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adventurous glacier engagement session | alaska destination elopement photographer

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adventurous glacier engagement session | alaska destination elopement photographer

Girdwood, Alaska

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


ashley + matt's adventurous glacier engagement session | alaska destination elopement inspiration | girdwood + alyeska

At this point in our lives as adventure elopement + intimate wedding photographers its hard to imagine falling in love with a destination the way we have with Yosemite and Moab, but that's what happened when we arrived in Alaska. Honestly, this place lives up to the hype. We thought we'd hit the mecca in Patagonia, but it turns out this world is all full of surprises. Among the massive landscape of Alaska are ice fields, glaciers, fjords, and gigantic mountains, altogether showing adventure takes on its purest form here. These amazing landscapes are why Alaska is a dream destination for adventurous couples, but those who are drawn here have to be up to the task at hand. With all the anticipation of the shoot, we were so excited when we finally met Ashley and Matt for dinner (because when the sun sets at midnight, you can meet up for dinner before your shoot). Alyeska and Girdwood themselves are fantastic to take engagement photos, but the surrounding area has a crazy amount of beautiful places to shoot.

After traveling all the way from Michigan, Ashley and Matt were wide-eyed and excited to get going. We scouted a route out before and drove over to Byron Glacier to hike around (safely... it can get dicey pretty quick out there, and there are plenty of tours to take if you want to get on the glacier itself). As we hiked up to the glacier, Ashley told us a bit of their wedding plans, about when they met in high school when they were fifteen years old, and how they have been together ever since. We bonded over our love of Parks and Rec, our dogs, and stories about our families. As we walked, I needed to take a step back at what was happening. Amazing people and places like this constantly make me like I have the best job in the world, but what I love most about these moments in these places is how they are just a part of a something bigger – a tiny permanence amidst a gigantic one. I always imagine people's lives back home - Ashley and Matt's friends and families thousands of miles away in Michigan, their puppies, and the coffee shops and college campus where their love has grown right up until this point. Then I think of right here and now, creating these crazy memories in Alaska, and I realize why photography is so amazing – we're really just folding the corners of our favorite pages, making little dog-eared creases to go back to when we want or need to later on.

Honestly, I have to pinch myself when I think of this moment for what it is - an exclamation point in the middle of a paragraph those pages, altogether telling a great story. I love soaking it all in, but also remembering how there's so much more to come after this, and how something as ordinary as two high schoolers falling in love their sophomore year can lead to such a great adventure!! Big places like Alaska with histories and futures full of adventure make it easy to think of love this way. It's just so rad to play a little part in the telling of their story.

Ashley and Matt fit right in as they climbed around the toe of the glacier and then exploring the crazy ice formations. I love how our couples are down to wear boots, hike, and get their dresses and pants a little dirty – Ashley and Matt are no exception. Matt was also super chill when it came to the hike and all the obstacles, but mostly his attention was on his fiance and the amazing scenery all around us. They were an easy couple to get along with, as one moment we'd be laughing like kids as we slid around and the next staring up in awe at the grandeur of this creeping monument of ice.

Then things got seriously amazing. We shot a ton of beautiful pictures around the area leading up to the glacier, but then we saw a delicate ice arch just across a river. The opportunity – even though it promised freezing cold toes – was too good to pass up!! We took off our shoes and waded across the shallow river which didn't take too long, but it was still freezing cold - definitely type two fun. But the pictures and memory of the adventure were entirely worth it.

This session put all of our hopes for Alaska to work and ended up exceeding any thoughts we had. The photos were amazing and captured this couple's love for adventure, nature, and each other perfectly!! Seriously, this trip made me want to come back for sooooo many more engagements and elopements up in Alaska! It's been on our mind ever since we left since we feel like we barely tapped into the potential up here. Callen and I talked about it, and we're definitely hoping to book a lot more wedding + elopement photography gigs up here in Alaska next summer.

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.

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hatcher pass adventure wedding portraits | alaska destination elopement photographer

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hatcher pass adventure wedding portraits | alaska destination elopement photographer

Hatcher Pass, Anchorage, Alaska

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


autumn + levi's adventurous wedding portrait session | alaska destination elopement inspiration | hatcher pass, Anchorage, alaska

We had so much fun exploring Hatcher Pass near Anchorage, Alaska with Autumn and Levi! These two are some of the sweetest people around. We met up at the Hatcher Pass Lodge, where we were both staying for the night (side note - they have the cutest little A frames, but read my review at the bottom if you’re planning on staying there!) and then headed up the mountain to make some dinner in the parking lot. Now, don’t go assuming this was fancy…Callen cooked up some grilled cheeses in the van and we enjoyed our gourmet meal in camp chairs at the trailhead. As we ate, we chatted about their wedding earlier that week (this adventure photo session was part of their epic Alaska honeymoon trip!), how they met, and other fun little topics. I have to share how they met — it is a hilarious story! These two met at a country dance hall. Autumn was there for her sister’s birthday and ended up dancing with Levi for fun. He thought she was pretty cool and asked her name, she said “Sam” because according to her, that’s what she would tell guys when they tried to flirt with her 😂). He tried to get her number and she said no, but eventually gave in and told him her instagram instead. They ended up meeting up and messaging, and Autumn totally forgot about the wrong name thing until she was meeting his friends and introduced herself as Autumn! Levi was thankful for the claification and despite Autumn still playing hard to get for a while after that, she eventually realized he was the man of her dreams :) 

It was lightly raining throughout their adventure session at Hatcher Pass (classic Alaska!) but it made for such a gorgeous moody vibe. We hiked up a steep hill to one of the gorgeous ridge lines overlooking the mountains, explored around some pristine little lakes, and even found a sweet little snowy patch with a blue lake in the middle. These two Texans fully embraced the snow, dancing around, throwing snowballs, and chasing each other across the snow field! As it got a little dark we made our way up the ridge for one last glimpse of the sprawling mountains before heading down to the lodge. We spend the last bits of blue hour (around 11pm! Alaska is crazy!) walking around the beautiful property and admiring the adorable little A frame cabins. We ended the night sipping beers and eating candy in their cabin, taking about life, adventure, and marriage. It was such a treat to spend time with these two!

We absolutely love when couple choose to do sessions with us on their honeymoon! Whether you choose to bring your wedding clothes and do an adventure elopement-style session, or wear more regular clothes and capture your day-to-day selves in an epic place, doing a session on your honeymoon is such a rad was to celebrate that time in your life. It’s no secret that from Yosemite to Moab to Alaska and as far as Patagonia, we spend a lot of time in epic places that would make great Honeymoon locations and great places for a Honeymoon Adventure Session. This is also a really good option if you like the idea of an adventure elopement but still want to have a more traditional wedding back home, doing a session like this can be such a good alternative. We’ve even had couples choose to read their vows privately during their session instead of back home during their wedding.


We are so excited to be heading back to Alaska next summer, this time for three whole months! After our trip out there this summer, we have a long list of places that would be absolutely amazing for an adventure elopement, intimate wedding, or engagement session! If you’re considering eloping and like the idea of a destination wedding, but want to keep things relatively simple, Alaska is such a good option for your elopement! It was super easy to explore and navigate as a US resident (obviously) but felt like a far-off international destination! The landscape in Alaska is so amazing, you could literally have your elopement ceremony on a glacier via a helicopter and then be up on a gorgeous hillside for sunset wedding portraits within an hour. We found amazing iceberg lagoons, hiked some epic mountain passes, and explore some of the coolest terrain we’ve ever seen! We’ll be booking limited dates during our three months in Alaska next summer, so if you’re hoping to have your elopement or intimate wedding in Skagway, Cordova, Denali National Park, Girdwood, Valdez, or any of the other epic spots we explored, get in touch with us as soon as possible!

MY REVIEW OF HATCHER PASS LODGE:

I mentioned we stayed in Hatcher Pass Lodge. When we posted about this on instagram we got a lot of questions about staying there, so I wanted to share my honest review here! First and foremost, their website says “no frills” and they really mean it. The cabins are small, yes, but they also have no running water, no amenities other than electricity, and the linens feel 40 years old. There is a community shower in the main lodge area that everyone shares, and one thing that was very uncomfortable for me was there is no lock on the door. I stacked a chair against the door because I’m pretty paranoid about that type of thing (especially when traveling) but thought it was worth mentioning. Also, there is a shared steam room, but they require that 4 or more guests are planning to use it before getting is prepped, and you have to let them know in the early afternoon. Honestly, our van would have been more comfortable and had we done more research we wouldn’t have booked a night there. If you’re wanting to stay somewhere that feels like a slightly nicer version of camping, this lodge might be for you, but if you’re wanting an escape from camping that feels like a “treat yourself” night (as we were), I do not reccomend it. I should have done more research, but I wrongly assumed $120/night would get me a little more than a roof over my head ;) 

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.

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alyeska ski resort summer anniversary session | alaska elopement photographer

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alyeska ski resort summer anniversary session | alaska elopement photographer

Alyeska Resort, Alaska

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


danielle + dillon's adventurous anniversary session | alyeska ski resort elopement inspiration

Wow, these two are absolute gems. We honestly feel so lucky to have spent an evening with Danielle and Dillon in Alaska! We were actually in touch with them late last year to plan an adventure photo session for their ten year anniversary. We’d originally decided on an adventure session in Yosemite National Park, but due to some family events they ended up having to reschedule. We had talked about doing a later date in Yosemite, or even sometime in Moab to align with our travel schedule, but then I mentioned we’d be going to Alaska in the summer and Danielle loved the idea! They decided to make a whole trip out of their ten year anniversary celebration and meet us in Alaska. Danielle and Dillon had a super adventurous trip and even did a glacier tour the day before our adventure session!! We met up with them in Girdwood south of Anchorage, and decided to do their adventure session high on Mount Alyeska with a delicious luxury dinner in the middle!! It was an absolutely beautiful evening, with perfect fluffy clouds and gorgeous golden light. After about an hour of hiking around and soaking in the views, we took a break to eat dinner at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant, which was absolutely delicious!! We joked that we were crashing their 10th anniversary dinner, but they assured us it was all good ;) After an awesome dinner, we headed back out for sunset on the mountain. The views were so stunning, with some of the most beautiful pink colors in the sky, perfectly green grass on the steep hillside, and lovely little white flowers all over. 

Danielle and Dillon are so absolutely amazing together, they truly have one of the sweetest relationships. We photograph a lot of engagement sessions and wedding + elopement couples, but there is something so special about photographing couples celebrating a major anniversary. These two have lived so much life together, fought through hard times and experienced some of life’s greatest joys. The bond between them is so special and was so amazing to photograph. We are so thankful for our evening with Danelle and Dillon, and hope we get to do another session with them on their 20th anniversary :)


We are so excited to be heading back to Alaska next summer, this time for three whole months! After our trip out there this summer, we have a long list of places that would be absolutely amazing for an adventure elopement, intimate wedding, or engagement session! If you’re considering eloping and like the idea of a destination wedding, but want to keep things relatively simple, Alaska is such a good option for your elopement! It was super easy to explore and navigate as a US resident (obviously) but felt like a far-off international destination! The landscape in Alaska is so amazing, you could literally have your elopement ceremony on a glacier via a helicopter and then be up on a gorgeous hillside for sunset wedding portraits within an hour. We found amazing iceberg lagoons, hiked some epic mountain passes, and explore some of the coolest terrain we’ve ever seen! We’ll be booking limited dates during our three months in Alaska next summer, so if you’re hoping to have your elopement or intimate wedding in Denali National Park, Girdwood, Valdez, or any of the other epic spots we explored, get in touch with us as soon as possible!

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.

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destination engagement session in the mountains | grand teton national park elopement photographer

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destination engagement session in the mountains | grand teton national park elopement photographer

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


maggie + gary's adventure engagement session in grand teton national park | jackson hole, wyoming wedding photographer

Ohhh my goodness where do I even start with these two. From the moment we met up with them for pre adventure session dinner at Dornan’s Pizza and they assured us “they have their pizza order dialed” and then proceeded to order plain cheese (???) to our hugs goodbye a hour after the sun went down and we all chatted in camp chairs as the full moon rose, we were pretty much constantly in stitches laughing until we cried. Our adventure engagement session with them was basically two hours of dogs playing (Charlie and Luke are best friends forever), The Office references (including Maggie and Gary literally acting out my favorite scene in the show…you’ll know when you get to the photos)…(ok hint…”STANLEY BARACK IS PRESIDENT”), and everyone marveling at how majestic the Tetons are. We made sure to pick a spot outside of the National Park boundary so the dogs could run freely, but the views of the Teton range were just as impressive as the viewpoints in the park!

While all of the dog-loving, Office-referencing, complicated pizza order details were super fun about these two, I think the best part is why they were in the Tetons in the first place. While in between jobs, they decided to take off on an epic three-month road trip across the western US (their first time out here!!) with almost no experience camping, road tripping, etc. They just went for it. And they’re absolutely rocking it! We’ve loved chatting with them about road life, the challenges of keeping a dog alive in the middle of the summer, the constant fear of bears in Wyoming and Montana, the ease of eating out but feeling gross about it, and the fun of waking up in a new place every day despite the logistical junkshow that your life has become 😂. If you want to laugh your butt off as some genuine moments of life on the road, definitely follow @lukegoeswest on instagram. Their stories are hilarious.

Seriously though, we’ve made friends for life with these two and are so thankful that our job connects us to couples like them. We can’t wait to see what they do next, and hopefully we’ll see them on the road again soon. Normal life is overrated anyway ;)

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.

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