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As an Olympic National Park & Hurricane Ridge wedding and engagement photographer, I’m continually finding new corners of the amazing Olympic Peninsula to take my clients. This time, they showed me a few new spots! Although I’ve been to Hurricane Ridge dozens of times, Kim and Jesse showed me a new side of the popular ONP destination during their anniversary session. Kim and Jesse celebrated their ten year anniversary with a portrait session in the mountains that are so dear to them. Kim is an amazing photographer and has been a dear friend of mine since we started our businesses around the same time almost ten years ago, so I was incredibly honored to capture this season in their relationship. Not only have I gotten to call Kim a friend and colleague for the last decade, but we’ve worked together on half a dozen or more weddings, and encouraged each other to pursue our dreams! I can’t say enough about seeking out strong, female, boss-babe friendships as a solo-creative-entrepeneur, and Kim has been in the trenches right along side me from almost day one.
Hurricane Ridge is a jaw-dropping location in rural northwest Washington State on the North Olympic Peninsula beloved by photographers and hikers alike. It’s a well-known destination to anyone visiting Olympic National Park, and usually numbers in the top five of don’t-miss locations on any list of things to do in ONP. But the tourists rarely get past the 45-minute drive up from the main ONP visitor center, a day-hike at Hurricane Hill and a few minutes gazing off the viewing decks at the main lodge. Locals know that’s just the tip of the iceberg, or the mountain in this case! Hurricane Ridge is the gateway to exploring the backcountry of the Olympic Mountains, with dozens of hikes branching out from there to Obstruction Point, Blue Mountain and Deer Park, the Elwha Valley, the Hoh Valley, the Low Divide, and more.
The drive up from Port Angeles itself can be a little nail-biting with hairpin twists and turns as the road switchbacks up the mountainside, but it’s overwhelmingly worth it to see the lowland hills drop away and the slopes climb towards the usually snow-covered peaks. The lush mixed forests of Douglas fir, Red cedar, and broadleaf maple transition to the sharp spires of high-altitude firs between open alpine meadows, eventually leaving the forests all together for patches of snow and thick, slow-growing scrubby grass. In the summers, wildflowers are everywhere, from the brilliant red Indian paintbrush to blue lupines to a dozen more species seen only above the treeline.
Like the true locals they are, Kim and Jesse took me in their well-traveled Subaru Outback to a handful of their favorite scenic spots tucked here and there along gravel roads winding through the Olympic National Park backcounty. I have to confess I couldn’t look out the window of the passenger seat for much of the drive as the hillside dropped so steeply away that it didn’t seem like the road was wide enough for the car! Thankfully, Kim had made the drive dozens of times before, so she was confident and relaxed as we navigated the mountain.
Kim wore a rust colored gown from Macy’s that perfectly complemented Jesse’s blue Armani suit and carried a stunning bouquet featuring seasonal strawflowers and zinnia created by local floral artisan Bergen of Fire and Blooms. My favorite part of the shoot was capturing Kim and Jesse’s joy and laughter together, their mischievous sense of humor and the ease of deep, longtime friendship.
Adrien Craven is an adventurous Hurricane Ridge wedding and elopement photographer in the greater Pacific Northwest, Puget Sound, and Inland Northwest. Her work is best described as honest & romantic imagery of real couples that captures authentic emotion and beautiful portraits against a lush natural backdrop. Interested in booking Adrien for your wedding or engagement photography? Get in touch or check out more Olympic National Park weddings like Erin & John’s Washington Beach elopement!