Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Home of some pretty epic castle ruins, Ha Ha Tonka is a pretty unique state park located near Camdenton, Missouri. Sadie and Eli were excited for us to drive to them for their engagement pictures. We were more than excited to visit this prime location for a photoshoot. Ha Ha Tonka doesn’t quite fit into the classification of adventure photography, but we did fit in some hiking where the opportunity for photos was definitely abundant. The winter deadness made finding color more difficult, but with a few tricks up our sleeves we were very happy with how these turned out.


Underneath a natural rock bridge made for some interesting scenery. We added some soft light to help balance the ultra-bright backdrop. They were all full of smiles and are really looking forward to getting married this June. Can you tell they like each other? The glimmer in the backdrop is a slow-flowing waterfall. It added a nice touch of interest since the winter did offer us mostly dead trees.

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Another cool thing about this location is this where Eli proposed to Sadie. He told us the whole story about how Sadie was clueless that Eli was going to propose on Valentine’s Day and how he had tons of bouquets of flowers setup for her. He did an amazing job setting up the whole day. The Lake of the Ozarks can been seen from up here and this is one shot where the winter trees actually lend service to the pictures allowing you to see the blue water down below.

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I was looking for color and Marilyn was looking for light and together we came up with these. Marilyn has an incredible eye for light and I tend to see composition. We really do make a great team and having two cameras going can mean for a huge variety of excellent shots in every situation we shoot.

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Being at this Castle has definitely made me want to go back and explore even more options. It is kind of like a photographer’s playground minus the fence and bars prohibiting you from access. Ruins make for a perfect photoshoot because of what they symbolize. The crazy turmoil that life can bring doesn’t stand up against lasting love. Love is stronger than death the poet said and these walls have withstood the earth shaking, fire, and incredible winds. The love that these two have for each other will last longer than these stone walls.

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Having a light means that you can take a decent sunset photo or in this case, a wonderful sunset photo. I totally love the expression of these two and down to the sliver of space between their noses creating a technical perfection that I was aiming to capture. I can’t image everything going through their minds at this moment, but I am definitely assured that they have a profound love for each other that I highly respect and admire. I see a bright future for these two. Marilyn and I had a fantastic time hanging out with them and I think they had a great experience as well. I can’t wait to shoot their wedding here in a couple months.