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Sierra and Kyle

How GORGEOUS are these two?!

How GORGEOUS are these two?!
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Behind The Lens

Near the base of Latourell Falls, in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.
This was late in the afternoon. Fall in the PNW can be tricky, with weather changing by the minute. We had actually all agreed that pretty much any afternoon in a two-week stretch that wasn't pouring, we'd drop what we were doing and make our way to the Gorge for photos. That's exactly what we did!
The lighting was perfect - soft, even, diffused - assisted by the nice mist around the waterfall which always adds a soft glow. I had the teeniest bit of fill flash, to avoid incredibly harsh shadows on their faces, but nature did most of the work, thankfully.
My trusty D800, a Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART lens (my new favorite), and a Nikon SB900.
I met Kyle playing kickball, and he later met Sierra playing dodgeball. The moment I met her I told her, "Not to be creepy, but I'd love to photograph you sometime," so when he proposed to her, I proposed to them! They were having a small destination wedding in Hawaii, and we only had about a month to take some practice shots/engagement photos before leaving for the big event. I love engagement shoots, because it gives me a chance to see what angles work best for the couple, and it gives the couples a chance to see how they feel in front of the camera, and to see how I work and how I can help with gentle directions. They love hiking out in the Gorge with their dog (who didn't join us that day, but we still love him!) and knew they wanted their portraits out there. It's a special place to them, it's close to home, close to their hearts, and off we went.
This didn't need a lot of work, luckily! Some brightening of their faces, a light skin-softening filter, and while I don't always love a vignette, I definitely added a bit here to really put the focus on their faces.
In my camera bag
If I travel somewhere and have to travel light, I have my iPhone, and I am always sure to have at least a D800 with a 50mm 1.4 lens. The Sigma ART series is really fantastic - and a good body and a great lens tend to cover my bases. I always make sure I have spare, charged batteries, and lots of memory. A lens cleaning cloth and a Snickers bar. If I'm going whole-hog, there will also be a Nikon 80-400, a Sigma 24mm ART, an ND filter and a CPL, a tripod, and my underwater housing and spare silicon gel. Ooh! And I always make sure I have a cold water!
Take your time! There were dozens of angles and locations at the base of just this one waterfall. I posed and re-posed them multiple times, making sure their feet weren't awkward, that I wasn't being blasted with a lot of water (wanted to keep my lens dry as possible), I had to watch my own footing too, as we were all on slick rocks. We just kept moving from location to location, shooting as we went, and I'd check my LCD and make a judgement call on the location, then say, "let's try this over there..." and once I had them in this spot, it was just a matter of keeping them relaxed and making sure their faces were calm yet happy (so lots of talking and reassuring them how beautiful it all was), making sure their hands were in a good spot - because this photo was mostly about them and it just happens to have a bit of nature as a backdrop I really had to pay attention to details like hair in her face, where their hands fell, how "smooshed" his face was going to be against her head...all the little details I didn't want to have to futz with in photoshop later or just regret later. Really - it was taking my time and paying attention to my subjects!

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