Easy-Going and Vibrant Central Oregon Elopement - Painted Hills Photographer
Tim and Rayann married in front of their closest family and friends at the historic courthouse in Fossil, Oregon. Wheeler County Circuit Court was built in 1902 and is obviously still in use today! After their intimate ceremony we took the cutest family portraits out in front of the courthouse in the shade of some very old trees that lined the walk. This particular July day was a scorcher! We were all doing our best to stay cool in the serious heat of last summer. After family portraits, we headed out into the peak afternoon heat, I'm talking like 95 degrees, to take portraits in The Painted Hills of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument just north of Mitchell, Oregon. We popped a bottle of champagne and adventured around the Painted Hills! Let me tell you, I am NOT afraid of direct sunlight and honestly, these portraits are some of my absolute favorites! Clear sky with cute little fluffy clouds and fun to play with sunspots and sunflares. I'm obsessed.
And you can be, too! These two and I created fun, and vibrant images together on a beautiful summer day in the Painted Hills for their central Oregon elopement and I am so glad they chose me to tag along to be their professional third wheel! We ended the evening cooling down with beers at Tiger Town Brewing in Mitchell, Oregon. Much needed.
Hit me up so we can start planning your own, unique and super fun Painted Hills elopement -- >
Jamie + Alison | Expecting | Arches National Park | Canyonlands National Park
This adventure session is so special to me for many reasons; I've known this couple for years and watching them grow their family is nothing less than an honor. Plus, Alison's genuine honesty and vulnerability with me has never gone unnoticed. When they asked me to join them on their babymoon to document this time in their life before it changed forever, I was straight up ECSTATIC. We made the plans, coordinated the locations to match where they'd been before together, and they graciously invited me to be their third wheel.
I flew into Salt Lake City to explore the city for a day and evening before meeting up with them the next morning to make the drive to Moab, Utah for their adventure maternity session. Upon arriving in Moab, Utah we went to a Mexican restaurant they'd been to before for lunch and really liked. While there, we caught up on all the good things in life. But with the good things, the bad things follow. They are the type of people and friends to read between the lines and refuse to ignore what they're reading. There are no words to describe how grateful I was to hear Jamie say the words "can I give you a hug?" and to see Alison's face full of love and gratitude to be there with me, just sharing. The two of them also did not hesitate to share their truths, triumphs, and struggles. I could write so much more about the next dinner we shared where we all ordered the same yummy salmon plate and the drinks me and Jamie shared while Alison finished homework we all know she was dreading to do instead of talk about more life and love and loss. This trip was so much more than work, it was experience and connection and exploration.
Exploring these Arches National Park and Canyonlands locations was so much fun! We saw blooming cacti, bright blue skies, and heaps of cool rocks.
Book your adventure session here --> www.whiteoakphotography.com/contact
To enter into Arches National Park, you need to book a timeframe called a Timed Entry Reservation. More information here --> Timed Entry Reservation - Arches National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Permits for elopements are time sensitive and separate. If you are planning to elope in Moab, Utah in the lands of canyons and arches, don't hesitate to hit me up so we can start the permit process ASAP! Then begins the fun planning of shenanigans like off-roading, camping, and stargazing.
I've always been one of those people who felt adequate at explaining my emotions and thoughts eloquently. But this particular couple had me perplexed in the best way possible. After some purposeful reminiscing, I nailed down how I want to exemplify the friendship I've had with Chandler since we were 15 and the partner she has chosen to do life who I met much more recently when randomly bumping into them at the county fair three years ago.
As a teenager, I'd invite my friends to the property I grew up camping on. It was a safe place for a nearby escape into the woods, along the water and somehow our parents trusted us all to head out there together. The summer of 2013 after one of our best friends, Andrew, passed away was a trip no one wanted to miss. Without having to speak about it, everyone understood this would be a camping trip for healing. Every single person made arrangements to be able to attend. There were probably thirteen of us in total, Chandler included! Laughter was a soothing band aid and Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" was on repeat. We played the music loud, danced on cars, and spoon fed each other jello shots until the fire burned out. The next day everyone loaded up into rafts on the Santiam River; I shared a raft with Chandler, Nicole, and Cody if my memory serves me correctly and Chan was definitely the responsible one in that boat. She has been a constant smile in my life from near and far since that time of life. I'm so grateful to know her.
After a period of time without us catching up, I ran into Chandler and Savannah at the Clackamas County Fair outside the rodeo arena. It was a super brief hello, but I was thrilled to see Chandler so happy! Fast forward and they hired me for their engagement and wedding photos!! They communicated how important it was to have their photos taken at the property Savannah's family owns in Fossil, Oregon because of the time they've spent there together. We met up on the morning of knowing full well it would be a fun and long day of adventure. I connected with Savannah immediately. The amount of times we looked at each other with laughter exploding from our faces was countless. And I finally realized why we clicked so well! My crazy matches her crazy in all the best ways. We three spent almost 10 hours together this day and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It consisted of champagne bottle pops, looking for snakes, brewery stops and dancing to NSYNC! I'm so lucky to be a professional third wheel and I cannot wait for their backyard wedding this summer in Aurora, Oregon. Cheers to Chandler and Savannah!
BOOK YOUR OWN ENGAGEMENT SESSION HERE
Family photography has always held a special place in my heart and soul, but it sometimes feels weird to talk about why even though I know I should. I'm passionate about documenting families from all walks of life, in all shapes, sizes, and combinations and I should be shouting from the rooftops about that passion, right?
Well to put it simply, I'm afraid my why will make people sad. For years, whenever I say "my brother died when I was seventeen" it is almost always followed by the response "oh I'm so sorry". And while that is a totally fine thing to say, I'm never looking for a sorry; I'm looking for connection. Connection to those who have also experienced loss or heartbreak or devastation in the hopes we come out of it teaching each other something that leads to joy and feeling a little closer to knowing ourselves and those around us.
For Christmas of 2011, my siblings and I decided to hire a photographer to take family photos of us four and my parents as a gift to them. The last time we had family photos done was when I was in fourth grade so the idea of updated photos when I was seventeen was amazing. I couldn't wait. My oldest brother, Kale, contacted a family photographer and the date was set so all we had to do was wait.
12/25/2011: Christmas morning was wonderful as always. It was filled with homemade rolls and gift giving so we finally got to tell my parents that we had a photographer booked for the very next day! My mom was ecstatic, of course and while I don't remember my dad's exact reaction, I am sure it was along the lines of "Well this is awesome, but what am I gonna have to wear?" Fast forward a few hours later and we'd started the final preparation of our big Christmas meal (all still in our pajamas) and begun to discuss location options. We'd settled on Champoeg State Park, near Butteville, Oregon but just to be sure my mom and dad suggested me, Sarah, Kale, and Jered pay the park a visit. We put on our boots and beanies and took off. The sun had come out as we got there so we were all smiles and giggles. I adore spending time with them all but since I am the youngest, I like to just sit back and observe sometimes. I appreciate each of them for very different reasons. We took a couple hours to walk around the park just because we could. We made sure not to lose track of time because we had dinner waiting for us when we headed home. The rest of the day was filled with gravy and love!
12/26/2011: We meet with the photographer at Champoeg State Park at 10:00 a.m. The session went great; none of us felt awkward or uncomfortable. We simply enjoyed the time we were spending with each other.
2/26/2012: Jered was killed in a car accident. The photos are no longer just photos. They are beloved memories...memories from a day we hadn't realized at the time would mean so much.
2/27/2012: The framed prints my mom ordered previously online, are delivered to our home.
The photos hang proudly above my parents' mantle and I assume will hang there for the rest of their life. They also hang in my home and in my sibling's homes. And that's my own story of how our family photos went from a simple gift given with love, to priceless treasures. Nothing can take that day from me or my family.
After all these years, my passion for family photography has not dwindled. All I want is for families to have photos they can look upon for their entire lifetime and appreciate that small window of time before everything changed.
Oregon Family Photographer | Canby - Oregon City - Portland
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The Wells Family | Champoeg State Park | 2021
There are some days I want to have catalogued into my brain forever and this is one of those days. How lucky am I to document so many special days for wild, in love people? And this Oregon waterfall hiking engagement session is even closer to my heart because Tyler Jean is my soul sister. We came into each other's lives in our single, early twenties and our friendship bloomed so beautifully. We connect effortlessly on music, the outdoors, a love of dissecting movies, and of course being absolutely in love with life and adventure. We usually spend much of our time laughing and I wouldn't want it any other way because for as much time that we spend laughing together, we spend just as much time talking about the nitty gritty, raw, absolute shit parts of life so we can help each other through it. And now she has found her person!
Tyler Jean, Christopher, and I hiked this laid back and beautiful trail for their adventurous engagement session along the Columbia River Gorge to one of my favorite waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest. This rocky, winding trail is a canvas of the deepest blues and greens; the kind of blues and greens that make you feel calm and wild all at the same time. Which is exactly what I believe these two have found in each other...that fantastic feeling of peace and adventure all in one.
We all had such a great day together! We popped a couple bottles of champagne and ran around the Columbia River Gorge in the rain and wind before finding some lunch and cold beers.
These two are getting married October 2022 in a beautiful downtown Salem church ceremony followed by an absolute raging dance party to be sure. I am so stoked!
This could be you! Let me guide you and your partner on your own adventurous engagement session or elopement in Oregon or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest! I am currently booking 2023 weddings and elopements. Contact me here!
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Jen values connection and believes that true connection is what absolutely leads to emotive, powerful imagery.