DENVER - A great marriage proposal takes three: the couple and the secret photographer.
Travis Konkle has taken pictures of people like the President and Lindsey Vonn. These days he lives in Silverthorne, and makes a living by lying in wait.
He plans with future-grooms to capture the moment a bride-to-be says yes. He hides out in some of Colorado's most beautiful places to do it.
In winter, he'll wear a World War II snow camouflage poncho to blend in with the scenery. In summer, he wears a ghille suit, which “scares the heck out of people” when he comes out of the trees.
Only once has he almost blown his cover:
“I had one couple. They were from Atlanta, Georgia. I warned him about a cornice at the top of this ridge and we rented snowmobiles. And the snowmobile company warned them also about a cornice on Machine Gun Ridge and not to walk on it at all. She wasn't paying attention or she didn't understand what a cornice was. She was walking right towards that cornice. I was up above them about 500 feet and i was just seconds away from breaking my cover, coming out and calling the whole thing off just to warn her. And just then she stopped walking towards the cornice and back up towards the ridge. He proposed to her any everything went as planned.”
A few dogs have nearly outed him. Some couples bring their pets, who like to sniff around.
The best engagement he’s seen?
"I see many great proposals, each unique and awesome. I had an Air Force Cadet hire me. He was graduating in a few months and would be leaving Colorado to start his career. I helped him arrange a dinner sleigh ride in Frisco, CO. His girlfriend (now fiancé) had been told not to expect any proposal until after he graduated. I gave him instructions on how to separate from the rest of the dinner members and walk to a certain spot. He almost walked on top of me, and I was worried that my telephoto lens was going to be too much. He knelt, she was so surprised, she cried, and then to top it off, there were 85 people inside a dining tent waiting to congratulate the couple as they walked in. The guitar player (sitting on a stage inside the tent) had everyone in silence waiting for me to walk in ahead of the couple and give him a thumbs UP or DOWN. I gave the thumbs UP, the couple walked in, he began to sing and the crowd erupted into applause and whistles. She was again overwhelmed with joy and tears rolled down her face. I still keep in contact with this couple, they are married now and live in Texas."
Best looking spot to get engaged in Colorado?
The top three: Machine Gun Ridge, anywhere around Breckenridge and Vail and Montezuma, north of Keystone.
"I really enjoy working with Two Below Zero Diner Sleigh Rides in Frisco, CO. They have great sleigh rides and a wonderful staff. If you want to feel like you are on top of the world, I recommend Machine Gun Ridge (the county line between Eagle and Summit County). You will need either a snowmobile (winter) or an ATV (summer). Otherwise, anywhere in Colorado. It is all about making this event personalized to the couple. If you are hikers, pick a trail. If you are foodies, pick an outdoor dining setting. Try to think of something that is unique to you as a couple and we can plan from there."
Winter is a prime time of year to get engaged because it’s the most picturesque, and fall is second-best.
He calls Colorado a proposal destination:
"I would say 95 percent of my clients are from out-of-state. I just don’t understand why most people from Denver don’t come up here and propose."
The first time he meets the clients:
"I tend to meet most of my clients in the men’s room. It’s one of the few places we can have some privacy right before they’re about to go ask the most important question they’ve ever asked in their life. So meeting in the men’s room is not an unusual place for me to first shake hands with my client."
Ski resorts aren’t ideal:
Travis says they’re impersonal and the logistics don’t always work. When most people understand the situation, they want something more intimate and they go somewhere else.
Check out Travis' photography here
Photos: The moment future-brides said 'yes' in Colorado's prettiest places
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