Walking through Ivanpah heliostats.
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In the tower at Ivanpah.
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Walking down the aisle.
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"We’re big into new energy," says Mark Emerson, by way of explaining how he and his wife Paulette Harutnian came to take a sheaf of wedding photos at Ivanpah, a 392-megawatt solar power plant in the Mojave Desert. (See the slideshow above for a selection of the shots.)
It's a distinctly San Francisco kind of answer, and one that makes a certain amount of sense when the Bay Area couple describes it. "I was searching around of Facebook, and saw that the world's largest solar plant had opened. I thought, how interesting would it be to juxtapose the new energy with the wedding," Mark says. "So I wrote an email to their publicists. I said, I know this is going to seem random, but..." The plant's owners, NRG Energy, said yes. So off they went.
Paulette explains that the couple has more than just energy policy reasons for doing the shoot. "We dated for two years, then broke up. A couple months later, I was in South Africa on safari watching the sunset with a new boyfriend. All I could think about was how much I missed Mark. Turns out that around the same time, Mark was in Greece watching the sunset and thinking of me." The couple eventually reconnected, and recently married in Los Angeles.
After the ceremony, they set off for the plant with a photographer and one of the groomsmen ("He helped me in and out of the dress," said Paulette.) It took a four-hour drive to reach Ivanpah, which opened in February of 2014. The plant's operators were happy to welcome them—they even tried to swing the mirrors around to make a heart, though that proved impossible. The couple changed clothes, and hopped into a truck to be ferried around for the shoot—the results of which you can see in the slideshow above.
"I love to have these kinds of adventures," says Mark. "It's something we can tell our grandchildren about." After the shoot, the couple headed off to Bali for their honeymoon, where they both got sick. "We're recovering now," said Mark. All in all, the couple was thrilled with how the photos turned out, although Paulette admitted that, because of the heat, "the dress was a mess."