Aaron contacted me about a month before he proposed to his to-be-fiance Erica and wanted me to document the question. He had seen another proposal I’d photographed in the Maroon Bells in Aspen and wanted to pop the question in front of similarly huge, snow capped mountains. I knew Estes would be gorgeous in late May and suggested we do it with Longs Peak in the background, and he got super psyched.
He and Erica flew out to Colorado — they love the mountains — and came to Estes Park to tromp around the town and visit Rocky Mountain National Park. This is when I got a bit stressed: Estes had been drenched in rain every single day for two weeks before they arrived. I knew he wanted snow capped peaks, but had no idea if we’d be able to pull it off. I went out location scouting several times during the storms to see which areas might have clear(ish) views into the Continental Divide, and came back with a couple ideas.
We almost decided to schedule the shoot on Friday during a break in the weather, but the clouds came in and Aaron seemed downright bummed that he had to wait a day. He was super excited! Thankfully things looked good the following morning, and we decided to meet up at a popular trailhead just outside of town. We had been talking so much in recent weeks that he had come up with a code name for me — I think I was Mark (?) and I think we maybe worked together. Erica may have gotten a little suspicious of his constant phone calls with Mark.
Anyway, I arrived a little early and drew a line in the dirt where I wanted him to take a knee. I also told him to meet me behind the trailhead toilet so we could finalize details on site. Weird! But soon enough, there we were, standing behind the toilet deciding exactly where and how he’d do it. It takes planning to photograph a wedding proposal! Who knows how the couple might turn? What if they’re facing the wrong direction? What if they’re in the wrong spot?
Then I ran off with my wife and hid in a creek bed, pretending to shoot birds. The funny thing was, the place was empty, and we were the only two other people there and were in plain sight. Way to be sly. When I photographed David proposing to Claire (link above) there were people everywhere so I felt a lot more anonymous. Anyway, there was no other way to swing it, and I guessed Erica would be so absorbed in the moment that we would remain unnoticed.
A few minutes later, Aaron and Erica strolled along the path, stopped to take in the views of Longs Peak, and Aaron proposed. Between tears, Erica said yes, and we continued our hike and shot engagement photos.
How did he pull it off? Well, Aaron had brought along a friend, and his excuse to go hiking at 8am was that he wanted a cool picture in front of the mountains, and his friend was going to shoot the pictures. Well played, sir!
Congrats, you two! Can’t wait to photograph the wedding in Estes Park next summer!