and now…The continued adventures of Lisa and Kevin LOL! It’s time to continue our story of their Starry Night Session with photographers Michael and Steven out in the state of Oregon! We pick back up in the town of Frenchglen, which is located in Eastern Oregon, under some of the darkest night skies left in our country! With a population of 12, there’s not much contributions in light pollution there! After our first Starry Night, we woke up to a wonderful homemade breakfast at the Frenchglen Hotel, and captured a few photos before hitting the road back to Bend! We also met the absolutely personable puppy Drover at the General Store next door. He wasn’t a very expressionist puppy, but was certainly a sweetheart, so we made sure he was featured in a few photos. He actually became a mascot of this trip honestly! Shortly after starting the drive back, we made a quick pitstop at the Pete French Round Barn, and hiked around a fascinating volcanic area known as Diamond Craters Outstanding Natural Area! We found a ton of gorgeous pink flowers blooming out of the ancient volcanic rock, so we used them as a background for one of Lisa’s engagement ring shots. Again, this is a very open, dry area of Oregon, so there wasn’t much to be seen or photograph between point a and b, so it was a nice break time for all of us in the car!
It’s also worth mentioning that some couples are truly worried about spending this much time with us initially. Not to say we are just the best photographers and people on the planet, but we do pride ourselves in having pretty easy-going personalities that anyone can get along with. With that said, we always tell couples that if they’re having too much ‘friend time’ and need some time alone, we are always happy to leave them to explore a town or have a hotel day if they’d like! However, Lisa and Kevin were such natural friends to Michael and Steven. Time passed by so fast with them, even these 4-6 hour drives! We shared music playlists, talked about the wedding, reflected on our trip so far, and just really got to know each other!
Instead of staying back in Bend, Lisa and Kevin planned a night in Sisters, Oregon. We ended up back in the smoke again unfortunately, but upon driving into town, we instantly wished we had more time. It was a very old-school ‘wild west’ themed town with a variety of shopping, restaurants, bars, and plenty of pine trees! We settled in at the hotel at Grand Stay Hotel and Suites, and once unpacked, we sat for a quick dinner and beer at Three Creeks Brewing! What’s a trip to Oregon without a photo of beer right? After dinner, we packed up once again for our second Starry Night!
This Starry Night location was a return visit for Steven. He’d been here before for a dark-sky session, but it was so fun to live vicariously through Lisa, Kevin and Michael, who immediately thought they’d entered Dracula’s lair LOL! Dee Wright Observatory was the scene for this night’s photos, and the smoke made for a very eerie atmosphere, especially as the sun set. The moon was also on its way down the horizon, and was almost blood red in color thanks to the smoke! This observatory was built by the CCC back in the 1930’s from volcanic rock (which it also stands on top of), so it gives quite a creepy castle vibe! We let Lisa and Kevin relax on the roof of the building while Michael and Steven gathered all the photo gear and got the shots set up. Due to elevation change up there, it was actually quite chilly, which inspired Steven to work even faster and harder!
This was certainly a late night for us again, so we know that all four of us were exhausted by the end, but well worth it! Lisa and Kevin were so patient with us as we experimented with our new Magmod lighting kit, adding some color to Dracula’s lair lol! We are so happy with how these came out, and it’s worth mentioning that we all witnessed some gorgeous shooting stars. We were actually about a week early for the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, but in any dark-sky place, you’re bound to spot some streaking across the night sky! We also took some time to educate Lisa and Kevin about the importance of light color temperature at night. We all rocked red LED headlamps that night to preserve nighttime visibility while stargazing and photographing. White light blinds us at night and often limits our ability to see at night (which is very opposite to how most people assign the role of light at night), but if you let your eyes adjust to darkness, it truly doesn’t take much light to provide proper visibility and a true environment of safety. Suffice it to say, we didn’t interact with a single other person that entire evening at Dee Wright :).
The drive back was much easier back to Bend, with a few deer and owls here and there! Kevin was a fantastic driver considering how late we kept him up posing for portraits! We enjoyed a later morning at the hotel next day, and sadly it was time to head back to the Portland International Airport. We knew that Kevin and Lisa were very happy with everything we’d photographed, so we took it easy on them this final day. However, somehow they found an alpaca farm en route, and Kevin immediately made a u-turn and bee-lined it Crescent Moon Ranch LOL. It was a wonderful, organic addition to our travel plans, we spent an hour feeding alpacas at the Crescent Moon Ranch, in Terrebonne Oregon. Super chill, super cute, and super silly pretty much sums that up :).
We stopped at one last brewery in Portland for quick supper and a brew at Breakside Brewery, before it was time to fly home back to Orlando! This trip, as does any fun experience, absolutely flew by, and we’ve made two new friends along the way. It’s funny, their wedding day will hardly be considered work at this point. It’ll basically be just as relaxed and silly as this Starry Night Session was, and we know for a fact that Lisa and Kevin wholeheartedly trust us by now! If we can take them to extremely remote places in the pitch-black of night, that screams trust to us LOL! We try very hard to ensure that these Starry Night Sessions provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our couples, while also capturing some insane photos and building a relationship with us. From racing jackrabbits, to lurking around Dracula’s lair, I’d say mission accomplished!
Oh, and of course we have to mention that every Starry Night Session comes with a complimentary one-year membership to Dark Sky International! Steven is actually a regional delegate for this non-profit, helping bring awareness and proper lighting regulations to the Southeast United States. If you’re interested in learning more about dark skies and what you can do to preserve our environment at night for people, wildlife, and public safety, see the link far below for more information! Lisa and Kevin, thank you so much for sharing your adventurous spirit with us through this Starry Night Session, and we CANNOT WAIT for your wedding day next year at Highland Manor in Apopka! :)