The wind was blowing so hard that Kara had trouble keeping her balance on the bridge, needing to hold onto Dan to not fall into the water below. Without hesitation, Dan put his arm around her back and pulled her in close, giggling at the way that her hair was being blown almost straight up, and whispering jokes into her ear that made her laugh so hard her nose got wrinkly and her cheeks turned almost as red as her dress. We walked along the paths of the West Ridge Nature Preserve, winding in between massive old tree trunks and down rocky hills to find moss covered landings and muddy river banks to find the perfect spots for their couples portraits. They've been together for five years now, and when they told me they met at a local college Dan had attended, I asked Kara if she had gone there too and Dan replied, "No, she just joined my friend group and followed me around." And if that isn't the most relatable beginning to a young love story then I don't know what is.
Once the sun had begun to set more and the orange glow was setting over the north side of Chicago we went over to Lake Michigan in the hopes of getting some portraits in the water. Under the weeping willow in her red dress, Kara told Dan about her plan to get in the icy beach water and as any loving boyfriend with an artistic girlfriend will do, he agreed. It wasn't as pleasant feeling as it came out in photographs (I couldn't feel my feet, so I can't imagine how these two felt chest deep), but the two love birds still got in and splashed around with each other. Even though it was obvious Dan wasn't the most excited about dunking his whole body into the not-yet-warmed-up lake, he could tell how excited Kara was and ended up having a fun time too. The part that I loved most about the shoot with these two? Is that for the few hours we spent together, I didn't even feel like I was "working", I was just enjoying their quiet laughs together, their inside jokes built up over years of experience with one another, and the silly faces Dan made to get Kara to burst out in laughter. Thank you again to Kara and Dan for spending the evening in the gorgeous setting sun and grassy fields with me. :)