I am really excited to get this post up on my blog! I had such a great time photographing Troy and Jamie and want the whole world to see the results. We decided that two engagement sessions were necessary to capture both their love of adventure and fun in the city. We covered a lot of ground during these two engagement shoots: from urban backdrops in the alleys of Denver to the mountain tops outside of Boulder.
For the downtown Denver shoot, we had a great time trying to create new images in a place I have photographed many times. You would think that shooting in a familiar location would be easy, but I am always pushing myself to do something new and better than before. This makes really familiar places the most challenging shoots I do. Troy and Jamie were so much fun with their acrobatic antics that this familiar location felt as exhilarating as the first time I photographed there.
Every time I photograph in a new place, I love the ideas that jump into my mind. The 1st Flatiron is a place I’ve spent a lot of time climbing over the years. The 1400 foot tall East Face used to be something I would climb before work on a nice summer morning, so I am very familiar with the route and have often thought it would be a great location for a shoot, but have never had a couple adventurous enough to make a climb like this their engagement shoot location. I was giddy at the idea once we started jokingly talking about the potential. To my surprise Troy and Jamie, being avid rock climbers, loved the idea.
A few weeks before our shoot Kathy and I went up and climbed the 1st Flatiron to look for the best camera angles and for me to see this through my photographer eye’s as opposed to my normal climbers pace. I found some great perspectives by going off the normal route up the face. This also gave me the opportunity to think about how the logistics would play out.
A few weeks later on the day of our shoot/climb it was raining buckets in the morning. We spoke on the phone and decided to go for it since Troy and Jamie had taken the day off for this shoot. An hour before we were scheduled to begin shooting, the sky cleared and the sun came out and we made the hike up to the base of the 1st Flatiron. I recruited the help of an old friend and climbing partner Chad Greedy to lead and belay me so that I could stay focused on the photography aspects and not the technicalities of climbing. This allowed me to shoot off the end of a rope and to swing across the face to get some great perspectives off the sides of the normal climbing route. Chad and I climbed above Troy and Jamie as two separate teams with me racing to the next camera position to stay ahead of the action.
At around the 500 foot mark the clouds returned and the sky opened up unleashing a powerful rain and hail storm on top of us(Click here to see video of the storm in progress). We scurried to ledges and hunkered down trying to find shelter from the pounding rain and hail. The giant face acted like a funnel with waterfalls running down the face trying to take us with them to the base of the rock. Troy was secure on a ledge but had elected to leave his rain coat behind to save weight and bulk while climbing. Jamie donned her rain coat only to find the best place to stop was in the middle of a pretty good waterfall. Chad and I hid in a gash in the rock and I jumped out every now and then to take some pictures and check to see how they were doing. After 20 minutes and two or three volleys of storms, the fierce storm seemed to pass. We all gathered on a large ledge at the half way point to assess our options.
I wouldn’t have blamed anyone if they had wanted to retreat off this climb after this storm. My camera kit was soaked but seemed to be working fine. Troy was soaked from the pounding of the rain without a coat and Jamie was damp but in great spirits. We were all a little cold but decided to keep going as this was just going to make the images just that much more interesting! Their adventurous spirit confirmed that I am going to have a great time with Jamie and Troy on this climb and at their wedding. An optimistic, charged and adventurous spirit is contagious. Upward we went! We reached the ridge of the 1st flatiron that after a couple hundred more feet of a meandering ridge the climbing terminates on the summit block. This ridge was one of the highlights of the shoot as Boulder sweeps below with trees looking like heads of broccoli and cars looking the size of ants. The weather had played itself out and we were treated to an amazing sunset with dramatic clouds over the continental divide. We rappelled off the back side of the 1st and made the hike back down to the parking lot in Boulder. It was a really fun day with great images as the result. Please take a minute and watch the movie below of Troy and Jamie’s Engagement Storybook.