Ashley and Justin's elopement was a photographer's dream.
One of the joys of photographing weddings in nature is that I can attend countless ceremonies in the same space with a different landscape each time. At the last ceremony I shot at this location, the mountain was just shaking off the last traces of winter. The rhododendron leaves had unfurled, relieved of the cigar-like way they clench into themselves against the cold, but no traces of buds had graced their branches yet. The grass was growing but the trees were still bare, and the spines of last year's wildflowers remained a testament to what the summer should bring. The mountain was in between: all her processes were happening beneath the surface, and while I had felt the energy of her awakening as I'd walked along her back, it wasn't something I knew how to capture with a camera.
This day was different. It had been pouring all day and was predicted to still be pouring during our shoot, but the rain paused upon our arrival. Not wanting to miss our cue, we hurried up the mountain past the mossy trees and through the twisted rhododendron rising tall and junglelike around us. We cleared the forest to arrive in the field above where we would do the ceremony. On a clear day in this field, mountain views stretch all around, but today the mist obscured nearly everything but one giant oak and one azalea bush ablaze in fiery orange blossoms. We set our belongings under the oak and Ashley and Justin were married right beside the azalea.
We paused on the way down the mountain to grab a few shots of the nighttime skyline before saying our goodbyes and calling it a night. We hopped into our cars just after the thunder started, and as we pulled out of the parking lot the rain that had so patiently held off began to fall.
I try not to pick favorites when it comes to weddings - and certainly not when it comes to weather - but days like this one make it hard. This day was a combination of all the things I love about mountains and about people.
shot for @simplyeloped 2019.