I had so much fun with Rob and Tori during their engagement photography session at Burning Man this year. I had the honor of photographing Anna and Danny’s, Rob’s sister and brother-in-law, Burning Man wedding and California beach wedding a few years ago, so it was a perfect match for me to photograph Rob and Tori too! Rob walked Anna down the aisle at the wedding in the desert, and if you click the above link, you’ll see some great celebratory ceremony shots of them from a few years back.
Rob and Tori met at the theme camp that they stay with, Camp F*ck Yeah. If you are not familiar with the Burning Man event, it is a temporary city, an experiment in building a society, created by its members for one week in the Black Rock Desert, just a few hours north of Reno, Nevada. Artists create small scale and large-scale art installations that are placed out on the open playa. The citizens of Black Rock City gift everything to each other, from yoga classes and performances to elaborate bars, sound camps and art cars with DJ’s playing all night long. (As part of the camp I am a member of, Honey Badger Camp, we serve tea on the playa based out of our metal tea pot art car, Pekoe Fury. But that’s another story!) The week culminates with the Saturday night ritual of a giant wooden “man” figure being burned.
The weather this year was perfect, not too hot, not too dusty. I met up with Rob and Tori at their camp on Tuesday evening just a bit before sunset. I got to say hello to Anna and Danny too, so that was a nice bonus to see them. Our plan was for just the three of us to ride our bikes around the open playa to a few art installations that we could use as backdrops for some of the photos. And then we would head out to deep playa, a more quiet open area, for the sunset, where they wanted to lay out a special rug that they plan to use for their wedding ceremony next March. Tori was in on this whole plan except for one surprise part of it … Rob planned a surprise proposal as part of the session! Rob and I had been emailing about this surprise aspect of the session, so I knew that it was going to happen once they put their rug down. I decided to position myself farther away from them with a telephoto lens to give them the space for this special moment to unfold. I positioned myself with them in the foreground, and the beautiful mountains in the background. And it all happened right as the sun was setting. It was so perfect! The golden light of the sun was shining on them, and the sun was setting just as he got down on his knees and presented her with the ring. I think I have talked about this in previous posts, but I’ll say it again, I absolutely love the evening light out there in the Black Rock Desert. The golden light before it goes down just seems extra shiny, and then, even when it sets behind the mountains, the subtle pink glow that lingers for a while is so soft and romantic. One more thing I will say about the magic of Burning Man before I let you get to the images – there is something really special about the connections I have felt with people out there … my friends, my wedding couples, and even sometimes a few fleeting moments with strangers. Well, needless to say, I felt this special connection with Rob’s sister and her husband, and now I also feel this special connection with Rob and Tori too! I can’t wait for their wedding in March!