Our 23rd Annual “North Shore Weekend” has come to a close, and now it’s time to share some of Chris and Sarah’s pretty Lake Superior engagement pictures with you! They joined us up north on Sunday afternoon.
Chris and Sarah were actually our final session of the weekend, but because their wedding is this weekend, we’re sharing their engagement portraits on Lake Superior first!
A Stormy Start
When they arrived at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park for their Lake Superior engagement photos, it was pouring rain along with lightning and fairly large hail. Not exactly what any of us were hoping for.
The quick-moving thunderstorm came a just a short time after the Morrissey family portrait session that we had just completed. During that family portrait session, we got interrupted by another thunderstorm cell that snuck up on us. It had us all scrambling away from the lake and back to the picnic shelter.
Joannie and I were waiting in our car for Chris and Sarah to arrive when the next small thunderstorm hit. While it didn’t last very long, it did get everything wet, and the rocks by Lake Superior were now fairly slippery. Thankfully, we negotiated the rocks well and none of us slipped or fell
After that storm passed, you could see that the sky was going to be clearing. It was going to get pretty sunny out very soon. So we moved to the lake to get their engagement photos with the Split Rock Lighthouse completed before the skies cleared and the lighting became too harsh.
Next Stop, Black Beach
When it did get sunny, we packed up and moved on to our next photo stop to create more of their Lake Superior engagement portraits. I wanted it to be somewhere where the sun would pose the least amount of a problem for us. So we headed to Black Beach in nearby Silver Bay, MN.
Last year, 2017, was our first time at Black Beach. Josie, the mom of Hannah, one last year’s senior portraits up north, told us about it and they took us there. We liked the location a lot, so it will probably be a regular North Shore photo stop every year from now on. Because of the treeline there, it’s got some shelter from the sun in the later part of the day. So that’s why I chose Black Beach as our second stop.
We arrived at Black Beach and set out get some pretty engagement portraits in the shade where there are some small birch trees scattered about. With the sun providing the natural backlighting for us, I used our 48″ softbox to light Chris and Sarah. Those Black Beach engagement portraits turned out quite pretty.
We took a few more of their engagement portraits closer to the water. There were quite a few people swimming and running around enjoying Black Beach. That, combined with the sunnier conditions near the water, meant it was time to move to another location before sunset. It was off to Iona’s Beach, about 20 minutes down the road.
Engagement Portraits at Iona’s Beach
Chris and Sarah’s final stop for their Lake Superior engagement photographs was at Iona Beach. Also called “Pink Beach” (because of the color of the rocks on the beach), it’s a beautiful spot with groves of pine trees, and a small cliff (by Lake Superior standards) protruding into Lake Superior.
We created some really nice engagement images there, including this extremely lucky one when a bald eagle just happened to fly by while Chris and Sarah were standing up on the cliff! I managed to hit the shutter right as the eagle flew into their photograph!
The cool thing is that Chris and Sarah look great in that shot too as one of them could have blinked or been looking away! Totally a lucky coincidence, but very cool one none-the-less!
Chris and Sarah were our final session on Sunday. We did that on purpose so that we could create an engagement light painting with them at the conclusion of their North Shore engagement portraits when it got dark out.
Chris and Sarah are getting married early next Saturday morning at the pretty Como Conservatory in St, Paul, MN. Because they’re having a daytime wedding reception afterward, there’s no chance of us doing one of our light painted wedding photographs on their wedding day, it won’t be dark outside. So I suggested that we attempt one on Lake Superior during their engagement session.
The Attack of the Black Flies
So once it got dark enough, we gave it a try. Using the rugged cliff as their backdrop, here is the starting image, before light painting, with Chris, Sarah, and about a bazillion black flies!
Upon completion of their starting image, we said goodbye to them so they could head back to the Twin Cities at a somewhat reasonable hour. Joannie and I stayed back to capture the remaining images, along with a can of Cutter Backwoods (which was used very heavily).
The black flies were absolutely out-of-control! But I will say that the Cutter repellant worked pretty well. They landed on you, but they didn’t “stay for dinner”. Thank goodness! That being said, Joannie and I spent about another 45 minutes getting the whole scene photographed. We’ll be sharing the finished light painted engagement portrait in the days ahead!
Thank you, Chris and Sarah, for making the trip “up north”! We really enjoyed getting to know you better and we’re totally looking forward to your wedding on Saturday! – M&J