Cape Kiwanda Elopement

I had been wanting to photograph an elopement at Cape Kiwanda for some time and was so excited when I connected with Sarah and Tyler. Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is located in Pacific City on the Oregon Coast about 2 hours drive from Portland. It’s a popular spot among photographers and a regular feature on Instagram. The park features a rugged sandstone formation with scenic beaches and a 300 foot high dune with panoramic ocean views. It’s the kind of beauty you come to expect from the Oregon Coast.

This was my first time visiting Cape Kiwanda (usually I’m up north near Cannon Beach or down near Florence) and I didn’t realize that most of the sandstone cape is fenced off to protect visitors . While technically you can still cross the fences they exist to prevent visitors from falling and to protect the land from further erosion. I was bummed to see how many people completely disregarded the signs and fencing and made their way out on the cape. Each person that hopped over was followed by yet another and another. I realized that a majority of the images I’ve seen shared were from vantage points on the other side of the barricades. A few years back a popular photo spot and iconic landmark was destroyed.

Admittedly I was a little bummed that the area was way more restricted than I thought but as someone who loves hiking I’ve seen how quickly favorite trails and scenic locations get inundated by people and “loved to death”. We all play a part in protecting the outdoors and minimizing our footprint which is why the principles of Leave No Trace are so important.

Even with the fences, Cape Kiwanda is a beautiful park and together we thoroughly enjoyed it. Sarah and Tyler love the outdoors and regularly spend their weekends outside. They celebrated 5 years of marriage this summer and wanted to mark the special occasion with photos. We hiked up and down the dunes and enjoyed the sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and we watched as the setting sun finally peaked out behind the clouds just as it disappeared below the horizon. Before we parted ways we used the last bit of light to capture some shots at the waters edge with Haystack Rock in the distance.

It was so much fun meeting these two and photographing them. I’m so happy to give them these photos to document 5 years of marriage together.