Since I posted a couple of these images as a "Sneak Peek" for the family on my Facebook Fan Page right away, I decided to wait to share any more until I had the entire gallery ready to put into a slideshow. That way, you could experience it as we did - from start to finish.
As a side note, I wanted to share a bit about why I choose to only commit to one family for each Homecoming. I thought long and hard about it this summer - there are so many families for whom OpLove could serve, especially in this area. I often have calls or e-mails from many families from each ship, but take clients based on a first-come, first-serve basis. I *could* take more than one and some OpLove photographers do. But, I want to give my families my full attention - from start to finish - and their galleries reflect that. You see them arrive and wait, you see the ship pull in, you see them wait some more ;), and finally, you see their reunion! It is a story.... a story full of anticipation, pride, hope, maybe a bit of trepidation, but ultimately it is a story of happiness and love. Homecomings are not easy - they are hours of time spent at the pier or airport where it can be very hot (especially this summer!) and then more hours back home editing through the mass of photographs to choose the absolute best and prepare them to share. But it's a small sacrifice for me (and all participating photographers) in order to repay our men and women in uniform for the service they give to our country.
So, without further adieu - enjoy the reunion of one sailor from the USS Ashland: