Travel

The Garden Island [Personal]

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.

Reflections [Personal]

As the ice finally thaws, reflections return to Flathead Valley.

xx

Through The Seasons [Personal]

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. 

xx

The Best of 2017 [Personal]

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!

xx

"Seeing Double" Death Valley National Park, CA (March 12, 2017)    Another sunrise worth the effort. We camped with friends in Death Valley the night before. I really wanted to see Zabriskie Point at dawn, and it turns out, so did everyone else. I've never seen a lookout so crowded before the sun was even up. Still, I somehow managed to be the lone photographer on the mound beneath the viewing platform that morning, which inspired some experimental shots using prisms in my gear bag that I don't get to use very often.

"Seeing Double" Death Valley National Park, CA (March 12, 2017)

Another sunrise worth the effort. We camped with friends in Death Valley the night before. I really wanted to see Zabriskie Point at dawn, and it turns out, so did everyone else. I've never seen a lookout so crowded before the sun was even up. Still, I somehow managed to be the lone photographer on the mound beneath the viewing platform that morning, which inspired some experimental shots using prisms in my gear bag that I don't get to use very often.

"Mitten Burst" Monument Valley, AZ/UT (May 13, 2017)    This was easily my favorite moment of 2017. We camped in Monument Valley the first night of a multi-day road trip to Indiana. We arrived to camp really late and had to set up in the dark, but it was a full moon that night, so you could see the outline of the buttes against the night sky perfectly. The anticipation of morning was so real that as soon as any sign of daylight gave way, I jumped out of our tent and started shooting.

"Mitten Burst" Monument Valley, AZ/UT (May 13, 2017)

This was easily my favorite moment of 2017. We camped in Monument Valley the first night of a multi-day road trip to Indiana. We arrived to camp really late and had to set up in the dark, but it was a full moon that night, so you could see the outline of the buttes against the night sky perfectly. The anticipation of morning was so real that as soon as any sign of daylight gave way, I jumped out of our tent and started shooting.

"Beargrass Fields Forever" Glacier National Park, MT (July 7, 2017)    As the eloquent, highly quotable Ranger Doug said it best, this summer offered a "once in a lifetime beargrass moment." 

"Beargrass Fields Forever" Glacier National Park, MT (July 7, 2017)

As the eloquent, highly quotable Ranger Doug said it best, this summer offered a "once in a lifetime beargrass moment." 

"Fountains of Youth" Yellowstone National Park, WY (May 27, 2017)    Mammoth Hot Springs is, in my opinion, one of the eeriest places in Yellowstone. I loved the juxtaposition of this photograph; the ho  t, sulfuric springs in the foreground, the scarce dead trees nearby, and the towering snow-capped mountains off in the distance.   

"Fountains of Youth" Yellowstone National Park, WY (May 27, 2017)

Mammoth Hot Springs is, in my opinion, one of the eeriest places in Yellowstone. I loved the juxtaposition of this photograph; the hot, sulfuric springs in the foreground, the scarce dead trees nearby, and the towering snow-capped mountains off in the distance.   

"Hospitality" Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada (August 19, 2017)    To me, this photograph sums up the friendly atmosphere of Waterton Lakes. I love how this visitor waved without hesitation to the kayakers near the shore during a cruise on The International. It was heartbreaking to see how devastating the wildfires were in this region last summer, and I look forward to seeing this wilderness gem bounce back after such great devastation. 

"Hospitality" Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada (August 19, 2017)

To me, this photograph sums up the friendly atmosphere of Waterton Lakes. I love how this visitor waved without hesitation to the kayakers near the shore during a cruise on The International. It was heartbreaking to see how devastating the wildfires were in this region last summer, and I look forward to seeing this wilderness gem bounce back after such great devastation. 

"Gus" Glacier National Park, MT (August 21, 2017)    Mountain goats are known to graze near Logan Pass in Glacier National Park during the summer months, and one in particular became beloved by my coworkers and I. We nicknamed him "Gus", instantly recognizable by his radio collar administered by NPS and a small round patch of missing fur on his left side.

"Gus" Glacier National Park, MT (August 21, 2017)

Mountain goats are known to graze near Logan Pass in Glacier National Park during the summer months, and one in particular became beloved by my coworkers and I. We nicknamed him "Gus", instantly recognizable by his radio collar administered by NPS and a small round patch of missing fur on his left side.

"Yield to Snow Ahead" Mammoth Lakes, CA (February 18, 2017)    Last winter in California was a wet one, and the town of Mammoth Lakes received nearly 20 feet of snow (last time I checked). Most of the main roads were plowed when we visited, but many of them eventually just dead-ended at huge piles of plowed snow. It was a crazy time to be there.

"Yield to Snow Ahead" Mammoth Lakes, CA (February 18, 2017)

Last winter in California was a wet one, and the town of Mammoth Lakes received nearly 20 feet of snow (last time I checked). Most of the main roads were plowed when we visited, but many of them eventually just dead-ended at huge piles of plowed snow. It was a crazy time to be there.

"On the Edge" Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, UT (May 24, 2017)    Coral Pink Sand Dunes was one of the first places we stopped en route to Zion, part of a longer multi-day road trip during our move to Montana. We were racing the setting sun, hiking against fierce winds, and even had our cat on board with us. When I turned around and saw Ross with the sun perfectly flared behind him, I yelled "Don't move!!!" 

"On the Edge" Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, UT (May 24, 2017)

Coral Pink Sand Dunes was one of the first places we stopped en route to Zion, part of a longer multi-day road trip during our move to Montana. We were racing the setting sun, hiking against fierce winds, and even had our cat on board with us. When I turned around and saw Ross with the sun perfectly flared behind him, I yelled "Don't move!!!" 

Simplicity [Personal]

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. 

xx