Lake Minnewaska engagement session offers everything a romantic couple can dream of: lakes, pine trees, rocks, waterfalls, but above all — cliffs hanging hundreds of feet over the lake and woods.
I haven’t done a Lake Minnewaska engagement shoot for 10 years. It’s a trip for a NYC resident but now that I moved into the Pennsylvania woods, the park is almost twice as close to me.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge, which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by rugged, rocky terrain. The park features numerous waterfalls, four crystalline sky lakes, dense hardwood forests, incising sheer cliffs, and ledges opening to breathtaking overlooks. With dozens of miles to hike around, a Lake Minnewaska engagement session will easily take an entire day.
So I have these cool friends and clients, Veronica and Gene. I haven’t blogged about their insane costumed wedding from 2013 (below, left) but I made it up with their bohemian newborn session and a bombastic boudoir shoot.
In the beginning of 2020, a friend of theirs, Jennifer, approached me. “I mentioned to Veronica that we were looking for a photographer that’s not boring & she showed me the pictures you took of her. I love your perspective!” And that’s how I hooked up with Jenn and Craig, for both an engagement shoot and a wedding.
Coronavirus made us stay low in the lockdown but comes June and they asked me if I was ready to shoot. Timing was good as I indeed started shooting, mostly time-pressed maternity clients including a fairytale shoot with a Great Dane in my very neck of woods. Jenn was also big on the idea of a foresty theme. I offered several scenic NY and PA locations (the couple is from CT). After weighing the options, we settled on the Lake Minnewaska engagement session.
I had an underwater session just across the Hudson River the evening before. To cut on traveling, I did my favorite activity in between — sleeping in my car which I dub as Zotel, a.k.a. “million-star hotel”. I love those nights spent with a movie and good picnic food. Here’s the view of Mohonk Preserve that I enjoyed at sunrise:
We decided to go to the cliff over the Lake Minnewaska first. The gates to the park open at 9 AM. I came earlier and saw a long line of cars. I read that the the parking lots get filled up quickly. During the COVID-19 era, they further cut the parking capacity to 50%. Note to self: come much earlier on a weekend.
I quickly figured out that Jen used to be a gymnast. She’s an avid endurance runner now. See that watch? Wouldn’t come off even for a photoshoot. I had to ask her to do a few moves and got that cool jumping shot. The running theme and a prop — running shoes — also made a cameo at the end of the shoot.
Side note: when you Google for Lake Minnewaska scenic views, one of them will be prominent — Gertrude’s Nose. This cliff hangs above the woods. It is crazy-looking but not the one you’ll see in the images below. Quite a longer hike is required to reach it and it is not near the lake. To cover the lake, the Gertrude’s Nose, and the waterfalls, a full-day engagement session would be needed, and I’m open to those interested.
Both are in the cannabis industry working for Theraplant, the state-licensed first producer in the Connecticut market. I enjoyed reading Jen’s interview with LeafLink, Meet 4 Women Working to Grow the Cannabis Industry. Ah, and Craig flew planes.
We planned to do a concluding segment by the Awosting Falls at the base of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve but the parking was already closed. The park rangers suggested to approach the waterfall from another side. It would require a drive and a long hike so instead we did some fun concluding shots. However, I have another adventurous couple who is planning an elopement wedding (initially seen as a Zoom wedding) right by this dream-like waterfall this September. They are looking for an officiant! 🙂 Stay tuned.
Some of the images from this Lake Minnewaska engagement shoot remind me of the sites of the American Northwest that we enjoyed during the grand photography road trip. That similar raw power of a nature embracing the power of human love, strength, and cuteness.
Hope we can make it to their end-of-August wedding!
Click images for full size. Kindly refrain from re-uploading images to social media during the first week of feature. Share instead and give credit to @ZorzStudios!
There was no time for the real behind-the-scenes shots but this is THE PEN that wrote me a check for the job… Told ya, a strong woman! Endurance running, endurance writing.