Melissa & Brad

Melissa & Brad

Whoever knew that pet stores had singles mixers? I didn’t until I met Meslissa and Brad and heard their story.  He had a rather large Alaskan Malamute – I thought it was a new species of brown bear when I first saw it – and she had a cat.  Well, the cat didn’t make it to the mixer hosted by the Animal Food Warehouse / Pet Zoo, but the dog, Kleco, did, and he was a big hit.  Fast forward a few years and Kleco not only had a special role in their meeting, but as the ring bearer at their wedding.

The location: Brad’s gold mining claim in the Turnagain Pass near Canyon Creek … well, actually, a hundred or so feet above the creek at the top of a sheer cliff.  When they explained to me that Brad hauls his dredging equipment down to the creek for winter mining operations, I just shuddered.  I’ve never been afraid of heights, but the sheer determination it takes to haul all of that gear down there and scavenge some gold out of the earth was simply astonishing.

The weather was perfect in that it did not rain.  Fortunately, it was not a completely flat overcast, providing some texture to the clouds.  In order to balance out the exposures a bit, I used a Lee 3-stop graduated neutral density filter on the camera with the 12-24mm lens so that the sky would not be too overexposed.  I had never used one before for action shots during a wedding ceremony, but it worked like a charm.

The reception took place under a rather large canopy tent, just below the canvas tent cabin that Melissa and Brad use when they are on the property.  They showed me around the property, including the hand-made outdoor hot shower system that Brad installed, powered by a car battery and heated by a propane tank, capable of heating up enough water for a thirty-minute shower.  Sure beats the bathing-by-sauna method I used for two years as a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.  There was a Mardi Gras-style decorated tree with hats, sunglasses, and a variety of toys and activities for the kids.  Nearby stood a table full of cans of Off for the expected mosquitoes … fortunately, they did not really come out.   The cake was something I had never seen before.  The outer part of the cake was made to look like a weaved basket, with the inner part a regular cake covered with chocolate truffles.  I actually thought it was a real basket at first.

The property offered a variety of opportunities for portraits, and the couple provided the personality to make the portraits really shine.  For the most part, I simply let the couple be themselves, offering little direction, and they gave me just what I needed to capture portraits that I hope show who they are.  One of the challenges in doing good wedding portraits as a photographer is to remember to keep my ego in check and allow the couple to just BE.  We also included a “Shotgun Wedding” group portrait, complete with three rifles, two semi-automatics,  and a lone rifle with Bayonet.   Now there is a keeper for a true Alaskan wedding group portrait.

One Response to “Melissa & Brad”

  1. Sandy Anderson Says:

    What beautiful, artistic photos! Can’t wait to see the rest!

Leave a Reply