colorado

Why We Love Mountain Weddings: A Return to Our Roots

Mountain Weddings | A Return To Our Roots | Adventure Couples | Rocky Mountains | Colorado Elopement Photographers | Apollo Fields Weddings

Adventures in the mountains are tiring, dirty, and dangerous. One slip can devastate even the most experienced hiker. Yet us adventurers continue to voluntarily thrust our bodies and minds into the wilderness at the mercy of unpredictable winds and crumbling rock faces. Some people think we’re crazy – but fellow adventurers know that there is no peace like the solitude of the woods. We at Apollo Fields say bring on the perilous terrain because there’s nothing we love more than a photo session in the wild or a rustic mountain wedding!

That’s because mountain weddings celebrate people and nature alike, intertwining the roots of our lives with the organic networks that thrive beneath the soil. We walk between the trees on trodden paths, sometimes blazing trails of our own. The smoke from our campfires pierce the dark mountain sky, signaling to those in the area that warmth and laughter is but a few paces away. Darkness falls upon the screens of our devices. Far removed from cities forged in steel and concrete, the stars in the open sky ignite our imaginations. There is no need for anything or anyone other than what is here.

That is really what nature provides us. A home. A place for our minds to rest and dream with sights and smells rather than artificial mental stimuli. Dopamine kicks and oxytocin spikes are the results of biochemical technological deception. Immersing ourselves in nature resets our minds, syncing our systems with the gentle trickle of a mountain creek. Why else do you think listening to the sounds of nature on our iPods puts us to sleep?

Us adventurers risk our bodies for the sake of our minds. We realize that we are part of our natural world, not separate from it. Yes, we’ve broken free from the food chain but our minds still live in the woods. They still long for the unknown despite our 21st century tendency to cling to mindless chatter rather than embrace the infinitude of silence. The darkness that engulfs the night is terrifying, but the brightness of our screens blinds us into stagnation. Thus we must venture into the mountains to find that which technology cannot provide.

The mountains present the perfect landscape to celebrate a wedding. Safely tucked into a mountainside, loved ones find comfort in the company of friends and family. With nowhere to turn for entertainment than stories around a campfire, memories whirl about the floating embers like little flakes of nostalgia. All of life’s troubles melt from the end of a stick holding a smoldering marshmallow. But back in the banquet halls and beneath the vaulted church ceilings, we remain confined in the artifice of our human existence. We say break the walls down and run for the hills. That’s where love really learns to take root.

Adventures are risky but they present opportunities for growth. By staying safely in our homes and living rooms we forget that we were once at home in the mountains. When considering where to get married think not for where is most lavish, but where you feel the most connection. You might be surprised that you feel most comfortable in the darkness of the woods.

Photography: Heather Huie for Apollo Fields
Writing: Terrence Huie for Apollo Fields
Locations: Guanella Pass | Chautauqua Dining Hall | RMNP | Estes Park Resort | Lookout Mountain | Garden of The Gods | Pikes Peak | Grand Lake Western Riviera | Shrine Pass

What Happened When I Published a Piece About My Ectopic Pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy | early pregnancy loss | ectopic awareness | apollo fields wedding photography

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What happened when I published a piece about my ectopic pregnancy: 

Over 100 women personally reached out to me to share their own stories of loss.  Some were close friends who had been holding their pain so close to their own chest that I had never actually seen their struggles, while others were complete strangers who by the power of the internet had found my blog post.  I had women who were merely acquaintances suddenly show me the most intimate and vulnerable parts about themselves.  I had more than one person tell me how I was the only person they told about their loss besides their partner and their doctor.  I am so humbled by the amount of support and compassion that we received yesterday, but especially from the women who feel empowered to speak about an otherwise very off-limits topic. 

This is a sisterhood and holy shit I’m so grateful for it.  I went back and forth for a long time about whether or not to share our story. On one hand, I felt like I should be quiet about the loss.  That felt like the protocol that you’re supposed to follow. On the other hand, I was afraid to hurt other women who have experienced pregnancy loss.  I didn’t want my words twisting the knife in their own wounds because they were too raw.  The last thing I wanted to do was resurface someone else’s pain.  But that’s not what happened.  My story became a safe zone for sharing, a platform for empathy, and a step towards breaking the silence around this type of loss. 

 

Do I think that everyone should share their losses?

Absolutely not.  This is such a personal decision and you have to do what is right for you.  We are a very open couple and transparency has always been our default, but what is right for us is not necessarily right for other couples.  There is this stigma around loss and that is what I want to shatter. Women should feel just as empowered by choosing to share their stories as they should be by choosing to be private. The last 24 hours have been absolutely eye-opening for me because of two realizations:  pregnancy loss is not uncommon and women are so fucking strong. 

I heard stories of women who tried to conceive for years and years and then lost their babies, women who have had multiple miscarriages and still don’t have any children earthside, women who have also suffered ectopics, women who bravely delivered stillborn babies, and women who finally have their arms tightly wrapped around their rainbow babes.  Every story is unique, heart wrenching, and so full of love.  Pregnancy is no joke.  This shit is hard and a positive pregnancy test does not always give you a healthy baby.  We give up our bodies and our souls to become mothers and when you put that much on the line, any loss – no matter how early – hits hard.  

 

What exactly is an ectopic pregnancy?

I’ve been talking a lot about how common pregnancy loss is, but I’m using that as an umbrella term. An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; however, ectopic pregnancies only occur in 1.5% of pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancy is not a miscarriage and should not be used interchangeably.  Physically, they are quite different.  I am losing my baby, but I am not miscarrying.  My pregnancy took place in my fallopian tube (where 98% of ectopics implant) and therefore cannot continue.  A healthy pregnancy must take place in the uterus, and anywhere else is considered a life-threatening condition.  This is because as the baby continues to grow, it puts an enormous strain on the tube and if not diagnosed and treated in time, will eventually rupture and cause massive internal bleeding.  Ectopic rupture is the leading cause of first trimester maternal deaths and the only lifesaving option is emergency surgery.  

There are many risk factors for ectopic:  over the age of 35, previous abortions, chlamydia, pelvic conditions, getting pregnant with an IUD or other forms of birth control, smoking, previous ectopic, or scar tissue from pelvic surgeries.  Personally, I didn’t have any of these factors and yet I still ended up with an ectopic.  Sometimes the embryo just ends up in the wrong place and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

 

What about getting pregnant again?

A lot of people have asked me about this.  First, I have to get my body back to a non-pregnant state (an hCG of 0).  This can – and probably will – take a few more weeks at best.  Then I’ll have to be on folic acid supplements for 12 weeks to get myself healthy enough to actually grow a baby again.  The methotrexate works by depleting your body of all of its foliate in order to halt the progression of the pregnancy.  Foliate is imperative to a healthy pregnancy so I’ll have to restore my levels before we’re cleared to try again.  Once we do get pregnant, I will be considered high risk until they can identify a fetus in my uterus on an ultrasound.  My hormone levels will be monitored closely as soon as I get a positive pregnancy test because my chance of having another ectopic will be 1 in 10 for all future pregnancies.  I don’t love those odds, but it is a chance that I’m willing to take. 

In terms of fertility, everything comes down to scar tissue and my tubes.  Lovely, right?  Our biggest motivation for trying the methotrexate before surgery was to preserve my fertility.  Most ectopic surgeries result in the removal of the affected fallopian tube because the scarring makes it too risky for another ectopic.  Scar tissue is unavoidable and can present very real complications for future pregnancies.  If I lose a tube, my chances of never conceiving again are 30%. Some women end up losing both tubes and for them, IVF is sometimes an option.  Many women go on to have normal, healthy babies after ectopic pregnancies, but we’re also being pragmatic about our options.  

 

What should you say to someone who is dealing with pregnancy loss? What shouldn’t you say?

I’ve heard some fucked up stuff the last two weeks, and most of it was well-intentioned.  If you don’t know what to say, that’s totally fine. Sometimes the simple act of holding space with someone is the best thing that you can do.  Most likely, you’re not a doctor and you can’t solve this shit for me, so just bewith me.  Listen, hug, and look me in the eyes.  One of my favorite things anyone has said so far came from a dear friend, Lindsey, who just asked, “how can I support you?”  That’s perfect.  

What not to say? Don’t tell me that there will be other babies.  Don’t call this my “practice round”.  Don’t remind me of how sick my baby was.  How it ‘wasn’t meant to be’.  How I had no choice, or how this baby would have killed me if we did nothing.  Don’t assume that I’m as bible thumping as you are because God’s plan ain’t working for me right now.  Don’t make this about your religion.  In fact, don’t make it about religion at all unless the person experiencing the loss takes it there first.  Be conscious of your words and the impact that they have.  I’m in hormonal-mama-bear-mode right now and I’m ready to check your ignorance, unapologetically.  

 

What am I thankful for right now? 

So, so much.  The holidays have a way of bringing this to the surface.  We got engaged on Christmas morning last year.  This has been the year of my highest highs and lowest lows.  My husband is a freaking saint.  He is always my partner-in-crime but this experience has brought us even closer together.  He held my trembling body through the second round of methotrexate while I sobbed into his hands, and found the strength to tell me how strong I was in my darkest moments.  He’s not unaffected by this.  It might be happening in my body, but we are going through it together.  

I’m also thankful for my (relative) health.  Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been quite sick the last two weeks, vomiting in parking lots, losing a bunch of weight, being completely anemic, and pumping my body full of toxins.  The methotrexate combined with the hormones has made me feel like a steaming pile of garbage, but things could have been much worse.  I could have gotten on that plane and ruptured.  No shit, I could have died.  As of right now, I still have both of my tubes and have avoided surgery. I finally got my hCG levels to drop by 27% yesterday.  Things are slowly moving in the right direction and we’re feeling optimistic. 

Finally, I am immensely grateful for this community of friends and family we have.  I am especially grateful for all of the women who have shared their personal stories with me and continue to put their own hearts on the line.  They are the true warriors, the mothers of all types, and they are my role models.  I have neverfelt this supported, even on our wedding day.  I have the thickest-of-thieves badass group of women behind me.  People have stepped up when we needed them most: they have offered their homes, their cars, their booze, and their hearts.  We have had a squad helping to keep our dogs and horse cared for while we cannot be there.  We are immeasurably lucky to have you all.  So thank you to anyone who has held space with us, offered us solace, or shared their love.  We love you all, too.  


PC: Maddie Mae Photography

This One's For You, Colorado

September is here…

For someone who’s moving across the country and getting married in the next few weeks, I’m surprisingly calm.  The opposite of having cold feet, Heather and I are inching towards our departure from Colorado with equal parts celebration and anticipation.  Of course, leaving will be hard, but our two years in Arvada has only shown us that our ambition cannot be contained in our cozy cottage on Cody Street.

The friends we’ve made here caught us at a pivotal developmental phase of our relationship, and because of that they mean that much more to us.  From the dinner parties to dancing like idiots at Red Rocks, Heather and I have never quite had the community that we’ve fallen into here.  I’ve never felt more like myself than when Heather’s sampling sauce from her wooden spoon and I’m welcoming friends in through the front door.  To know that our Colorado friends have helped us realize that – these core parts of who we are – is to understand an achievement of friendship that we will never feel worthy for. 

It would be scarier to leave if we didn’t have such a solid plan in place.  When we land in New York on October 1st, 2018, we are emptying Joey (our car) into our interim home in East Northport, NY, on Long Island, and scooting over to Ramsey, NJ, to prepare Honeymoon Acres for our wedding.  It will be a week of tedious logistics where we will transform inevitable accidents and miscues into laughter and memories.  After that, we get married, cry, and party.  It’s that easy.

From there, we will take our wedding brand, Apollo Fields, into its next iteration: a wedding venue.  We dream of a lush green piece of land with a barn and a farmhouse with a long, wrap-around porch, complete with a swinging bench that creaks as you reminisce in those long moments before dinner is ready.  We see hard work and love coexisting in a space where relationships are honored as partnerships, and where friendship is built into the bones.  The best part about this dream is that we cannot only see it, but that it is fully within our grasp.

I’m not going to pretend to say that I won’t cry when we leave (mainly because I already have), but I will say that the hit won’t be as hard because we have so much to look forward to.  When we left New York for Colorado two years ago, we packed everything we cared about into Sacajawea  (our now deceased Subaru), and now as we return we will be doing the same with Joey.  With Riddle, Rumor, (and Limbo living the luxury life in a commercial trailer) in tow, Heather and I are turning the music up and making our way back home.  Who knows when it will hit us, as the tears began to pour as we drove over the George Washington Bridge last time, but I know that I’m ready for them.  This one’s for you Colorado.

 

Your Immeasurably Grateful Friends,

Terrence & Heather

(The Apollo Fields Family ) 

Cookbook Sale!

We’re also having a dope sale on our books to lighten our moving load! Click HERE.


Some of Our Favorite Memories in Colorado:

Photos Credited to our wonderful and talented friends:
Sam Hines
Kim Klein
Sarah Valencia

Jenny & Tara's Epic Mountain Engagement Session at Pikes Peak

Jenny & Tara's Epic Mountain Engagement Session | Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs | Denver Engagement Photographer | LGBQ Weddings 

I was so excited when I first heard from Jenny.  She is friends with Lindsey, one of my beautiful brides from 2017 and happened to be looking for a wedding photographer when I delivered Lindsey's photos.  She loved them and immediately reached out to have me photographer her own wedding!  So much of my business is word-of-mouth and I am so grateful for my awesome couples who refer me and connect me to their other awesome-couple-friends.  

I met up with Jenny and Tara and immediately clicked with their fun personalities, and the sweet way in which they interact with each other.  They have a great energy, and I knew right away that I wanted to be their photographer.  They must have felt the same way, because I asked them at our meeting, "Do you ladies have any questions?" and they seamlessly responded with, "How do we book you now?"  Love it!

They initially weren't looking for an engagement session, but I'm so glad that they decided to do one because look at how epic these mountain backdrops were!  A photographer's dream.  I had never been to Pikes Peak before, so I was just in awe of the landscape the whole time.  We caught golden hour (my favorite!) just in time before the park closed.  Literally, they were closing the whole roadway up for sunset and we were being swiftly shuffled out of the park by the time we had captured every last golden ray that we could!  

They also brought their three children and new puppy along for the shoot.  I have quite a few couples that have children and while it might not seem obvious at first to have them present for engagement photos, I feel contrary to that old-fashioned traditional expectation of what it means to be an engaged couple.  Marriage is about partnership and family, and if kids are already part of that equation, I feel like they should be included in some of the pictures.  Oh, and if you have a cute puppy too... that doesn't take any convincing!  We are animal lovers to the core, and have an impossible time keeping our composure around tiny pups.  

Colorado Adventure Photographer:  Erny Photo CO | Apollo Photo

Location:  Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs 

Mary & Brad's Hudson Gardens Winter Wedding in Colorado

Mary & Brad's Winter Mountain Colorado Wedding | Hudson Gardens | Apollo Fields Photojournalism 

Springtime weddings in Colorado can mean flower blossoms, cherry trees blooming, tulips sprouting, or blizzards.  Mary and Brad got a little bit of everything on their wedding day in March at Hudson Gardens.  The day began with full blazing Colorado sun, and by the afternoon had grown ominous and cloudy, then the skies broke into rain, which became hail, which became snow.  It was crazy, but sort of perfect for them because they got SO many different looks for their photographs.  And Mary, especially, wanted snow.  So when the sun went down and we finally got these big huge snowflakes, we couldn't help but to run outside and snap some dreamy romantic snow pictures. 

I loved the modern and simple touches of Mary's lace wedding dress.  Personally, I've always loved lace sleeves, I think they are so classic and surprisingly sexy.  Less isn't always more, and I just love the way that a delicate sleeve can flatter our brides.  Her veil was also simple and classic, it was so fun to photograph through because of the shapes and textures that it creates, and her updo looked great with it on and off.  Modern boho braids showed off her blonde highlights and beautiful cheekbones. 

Their friends and family gathered for a sweet and heartfelt ceremony.  We got to snap fun photos of their friends all gathering together to celebrate and toast their new journey, while kids got to run around and play, and a big fireplace kept everyone toasty as the weather began to turn.  A cozy dinner and then dancing wrapped up their perfect night together, and everyone had such a great time coming together to celebrate their love. 

Hudson Gardens is a great venue for weddings year round because they have acres of countryside gardens with awesome mountain views.  There is a quaint red barn in the back of the property, which is one of my favorite rustic looks.  The farmhouse feeling on one side of the property is perfect for country brides and the cabin in the front of the property is a warm and rustic mountain look.  When the weather is nice, they have plenty of space to celebrate outside, among the trees and flowers and gardens.  With manicured paths and woodsy retreats, there are so many different looks that can be photographed at this venue!

Hudson Gardens Winter Wedding

The day started out as many Colorado days do in March:  A strong sun brought the daytime temperature well into the 60s and I got to ride my horse outside before heading out to shoot Mary and Brad's wedding.  

By the time the afternoon rolled in, so had ominous rain clouds that lingered, but stayed at bay while Mary and Brad arrived at Hudson Gardens with their family and bridal parties.  They say that rain on your wedding day is good luck, but Mary had her heart set on snow instead.  

Here's what I love about shooting in Colorado though.  By the time the night ended, we seemingly had all of the seasons in one day.  Soon after the ceremony, the skies opened up into a hard rain that felt like every element of spring, which was right around the corner, as the little flowers that have recently popped up through the mulch have suggested.  Then, for just a moment it seemed, the rain turned to hail, and then as soon as it started, morphed into big beautiful snowflakes.  Mary got her wish. 

Her elegant and timeless dress was so flattering, and classically beautiful.  I am a sucker for lace dresses with sleeves because I just think they photograph so well, especially when they flow on the bottom without being this big cumbersome and heavy dress.  Mary was able to dance and move effortlessly in her wedding gown.  And her veil was light, simple, and classy.  

The cabin at Hudson Gardens is cozy, with big fireplaces that were adorned with eucalyptus and other woodland greenery.  The floral design was modern, with little roses peeking out around the bolder flowers.  The gardens are beautiful, even in the off-season.  It seems rare to find cactus growing around the evergreens, but feels natural there.  

The big red barn in the back of the property rounds out the property to remind us of the working landscape and rural nature of a garden.  With big open fields and manicured tree lines, we just loved this space for bride and groom portraits.  Rustic details weren't forced in this setting, and the wedding guests had an amazing time celebrating and dancing the night away with their friends.  

Photography:   Apollo Photojournalism shot for Laura Anderson
Venue:  Hudson Gardens 

Callie & Josh's Intimate Mountain Wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park

Callie & Josh's Intimate Mountain Wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park

There’s something special about reaching high altitudes after traversing treacherous terrain that rewards tired legs and beating hearts.  It could be as simple as endorphins being released from the exercise or something more complex like measuring our mortality against the backdrop of conquering massive mountains.  Either way, climbing mountains and taking in epic views defines the meaning of awesome.

Pat & Sierra's Beautiful Wedding at Evergreen Lake House

Pat & Sierra's Mountain Wedding | Evergreen Lake House | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography 


Hand in hand,

Pat and Sierra walked along Evergreen Lake,

Carrying the greens and blues of the Rockies in their palms.

A few feet away, 

Hina playing in the mud

Put Sierra’s white dress at the mercy of unpredictable paws.

When they called to her

Hina came barreling forward,

Love leaping from her eyes

Unbeknownst to the spirit of the day.

This was just another walk for her,

Another chance to play beneath the sun—

 But for Pat and Sierra:

These were the first steps of their new partnership.

Strolling back to the celebration,

Hina’s muddy paws 

Never caused any concern.

Pat and Sierra knew 

That they were just another hue

To add to the greens and blues 

In the palms of their hands.

Destination Wedding for this fun Hawaiian Couple

I loved working with this beautiful and energetic couple! Sierra’s family is originally from Colorado and they ended up moving out to Hawaii so she wanted to return to her roots for her wedding. It felt sort of ironic to have a “destination wedding” where the couple LEAVES Hawaii — a popular destination wedding spot — to come to the states to get married. But Colorado is so beautiful and iconic that is totally made sense for this awesome couple.

Pat is a doctor and so easy to get along with. He was laid back and a lot of fun. You could tell that he cares a lot about his core group of friends and they had so much fun with their whole wedding party. Sierra is bubbly and outgoing and unbelievably active. They rock climb, snowboard, surf, and sail and hike and just about every other cool sport together. This couple is super inspiring because they just have such a zest for life. Sierra lived on a boat and has explored much of the East by water. They also love their pup and had so much fun celebrating their wedding with her.

I first met up with them when they were visiting to get all of their wedding planning done. I could tell how organized they were from the beginning which made working with this couple that much easier. All of the parts of the day were well thought out, organized, and so much fun!

Mountain Photography:  Apollo Photo  
Wedding Writing:  Apollo Journalism

Colorado Wedding Venue: Evergreen Lake House

Wedding Coordinating: Lauren “Lo” Wiltshire with The Gardner Effect “TGE”