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.

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 backgroundGlacier Point Yosemite Elopement Photographer | Mountain wedding photographycreative 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 mountainsTaft point adventure elopement photographer | Yosemite Wedding Photography | Charleton Churchillbeautiful sunset of adenture wedding couple at point overlooking view in the coldAdventure mountain wedding Photographer | Elopement weddings in National Parks | Charleton Churchillcamping wedding photos with couples wearing headlamp over cliff at yosemite's taft point

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Photographing Couples in Sunset vs mid-day light

The difference between Sunset photos and Mid-day photos for wedding and elopement adventure couples.
Yosemite National Park Wedding & Engagement Photography

epic Yosemite wedding photos taken by adventure wedding photographer Charleton Churchill at glacier point road

 

I just photographed a couple in Yosemite National Park yesterday. No this was not the proposal photo of the engaged couple that was in the news this week. I was here at sunset the whole time and didn’t see any proposal at that rock.  I was their photographer and this was their engagement session and they upgraded to the Adventure Engagement Session Package, which many of my adventure wedding couples purchase. They are getting married next year at Majestic Lodge in the Yosemite Valley, so congratulations to them.

When I photograph couples, the ideal time for me is near sunset. That’s my goal and intention for every couple. Not all couples during their wedding day or adventure sessions understand the importance of the quality of light during sunset, so I have to explain to them. Also, for many weddings, sometimes the schedule gets bumped or couples don’t have the time. Yes, we can photograph in any light, but in the mountains like in Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, or anywhere up at high altitude, you are going to get even stronger highlights on rocks and trees, white lighting, harsh shadows, etc. So I use all kinds of tricks and tactics to get better photos during the day.

However, if you are patient and wait until sunset, then you get all kinds of beautiful rays, warmth, color, and not to mention, softer light. The images look moody. It’s eye candy; makes you want to stare for a while.

 

Mid-Day vs Sunset Lighting

sunset photos for wedding and elopement couples photography

 

Okay, so it’s not necessarily mid-day, but it’s not sunset yet. Here above is an example of two images, one hour 12 minutes apart from each other. Both images were with the same couple, same outfit, same location, same day, same Nikon camera and lens, just about an hour apart. The sunset that day was 6:18p.m. I photographed the afternoon image on the left at 4:56p.m. The light was behind them. That image works. Most couples love these types of images as I see them on Instagram all the time. However, when you wait until 6:08p.m., just 7 minutes before the sunset, then you get this warm moody tone image where the sun warmth is memorizing. A major difference in color and light is just within one hour.

Sunrise has the same effect and I also photograph elopements and weddings during the early mornings, like in Yosemite or Lake Tahoe. You just have to choose the right locations where the sun will rise with the right photographer who can capture it properly and direct you to get that natural look, as well as process your image for maximum effect. Below is an image at sunset

 

yosemite epic adventure wedding photos at sunset at taft point engaged couple

If you’re interested in getting couples sunset photos, or want to book an adventure wedding or elopement package, please contact me above at my contact link. I’d love to hear from you.

Follow Charleton on Instagram here

 

 

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