Jackson Hole Wedding Photographer at the Grand Teton National Park
Adventure Elopement and Wedding Photographer Charleton Churchill
It’s always anticipating to return to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to adventure with wedding couples amongst the Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Hole has much to offer for destination weddings and elopements that I receive requests to photograph there often. It has all the rugged mountain scenery, lakes, and trails anyone needs for epic mountain photos. The Tetons showcase that jagged peak look, which brings in that intimidating formidable look to my photos. I’m pleased to share some of Jeremie and Aysegul’s Teton elopement photography, my most adventure wedding. There’s much to share, but I’ll keep it short.
GETTING MARRIED IN JACKSON HOLE WYOMING
If you want get hitched, there are many popular Jackson Hole Wedding venues available in the area; more than I can list here. Diamond Cross Ranch, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club, Four Seasons Resort, and Jackson Museum of Wildlife Art are among them. If you want to elope in Jackson Hole, then you book an adventure elopement photographer who knows the area well. That’s where I enter.
I guide my wedding couples to scenic locations, popular or unique, like here on this Grand Teton Couples Adventure. Hiking with my couples, short distances or longer, is usually part of the day. Sometimes, we just pull over if the light is good or there’s eye candy. Some of my objectives are looking for the best light, while having a little fun and relaxing through the day. I want to keep everything as natural as possible, allowing for candids and moments to happen. Sometimes, wildlife will appear like it did on this trip.
SUNRISE WITH THE MOOSE
For Jeremie and Aysegul’s wedding adventure, we started at sunrise, which was cold. We sat in our cars with the heaters on until there was enough light to shoot. The clear sky was starting to appear, so we got out of the vehicles to make our way. A Moose was drinking from the river. I was like quietly yelling, “Hurry up, take your jacket off, and let’s get down here! There’s a moose! Hurry!”
We didn’t want to get close. We kept our distance. My couple removed their warm jackets and I captured a few images in the short time we had before the moose took off. It was incredible. The light was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to our photo session. We captured images with the Teton’s in the background, images at iconic locations, and then we hiked to a waterfall and saw a bear.
THE WEDDING BEAR ENCOUNTER
We had planned to get some photos at a specific waterfall. As we arrived, we saw quite a few people at a viewing location further away from the falls. I took my couple passed all the tourists and we got up real close to the falls. As I am giving some direction to my couple, my bride, Aysegul says emphatically, “Oh my Gosh, there’s a bear!”
My back was to the bear, so when she dramatically pronounced it, my first instinct was that a grizzly bear was behind me. Now keep in mind, I see many bears in Yosemite, Tahoe, and other National and State Parks, and they always walk away from me, keeping their distance. I turned around and this bear is walking towards us without fear. I quickly noticed it was a black bear, but this time it wasn’t walking away, but towards our direction.
So my adrenaline started up and I went full ape on the bear, yelling at the bear, clapping my hands making loud noises, chest out, and standing my ground. I’m selling my confidence to the bear remaining in charge, trying to be protective of our area and my couple. He starts walking below me on the rocks and he turns his head and stares at me; I stop walking towards him, still yelling loud. I didn’t want to advance the bear to create any threat.
My backpack with gear and food was off to the right, where he started to make his way. I was thinking I needed to protect my gear also. I know this because when I was in high school youth group on a hiking trip in the wilderness, a bear literally took one of our backpacks and dragged it away, teeth marks through a camera. So I knew my bag of goods might be in danger.
So, I continue to yell at the bear, clapping my hands loud, maneuvering around the boulders towards my backpack. He turns around again and stops, staring at me. I stop in my tracks still yelling at him confidently, clapping my hands loud. I think I was yelling “Hey Bear, get out of hear!” There were boulders everywhere and I was above him, keeping my distance. He walks right past my bag and keeps walking. I continue to keep clapping and yelling until he’s far enough away.
My adrenaline is amped. As I turn around, my couple is up there in a protected area, a little shook up, but glad the bear is gone. We start laughing and talking about the experience. The tourists had been watching from a distance the whole time. One person came running up and asked where the bear went. I pointed, but said something like you should probably stay away. We headed back and some of the tourists were asking questions. One person sent us an image showing a far away image with their IPhone. I may post it later.
SUNSET IN THE TETONS
After that event, we took a break midday, got some food, and relaxed before the sunset hike. We headed out for our last photos of the day and captured some beautiful sunset images at multiple locations. That day we saw a fox, elk, bear, moose, and other critters. We ended the day with a beautiful sunset sky and a starry night image.
Enjoy the images.