Oh shoot! The miraculous fall and rise of Molly’s senior portraits

We wrapped up Molly’s senior portrait shoot during a perfect golden hour. A soft yellow haze glinted off the Fox River and, capably aided by the photographer’s assistant (/husband/our friend/Dr. McKenzie), lit Molly’s face perfectly.

Her hair blew softly in the gentle breeze as she posed on the abandoned railroad trestle. Fish jumped and a songbird cooed.

I stood sweating in a “this has been a really cool 2 1/2 hour shoot but I’m going to need a shower now” way, and watched our gifted friend/photographer Catherine work. She had taken indoor shots and garden shots, against brick church walls and in cool, dark alleys as we made our way through most of the city.

I knew the pictures would reflect Molly in her sweet, quirky, deep-thinking, stubborn, non-conformist ways. Plus, we’d had a lot of fun.

“How about one more of just you two?” Catherine said as we wrapped up.

“Well, I haven’t showered and I don’t want to break your camera,” I said. But I posed anyway, thinking, if nothing else, we’d have a nice commemorative photo of our lovely summer day.

We stopped, slung our arms around each other, smiled, heard the camera click three times and then turned to go.

A crash stopped us.

“The camera!” someone shouted.

We looked back just in time to see Catherine’s camera, brand new state of the art lens, tripod and flash fall into the river and sink.

I think, for just a moment, time stood still. Birds, fish and people stopped and stared, silent and aghast.

We made our way to the edge of the trestle and debated jumping in, until a sympathetic but stern passer-by told us it would be a terrible idea.

“There’s a dangerous current under there,” she said. “Don’t do it.”

So, we didn’t, and for three days we thought all was lost. On the fourth day, though, through good old American optimism, ingenuity, and Google, the camera rose from the dead.

Catherine retrieved the SD card, wiped it off and sealed it in a Ziploc bag with a cup of dry rice. Once it was thoroughly dry, she uploaded the photos and voila!

I documented most of this tale and I’m also sharing a few rescued photos from the shoot. For more of Molly’s photos and the rest of Catherine’s beautiful collection, check out her website at mckenzieimages.com.

Molly and Catherine
The photo shoot started in Molly’s happy place, our kitchen.
Living room shot
It moved to her next happy place, the piano.
Community Garden shot
Molly chose the third location as well, the community garden at our church. I love this picture of Catherine and Todd gamely (and carefully) trudging through the garden.
The last river shot
After a tour through most of Appleton, we ended up here, on an abandon railroad trestle over the Fox River.
…and here are a few of Catherine’s lovely shots. Molly in the community garden…
Against a downtown mural….
…and on the trestle.
This is our Molly.
Here is the last shot that poor camera took, before it backed away in horror and hurled itself over the edge of the trestle.
IMG_7405 (2)
Four days later, Catherine took this shot of Todd and our friend Joe Sina rescuing the camera from the river. Hooray for ingenuity and persistence!

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