Tracy and Brian’s intimate fall wedding was booked on short notice, really it was a civil ceremony with flair, officiated by Judge Noreen Valcich from the village of Tannersville.

As with other intimate wedding celebrations, as photographer I found myself right in the middle of what was essentially a loving recommitment ceremony.

The smaller the event, the more omnipresent I seem to be. In this case, when my front-wheel-drive landspeeder declined to climb the last hundred yards of cow path to the ceremony, I found myself in the backseat of their SUV beside their masked son, Jake.

Often I pride myself on being nearly invisible during a ceremony. Folks say “You took pictures that weren’t possible. We didn’t even see you there.” Of course, the goal is to not distract, and while it’s sometimes unavoidable it’s often achieved.

Once stopped, we watered the horses … I mean parked behind the judge and took a moment to appreciate the view.

Valcich informed them they would need two witnesses. We were alone, at the spot, about to hear “I do.”

There was Jake and there was me.

“I’ve done this before,” I offered reassuringly. And I have.  It’s another honor I occasionally receive when selected to capture photographs of important days like these.

Then what?

The judge made few, if any, requests other than ‘Don’t photograph me.’ So the staging was left to me, Jonathan Ment, the wedding photographer. We quickly assess and set our mark.

Beginning with the very first wedding I photographed solo, when I walked the wedding site with the couple during an engagement session and made suggestions about where to place the arch, which way to face the guests and so forth, I’ve always embraced this sort of opportunity.

If given the option, being able to control the directional impact of natural light is a gift for the photographer and a major bonus for the subjects.

Who will “Give you away?” I asked, knowing this was not going to be a typical ceremony and that notion is archaic at best, but also recognizing the potential for a very sweet moment to be rendered.

“How about Jake?” I suggested, knowing he was the only and best option, and also carrying the rings.

From a few feet away, Jake walked his mother forward to where I asked Brian to wait. It was an emotion-provoking move.

I sometimes watch more closely than I listen during these sorts of things, but I noticed the vows were poetic and beautiful. Kudos to the judge!

When rings were exchanged, Tracy and Brian expertly played to the camera whether they knew it or not.

I used to joke “I miss the kiss,” but with a couple this much in love, and comfortable after years together, there was no chance of that.

On to portraits…

Tracy had an idea for the time we would work, and was very responsive when I suggested moving it a little earlier after consulting an online chart of sunset and twilight times.  “Golden hour,” I heard her say as we worked through some of the portraits.

A few days before the wedding, while checking in on the final details, she said she would email some images that caught her eye for inspiration. I love this sort of input, and don’t get it often enough.  While many of the weddings I photograph are outside, not everybody likes the sort of sun-soaked images we reviewed beforehand and worked to capture at the shoot.

What. A. View.

I’ve been a photographer working in the Hunter area for over a decade. I’ve captured couples with Hunter Mountain in the Background, and with my lenses pointed toward every corner of Tannersville, Hunter, Jewett, Windham and beyond — or so I thought.

This unique view, from an overlook near the Deer Mountain Inn, reminded me more of mountain ranges out west than anything I’ve seen in the Catskills.

Perhaps it was the many peaks dotting up adjacent off in the distance.

In August 2019, at a wedding near Zion National Park, the ceremony was on the edge of one of these peaks, a precipice looking out on other peaks.

True those jutting mounts were the sandy red of the middle west, and this wedding overlooked the fading late season green of the Catskills, but that’s what it brought to mind.

For a pandemic-era wedding, it’s worth noting masks were on when first we all met.

After a brief discussion we agreed it would be safe for them to go maskless for the sparsely populated open air ceremony site and for portraits, but that we should take a photo or two with them on to capture the zeitgeist of a 2020 wedding.

Of course I kept mine on for our short time together, dropping it only once or twice to share a smile or allow my camera’s viewfinder to Un-fog after scrambling around at the overlook.

This might be the final wedding of my 2020 season. It’s the last one on the calendar. BUT as I’ve always said, it’s never too short notice to ask. So many elopements are put together quickly, and photos are always a great idea. So reach out!

Thanks for reading. Reach out, if I can be of any help. You can also find, follow & like Jonathan Ment Photography on Facebook and at and check out the broad-topic’d “Observational Ramblings” of the Ment Media Group’s “Business Blog.”

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