There is a subset of Alaska folk who know the wilderness in a way only a handful of people ever dream of. Sam Johnson is one of those folks. He is a fellow who has weathered many days in the mountains - including a rowdy solo up the East Face of Mount Hayes, and various other noteworthy alpine ascents from Alaska to Karakoram.
A driven person, but also a soft hearted individual, Sam is insightful, makes some radical abstract art and has a long history of having hilarious and ultra cute dogs (who stole the show at the wedding, of course).
Sam endeavored to find himself a bride that could join in for the wild adventure. I met Lizzy for the first time at the wedding, and she was Sam's perfect compliment. Strong, beautiful, smart and free-spirited.
I know Sam from his summers spent set-netting with my brother and his wife on the east side of Cook-Inlet. I'd drop into salmon world for the surreal summer vibes, bonfires and spinning of the wheel of doom (that's another story). From mid-June to August, beach-living is what you might call "adult summer camp". Those summer excursions embodied what Alaska life is like for so many of us that grew up here: Manic 24 hour daylight adventures, ocean, mountains, wild weather, learning to work and play hard, and making a family out of friends from all over the state and country.
When Sam and Lizzy asked me to shoot their wedding, I knew it was going to be all things I love about Alaska. I dropped everything and jammed down to Moose Pass in very the last days of summer. It rained, the sun shined, it rained some more and nobody cared. The bridesmaids made up for the impending weather doom with bold colors. One of sam's oldest childhood friends donned a party tarp just to stay true and represent AK roots.
The Inn at Tern Lake proved to be a gorgeous venue for an outdoor wedding on a rainy day. It's my new favorite location for weddings. Wide open space, giant mountains, thick forest, grandeur everywhere you look. The group rallied to Sam's cabin down the road for a family style potluck complete with a bonfire and kids rampaging around with dogs, sticks and dirty faces.
This is the way to get married. Surrounded by love and all of life's most essential things.
Congrats Sam and Lizzy!