Joshua Tree National Park Engagement Session
VAN & TREVIN
- First location: Joshua Tree National Park in Joshua Tree, CA
I had the pleasure of meeting Van at my home studio earlier this year and although she and her fiance Trevin aren’t planning to get married until August 2018, they wanted to get a head start on their photos with this Joshua Tree National Park engagement session.
This was quite a special occasion for me, not only because I’ve never done an e-session at Joshua Tree National Park before, but also because this was the first national park I visited with my wife Charlene when I was just getting into backpacking a few years ago.
Van and Trevin met a few years back through the phone app game “Clash of Clans”. While Trevin was based in Vancouver, he was thinking about moving down to Southern California where Van was living and after she picked him up at the airport, it was love at first sight. They got engaged last November at a lighthouse in Vancouver, with Trevin surprising Van with a scrapbook and flowers for the proposal.
Joshua Tree National Park engagement session photos:
I met up with Van and Trevin at the visitor’s center of Joshua Tree National Park which is situated around two-hours’ drive from Los Angeles. Because Joshua Tree is quite an exposed desert landscape, timing the engagement session was a little tricky. The light doesn’t settle until around 6PM (just before sunset), but we really needed more time to capture the shots we wanted, which required a bit of creativity.
We started by exploring the trail around Split Rock, named for its iconic rock formation. Van and Trevin both opted for fairly casual attire and I took a range of close-up portraits and wide-angle silhouettes while trying to shield them from the bright light. We looked for shaded spots beneath the limited trees or in the shadow of Split Rock itself, together with capturing a whimsical portrait of the couple walking arm-in-arm along a more exposed section of the trail.
We then jumped in our car and drove to the Cholla Cactus Garden, with Van changing into a bright red cocktail dress and Trevin into a classic suit. The sun was starting to get close to the horizon, illuminating the couple in rich golden tones. I photographed Trevin lifting Van into the air and kissing her hand affectionately, as well as some warm embraces and a creative shot of Van admiring her engagement ring.
There was one final outfit change for this Joshua Tree National Park engagement session, with Van opting for an elegant black dress and Trevin wearing a pale blue open shirt. We went to explore the Hemingway area which is popular with rock climbers, as well as taking a few portraits beneath the Joshua Trees for which the park is named.
It was a fairly quiet afternoon in Joshua Tree so we were also able to stage some portraits on the road which cuts through the national park. As the sunset transformed the desert sky and illuminated the clouds a soft pink, I grabbed one final silhouette of the couple beside a Joshua Tree.
I really want to thank Van and Trevin for making the drive out to Joshua Tree National Park for this engagement session and being such troopers in the exposed light and sometimes difficult conditions (Van even walked around and climbed on rocks in high heels!). I loved having the opportunity to photograph at a new e-session location while getting to know this couple and look forward to reconnecting again next summer for their wedding.