I had a feeling that doing photography for this Durango, Colorado wedding was going to be an absolute blast and it certainly lived up to my expectations! I am honored to have been Sam and Maura's photographer and it is going to be tough to photograph a more enjoyable Southwest wedding! We decided to get some couples photos before the wedding and they wanted to stay in town so we made a quick pre-wedding stop at the river at one of my favorite spots.
Afterwards it was on to the Smiley Building where we took advantage of some shade because the weather was hot!
Sam and Maura decided to book a Durango favorite, the Smiley Building, for their festivities. This was the first time that I've done photos at this location and it went smoother than I had anticipated.
The building has an excellent lawn in the back situated above downtown that is great for views and for all of the typical wedding accouterments including a bar, ceremony spot, reception and dining tent, and yard games. There is always a nice shady wall to be found which is fantastic when the midday lighting gets too intense! The interior of the building is also interesting and provides lots of good photography opportunities.
The ceremony spot faces Northwest Durango which provided a great backdrop and good afternoon lighting.
The reception was a wild rumpus as I assumed that it would be knowing these two.
I highly recommend this venue. It is a fantastic location centrally located in downtown Durango and a perfect spot for any outdoor event or wedding. For more information about me, Durango, or the Smiley Building please refer to the following links:
The Smiley Building
Southwest Durango Photography
Sometimes weddings work out perfectly. This was one of those weddings. Abbi was great to work with from the start; we spoke on the phone and she basically left all of the planning to me regarding where we should go for their ceremony, reception, and photography.
We made some general plans and wanted to go up high in the mountains, but due to this elopement being in May it was hard to predict the weather so I kept some alternate plans in the back of my mind. Sure enough, the weather at our location (12,500 feet elevation near Silverton, Colorado) wasn't ideal. It was forecasted to be rainy, snowy, blustery, and generally cold! We did some photos at our original low-elevation location and then decided to bail on the high-elevation plan and go with my plan-B.
The temperature was great, no sweating, no shivering, and we got some nice cloud cover with no rain! The ceremony spot was fantastic and only an hour drive from Durango. Everyone was comfortable and our extra layers turned out to be unnecessary.
I would like to give a big shout out to the bride, Abbi, and groom, Matt, for being absolutely amazing to work with. A photographer's dream couple. Cheers you two!
If you are looking to elope in the Durango, Silverton, or Telluride areas please feel free to contact me! Whether you would like a beautiful vista on the side of the highway, want to get married on top of a mountain, or want a quick, beautiful spot to hike to, I am your guy. I have live and explored here for over 15 years and would love to take photos of you getting married at one of my favorite spots!
To book elopements or weddings please feel free to contact me via the following link: Southwest / Durango Photography
For area information regarding Durango and it's surroundings click this sentence.
To check the weather for your upcoming event click here.
You never know just how a winter wedding is going to turn out as a photographer. It is challenging to photograph a white dress on a white background and it is difficult not to over expose foregrounds and backgrounds. Finding the right contrast is an on-going battle and the weather can hardly be counted on. Will there be low visibility? Will the sun be overly bright?
However, sometimes winter weddings, or elopements, just turn out perfect. Jefe and Chloe's ceremony and reception were exactly that, amazing! The weather was partly cloudy and the entire ceremony was amazingly lit and shadowed. The guests were required to ride snowmobiles and over 40 were rented in order to get everyone to the grounds. The snowmobiles were then organized into rows and used for seating during the event. One was also used to aid the escape of the newly-weds!
The lighting couldn't have been better, and neither could the backdrop.
I was impressed with how well everything worked out considering the outlandish circumstances. This elopement / wedding would be hard to match. I've been to this location several times during the fall and weddings here during that time are absolutely amazing, but I never imagined to see one during the winter!
The reception was held at Elk Avenue Prime in downtown Crested Butte, Colorado and was absolutely fantastic. It was the perfect spot for a small to medium size wedding party to celebrate downtown and get loose on the dance floor!
If you are considering getting hitched in the Crested Butte area I would definitely recommend this venue!
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North about an hour via car, or taxi, from Puerto Vallarta there is a beautiful little town by the name of Sayulita. Be warned: if visiting, the road from Puerto Vallarta can be a bit harrowing! The road is tight and serpentine for several miles as it winds through the coastal hills and jungles. I had the pleasure of experiencing this town for several days thanks to Cody and Leah hiring me to take photos of their little wedding, or elopement, that they planned in March (a great time to be there, by the way).
They rented a lovely beach-side cabana to stay in with their small party, as well as to host their wedding ceremony, just North of town. We employed a few golf carts to shuttle guests to and from town which was perfect for the sandy and cobble-filled streets of Sayulita.
The carts were also fantastic for whisking away the bride and groom for some candid sunset photos up the beach from the casa! The beach. Sayulita is in the midst of a large bay with a spectacular beach running from end to end for several miles. The town is on the Southern side of the bay, while our lodging was closer to the Northern end. The crew surfed every day that we were there. Several species of seabird were present in the bay and it was exciting watching them fish throughout the days.
The neighboring architecture, flora, and fauna also made for some great photography spots!
I couldn't be more pleased with my whole experience in this lovely section of Mexico! The town is cute and small, the lodging and airfare were very reasonable, the food was delicious, the beach was massive, the views were stunning, and everyone had an excellent time. The perfect wedding locale.
I was very excited when Danny and Nicole contacted me with a plan to take their engagement photos on Kebler Pass outside of Crested Butte! We were hoping to snowmobile to some stunning landscape views; however, the weather had a different plan for us..
A storm blew in the evening before our photography shoot and dropped a quick foot of snow on the ground. We were hoping that it might clear out during the day, but the snow continued to fall so we were forced to go into the forest for our photo session. Luckily the storm let up enough for us to take photos without snow clothes on!
The Crested Butte area is a great place for wedding and engagements all year long, as long as you are adequately prepared. Getting to and from CB in the winter can be a challenge depending on the weather. Most people drive 4-5 hours from Denver and the route requires vehicles to summit Monarch Pass which tends to be snowy and icy in the winter time so I recommend 4-wheel or all wheel drive if headed that way!
For booking please feel free to contact me via my website at:
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Wedding / Elopement Gallery
There is a place near Silverton, Colorado, that is absolutely stunning and breathtakingly beautiful. A photography haven. If you are reading this post you are probably already aware of it's existence. This place is known as Ice Lake Basin. If you are looking to elope this is one heck of a place to do it.
My long time friend Justin "Lucky" Lavender contacted me a few years ago and told me about his epic plan to elope in this beautiful basin. I was honored to be his photographer and couldn't think of a more beautiful spot in the Southwest region to plan an elopement. We met at the trailhead early on a Saturday morning, Lucky and his fiancee packed their dress clothes and champagne into their packs, and we started hoofing it up the trail. After about two hours we arrived at the basin, around 10am, and began the lovely event. Luckily we had tied up the whole elopement around noon because the storm clouds were already brewing. Summer monsoonal thunderstorms tend to frequent this basin most afternoons so photos and visiting is best done in the morning hours. Be warned, this is not a roadside attraction and you will need to procure a permit before hiking over 2,000 vertical feet and 3 miles to this locale. From Silverton drive North on Highway 550 and take your first left onto South Mineral Creek road. The trailhead is about 10 minutes up this road on the right. Be adequately prepared! Weather and elevation can drastically affect hikers at this location. Check the weather and make sure you are acclimated as you will be hiking to 12,000 feet.
I have spent many days in this basin since moving to the area in 2006 and I absolutely love taking photos up there! Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to schedule a session.
Durango is an amazing place to take portrait photography. Make sure you are dressed appropriately depending on the time of year as the temperatures can range drastically. Whether you are looking for photos on the river side, downtown, scenic vistas, fall colors, winter scenes, meadows, or woods; Durango has it all. I love taking photos in and around the Durango area, but especially in the fall! Will you be in Southwest Colorado looking for photography work this summer? Your photographer is right here! I shoot elopement, wedding, family portrait, event, and landscape photography in the Durango area (Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway, Hesperus, and Pagosa Springs)!
There is an argument for saving money at your wedding or post elopement party by supplying your own alcohol via kegs and letting the guests struggle to pour their own beverages, but is it worth it? Only if you do it right. Kegs are always a pain unless you have a CO2 setup of some sort that you are confident with. If you aren't doing kegs you will be creating a lot of trash from bottles and cans, and good luck leaving guests unattended with liquor to self-pour; sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Let's face it. It is worth it to at least have someone to dole out the drinks and make sure Uncle Dwayne isn't over doing it. Personally, for a wedding in or around the Durango, Silverton, or Telluride areas, I would hire the The Thirsty Rooster. These two will not disappoint.
Personally I think the fall, or autumn if you prefer, is definitely the best time to get hitched! The temperatures have started to decline so you don't have sweaty guests or bride/grooms, nature's colors are absolutely unreal, and the lower sun makes for less aggressive lighting. In Silverton, Ouray, or Telluride I would recommend mid to late September, and in Durango, Hesperus, Hermosa, Purgatory, or Pagosa Springs I would recommend weddings and photography be done in early to mid October! There are many amazing venues in all of these areas and an almost infinite supply of Engagement locations.
If you plan on getting hitched in or around the Durango area you will likely have invited some folks that tend to get thirsty. It would sure be helpful to know where to send them to find the finest Durango libations! Here is a list of my favorite Durango haunts:
Best Craft Beer: Animas Brewing Company. Situated right next to Rotary Park and the River Trail that winds all the way through town, ABC is a great spot to sit on the patio and enjoy some fine beers.
Best Bar: Check out the Balcony Bar if the weather is nice and head in to El Rancho if the weather turns or your party members want to turn it up to 11.
Best Cocktails: El Moro has an amazing selection of libations and a great food menu as well.
Best Bistro: Ken and Su's has a great menu with great prices and a delicious drink menu.
Eating with Everyone: Steamworks is one of the only places in town that is big enough to accommodate all of your wedding guests.