A New Day & A Dead Horse
A few weeks ago, I received a call from some friends asking if I would photograph their wedding. The thought of shooting a wedding is enough to make some cringe with the drama, pressure and formalities. It’s an event that only happens once (hopefully!) and there are no re-takes. They weren’t exactly getting married in a church though and it wasn’t your typical wedding. They had planned a sunrise wedding at one of the most beautiful places in Utah, Dead Horse Point State Park. My answer was easily YES!
For those who have been to Dead Horse Point State Park, you know how impressive the view is. The landscape falls away from the edge in all directions with the La Sal Mountains filling the horizon to the east and the Colorado River carving deep canyons to the south and west. It’s one of the finer viewpoints in all of Utah and the perfect place to say “I do”. I had the opportunity to spend a few days in and around Moab before the wedding to photograph and explore. I hadn’t been to Moab in years because it is generally a hotspot for tourists, and living in Park City I get enough exposure to this. I prefer the quiet, serene and remote places of the desert southwest to the bustling tourist towns. The week before Easter is the beginning of the Jeep Safari in Moab and as you can guess, the place was literally crawling with people and Jeeps! So many Jeeps.
I planned to go to Dead Horse Point the day prior to scout locations and observe the light so the big day would be smooth on all parts. I arrived at 4:30 AM to photograph the Milky Way before the glow of dawn obscured the stars. With a setting moon 3:30-4:00 AM, there was only a short window to see and photograph the Milky Way. In March, the Milky Way is only visible in the early morning hours so timing was on my side. Seeing the bright moon set to the west, then the Milky Way briefly appear, followed by the glow of dawn and a landscape appearing before your eyes, is truly a magical experience. Some things are not really possible to photograph, you just have to be there and experience it.
The following day was crystal clear and breezy which made for a chilly wedding and tough light to shoot in. Strong contrast, blueish pre-sunrise light and people not 100% comfortable was a challenge but this wasn’t my first sunrise in the desert;) We were a bit delayed due to part of the wedding party taking a wrong turn but it worked out perfectly. That was actually pretty funny. They accidentally turned into Arches National Park (in the dark) and drove around trying to find Dead Horse Point. After asking a few other people, they realized their mistake and quickly made their way to the right National Park:) The bride and groom said “I do” at 7:34 AM and at 7:35 AM, the sun rose behind the La Sals and the perfect moment was greeted in style. Click.
We wandered a while and created more portraits with the beautiful morning light and knock-your-socks-off scenery before heading back to Jeepville. It was a special day that I am honored to have captured. Although weddings are not my normal subject, it’s all the same. Light, composition, subject, moments and emotion. And passion. And love.
For behind the scenes and daily updates, follow me on Instagram @sageroamer I’m heading out on Sunday for a week so stay tuned to find out where:)
Thanks for reading and see you outside,