I think of lovers as trees, growing to and
from one another, searching for the same light.
— Warsan Shire

There’s a depth in a moment that most of us leave unnoticed because it may open up a scar that we don’t want to admit still hurts. There’s a moment between every breath where your body has just enough oxygen to sustain itself for a few more minutes and your heart simply relies on your involuntary decision to breath out and start again. There is both death and life right around the corner for us at every instant. There’s places in nature where time stands still, where the sun doesn’t simply rise in the morning and set in the evening. Where the days are longer, or the nights are, where the crisp breeze cuts across glacier fields and between pine trees and brings with it color, and depth, and grand views carved by thousands of years of violence just under the surface. It’s so easy to say the word love. To look across at a sunset and love it requires no commitment but to search for it, hunt for it on tired legs with burning lungs and then to find it opens that word up. This trip to Canada wasn’t simply about the beauty. After searching for hours and brainstorming locations and goals and ideas on where these images would take place over the course of months I realized something nearly the moment I first saw Alix in her dress. This was a beauty that had been carved in, and theirs was a love that had been fought for. This place was so much more than a sunset, it was the conclusion to a long chapter written with highs and lows and the beginning of a new part of the most important story they will ever tell. I promised Alix that I would take notes during her trip, that I would work to help write captions that would spur memories of moments fleeting and lost as our shutters clicked and I was perhaps more aware of my own thoughts on this trip than I normally am. From the pain in my left ankle on the hike up to Lake Agnes, to the woman from Hong Kong with terminal brain cancer we passed along the way that made me completely forget it (for awhile). The mist blowing off the water the next night as we shot images in the rocks beside the water just after 10pm as the last inches of the sun disappeared. The smell of the fire burning in Alix + Steve’s room, or Steve nervously fidgeting with his watch waiting for Alix to walk up to him in that first look with his tennis shoes stashed by the rock beside us and a cool breeze coming off the freshly melted snow melt running beneath our feet. I’ve often wondered what elopement photographers experience doing this type of thing full time. If I were to remove the flowers, the bridesmaids, the family, the dancing and simply have two people in love would I miss the traditions? I’ve wondered about how refreshing it would be to have a wedding, without the stress of a wedding and I will say with full sincerity that somewhere along the way in this job I’ve become more interested in the marriage than the wedding. This day felt similar to so many for me in that I simply loved the couple. Sure, I was spoiled. My beautiful wife standing with a camera beside me making memories along side Alix + Steve, the brilliant blue water reflecting images of mountains towering above our heads, the infinite sound of tourists around us somehow falling silent nearly every time we stopped to shoot but in truth what I walked away with from this wedding was more than images, was clarity. That while we may have traveled to one of the most beautiful corners of the world, with a couple who love with total abandon we also had time to laugh and walk and create along side each other for the fun of it. We hiked to places just to see them. We got up early and stayed up late, eating delicious meals and drinking amazing wine and bourbon just because we could and for all of that I’ll say that the moments that were the most meaningful were the minutes spent tucked away off the trail on a moss covered rock simply watching Alix + Steve promise things to each other. He would protect her, she would adore him, he would encourage her, she would hold his hand, he would support her dreams, she would inspire his. I suppose my point to this long post is simple, most of us are a lot like this unforgiving landscape in one way or another. Most of us have cracks and scars and places where no-one can reach and yet when the right person finds a trail through the hard stuff, when the right person has the courage to simply keep climbing, when the right person isn’t intimidated by us or afraid to leave the pack of tourists at the bottom of the hill - that person gets the view from the top. They get to see how beautiful something can be when you rise above it. They get to be a part of the adventure.  We hiked for miles and miles with Alix + Steve but after days together we said goodbye in the most perfect way possible. Standing on a dock by Emerald lake, exhausted with a two hour drive back to Calgary ahead of us we just waved goodbye to them as they canoed off towards the mountains. I sincerely hope these images mean to the world to them, but perhaps more - I hope that what they found in Canada was more than just scenery and memories. I hope that those moments on that moss covered rock changed them, and that those promises covered years of cracks and scars and allows them to see just how special what they’ve gone through to be together really is.  I definitely left a bit of myself in Banff, and I can’t wait to get back there soon.