Engagement Session for E + M (Part 1) at Ixmoja pyramid at Coba ruins, Tulum, Mexico

This is part one of a 2-part series of this blog. In part 1 here, I'm sharing the photos of the engagement session. In part 2, I will be blogging more about the behind the scene experience of this excursion with my clients E + M.

This engagement session was scheduled for their destination wedding in Tulum, just the day before their wedding at the resort. I have never been to Mexico at this point, and I was very excited and nervous at the same time for not being able to speak much Spanish and well, just the lack of knowledge about Mexico in general. I had no idea where to go, what looked good, how the light is and I just went there with an open mind with my cameras and lenses ready.

E + M were such amazing hosts for making the destination a multi-day fun experience for their guests who flew from all over the world! They came near and far from the US, the UK, Australia and Asia to celebrate their union, and I was so honored to be their destination wedding photographer AND be invited to join their fun activities. They rented a bus that took many of us (I'd say around 40-50 people) to Coba ruins on a Friday, so we didn't have to worry about transportation or getting lost, while sitting comfortably in the AC. It was a really hot day, and on hind sight I should have worn a tank top and shorts instead of a black top and long pants.

I'll leave the fun facts of Coba ruins and the pyramid for the next post, just share the amazing time we had shooting on a day that's hot and humid but still so much fun!

We first walked through the entrance and paid admission. This is one of the sites that is still being excavated from the thick vegetation in a jungle, and it was awesome because it means that it's not been restored and pretty much every rock has been placed there since the ruin was built during AD 600-900. We walked through pathways between thick jungle vegetation to get from one site to another. You could rent bikes, and you can be on a ricksaw. But I wanted the full experience exploring the place so we walked the whole way in the heat.

I don't think I've ever seen Fiji fan Palm (I think it's Pritchardia martii) growing so huge, with each giant leave growing about 2-3 times the height of a human.

We found a tunnel in this little pyramid (inside the above picture)!

I loved that E picked this beautiful low-back emerald dress that's these awesome delicate straps. The emerald is almost like a neutral color for the jungle's palette, but it's in a richer shade that it allows it to still stand out from the background. It also picked up her beautiful red hair by being in the opposite side of the color wheel! I forgot to ask her if it was done on purpose but nonetheless, it played out radiantly!

We hiked about 1-2 miles from the entrance to finally reach the lxmoja pyramid, one of the tallest pyramids on the Yucatán peninsula, at 42 meters. I've never been to any pyramid before, and it was very steep and I underestimated how hard it was to climb it. I left my backpack with one of the guests who came with us who was kind enough to offer to watch it for me. I only had 2 cameras and a flash with me at this point and I was really struggling to climb up on these slippery rocks, in my sweat, and avoiding banging my gear against the rocks.

A kiss halfway through the climb!

And then we made it to the top, victoriously! Woohoo!

We got to see the immense jungle covering the area, including ruins still heavily covered up by the trees.

Standing on the edge of the pyramid while I was standing on a higher piece of rock. To be honest I was super scared to fall down the pyramid. I'm pretty clumsy, and it didn't help that I have a strong fear of heights. But I pretended that it was totally ok and soldiered through my internal fears.

This little raised structure next to him has a very dark history. It's used for decapitation (I gasped when I heard that)! I'll write about it in part 2 of this blog.

After we got back down, E put her cute heels on for a few more pictures before we made our way back to the bus. They were not exactly safe to wear for the climb or the hike, but we made sure she got to wear them!

Joanne Leung Photography
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©2019 Joanne Leung Photography/Glass Monkey Inc.