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Stephanie & RichardEngagement at San Elijo LagoonSan Diego, CA

We did things backwards for Stephanie and Richard’s engagement photos. In July, I traveled to Guerneville for their summer camp wedding under the redwoods. A month later, they visited me in San Diego. They lived in this city together for a few years and it still holds special memories for them.

Stephanie loves the desert and ocean equally, leaving me pretty stumped on potential locations. I really wanted to treat them to the best of both worlds. After some research, I stumbled on this gem in my own backyard. This miniature slot canyon near the San Elijo Lagoon is lovingly referred to as the “Mushroom Caves” by locals. The trail was closed to the public for a long time to clean up vandalism and only recently re-opened a few months ago.

The unique beauty of this place blew us away. The marvelous sandstone walls and nearby San Elijo Lagoon created the perfect intersection of elements for their session. With so much foot traffic, it was tough to find moments of peace. We made it work, even if we did feel silly squeezing back and forth through the narrows to let people pass.

The lagoon gave us a beautiful show at sunset, lighting up with vivid colors. Richard was slightly more intrigued by the fish that kept flopping up near the surface. As darkness set in, we slowly hiked back to the top. Afterward, we celebrated with street tacos at Richard’s favorite taco shop.

I’m so happy to call these two not just clients, but great friends.