Meant to Be – Jonathan & Charity’s Wedding

Jonathan and Charity are some of our closest and dearest friends, so you can imagine how elated we were when we found out they were getting married. These two are meant for each other.

It’s not every day some of your best friends get married in a mind-blowing building built in 1929 in Santa Barbara, but January 6th was one of those days. Rest assured, this is the most beautiful courthouse wedding you’ll ever see! If you know these two, its impossible to miss that they belong together. They’re a runaway freight-train hauling car after car of destiny, inevitability and meant-to-be. It has been a privilege to witness.

Jonathan and Charity have worked weddings with us in the past, either shooting video or helping us run around with equipment and lights, so we’ve all been in that setting together before. Being so close to them, the comfort level was amazing and they felt secure enough to get silly and run around madly, which led to the image above. It’s one of my favorite wedding shots I’ve ever taken, not just because I know and love them, but because of the way it makes me feel. I’ve been there running hand in hand on the beach with Heather and the feeling is phenomenal. Heather used to grab my hand in the early days without warning and seemingly tow me at light speed down the beach damn near removing my arm from joint, proclaiming we were flying.

This shot is a peak at what it feels like to be in love.

When we found out they were getting married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, we were drooling over the opportunity to photograph it. When the director of our local planetarium showed me photos of the place a few years back, I began anticipating the day I shot there and now I was very happy that the day was coming soon and that it would be our best buddies pledging their undying love in such a historic place. We were thrilled.

We set out to get there early, but due to baby circumstances, we arrived at the courthouse just in time. Heather had to watch our newborn, while I ran through the courthouse past some of the most beautiful architecture I’ve ever seen, searching for the Mural Room. I’d seen it before in photos and couldn’t wait to get in there.

Unfortunately, when I arrived, it became suddenly clear to me that it was VERY dark. This makes for bad images that strain your equipment to the limit. (Warning- photo geekery ahead) I turned my ISO up to 3200 and 6400 to get the exposures I was looking for and threw on my 50mm 1.4 and opened it to f2.0 and was still having problems. I feel like the images I captured are great, but I was stunned to see how little light there was in there to work with, my tiny on-camera flash was blasting the atmosphere right outta that beautiful place, so I had to give into noise.

It wasn’t hard to get caught up in it all, all the love in the salt air and the history in that beautiful courthouse set us all up for an afternoon fairy tale.

When I left the courthouse, I knew I’d never be done photographing that building. One could shoot there for years and not capture it, I highly recommend a visit if you’re passing through or in the area. The coast of California is one of the most beautiful places in the world in no small part because of the amazing Spanish architecture and an endless highway of charming Mediterranean-like towns where you could get lost forever. Santa Barbara is a jewel. Fitting that such beautiful people chose to couple amongst the water, sand and Sun in one of the greatest towns on Earth.

Congratulations to Jonathan and Charity. It’s hard to find better people. Selfless, kind and extremely talented, we are the lucky ones to witness as their adventure continues….


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