Jessie & Jason have always been charmed by the ocean and Southern California’s coastal landscapes, so much so that they’re planning their wedding ceremony to take place on East Beach in Santa Barbara this October. So it really wasn’t unusual when Jessie & Jason told me that they wanted to meet up at one of their favorite oceanfront spots (Carpinteria Bluffs Preserve) to shoot their engagement photos. But with all our planning, one thing that was impossible for us to foresee was that an oil pipeline would burst the day before our scheduled session, just 12 miles up the coast in Santa Barbara. Had Santa Barbara officials been accepting volunteer clean-up help on the beaches, we would have undoubtedly been there instead (not shooting engagement photos silly, but rolling up our sleeves and helping however we could). It was hard to bare the thought of helpless sea life being absorbed into the grave mess that had erupted only the day before. I can’t quite remember if the faint smell of oil had even reached us in Carpinteria, but there was one thing I know for sure: As we explored the open space, riding bicycles through the stunning bluffs and cooing at the ocean as the sun set around us, we were unflinchingly grateful of the seemingly untouched natural beauty that we were still able to enjoy.