• Michael Ballard

Athena and Alex Sneaks!

First things first, kitties. <3


As for Athena and Alex, well... I remember the initial inquiry received from Athena. Never have I ever learned so much and smiled so big reading an inquiry. So, this isn't what I would normally do, but I'm hijacking and sharing what I experienced before continuing further so you can hear a bit about the couple directly from the amazing bride...


::The inquiry I received from Athena::

ABOUT US & OUR JOURNEY --- He's an electrical engineer who taught me how to whistle with an acorn cap, how to hit a righteous dinger (hitting wiffle balls in the backyard), and nourishes my bizarre tendencies to adore all aspects of critters and nature. I'm a graphic designer and bicycle mechanic who taught him how to better identify bike uh-ohs via noises, how to play hide and seek with a cat, and nourish his developing talents to turn our homegrown peppers into amazing hot sauce. We met ten years ago at OMSI After Dark: Science is Brewing where Alex taught me how to connect an electrical circuit to turn on a light bulb and I showed him the beauty of Portland at night by bike. Smitten we became and together, we made a home in Raleigh, NC where we advocate for biking infrastructure and tend to our garden of goods. We like to ride our bikes like whoa and laugh a lot with (and at) each other. Oh, and we have a delightful little devil spawn of a void-cat named Atlas who also goes on bike rides with us. (If you're really curious about our oddities, you can take a gander at our "website:" www.alexandathena.pizza )


ABOUT THE WEDDING --- Well, neither of us really know what to do for weddings, so there's a healthy dose of silliness. Since my family is in Oregon, we're heading back to our origins of Portland to do the dang thing. The ceremony is at Cathedral City Park where my niece will be our unconventional ring bearer and walk a stuffed animal (Blue the Highland Coo) down the aisle with our rings on the animal's horns. Since our parents are from religious backgrounds, but we are not, it seemed like a cheeky venue to get married with the beautiful architecture resembling a church and all. (We definitely need photographer's input on the best time to take photos in that lovely area.) The reception is at a shared workplace meeting at the south end of Mississippi called Skyrise ( https://www.workinremote.ly/skyrise ). We chose it because it has a bunch of office plants and I since I constantly want/need more plants in my life, we booked it... in January of 2020... because we thought we would be getting married 10.10.2020. It has a funky layout with a photo nook of the Portland skyline. We'll have a band and good grub, but the thing Alex is most excited about is playing a couple songs with the band. Our big "showy" surprise to humor folks is that Alex will get on stage with the band to play The Cars' "Just What I Needed" and I'll be nowhere in sight! But oh...! What's this? Athena struts in from behind the crowd playing her saxophone before joining Alex on stage? Gasp! Afterwards, we are going to roll into Metric's "Black Sheep" with Alex on guitar and myself on vocals. So it'll either be really hilarious or really cringe-o-matic. We're hoping the booze and atmosphere will push it into the "happily entertained" column.


::End inquiry theft portion::


Needless to say, enamored by her inquiry, I was ecstatic at the prospect of shooting this wedding and it went about as incredibly as I could've hoped. The light was crisp under the bridge at Cathedral Park and the night sky was clear, leaving an absolutely beautiful nightscape view from Skyline. Not to mention their badass performance, which was the first time I've ever experienced something so brave and (though I am in no way musically inclined) inspiring at a wedding. Athena and Alex were everything I expected them to be. So one thing, I missed our consultation in the park and I STILL feel like a doofus. I can't believe I missed a meeting, and I totally thought I was going to get dropped as an option, but Athena and Alex were so down to earth and understanding that we continued onward and I'll forever love them for that. Taking their pictures was great as individual shots but best when they were together because they just glow off of one another. They just seem to balance each other out perfectly, like... the fire of the sun and the water in the ocean, they come together to make a sunset in front of the lens. Easy to shoot and naturally stunning. Honestly, what else can I say. They just rock!


Athena and Alex, I appreciate you having myself and my assistant out so much and I hope to run into you sometime when you're back in Portland. Congratulations!!


OH! Incidentally, I have an update to my previous statement regarding my favorite X-files episode. While I typically fall hard for episodes involving the main storyline, I was editing with X-files on in the background (as is the norm in my household) and came back around to Season 3, Episode 20 (Jose Chung's From Outer Space). As a stand-alone, and likely being the most outlandish X-files episode, it pulls itself and creates a certain kind of appreciation, sitting alone in the back of the bus and therefore earning the title of "favorite episode" in my book.


Enjoy!