December 9, 2020

Glacier National Park Engagement Photographer, Michelle & Alex

Michelle and Alex were visiting all the way from North Texas and like any couple with taste, they wanted some engagement photos in Glacier National Park. They were actually my second of three Texas couples in the last eight weeks which has been really nice. It's always a pleasure to show people from the state where I grew up the area that has since captivated me. It wasn't snowing, unfortunately, but it was definitely more chilly than a couple of Texans were used to. It was actually a bit dreary this particular day, but you'd never know it from the laughter and the jokes shared during the session.

I may not be any relationship expert, but I like to think that laughter is an awfully solid foundation from which love grows. If that assumption is correct, these two are primed for many, many years of happiness. Congratulations to Michelle and Alex!

December 4, 2020

West Glacier Elopement Photographer, Ana & Steve

One thing I love about our wedding and event community here in the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana is you often get to work with the same vendors on repeat occasions. One such occasion was getting a text from officiant Kate Berry just a couple of weeks after working with her on Ashley & Scott's perfect intimate wedding. Ana and Steve were on their way to Whitefish—with their two pups in tow!—to officially elope after a weeks-long, cross-country road trip complete with staged elopements with their respective families. Upon arrival in Montana, they encountered a freak blizzard which wasn't the most fun thing to drive through, but they made it safe and sound to the Hidden Moose Lodge, which is where I got to meet up with them for some getting ready shots and a first look. It was then off to West Glacier for the big event, some shots, and then portraits!

Lodging: Hidden Moose Lodge / Officiant: Kate Berry / Florals: Mum's Flowers

December 3, 2020

West Glacier Portrait Photographer, Somer & Friends

I'll admit that as much as a photo-taker as my dad and other members of my family were, and as much travel as my wife's family has done throughout her life, it wasn't until I began focusing on photography and booking people for vacation photos in this amazing place called Montana that such a thing ever occurred to me. But it's honestly such a great idea. What better way to remember your vacation, particularly in a place that isn't the kind of place that is super easy to make repeated trips too without copious amounts of time off and sometimes great expense. And what's more why not do that and share the experience with a close friend as well, because after all, memories aren't only for the family you're born with, but the family you choose.

Somer booked me—thanks to a referral from the ever so kind Jennifer Vernarsky—for such a session as one of her best friends made the drive from the Northwestern coast to meet up in the last best place as she was working in Central Montana. And I'm so glad she did. And spoiler alert, but if you want to get silly during your portrait session, I will only encourage you to do so. Do not ask me if I care if you don squirrel pajamas expecting me to talk you out of it, because I'll basically demand that you do so. The only bummer is there was one other photo prop idea that would've been killer, particularly with this session taking place just before Halloween. Alas, the props were left in the hotel. Maybe next time!

I'd also like to give a shout out to Somer's teenage son, because if there is any group that is "too cool" for family portraits it's the teenagers, but he was a great sport about everything.

October 26, 2020

West Glacier Wedding Photographer, Ashley & Scott

Ashley and Scott had another wedding that was thankfully able to commence as originally planned despite COVID-19 and all the chaos that caused the wedding and event industry this year. From my first contact with them, they had always planned on a very intimate ceremony with just them and their immediate families at Glacier Raft Co. in West Glacier. And from there the plan was always to hop on down the road to Glacier National Park and the Apgar Village area for some "epic Montana scenery portraits," And Montana and Glacier delivered in spades. While the rain did cause the slightest bit of disruption just prior to the exchange of vows, that just meant conditions were ripe for a perfect timed rainbow while we did family photos in the park. And... well just check out the photos, because words simply won't do it justice.

Vendors

Venue: Glacier Raft Co. / Lodging: Glacier Raft Co. / Officiant: Kate Berry / Florals: Mum's Flowers

October 20, 2020

Bigfork Family Photographer, The Nickels Family

This multi-generational family portrait session with the Nickels wasn't the first time I'd photographed people and their pets, but it was the first time I had someone bring their handsome feline outside for some photos. In true cat fashion "Duke" put up with the camera for exactly two photos before he made it clear he was done, but he was a consummate professional up to that point. I also got to meet Penny and her human, and the whole Nickels clan. We spent some time at their new residence and then headed over to Wayfarers State Park for the unrivaled views of Flathead Lake. It's always such a pleasure to explore new areas of the Flathead Valley I've not been to with vacationers and new residents alike.

October 19, 2020

Glacier National Park Portrait Photographer, Chacey & Asia

Having grown up in Texas, hearing a Texas accent can act as an odd sort of comfort blanket. And that is just how it was this chilly morning for these ladies hailing from North Texas. Another referral from the always too-kind Jennifer Vernarsky, Chacey and Asia were on a last-gasp-of-summer anniversary/birthday whirlwind vacation to Northwest Montana and Chacey wanted to surprise Asia with a photo session.

We met up at Apgar Village in Glacier National Park, and while the early morning clouds and fog obscured the mountains, it made the setting no less dreamy and surreal for a quick min-session. They were so fun to work with, and their smiles offered all the warmth needed in the upper-30s temperatures we were dealing with. We lamented the lack of decent Tex-Mex restaurants in Montana—and really anywhere but Texas—and other superior, non-Tex-Mex dining opportunities in the Flathead Valley.

October 14, 2020

Glacier National Park Wedding Photographer, Allyn & Nicholas

Allyn and Nicholas were my first of two wedding couples from Illinois in the span of five days, and my first wedding that actually took place inside Glacier National Park. Though initially, that was not the plan. Originally I should've been making this blog post this past spring. Of course, we all know what happened throughout the world in March. COVID lock-downs for everyone! Thankfully they didn't allow that to completely scuttle their dreams of a Montana wedding and they rescheduled for this fall and it couldn't have been more perfect. Yes, there was intermittent rain, yes there ominous clouds that obscured the mountains occasionally. But without rain, you can't have a rainbow. A rainbow that spanned Lake McDonald just as they said their wedding vows. If that isn't a sign of a blessed marriage, I don't know what is.

While they weren't technically eloping, they had a sort of 'deluxe elopement' with a total headcount of fewer than twenty people with a ceremony at the Apgar Amphitheatre, portraits in that general vicinity thereafter, and finally a dinner to close out the festivities.

I am so glad the pandemic didn't spoil my chance to hangout and get to know Allyn and Nicholas more, and can't wait for them to come back and visit—hopefully often—in the future!

Vendors

Venue(s): Glacier National Park Apgar Amphitheater, Grouse Mountain Lodge / Transportation: Montana Trolley Co. / Bakery: Delectable Desserts & Catering / Hair & Makeup: Brittany Brennan / Flowers: Southern Blooms Co.

October 12, 2020

Whitefish Wedding Photographer, Tasha & Korey

I was fortunate to meet Tasha at the My Montana Wedding Inspiration Expo last fall. She was planning a modest, largely D.I.Y. wedding at North 40 Resort between Columbia Falls and Whitefish, and convenient for me just five minutes from my house!

Thanks to the modest size of the wedding and being comprised of primarily Tasha & Korey's immediate and extended family they were thankfully able to avoid much disruption to their plans due to COVID-19, and everything went off without a hitch. It was so much fun to hang out with them and their families during what was a laid back, fun- and love-filled evening among the trees.

In the not-to-distant future I'm looking forward to traipsing around Glacier National Park with this super friendly couple for an epic adventure portraits session.

Vendors

Venue: North Forty Resort / Catering: Porteus BBQ / Bakery: Cakes by Debi / Dress: Mimi's Bridal / Jewelry: The Electric Buffalo

October 3, 2020

Whitefish Family Photographer, The Ahmad Family

I was fortunate to spend this chilly morning with the Ahmad family at Depot Park and Whitefish City Beach documenting their late-summer family getaway to Northwest Montana. Little A. wasn't super comfortable in front of the camera for a lot of the session, but once she saw the water at City Beach and got to take a little walk with her brother and grandmother she perked right up and started grinning from ear-to-ear. They mentioned that they are planning a potential permanent move to Montana, and I can't wait to welcome them if they're able to make that happen.

September 30, 2020

Alpine Theatre Project’s Operalesque 3

This month I was blessed to have the opportunity to document Alpine Theatre Project's "Operalesque 3"—a sexy combination of opera and burlesque—in the truly unique settings of the Viking Creek Wetland Preserve. As you might imagine with restrictions on indoor performances, the performing arts community here, and everywhere, has been hit particularly hard with no opportunity to perform in the concert halls, performing arts centers, and theaters they're used to.

The Operalesque performances at ATP's Garage were already something unique and special, and beyond anything, I ever expected to be able to experience, particularly in Northwest Montana. The creativity ATP has exhibited with this production bringing it out into nature was an experience I don't think anyone who attended is likely to forget any time soon.

Shoutout to the amazing cast consisting of Glen Seven Allen, Jessica Fishenfeld, Marcy Richardson, Melanie Long, Darren Stokes, and Billy Thompson.

This isn't the first time they've found to make sure that "the show must go on." This past spring the high school production of Mel Brook's "Young Frankenstein" was converted to the individual performers recording their parts on a green screen in isolation, which was then edited into a digital production.

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Matt Wetzler is an editorial, motorsport, portrait, and destination wedding photographer based in Northwest Montana.

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