Thomas and Claudia’s engagement session was epic for a lot of reasons. I always say that engagement sessions themselves are my favorite way to get to know my couples so I look forward to them for more reasons than just photos. It’s definitely the best way to see how they interact with one another and to help understand my process as well. On wedding day this translates into a much smoother time since they know what to expect and we basically just pick up where we left from the engagement session. It’s also a great way to help relieve some of the nerves that can be present in front of a camera and I’ve never had a couple say it wasn’t time well spent.
This session was in a class on it’s own however. Claudia let me know ahead of time that we were going to be visiting the bridge where Thomas proposed along a trail in Shenandoah National Park. What an awesome opportunity, I thought to myself. The park is one of my most favorite places on earth so any time I can get out there to shoot I’m game. What Claudia didn’t tell me, or even realize herself, however, was that the bridge was at least 40,000 miles down the side of the mountain. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit. It was probably 2 and change miles or so. But, carrying all of my gear on my back certainly made it seem that far, lol!
The scenery was incredible and the downhill hike seemed to breeze by. Thomas seemed to float through the woods like the Predator bounding from rock to rock suggesting to Claudia and I where the best foot placement was on the sometimes wet terrain. Claudia held her own too and I came to find out hiking is a regular thing for them and they visit the trails in Shenandoah fairly often. Then there was me… The guy who recently pledged to himself to be “fit by 40” and has been lucky get in the gym or jog a few times a week, carrying 30 pounds of camera gear on his back. Lets just say I feel lucky to be alive!
I’ve mentioned a few times that first half of the trip was down the side of the mountain. Which subsequently meant that the return leg was…up hill! I know what you’re probably thinking. This is one of those “both ways to school were uphill, in the snow, barefoot” stories but this is for real. The entire walk back was uphill, steeply uphill.
The biggest challenge we had was trying to get back in time to the west facing side of the mountain before it became pitch black outside. And though I’d have liked to have been able to spend time with the sunset the silhouette images we got were incredible.
Spending the afternoon with Thomas and Claudia was great and I’m sure we will get awesome photos on their wedding day in December. I love spending time getting to know my couples regardless of the terrain we face and had a blast trekking through one of the area’s most beautiful settings. Thank you guys for having me along for a special time!
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