Jim & Teri’s Wedding

It started out to be a small event for Jim and Teri.  Just a private wedding with family: a short ceremony

in a bed and breakfast owned by friends, and a dinner out in Leavenworth.  A winter wedding,

with some simple colors, snow for the kids, and special friends.  And then the wedding grew a bit…


A wedding for a couple who know what they want and value.  Daughters and friends come to help get ready.

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Careful choice of colors, dresses, and details make the celebration special.

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The sky cleared and revealed a gorgeous view of the valley below Haus Rohrbach, the cozy inn that hosted the wedding.  The Inn had a deck facing east, away from the flank of  Tumwater Mountain where it perched with a bird’s eye view of the valley below.  The wedding is simple, but Teri and Jim wanted  the openness of the view and the fresh air to make their wedding unique.  It is the first week of February and the forecast was for cold clear skies.  A few decorations on the railing, a chair for a friend playing a guitar, and a respectful crowd gathered to wish the couple a great start to their life together.

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The ceremony is simple, the bride arrives in the arm of her son,

and the music floats in  the cold air like the aroma of fine barbecued ribs on the fire.

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The vows are simple the hugs are warm and the bride quickly poses for some photos before air temperature drops again.

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Inside where it is warm, the cake is cut the glasses filled and the families introduce themselves.

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A few family portraits are really all that is left to do before supper in town, and the winter night becomes new…


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Ashaya and Will’s Wedding

Mountain Springs Lodge near Leavenworth is the perfect place to hide away for a winter wedding with family and friends.  When Ashaya and Will chose the location, they wanted a rustic yet well run host with great food and great staff.  They got all of that and more at Mountain Springs. The large Beaver Creek Lodge is one of the finest places in the valley to have a celebration.  The afternoon light streamed into the fireside room and made the bride totally radiant.

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The upstairs Suite was the perfect place to get dressed and have some time alone with family.

My assistant photographer Lori was able to get some previews of the bride before coming down the stairs.

The covered deck and walkways were clear of snow, and ready to welcome Ashaya escorted by Grandfather Ron.

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Groom Will was patient and glowing as his bride arrived at the center of the ceremony. A simple ceremony

with a special song sung by a cousin during the lighting of the unity candle was sweet and meaningful.

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Rings and vows followed, and the pronouncement of the married couple Ashaya and Will.

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A few moments for a kiss and a big embrace, and then out the door to the cool crisp evening in the snow.

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Some intimate moments alone before the reception and with a few warm hugs to fend off the chill.

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Some formals with the family are in order, and will be done inside near the lodge’s grand fireplace.

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The rings and a special party favor: Custom tied flies for the guests to go fishing with.

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The cake from Busy newlyweds Cakes was great!  Grandpa Ron added the Topper.

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Toasts were sweet, with Grandpa saying:

“The most important thing was that my Grand-daughter asked me to walk her down the aisle.”

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A dance for the Newly-weds and then with parents finished out the night.

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Thanks to Lori Rowles from Natural Perspectives Photography in Leavenworth for helping on this wedding.

And thanks to those great people at Mountain Springs for the facilities, food and overall professional work.


Scottish Lakes: The Ride Up, and Snow Play!

High Camp recreation

The snowmobile ride is half the fun

Getting to the Scottish Lakes High Camp is half the fun.  Located at 5000 feet in the North Central Cascades, the trip up is accomplished with four wheel drive trucks and a fleet of snowmobiles with talented drivers.  Owners Don and Chris Hanson pick their staff carefully ensuring you of a safe and friendly trip from the valley floor parking lot to the Base Camp below McCue Ridge.

High Camp Family Weekend

Tag Sleeps on the way up

High Camp Weekend

Bundled for the Ride

If you are lucky you will have a warm clear day to get there, since the ride can be cold and windy. Following miles of forest roads, the landscape alternately is heavily timbered and then open as previously logged hillsides show vast gently rolling terrain, just beckoning for skis or snowshoes to lay down new tracks.

High Camp

The Snowmobile Parade


Buildings greet the travelers at High Camp


Snow suits all day


Getting into the outdoors


Out of control fun!


Going down the hill with Dad!


A little help from Dad.


Bigger sleds for bigger boys

As soon as the travelers get to the cabins, an assortment of activities are calling to them from the surrounding woods and slopes. Rides are fun, but getting a ride is better.  We engage friends and share the little slopes about the camp.


Big people like small sleds


Dad offers a taste treat

All the kids get into the act with help from friends, and a little fresh taste treat from Dad.


A New Babe


Anika  has just entered the lives of Bern and Colleen.  She is only three month old, and already has captured the hearts of her parents.   She is healthy, and happy, and already is going on outings with Colleen and Bern, her mom and dad.  An outing to Leavenworth in the late fall was just the right time to start showing her off, and getting some portraits made.

Anika and Mom

Anika and Mom

A Little Playtime

A Little Playtime

All Together

All Together

A Cozy Cabin up Merry Canyon Road near Leavenworth is a great place for a weekend retreat. The family puppy also gets to come along, but now has an altered priority in the family hierarchy.

A Foursome together

The Foursome Together

It is going to be a yearly event, and we will be back for more weekends of family fun!

Dad and Daughter

Dad and Daughter

There will be more trips to make and more cabin stays in Leavenworth for this family!


A Lighting Festival in Leavenworth

A Lighting Festival in Leavenworth

The regular Christmas Lighting Festival happens in Leavenworth during the first 3 weekends of December. It is one of the most popular festivals in our town, and people come from across the Northwest and around the world to see the town in Holiday trimmings. The popular ceremony at dusk lights up the storefronts and the trees in the park. Thousands of people listen to live music in the bandstand. Instruments and choruses serenade couples, families and the local shop owners.


Children have a natural fascination with the lighting festival, although it may be difficult to see over the heads of thousands of other visitors.  Getting a help from dad or mom usually does the trick. Also it helps to stay warm!

Leavenworth Photographer

Father Christmas always makes an appearance at the Lighting, with his satchel and special carved staff.  His coat, boots, and warm beard seem to keep the  chill away.



Most families visit for the day, coming from western and eastern Washington, and braving the passes in winter driving conditions.  they bring their sleds, and coats and warm boots, hopefully to find a some fresh snow to play in.IMG_3727The lights come on at the end of the afternoon, when darkness falls.  The announcers in the gazebo signal the crowd to view the procession of stars coming down the street, the alpenhorns sound a welcome, and the lights come on with the help of lots of singing and applause.


All the stores and restaurants are open for the rest of the evening; and entertainment goes on for hours. The visitors eventually turning towards their way home.    Till next year, we wish you all a Merry Christmas,  and Happy New Year!


Weddings, as if Relationship Matters…

At the heart of weddings: Relationship!

Beneath the surface of typical wedding photography there is a story of two people becoming one in a special relationship.  The clothes, the food, the music and other trappings are just the surface of what is really happening.  There is more than the formal commitment and legal signatures.  How does the photographer reach out and discover this story?

As the photographer, I step try to step into the wedding event without upsetting the relationship dynamics.  I compose pictures, using light and the surrounding landscape to augment the unfolding story of the bride, the groom and guests.

Renee & Jeremy


The First Toast

The toast that is passed around to all the friends.

Passing the "Boot"

The cake that gives us some sweet joy.

It  is hard to photograph a relationship. So…how do I  picture… a heart?

How do I capture intimacy? What is the real teddy bear story in sister’s toast?

How do I capture a parent’s whispers during the dance?

This is my job…to document the wedding in photos. Other may do it in videos, in poetry and prose, and if you are lucky, in your very own song written for your ceremony and first dance as a married couple.

Good photographers can find their way into making of great relationship photographs.  We can open the door that shows the one heart beating and talking to the other.  This is a special place and a precious place; a place to hold reverently.  I welcome the occasion. I am honored to be present in a sometimes intensely personal moment.  Then there is enough trust between myself and the couple, the relationship shines, telling a very rich story…

These are the images that stay arround and define our lives.   These images will last. They are the glimpses to the future, and they are our identity with the past.

These photos are the “Glimpses of the Heart.”


High School Senior Photo Special

Tasha At the Old Wenatchee River Bridge

Class of 2012:
Icicle Valley Photography Basic Senior Session $199
25% early discount before June 15th and 50% discount before June 5th
Call now to schedule your senior picture session. Enjoy an early start to the summer when the flowers and scenery are fresh. Save 25-50% off the standard packages.
Concentrating on a genuine look, photographer Reed Carlson wants to portray you in a relaxed and fresh way in our natural world. Our environment here in Leavenworth provides plenty of rivers, parks, and mountain backdrops to do just that; nothing painted in, no artificial backgrounds, no overdone glitz that hides the real you! Or visit our in town business location for classically composed studio portraits.
Encourage your best friend or a parent to attend your photo session. They will bring out your many facets, connect with that real you. And we can also invite them to sit with you in a pose.
Icicle Valley Photography Studio, located on the east end of Leavenworth, Washington, has easy access for persons of all ages and lots of parking. Give us a call at 509-548-0606 for information.


A Winter Wedding at Mountain Springs Resort

Michael & Kelsie wanted a small & special wedding near Leavenworth; they could not have picked a more wintry and beautiful setting.  Mountain Springs Resort hosts weddings all year round, catering to a wide variety of special events.

Mountain Springs Resort, winter Weddings

Sleigh Ride

Kelsie wanted an outdoor wedding even though this was in the middle of December.  It was going to have special challenges with the ceremony and small reception, to say nothing of just getting there.  Taking a sleigh ride to get the ceremony site was the first challenge.  And it was snowing,–really snowing!  The middle of the afternoon was fading into the late part of the day, with no clearing in sight…

Winter wedding Mountain Springs
Going to the Ceremony

The sleigh horses were gentle giants, the snowflakes were wet and growing, and the groom was wanting to get on with the wedding!

Kelsie at the Sleigh

The site selected, the ceremony officient makes the event happen with ease, and good humor, even as the snow flakes grow more numerous.

Kelsie & Michael's Ceremony

 They off to the barn shelter for a few pictures, before getting back on the sleigh.

Escaping the Snow

A first married moment  outside, looking for a kiss…

Looking for a kiss in the storm...

Then Michael and Kelsie go off  to their dinner with family & friends, to the Brown’s Family Homestead, a pioneer cabin not far away from the Resort…

On the Sleigh at the Wedding


Kelsie’s Best Friends at the wedding


 The flowers and rings–drying out at last..

Flowers and Rings

A champagne toast…

A Toast...

...For Two!

And the Brown’s Homestead becomes a cozy retreat for snowy wedding night!

The cozy Brown's cabin offers shelter from the Storm, on the wedding night!


This Time, My Wedding is Going Be Different…

A recent bride/client of mine came to me with a comment:  “My first wedding we did all the wrong stuff:  the endless posed and trite pictures of dozens of groups, my hair in a huge set of curls that took hours to complete, a three foot high cake with 10 pounds of frosting, a two minute ceremony with no real content, and  the obnoxious loud DJ.  This time we are going to do it different.”

This time our wedding is going to dwell in the moment.  We are going to surround ourselves with family & friends and honor them.  They have come long distances to be with us.  We want to create a special place for them, where they can form a circle of warmth around us.  We want to look into their faces and hear their voices.  We want to be serenaded with their instruments, and listen to their song. We want to listen to their stories about us, their joyful toasts, and their dreams for us.

Gathering in The Quail Room

We want a simple wedding, a meaningful wedding.  We want our pastor friend  to officiate, and to talk with us, not just “marry us.”  We want our fathers to bless  us, join us and bless us in their own way.  I want my mother to be taken care of, and not work all day!  We want a remote very private location, with great hospitality.  We will have just our closest family & friends, and we want them to be with us for not a couple of hours, but a couple of days.

We will have a great feast after the wedding; we will sample the richness of the local harvest.  We will have a diversity of foods for the diversity of our friends.  We want to have the best chef in the village, listen to our ideas, and create a special meal event that will not be duplicated for anyone else .

We will have photographs of the events of the day.  All the special unique things  that are not documented on other days. Before the ceremony, we will explore the surroundings of the venue, and take time with each other.   We want the ceremony, and reception visually documented, so that the pictures can be keys to remembering all the little things.  We want the children in our lives to be in the photos, so that they can be frozen for  an instant, being children.

And we want to have photos just of us, alone, showing our love and joy of each other.  We to be natural, not posed, not styled, and prompted, but encouraged to be ourselves, so  that our children can see us and understand us forever…


Is Your Wedding First Class?

Is Your Wedding First Class?  Does  going “First Class” get you a better wedding  than going “Coach Class,” or maybe something else…?
Some scenes:  “First Class”

You are treated with very professional care.  You have experienced and polite vendors, in expensive & spacious surroundings for the wedding and reception.   You have comfortable seating and white linens for the table.  You have real metal silverware (not plastic) and real glassware (not plastic.)  You have knowledgeable stewards for the extensive  beverage list, and steaming hot entrees served in a multi-course dinner.  Your wine glass is never empty, and you are not rushed through the events of the day.  The flowers are fresh from the florist. The cake is huge, and fully decorated with your favorite colors with an elaborate topper. The DJ is energetic  and funny. The music is swinging, and the lighting ambiance is just right for the dance that continues sweetly into the night.

But how about Coach class?

In coach, you are surrounded by professionals also.  However, they may be attending to others in the same general area–you only have your allotted time until the next event takes place.  The venue may be a bit more crowded; after all your wedding will have lots of kids and families visiting. It is way less expensive, and there may be music and food smells wafting in all day from the other receptions happening nearby in the same facility.  The halls have limited space, so the clothing and baggage may have to be put in piles in the back room since the closet is filled to overflowing.  You dine off of paper plates and eat with plastic forks and spoons.   CDs are popped into the boom box or I-pod, and occasionally the songs get played in the wrong order.  But you are having fun, and the money you saved by flying “coach” is going to come in handy when you and your beloved go on that dream honeymoon.

For a few, there is always the “Private Jet “ Wedding:

Of course, Daddy owns the jet! The destination is an island, or a castle, or a yacht in the Caribbean.   The food, the wine, the entertainment is  flown in, or arrives by sea, or even is grown in the vicinity. Everyone is there– your cousin has  brought your favorite orchestra in from L.A., and your  dress is an expensive copy based on your grandmother’s full gown from the Forties…The guests indulge themselves for the 3 day event, floating on the nearby rivers.  It is a Paradise on earth.

Blog: Is your wedding First Class?

Bavarian River House

Carving Your Own Way:

This is a different way.  It’s a bit like a canoe trip; or a caravan of touring vans.  You create your own trip paddle to the destination with a lot of work, and invite the spirit of your family and friends to sculpt your dreams.  You find your venue in your best buddy’s back acres, in the local grange hall, or in a vineyard gifted to you by your dad’s best friend for the weekend. Your best friends make your dress.  Your mother makes the cake.  Your fishing friend delivers the king salmon to the chef.  A thousand paper cranes are made, weeks in advance, by your sisters and girlfriends. Chalices are created by your local potters and glazed with your names.  Processional music comes from your dad’s guitar or your fiancé’s heart and voice.  The guest list is full of the family and friends  who mark milestones in your life.  Stories are told and best wishes are given.  The recessional becomes a dance, inviting everyone into it.  The first waltz is played by your uncle and best guitar-playing friend. Torches are lit, and carry the light of a hundred smiles into the night air.  You have created a fantasy out of your own reality, and you are brought into the swirl of the event by the love of  the people who surround you.  It is a hand woven wedding, a gift from all….red tail farm

My point of this exercise is that everyone can have a great wedding, and you don’t have to have anyone tell you that it has to be a certain way.  You can make do on any budget and in any location.  Just be brave and listen to yourself, your fiance and your closest trusted friends.

And do choose the right photographer, who can cover all the above options, and help you out with a few new ideas:  Icicle Valley Photography 509-679-1789 or e-mail at reed@iciclevalleyphotography.com.

February 2023