As it got closer to their session, the weather cleared, clouds parted and the sun shined. They arrived just in time and even after a long drive, jumped out of the car, smiling, ready to conquer the trail. It was Alex’s first time hiking Cathedral and Carlene’s second. I try to hike Cathedral every time I am in Sedona, it is one of the only vortexes in Sedona that I have ever felt an immense draw to. As we hiked up the rock, we chatted about how important travels are to our lives and shared many of our adventures together.
Alex actually proposed to Carlene during one of their travels to the Philippines to visit family. It was their second trip there together and he popped the question right on the beach with a ring he designed and had engraved. It was so sweet because on Carlene’s backpack she had a luggage tag that I had given her when we first met which had a photo in it from the proposal! I was so excited to see she had it and thought it was the most special thing that she put that photo in there. I was in awe of all the adventures they had together in the Philippines from canyoneering, scuba diving with sharks and sea turtles and seeing the waterfalls and cliffs. I think it is so awesome Alex proposed at such a special place for them and they get to go back soon for Carlene’s Grandmother’s 100th birthday, woohoo!
Their cute love story started way before the proposal though. They’ve been together 5 years and they met actually at a restaurant Carlene used to work at, but met while he was working there. She had come in to eat with a friend and he served their table. She thought he was super cute and ended up leaving her number with him. They got to talking, hung out a few times and kept in touch. It was Halloween sometime later that they became a couple. He was trying to meet up with her at some of the friends houses but she was bouncing back and forth between places and by the time he finally got to her, it was the day after Halloween! So he definitely had to work for it and chase her to start the relationship.
As I was photographing them, once we reached the peak of the hike I noticed they had the same tattoo on their forearms and was asking them about the symbolic meaning. They told me that they try to just go with the flow of life and how water and a very specific music artist reminds them of this and the tattoo comes from a design related to a song. I loved how when talking about music, their faces lit up. They go to a lot of concerts and were telling me how they have found a sense of community in the musical culture they are apart of. After the outfit change, they also put on matching necklaces that they got at a music festival and they are handmade with a lot of meaning. They were so beautiful and it was just another perspective on how this couple is so well connected with each other. Alex and Carlene have such a soft sweet love and it was such a pleasure to capture them together. At one point, Alex looked at me and said, “doesn’t Carlene just have the most beautiful smile”. My heart melted, these two are so sweet and loving towards each other and Carlene for sure has the prettiest smile and giggle!