Cyrus//Kara. Murphy Dome Proposal. Alaska.

Cyrus proposed to Kara a year ago at the same exact spot we documented them renewing their proposal. Murphy Dome at the rock. Sunset. Picnic. Italian Liquor. The whole nine yards. This was it.

They get ready at their home, helping each other in their clothes, packing for the picnic, and trying to find the dog’s collar. We arrive at the scene. It’s overcast. We don’t care. Cyrus breaks out the liquor and Kara lays down a blanket on top of this massive rock in the middle of nowhere. They talk about there day. They laugh. They try to get the dog to stay. This is life. We wander off to find more rocks. We tell them to stand there or look at each other here. They are relaxed, comfortable, and up for anything. Our ideal couple. It’s nearing sunset. We head back to the rock where Cyrus proposed only a year earlier. We tell Kara to get very emotional. This has to be for real. We tell them to walk towards the sunset, and tell Cyrus to do it just like last time. He gets down on one knee. Kara starts tearing up. The light is so golden. It silhouettes them against the dark sky. Magic.

To view more of our engagement/proposal sessions: DonBarrington Photography.

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Quartz Lake Photographers

We want to share this family session as a part of our “Family Project Series” Julia and I have embarked on in Fairbanks, Alaska for the 2014 summer/fall. The family project consists of us photographing families in their natural environment, doing an activity, together. Our goal, as a newly married couple, is to connect with other like-minded families and try to understand what it means to be a family. If any local families are interested in becoming part of this project don’t hesitate to shoot us an email here .

We asked Tonja a few questions about what it means to be a family. Here are her responses. . .

How important is photography to you? Both of us have always found photography to be a way capture an emotion, a memory, or feeling. I like looking at photos and remember being there that day what it felt like what it smelled like. All that frou frou stuff.

What is your favorite activity to do as a family? Just be together, but we like to play music, take photos, make a mess the usual.

What does family mean to you? lots of things. dinners, birthdays, adventures, holidays, learning, and loving each other the way God intended.
What is one of the most difficult things about being a family? Sometimes you just want some “alone time” that doesn’t happen much.

Reversely, what is the best thing about being a family? You have these people in your life forever. They are worth spending the extra effort when things are rough and they are there for you and with you in those things. However when the times are good, they are the best. Stuff like that makes you appreciate each other. Its cool to watch us all grow together. -Tonja LaBuda


There are no words that can describe this legend of a family. I’ve photographed Josh and Tonja’s wedding and engagement session, a few years back, both were nothing short of epic. They pretty much jump started my photography career with word of mouth, referrals, and portfolio build. And now with Levi in the picture we just had to shoot them again. When Tonja heard we were doing this family project she was like, “we have to go to our lake house. It’s where we always go to getaway from Fairbanks. We have so many memories there, and it would be grand if you and Julia could come shoot us!” Well, not exactly word for word, but something along those lines. We penciled in a date and we made it happen.

We drove two hours to Quartz lake. By the time we got there nightfall had settled in. Josh and I paddled across the lake with Tonja, holding Levi, and Julia in tow. When we reached the cabin Levi was passed out so Tonja and Josh put him to bed, and after we hung by the fire, which Josh built. The next day we had breakfast fit for a king, walked the trails, played music, went fishing, played cards, and mainly just hung out. We tried to document everything. This is what we came away with.

To view more of my weddings and families: DonBarrington Photography.



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