I have seen those beautiful photographs of slot canyon weddings for years, but like always you never truly grasp the amazing feeling of place until you are there!! A couple of weeks ago I spent several days in Page, Arizona photographing many adventurous couples and one of those couples was Jodi and Zach! These two are quite the pair! They are two successful wedding/elopement photographers as well based out of Colorado, if you want to see their work check it out here. They officially tied the knot by eloping in Scotland a little while back, they had stunning photos captured by The Kitcheners. This was Jodi and Zach’s first time in the Southwest and if you can look back on your very first time to the Southwest maybe you can imagine all the feelings they were having! I recently wrote about looking back on my first time to the desert and man, oh man it still feels like yesterday! I remember with every turn I was gawking at the jaw dropping views and truly fell in love with the colors of the red rock and felt so at peace. If you have never been to the Southwest, it is definitely worth a trip! It is hard to explain really what places like Page, Sedona, Moab, Grand Canyon and more of the desert feel like until you visit. The folks in Sedona will tell you it that it is a very spiritual place. During their adventure session not only could you tell that they were enjoying the scenery, but also each other. Jodi and Zach have that kind of love that I think everyone dreams of throughout their life. They two were constantly smiling at each other, laughing and taking sweet moments just to hold each other. At one point they started dancing and I don’t mean like the side to side step that most people can easily break into I mean like full on dance moves, later I learned that they really enjoy going out to dance in Colorado in their free time. Their playful, happy personalities shine through these photos. One of my favorite moments was when I was photographing Jodi by herself and she’s giggling at Zach so I look back over my shoulder to find him filming her. He was capturing her on his Canon 814XL Electronic, which is an old video camera sold back in the 1970’s, a unique and high-end camera for its’ time. They explained to me that they often record little moments of their lives together while traveling new places to look back on as home movies later. I mean come on!! Are they not the sweetest??!?
So not only was Jodi and Zach Ahh-mazing, but so was the location! This particular slot canyon used to be open to the public to hike or visit without a permit. In the last two years the family that owns the land decided to start to require permits and a guide. They made this choice partly because people were ruining the canyon walls by carving their names on the sides. If you visit the canyon today you will not see any of this because they repaired the walls and keep a watch on visitors now days. They also made this choice for safety reasons, animals were getting stuck and dying in the canyon and people were visiting the canyon during rainfall which can be extremely dangerous. Now they are able to keep the canyon, people and animals safe! I really enjoyed speaking with the guide during our session and highly recommend taking the time to talk to your guide when you visit a slot canyon to learn more about its history and the Navajo history. As we road through their land to the canyon we saw many dogs herding sheep across the way. My country girl roots came out and I just thought it was the coolest thing, lol! I asked the guide about how that works and she said the dogs herd the sheep all day on their land and then at night sleep with them in their pen. It is amazing how smart those little fellas are, they did not have to be trained and they just do their job all day without any humans keeping watch. The sheep are one of the ways that the Navajo keep up their land, eat and make money. She told us stories of growing up with the slot canyon in their back yard and sledding through the canyon in the snow as a child. Her family has taken care of the land they are on and protecting it, including the slot canyon, since the early 1940’s, so you can imagine it means a great deal to her and her family. I always think it is important to learn about the place you are visiting and remember you are a visitor. I love learning about the Navajo culture, especially since it makes up a great deal of Arizona. Many of my favorite places to photograph elopements in Arizona is on either Navajo Nation or the Hopi Reservation so I think it is important to respect their lands in the same way that they do while enjoying it. I feel blessed that we get access to such beautiful places and that it is welcomed to a couple to be able to share their wedding day on. If you would like to follow some accounts that talk about this history and it’s connection to places in Arizona then I recommend following Trails Inspire and Shio Waline.
Florals - The Flower Method by Sarah Siegal
Seriously folks, if you’re thinking of eloping in Arizona, California or Oregon then you MUST contact Sarah! She has an eco-friendly approach to flowers and will even come to your elopement to make sure your flowers stay beautiful during your day! Not to mention her designs are killer!
Jacket - Ellen Walker Design
I am all about making your elopement day perfectly detailed to you! I can not think of a better way to do that if you’re eloping where it is cold by getting a hand painted jacket by this fine lady! Her designs are unique and one of a kind. Besides, are you not swooning over this leather fringe with delicate flowers that Jodi is wearing?? I sure was 🙂
The Slot Canyon - Navajo Nation
There are a lot of slot canyons in Arizona, essentially all of them resting on the Navajo Nation. It is important note that if you plan on visiting or eloping in the slot canyons that you will need a permit and/or a guide. Please respect the land you visit and the people that live there. Before visiting the Navajo Nation or any National Parks please refresh yourself on the Leave No Trace principals.
special thanks to Maddie Mae and Abbi Hearnes; stay tuned for the next blog post for more information 🙂
I can not wait to share the rest!
The slot canyons were by far one of the coolest things I have experienced since moving to Arizona. I will be blogging another set from the slot canyons soon, so stay tuned! To keep up to date on the happenings with Traci Edwards Photography then join the mailing list ! 🙂