Every now and then a couple comes along that blows your mind. Their kindness and thoughtfulness, their story, their passion, their love…it all just works in such a magical way. When Shelly called me and said she wanted to get married up at Horseshoe Bend in a little elopement ceremony with just Joe and her parents, I couldn’t wait. When she shared with me more of her story and how they had gotten to this point, I knew this was something extra special that doesn’t come along too often.
I was so excited about it that I told my three buddies in my text group, and immediately Jay Worsley offered to film it. He’d always wanted to shoot something like an elopement up there, and so I told Shelly about what Jay wanted to do and she was ALL-IN. And our buddy Jason Williams joined as well to help out with shooting, filming and being the baddest assistant ever.
The day was amazing. But for Shelly it started down in Phoenix at 5:30am with Pooja from Makiaj Beauty for hair and makeup. Which was spectacular by the way, Pooja ia amazing! Then they made the four hour drive up to Page and got to the hotel just in time to change super fast into wedding outfits, quickly do a first look and then get to Antelope Canyon for portraits. Our guide Tana was genius and incredible to watch, stopping all the onlookers from snapping photos of our bride and groom. She cleared people out and gave us room to work. Heaps of praises for her!
From there it was lunch and JUMBO margaritas at El Tapatio. They were a little TOO jumbo, but they were delicious! A short break after and we hit Horseshoe Bend for sunset.
The actual elopement was simple and beautiful. To have your own father perform the ceremony and your mother be a witness, it was incredibly moving. The vows, the words from her dad was perfection. You can hear them below in Jay’s video. We found a little spot and people were nice enough to keep their distance so we could have as much privacy as you can with 100’s of people everywhere.
Not many words left to describe this day. Shelly and Joe, thanks for trusting us and including us in such a huge moment of your life. And for all the love after, tagging us, creating graphics to share our websites and just being so complimentary. It goes without saying that we don’t get that kind of showering of praises too often!
And last, but not least…thank you for the cupcakes again. I would love another one right now please.
But in the meantime…here is a little look at their day, with lots more photos still to edit! And please, when you are done with the photos, watch Jay’s film embedded at the bottom. It’s incredible.
A few weeks ago I ventured north to Page, Arizona, to meet up with Thomas and Becky, just two days after they got hitched in Las Vegas! We hit Antelope Canyon first, drank margaritas and then enjoyed sunset at Horseshoe Bend, followed up with a bit of the Milky Way an hour after dark.
Such a blast of a day, it was fantastic visiting Lower Antelope for the first time (Thanks Mike Mezeul for the tip!) and then scoring a stunning sunset to end things, and to have the clouds clear out just in time for the stars to go nuts was perfection.
Hope you enjoy!
Photographing engagement sessions at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend is an all-day thing, which I love. Up early around 5am and hitting the pavement shortly thereafter for a nice four-hour drive.
I met Lauren and Jason for breakfast first, then it was over to Antelope Canyon Tours (my favorite up there, they’ve been so amazing) to leave for our 11:30 tour. We had no one else in our group, so just our guide and the three of us. And this time of year is more quiet than spring, so we had a lot of time in spots where no one was around and we could slow things down for whatever photos we wanted.
After that, it was margaritas and some grub before sunset at Horseshoe. Always a stunning place, it’s the perfect way to end any session up there.
When Kevin and Angelynn emailed me and asked if we could take some photos up at Antelope Canyon and then Horseshoe Bend, I kind of freaked out. I mean…the logistics of doing a shoot in Antelope Canyon was probably tough, not to mention all the hordes of tourists who’d be in the background of every photo.
But as it happened…mid-December is chilly. Cold even. Not a favorite time of year for tours of the Canyon. We lucked out there.
So Kevin and Angelynn flew all the way from Malaysia to do this. And they asked me to be the one to capture everything for them. I was humbled. That’s such a long ways to go with a ton of planning to get just right. But of everyone they could have found, they chose me. What an honor. And some pressure too!
I met them up at their hotel in Page and we basically just went from there. In Malaysia, these are called “pre-wedding photos”…not really engagement photos. The bride-to-be wears a wedding dress, which is different than what we do here in the United States. And can you imagine covering all the ground we do below wearing a wedding dress? Angelynn was amazing…she wore a jacket because of the cold, would toss it off in a moment’s notice for photos, and then trudge up hills and down while holding the dress up out of the dirt.
HUGE thanks to Antelope Canyon Tours for being so accommodating and amazing. They even remembered me from the year before when I visited.
Finally, thank you Angelynn and Kevin so much for having me do this. It was a ton of fun, and an amazing experience. Good luck in your marriage!
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 100, f/8, 8 sec // buy print)
One thing we were thankful for during our tour of Upper Antelope Canyon was our guide. He rocked at knowing good spots and also for tossing sand in strategic locations.
We had already shot the sand falling on the right side during our first pass through the Canyon, so on our way back he said he could make it fall on both sides. I quickly moved to this spot and was thankful for the 14mm lens I had with me. It was kind of a tiny area, so being able to get that wide was a bonus.
The rock formation in the middle kind of “jutted” out towards me and reminded me of a big nose on an old man’s face.
Definitely loved being able to finally visit this place, but this scene doesn’t tell the story of about 6 other photographers lined up to my right all shooting the same thing. And people waiting behind them to pass through.
If you are a photographer, I highly recommend paying for the two-hour tour because you get more time and also a bit of preferential treatment.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 17mm, f/8, iso 100, 8 seconds // buy print)
I’m a 38-year native of Arizona but there are a bunch of places I’ve never seen. Antelope Canyon was one of those…at least until a week ago today. With some really good friends in town to help me shoot a wedding, we decided to venture north and explore some super photogenic spots.
We paid $80 for a professional photographers tour package, which turned out to be the right decision. The first time you enter in with a guide and another tour group behind you…the pressure is a bit overwhelming. You stop, he tells you to photograph these rays of light coming in, you do your best to get it done in about 5-10 minutes, all the while you have a 1-hour tour group behind you waiting for you to finish. We did get that benefit though for paying the extra money. People would have to wait behind us until we were done getting what we needed. We felt a little privileged because of it and it definitely helped big time.
The chaos in there is pretty crazy. But even with all the people, there would be times when you might be completely by yourself after the other tours and come and gone. And those moments were awesome.
The hardest part though I think is to pick your compositions without ever having been down there before and having to do it in a quick amount of time. The pressure to rock it was crazy. I think I walked away with maybe three images I really love, but we’ll see once I get a bit more into them.
This image was one of the early beams of light we saw. It’s really incredible actually. I’m not sure cameras can do this kind of thing justice. These focused rays of light in such a quiet place.
Despite all the beauty, the weather nerd inside of me couldn’t help but think about what a deathtrap this place is when a flash flood comes through, and how that’s the way this amazing place was formed to begin with. Over 10 years ago 13 people died in here because it rained 20 miles away and it was clear skies overhead at Antelope. I kept looking around, imagining a torrent of water rushing through here. Spooky.
More images to come!