Amanda and Daniel chose to book an extended adventure engagement session in the New River Gorge. Their session included two locations - Glade Creek and Long Point. Originally, this session was supposed to be a sunrise session, but the weather was calling for about 100% chance of rain Saturday morning so we moved it to a Friday evening.
Glade Creek and Long Point are about 45 minutes away from each other so we scheduled about four hours for this shoot. Amanda wanted both water shots and some with the New River Gorge bridge in the background.
The Glade Creek parking area is only about 500 feet from the New River. Although we started fairly early in the afternoon (earlier than I would normally book an engagement session), the forest between the river and creek filtered the light beautifully, giving us a sort of early golden hour. Golden hour is known as the hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. It's so named because when the sun is close to the horizon, the light becomes soft, warm and, well, golden.
The New River Gorge Park Service has developed a beautiful, wide, flat path that runs parallel to Glade Creek for something like four miles. It's a popular area to fish, but also to swim - about every half mile the creek pools into lovely deep swimming holes. A few are quite popular, but others you can really have to yourself. We picked one of the more secluded spots for Amanda and Daniels' water photos. I mostly just asked them to swim around, snuggle and enjoy playing in the water.
After they cooled off, we headed up the mountain to the Long Point trailhead. As we drove, the sky suddenly darkened and huge, black storm clouds began to roll in. When we pulled into the Long Point parking lot, fat droplets of water began to hit the car. We decided to try and make it out to the overlook anyway - about a mile and a half hike - and started jogging down the trail. Along the way, we passed several boy scouts who informed us it was about to start raining. Ok, thanks guys.
When we got out to the overlook it was so dark I wasn't even sure if my camera would be able to focus, but we got some really cool shots of the dark, moody environment in about the five minutes we had to shoot. On the way back, it started pouring in earnest and the available light was totally hidden by trees. Within a few minutes, we were walking in ankle deep water, in the dark, while being poured on.
Amanda and Daniel are really good sports though, and when we got back to the car I asked them if they wanted to try a night photography shot in the rain. We were already wet so, why not?
This is all to say that adventure engagements and couples shoots are often just that - an adventure. Being willing to get wet, hike in the dark or pick your way over rocks in the river is just part of the experience, part of the fun. And, at the end, you can end up with some really epic, authentic photos.