can’t believe it!!
At the end of the day, I could not be any happier how this video turned out. It’s one for the ages for me.
God is so unpredictable.
Location: San Gabriel, California
John, over at Simplytwo and I had a chance to work together to capture Heather and Hua’s big day. There were 2 moments that I did not capture that day that really stick in my mind and caught me off guard.
In the morning as we’re getting ready and you see the bride getting ready in the video, what you don’t see is downstairs Heather’s mom and her mom’s friends are cooking up a storm. It’s going to be a party and these ladies can cook! They’ve got the old school propane burners and woks downstairs and the smell wafts upstairs to where we were seated. It was like a mix of paradise and torture. While the bridal party headed out for the rest of the day’s festivities, Heather’s parents were enjoying their feast. Jealous!
Hua grew up with Craig (best man) here in San Diego and Craig flew in from Australia for this big day. As we sat in the hotel after the tea ceremony, Craig was talking to Hua’s parents and I happened to catch part of the conversation. I realized Craig’s speaking Spanish (Craig is Latino) and I’m thinking “wow, Hua’s parents (who are Chinese) are incredibly kind and patient” because they’re just nodding and smiling. Suddenly, Hua’s dad starts responding in super fluent Spanish too! My jaw dropped. This wasn’t slow, high school level Spanish, this was 100 mph fluency. Amazing.
Those were two of the many moments in the day that stick out in my mind. The rest of the day flew by like a blur and I’ve recreated the feeling with a focus on the moments we’ll look back and remember years from now. So enjoy…and don’t blink!
Location: Montaña Cielo, Jamul, California
2nd shooter: Clayton Yip