Brandi + Mike

Springtime in Oregon is full of love, flowering trees, and sun… well, maybe not so much sun. To schedule anything outdoors beyond the 10 day forecast takes a crystal ball and the psychic hotline. But after several rescheduling attempts we made it out to shoot some pre-wedding/engagement photos for Brandi and Mike. I wanted to share some of my favorites and wish these two luck on their upcoming wedding in June!

They’ve known each other since before high school, and with an upcoming casual backyard wedding I thought a nice evening shoot out in the hills East of Newport would be perfect for these two.

I was excited to get out there and see cherry blossoms, a light breeze, and the typical cool spring evening.

There is nothing easier than photographing a couple that really love each other. Something that was apparent through any awkwardness they felt in front of the camera, or uncertainty about this person (me) they had just met.

As the evening wore on we decided to head on down to an old cattle pasture. No pies left, but plenty of room to roam.

Newport is a small town, and after I posted these photos on my Facebook photography page (www.Facebook.com/KrisMillerPhotography), I had several different people approach me to let me know how happy they are these two are together. Best of luck to you both!

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Desktop

Aside

At 7 years old I was sharing the “master” bedroom of our house in Hunter Creek, Or with my 2 younger brothers. Not for a lack of space in the house mind you, but because this particular room was unique. It allowed for all 3 of us to easily fit 3 beds, a full dresser, and within the 3 mirrored closets along the wall all our belongings. It was a bizarrely large room with red and black shag carpet. The mirror on the wall had a bull fighter gold etching on it. Tacky does not begin to describe the oddities in this space.

Being the very particular child that I was at 7 I approached my parents with an outlined plan as to why I should take residence in the “den”. First and foremost it was important that I no longer be forced to try to sleep in a space with the “loud sleepers” that were my brothers. Much to my surprise, request was approved. My own space was on the horizon.

I shuttled all my things down the narrow hallway, far from the sighing, snorting, crinkling plastic bed cover sleep noises that had been my early introduction to insomnia and never looked back. The den, with its book case, 2 closets and most importantly the desk space. There was an inset wall between the 2 closets that allowed for my grandfather’s desk to slide in perfectly. A dark hardwood home base to GI Joe figurines and a place to pen down my many overcomplicated thoughts for age 7. I began journal writing in that place. Realistically it should have been titled “Love Lorn at 7 – Whininess of an Elementary Student”.

For some reason it was so important to me to have that space. I always wanted to feel like a grown up, and with the oversized (for me) chair, heavy drawers and desk light I was able to feel like an overworked middle class adult. Now I am blessed with a daughter who often shows signs of wanting to be a grown up. She has a small table that my mother painted the alphabet on for her where she draws, paints, colors, cuts paper down into the tiniest of pieces just because she can. Her friends come over and they sit across from each other and have meals, giggling the entire time. This table, her desk, has given her that place to explore and be the grown up writing her name on a pad of paper, or the preschooler cramming Dora stickers to every inch of a 3×5″ card. My goal is to always give her that work space she wants to be an artist, to be a writer, or to pretend she is a middle class desk worker, whatever it is she wants it to be.

Sometimes her desk becomes her oversized chair.

Harris Bridge Vineyard

In the winter of 2004 I took my burgeoning wine palette to the holiday festival held at the Lane County Fairgrounds. It was a smorgasbord of wine, desserts, and of course nick-nacky holiday attire and potpourri. Filled with smug (yes, smug) I toured the various wine tables, while the group I was with was far more interested in the other goodies and didn’t mind at all that I was tasting my way to needing someone else to drive. Tucked in a back corner was a newer winery. Not that Oregon is shy on up and coming wineries, but this one had a niche. They only dealt in dessert wines.

As a young wine drinker this was immediately appealing since all new wine drinkers like sweet wine. Oh yeah, and they alcohol content was higher. I got to talking to the co-owner of the winery, Amanda Sever, and pledged that if I someday had a wine shop or restaurant I would sell their wines! As she was in the back corner, and many people had passed many other drinking pit stops on the way there, I am sure she was getting plenty of promises. Two years later though I was managing a small wine shop in Newport, Or and they were one of the first calls I made to stock the shelves.

Skipping ahead to present day, I’ve enthusiastically sent people to Nathan and Amanda’s growing winery down a rutted gravel road in Wren, Or. Nestled next to one of Oregon’s historic covered bridges they keep a small vineyard and produce dessert style pinot noir and pinot gris, and soon some liqueur! The cozy barn type structure that houses their vineyard caretaker, story writer, and tasting room frequently hosts live music events and various other activities.

I frequently call dessert style wines “candy wine”. The easy drinking high sugar wines that can easily take advantage of a person with their drinkability don’t always have a wide reach when it comes to being appreciated.  But the variety here is what makes them special. A series of whites that are sweet and smooth served chilled, butted up against a series of reds that teeter on reminding me (at least) of a light port wine.

I’ve taken many ney sayers by for a sample over the years, and not one of them didn’t find something they liked and very often times purchased. 

The comfortable environment, the friendly wines and pourers make this an incredibly inviting stop between the valley and the Oregon coast. Find them on Facebook. Browse their website. Each bottle of wine has a “story” affixed to the top above the cork, enjoy their story while making your own.

www.harrisbridgevineyard.com/

Did I mention they have lawn games on nice days?