The Intimidating Beauty of Shove Chapel
Please click the photo or follow the link to view Jessica and Lee’s stunning wedding samples at Shove Chapel and Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
It’s dark. It’s very Gothic in it’s architecture. It’s one of the most feared places to shoot in Colorado Springs. Why? I have no idea.
All I know, is whenever I have a meeting about a wedding at Shove Chapel, the number one thing I hear is, “Other photographers say it’s really hard to shoot in there… and they’re photos look really dark. Why do yours look so bright?” Well, the short answer is we know how to push our cameras and capture the shot. The longer answer is: 1) we always make sure the altar lights are at full (they normally keep them at 1/2 power), 2) we have very steady hands so we’re not afraid to push the shutter way past the normal “lower threshold” (why hand-held? Because that place is HUGE and we are running all over to get the shot), and 3) we always shoot with our array of wireless remote Nikon speed-lights.
The most important factor of all is the remote speed-lights. We’ve been shooting with remote lighting for 6 years now, and I would say they are the most important equipment I use. Having flexible, fast remote lighting allows us to shoot in otherwise impossible scenarios. Obviously, when it’s dark it allows us to create shots where there are none, but even when it’s light enough, they allow us to form the light, and add a sense of drama to an already attractive scene. I use remote lighting on 80% of my shots, and I personally think that I’ve gotten to the point where the extra lighting is very subtle on most of them. The lighting either mimics what’s already there, or at most seems like a complimentary element of the scene.
We love Shove Chapel, I can’t think of a cooler place to capture a ceremony. It has a sense of drama, and gives every wedding an epic scale, which I think lend themselves perfectly for the purposes of wedding photography. We use a 3 flash system, 2 on each side, either above in the side-balconies when we have assistants, or on the ground floor on 15′ light stands when I have to adjust them myself, and one master flash on the camera. I like to shoot across the aisle from the right side (facing the altar) during the processional. As soon as the bride walks up the altar stairs I flip the lights around towards the altar and use very subtle lighting to add detail to the subjects which are lit mostly from the stage lights. Those little Nikon Speed-lights are incredibly powerful for their size, and the fact I can whip them around ultra-fast and tuck them back into little hiding places to add stunning splashes of light is the winning aspect over more powerful strobes.
And then there was Lee and Jessica’s wedding. Not only are they a stunning couple, but Jess (and Lee) did an amazing job planning every detail of this wedding. Her dress was stunning, her flowers were elegant, the reception decor was impeccable, and the food? They didn’t choose. They simply had Cheyenne Mountain set up multiple stations with an amazing array of everything. Want pasta cooked with custom ingredients as you wait? Check. Oh, but you also need some prime rib? Why not? And a seafood & salad station? Sure. And they best part? They let us eat! THEY LET US EAT ANY OF IT! And boy, did I…
I know, you’re confused. But it’s a little known, and very dark fact that not every couple let’s us eat or offers us food. But it’s okay, we’ve only been running around on our feet for 8 hours… we’re fine. Don’t worry about us. My face is always this ashen and drawn…
But I digress (as usual). In closing, if you’re thinking about a wedding at Shove, but you’re worried about the different horror stories you’re hearing around town about how dark it is, book it with confidence. It is an amazing place for a wedding, and it really is worth the extra hard work to pull of the photography. But I’ll shut up about it now: the photos speak for themselves.