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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:


Yosemite elopement of adventure couple at Taft Point over a cliff during sunset after their wedding ceremony wedding 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 park windy cold day during wedding photos in national park elopement couple in yosemite on grainite during a windy day in the valley view yosemite couple holding in the wind with wedding gown in the fall epic wedding dress photo in the wind at yosemite morning stylish couple epic yosemite wedding photo of cliff face by charleton churchill photography fall season wedding photos in Yosemite with wedding couple in the leaves during October yosemite fall color wedding photos fall color elopement wedding bride and groom in yosemite national park in the yellow orange leaves bride and groom crossing the yosemite river hopping rocks adventuring couple hiking down steep mountains in yosemite with packpacks and a bouquet for wedding photos wedding couple creative photos in the waterfall with a bouquet in the golden hours with romantic love waterfalls in yosemite national park with eloping couple as bridalveil falls and yosemite falls epic 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 attire hiking down to the water falls in the fall time for bride and groom hiker photos epic yosemite adventure couple near waterall for photography adventure elopement photographer charleton churchill captures couple in the yosemite waterfall while groom smiles bride photos in yosemite with watefall behind her groom photos with nikon lens and camera with stylish groom wear on granite rock massive rock waterfalls in yosemite with wedding bride and groom in water composition after a hike to the falls couple hiking in yosemite national park with adventure photographer Charleton Churchill valley view trees and rock with elopement couple up close and personal el capitan rock with married couple in the valley field together holding each other fall color wedding photos in yosemite with the sun shinging through the trees sunset wedding photo inspiration photos with sun glaring through the weeds and trees in yosemite valley intimate up close image with couple during intimate wedding photos water reflection photos at the yosemite bridge sunset photos in yosemite with a prophoto b2 light and an alpen glow off the mountains of half dome and el capitan profoto b2 light and landscape photos in yosemite adventure couple couple 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 yosemite base jumper in wing suit in the national park wing suiter jumping off cliff epic adventure wedding photo of half dome and wedding couple in a blanket at yosemite national park wedding couple in a brown blanket with half-dome in the background top epic adventure wedding photos in yosemite with couple over cliff and half dome in the background by yosemite wedding photographer charleton churchill creative places to photograph in yosemite glacier point during sunrise sentinel dome wedding couple hiking around in wedding attire cold wedding fall photos of couples hiking on trail for an elopement at a National park in USA fashionable wedding photo in the wilderness on top of granite rock and old tree overlooking view elopement adventurous couple hiking in the wilderness yosemite wedding couple hiking near sunset on taft point and sentinel dome with wedding dress and stylish suit romantic 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 dress taft point sunset elopement photos in yosemite in stylish wedding dress the top epic wedding photos of couple on a cliff at taft point for eloping in the mountains epic mountain wedding photo of elopement couple on taft point cliff during sunset after hiking trail in the evening beautiful sunset of adenture wedding couple at point overlooking view in the cold hiking wedding couple in yosemite by charleton churchill adventure elopement photographer camping wedding photos with couples wearing headlamp over cliff at yosemite

  • Steffani Abercrombie - Truly amazing! The images took my breath away! I imagine it was even more so for you and the couple. Great job.December 1, 2018 – 10:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Charleton Churchill - Thank you Steffani, great to hear from you neighbor, hope you’re all doing well.December 3, 2018 – 12:31 pm

  • Lora Ward - EVERY single one!December 2, 2018 – 6:30 amReplyCancel

    • Charleton Churchill - Thank you Lora, great to hear from you, much appreciated!December 3, 2018 – 12:31 pm

  • Tim - Such a GREAT collection man!!!December 2, 2018 – 4:26 pmReplyCancel

    • Charleton Churchill - Thanks Tim, you’re the man! We need do some hiking later this winter in the Sierra Nevadas sometime if you have winter camping clothes.December 3, 2018 – 12:30 pm

  • Jerrie Anne Salvato - These are amazing Charleton!! Makes me want to get married again and book you for an adventure wedding ?. So proud of you.December 3, 2018 – 11:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Charleton Churchill - THank you Jerrie, it’s been a long time,hope you’re doing well, thank you for stopping by!December 4, 2018 – 12:04 pm

Yosemite National Park Wedding
The Majestic Lodge and The Wilderness
Adventure Wedding

Congratulations to Adam and Arielle who married recently. They met with me last year. They told me they wanted an adventure wedding photographer willing to go into the wilderness for some rare and epic wedding photographs. I was like, yeah, that’s what I do. They wanted a large wall canvas that would showcase them against the scenic Yosemite landscape. They told me it would be a smaller intimate wedding (which is many of my weddings these days) and wanted me to document their wedding day. They booked me and we got to planning.

I’m excited to have photographed this wedding because Yosemite is just plain awesome, and one of the most beautiful National Parks in the world. Also, my couple shares a common love for the outdoors, which did not require any convincing to hike a few miles to our shoot location (and they hiked in their wedding attire).  On top of that, Adam and Arielle were both friendly, which made for good conversation along the trail. Thank you Adam and Arielle for including me in your adventure. Here are some of the highlights from their wedding adventure.

Best Yosemite Wedding Photos stylish groom getting ready at Ahwahnee bride and groom getting ready together candid warm moment hug USA today life paper october 26, 2015 creative bride makeup composition wedding bride eyelashes mom helping bride get wedding dress on bridal photo mom putting bride shoes on emotional first look of bride and groom in Yosemite tears of happiness after first look of yosemite couple groom crying after he sees his bride happy couple getting married in Yosemite romantic yosemite wedding couple beautiful romantic wedding couple at Ahwahnee hotel cute wedding photos at Yosemite hilarious bride and groom photos happy yosemite park wedding couple yosemite wedding couple photos yosemite bride Yosemite groom with blue suit wedding dress and groom blue suit couture bride and groom in Yosemite family candids bride walking down the aisle by herself at the Ahwahnee hotel groom watching bride walk down the aisle outside mountain wedding with groom crying Yosemite wedding ceremony at Ahwahnee Lodge Ahwahnee hotel wedding ceremony outside the kiss of the bride and groom after wedding ceremony ends yosemite outdoors ahwahnee wedding reception room details ahwahnee wedding table decorations red roses and plants candles at yosemite wedding wedding toasts at Yosemite Ahwahnee hotel making speeches at wedding reception with smiles


The next few images were taken near midnight after the wedding concluded.


Epic Yosemite Wedding photo with Half-dome and glacier point with bride and groom Yosemite night photo with bride and groom near midnight full moon


The next morning (which was a Tuesday) we hiked into the wilderness for some more adventurous wedding photos. Adam and Arielle hiked a few miles in their wedding attire. We also met a few friendly visitors along the trail.


adventure wedding photographer in Yosemite wilderness hiking with couple wedding phtos with bear in wilderness wedding photos with bear around bride and groom epic bridal veil shot wedding couple just married walking down yosemite street reflection of wedding couple in yosemite river yosemite wedding portrait Yosemite adventure wedding photos fun wedding photos at Yosemite yosemite wildlife deer around wedding couple deer in Yosemite adventure wedding photos on rocks bride and groom wilderness wedding photos wilderness wedding photography capturing bride and groom leaving forest

Photographer: Charleton Churchill Photography
Venue: Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park
Bridal Dress: BHLDNMakeup Artist & Hair: Kelly Brodie

  • Denise Gabriel - BeautifulDecember 10, 2015 – 12:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Joel Conner - so freaking good.December 10, 2015 – 2:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Susan Beth Breuner - I love all of these. Grew up near Yosemite and familiar with all those landscapes. Now live just outside Yellowstone and your photos remind me just how much I love Yosemite even more. Beautiful!January 16, 2016 – 8:01 amReplyCancel

  • Kris McGarigle - So very cool. Love your work, and this is just outstanding.January 30, 2016 – 9:23 amReplyCancel

  • Hilda Burke - AMAZING!!!!WOW!September 7, 2016 – 9:50 amReplyCancel