Military Homecoming in 29 Palms, California
(To read some of my personal thoughts on military deployment and homecoming, check out another blog I wrote, here. It will open in a new window.)
The McNamara family
There are several kinds of photo sessions that have become my favorites over the last year and a half. Military Homecomings land somewhere very near the top of that list!! Nothing brings joy quite like seeing our great military personnel come home to their friends and families after a long and dangerous separation. Friends who know that I do these often ask me how I do them without crying. My answer? I don't! I end up crying every time!
The McNamara family quickly became dear friends from the moment we met. I've been able to photograph them through their newborn session, two family sessions, and a first birthday cake smash session.
Their adorable little man, Finn, was only TEN DAYS OLD when his dad had to leave for deployment with the Marine Corps. I'm so grateful that they could all be together for Finn's first days! I also can't imagine what they must have all felt knowing that they'd soon have to say, "see ya soon" and wait for their reunion, months later.
Approximately seven months later, homecoming day had arrived!! I was thrilled to be standing out at the field as mom and son eagerly awaited their reunion with dad!
Below, you can see some of the typical sights: The gear arrives, and it is hurriedly lined up, nametags facing up, so that each person's bags can quickly be identified.
Check this out: If you've never been to Twentynine Palms, California, please allow me to let you in on something that's not at all a secret: It's HOT. It's BRIGHT. There are NO CLOUDS in the sky. "High noon" sessions like this offer a few challenges to photographers at any locale, but it Twentynine Palms, these challenges are exacerbated, as there are typically both dark shadows and hot sun spots, and glowing perspiration a-plenty! Also, you'll notice the bright and vibrant green grass from the field that likes to give everyone a green color cast on their skin. Worth covering a homecoming out there, though? YES!! :) Completely!! Every opportunity I had to do this, I was out there on that same field, again and again!
Finn's priceless facial expression seems to hint at something like, "Mom, what's going on?! Why is everyone so excited about those white buses behind me?!"
Everyone looks around for which camouflaged person is THEIR person. Then, they spot each other!! These three photos say it all as he runs closer, closer, and closer!
REUNITED, AT LAST!!
BELOW: This kind of raw emotion is as real as it gets... the moment father and son embrace for the first time after seven long months. Last time they saw each other, he was only ten days old. Now, he's almost seven months old!
Playing with daddy's cover (hat).
More playtime with daddy!
Showing off his son to his friends.
Congratulations, McNamara family, and thank you so much for what you do for us.