Yosemite Elopement Adventure with Liz and Travis | Yosemite Wedding Photographer | Adventure Elopement Photographer

Yosemite Adventure Elopement

Wedding Couple Travis & Liz
Yosemite National Park, CA.
Adventure Wedding Photographer Charleton Churchill

epic mountain couple wedding photos camping on ledge with headlamps at taft point yosemite photographed by Yosemite wedding photographer Charleton Churchill

The Beginning

Adventurous couple, Travis and Liz, reached out to me wanting to elope with small number of family in Yosemite. They wanted something epic and unique. They were willing to camp out in a tent overnight. Both were willing to hike whatever miles to get dreamy photos. Further, Travis and Liz were willing to do whatever it took for the best adventure wedding photos. And because they were committed to try anything, they gained quite a few images that I’m proud to share here.

Just before sunset, they hiked to Taft Point with an intimate number of people for a short elopement ceremony. The booked me for two days, so after their ceremony, I was to meet up with them to hike, explore, and capture their love together as a wedding couple around Yosemite. And it seems like the longer I guide couples around adventurous destinations, the more crazy stories I collect along the way. Yes, I will explain later.

Adventuring in Yosemite

As we started our journey, I wanted to attempt something with my couple that nobody had done before in the park. First, it would take more time, and second, more logistics in planning the shot. It had been in my head for a while. It was a massive cliff face where I would have to get to the other side of the canyon for the image. So we did it. I have included the image below as a vertical if you want to view from a desktop.

Later, after discussing which waterfalls were actually flowing this time of year and getting input from locals, we decided on one. Our couple threw their backpacks on and hiked in their wedding attire like beasts. They are involved in quite a few athletic circles. When we arrived, the waterfall was slim, but I was planning on it and I brought the appropriate lenses to get more oomph out of the images. The images turned out better than I expected.

Accident at Taft Point

Later on that day, our plan was to head up to Taft point for sunset photos on Glacier Point road. We decided to forgo it until the following evening. I had some new ideas I wanted to try out on my couple that would require hiking back in the dark. The following morning, we got word that a couple fell to their death from Taft Point (which is where we were originally supposed to be when that happened). Had we followed through with our plans to take photos at Taft Point until after dark, we might have been a part of a rescue situation. That would be have been very emotional.

After experiencing the massive 7.8 earthquake on Mt. Everest back in 2015 which killed nearly 10,000 people and caused emotional trauma to my adventure wedding couple, I’m thinking it would have been not good for us to be there when it happened. It’s not something a wedding couple should experience for their wedding memories, unless there was an opportunity to save a life. It was sad enough just hearing about it in the park. With my couples, we are always promoting safety. At Taft Point, you can stand 10-15 feet away and still get that cliff photo without having to stand at the edge.

Exploring Photos at Yosemite

That being said about safety, you have to know your boundaries and the people around you on your journey. Travis and Liz are both adventurers and great people to be with on the trail. We had good conversation and I trust their judgement. We captured a few images that required more thought, safety, and communication, so we played it safe.

On the short way down the 4-mile panorama trail, off to the side of the canyon, before sunrise, I was hiking. I saw a guy with a wing-suit who was just about to base jump. I scared him as I came through the bushes. He thought I was someone else, as I learned it’s illegal to base jump in Yosemite. As he jumped, I got a few images.

The last part of the day, we headed up to both Sentinel Dome and Taft Point for some image during sunset, which was amazing! By the time the sun had dipped and it got dark, everyone had left except us. We were excited to experiment with a new idea for a photo (or maybe I was; I think by this time, we were a little tired and hungry). Plus the joy of hiking back in the dark and stars above us.

As I left in my Tacoma, I saw Travis and Liz pulled over on the side of the narrow road ahead. I stopped in the middle of the road, rolled down my window, and asked if everything was okay. They smiled and said they were just sitting and staring at the rise of the full moon together through the mountains. And that was coolest end to my time with them.

Please leave a comment below and say hello! Let me know you visited.

Piper’s Angels

Lastly, Travis and Liz are amazing, not only because they are good people, but because they started a non-profit organization called Pipers Angels Foundation, with a mission to support and improve the lives of families in the cystic fibrosis community. They want to make a huge difference in the lives of those who are living with CF day to day. Why? Because you need to hear his story on Tedx. Their daughter’s name is Piper. Listen here in the first three minutes and you’ll be hooked.  If you would like more information on how you can get involved or would like to donate to the cause, you can go here:  www.pipersangels.org


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Below are the images where I photographed the wing-suit base jumper just as he was jumping as I explained above. This is illegal in Yosemite National Park.

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Big Sur Elopement Wedding Photography | Pfieffer Beach | Big Sur Lodge

Nate and Harper eloped in Big Sur, California at the Big Sur lodge. With their son along, they adventured together for photos along the trails and beaches Big sur provided. Traveling from out of state, we met together before their elopement and hit up some of the areas I had scouted out before arriving. I came early and hiked some new terrain for me and for future couples. Crazy side story, but while on the trail, I ran into a Tahoe wedding couple I had photographed last year. Small world.

After exploring, we hit the trails for a little time before the ceremony, drank lots of water, snacked on veggies along the way, and enjoyed the company of their son who entertained us. We headed to Big Sur lodge for their elopement ceremony where they planned for a woodsy backdrop. Emotions were felt that made their ceremony more than just a simple exchange of vows. After finishing up, we headed to Pfieffer beach State Park for sunset photos to wrap up their experience together. Here are some of the images from their elopement day. Congratulations to the both of them.

Venue: Big Sur Lodge
Photographer: Charleton Churchill Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Dana from Big Sur Lodge
Wedding Officiant: Soaring Starkey from Big Sur Ceremonies
Extra Locations: Pfieffer Beach State Park, CA.

big sur elopement landscape of beach ocean popular placebig sur beach landscape photo dark blue oceanelopement couple romantic photos in big sur cliff area along the beachcute big sur destination wedding photos along coastcouple from out of state getting married in big surepic adventurous big sur wedding photo overlooking beach and coastcouple's son adventure wedding in big sur along the beach with waves and an epic clifffamily gathered over looking the ocean at big surbig sur wedding photos along famous bridgeelopement destination wedding near famous bridgebig sur lodge wedding ceremonyemotional groom son of wedding couplestate park wedding in the woods of redwood treesceremony at big sur lodge with their songroom at woodsy ceremony son has the ring of the bridesoaring Starkey at big Sur Ceremonies leading the ceremony at big sur lodgeelopement ceremony holding handslodge at big sur elopement ceremony with red rosesgroom sharing a kiss with his bridecandid elopement photos at big sur pfieffer beachcandid natural photos of wedding couple at the beach of big surPfieffer beach state park wedding photos of couple kissing in the sunset for romantic imagebig sur pfieffer beach elopement photospfieffer beach elopement couple having fun after wedding ceremonypfeiffer beach state park elopement photographerbig sur wedding photos at the beach pfieffer state park beach couple marriedcandid family photo after exchange of vowsbig sur beach wedding photography just marriedBig sur pfeiffer beach wedding photographer at state park with elopement couple during warm sunset hilarious elopement photos at big sur



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Yosemite National Park’s Permit Policies | Wedding and Elopement Photographers


yosemite adventure wedding and elopement booking rules for permits in the national park


(this blog post is in no way endorsed by Yosemite National Park or any National Park of the USA. For more information, please visit the Yosemite National Park website.



Dear Fellow Photographers who are hired to capture couples in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite’s wedding permit department is responsible for managing all the wedding requests, permits, and licensing in the Park. There has been some confusion. Some of you have heard that Yosemite has been cracking down on photographers and couples without a permit and that is true. Some of you have been turned around without a permit.

Yosemite is trying to keep track of the weddings in the park while trying to maintain a generous park experience for all.

It is well known that if you are a couple getting married inside Yosemite National Park, you (the couple) must apply for a permit and be approved before having your ceremony. However, they are working on revising rules for photographers and weddings in the park for a better experience.



If you are a photographer hired to photograph a wedding or elopement in Yosemite National Park, or even an engagement session, photo shoot, etc., whether it is at the top of Glacier Point or at the Majestic Hotel, your couple is currently required to apply for a PERMIT. You must be with the couple and they must have a permit. Apply here for a permit YOSEMITE WEDDING PERMIT




  1. If I have an engagement session, adventure session, portrait session in the park, does the couple still need a permit?
    Answer: yes.
  2. What is the cost for a Yosemite wedding permit?
    Answer: The cost right now is $150. More information can be accessed on the Yosemite website below.
  3. I have a Yosemite wedding coming up soon, is it too late to apply?
    Answer: No, you can still apply.
  4. Where can I read more information about Yosemite Weddings?
    Answer: Visit the main Yosemite Website for more info here: YOSEMITE WEDDINGS.


If you have more questions, you can contact the Permit Department here:



For wedding permit information contact by email or by phone 209/379-1858.

Attn: Catherine Carlisle-McMullen
Special Park Uses/Film & Weddings
Yosemite National Park
P.O. Box 700
El Portal, CA 95318


If you are searching for a Yosemite wedding photographer for your wedding or adventure elopement, you may visit here:
Charleton Churchill Photography


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Charleton Churchill is an Wedding and Adventure Elopement Photographer who inspired the adventure wedding movement with hiking couples wearing backpacks & rugged mountain boots in their wedding attire from Mt. Everest in 2015 & 2017.


Named Among the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the United States and Canada


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