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Toan & Heather | Yosemite National Park | Sunrise Engagement Session

What’s more adventurous than going to one of the most beautiful places on earth for your engagement photos?

It’s not sleeping the night before so you can leave town at 1:00AM, drove for 4.5 hours in the country roads, hiked for a mile in the dark and cold forest after that with the moon watching over you just so you can catch sunrise at Taft Point in Yosemite National Park with the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

This was exactly what Toan, Heather, Henry (my husband) and I did 2 weeks ago on the most epic photoshoot of our lives. I was 21 weeks pregnant and the hike resulted in some of the most beautiful and most memorable images that I’ve ever taken. And I’m sure this goes the same for our couple. Toan and Heather have been together for over 7 years and they both love to hike. Whenever they get the chance, they are out exploring the great outdoors. You see, Toan is a really amazing landscape photographer. You can check out his work and all of the places that he and Heather have been to on his Instagram here. So it was only natural that for their engagement photos, they wanted to be captured doing what they love most and at a location where they shared so many great memories together. Toan has been to Yosemite several times before so for their engagement session, he mapped out 3 scenic locations for us: Taft Point, Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley.

Since I was halfway through my pregnancy already, we wanted to minimize to as little hiking as possible for my sake. To catch the sunrise at Taft Point, we had to leave Sacramento at midnight. When Henry told me that we need to leave at midnight, I kind of looked at him like he was crazy but since Toan has done this before, I trusted that he knows what he’s doing and followed along happily. Crazy enough, when we drove up the mountains and parked before the trail to Taft Point, it was 5:30AM. It was dark and cold as we hiked in silence with only the moon above to light the way. All around, hundreds if not thousands of tall, dark silhouettes parted way to let us through. Surprisingly, we weren’t the only one with the idea to hike to Taft Point for sunrise. Three other guys were already there when we got to our destination but they were cool enough to let us have the space for ourselves for a bit.

We had to climb back up the hills to get back to the parking lot. Oh man! Going down was easy but climbing back up was so joke! I had to take a couple breaks in between when I feel the baby getting heavy. Each time, we found a pretty location to roam around so it worked out for the couple. I’ve never seen so many trees covered with such pretty moss before. It felt like we were in an enchanting forest. Second stop on our trek back up. I was about to pass out here. Then I saw some interesting rocks so we stopped for a few more shots. lol..
I was really worried for Heather since the surfaced looked really uneven but she was a champ!

For the second location, we drove a short 6 miles to Glacier Point to photograph Toan and Heather with Half Dome in the background. It was the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Due to a recent fire, Half Dome was mostly covered by a cloud of haze. Still, you can’t help but be awed by mother nature. Can you imagine if Half Dome was not covered? I dreamt about this location for a week after getting back. After the baby, Henry and I have to go back to Glacier Point to check it out again. Hopefully we’ll have another adventurous couple to bring with us at that time too.

For the third and last location, we drove into Yosemite Valley and parked on the side of the road just to run toward Yosemite Falls. For it being so chilly earlier that morning, it was HOT in the valley. We were out here for barely 20 minutes and we were sweating like crazy. But beautiful mountains, tall grasses, pretty trees and blue sky, this place had it all!!!!!

Toan and Heather: Thank you for trusting me and Henry and letting us in on this amazing adventure of yours. You don’t know it, Toan, but I was so intimated to photograph you and Heather. You are such an amazing photographer that I was afraid of not being about to capture your vision. hehe… I cannot wait to photograph you and Heather on your wedding day next August.  It is going to be epic!!! I just know it!

To all of my readers, thank you for following along to this very long post, you guys!!!! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I had fun photographing it. Having a taste for such an adventurous shoot, I cannot wait to be able to do more. So if you are celebrating an anniversary or have a great location for a destination engagement or wedding photoshoot, let me know. Let’s plan it and make it happen!!!!

Until next time,

Tra Huynh
Sacramento Wedding, Portrait & Commerical Photographer  | 916-475-3346  |

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Just for fun, here are some behind the scene shots of us that day:

This is where I was standing to get the shot below. See, it wasn’t dangerous as long as you don’t do anything silly. Thank goodness the Henry came and helped carry all of my gears that day. I can’t imagine carrying a full camera bag and hiking uphill at the same time while pregnant. We wouldn’t have made it! hehehe 


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