With a year like 2016, how do I even begin to describe all the photos I got to make that were outside the world of weddings. I was so blessed to go to so many places, get to know so many people and photograph so many stories. In 2016, I went to Texas, Mexico, New York, New Zealand, Fiji, Peru, Montana and Italy on top of all the great adventures in the great state of Washington (I believe over 30 flights). I definitely missed a few things here and there, but here are some of the personal best of 2016 photos!
The first trip of the year was to Temple and Austin, Texas for a few trainings with the On Field Media Project, a NGO that teaches other non-profit organizations how to better take photos and tell stories. Erika was in TX for a work trip too and so we hung out in Austin for a few days at a rad hotel.
In late 2015, I started partnering with a company called The Moti Co. This rad clothing company is based out of Southern California and makes clothes for people who do awesome stuff. You’ll see a lot of Moti gear throughout 2016, most of those photos being made with timers, tripods and SOOOOOO many failed images. Being a model or being a photographer are both really hard, but doing them both simultaneously is exponentially more difficult.
In lieu of Christmas Gifts, my family decided to go to Mexico. So, while everyone was freezing in Seattle, we hopped on a plane for the warm waters of Puerto Vallarta. It was amazing. Great family time, good food and so much joy together (though E did get really sick).
When we retrunted, both Erika and I turned 30. For that momentous celebration, we threw a classy 60s party with signature drinks, Mad Men photo booths and even a singing gorilla.
In March, our friend Matt (founder of the On Field Media Project) came up from Texas to work on some projects. We obviously went outside to go make photos.
Erika makes beautiful bouquets all the time. It’s great.
I went to NYC to meet with other members of the Young Adult Volunteer Alum Leadership Council. We spent 3 days planning, strategizing and looking forward to our next year. We then had a few down hours to explore the Big Apple. I had never really hung out in NYC and was excited to see all the sights.
We went to Bend to visit Erika’s sister along with the whole family. We too lots of Moti photos and I got up at 3 every morning to photograph the Milky Way.
Getting up at 3 is NEVER fun, but when the sky, clouds and camera work together, it’s totally worth the effort!
We ate GUD FUD.
For about 6 months, I had been going home to Gig Harbor to work with my Dad on a VW Vanagon. We finally finished it enough to bring home to Seattle. I’m still trying to find a name.
You can never climb enough mountains, though when you hike with Allison, you’re probably going to be chasing her. I find this photo appropriate because the real mountain goat is staring down a human mountain goat.
I love my Grandparents. At this time, life was just normal. We’d find out a few weeks after this photo was taken that my Grandpa had a few months to live due to cancer. Make portraits of people who are important to you. You never know when it’ll be the last.
I then headed to New Zealand for 2.5 weeks of teaching with the On Field Media Project as well as a few days of fun. I started making Vlogs a few days before I left. I’ve imbedded a few throughout this post, but you can see all of them here.
I started my time in New Zealand by teaching a round of the OFMP trainings in the town of Kaitia, in Northern New Zealand. The trainings were great and then we’d go out late at night to photograph the stars.
In between the two weeks of training, I went to the South Island for a few days by myself. I basically just drove and hiked for 3 days straight. I stayed in this stupid van, but climbed these amazing peaks, saw glaciers, threw stones in the water and was in awe!
The highlight of the South Island trip was climbing Roys Peak at sunrise. I work up at 3 am (see a theme here?) to summit before the Milky Way set. It was freezing, I almost ran out of gas a few times, I almost got hypothermia and it was totally worth it.
After the few days on the South Island, I went back up north for more trainings and staying in the town of Raglan. It was so nice to sleep in one bed, slow down, get to know a space and people and really come to love Kiwi culture.
I was home from New Zealand for 8 days before leaving again to go to Peru with Heifer International. We were going to make photos for their World Ark magazine of people who raise guinea pigs in a town called Ccorca, near Cuzco.
Once home from Peru, Erika and I went up to Orcas Island to photograph a wedding (and celebrate our Anniversary too!)
In August, Erika was away on a trip to the East Coast with her sisters. So, I went up to watch a meteor shower and sunrise at Artist Point at Mt Baker. It was worth staying up until 3 (again with the 3am!) and waking up at 5.
The day after the all night photo shoot at the mountain was Reclamation of Youth Day
One of my good friends from college lives in Great Falls, MT. For years, she has been coming to Western WA or Portland to visit us all. So, we decided to return the favor.
Great Falls was a really interesting town. It seemed to be caught in the middle of transition from 20th century small town America and whatever 21st century small town America looks like. It was really cool to just walk the streets slowly and make photos that told that story.
In late August, my family decided to get a house in central WA to celebrate my Grandfather’s life (he is the one who was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the summer). It was a spectacular weekend of memory making, story telling and I was so blessed to make photos that will be cherished in my family for decades.
My grandfather (Ray) would end up passing a few months later. I cry every time I look at these photos and feel so honored to be the last one to take photos of this wonderful man. He really was a strong figure in my getting into photography. In high school, my first digital cameras were hand me downs from him. My first computer was an old one from his work. When I was a kid, he really helped build that technological curiosity that continues to drive my work today.
We spent Labor Day with friends at my family cabin. It was great.
Erika caught a small fish, but didn’t know how to release it. I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!
I had been growing my own hops in my backyard, so finally Andrew and I got to use them in a beer. It was tasty.
Once Fall really started to settle in, the sunrise kept getting later and later. So, a 3 am wake up was no longer necessary to see the sun break through. I went on a solo hike to Mt Mclausland and Lake Valhalla. Though most of the day was foggy and cloudy, there was a moment when the sky broke through and filled the wold with golden rays.
For a vacation, Erika and I went to Italy. She had always wanted to go and eat her way though this famous country. We loved walking, walking, eating, walking and walking some more. We started with a few days wandering the streets and canals of Venice (my favorite city on the trip).
After Venice, we headed out to Vernazza, one of the towns of Cinque Terre.
Another highlight was 4 relaxing days in the Tuscan countryside where every sunrise and sunset seemed to be from a movie.
and of course, we drank good wine.
December saw the first snowfall in Seattle since we bought our house. So, we were goofy with it.
The victory march was an amazingly fun celebration of the community that surrounds the Sounders and the Emerald City.
We had our last wedding of 2016 in the snow. So we went to go play for a few hours before it started.
2016 was a lot of things. There are so many memories that I look at with so much joy. So much good happened. It’s important to remember that amidst the other turmoil of this year. It just means that 2017 is going to be another one to remember, keep making images and telling stories.