“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new future” ~John Muir
So far it’s been one of the most fun wedding seasons in memory. I’ve had my equipment upgraded in every way possible to the latest and greatest so that I can continue to create the kinds of images that my clients have come to expect. My family and I have just returned from a much needed 2-week vacation in Europe which we really enjoyed (Blog post coming). Earlier this season one of my assignments was to fly to Mammoth Lakes to document the wedding of Kirstin & Aron, friends of Shealynn & Eric who as you may remember are the couple who tied the knot last year at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach. Old Rach is one of the most beautiful golf course venues in Orange County.
Mammoth Lakes is the premier mountain resort in Southern California, about a 6-hour drive (not too bad) away or a one hour flight from the Los Angeles/Orange County area. When Kirstin & Aron booked me to photograph their wedding, my expectations for this destination wedding location were for total epic photos. Being an outdoors lover myself I knew that flying there with all of my equipment in tow was going to be a dream come true.
The wedding day was during the Memorial Day Weekend which as you know unofficially ushers in the summer season. Having said this, I in no way would have thought to prepare as if this was going to be a winter-like-wedding, and as it turns out I wasn’t the only one.
With one of the wettest and snowiest winters on record, the weather would prove to play a huge factor. How much? Two weeks before the wedding the headline was “Mammoth gets a record 17 inches of snow in 2 days”. As the wedding day approached and with all sorts of preparations going on the headline again was ” Mammoth Snowiest May on record with 29 inches of snow”. Did I mentioned that I wasn’t counting on a snowy wedding? My hope was still that all of this wet weather would clear up by the day of the wedding. I remember a phone call I had with Meghan the coordinator from Convict Lake Resort who said to me, “John it’s been snowing all week and snow is expected on the weekend, you may want to keep tabs on your flight because when this happens they usually cancel all flight”
BY now things are crispy clear, prepare for snow and rain and make the best of this wonderful opportunity. I remember blocking out all of the noise from the weather as I prepared for my flight. When Tracy (my 2nd photographer) and I landed, the scene all around me were these serene and majestic mountain peaks staring at me, and I couldn’t help but to think as they say in big sky Montana, I’m in heaven.
The weather would change every four hours, rain then snow that would melt, winds in between and clear again. This would be the pattern throughout the weekend.
When the time to start photographing came by the winds were so strong snow was blowing right into my eyes. I walked into my client’s cabin struggling against the wind. It became officially one of the most difficult starts to a wedding that I ever have had and one very memorable at that. I remember taking out my iPhone and sweeping my video camera to remember this moment and posting it to my Instagram stories.
Down on the lake, the weather was extreme with gushing winds, this would surely dampen the plans for a ceremony on the beach. My clients smartly made an effective decision to change it at the last hour because the winds were howling and it would have made for a difficult situation.
An hour later the ceremony plays out to the most beautiful clear blue skies amongst gentle stream sounds, beautiful grove of Aspen trees and the serene and majestic view of Morris Mountain. The scene was lovely and picturesque, hues of light yellow leaves and blue skies were very evident throughout as if Someone had hit the pause button on the wet weather.
After the ceremony, we would go on to risk busing the Wedding Party and family for photos by the lake but the winds still were too brutal. The hair blown photos we managed of the wedding party genuinely captured the moment and the weather.
Once the reception started, the weather would again turn to wet slick and winds but by now we were inside and warm and enjoying a great party.
I love the collection of photos, over 1200 of them. On several times, my clients have mentioned how much in love they are with them. Hundreds have been downloaded by their friends through the online gallery. They are now making their picks for a flushmount album. I would without hesitation do this all over again. It was an exciting adventure which I hope I get to do again for another couple who chooses to celebrate their love at Convict Lake Resort.