Maria and Ilya were looking for a Denver wedding photographer who understood their Manhattan vibe. I’ve lived in New York and they’re recent transplants who brought a small chunk of the city out to Longmont for their wedding at Black Cat Farm. It’s sort of a gourmet farm to table place that brought the tables to the farm itself. Most of what they serve comes from the same property, and I saw them picking the greens and vegetables that would be served that evening. I don’t recall what they served as animal protein, but they were doubtlessly discrete on that front. In any case, the venue is surrounded by rolling hills and feels very removed from everything.

As a Denver wedding photographer, I’ve worked in a lot of places up in the mountains or these rural venues sprinkled along the front range. Just being outside the city or the suburbs, driving down gravel roads through canyons or farmland to the ceremony site puts one in a different mindset. It sets the expectation that today we are plucked out of our everyday lives for something special.

Bride puts on earrings in mirror in image by Denver wedding photographer.

Black Cat Farm has a rustic little house where you can do your ‘doo.

Flower girl stretches during preparations at Black Cat Farm in image by Denver wedding photographer.

Denver wedding photographer depicts flower girl's face illuminate by narrow band of light.

Two girls in dresses play before a Black Cat Farm wedding near Longmont, Colorado by Denver wedding photographer.

Flower girl plays in curtain, forming a silhouette before the ceremony, as shown by Denver wedding photographer who also likes to play with light and shadow.

Man walks through open fields near mountain foothills as depicted by Denver wedding photographer.

Ilya heads off through open fields to the ceremony site in a small grove of trees.

Groom's mother looks at her son as she walks him into site of wedding ceremony.

Bride's parents walk her to ceremony site through an open field.

Flower girls step on bride's veil, pulling it off in picture by Denver wedding photographer

When throwing flower petals, it’s easy to mistakenly step on someone’s veil. I believe it is preferable to accidentally pulling off someone’s dress.

Bride during groom's vows, by Denver wedding photographer.

Denver wedding photographer captures groom tearing up during ceremony.

Bride cries during vows at Black Cat Farm wedding.

Groom places ring on bride's finger during Longmont ceremony as shown by Denver wedding photographer

Between the hoopa, the officiant, the microphone stand and two videographers who were RIGHT UP THERE, it was challenging to find a clear vantage point and stay discretely out of the way. Always leave some breathing room around the bride and groom and everyone will get what they need while fading into the background.

Denver wedding photojournalist captures ceremony at Black Cat Farm outside Boulder.

Denver wedding photographer captures kiss at the end of the ceremony at Black Cat Farm outside Boulder.

Bride and groom leave wedding ceremony, bride wiping away a tear and groom playing with his ring in country ritual by Denver wedding photographer.

Groom breathes sigh of relief following wedding ceremony.

Ilya is far from shy, but seemed relieved that the performative section of the day is over.

Photograph by Denver wedding photographer of bride and groom leaving ceremony site in an open field.

Denver wedding photographer captures couple kissing after ceremony.

Bride and groom greet guests at Black Cat Farm wedding reception as captured by Denver wedding photographer.

Children pet dog lying on the ground during Black Cat Farm wedding reception.

This dog belongs to one of the workers at the farm. This dog got a lot of love.

Couple kisses at outdoor reception as captured by Denver wedding photographer.

A good chunk of the family guests on both sides were Russian. It’s sometimes helpful to not speak the language of the people you’re photographing, as it forces you to read and respond to situations based solely on body language. Which is a good thing. Body language, unlike spoken language, actually shows up in pictures and is what you should be focusing on anyway.

Ilya’s best man and troublemaker.

Woman lies in open field with arms outstretched in the early evening by Denver wedding photographer.

There are certain visual possibilities at country weddings which simply don’t exist in opulent ballrooms.

Woman with hair clip reading "love" at Boulder wedding.

Guests gather for dinner.

Denver wedding photographer captures bride and groom laughing at Boulder wedding reception.

Couple kisses at their outdoor wedding reception near Boulder by Denver wedding photojournalist.

It was very dark, with no walls or ceilings. The problem is, I abhor direct on-camera flash. But there was a hillside of tall yellow grass near the long Italian wedding table, so a remote flash bounced off that. Weddings involve a lot of improvisation; I don’t pose or orchestrate anything, but there’s a lot of adaptation on the fly. The long tables were to have these great chandeliers hanging over them, but the wind blew all but one of them over. What’s the plan B, plan C? I quietly do a lot of things the hard way on the night of the wedding, but you can’t go back and light something after the fact.

Bride and groom listen to her father's toast at a Boulder wedding. Black and white photograph made in very low light by Denver wedding photographer.

The toasts.

Father of the bride gives a toast during a Black Cat Farm wedding outside Boulder, Colorado.

Bride and groom about to kiss at a Boulder wedding.

And now to the dance party.

Denver wedding photojournalist captures groom dancing at a country wedding outside Boulder, Colorado.

I like layers and shadows, places for your eyes to dart about within the frame.

Bride's expressive moves on wedding dance floor by Denver wedding photojournalist.

Best Denver wedding photographer shows bride and groom on crowded dance floor.

Maria and Ilya were so much fun to photograph.

Groom on dance floor at a Black Cat Farm wedding outside of Boulder.

The dancing was in a tiny barn/pergola. It was pretty tight inside, but density is good for energy. Being one of only a handful of people on a cavernous dance floor makes everyone feel a little self-conscious, but this was the Love Shack.

I like wedding reception photos that are a cacophony of shadows and chaos.

Women laugh on wedding dance floor at a Boulder wedding venue.

Woman in Dorthy dress singing on wedding dance floor.

This was my first Silent Dance Party. Because it’s an outdoor venue, they had to abide by local noise restriction after a certain hour. The headphones are lightweight and the sound is awesome. After a few minutes, you completely forget the novelty of it. Slip the headphones off, and all you hear is the shuffling of feet and a random person belting out a song at the top of their lungs in whatever singing voice they have, saved from their own a cappella rendition.

Women wearing headphones at a Silent Dance Party.

Bride and friends on silent dance floor wearing headphones.

Bride smoking cigar at wedding.

Bride smoking cigar at wedding reception.

Still dancing at this late horah.