Hiking to the Perfect Ridgeline

Earlier this summer, Stephanie, Sean, Stella (their pup), Cynthia, Paul, and I met up in New Hampshire to explore a few fun spots. I had really wanted to see Artists Bluff at sunrise, and I'm obsessed with waterfalls, so we picked the short way to Artists Bluff and Georgiana Falls as our two adventure targets.


I had been torn on a few other locations, like Cathedral Ledge and Diana's Baths, but after researching those locations and their protocols/tourism with COVID, I felt most comfortable with my original plan for Artists Bluff and Georgiana Falls. We met up around 4:15 AM to begin the hike up to the AB. We parked at the Cannon Mountain RV parking lot (right next to Echo Beach) because it's the closest parking lot to the trailhead and it doesn't require a parking pass before 10 AM. To get to the trailhead, we had to walk along the road towards I-93 for a few minutes, searching for the small wooden arrow noting the start to the Artists Bluff trail. We had headlamps and camping lanterns to light the way in the dark, which we definitely needed to hike up the steep section that started about 1o minutes into the hike. (When we entered the loop, we went right, which is the shortcut to go directly to the bluff.)

After hiking for about 20 minutes, the path opened up to a beautiful rocky ledge and amazing view. I really love the "blue period" before sunrise, and didn't try to correct the white balance to make it look more sunny and warm than it was. It was stunning shades of blue, purple, and pink.

Once we got situated at Artists Bluff, Paul took over Stella-duty and Stephanie and Sean changed into their first outfits. I scoped out some of my favorite spots to start photographing, and Cynthia continued documenting the adventure.

We chose to shoot into the sunrise to get the vibrant colors of the sky for the first few spots. Stephanie and Sean are adept hikers, and we were all so impressed how Stephanie maneuvered the rocks in heels. We kept Stella with Paul until we got Steph and Sean in position, and she was really pining over her favorite humans doing fun photos without her.



Right before actual sunrise, the purples changed to pinks and the pinks started to lighten into orange yellows, so the sky was entirely different than 5 minutes before. It was an absolutely gorgeous cloudy sunrise.

Stella was being very patient (Occupation: Good Girl), so we pulled her in for her debut.

Once the sun came up a bit more, we were able to angle some photos with Echo Lake and the southern valley. The ski track clearings on Cannon Mountain created some interesting lead lines through the valley.


Stephanie had brought another outfit, and she changed into that for a few photos.



We quickly discovered her shorter dress was losing the fight to stay down with the wind blowing up the side of the mountain, and Steph was mastering the Marilyn Monroe look.


Once the dress had started to live closer to Stephanie's waist than her knees, we decided to call it a wrap and head to Georgiana Falls. Stephanie and Sean changed back into hiking clothes and we headed back down the way we came up. We stopped for some "lifestyle" photos of Sean, Stephanie, and Stella in hiking gear, in their natural element.



Our short walk back was during the golden hour at sunrise, so we did the standard middle-of-the-road journey shot:


We got loaded up into our cars and headed to Woodstock for our hike up to Georgiana Falls. It was a rocky climb up the side of a waterfall, and we only climbed to the main part of the falls. The trail supposedly continues to Harvard Falls, which was well past the point I wanted to trek all the gear, and we were all pretty sweaty at that point.


We picked a few spots, mostly determined by the sunshine. The waterfall had a lot of shade and blue reflection, creating a few dark spots, so we also played with a few glowing leafy trees for some warmer photos.

After playing around the water, for the last set of photos, I asked Stephanie and Sean to change into their swimsuits for some saucy photos. Sadly, the water was waaaaay to cold for them to get in, so I got some more intimate swimsuit shots to wrap up:

We all had a great time exploring the backwoods of NH and seeing the waterfall; the 2-location adventure shoot was a success! Here are some lessons learned:

  • If bringing a furbaby, bring someone to manage the furbaby enthusiasm.

  • Bring a towel or sheet to change on, leave clothes on, etc.

  • For first-time adventure photography sessions, limit hikes to 1-2 miles per location. The chances of missing the sunrise or sunset due to unforeseen hiking conditions get higher the longer the hike.

  • Have the couple change upon arriving to the photography location, rather than hiking in their outfits. Bring touch-up makeup, a hairbrush, and even moist wipes to manage the effects of elevation hiking uphill.

  • Remember to take a few minutes to take in the breathtaking views!

If you're interested in planning an adventure proposal, engagement session, or elopement, work with your photographer to make sure you understand the length of the hike, the time for best lighting, and what to bring. I'd love to do these types of adventure shoots all the time, so if you're interested in an adventure session, please email us at sacredharborphoto@gmail.com. These sessions aren't limited to summer and fall! Snow-kissed winter adventures are absolutely gorgeous too!

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