When photographer friends explore, play in the rain + take endless pics

Michele DeVries.... 
The amazing wedding photographer I was once highly intimidated by.
The incredible mentor I so luckily got.
The irreplaceable friend that I unexpectedly gained.

People ask how on earth we met, it's a random little story that starts with what you'd least expect: a little blonde haired boy, and a little red haired boy, both growing up in small town Iowa, down the street from one another. 

That blonde haired boy? Mark. Married Michele.
That red haired boy? Wes. Married me. 

Sometimes I believe that Wes and Mark's crazy long-running friendship was all meant to be, because without it - Michele and I would likely have never met. And once I got past my unnecessary intimidation of her - I realized, and will now never forget, what an incredible and wonderful person and friend she is - and how lucky I am to know her! 

We've had a lot of fun times together in Colorado, where her and Mark used to live. We are bound to have several good times in Idaho - where they now live. We're even bound to have some good times in random places in between Missouri and Idaho at this point! We've had a ton of phone calls that lasted hours and hours. And we email/text each other on the regular. Anddddd because she's so freakin' awesome.....and in the middle of her busy season came to visit me - we now have had a truly fantastic time hanging out together in Kansas City!! 

After grabbing her from the airport on an exciting Wednesday morning, we spent those initial hours just talking it up nonstop. There may have been some food mixed in, I think. Actually, we talked nonstop the entire 3 days she was here - so much so, that we both nearly lost our voices. Hashtag: worth it. We did some exploring together too - she had hoped to see some of my favorite places to shoot, we both hoped to go on "photo safari's" and we planned to take fun head-shots of each other - all among other things!

Our first stop for exploring was at one my favoriteeeee KC wedding venues! The Legacy at Green Hills!! After having walked essentially the furthest possible distance away from my car...a MONSOON unleashed from the skies! Thank goodness we had brought umbrellas!

The time it took us to walk back to my car in the pelting rain meant that naturally, the rain had stopped, so we visited some spots near the house to take some fun pics! 

Editors note: Photographers are generally more comfortable behind the camera. Put us in front of one and we're bound to get awkward, and giggle a whole lot - HENCE:

We attempted some "cool wind in the hair shots" and both laughed until we nearly had really embarrassing accidents. Something we both learned about each other during this set of photos - aside from us having weak bladders - is that we both actually LOVE out of focus/blurry shots!! Those blurry shots of me are some my favorite ever!

We headed from there to one of my other favoriteeeee KC venues - Eighteen Ninety! We ended up running into an even bigger and heavier monsoon on the way - I'm talking driving 35mph in a 70mph zone with my flashers on!

Soon after arriving at 1890, the rain had slacked once again, but thunder kept rumbling. Photos would have definitely happened there had my hair not suddenly started standing on end and had Michele not practically drug me back to my car. As someone who shoots at ski resorts in Colorado on the regular, she's way more keen than I am to noticing electricity in the air and knowing a lightning strike might occur!

SOOOOO....onward and upward to downtown Weston! Another favorite spot of mine!! This is where things got superrrr fun! The rain kept coming with on and off again showers, our shoes came off, we ran up and down the middle of Main St, we jumped in rain puddles, and we laughed.....we laughed so. much.

Michele made puddle jumping look easy peasy! 200+ shots later of me jumping in a different puddle....I had long since realized it actually isn't so easy when you're trying too hard to nail a certain look..............Newsflash: The next day when we were looking through all the photos of me and that dang puddle...we both realized that the shot we kept aiming for (the initial splash of my one foot hitting the water) wasn't as favorable as the ones where my foot is justtttt about to hit the water. All those shots man, all those shots, and we totally had nailed it early on and had no idea!

From there the rain started back up a little again, so we decided to play in the middle of the street - where I could notttt stop laughing, where I attempted a "Mary Poppins" look for a photo (AND NAILED IT), and where we learned that Michele has some highly entertaining jumping skills....

The next day we were up and headed to the downtown KC area in search, primarily, for colorful walls! Targets were most definitely acquired!

I knew I wouldn't be doing the best job I could be with showing an out of state photographer cool areas in KC for photos if I didn't show Michele the famous, Loose Park. Soooooo this was our next stop! We attempted some classic headshots, some profesh stuff - but in no time at all we were acting like children, again, instead.

Exhausted and starving, we had lunch at one of my favorite places - Opera House, and then explored on foot just a tad around The River Market

Almost all "pictured out" - we headed back to my house and knew that we couldn't call her trip complete, and all the photos and new headshots a total success, if we didn't end up with at least a couple photos of us TOGETHER! - An hour later.....and we ended up with a few good ones! (and a TON of greattttt outtakes)






When you're sooo sure you're nailing that "wind in the hair" and you're sooo not even close.


Left image: probably what I look like when I see a cat (there was no cat)
Right image: my Vanna White skills, obvs.


Left image: absolutely no idea.
Right image: "I bet there's a cat up there!!" (there was still no cat)


When you're unsure about the loose concrete below that puddle, so you size it up, and proceed with extreme caution 


Just a couple of my typical "thinking faces"


Learned a fun fact about myself via Michele's photos - when I laugh, I fold.


Getting a little tired from all the puddle jumping...


When you take those puddle jumps a little too seriously and you end up looking like a non-graceful swan - then of course, you can't stop laughing at yourself.


HEY remember when I mentioned the loose concrete in that puddle!!??


When you both decide that maybe you should just stand in the puddle and jump straight up real quick....and for some reason, that one attempt cracked you up


When Michele got a little slap-happy. Pretty sure that left image needs to be framed on my desk.


"Idk what to dooooo here, what should I do!?"
"Just nevermind, I feel like a goober!"


Did you see the size of that FISH!?


Likely the look Michele got A LOT of....


Sorry bro, I think my timing was way off on that one....but you look awesome for sure!


When I had one of my many uncontrollable laughing fits at our level of ridicouslessness 


Everything from here til the end is a compilation of the numerous outtakes we had when trying to - 
1. Figure out how to trigger the camera from Canon's app.
2. Realizing it was being triggered.
3. Being reallyyyy unsure of what to do with our hands, ourselves, everything.
4. Me having a genuine nose itch and Michele seeing it as an opportunity.
5. When I just gave up and left Michele hanging (sorry dude).
6. When we had a random outfit change - that I still don't understand?? 

Totally sad that this is the end of this post!! I bet you are too :)

To say that we had a blast together would be the biggest possible understatement. This girl has become SUCH an incredible friend of mine over recent years and this awesome trip to KC of hers - I'm pretty certain - is the start of more trips for her, for me, and for us going places and exploring together, and holyyyy crap I can't wait!