Last year, I was out of town photographing a wedding when the Aspens peaked; So this year I was determined not to miss what is arguably one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Rocky Mountains. It’s amazing how much luck and timing played in getting these photos. Literally, up until the day we set out into the mountains to take Kyle & Michelle’s fall engagement photos, ALL of the local mountain roads heading out of Boulder were closed due to flood damage from the 100 year flood that ravaged Boulder County only a few weeks before. Sunshine Canyon was the only road in any kind of drivable condition, but they were only allowing mountain residents up the road. So the only other route into the mountains was driving an extra hour out of the way; we decided to chance it and got unbelievably lucky with our timing. Sunshine Canyon had just been opened by local officials the very day we planned to do Kyle & Michelle’s fall engagement photos. Moreover, had we waited one day longer, when 50mph+ winds swept over the mountains, we would’ve totally missed the entire show. We headed to Kyle & Michelle’s favorite camping spot up in the mountains off Sunshine Canyon, and managed to find an untouched enclave of aspen-lined trails and spectacular mountain views. Two days later, when I headed back into the mountains for a hiking trip, the golden Aspen leaves were no where to be found.
Michelle and Kyle originally met while they were on a study abroad program through Elon University in New Zealand. I believe Kyle had a girlfriend at the time, but that didn’t stop Michelle from introducing herself to this boy-scout. Kyle was completely in his element in the outdoors of New Zealand’s incredibly dynamic terrain, and Michelle was originally attracted to Kyle’s take-charge attitude and outdoor leadership skills. Michelle was totally out of her element, and felt comforted by Kyle’s manly outdoorsman presence during all the crazy outdoor excursions they went on during their study abroad program. Kyle, on the other hand, was originally attracted to Michelle’s eyes and was surprised by her openness to new adventures. To this day, her openness to new experiences and adventures is what he loves the most about Michelle. Michelle writes, “What do I love best about him? I love the way he brings out the outdoorsy side of me–I never knew how alive I could feel camping out in the middle of nowhere.”