This Florida couple had originally planned a large, traditional wedding in northern California, but after the sudden passing of the bride's father leading up to the big day, they knew they'd find it difficult to be excited about the wedding knowing that this very important person wouldn't be there. So the couple and their families decided to rejigger things.
"They set out to reimagine an experience that would not only feel right at such an emotionally weighted time, but that would also fulfill the need to include and celebrate her nature-loving father's memory alongside their new beginning as a married couple," wrote photographer Joshua Kane on his blog of the wedding he would go on to capture. "This new focus led them to the famous Yosemite National Park, an environment where the overwhelming beauty and serenity invoke a range of emotions as varied and extreme as the peaks and valleys of the landscape itself."
When they saw Kane's destination weddings on his Facebook page and website, the couple knew that he was the right photographer to capture their newly nature-focused nuptials. As he was hiking around with the couple, he was constantly picturing the legendary photos that Ansel Adams captured of Yosemite, thinking, he says, "no photograph has ever done this place justice. Not even his." But his certainly give the park a run for its money.
"The actual wedding was beautiful beyond words and the backdrop was the stuff of dreams," says Kane, who stayed with the couple and their families for three days over the course of their celebrations. "It was exactly the type of story I live to tell. The kindness and warmth shown by the couple and their family and friends was an absolute pleasure to be around. The conversations, stories and jokes while riding in the car for hours around the park was equally enjoyable as seeing the waterfalls, rock formations and trees up close. And the sentimental moments scattered throughout the trip made it obvious that I was witnessing something more profound than I had expected."
The absence of the bride's father certainly added to this profundity "that heightened everyone's emotional awareness to the bigger picture," Kane says. "The couple did some really nice things to honor his memory, and that was very special to photograph."
What you don't see in Kane's photos are the hoards of people that swarmed the park while they were there. "Parts of it are just like Disneyland," he says. "Tourists everywhere! Shooting a wedding anywhere public has challenges since people always want to butt in and congratulate the couple, which is fine, but not when you're in a rush and especially not when you're somewhere so epic that you want to squeeze in as much of the landscape in the frame as possible without including a million tourists as well." Kane credits the success of the photographs in this regard to the couple, who were brave enough to climb up on "some pretty sketchy rocks to avoid the people crowded below."
This wedding taught him a couple of important things. For one, Kane says, "I learned that drones are not allowed in National Parks. Eeep."
But more importantly, he observed a shift in philosophy among young couples "who are embracing that there really aren't so many rules when it comes to weddings anymore. You just have to do what feels right and make sure it's a refection of your joint personalities. And that's exactly what this was. It was so refreshing."
GEAR FOR THE DAY
Cameras: Canon 5D Mark III and IV
Lenses: Canon 35mm L II and Canon 50mm L