Jenner, California | Engagement | Shelby & Erik - courtlandphotography.com

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Welcome to my visual journal! Here you'll find posts of some of my favorite weddings and engagement sessions, educational tips and insights on photography and wedding planning, and personal photographs of my trips around the world. Enjoy browsing! 

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Jenner, California | Engagement | Shelby & Erik

Engaged couple in redwoods forest silhouetted by light.

Erik and Shelby are some of my favorite people in Sacramento. I met Erik shortly after moving here from Denver in November 2019. We met through a mutual friend at a golfing driving range. We both have a passion for golf and the outdoors, so right away we clicked. Once discovering I’m a wedding photographer in Sacramento, Erik told me he was going to propose to his girl friend Shelby at Taft Point in Yosemite National Park, and he was curious if I would photograph it. I was thrilled! “Of course, I’d love to!”

The proposal went perfectly, except for the extremely smokey weather from a forest fire in Yosemite. Somehow we lucked out and gained access to Glacier Point. Although it wasn’t ideal photography conditions, the fire gave us a few advantages: We had the iconic view of Taft Point all to ourselves, and the views were so smokey and eerie it made it special. It provided a type of view that few other couples have ever experienced.

Fast forwarding a few months later, Shelby and Erik wanted engagement photographs somewhere the complete opposite of their proposal photographs- somewhere green and clear. Jenner, California is the perfect place.

Jenner is one of my wife’s hidden gems. The coastal town roughly 20 minutes north of Bodega Bay along highway 1, has spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the cliffside, and is home to some 100+ people. There are also some scattered redwoods along the road from Guerneville. The first half of the engagement session was in the redwoods along the highway 116 to Jenner, and the remaining half was at Goat Rock in Jenner. They even brought their fur baby Frank along for the adventure.

The views and end results were just what they wanted. Breathtaking!

Shelby & Erik

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?

Erik and I met…WAIT FOR IT…. BUMBLE! Ha! That’s a story right. So for those that don’t know bumble, it’s a dating application for your to find singles in your area. Erik and I matched in late January 2017. Bumble unlike other dating apps makes the girl make the first move by messaging the guy. If the girl doesn’t reach out the match goes away after a day or so from what I remember. Well, I did not reach out, oops! So Erik decided to use his one free extend on me, how sweet, right?! We talked a little. I was horrible at responding. Fast forward to April,9th 2017 we FINALLY went on our first date! We hit up top golf for a little friendly competition. The rest is history. We spent pretty much every day the following week together and here we are almost 4 years later.

What makes your relationship special?

Erik and I couldn’t be more different abs the same all at once. We truly balance each other out. He is a social person, while I am an introverted homebody. I am always worrying about the “what if’s” and Erik is calm, cool, and collected. We both value Heath and fitness . We love the outdoors, hiking, paddle boarding, running, anything to do with the outdoors. It’s a perfect match up.

How did you know your partner was the one?

I knew Erik was the one when he continued to put up with my so called “crap”. I am a hard headed person, very stubborn, and set in my ways. Throughout time I realized I was changing, for the better of course. I started loosening up, relaxing, abs worrying less. He was the one that made me do that. He made me want better for myself. He made me want a family. He made me feel comfortable with the thought of marriage, love, and forever.

Tell me about the proposal.

Ohhhh the proposal. Soooo the proposal started wayyy back in February 2020, without my knowing of course. Erik and I had a very special trip to Yosemite National Park in October of 2018. We both fell in love more with each other there, at least I know I did. So, Erik planned for us to go back to a trail that lead to this huge point, Taft Point, where we had hiked and taken picture back in 2018. He told me we were applying for Half Dome permits for that fall abs asked me when I would be able to go, as I’m a teacher and don’t have all the time off in the world like some may think we do. So we planned for September.

Then, COVID hit. I had not a clue what was happening, but it sure threw a wrench in Erik’s plan. He told me we were no longer getting permits for Half Dome as they closed the lottery, but he still wanted to go camp and stay the weekend that we said. So we, mainly he, prepared for just that. Fast forward again….the California wild fires. We were about a week out from our trip and the fires were right out of Yosemite. I did not want to go! But? Erik insisted that we go…and so did my two friends. Who at the time were being very shady and not talking to me much! So we planned to drive to Yosemite despite the fires being about 4-5 miles outside the park. We drove on Friday September 11 to the trail of Taft Point.

We got there and got our gear to hike. The sky was a complete fog. You could see nothing, which is very sad because Yosemite views are EVERYTHING! We started hiking and seriously no one was there. EXCEPT…a guy taking pictures of plants. We stopped and talked to this so called “photographer” about how it was his first time in Yosemite and he was excited to see the views. Well I let him know that it was a sucky time for him to go and how the whole year was a “huge disappointment”. He went on his way and we went on ours. We got to the point and Erik was pulling me over away from everyone, which I didn’t know why we were in a rush.

Anyways, I let him take me to the cliff and that is when he started talking to me abs giving his “speech”. We ended up having to move so his speech got interrupted. But, it finally happened. He got down on one knee abs I said “are you sure”…but of course I said yes. We turn around to our friends and I see the photographer taking pictures of us. Well guys, it was Courtland! Erik had hired him to capture the whole thing and that seriously made my heart melt even more. It was the best!

Tell me about your ring!

My ring is gorgeous. I did not pick it out. Nor did I give him any pictures. He did it all on his own! I only got sized..randomly with a co worker who then told him my size of ring. I seriously could not be happier with my ring. It is perfect.

Describe your experience during our engagement session together.

Our engagement session was the best! It was so fun and relaxing…after I learned the poses of course. It was like we were just having a good old time with one of our buds who just so happened to be taking pictures of us. Courtland totally got our vision and made it all come to life and more.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I feel so lucky to be able to have Courtland capture our proposal, engagement, and now in the future our wedding in 2022. His eye for detail and our true emotion toward each other comes through in his photography. These are memories that I know we will cherish for the rest of our lives.

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