Did you know that you can hire a photographer to fly to Alaska to commemorate your love story? Hunter and Allison have been clients with me since 2019 and since knowing them, I have had the pleasure of witnessing some key moments in their timeline. This includes having an outdoor winter Viking wedding, celebrating two new doggies coming into their lives, and now, adventuring to Alaska for the first time. What inspired these two to travel to Alaska for a couple’s portraits? Let me tell you about it below.
Alaska, the 49th state in the United States, is home to over 10,000 glaciers and 3 million lakes. It’s also home to excellent hiking and a coastal temperate rainforest. Yes, that’s right, Alaska has a rainforest. Allison and Hunter wanted to experience so much of this beauty because of one specific reason.
An Adventure Filled Alaskan Couple’s Portrait Session
Hunter is hard of hearing. And while this may be easily remedied with hearing devices, his condition is a little different than other folks. You see, he’s actively losing his hearing and one day, they estimate he will lose it completely. In order to experience some of the beautiful and adventure-filled world, Allison wanted to treat him to a trip there to hike, explore, and to take in all the sounds.
These two have such a great community of wonderful people in their lives including two friends who welcomed them to Alaska so they could stay. And in order to maximize our time together in Alaska, I wanted to treat them to a full and inclusive experience.
We began our day at a serene and reception-free lake nestled amongst some ancient mountains. Seeing these monumental peaks and the tranquil waters of this beautiful blue-green loch made Alaska come alive for us. We went out to visit early, just to scope and see the space and when Hunter and Allison joined us, the weather was perfectly overcast for mid-day portraits and allowed for us to capture not only the natural beauty but also the love of these two.
After our stint at the lake, which was a bit muddy, a bit adventurous, and a little aware of the fact that bears and other large wildlife could be thriving just behind the brush, we forged on.
Our next stop was a great waterfall on our way back to Anchorage. Hunter, at this time, needed rest from the travels, so Allison and I took full advantage of the roaring waters to capture some what I call, ‘hiking editorial.’ Combined with her earthy burnt sienna dress, hiking boots, and spirit of wanderlust, Allison and I created some unforgettable moments here.
Of course, nature, while not cruel, is a neutral entity that holds no regard for our lives. And when you play with nature, especially the untamed wilderness of the ‘last frontier’ you’re bound to get burned, or bitten, or swept away. While Allison and I stuck to the hiking trail, two visitors to the falls forged just ahead of us. We passed them when one went ahead to jump out onto a log over the raging river just a few hundred feet past the falls. Allison and I stopped quickly when we heard a scream from the man’s partner, as he had fallen into the river and was quickly being swept away in the current.
Let me tell you that you shouldn’t ever play with things that can kill you. Especially when it comes to something as fierce as mother nature. The man was lucky in that he found himself close enough to the river bank to swim over and step out with the help of a hand from Allison. But we were close enough to watching a grown man lose his life had there been a misplaced rock or a river bank that was just a few inches too far. So please, if you do decide to visit Alaska, don’t play around with your life.
We were also lucky enough to have Hunter with us who has a license and permit to carry a gun for safety and who teaches a gun safety class here in Indiana. For those who don’t own firearms or who don’t wish to travel with guns to Alaska, bear mace is a good alternative but no replacement for constant vigilance, respect, and awareness.
But back to our Alaska couple’s portraits.
After we finished this, I stopped by our cozy Alaskan apartment to gather my wife and we all took a nice trip out to Byron Glacier, just a short hour and a half ride down Highway 1 southeast of Anchorage.
Pro-Tips for your Alaska Couple’s Portraits
A pro-tip for visiting the glacier. Give yourself time to get there and be prepared for a short 15-20 minute walk (not hike) to the glacier. Byron Glacier is just on the Anchorage side of the Whittier Tunnel, so it isn’t necessary to travel through the tunnel. However, to visit Whittier, on the other side, you will need to travel through the tunnel.
The Whittier Tunnel is a mountain tunnel that runs every half an hour and is open for 15 minutes to allow cars in from one direction and another 15 minutes to travel through the tunnel to Whittier or back. To get to Whittier, you’ll need to go ensure that you’re at the tunnel, with a pass to get through it (purchased online in advance), at the top of the hour. To leave Whittier you’ll need to be at the opposite end at the 30 mark of each hour.
Once you make it through the long mountain tunnel, you’re greeted with the quaint town of Whittier, which truly feels like it belongs in every Christmas Hallmark movie. It’s not huge but it does have a port that takes travelers on bay and sound cruises to see beautiful glaciers, wildlife, and the unique topography of Alaska. I’d highly recommend the Phillips Cruises and Tours 26 Glacier Tour. https://phillipscruises.com/ You could totally use this to enhance your Alaska couple’s portraits.
But back to Byron Glacier. Byron Glacier is located in Chugach National Forest and is just a short 1.4 mile in and out hike. The elevation gain is only 100 feet and so it’s not really noticeable or challenging for most folks who have typical or average mobility. It’s the perfect place for Alaska couple’s portraits.
The Byron Glacier is home to an ice sheet and an actual glacier that creeps down from the side of the Chugach mountains. It’s perfectly beautiful and while a little buggy during the summer, at least the walk out was, once at the glacier, you’re free to explore and climb up it. Just be aware of cracks in the ice and proceed at your own risk.
While Byron Glacier is home to many ice caves, you should be aware that it is unsafe to enter these as they are unpredictable and have injured and killed people in the past. Thankfully, we played it safe and stood just outside the entrance to get the grandeur without the danger.
Overall, I’d highly recommend a trip to Alaska. Not only does it offer a lot of scenery but also a fun and unique cultural experience of combining many different flavors into one big space. The Alaskan people are kind, hearty, and seemed to enjoy our presence in town.
Oh, and totally make time to visit downtown Anchorage. It’s full of tourist trap attractions but it also has some amazing eateries, beautiful art, and colorful locals that you might hear during your treks downtown.
Hunter and Allison will tell you and so will I. Take the damn trip. Live your life to the fullest and take advantage of every opportunity.
If you’re considering a trip to Alaska, do consider hiring a photographer to capture your time there. This is an excellent opportunity to have your Alaska couple’s portraits done to commemorate such an epic time in your life.
To book an Alaska couple’s portrait session with me, just use the link below! I’ll help you find accommodations, recommend times of the year, and even create a full day itinerary for our adventure photos!