A COLORFUL SUMMER RAINFOREST ELOPEMENT IN TOFINO, BC

If you haven't been to Vancouver Island, you should really change that. There are only a few temperate rainforests on the planet, and some of the most spectacular are on this evergreen island off the western coast of British Columbia. The two main towns, Ucluelet and Tofino, are filled with craft beer, seaplanes, good food, surfers, black bears, and a ridiculously good taco truck (looking at you, Tacofino.) Emily and I went there for the first time a handful of years back for our first anniversary, and it was pretty much love at first visit. So any chance to go back is always welcomed as it holds a special meaning to us.

All in all, a perfect place for Beth and Sam to spend time with their family at the Wickaninnish Inn, before eloping beneath towering trees, and dancing together on a sunny beach as the sun sank. A perfectly intimate wedding. I think the last few minutes of light, when they ditched their shoes and waded into the glassy ocean sunset together, was one of my favorite wedding memories of the year. 

NOW SHOWING IN GLORIOUS WIDESCREEN

“While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.”  - Dorothea Lange

If I can get a little bit lofty, ponderous, philosophical for a second - which I think artists are totally allowed to do, right? - this quote does an incredible job of leaning towards what I love about photography. It isn't just about the literal scene in front of you. It can go so much further than that. Many of my favorite photos (my own, and from others) are beloved because they delve into the emotions and aesthetics of what's in the frame; letting the viewer's mind wander past the obvious and explore the experience of that image.

That's something I've been trying to create and find in my own work a lot lately. Showing some of my work in this panoramic format has been a super fun way to explore that. I think our eyes get so accustomed to the normal aspect ratios in our phones and "real" cameras, that moving to a panoramic format helps us escape the more literal view of the image. Ideally I think the superwide panoramic formats lend themselves to a more cinematic feel (probably because, you know, they actually are cinematic aspect ratios, ha) which encourages looking at the images as more than just an overt record of an event.

Anyway - I could ramble more, but really I just wanted to share a bit of an experiment in something different. As photographers, seeing things in a constantly different, new, and varied way is critical to keeping our work fresh and our minds free from burnout. Here's to finding inspiration in new places, and making photographs that see more than the immediately visible.

SNOWY MOUNTAIN ENGAGEMENT SESSION IN THE PNW

It's always a funny thing, meeting people for the first time. Like Forrest Gump and his proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Fortunately for me, I seem to get to work with a lot of relaxed, kind, and generally just awesome people. These two take that to another level, especially with the story of how they met, fell in love long-distance, and decided to spend their lives together. Emily and I had so much fun cruising around the woods and mountains with Chris and Claire, right from the get-go. Turns out it's also hilariously good fun watching Texans play in the snow (even if it's a little colder than expected.)

Super grateful we got to spend some time with these legends!

Photographed on Kodak Portra medium format film, and Leica digital. 

LOOKING BACKWARDS // 2015 IN REVIEW

It's still freaking me out a bit that 2015 is over. Now it's 2016, but last year felt like it went by in about 10 minutes. With the craziness of the holidays over now, we're almost into the time of year when we can catch our breath, sit, reflect and remember. 

Reflecting and remembering everything that took place this year leaves me feeling immensely, whole-heartedly grateful. For the places we saw, the moments we witnessed, and the people who let us into their lives in large and small - but always important - ways. 

With early morning flights and ferry sailings, sleepy trains and sleepless hotels; this year took us from the beaches of Mexico to the incredible landscapes of New Zealand, to the history-filled chateaus of southern France, and all over the coastline, rivers, and mountains of Washington, Oregon, California and Montana. This planet is stunning, and we were overjoyed to see so much of it. 

I'd need about ten pairs of hands to count all the weddings, elopements, engagement sessions and portrait sessions I photographed this year. After all that I'm ready for a breather. But I feel so lucky to have had that many people invest in what I do, and that seriously energizes me. So, maybe I'm ready for a breather, but how about just like a quick 30 minutes in the car while we head to the mountains for another shoot?

For all the years I've been doing this, being a wedding photographer is something I cherish, and I feel honestly blessed to be able to do it. While it's not always as glamorous as it may seem, all the days spent editing and emailing and doing admin work in front of a screen are so worth it when it means I get to photograph and bear witness to these storylines in peoples' lives. To make new friends out of new "clients." Maybe it's me getting older (jk I don't age anymore) but the emotional value and weight of giving someone an heirloom to love and share for decades to come has become even more near and dear to me. Life is amazing and short and long and beautiful and deserves to be remembered and reminisced over, again and again.

To quote the surfer Mickey Smith (watch his short film here, you'll be glad you did), "...this is a present worth remembering. For fires of happiness or waves of gratitude... for everything that brought us to that point in life, to that moment in time; to do something worth remembering with a photograph... I feel genuinely lucky to hand-on-heart say I love what I do."

So, to every couple, family, human, that trusted me and allowed me to do this, or simply (but not merely) encouraged and supported us, thank you. It means more to me than you know - it's not just a transaction to me, it goes far beyond that. I'm happy that I had the chance to meet you and yours. You're the best and I hope we get to hang out again.

Can't wait to dive into this next year.

Here are, in no particular order, some photos I loved from this year. It was painful to narrow down 35,000+ photos into a (not terribly) concise 200-ish. Have a drink and a bite and enjoy.