I photographed Emma and Samson’s engagement session at Big Basin literally two days before California went into our first shelter in place due to Covid back in March 2020. We felt so incredibly lucky to have captured this moment right before the world was about to turn upside down! Seriously, we went to the Redwoods late in the afternoon on the 13th with no cell reception, and when we returned that evening, all of our phones were blowing up with Covid in full swing. It’s so crazy how quickly things can change!
Shooting at Big Basin Redwoods
Big Basin Redwoods is a world-renowned destination and one of California’s biggest attractions. It’s also California’s oldest state park. The striking redwoods measure up to 300 feet tall and are 1,000 years old! In addition to its legendary redwood trees, the park contains several waterfalls and an abundance of plants and wildlife. The redwood forest is truly a wonder to take in.
One thing to note, a special permit is required to shoot there. There is a small fee associated with the permit application, but so worth it. I am absolutely in full support of this. This helps fund the parks and help keep them preserved and cared for. So that we can reap it’s beauty. So make sure to look at all of the Big Basin rules and protocols before heading there. I know the thought of going through the process can feel overwhelming. I do help guide my couples through the process and they were able to get all the proper permits without any issues.
Tragically, rampant wildfires devastated the Big Basin Redwoods in 2020. The forest was severely damaged, and it will take some time to restore the damages. It’s been closed since last August and it’s right now unclear when the park will reopen to the public. It’s so sad to think that many of the spots that we just visited and photographed have been touched by the fire.
A Look into the Engagement Session
Emma and Samson have spent a lot of time at Big Basin, so it was important to them that they got to go there for their engagement session. The day of the shoot, I met them at the visitor center, and from there we began our hike and explored around the park. First, we walked down to their favorite waterfall which was just breathtaking. Then we just went around exploring the redwoods, climbing cut down trees. Emma and Samson danced at the auditorium in front of a beautiful uprooted redwood and snuggled on the nearby bridge as I captured the moment.
On our way out, we pulled over to the side of the road where we did a few last photos overlooking the valley. The beautiful fog rolled in and the wind was blowing wildly. It was the perfect set up to end their photoshoot with some intimate cuddles. This session was so heartwarming and magical, with an unbeatable backdrop. I can’t wait for the day when I’m able to return to this dreamlike location.