Moments before we left to shoot Leslie and Ryan’s Big Sur engagement photos, I sent them some instructions via text message: “Bring some extra socks and a towel that you don’t mind getting dirty.”
They probably wondered what they were getting themselves into. The foreshadowing led into a marathon engagement session, which included standing in a river, lying in a bed of clover and synchronized jumping on a beach to produce a stop-motion video.
The day ended in the howling wind at sunset as the tide pushed waves around our ankles, our pal and assistant Conner Jay screaming as the wind threatened to blow him and the softbox he was holding down the beach.
Leslie and Ryan and I are old friends. We all worked at the same newspaper, we go camping together, see shows together. (We’re even all members of the same joke band, but that’s another story … ) So when they decided to have me as the photographer for their Big Sur wedding at the Henry Miller Memorial Library, I knew we had to spend a day making engagement portraits at my favorite place on earth.
We started outside the library, went to the coast, stopped outside of Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, moved up to Fernwood, where we had dinner and found multiple gorgeous locations, just yards away from the cabin where they’ll be staying on their wedding night.
Soon after we were standing in the Big Sur River, Leslie & Ryan downstream of me, where I perched barefoot on a submerged rock that pitched forward as I crouched to take a picture, nearly throwing me and my camera into the water. I kept my balance and we got out chilly but unscathed.
We finished the day at Pfeiffer State Beach, and despite our best plans, we were cheated out of 15 minutes of sunlight by a low-lying cloud bank on the horizon.
Still, the weather in Big Sur was beautiful, if a little windy at the end. The great thing about Big Sur is that every time you see it it’s a little different: It changes with the weather, the light, the people you’re with, the season, the flow of the river. I could spend the rest of my life taking pictures there and never get bored. Big Sur is where I had my own wedding and where I hope to shoot many weddings to come.