Our honeymoon took us all across the island of Kauai over the course of two weeks this fall. As the temperatures continue to drop in Northwest Montana, it becomes even more delightful to reminisce about this tropical little island, one of the most lush and serene places I’ve ever been to.
As the ice finally thaws, reflections return to Flathead Valley.
It was a long winter. A good winter...but a long one.
Autumn came and went in the blink of an eye. In early October, what we had planned to be nearly a weeklong backpacking trip through Yellowstone was hindered by early season winter storms. The kind of storms that spit out thick, wet snow, chill you to the bone, and drench your gear and your spirits.
It goes without saying that Montana is extreme. I now know firsthand just how quickly the weather can change in the Rockies and surrounding alpine landscape. Never mind the disappointment of having to change our plans, cut the Yellowstone trip short, and deal with injuries; I am still very thankful for the experience. In the moment, tears streamed down my face while we were fording the Bechler River, overcome with emotion and amazed at how freezing my thighs could feel while submerged in the flowing water. Now I think back to that moment and might even crack a smile. Nature is incredible, dynamic, and so inspiring when you look it straight in the eye and live to tell about it.
It took me a while to finally develop the film from the last six months, not wanting to relive some experiences too soon and having apprehensions about what the photographs would reveal. Would my emotional and defeated attitude from our Yellowstone trip affect the outcome of the images? Would the images even turn out at all?
I laughed out loud when I finally saw the photos, because anyone would have never guessed what extremes we had just endured the day before. All the photos I took were mostly from the day after the storm, when early morning sunshine melted away the snow and revealed a beautiful afternoon. I guess nature is funny that way.
We still experienced beauty around Whitefish and Glacier National Park in the months that followed: spotting mountain goats and bears along hikes up to Dawson Pass, Pitamakan Pass, and Apgar Lookout; witnessing the start of winter at Logan Pass; eating huckleberries straight off the bush on Whitefish Mountain the day before frost settled in. It was a great season.
As the weather finally warms, I can feel summer just around the corner again.
A look back on the year that was. 20 feet of snow in Mammoth, a move to Montana, and lots of time off from shooting. More exploring, more living.
I still have several rolls of film marinating from the year that need to be developed, so this list is essentially inconclusive; however, such is life.
So instead of the desired 10, here are my 8 favorite moments from 2017, through my eyes and lens. Captions are included below each photo.
Happy New Year!
The Canadian province is more beautiful and more magical than you could ever imagine.
One of my goals this summer was to simplify, and by every definition of the word: simplify my life, simplify my career, and most importantly, simplify my photography. One of the most defining characteristics of this quest for simplicity was uprooting my life and moving from a city of millions to an entire state with a population only a fraction of that. Another strategy was shooting entirely on a 35mm camera, using a few different film stocks and a single prime lens. That may sound a little crazy, and even though I think it's incredibly important that we as photographers strive to stay on the cutting edge of technology, I also think it's just as important to frequently step back, return to the basics and stop striving for perfection.
This summer in Montana was transformative, and I owe a lot of that to simplifying both my life and my art. Over the last year, I was feeling bombarded by the pressures of today's fast-paced society. I had that nagging feeling of always having to stay connected at the back of my mind. When I stripped down my gear bag and disconnected my social media accounts, I started falling in love with shooting images again. I stopped thinking about how my photographs could market my brand, or sell a product, or increase my follower count. I was shooting for me again.
As Glacier National Park's high season winds down, and as we near the end of one of the driest summers and worst wildfire seasons Montana has experienced in years, looking back at these photos becomes more and more bittersweet for me. The landscape is constantly evolving. Every single day is made of fleeting moments.
I hope you enjoy this collection of images as much as I enjoyed capturing them.