I’m so excited to share this beautiful Oakland engagement shoot. After discussing options for shooting their engagement session in Los Angeles, where they are going to be getting married, Jaclyn and Tyler came up with the awesome idea of having me fly to Oakland where they live. All they had to do was mention a redwood forest and I was so in. Once they brought up Redwood Regional Park near their home in Oakland I knew we had to shoot there. I’ve been dying to see a redwood forest since we moved to California and it definitely did not disappoint. It was soo magical.
I flew into Oakland early in the morning and Jaclyn picked me up at the airport. We then went to their apartment where I met Tyler and their adorable kitty Korean street kitty cat named Goa. We hopped in the car and made the tiny trek to the forest. I could have spent hours shooting in there! It was so much fun. It was also fun to find out that Jaclyn and Tyler have a ton of things in common with my husband and I. I also thought it was so cool that we discovered that we had all gone to Yosemite and Zion to go hiking and camping this year.
After we left the redwood forest, we had lunch in Oakland near Lake Merritt. I had the most tasty burger. Then we headed to Lake Merritt in hopes of shooting at the lake before a large protest was staged to happen. Their shoot was the week of the presidential election and while we had scheduled and planned to shoot at Lake Merritt originally around sunset, we had to bump it up to earlier in the day before the protest would happen. I love the photos at the park, but it was such a strange experience. We were politically in support of the protestors that were beginning to form, but also didn’t to be disrespectful and shoot engagement photos around them. We didn’t stay for very long, and I think all of us were happy to leave the area in search of a more positive space.
Next we headed to Crissy Field in San Francisco. Jaclyn and Tyler can probably tell you that the whole day I was a huge dork. I was so excited to see the redwood forest in the morning and then also equally excited to see more of San Fransisco. I loved seeing all the beautiful old buildings on our drive in and old hearing info on San Fransisco from them. Shooting at Crissy Field was so cool, with the Golden Gate bridge in the background. Once we were done shooting, something slightly strange happened. Jaclyn was trying to take a photo of Tyler with her cell phone while we were standing on the beach facing Alcatraz. Tyler was trying to put the super moon in between his fingers like he was holding it, but when she tried to take the photo her almost fully charged phone died. Hearing that her phone died, I offered to take one with my phone and text it to them. I tried to take the photo, but my phone also died…which was strange because it had just been at 55%. Both of us couldn’t turn them back on until we were back to the car. When we turned them back on, neither phone was actually dead. Creepy.
I had so much fun getting to know Jaclyn and Tyler and I wanted to include a fun little set of questions throughout this post so that everyone could learn a little more about Jaclyn and Tyler. Enjoy!
JENNA: How did you meet?
J: We met at UC Davis in the summer of 2008. Tyler was about to start his senior year and I was starting my junior year. We had worked together for a year or so in food service but had never officially met. We were at a frat party (ugh) and someone introduced us because Tyler had just gotten back from studying abroad in South America and I was about to head there in January.
T: I would catch her checking me out when we worked together, but we didn’t actually meet until we were introduced at a frat party. I had just gotten back from South America, so she was pretty taken with my exotic and worldly demeanor. She got bored with our conversation to the point she need to leave the party, but I didn’t want to let her get away so I asked her if I could catch a ride. When she dropped me off I told her I would like to call her, somehow she went for that, and the rest is history.
JENNA: Tell me about one of the best dates you had together.
J: For our 5 year anniversary Tyler told me he had planned a surprise that required waking up within the 4 o’clock hour. We got dressed and in the car and he put a blindfold on me (I promptly fell back asleep). When I woke up we were in Napa, CA and heading to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon. After our hot air balloon ride we had a champagne brunch and spent the rest of the day hiking around a redwood forest.
T: Of all the far-flung places we’ve been and the crazy things we’ve done, one of the most poignant memories of a “date” is when we spent the morning after Halloween of 2008 going absolutely nowhere. We had planned to go to brunch at someone’s apartment, having just made our official debut as a couple the night before, but it was pouring rain and we didn’t want to be anywhere but alone together in my little room, eating dry bagels, watching Animal Planet, and realizing that we could spend the rest of our lives together.
JENNA: What are most looking forward to about being married?
J: Being each other’s family officially.
T: I’m looking forward to calling her my wife. Like, literally, getting to use that word and have it mean her.
JENNA: What are you looking forward to the most about your wedding?
J: Seeing family members that I haven’t seen in years and having everyone we love together in the same space.
T: We both have really large, loud, fun families – it is going to be wild to have everyone come together and celebrate for the first time. Plus, the caterer is supposed to be quite good.
JENNA: How soon did you know that you had found the one?
J: I knew I loved him within a month, but we were very young and I didn’t think too much about marriage. If I had to pick a time when I realized that we were in it forever, it was probably when we were living in Korea five years ago. We were each other’s entire support system and spending two years relying on each other for everything showed me that we were strong enough to make it through anything.
T: Really quickly. It may have taken us being apart (when she went to study abroad in South America) to really know that a life without her was not one that I wanted for myself. That was about 4 months after we were introduced at that fateful frat party. I was in deep well before that, but that’s when the scale changed – from this month or this year to this life.
JENNA: How did you propose?
T: I took her to our secret special campsite in Northern California – one that is so insanely good that it turned my valley girl into an outdoorswoman, and the location of which I will not disclose even under great duress. The year before we had built an early morning fire, then were blown away by the sun coming up over the mountain and casting brilliant beams through the whole glade. We took so many pictures and just reveled in the majesty and serenity of the place, sitting by the fire and the soaring redwoods sipping a cup of coffee.
I sought to recreate the moment, awake with nerves at practically dawn, building a fire and setting the pot. I waited and waited, but my sleeping beauty did not stir. As the sun was approaching the point where it turns the glade from atmospheric to boiling, I frantically woke her up and said she needed to come outside for a photoshoot (clearly panic was taking over). I slapped a luke-warm mug of coffee into her hand then guided her over to the spot I’d scoped out for “the prime photo.” We took a few shots while she rubbed the sleep from her eyes, then I got down on one knee and BLEW HER MIND!!! She was seriously so shocked, I can’t even repeat what she managed to say!
People starting to gather for the protest at Lake Merritt