I will be out of town and away from emails until Tuesday evening. Please know that I appreciate your patience with regards to responding to email. This is the only time this year there will be an instance like it. Thanks in advance for hanging in there! Your emails and inquiries are important to me!www.errinhiltbrandphotography.com

Chickens courtesy of Bures Berry Patch:)

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Matt & Alin. I really don’t know how to begin. We met at Matt’s brother’s wedding in Spring Green. Evan & Alexis had an amazingly beautiful wedding that I was honored to photograph. And there I briefly met Matt & Alin. The wedding, as all of them are, was a blur to me. But I do recall Matt coming up to me at the end of the evening and remembering what a nice guy he seemed to be–makes sense… Evan and Alec (brothers) are great guys too. And shortly thereafter I got an email from Matt. Would you ever consider coming to Big Sur to photograph a wedding? I remember feeling faint and rereading the email several times and then aloud to my husband. The room was temporarily blurry and then I’m certain tears fell shortly after (maybe slightly overdramatic and emotional at times). YES. I’ve never really travelled further than Chicago for a wedding so I am impressed, looking back, at how smoothly it all went. Lots of international photographer friends had suggested I book my own flight and hotel and car and it was never even a question. I thought the travel portion went so well–except, of course, that I didn’t book a room for myself in Big Sur until the month before. Having never been there, I was unaware at how hard that would be. When I spoke with Matt and Alin about making travel arrangements they said “you really don’t want to be driving in Big Sur in the evening by yourself” … I had just assumed I’d stay in Monterey or Carmel–drive home when I couldn’t see or stand straight any longer. They were right. Within an hour they had surprised me by booking a room in Big Sur–seriously one of the kindest things any client has ever done. To say that I was taken care of very well is an enormous understatement. I have never felt so welcomed and so loved by a group of people as I was taking their photos. Everyone was so down-to-earth and genuinely happy and normal … I felt compelled to maybe follow them around on their vacations just to continue on with that happiness. I may have already forgotten names but I will never forget everyone there and so enjoyed each and everyone one of them.

Friday evening my mom, sister, and I stayed in Monterey. We had such travel issues the days previous, we left quite a bit earlier than we needed to. But Alin was correct–there were several spots to stop and take photos along the way. Big Sur may be the most beautiful place I’ve visited. Even in the fog. We stopped at a road-side cafe and gallery and ate a fantastic lunch and my nerves began to build. I must have triple checked my bags when we arrived at the top of the hill before opening the gates of the estate. The Wind & Sea is an absolutely amazingly beautiful place. And just seeing the gate required a little aid from my sister carrying my bags down the steep drive towards the house. To be completely honest, the clouds and fog  and lack of sun felt a little punishing. The last time my mom, sister, and I went on a trip it was to New York, and 24 hours after we arrived, the city shut down and was boarded up in prep for hurricane Irene… so I assumed this would be my luck. Katie and I went down to the patio and were greeted with hugs and smiles by Matt and Alin. Alin said in a few hours the sun would be shining and the view would be amazing. She said it with a smile and was so convincing. I never know if people sense my feelings about the weather and figured she did and was just saying that to keep hope alive. But, sure enough. As she finished up putting on her dress—the sun started to shine. And all that I was unable to see before—came alive. It was breathtaking.  As we made our way down the cliff (is that extreme??? I felt like I was taking a stairwell down the side of a cliff)… I felt my legs begin to wobble. How on EARTH did I not only meet two of the nicest people on this planet and the nicest set of friends and family, did I get lucky enough to PHOTOGRAPH their wedding? In paradise? How is this happening to me? It was sureal. And I get choked up thinking of their wedding–of their sweetness–of their easy way of being together. On a phone conversation with them, I mentioned that since we did not have an engagement–would they be comfortable around me and Alin had said something like “we are all artists and we are comfortable people–all should go well.” She was so right.  And I will never forget that mirror in the bedroom! Looking at the photos and listening to Matt’s music makes me smile all over again! The food was so wonderful, I had to take a photo and include it. The caterer was absolutely amazing and so awesome to watch and listen to!

What an amazing couple. I really have not seen anything like them. The love is palpable and their love for others sincere. Matt & Alin, I feel as though I could ramble on and on about how fantastic I think you are, how grateful I am for this experience, how much I will never ever forget not only your wedding but you as a couple and how kind you were to me. I will think of you often and may even bother you with a few “how are you?” emails in the future. May you have many loving years ahead of you. All my love.

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I’ve been trying to observe myself and what brings me the most satisfaction, leaves me with the desire to shoot more, makes me thankful to not only be a photographer but a part of this beautiful world. And sometimes I get a little stuck in a rut and need a break. For me, it’s taking photos of my boys–our everyday lives. It’s refreshing. I feel as if these next few months are so crammed with wonderful things happening that January will be dreadful. Shorly I leave to photograph a wedding in Big Sur, CA, which is something out of dreams for me. And I’ll be headed back to San Fran for a workshop and get to travel with a fantastic person in November. And all the wonderful moments in between. Life is good. Have been thinking a lot of how fortunate I am. And what makes me smile at night when I’m editing photos. Here are 4 photographs that make me happy. I hope you enjoy them. 1. princess and the pee. 2. he jumps like his mom. 3. first sight of salmon. 4. a moment I will never forget. giving son away.

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