I talked Rachel and Tristan into heading out to the Eagle River Nature Center. They'd never been before, so I didn't tell them that there were bears everywhere. I knew this because I grew up there. This place was my old stomping grounds. I remember traipsing through the woods during elementary school nature walks with adults seeming to be miles away with bears a-plenty. Just little snacks for the beasts of the forest. I don't think people had the same fear of litigation and risk back then. For a kid, it was the most magical place on earth. Total freedom. As a teen and young adult, my first tastes of real wilderness consequences and rewarding learning experiences were there. It shaped me. I love to share it when I can.
True to form, the day we did the shoot, a Sow and a cub were darting on and off the trail nearby. Scared, hyperventilating Sunday hikers were giving us dire warnings the whole time. Another day at the Nature Center.
I've spent a lot of time in bear infested places and had a few close calls. I don't really take the threat lightly. I normally pack planning to save my clients if need be. I'm serious. After an interview I did for Shoulders of Giants with bear mauling survivor, Gene Moe (at 69 years old, he took down an attacking Kodiak brown bear with a 4" buck knife and lived to tell the tale) - I took the possibility of the unexpected happening a lot more seriously. In fact, this year a fatal bear attack hit a lot of my community way too close to home. That's to say - yes I bring a revolver and bear spray. You might think it overkill until you've met a few folks that have been brutalized after startling a sow with a cub, but in Alaska it's no joke. Nobody is going to get mauled on my watch. All the same, whether you recognize it or not - whenever we step into the woods in this state, there's bears. Most of the time it's fine, especially if you know what to look for and how to avoid a confrontation.
Back to the engagement! It seemed fitting to embark on a new life adventure in a new place with a little adrenaline pumping. Really, it was fine.
We did a smattering of shots including traditional and non-traditional stuff. Rachel had a vision in mind for her "Save the Dates" and a few other shots. I was willing to help bring that to life. And you know what, I'm not too set in my free-wheeling ways to pull off a client's concept. I'm hired to document clients lives, values and visions through my own creative medium. It is an honor that someone would ask me to help. If that's what makes a heart sing, I'll do what I can to make it sing loud and proud. I think we nailed it!
Congrats to R + T. Truly looking forward to Shooting your wedding next summer.