I get asked all the time if I travel to Twentynine Palms for homecomings. The answer is always yes. It's a nearly three-hour drive from Camp Pendleton where I live, but it's worth it every time.
I love the peacefulness of the desert and I'm truly excited and inspired by the piercing blue Mojave sky and the tranquility of an expansive stretch of pitch black heavens.
When Chelsea contacted me to photograph her fiance's homecoming, I didn't hesitate to accept. And when she was worried that a late night arrival would scare me away, I didn't flinch and assured her I'd be there no matter what time. She had flown in from Georgia and her sweet southern accent and demeanor were refreshing and comforting. Although the homecoming was delayed a couple of hours, it was Chelsea's positive energy and electric anticipation that kept me awake and energized. And even when the bus carrying the Marines showed up to the parking lot before stopping at the armory and then had to turn around leaving a crowd of teary-eyed loved ones behind, it was Chelsea's embracing of silver linings that showed me I was in the presence of a really special person.
The bus finally returned with Marines ready to off-load. What unfolded was a truly beautiful and emotional reunion between two young people so incredibly in love. Every time I look at these photos I am reminded that love is all-enduring and so very powerful.
I wish for an amazing future for this couple. Chelsea's Marine has since completed his military career and the two are living a happy little life in the South, attending college, laughing and smiling thru each day they spend together. Here is their homecoming story, enjoy :)