BIG Sky Country LOVE!

While driving around the day before the Wedding, searching around for places to shoot I came across this winding road, I loved the sky and how expansive the valley was. It was by far the most peaceful place I had ever visited. It didn’t take much imagination to wonder what it was like when the Cowboys and Indians called this place home, because so much of it seemed like it hadn’t been touched…well with the exception of the power lines…..but I could easily be lost in this tranquility….

This destination Wedding was a blast, although would have been better had my wife come along, but I was on my own, out in the open prairie….but she was always on my mind.   When I first talked with Carmen about shooting her Wedding, I was really excited. Carmen is a Photojournalist, truly a talented Pro, so I knew her expectations would be high.

I knew nothing about the area, but  I always heard that Montana was an amazingly beautiful place. Coming from Oregon, it would have to be really amazing to impress me. I certainly was blown away!  The town of Pray, Montana is very small. The biggest thing going was the Chico Hot Springs, an Historical get away that boasts a full size pool, heated by a natural Hot Spring that is SO comfortable you don’t want to get out! A swim up bar and an amazing restaurant that has been featured in the national magazines and visited by big name Hollywood types. Going to Old Town Pray, was unlike any other old town I have ever witnessed. It took all of 3 minutes to find the old buildings that were boarded up and abandoned. Old trucks lined the gravel roads and a small creek ran through it. This is my kind of fun, I love old stuff, especially old trucks, blended with nature I was in my element!




I wonder what it was like back in the day, what year was this left on the side of the road?  I had more questions than answers, and nobody to turn to for info….if you continued up the one way dirt road it ran along the river as seen above. It led to a large lake, although I took it up about 1 mile I never got to the lake. The road got ruff and I had a brand new Suburban with only 186 miles on it and felt like I could easily damage it off roading….I went through a ton of mud and big rocks….wait was I covered by my insurance?  Could I get stuck up here and this truck would be abandoned, so that some Photographer would come by 75 years later and think it’s cool to photograph? I decided to turn it back, but it was certainly a very fun ride!

So the weather is much like Oregon’s, it is always changing without much notice. In hind sight I wonder what made Carmen choose that time of year outdoors in Montana. It was certainly beautiful, but we had rain a few days before and some just moments before the ceremony. But then the sun came out and it was just perfect, the snow caps on the top of the Mountains that outline the area were magnificent. Her father walked her down a gravel road to the Wedding site, the beauty of this location was complimented only by the Bride.

Just after the ceremony I took Carmen and Uriah to a grove of trees that were just a few hundred feet from the ceremony site. Another little creek ran through making for a picturesque location for their portraits. In this case, I had about 1 hour to shoot their Portraits. This included stopping off at the reception for us to grab a beer as we went to Old Town. They insisted that I have a beer with them, so we took one for the road and sipped between shots! I told them I never had a beer with clients during a shoot, nor have a driven with an open beer…..I know…….no comments needed!!

Here you can see the beautiful mountains, and Carmen can barely contain her happiness after Marrying the Man of her dreams! He carried her away into a field to get a better view of the snow covered mountains. Her smile and personality is infectious, she was on cloud nine and Uriah is clearly the source of her joy.

In this image, I brought the colors back a bit to lend to the vintage look,  I really enjoyed the series I shot from this location.  I didn’t need to give much direction, their attraction says it all.

I loved shooting this, it has a stark contrast of beauty and the ol’ rusty truck. I love the varying patina on the surface of the truck. Great job by the bride who had her friends work on putting the flowers together for the Wedding. The area certainly didn’t call for much embellishment, but it certainly adds to this image!

Boy was I relieved when she told me she was SO happy that she was jumping up and down with excitement when she saw her images.  But then again, so did I !

I can’t wait to go back someday with my wife and kids. :)


To see more images from Carmen and Uriah’s amazing Wedding day  go to: Big Sky Wedding


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