Brandon & Ashley

After nearly four years of silence, I’m dusting off this blog to put up some photos of Brandon & Ashley’s wedding from last weekend.

Chances are, if you found this blog, you already know Cozz and/or Ashley, so I don’t need to spend much time introducing them. It’s more likely that you were unable to attend the wedding here in Malawi, so let me give you my perspective on the day.

In short, it was wonderful! We all expected it to rain a little during the day, but were surprised to get rain from early morning to early afternoon. But the weather did not seem to dampen people’s spirits much. Here’s what it looked like…

The Kirk of the Hills chapel at ABC, where the ceremony was held.

The Kirk of the Hills chapel at ABC, where the ceremony was held.

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John and Barbara Grey’s decorations of the chapel were exceptional! They transformed the whole stage into a lush garden of tropical color!

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By the time the ceremony began, there were very few free seats in the chapel.

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Ashley’s cool blue shoes, with peacock feathers!

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And her bouquet had porcupine quills!

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The ringbearers took their responsibility very seriously.

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Derek MacPherson led the bride and her father in with the bagpipes.

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Ashley’s father Paul officiated the ceremony.

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Ashley wore her mom’s wedding veil.

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Ashley and Cozz entered the reception by dancing, as is traditional in Malawian weddings. They were greeted by their hosts and hostesses. And then the pelikani – money dances – began!

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The emcee would announce an occasion for each dance: dances for various people, for the various events like cake-cutting or candle-lighting, or just for a particular song. During each dance, guests would come forward and toss money to the couple. There are cashiers stationed at a nearby table to break larger denominations into smaller ones, so that everyone has lots to throw!

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After each dance, a few people would help sweep the money off the floor and collect it for the cashiers to exchange back to bigger bills. Most dances would yield two or three of these baskets full.

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The garden at Four Seasons Nursery is normally beautiful, but the Sprousens transformed it into an absolutely stunning venue for the smaller, private second reception.

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Cozz and Ashley’s first non-pelikani dance as a couple. 🙂

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Ashley’s parents danced to a Chicago song from their first date.

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Her grandparents had also selected a song from the early days of their relationship.

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The girls were fascinated by the zebra cake, while most of the boys seemed to be satisfied with the other desserts. 🙂

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Ashley’s sister (and bridesmaid) Annabelle giving the couple a toast.

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Last dance before heading off to their honeymoon!

In short, it was a fantastic wedding!

Southwest by Midwest (part 2)

This is continued from Part 1, which you should probably look at first…

More Dodge City.  Boot Hill is a reminder of the most lawless town in the West.

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Another HDR, but I tried hard to make it look realistic.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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COLORADO – The Garden of the Gods
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This was my first go at HDR… I’m not sure how I feel about it.
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Eagle Mountain
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Somewhere along the road, probably in New Mexico.
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ARIZONA again – the Desert Museum
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The raptors were amazing…
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Wile E. Coyote
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Stars
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This river otter was sucking on his tail while he was sleeping…20090225-090225-134337.jpg

By the way, the Desert Museum features all plants and animals that live in the American deserts… it’s amazing how full of life the desert is!
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The Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson
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My grandfather used to call the saguaro cacti “the old generals.”  They stand on guard all around Tucson.
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For another way of looking at my favorite travel photos, check out the Places Gallery on my site.  (When you get there, hit F to go fullscreen!)

Want more Southwest by Midwest?  View the whole gallery.

Southwest by Midwest (part 1)

It’s been a crazy last few months.  We’re settling in here in Malawi, and greatly enjoying our new home.  Things have slowed down a little since we left the US, and we’re finally catching up on sleep.  But there are many other things to catch up on… including posting photos.

In January and February, Rachel and I traveled across a good portion of the USA, sharing about our ministry in Malawi and saying goodbye to friends.  While the goal of the trip wasn’t photography, we couldn’t pass up some of the most beautiful parts of America without making a few quick stops!

It may still be a little while until I have time to take some Malawi photos and put them online.  In the meantime, enjoy a glimpse of wintertime in the heart of America!

ARIZONA – the Grand Canyon…
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This size doesn’t do the wonder of this place justice.  Check out a bigger version here.

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I had John Piper’s quote in my head: “Why do you go to the Grand Canyon?  Why do you go to the Alps?  Do you really go to the glories of creation to see how great you are?  …You go there to see, behold, and enjoy greatness; and the Grand Canyon is nothing compared to God.”
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I played with exposure blending on this one to capture the detail in the shadows.  What do you think?  Does it look unnatural?  Sound off in the comments.
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ARIZONA – The Petrified Forest
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Brr…
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Petrified pebbles?
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The Flattops.  To me, they looked like elephants marching under a giant bedsheet.
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TEXAS
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Route 66 fans will recognize Cadillac Ranch.
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A fitting tribute to GM’s recent bankruptcy…
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Everything’s flatter in Texas.
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KANSAS – Just in time for a Midwest sunset.
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Rachel’s hometown library.
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Gettin’ outta Dodge.
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Wyatt Earp’s statue.  “You skin that smoke wagon and we’ll just see what happens.”
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To be continued in part two