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

 

Yosemite elopement of adventure couple at Taft Point over a cliff during sunset after their wedding ceremonywedding couple romantic walk holding hands down yosemite valley road during the fall season in wedding dress with bouquet bride and groom petting a deer in yosemite national parkwindy cold day during wedding photos in national parkelopement couple in yosemite on grainite during a windy day in the valley viewyosemite couple holding in the wind with wedding gown in the fallepic wedding dress photo in the wind at yosemite morning stylish coupleepic yosemite wedding photo of cliff face by charleton churchill photographyfall season wedding photos in Yosemite with wedding couple in the leaves during Octoberyosemite fall color wedding photosfall color elopement wedding bride and groom in yosemite national park in the yellow orange leavesbride and groom crossing the yosemite river hopping rocksadventuring couple hiking down steep mountains in yosemite with packpacks and a bouquet for wedding photoswedding couple creative photos in the waterfall with a bouquet in the golden hours with romantic lovewaterfalls in yosemite national park with eloping couple as bridalveil falls and yosemite fallsepic landscape photos in yosemite with granite rock everywhere and married couple hiking elopement couple in the park of yosemite down slippery granite rock in wedding attirehiking down to the water falls in the fall time for bride and groom hiker photosepic yosemite adventure couple near waterall for photographyadventure elopement photographer charleton churchill captures couple in the yosemite waterfall while groom smilesbride photos in yosemite with watefall behind hergroom photos with nikon lens and camera with stylish groom wear on granite rockmassive rock waterfalls in yosemite with wedding bride and groom in water composition after a hike to the fallscouple hiking in yosemite national park with adventure photographer Charleton Churchillvalley view trees and rock with elopement couple up close and personalel capitan rock with married couple in the valley field together holding each otherfall color wedding photos in yosemite with the sun shinging through the treessunset wedding photo inspiration photos with sun glaring through the weeds and trees in yosemite valleyintimate up close image with couple during intimate wedding photoswater reflection photos at the yosemite bridgesunset photos in yosemite with a prophoto b2 light and an alpen glow off the mountains of half dome and el capitanprofoto b2 light and landscape photos in yosemite adventure couplecouple taking a romantic walk along the granite rock of yosemite valley in the october fall season

Below are the images where I photographed the wing-suit base jumper just as he was jumping as I explained above.

wing suit base jumper stranger in yosemitebase jumper in wing suit in the national parkwing suiter jumping off cliffepic adventure wedding photo of half dome and wedding couple in a blanket at yosemite national parkwedding couple in a brown blanket with half-dome in the backgroundtop epic adventure wedding photos in yosemite with couple over cliff and half dome in the background by yosemite wedding photographer charleton churchillcreative places to photograph in yosemite glacier point during sunrise sentinel dome wedding couple hiking around in wedding attirecold wedding fall photos of couples hiking on trail for an elopement at a National park in USAfashionable wedding photo in the wilderness on top of granite rock and old tree overlooking viewelopement adventurous couple hiking in the wildernessyosemite wedding couple hiking near sunset on taft point and sentinel dome with wedding dress and stylish suitromantic warm sunset photos in yosemite for top elopement photographer travis suit and bride liz stand on the trail rock at taft point after hiking in a wedding dresstaft point sunset elopement photos in yosemite in stylish wedding dressthe top epic wedding photos of couple on a cliff at taft point for eloping in the mountainsepic mountain wedding photo of elopement couple on taft point cliff during sunset after hiking trail in the eveningbeautiful sunset of adenture wedding couple at point overlooking view in the coldhiking wedding couple in yosemite by charleton churchill adventure elopement photographercamping wedding photos with couples wearing headlamp over cliff at yosemite's taft point

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New Zealand Adventure Wedding, Mt. Cook, Queenstown | Adventure Elopement Photographer

NEW ZEALAND ELOPEMENT PHOTOS
Mt. Cook Aoraki National park
Queenstown, New Zealand

Adventure Wedding Photographer
Charleton Churchill

Jason and Heather’s New Zealand Adventure Wedding in Mt. Cook, Queenstown, and Glenorchy.

top mount cook new zealand wedding photos in Aoraki national park with heather & jason | Adventure Elopement photographer charleton churchill

 

ADVENTURE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN NEW ZEALAND STORY

Jason and Heather contacted me last year originally for a wedding in my local area of California where they booked a popular wedding venue, a top wedding planner, and the whole bit. Some time later, they called me and told me they were canceling the wedding. I was saddened to hear the news. However, they did say they wanted to still use me and plan an adventure wedding. There was no hesitation. I was ready.

Heather and Jason ultimately planned on New Zealand for their destination wedding adventure. Jason had a love for the Lord of the Rings movies and they both wanted something epic. While they both wanted some beautiful landscape photos capturing them married together with the jaw-dropping views, they expressed they didn’t have a huge interest in hiking mountains like my Mt. Everest wedding or the sixteen mile elopement hike in Montana we did last year with another couple. I understood.

FIRST DAY

I had photographed two couples while in New Zealand. Jason and Heather were my second couple. And while my first couple hiked everywhere, Heather and Jason got their adventure. On the first day, it was pouring, cold, and windy while we were hanging out at Mt. Cook National Park. I had hiked the previous day and explored the Aoraki mountains while it was good weather. After the first day of rain, the next day was sprinkling and the mountains were somewhat visible, but there remained a slight chance for photos. So, we decided let’s do it. Let’s capture some images regardless of the weather and make it work.

What happened next after getting dressed up was a series of brief escapes out of our heated car and into the rain to capture glimpses of them. Jumping back into the car to reheat and dry off, we would wait until the rain would slow to a mist and we’d be back outside for more. Jason and Heather worked hard for their photos and fortunately they booked me for the two day package and then some. Because of poor visibility, we weren’t able to capture much of the Mount Cook mountains. However, in the next few days we would be given beautiful weather in Queenstown where we finished our photos.

NEW ADVENTURE

I had some ideas and asked my couple if they were up for a challenge. I always like to try something different for each couple. I talked to our helicopter pilot with his input and he was game. We dropped them off at a high point where there was a cliff with wind blowing on both sides while they hunkered down. From this vantage point, we got the most incredible images. Our heli pilot said that my couple was brave (actually he said crazy). Originally Jason and Heather told me they didn’t want any crazy hiking adventures. The hilarious part is they attempted and executed something most couples wouldn’t do according to our heli pilot of twenty plus years. We could only get a few images because the wind was difficult.

As a result of this wedding adventure, I have to share that New Zealand has some of the most beautiful mountains to photograph. The southern Alps go for days. I would love to return to climb Mt. Cook or at least some of the mountains around the National Park area. There’s so much to discover. Jason and Heather picked an awesome destination for wedding photos. Congratulations to the both of them.

 

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Kirkwood Hope Valley Wedding | Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer

Hope Valley Wedding, Kirkwood, California
Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer

Camping and Outdoor Wedding Celebration
Photographer Charleton Churchill

 

hope valley wedding couple california

 

Hope Valley Campout Wedding

Hope Valley. Aaron and Jennifer wanted a rustic wilderness wedding. They are an easy going great couple. They wanted a unique location that reflected their love for the outdoors. Thus, the idea of renting out the entire campgrounds for a campout wedding in Hope Valley for close friends and family was created. Brilliant. No doubt, if I were to redo my wedding, this would be my plan. Hope Valley is a beautiful place in the Lake Tahoe area if you ever get a chance to visit.

 

Their Outdoor Wedding Story

They began at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California, getting ready for the day. This resort is one of the best skiing/snowboarding resorts with 22 summer mountain biking trails. Aaron and some of his groomsmen had worked on staff at Kirkwood, so the location was symbolic. But it also provided that rustic element to their wedding day. It was only a short time there before we left and toured with the wedding party to capture some images along the journey. Aaron and Jennifer decided to see each other before the ceremony. It was their chance to capture some images together along the way to Hope Valley, stopping at different locations along hwy 88, that didn’t require any hiking before exchanging vows.

Once we arrived to Hope Valley, tents were setup, wooden signs were hanging, table decorations were in place, and the rugged ceremony location was surrounded by creative chopped logs. The guys had been hard at work designing wooden benches, wooden signs, and wooden steps to cross the stream. Then looking into the meadow off in the distance, you can view the Tahoe mountains. Certainly, a gorgeous location for any wedding or an adventure elopement.

After the short ceremony, they went back and played games, horseshoes, and casually hung in pockets of conversation, drinking to their hearts content. Dinner was served, speeches were shared, and there was a night hike later that evening that I wasn’t able to attend. Finally, the night ended with roasting s’mores together around campfire.

In all, they had a pretty amazing wedding. Congratulations to Jennifer and Aaron.

Lodging Preparations: Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Ceremony: Hope Valley Campgrounds
Reception: Hope Valley
Photographer: Charleton Churchill

 

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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.

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

WEDDINGS | ADVENTURE ELOPEMENTS | BASED NEAR LAKE TAHOE & YOSEMITE

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