When photographer Jacob Peters was asked by a Wisconsin man to photograph him proposing at sunrise, he thought it was a sound idea.
He woke at 2.30am, drove to Whitaker’s Point in Arkansas and arrived at the not-so-civilized hour of 4.45am. He spent another hour hiking to hustle for a prime position in order to take said photos. He arrived, set up and waited. At 6.17am, a young couple emerge. It’s showtime.
“It’s them. I’m sure of it. A little late but still not too late. They go up onto Hawksbill Crag. Hang out for a few minutes and then it happens. He pulls out a ring, kneels down behind her. She turns around and starts crying and hugs him and it’s obvious she said yes and all went well,” he wrote on Facebook, detailing the events of the morning.
After snapping a few more photos and sticking around for another 15 minutes, Peters packed up and hiked back out to his car. It took him more than an hour to make his way out, because lugging nearly 14 kilograms worth of camera equipment isn’t an easy feat.
“[I] got home around 9am and since I finally had service I send the guy a text saying congratulations, the photos are beautiful. I’m glad it all worked out and then I take a nap since I was very exhausted.
“I wake up to a text saying, ‘I’m confused, we never saw you and we got there a little late, are you sure it was us? I was in a blue plaid shirt…'”
Because luck is a fickle thing and coincidence moreso, Peters had missed his clients, taking a series of photos of another strange couple – also in blue – who planned their engagement at the same time and the same spot.
“So basically I spent six and half hours, US$40 in gas and food, 450 photos, and took the wrong couples photos.
“If anyone knows who this couple might be PLEASE tell them to reach out to me, I’ll gladly give them the photos. They were engaged on the 6th of May at 6.17am on Whitaker’s Point,” he wrote.
The internet – being the widely public, not particularly intimate platform that it is – managed to find the young couple in a matter of days.
The focus of the photos, David Le, commented on Peters’ debacle soon after it was posted on social media.
“Hi Jacob! I can’t believe what I’m seeing! My fiancée is going nuts seeing this. She even got goose bumps over this,” he wrote.
Peters himself has said the whole thing is “bittersweet”.
“On one hand I’ve made one couples engagement very memorable in a good way and on the other someone didn’t get anything.”
Initially, Peters launched a crowdfunding page cover flights to Wisconsin so he could take photos of the couple who missed out and “give this whole story some closure”. However, he was forced to shut it down after he says he copped too much “hate”.