I was so excited when Whitney and Alyssa requested to shoot their spring engagement session in Yosemite National Park, as it is one of my favorite locations to shoot in. The natural backdrops are extreme and stunning, especially if a couple is willing to hike and make the session a bit of an adventure, which is precisely what Whitney and Alyssa wanted to do.
Yosemite has been a designated national park since the National Park Service was formed in 1916. Yosemite’s wild landscape means that, at times, the trails can be affected by the elements. To help ensure that my client’s sessions go smoothly, I often head to the area beforehand to scope out the trails and get ideas of specific areas to shoot in. Whitney and Alyssa scheduled their session for mid-May, the day after Mother’s Day, so I brought my mom along for my scouting trip. It was very special to spend that time together and see just where I would be working the next day.
I met Whitney and Alyssa at Sentinel/Cook’s Meadow Loop around 4:30 pm. Cell service in the park is spotty, so we planned out our meeting spot ahead of time. We spent about a half-hour shooting in the valley. Whitney and Alyssa wore casual attire for this portion of the session, and we captured some fun and sweet moments of them in the meadow with the dramatic granite structures and a waterfall behind them. We then loaded up and took the 45-minute drive to the trailhead of our next location, Taft Point.
We arrived at Taft trailhead as the light on the trail was starting to fade. We stopped along the way to get photos of the couple mid-hike in front of an outcropping of large boulders I had seen the day before. It was a nice way to break up the half-hour hike to our destination. We arrived at Taft Point just as the sun was setting. The view was gorgeous and dramatic. To match Taft Point’s tone and let their personalities shine through, Whitney changed into a striking full-length maroon dress while Alyssa wore a crisp dress shirt and skinny tie. The images we created at Taft Point were the highlights of the session. Not only did they display the jaw-dropping beauty of Yosemite National Park, but they captured the tender and joy-filled connection Whitney and Alyssa share.
Once the sun had set, I bid Whitney and Alyssa farewell. They had obtained a last-minute camping permit to backpack further into the park and camp overnight. I linked up with some fellow departing hikers to head back down the trail. Hiking back in the dark and navigating dropped trees and areas of seasonal trail washout, I was particularly thankful I had scouted the trail with my mom the day before (And that I had thought to pack a headlamp!). This session was such a rush; I could shoot in Yosemite every day and never grow tired of it. I can’t wait to see where my clients take me next.
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