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    I love escaping to the mountains whenever I shoot a wedding. Un-fortunately, my style of photography doesn’t lend me to a lot of these types of weddings. I don’t feature a lot of pretty mountain views with portraits because I’m focusing on the moments that matter. I do however, relish the opportunity to photograph some scenic weddings. The Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch features horseback riding for anyone that’s up for a little adventure. The Sylvan Dale Ranch cabins are located near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s about a 45 minute drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. The cabins are small, but cozy. The way the cabins are laid out is in a circle. This meant that I had to be careful when I was photographing the groom’s family because the bride could possibly see the groom if he was outside. I met Amanda along with her bridesmaids and a couple of family members in her cabin. As I mentioned before, the cabins were small so I didn’t have much room to navigate. This meant that I had to primarily use my 24mm lens to capture every moment. Amanda decided she wanted to do a first look with her father. I positioned him in front of her cabin and then had her walk down the steps to greet him. It was a nice, touching moment to witness.

    The ceremony site was just up the road and we were transferred by some golf carts. I’ve noticed that’s pretty common here in Colorado. A lot of these venues that I’ve shot at have the ceremony location up on a hill, (usually a dirt road) so guests can take in the views of the mountains. Most of these venues have one of their employees give rides via golf carts. We had some beautiful, late afternoon light, which made it difficult to photograph the couple on stage. The cameras that I use don’t always do a good job of grabbing focus when the sun is directly behind them. One funny moment that happened during the ceremony was the officiant (bride’s brother) forgot where he left off when reading from his sermon. Amanda grabbed the book from him and told him where to continue. I’ve never seen that happen at a wedding before!

    The reception was held at the Heritage gathering room located next to the cabins. It featured a large theater room and it seats roughly 130 guests. The room offers windows at the entrance, and offers some overhead lighting, but it’s still fairly dark as far as reception venues go. I used an off-camera flash to help light up the room. I would’ve used a second light on a stand but there wasn’t any room to put it down. I was happy that the couple played the shoe game, as I always get some great moments from it. It’s where the DJ asks the couple which person is better at; or more likely to; and the bride and groom lift their own shoe if they think that it’s them. I was also happy to see the groom on the dance floor as that’s not typical at weddings. Overall, it was a fun wedding to shoot with the beautiful views and some nice moments that I captured.

Venue: Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

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