Monday, August 5, 2013

Let's Elope!

Recently I reprocessed the photos we'd taken when Teri & I eloped almost seven years ago. We'd only known each other for about 5 months, but we knew we were meant to be married. Instead of a traditional ceremony we chose to simply run off and surprise everyone.

We'd already planned an early fall getaway to Tioga County, in north/central Pennsylvania. I'd been exploring that area for years and wanted to share it with her. The scenic forests and streams are some of the most beautiful places I know. I especially wanted to show her Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the "Grand Canyon of PA." I also knew she'd love the town of Wellsboro, where we stayed at a Bed & Breakfast.

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Early October is my favorite time to go there. As I write this I can smell the fall odors of leaves, and can recall just how the cool winds feel as they rustle through the forest. There's a hushed atmosphere in the fall that has a quiet romance to it. I have to admit, it's one of the places I'll miss now that we live so far away.

Our plan was simple, drive up late on a Thursday, explore the area on Friday, get married on Saturday, and then head home Sunday. The weather can be hit or miss in October, but this weekend it was absolutely perfect! The skies were so clear on our drive up that we stopped in one dark stream valley just to get out and stare at the Milky Way.

Friday we simply ran around picking flowers for her bouquet and soaking in the scenery. We also kept an eye out for places to take our wedding photos, as well as how long it took us to drive around. Our marriage was to take place at a certain time in a park, and we didn't want to be late! That specific spot seemed to anchor our attention as we counted down the hours until we met the Mayor of Mansfield.

On the day of our wedding we donned the new clothes we'd so carefully chosen and headed out into a simply stunning Autumn day. The air was crisp, and the sky was as blue as I've ever seen it. The foliage was alive with color. We rode around to all the locations we'd chosen to take our photos, stopping to pick flowers.

Setting up my tripod, with a timer I was able to capture us quickly as traveled to the locations we chosen the previous day. At that time I didn't use flash equipment and my gear was pretty simple, but I think the images worked out well. Having spent a fun day scouting out locations also meant a stress free wedding day. We knew exactly where to go, and roughly how long it would take us to our nuptial site.

We headed there, even though we were a good hour or so early. We just couldn't wait. As pulled up to the park another car stopped as well. It turned out the Mayor had decided to arrive early as well!

As my camera snapped away at us on its tripod he conducted the ceremony. I remember the winds had become a bit stronger, and the clouds began to appear threatening rain. As he pronounced us man & wife things became a lot lighter as the clouds broke, and then two bald eagles flew overhead and made their screaming cries.

The birds then flew up the river valley, in the very direction we'd planned to explore, and take our wedding photos. For the next hour or so we would encounter them with each stop. We were usually busy taking photos of ourselves, so I didn't really even try to capture them.

As we began to head back to our B&B we were able to spot our eagle companions resting on a tree in the distance. Since we were done taking portraits my camera wasn't mounted on the tripod any longer. I was able to take one shot of them.

Sunday morning broke with us excited to be starting a new life together. We made our way back home very slowly, winding around the back roads of PA. Occasionally we'd stop to get out and explore. Eventually we made it back in time to start calling folks to let them what we'd done. I know we'd both do it all again, just the way we did before, if we had the chance.

You can check a few more photos from that weekend in our photo gallery, "Let's Elope!"