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Escalante Destination Engagement – Utah | Reko & Judy

This destination engagement with Reko & Judy in Escalante, Utah, was the most exciting adventure I have this year. Just like last year road trip engagement, throughout this trip, not only did I get so many beautiful candid moments of this couple, I learned a lot about hiking too.

3 days … Although it was not long, it gave me a great opportunity to learn more about them than I could during our first meeting over Skype. One thing I’m so impressed with is how “environment-friendly” they are. They are aware of the environment in everything thing they do. They even stopped when they drove away from the parking lot, just to pick up a plastic bottle on the road. During our first hike to Cosmic Ashtray, Reko taught me how to hike with the least damage to the environment. The first lesson was to watch out for “biocrust”, which is pretty much the foundation of life. After knowing it, I felt so guilty for destroying many of them for years. But from now on, I’ll make no more mistakes.

1st day of our destination engagement – arrival and set up.

2nd day – road to Cosmic Ashtray

This destination engagement really tested my endurance and pushed myself to a new limit. Taking engagement photos while hiking takes far more effort than each does alone. Basically, I almost had to double the hike, going back and forth, side to side (while having to avoid the biocrust) to change the angle. With a backpack of gears and the cameras hanging on my sides, it wasn’t an easy task. Luckily, Reko & Judy helped me a lot. They carried water and food for 3, which took a lot off my shoulder.

*A lesson for other photographers who are about to do a similar session: be smart with your equipment. Think of your shots beforehand, take only what necessary. With long hikes, every ounce matters. The more ounces you have, the slower you are.*

Even though the hike was pretty smooth thanks to Reko’s excellent navigation skill, the unexpected challenge when we reached Cosmic Ashtray was the chilly wind. Before the trip even started, none of us expected it to be like that. Posing was difficult as Judy had to constantly fight against the wind and cold. Easy to understand, she had the least layer and more skin exposed to wind. Good job Judy for holding it long enough for me to finish the shots.

3rd day – road to Peek-A-Boo Gulch and back home.

On the 3rd day to Peek-A-Boo Gulch, the hike was much shorter, both in time and distance. However, it didn’t mean it got any easier. On the contrary, it was much colder PLUS steep climb. It might look easy but it was actually hard to climb. It was slippery, not much space to put your feet and not much place to hold on to. While they got changed, I explored a little bit further and it would actually be a greater challenge if we decided to go all in. The path was so narrow that I could barely get through, even without my camera and backpack. So, we decided to save time and shoot only at the beginning of the gulch. Because of the look of this location, we went for a formal look instead of casual as we did on the 2nd day.

As I said earlier that it was so cold for Judy to withstand, her eyes got so teary that sometimes, it looked like she was crying. She made fun out of it, saying that if it gets windy on her wedding day during the ceremony, it would actually look good as if she is so happy that she cries. LOL!

And that pretty much ended this amazing destination engagement session.

Thank you, Reko & Judy, for flighting me to Utah, picking me up and take care of me throughout the entire engagement trip, letting me focus on documenting your beautiful moments.

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