Days like this day is when my heart skips a thousand beats and the thrill and excitement of life, adventure and love is on repeat. I don’t photograph proposals — well, correction. I haven’t photographed a proposal before. And that is because there really is so many moving parts that the risk and weight of it all sometimes feels too much. A thousand of things could go wrong. I could be waiting for them in the wrong place or be focusing in on the wrong couple; the couple’s day got weird and emotions are off; someone had too much wine (we’re in wine country after all); I could be waiting in said spot forever, not knowing what and where the couple is or if I’m even in the correct spot facing the correct direction. Theses are the string of anxiety filled thoughts that happen when posed with the question of photographing a proposal. However, enter Justin.
Justin instagram messaged me, asking if I’d be willing to photograph he proposing to his girlfriend at the top of Bishops peak at sunrise. “Um, yes please.” Where and how someone proposes to someone tells a lot about a couple. And this alone told me he and his girlfriend were different. What kind of people would be willing to wake up early on their first day of vacation to hike up a mountain? A couple that I know I will fall in love with. I too was a girlfriend to a guy who led me up to a mountain in Colorado and was blindsided by a ring and a knee and a “I want to play forever with you” proposal. I was sold into Justin’s plan.
To be honest… I actually had never hiked up Bishop’s peak before either. And I’d have to start hiking before the sun rose. So I called my hiking friend, Sarah, who was totally in on this adventure. We showed up at to the base of the trail at 6 and hiked for 20 minutes in the dark. As the sun began to come over the hills to the east, fog was settling in on the valley. It was quiet and so calming. My heart was racing though! We got to the top and scurried a few boulders. We sat and waited (aka, caught our breath).
A few moments later, here they came. I had only seen the two of them in pictures Justin sent over, and right away I new it was them because Justin had the biggest smile on this face – he was so ready for this moment. Tori sat on the bench as Justin was settling a few things within his backpack. He looked once more back at us with the biggest smile imaginable. He turned and looked at Tori and on one knee. It was perfect. This moment encapsulated so much of everything I love. When you know you found the person you want to do life with… and that future is still so unclear but all you see and know is no matter what, you want to be standing hand in hand with that person in front of you. Ugh! I love it. I love it.
Of course Tori said yes! Justin had their day all planned out for them. And how stinkin’ brilliant it is to get engaged in the early morning, allowing you to spend all day on that high of love and excitement and future! (I recommend EVERYONE do this). Wine tasting and showing Tori Justin’s old stomping grounds was on their agenda, as well as the three of us meeting up again later that day to do an engagement shoot; cave adventuring and surfboard included.
I couldn’t be more honored to have been able to freeze this moment in time for these two. Even as I write this, I know the smile on my face right now will stay there all day long. Being able to photograph people isn’t about making pretty pictures – it’s the chance I get to learn about other people’s stories, to be able to celebrate in their life and what’s important to them, and to document all of that during the time we are together. Justin + Tory — I am so ardently excited for the two of you. You have something so genuine and beautiful, it’s been so wonderful getting to know you guys!! I can’t wish you enough joy, love and adventures as your future unfolds together. You both are inspiring. Thanks for letting me spend part of this day with you! Cheers + so much love!