I met Marianne online back in 2001. You know, back before meeting strangers from the internet in person was the norm. Remember those days? #WhenDidIGetSoOld? We bonded over a shared love of Disney (she and her husband met working in the Canada pavilion in Disney’s college program) and have stayed friends over the years. So I was super excited to get the chance to see her in person again and photograph her family on their recent Disney vacation! They stayed at Wilderness Lodge and we had a blast doing photos around the resort!
Sometimes a shoot is the perfect confluence of all the things (yes, all the things — it's a highly technical term). When I got the call about shooting for Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome (RODS) at the 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Half Marathon, I knew this was going to be one of those shoots. You see, I was supposed to be running that weekend, but wasn't able to due to an injury. And I was maybe feeling a bit bummed out about that. But this, this was the perfect melding of my two loves, running and photography, into the perfect photo shoot.
What I didn't realize was how emotional... how heartwarming... how affirming that there's good people in this world this shoot would be. RODS runners raise money to help orphans with Down Syndrome find adoptive families. To date RODS has helped 33 orphans find forever homes. During the shoot I had the pleasure of meeting two of these children and their families, as well as numerous runners who race for team RODS.
It's hard to put into words the joy in the runner's faces when they meet a child who they helped find a home. I can't begin to explain what it's like to hear a parent say to a runner, "Thank you for helping bring my daughter home." Go get some tissues, I'll wait.
So much more than just a photo shoot, that's what this turned out to be. An incredible day of meeting kindhearted people who give their time and their energy and their love. And I think the world needs a whole lot more of that right now, don't you?
Did I mention that it was < 40 degrees out there that morning? Yes, Fahrenheit. Yes, in Florida. I shot this fully bundled up, wearing a cold weather photographer's best friend - fingerless gloves with mitten covers! My hands stayed toasty warm and my fingers were still free to operate the camera.