When Rachel and Andrew asked me to photograph their engagement session in Alabama Hills, California, I of course said “Hell yes!!” I met this boisterously merry couple at this very same park a couple years back. We backpacked up the tallest mountain in California at 14,500 feet. Over 3 days we summited Mt Whitney, climbing 6,100 feet from the portal. On this challenging trip, I got to know Rachel and Andrew really well. I learned that these two never take life too seriously. Rachel and Andrew will resort to any ridiculous stretch to get the other one to laugh (and it works most every time). These two also enjoy lots of hobbies together. They cook and do CrossFit. They have friends and family all over the country and love being able to spend time with them. And these two reeeally like food and enjoy exploring new places through local restaurants.

I was so excited to return to Alabama Hills, California this winter for Rachel and Andrew’s engagement session. I drove from Vegas to the small, no-frills town of Lone Pine. We all had breakfast at the Alabama Hills Cafe, where you can find cartoon drawings of the local rock formations painted on the wall, heaping portions of breakfast skillets and freshly baked biscuits. Look around you and you’ll find locals, hikers & climbers reviewing their maps before an adventure and bikers who are passing through. Rachel and Andrew grabbed their favorite local delicacy, a loaf of the jalepeno cheddar bread. Yum!

After our breakfast it was time for the adventure to begin. We drove up the mountain to one of the most incredible landscapes on the planet.

“Alabama Hills has some out-of-this-world feel to it. There’s something magical about being in the desert surrounded by extravagant rock formations while staring at the massive snow covered peaks just a few miles away. Waking up out there on a hot summer day feels like you’re on Mars, and breathing in the winter morning air is about as crisp and refreshing as it gets. You look around you and there’s people wandering around looking for a good wall to climb, or there’s people celebrating summiting Mt. Whitney. And if you wanted to, you could drive up the road a few miles and be in a Sequoia tree forest. It’s so special.” ~Rachel

Rachel and Andrew shared some of their favorite spots in the park. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and woke up the next morning for sunrise too. It turns out Alabama Hills is a special place for Rachel and Andrew.

“Andrew took me on a quick hike in Alabama Hills after our first Christmas together and I fell in love with the place. Since then, we have been back several times – as respite after climbing Mt. Whitney (with Josh!) and as an amazing place to camp under the stars in the summer. We knew we wanted to have our engagement session somewhere that was special to us, along with the fact that Alabama Hills is so strikingly beautiful. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a shoot here, especially with someone who has been there with us on a previous trip.” ~Rachel

Rachel and Andrew live in Santa Barbara and love the California lifestyle. You can find these two biking along the coast, hiking on the local trails in Los Padres Forest, hitting the beach, eating and drinking wine. The adventure never stops. They’re headed to Santa Cruz Island for a backpacking trip this weekend. Thanks for adventuring with me guys! I had so much fun and I can’t wait to return to Santa Barbara for your wedding in November!

Josh Hartman – California Adventure Photographer

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