When we originally scheduled their engagement session I went ahead and set aside two days "just in case" it rained. Let's be honest, it's rained almost every day the last few months. So when our first date rolled around and it was raining we decided to try our luck with the back up day.
The plan was always Max Patch because he loves the mountains and she jokingly mentioned he would be so excited if we ended up with snow. Honestly, none of us could have predicted what we were going to end up with and if I had tried to plan it it wouldn't have been as perfect of a day. The forecast was pretty abysmal in regards to temperatures and I just happened to have had another shoot there a few days prior that was unbearably cold - so I warned them to bring layers.
Once we headed up the mountain we could see snow on the mountain tops and were crossing our fingers to have some at Max Patch, when we rounded a corner and basically stepped into Narnia all of us were 100% willing to tough out the cold. These first few shots were on the side of the road, but you'd never know it because it looks like a fairy tale. "I'm going to park here, just trust me." & they did.
Honestly - this shoot was a dream, but photographs will never do justice to how glittery the ice covered snow was or how blue the sky was. I love that this couple was just as enamored with the views as I was and we could all take moments between shooting to just really soak in how amazing it was up there.
The ice in the trees and covering the snow was pretty - but the ice on her finger? EVEN PRETTIER. I could have photographed this ring all day - you know, if I could feel my hands or face. It was worth sitting down in the snow for these shots, though.
They warmed up in the car while I shot these ring pictures and when I got in I was all, "Okay, off to the trail we go!" But then we rounded another corner and saw THIS and we all sort of looked at each other like, "Yep - we're getting out again." The light was peeking through the trees and reflecting off of the ice and I felt like we were in the opening scene of Frozen. I joked with them about how, "This is the loudest snow I've ever heard," (from The Grinch) and they told me that weirdly enough, they watched that movie the night he proposed !! Which means that I will never not hear that quote when I see pictures like these of them.
[I mean come on - if I could plan shoots to have exactly this light and exactly this much snow I would invest in a full body snow suit and be there every day in the winter]
Someone please hire me to shoot a Colorado wedding in the winter time, please and thank you.
Now five minutes doesn't seem like a long time, but that's about how long we toughed out the cold for this little piece of Heaven before we essentially ran to the car to warm up. Then we headed the rest of the way to Max Patch and then we all suited up for what we knew was going to be a cold hike up the mountain with our fingers crossed it would be with it. We didn't make it twenty feet up before I was making them stop for photographs because every few feet there was some new amazingly beautiful spot. If it wasn't 20 degrees I could have spent hours on the trail to the top, but we wanted to get up and back before it got dark.
Now these two forgot to bring gloves - and if you have plans to hike Max Patch when it's this cold you NEED them. So in between shoots I would take mine off, lend them to her, and then we'd switch back. At one point we had his shoes tied to his belt loops so he could keep his hands in his pockets. Even with hand warmers and nice coats this was still a VERY cold place to be and I would honestly not recommend bringing little ones up there but I WOULD recommend bundling up the next time Hot Springs calls for a little snow and trying to catch these views (with a photographer or just with a friend). Make sure you pack some water, also, and wear waterproof socks (none of us wore those - lesson learned).
We made it to the top - and I made the two of them take a few minutes to stay bundled up and really appreciate where we were at. It was amazing to stand up there with a couple who feels the same was about God as I do and truly appreciate the majesty of His creation... but only for like... ten minutes because, wind chills.
[Real Life VS Instagram, ammirite? Ha]
So I'll be honest - I'm an "in your face, close up" kind of photographer. I love details. However - I've been "stepping back" and trying to appreciate "the big picture" more and this view is a reminder to keep doing so.
Can you tell it was windy? Or that she couldn't feel her hands? Because it was so windy I couldn't hear them and it took three of us to untie her shoes. Totally normal.
After the top of Max Patch I promised we'd go "straight to the car." Then we rounded a corner (literally) and the entire view in front of us was pink. The snow was pink. The mountain ridges were pink. The sky was pink. I turned around, told them sunsets in the mountains last about five minutes, and they started taking off layers for a few more photos. We were almost my car when we took these and then we stood there for a few minutes soaking it in. It was the perfect day - truly, and I can not wait for their wedding. Especially since it'll be warm.
[You can actually buy the digital file for this image in my Etsy Shop for $5 - I posted it after so many people said they wanted a copy. & yes, it looks like I photo-shopped this or added color to the sky, but you can ask the couple - this photograph doesn't even do it justice to how colorful everything was in real life]. Cotton Candy sunsets have always been my favorites.
Her Dress: Shop The Mint
Her Ring: Diamonds and Gold in Anderson, SC
Shoot Location: Max Patch
Her Shoes: TJ Maxx [yay for a good bargain]
Meghan & Jacob - I honestly can not wait for your wedding. You two were like long lost friends from the moment you almost forgot stuff in your car getting into mine. <3