A Columbia River Morning

While their love story is non-traditional, the connection they share for the outdoors is inspiring, full of life and big hearts. A year before Wayne & Claire met, Wayne had fallen from a cliff in Bend, Oregon, he was in the hospital fighting for his life. This event would bring them together. I knew from the moment I met Wayne + Claire, I had to select a special place for their engagement shoot, so there we ventured to the Columbia River Gorge at the light of dawn.


Claire's story: "I was working at a summer camp, Trackers Earth at the time and many of my supervisors knew Wayne. The Monday after he fell, we were told that one of our supervisors’ close friends had been in an accident, might pass, and that the staff may have to pick up some extra slack while people process what is happening. Although I’d never met Wayne, I had a feeling that day that he’d be in my life. Three years later, we’re engaged and getting married the day after what he refers to as his 2nd birthday - the day after he woke up from the coma he went into after he fell - September 29th. We both teach at Trackers Earth, spending our summers teaching overnight camps and living in the woods. We live in the city the rest of the year and venture out to the woods to teach kids almost daily. Wayne teaches wilderness awareness, bushcraft, and blacksmithing while I teach land and animal stewardship, and folk craft. It’s a strange thing to live in the city just so that you can teach in the woods, but it’s what we do. Wayne and I teach to inspire a respect for beyond human world. Our goal is to buy land within the next few years. We want to live off of the land, raise a family, and continue to share our craft."

I knew taking this special couple to Columbia River Gorge to capture their engagement was the perfect place. We ventured on a breezy Spring morning to Cascade Locks and photographed around Government Cove, and one of my favorite places, Bridge of the Gods. Can't wait to be part of their rustic wedding day at the awe-inspiring, Silver Falls State Park.