I’ve found that some of the best pictures are unexpected, and there’s no substitute for simply being there, being present and being ready. Sometimes that means waiting for something that never happens, not a personal first choice when you’ve been carrying cameras and on your feet for ten hours. Receptions can seem repetitive at times, with the third and fourth hours of dancing being remarkably similar. But things change at the end. Most of the guests have said goodbye, the music has ended, and the lights have come up, the caterer’s desperate plea for everyone to go home. The wedding has gone from being a public event back to a private one, the couple and their die hard crew, family and friends that might as well be. There is pivot from celebration back to intimacy, a last chance to share feelings that rarely find expression.

So I pack up my lights, but I leave my cameras out. Still watching, lingering, wandering about as the band has left and the tables and chairs are back in the truck. I’m almost certain there’s nothing left, but I keep that one camera and lens in hand, waiting just a little longer. Because you never know.