Yosemite Valley Elopement | Will & Misha
The views of Yosemite Valley, with its vertical rock faces that would tower over any skyscraper, never seem to disappoint. I am constantly humbled by the giant landscape each and every time I visit.
Will and Misha had expressed to me that they wanted to have a small wedding ceremony followed by an adventure in Yosemite. They envisioned having beautiful photographs of themselves among the unique landscape. I was delighted. Finally, after many weddings in Yosemite, I was going to be able to have free reign of the valley without time constraints of a normal wedding day. I couldn’t wait.
Mother nature kept us on our toes throughout the day. We always had plenty of umbrellas on hand because the intermittent rain was no joke. When the rain did occur, we didn’t know if it was going to be a light sprinkle or torrential downpour.
The intimate ceremony was held in front of Yosemite Falls. Just one or two minutes after its commencement, the rain began to pour. Family members quickly raced to their umbrellas. Safe from the pouring rain, umbrellas in hand, the ceremony continued. Personal vows written by Will and Misha had each other and their family at an emotional high.
After the ceremony and family formals concluded, we all took shelter from the rain inside the Yosemite Chapel, the marriage license was signed and Will played some piano for us all. Or was it an organ? We then walked down the road to take some more photos with a magnificent view of the roaring falls.
Opposite the river from where the ceremony was held was a small walking path. The view of Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome is incredible from here. We parked at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and Will asked if we needed umbrellas and I said, “We should be fine, but maybe just in case.” That was a good call because, after a 5-minute walk and 2 minutes of photos, the rain came down yet again. I am not upset about it though. The umbrella, the rain, and Half Dome made for some beautiful wedding photos if I do say so myself.
El Capitan and Bridevail Falls were the next on our list to capture. We continued down the road to a viewpoint from the valley, which simply is called Valley View. After that, it was to higher ground to a viewpoint from the tunnel which, you guessed it: is simply called Tunnel View. Creative right?
The view from the tunnel overlooking Yosemite Valley is magnificent as you can see. The heavy clouds really dramatize the landscape, leaving us with a very moody-toned set of images. Having a ledge for Will and Misha to sit on was a nice change of pace, and a great opportunity to get some closeups of her beautiful Henna tattoos on her hands.
Our last stop was the Majestic Hotel. Will asked me again about the umbrella. It had been over an hour since we last received rain so I said “ No it’s fine I think. ” Moments later I corrected myself, “Actually, last time I said ‘maybe’ it rained so let’s bring one.”
One? Why did we bring only one? It began to rain lightly and darkness was falling. I had my assistant (my wonderful girlfriend Taylor) stand behind the couple with a flash, illuminating the umbrella and the raindrops around them. A couple more back-lit images and BAM! It was like a waterfall of rain. There was four of us, multiple bags of camera equipment, and one umbrella. We all started running for cover, laughing and screaming simultaneously.
Luckily the rain didn’t hit consistently hard until the very end of the day. I would say we got extremely lucky, and I would not change a thing about the day. Will and Misha, you two were wonderful. I would risk getting soaking wet and exploring Yosemite with you guys any time. Thank you so much for believing in me, and for having such a positive attitude all day. You are great for each other and I wish you guys the best!
ABOUT ME: Hi! My name is Nic Hilton. I am a destination wedding photographer based in Los Angeles. I shoot many weddings in the Mammoth Lakes area as well as Southern California but I am available to travel worldwide! Contact Me today because I would love to tell your story.