Granite Mountains at Dawn and Double Rainbows at Dusk: A Wild Weather Pre-Wedding Adventure Session at Yosemite and Mono Lake
Roberta and Keries live in Hong Kong and originally contacted us with an interest in doing their pre-wedding photo shoot in Death Valley. That all sounded great until we asked when exactly they would like to do their adventure session and their reply was … late July! When we asked them if they were aware that the average daily temperature in Death Valley in July is in excess of 120 degrees, they responded that they hadn’t though about that. Quickly realizing that a photo shoot in Death Valley in the middle of summer was out of the question and wanting to keep the shoot somewhere in California, they took our suggestion and opted instead to go to Yosemite National Park.
Opting for a full-day itinerary, we started before sunrise at Glacier Point in Yosemite. We got some star photos before a few high clouds rolled in just in time to create a spectacularly colored sunrise. From there we took a break before meeting back up and heading down through Yosemite Valley for a few more photo ops. Knowing that Roberta and Keries originally wanted photos in a desert landscape, we decided to take them across the pass to do sunset photos at Mono Lake and it’s other-worldly limestone tufa towers. As we crossed the Tioga Pass, we ran into storms and the rain continued as we reached Mono Lake. Though it was 92 degrees in Yosemite Valley, the temperature dropped into the low 40’s on top of Tioga Pass and had only recovered to the low 50’s by the time we got to Mono Lake. We went ahead and took a few photos in the rain once there just in case the weather didn’t break (plus, it still made for some beautiful and unique images) and then waited in our cars to see what would happen. It looked bleak, with steady rain and a heavy blanked of clouds that seemed to have no end in sight. Near sunset we noticed a very slight, almost imperceptible, break in the clouds at the horizon and with that we all headed back down to the lake in the hopes that we might get a little bit of color in the sky. Just as we reached the shore a little color popped out and our hopes went up. Then we looked behind us. A faint rainbow began to emerge and suddenly, it exploded into brilliant color! We all began to run to get to a good set of tufa towers for a shot of the now, full, double rainbow that was commanding the landscape. After the rainbow finally faded, the western sky exploded in deep shades of red and pink. It was well worth the wait and as darkness fell, skies cleared yet again and we got a few more star photos to end an amazing day!
Funny thing was, before we got to Mono Lake we stopped for a quick dinner and Keries asked us what our favorite location to do adventure wedding photography was. Our response was, it isn’t the location that we get excited about since we shoot in so many amazing locations, but rather it is the weather and atmospheric conditions like stormy skies, rain, fog, rainbows, incredible sunsets, etc., that we love most. We love all our couples and adventure elopements and adventure sessions, but those are the conditions that really elevate the shoot to another level. Little did we know that within two short hours of that conversation, their adventure session would fall into that category! Once the rainbow faded away and the blazing red sky faded to black, we turned and told Roberta and Keries, THAT is what we were talking about!!
Elopements Anywhere started by Tina and Kevin who since 2005 have been insanely fortunate to make our full-time living photographing beautiful couples and stunning landscapes and the two are often intertwined! With nearly one thousand weddings and elopements under our belt, we have seen a lot. We have walked through a village in West Africa in a procession of hundreds of people to document a stunningly colorful and highly spirited Nigerian wedding; stood in the Vatican in Italy to photograph a couple pledging their vows to one another in one of the most sacred Catholic sights on Earth; dinned on lobster on a beach by the ocean, our feet in the sand and the breeze blowing through our hair, in Anguilla alongside a wonderful couple and their intimate gathering of guests; stood perched on the very edge of the Grand Canyon documenting a couple from China as they spoke their vows through laughter and tears while summer monsoon storms hovered overhead; and spent the entire day hiking across the stark, white salt flats and sinuous sand dunes of Death Valley with a couple from England and watched the childlike wonder on their faces as they experienced a landscape unlike anything they had ever seen before; and the list goes on and on. We get to participate in and document one of the greatest joys in a couples’ life … we are indeed fortunate!