The Iguana on Aruba that started it all

Photography was always a family hobby. We had cameras by Rolleiflex, Agfa, Polaroid, and DeJur. For my college graduation gift, my parents gave me an Olympus OM2N that I still have and use. I never thought of photography as more than a hobby until I received an interesting phone call one day.

I had taken a hiatus from the corporate world, and had just returned from traveling to Aruba. Of the many photos I had taken, there was one of an Iguana in a Bougainvillea that I lucked out on. This shy lizard came out of the beautiful red bush just for a quick moment, only to disappear from the sound of the shutter. I was hand holding a 300mm lens patiently, and was rewarded with this one shot.

Iquana in Bougainvillea on Aruba © Paul Haberstroh
Iquana on Aruba © Paul Haberstroh

When I answered the phone, the young women on the other end said, “I saw your lizard, do you do weddings?”.  At first I thought it was a friend playing a joke as I had been bragging about this image being displayed in a well know wildlife and landscape galley in Denver.

I responded that I did not, other than a friends wedding or two that I had taken photos at as a guest and not officially. The young women responded that she really liked how I captured the Iguana, and she was looking for a fresh style for her wedding. I invited her to look at some of my other work with the understanding that I was not a full time professional. We met and agreed that I would be her wedding photographer. The wedding was a success, and to this day I use many of the images for my portfolio. The bride was very happy, and the next thing I knew she was sending me many referrals! Within a year I booked enough weddings to make a living at it! Ten years and 300 weddings later, I never thought an Iguana would cause a career change!

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