Elliott reached out to me on Instagram. Which was still a fairly new thing to me. But what was more interesting what he and his wife, Eri, were located across the Pacific ocean, on Japan. They were planning to come to the state's to celebrate their marriage with Elliott's side of the family, and they wanted to commemorate the moment.
They expressed to me they wanted something high adventure, something epic. I had never done a sunrise shoot before but had only heard good things. I pitched the idea to them, and they didn't bat an eye.
Flying in just a day before, we all met up in the parking lot at about 7:00 AM. We wouldn't make it to the top for the first rays of light, but I knew that wouldn't be an issue. Morning light is a special type of feel, and it only grows and grows. So we hiked up steadily in the morning dusk for a couple hours. Safe to say we were a little overheated and winded. Despite the hike's popularity, the incline is at the very least moderate.
As we hiked up I learned more about them. Elliott had been living in Yamagata, where Eri was from, and Elliott played in a band. One night Elliott and his band had a show, and some of his friends brought Eri. They were introduced to each other then and then from then on they were in each other's lives. The relationship slowly growing over a love for friends, experiences, and music.
When Elliott proposed to Eri it seemed like everything he had wanted wasn't going to plan. But naturally, rarely do these things ever work seamlessly. At the end of it all, it ended with a trail of red string leading to a small teepee.
We approached the ledge and but the light was hiding. Nonetheless, it was a breathtaking view. A place and moment on earth truly symbolic of the beauty of human relationships. I bought my speaker, and pressured to find the right music, Fleet Foxes came to my mind. It fit perfectly. Within 15 minutes of shooting, the light peaked through the clouds just behind the lightly snow-capped mountains. Clouds and mist were floating around the valley. No one was really there but us.
As we worked together we told some more stories, experimented with different photographic techniques, appreciated our surroundings without any shutters. We even took plenty iPhone photos, as well as selfies. It was truly a special moment we wanted to remember for a long while.
As we walked back down, we stopped here and there for some photos. Eri asked me questions in her best English, and we spoke about their plans for their celebrations both in Washington and back in Japan. Elliott spoke fluent Japanese and would often to communicate some things to Eri in Japanese. You best believe I learned what Sugoi means.
What I took away from this was that love has no bounds. In my eyes, their relationship was so pure and effortless. No ocean or language could keep their souls from forming a bond. No limit could be placed on the direction of their relationship would take them, in life, or even up that steep trail to the Rattlesnake Ledge. And to me, that was a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of.
Thank you, Elliott + Eri for being you.
Your Pixieset Link: https://wyatltaylor.pixieset.com/elliottanderi/