Narragansett on a July weekend is a ‘peopley’ location for a proposal. With the beach drawing vast crowds and, as a result, minimizing available parking spaces. That said, this was Kevin’s choice; this would be tricky I thought, but my job is to make it happen.
Our initial contact was via email but when Kevin and I spoke, he indicated that he and Victoria would be having lunch at the Coast Guard House and that he was open to my suggestions. I immediately thought of State Pier #5, locally know as Monaghan’s Pier (or dock), because it is directly behind Monaghan’s Clam Shack. While Victoria is from Rhode Island, Kevin is from out-of-state. Monaghan’s pier can provide refuge from a bustling beach community because folks typically walk out to the pier, take a photo, stay a few moments and then leave. The pier is a spot where we could have a little ‘privacy’ in a busy area.
One of the tools that I use to share potential locations for out-of-state folks is drone videos found on YouTube, which I supplement with annotated Google map screenshots.
State Pier #5 is easy walking distance from the Coast Gaurd House, a lovely 10 to 15-minute walk along the scenic Ocean Road.
Kevin reviewed the information that I sent him, and he agreed, the pier would be the spot for his proposal.
However, on the Friday before the Sunday proposal, my wife became ill, most likely a summer cold/flu; even so, she had most of the symptoms of COVID-19. I canceled all of my Friday/Saturday activities and notified Kevin (which was a terrible communication – I can only imagine how he was feeling because I felt awful at the possibility of being unable to shoot his proposal.) We are both vaccinated, but to make sure, she set up an antigen test at CVS on Friday, and the results would be ready within one-to-two days.
On Saturday, Kevin checked in with me, but no news is no news. He must have been on tenterhooks. I felt so bad.
At the 59th second of the 59th minute of the 11th hour, CVS came through with a negative result, she was still sick, but it wasn’t COVID; game on!
To complicate matters a little more, the ‘Waterman ECO Challenge’ (a swimming and water sports event) was moved from Saturday to Sunday because of the impact of tropical storm Elsa which had hit Rhode island on Friday. The open water swim would begin at the pier where our shoot would occur. While it would not impact the proposal, it would impact parking near the pier.
I needed a guaranteed parking plan. I reached out to a friend who lived within walking distance to the pier for permission to park at his house: granted!
I sent a text to Kevin at 9:20 am to let him know that I was rolling out my drive with an eta of 30 minutes to ‘Gansett. I arrived at Mike’s house and sent a text to Kevin letting him know that I was in town. In return, Kevin sent me text stating that they would be there at 10:05 am, ahead of schedule. Shoot! There was no way I could get to the pier in 5 minutes and set up. I told Mike of my dilemma, and he told me to jump in his car and drove me to the pier. I ran onto the pier, and it was empty of people, excellent. I had time to set up my camera. This is a very important aspect of a surprise proposal because I have to keep my camera out of sight and then pull it out as the proposal occurs. So, it has to be set up in advance and ready to go for whatever the lighting conditions may be.
And just before Kevin and Victoria arrived, two large family groups walked onto the pier. Ugh, we were working with people traffic! I hid my camera in my holdall, and merged in with the families, using the two families for cover as I got close to Kevin and Victoria.
While watching Kevin’s body language looking for a sign, he took a photo of Victoria and as she tuned around to look over Narragansett, I pulled out my camera – a Canon EOS 1DX with a 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 lens -and Kevin dropped to his knee.