Destination Elopement

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These two love each other. Yosemite was in full fall bloom when these two tied the knot. I love being a Yosemite wedding photographer because I get to wander around in all of Yosemite’s moods. And I get to photograph couples on one of the most important days of their lives.

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I will remember these two for the rest of my life. This was the smallest wedding of my Yosemite career, just these two. I officiated for them, and that was it. This was my ideal when I started doing Yosemite wedding photography.

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Yosemite is quickly becoming one of my favorite places. I love meeting couples up there and being their Yosemite elopement photographer. I met these two for their ceremony, then we went out to Taft Point afterwards to take in the sunset. Yosemite was a bit smoky, which is sad, but it turned out a beautiful sunset.

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On September 2nd, 2021, a boy and a girl hiked into the Yosemite wilderness and came out husband and wife. I got to photograph Stephanie and Alistair’s Yosemite elopement portraits. The day after they eloped, we met at Glacier point right as the sun began to rise and captured their love in camera.

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If you take one thing away from this post, I want you to take this away: go do a Griffith Observatory elopement. When you do, go elope at sunrise. Go elope at Griffith Observatory at sunrise. Morning is pretty much the only sensible time to have any privacy at a popular spot in California. As a southern California elopement photographer, I’ve learned this the hard way.

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I was in a sleepy haze as I drove down the deserted highway. It was the pre-dawn quiet of a city that doesn’t wake up until it’s time to go to work. I gathered together my backpack of gear. For intimate sunrise elopement at El Matador Beach, I typically carry a prime 35mm, some OCF, a trigger, a stand, and a long lens, along with my trusty, beautiful Canon 5D Mark III.

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This year has been crazy. It’s 2020. When Covid-19 first hit, it severely limited or cancelled dozens of planned weddings. Most couples decided to wait and see what would happen. After a few months, more and more couples were faced with a choice: cut the guest list severely, elope, or put your wedding on hold indefinitely. Indoor weddings were almost impossible altogether. As a wedding and Yosemite elopement photographer, I started seeing couples look around for alternatives.

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Inside an artist’s chest there beats two hearts. One is weak and ugly. It is necessary, the pessimist, the one who critiques, talks finances, and picks out all the little details that aren’t correct. The other one is colorful, vibrant, relishes the colors of the sunset, and imagines up the most beautiful creations. It never thinks about something as trivial as money or food. Those things just don’t matter compared to the soul-filling joy of CREATING.

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