Autumn Engagement, Palisades, Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Autumn Engagement at Palisades

Cedar Rapids, Iowa


It was late in the autumn, and the colors were mostly gone.
Indian summer was fleeing, and the cold was starting to settle in.
All in all, it was a perfect excuse to get close, cuddle up, and enjoy each other’s company.


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B+A brought their puppy. Okay. A BIG puppy. He photo bombed B+A a few times. 

We hiked to the end of the trail where there was an overhang and a gazebo. The images above were captured using off camera strobe placed somewhat in the distance in order to balance B+A out with the ambient lighting. For the images below, I moved the strobe closer to B+A to give the overall scene a more color pop and dramatic feeling, well, until the puppy playfully photo bombed some of the engagement images.


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But, finally, he got his chance to properly sit + pose with B+A.

We moved into the gazebo next to the trail and took some "family shots". The sunset was approaching the top of the hills and it was granting us some glorious back lighting. I used off camera strobe for a few shots, but decided that the ones from natural lighting looked the best. From here on out until nightfall, I continued the session using only the sunlight.


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The puppy wanted to go fast, but B+A wanted to take it slow. There was a steep drop to one side.

Here was the trail to the Cedar River. It went down to a lower elevation and nearby hills blocked the setting sun. We were blessed with some great filtered light from the sky above. The trail was very narrow though. A's left foot was pretty much at the trail's edge. I am glad I did not lose a groom on my watch.


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Down by the Cedar River, the puppy went sprinting while B+A strolled along the river bank.
There was a million dollar cottage on the cliff. Some day.

On the sandy bank of Cedar River, we could see the setting sun's light spilling over the hilltops. I stayed back from B+A to give them some privacy and used the 70-200 mm to pull in their story. I don't know what they said to each other during that time, but from the looks on their faces, we can imagine.


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The last rays of the setting sun were hitting the hilltops.
The wind was chilly, but there were warm hugs.


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At the old dam, B+A hugged, kissed, and dipped.

We finally got to the old, abandoned dam across the Cedar River. On top of the dam, B+A goofed around with hugs, kisses, and dips. With the bright sunset lighting from behind, I pushed the ISO up to give it a more old time film feel to the images. There was no need to bring out the strobe. It was time to break the rules and blow out the background.



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It was getting darker, and the wind had calmed down. The choppy river transformed into a mirror.

At the river's edge, there was a small inlet. B+A went to the right side and I took the left. I adore moments like this, when the love story just pretty much unfolds by itself. There was really nothing for me to do except to melt into the background, observe, and capture the light.


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The sun set, and the starry night sky covered the park, at which point B+A let the sparks fly.

B+A saw a canvas print of fire spin and asked to incorporate it into the engagement session. I readily agreed. We set up the equipment under the full quarter moon and couple powerful LED flashlights, and then went to work. We had to run several test shots to make sure the fire spin's circles were near the right place, framing the couple. B+A were good sports and were asked to hold each pose for 10-15 seconds. They did not complain that they had to kiss for that long.





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