Eloping Locally

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I love helping plan surprise proposals in Yosemite National Park. Jackson contacted me about it months before, and we set up a plan. Originally, we were going to meet at Glacier Point at sunrise. I was going to be photographing my dog or my husband and just happen to turn my camera at the right moment. Unfortunately, Glacier closed early that year due to weather. I was on my way up there and we agreed to meet at Tunnel View instead. He sent me photos of the two of them so I could recognize them. I advised them on and out-of-the-way spot we could get away from the crowds. On the day of, it was going past their time and I didn’t see them. So I went down to the main area to find them. Jackson instantly recognized me and “happened” to ask about an “out-of-the-way, secluded spot” where they could watch the sunrise. So, still pretending to be a random person, I offered to take them up to my favorite spot. While we clambered over spots, I asked if I could take their photo. When we got to the spot, I set it up so she turned away, then when she turned back around, Jackson was down on one knee. She was so surprised!!

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Steven and Vanessa originally booked me for Los Angeles wedding photography and videography back in 2019, for fall 2020 backyard wedding photography. She was one of my first weddings booked when we moved to Los Angeles. I was so excited because they were such a beautiful couple. We did engagement photos together, and they were so sweet, romantic, and easy to shoot.

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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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Elizabeth and Robb’s plan had to change slightly when Covid shut everything down. I’m so happy they still decided to prioritize photos, though. I was still able to be their Santa Monica wedding photographer. They cut down their guest list significantly, changed their venue, and ended up getting married at Tongva Park in Santa Monica. The park is a well-kept secret, something you pass often without realizing it’s even a park. It’s just steps away from the Santa Monica Pier. But it wasn’t crowded and we had one of those amazing, golden sunsets.

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