A few months ago I received an email from, MIDN Szymanski of the US Navy. He was planning a surprise proposal for his dear Megan and needed a photographer to document the occasion. Of course I was super excited because this was such a sweet story.  He is active duty and was planning to propose to his girlfriend when he returned home from his tour.  His plan was to create a setting that would sweep her off her feet and make her the happiest woman in the world.  The story he created to start the evening, along with the help from many family members and friends, all lead to his plan of a proposal at 5:45 pm.  Everything was going according to plan until 5:44 pm… one minute before the actual proposal.

My job was to set up my camera gear and pretend like I was photographing my own children so she wouldn’t suspect that I was there for them.  I arrived to this “unnamed location” and began photographing my children as planned. I was looking for the best lighting situation for him to propose to her and began running some test shots.  Before I knew it, I was being asked to put my camera away and that I needed a permit to photograph on the property.  While I was being verbally attacked by a security guard to put away my camera,  I was calmly trying to ask how to attain one of these permits. This person didn’t have anything nice to say and basically pointed in the direction I needed to go.  I looked down at my watch and it was, YES… 5:44 pm.

I quickly texted Chris and asked him to stall about 10 minutes and then I sprinted about 100 meters to try and get a permit. I was greeted in the lobby by a clerk and was told that they were closed and to return the next business day during normal working hours.  Waam-Wom!  As I walked out of the building, a hundred meters away, I see Chris in his all-white uniform. Oh no! Since I didn’t have time to explain what was going on, he carried on with his plan.  He saw my kids and my gear waiting there and he assumed everything was good to go.  I had no choice but to sprint for my life and capture what I could of the proposal. I sprinted like there was no tomorrow,  picked up my camera and caught the end of it.


I quickly approached them and said “Hello, um, we need to leave the property Now. I’ll explain soon.”  They had no idea what was going on until, yes you guessed it.  The security guard came back! I knew I was in for it this time.  I felt so bad for breaking the rules, but felt it more important to get those last moments of the proposal. We were escorted off the property!  I will spare all the messy comments that were being thrown at us, but What a story!

Chris & Megan, you guys are sweet together and I am so happy for you two. I wish you all the best and many wonderful happy years together.  And hey, now you have an interesting proposal story to tell. Thank you for such a memorable evening.