Emery’s Bridals: Teton National Park and What the Buffalo Saw!

Every client is a special one, but it’s not every day that a wedding photographer gets to shoot their own daughter’s bridal pictures!

I knew we had an amazing summer of traveling and fun on the calendar, so I decided to incorporate Emery’s wedding photography into our vacationing, and the Tetons were our first stop on the list. Mormon Row has breathtaking views of the mountains, and on this particular evening, I wanted to include a nightscape into the plan. I discovered earlier in the week that the Milky Way wasn’t going to be over the mountains as I had hoped, so I switched things up and shot in the opposite direction, including this beautiful old barn for some character.

Being new to night photography, I spent several nights in the park experimenting and learning how to get my settings just right. Finally, on the last night, I brought Emery and my husband along, and we camped out for a good couple of hours in advance, making sure that everything would go off without a hitch. Emery sat in the car to avoid the mosquitos and Chase and I sat in the meadow and waited for dark. Astronomical sunset finally arrived, and we began turning on strobes, headlamps, flashlights, etc. We soon discovered, however, standing there in the dark dark dark, that we were not alone. My trembling bones quickly realized that a buffalo had appeared out of nowhere and was drawn to the lights. We listened to him snorting nearby whenever our test flashes went off. I kept telling myself that it was okay, that we had been there first and that the buffalo would probably be frightened by the lights and leave. I tried to think of positive, happy thoughts, but it didn’t do much good. Then I began to have visions of being trampled or eaten alive by the buffalo, and it went downhill from there.

Chase escorted Emery from the car to the meadow, and I quickly began getting her into position. I lied and told her that all of the snorting she was hearing was coming from horses. She seemed to buy it. At about this time, the buffalo took a liking to me and decided to come up from behind and pick up a few photography pointers. Once I heard his snorting in my ear (which my now crazy mind imagined was certainly only one or two feet away), I was ready to close up shop!

Two pictures! TWO PICTURES! Two stinkin’ pictures is all I could manage before I told Emery in my most calm and cool voice that it was time to go. She thought I was nuts! I thought I was going to die! Chase thought an argument was about to erupt! Emery knows from experience that I take a lot of pictures, I mean A LOT of pictures, and this wasn’t like me. I tried to explain that the horses in the field made me feel “uncomfortable,” and that it was time to go. She didn’t buy it. Finally, I just picked up my gear, my chair, and anything that I could carry, and started walking back to the car as fast as I could go. By this time, Emery became aware that her mother was on the verge of something crazy, and was convinced that I was concealing knowledge of a murderer lurking in the meadow. ¬†Using her best judgment, she decided to follow along. Chase happily packed up too (not because he was afraid, but because his generosity for several nights in a row of late night shooting was wearing thin), and off we went. It wasn’t until we got in the car that I told Emery the truth. I’m pretty sure she thanked me for leaving, but I can’t remember. So here it is…one of my two pictures, taken with my assistant buffalo at my side. Enjoy what the buffalo saw! 2014-08-15_0001.jpg

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