top of page
  • Writer's pictureBen Wagner

A Heat Dome Wedding on the Olympic Peninsula

In late June 2021 as a record heat wave was causing Seattle freeways to collapse, I was making the drive down I5, then across the Tacoma narrows and out to the Olympic Peninsula for an elopement near Crescent Lake. My couple for the day were east coasters who'd decided, sight unseen, to elope in the Pacific Northwest. Our plan was to meet at the Crescent Lake parking lot and scout the shore for an impromptu wedding ceremony.

After a quick fuel up (i.e., caffeine) before Port Angeles, I arrived at Crescent Lake with the temperatures well over 100 degrees. As bad as the heat were the large crowds on the lake's shore — it looked like half of Port Angeles and most of Forks were escaping their (likely un-airconditioned) homes for the cooling waters of the lake.

At the parking lot I looked around and spotted a small, overly dressed group stepping out of an SUV. After introducing myself and getting some quick shots on the dock, we began looking for a spot for the ceremony.

Walking down the lake and through a small grove, the couple settled on a spot of beach near a natural jetty that protruded into the lake. The only issue here being the unrelated group that was camping just a few yards away, making it a challenge to avoid including the shirtless (and somewhat stupefied by the sudden appearance of a wedding next to their tent) group of campers in any shore-facing photographs.

The bride and groom had invited just a small group to travel to Washington for the ceremony, making the little wedding party an intimate gathering. After getting a laptop setup to broadcast the event to a wider group, the ceremony began just as the sun dipped behind the mountain, diffusing the light throughout the heatwave haze.

After the ceremony there was toasts and cake cutting, a bouquet toss and lots of hugs. The group chatted with their virtual well-wishers and tried to cool off with Champagne.

But, at this point, everyone was sweating buckets and a bit sun touched. Throughout the event I was regretting not bringing a headband as I was constantly having to wipe sweat from my eyes in order to see though my viewfinder. And while the bride and groom were glowing, it was hard to tell where the joy ended and the sweat began. At some-point the group eyed the water and said, "let's get in."


All images captures on the Fujifilm X-Pro3 with Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 and X-T4 with Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2.

Processed in Adobe Lightroom.


bottom of page