The Perfect Storm, Ryan and Mindy's Shenandoah Wedding

The Shenandoah National Park holds hundreds of miles of scenic hiking, including a large section of the Appalachian Trail, and for years it has been one of my favorite stomping grounds. By far the best hike in the area is Old Rag Mountain, which I have climbed at least 15 times. So when Mindy and Ryan said that their wedding was going to be held at the Skyland Resort in the Shenandoah, I could not have been more excited! 

Hiking trails are not known for being welcoming to men in suits, but they are even far less conducive to wedding dress sporting brides-to-be. This meant that when thinking about places for perfect photo opportunities, it would have to be a very accessible place, facing west for a sunset, and one that was very close to the reception area.

One of my favorite times for portraits is actually during the reception of a wedding. The bride and groom, excited from the day and the time with their guests, are usually in need of a short break. For Ryan and Mindy, I knew I wanted to highlight the Shenandoah National Park, but I also wanted the best light, which meant aiming for 8-8:30pm. This was a perfect time to jump away from the reception for 20 minutes, and boy did we time it perfectly.

A two minute ride to a location that was scouted by my assistant Steve brought us to a scenic overlook and a sunset view with colors and drama that rivaled anything I had seen before. It was literally the perfect storm, as it was clearly raining very heavily in the valley, yet it was calm and peaceful on the top of the Shenandoah.

I used a small light behind the couple (thanks Steve) to pop them off the background, and watched as the sky changed moods several times. It went from cool blues to fiery oranges all in a few minutes and provided one of the most intense portrait backgrounds I have ever had.

An opportunity like this is rarely available. The weather could just have easily given us a dark overcast day, the sun could have been completely blocked, or we could have missed the peak time. But with the right scouting, planning, and a little blessing from the Lord, Ryan and Mindy are able to have a set of images that showcases a memorable location and celebrates an wedding incredible day.

I hope you enjoy the highlights, but click the image below to see and purchase images from the full gallery of Ryan and Mindy's wedding.

Small print package: $25
Three 4x6 prints +  two 5x7 prints

Medium print package: $50
Three 4x6 prints, three 5x7 prints, one 8x10 print

Large print package: $90
Five 4x6 prints, five 5x7 prints, three 8x10 prints

À la carte prints available