Today I am thrilled to share the beautiful Destination Wedding of Becky and James at the LUVATTUMAA Ice Chapel in Levi, Lapland.
Photographer Rob Grimes joined the couple with their families for a wonderful week of love, celebration, and fun just over New Year.
Rob creates fun, relaxed documentary Wedding Photography throughout Nottingham, the Midlands, UK and Worldwide.
Having served over 22 years in the British Army, he decided in his final years it was time to pick up a camera and start to document the later part of his Army career.
During his final tour to Afghanistan in 2012, he created the Project Afghan Blog and his love affair with capturing and documenting life, people and their stories was born.
Since that day, his chance to capture and document a couples wedding day has been his story.
It’s all about capturing those moments special to you whilst also documenting the drama, fun, love and romance of the wedding day.
On your wedding day he strives to ensure he leaves you speechless with that dramatic ‘WOW’ image by using creative lighting and techniques with a fine art approach to complement your experience and to bind the overall story of your day together.
I hand over to Rob to share his recollections of the trip…
“I captured the beautiful Wedding of Becky & James at the LUVATTUMAA Ice Chapel Levi Lapland on the 30th December 2015.”
“This land of lappish food, music, ice and snow is located only 7 km north from Levi fell village along the river Ounasjoki.”
“I had the pleasure of spending a whole week in Levi Lapland for the build up, the wedding day, and New Years Eve fireworks.”
“Such a magical trip for all their family & friends to share their wedding and also New Year together.”
“It was, and always will be such a magical experience for me, defiantly up there with one of the best holidays I’ve ever experienced.”
“We all enjoyed snowmobiling at -30, with my eye lashes freezing over, Reindeer sledging in the outback, horse riding in the snow at night and husky sledging.”
“I now want to be a husky guide on an organised trip to the Ice Village.”
“We had so much fun, laughter, drinks, food and just such an amazing time out there in Lapland.”
“If you have never been, then I highly recommend you book and go for a Christmas or New Year weeks break, truly amazing and an experience to remember.”
“The girls started off the day getting their hair and make up done at the local salon before returning to their hotel to get ready.”
“Transportation was by Reindeer to the remote but very pretty Ceremony venue.”
“The Ceremony itself was inside the Ice Chapel, and it was freezing for all of the wedding party.”
“It was a short and sweet service followed by some drinks before a taxi ride to the Hotel Levi Panorama where celebrations continued with a lovely meal, more drinks and fabulous conversation into the wee hours.”
“I have to admit to this being the most challenging wedding of my career, not only do you have to contend with the feeling conditions of temperatures up to -30 but also with only a small window of natural light lasting for around 40 mins a day.”
“So I am incredibly grateful to Becky & james who allowed me the chance to capture some portraits the day after the wedding in the small window of light we had.”
“I have shared my experience from a technical point of view below the images….”
Rob also shares his experience as a Photographer which is advice to other photographers on what to expect, and guidance to couples who are marrying in the region to be aware of the challenges their chosen photographer may face…
Have you ever photographed a wedding in Lapland before/have you ever photographed a wedding like this before (lack of like, extreme cold etc.)?
“I had never been to Lapland or even captured a wedding at a real Ice Chapel.”
“But I knew from the start after agreeing to come to Lapland with them that I needed to seek advice from those that I knew had been before and start my research for this special day”.
What were you thoughts when this couple approached you about shooting in Lapland and the circumstances you might face shooting in such a location?
“I got to know the Groom James, as we had served together in the British Army back in Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2009. So we had a mutual connection from our past.”
“So it was an easy decision on my part to say yes to joining Becky & James for not just their wedding, but spending the week with them in Lapland and joining their family & friends on the weeks adventures.”
“But since that day after agreeing to capturing the wedding, its the first time I have really been nervous about shooting.”
“Don’t think there was ever a week that didn’t go by that I didn’t think about the conditions and the effects it can have on myself and my equipment.”
“So much to think about and what gear was the best to take, and when I got there the effects were so much more than I could have imagined.”
“But I kept on telling myself ‘You can do this’ and quote; ‘Fortune favours the brave’.”
Did you approach this wedding differently than you would have for your more ‘traditional’ weddings?
“Before hand I never really thought about my shooting style or how this would affect me on the day.”
“However on the day of the wedding at the Ice Chapel I soon realised that I wasn’t allowed to use any speed lights at all and the chapel was fitted out with different coloured fluorescent lights everywhere and I mean everywhere, ensuring my white balance was all over the place.”
“The chapel itself also had no natural light, it was pitch black outside as the ceremony was at 4pm and the chapel was in a remote part of Lapland.”
“So my old Army training kicked and the old say one of ‘You have to adapt to overcome’. So I had to think fast and adapt to overcome the conditions for the wedding.”
What was your greatest challenge while shooting this wedding?
“Snow, Ice, -30 weather conditions, 40 mins of natural light a day from 12 midday till 12.40 midday.”
“We even had a blanket of fog/cloud that smothered the natural light to add to the challenges, this also meant we didn’t get to see the Northern Lights.”
“Also the fear of my batteries draining, gear breaking, slipping over on the ice and breaking a leg.”
“Think my list went on and on with the challenges I might meet from day to day.”
“The first day, I left the main cameras, 2 x Nikon D750’s in my room and just took my little compact camera and Go Pro out for a walk around to see how the -30 weather conditions would affect them.”
“I was shocked. Just walking from my hotel to the couples hotel, about a 10 min walk, had drained my Go Pro and left me with about 10 mins of video time.”
“My little compact camera lasted a while longer, but when keeping it out for longer periods, I noticed the battery being drained quickly.”
“I was thankful that I brought with me a 8 batteries for my 2 D750’s to help me cover the wedding day itself.”
Can you tell us a bit about your settings and the gear you used to shoot this wedding?
“I took with me 2 x Nikon D750’s to the wedding, I normally shoot on a Nikon D4, but decided to take the other cameras just in case the weather took its toll on the equipment.”
“I actually broke one D750 camera due to the weather conditions. I also packed 3 lenses, my Nikon 35mm, 85mm f1.4 and my 45mm tilt shift as I wanted to be light on my feet throughout the day and I tend to shoot all my weddings normally on 24mm & 85mm along with my TS lens.”
“I also packed 2 Nikon SB910 speed lights and a couple of pocket wizards as triggers but didn’t use these in the end as I got told off for using speed lights in the Ice Chapel.”
“I also made sure I packed my HyperDrive ColorSpace 1TB portable back up, as I was also conscious that I might lose images without backing up at the time of the wedding because of the conditions, thankfully that never happened.”
“However as for my settings, I tend to shoot around f2 -2.8 normally but had to shoot around f1.4 because of the lack of light and set my camera to aperture mode with auto ISO and around 1/200th.”
“Most of the day with the light, I was having to shoot around 8000 ISO.”
Despite the location/weather challenges, you created a beautiful collection of images for your clients. What was the most rewarding part of this wedding?
“I spoke with Becky & James the evening of the wedding.”
“We were having a drink together after their reception and I asked them if at all possible, that could they get dressed up again and use the natural light at midday next day to shoot some images near the woods by their hotel.”
“Thankfully they agreed and I was so relieved. I didn’t want them to walk away with grainy high ISO images from the Ice Chapel, so we met up the next day.”
“But again the low fog started to kill the natural light around the hotel, so we had to try and use the light we had and shoot near to some street lights to give us a better chance of some cleaner images of the couple.”
“Plus inside the Ice Chapel was very cold and the couple only wore what they would normally wear at a wedding, so was conscious of not wanting them to be standing around for ages.”
“So shooting their portraits together alone the day after the wedding was a blessing for me and I am eternally grateful to Becky & James for allowing me to do that”
“I have to admit that this was the hardest wedding of my career to date, and I am just grateful for what I was able to achieve with the conditions being like they were.”
Thank you so much to Rob for sharing this pretty epic destination Wedding.
When we look at pretty pictures sometimes we don’t think enough of the challenges that go into capturing memories against inclement conditions.
Thankfully in the U.K this is not so much an issue even though we have our share of poor weather.
Against all odds Rob has captured the magic of Lapland and I applaud the couple on their bravery in going out in the extreme cold in their Wedding attire to make such beautiful Wedding memories.
To Contact Rob Grimes Photography
Phone: 07896 808054