ELOPEMENTS

A LOOK BACK AT 2016 - PART TWO

Can't believe we're already coming up on the end of 2017. 2016 was such a full year with so many amazing clients and moments, and 2017 has proven to be no different. As I start to sift through the thousands of images and *attempt* to put together a recap post from this last season, and since there are no rules in photography or blogging, I thought it's never too late to share my Part Two post from my 2016 season in the meantime (because ok maybe I sort of got too busy to post this Part Two ages ago). It's still so crazy to me I'm approaching my 11th year now in this industry, and every time I get to tell couple's wedding stories I feel refreshed and inspired.

As 2017 season wraps up, my highlight this year was my wife and I finding out, in May, that we were pregnant with our first son, due this next month (January). We are breathlessly waiting and preparing for his arrival, which makes this holiday season that much more exciting. We're in full baby prepping mode over here, and can't wait to start off 2018 being parents. We *think* Bodie will be the best big puppy brother too. He'll just have to learn to share a little of our attention. ;)

All our love and appreciation,

- Ryan & Emily

A LOOK BACK AT 2016

Twenty sixteen. What a year. Depending who you talk to, you'd probably get a wide spectrum of views on exactly what kind of year it was. I think that's one of the things I love both about what I do, and about doing these year-end retrospective posts. What better way to find and focus on the positive, than looking through a year's worth of weddings, elopements, engagements, families ... all the things that end up really defining what our lives are about. 

I delivered in the neighborhood of 50,000 finished photos this year (which kind of explains why I'm doing two parts to this post... how can I narrow all that down to one short post? Not happening) and if there's one thing that really stood out to me, it's the importance of community and connection. Those two things have this amazing ability to transcend, heal, and grow our families, lives, and relationships. I got to see huge tight-knit families, families who'd experienced loss, families that had been divided, rejoined, healed, people whose families were woven by choice and not birth, people who became family solely for each other... and of course family of the four-legged canine variety (prob the cutest kind of family, if you ask me.)

It's been amazing to continuely witness the way our love and connections defy labels and boxes, and matters all the more because of that.

I'm heading into my 10th year in this crazy photography career/life, and each year that ticks by feels like a blessing to be surrounded by love and commitment and amazing humans doing a thousand small/ huge / subtle / loud / monumental / heartfelt things for each other.

Can't thank each of you enough for allowing me into your lives to tell a sliver of your story, it's an honor I don't take for granted. You're the best, I appreciate you.

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. 

AN INTIMATE CAPE FLATTERY ELOPEMENT

Cape Flattery lies at the most northwest point of the contiguous United States. Without a boat, or a (cold) swim, you can't go any further. It makes the perfect spot for an intimate elopement - you say your vows under old growth trees draped in moss, after walking down fern-lined wooden boardwalks, overlooking sea stacks, to a chorus of crashing waves. Like I said, perfect. :) 

 - photographed on Kodak film, on a Leica MP.

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. 

A COASTAL PACIFIC NORTHWEST ELOPEMENT

Cape Flattery ... the furthest north and west you can go and still be in the contiguous United States. Definitely one of the coolest spots in Washington, and the perfect place for Carolyn and Dan to elope. Carolyn said they wanted something that felt like the edge of the world... Cape Flattery instantly gives you that impression as soon as you reach the end of the trail. We walked down the rain-slick boardwalk to a small clearing overlooking the waves crashing into the sea stacks, where they read their vows to each other and exchanged rings. No distractions, no expectations. It was perfect. 

You can see more of this Pacific Northwest elopement near the Olympic National Park on Magnolia Rouge (and in Issue 11 of the beautiful print edition.)

AN ADVENTOUROUS ELOPEMENT AT LA PUSH, WA

If you've never been to the Pacific Northwest coast, the Olympic peninsula, or even seen a Twilight movie (don't worry, we don't talk about it either) - here's a little primer on what it's like: it's generally cold, stormy, rainy, grey, rugged and absolutely beautiful. La Push in particular, but really all the northwest coast, has some seriously unpredictable weather. One look at it, though, and it's easy to see why Chelsea and Zach chose this place for their elopement in the Pacific Northwest. When the day came, though,, it could not have been better. The light swung from quintessentially Northwest grey clouds, to warm, pastel-tinged skies, to one of the best sunsets I've ever seen on the Washington coast.

With the waves crashing into the sea stacks behind them, and a colossal downed tree as their backdrop, C & Z, along with two close friends, said quiet, perfect, heartfelt vows to each other. I love how elopements get back to the core of what a wedding day is about - about two people making new promises and reaffirming old ones. About focusing on what's important, and leaving what isn't behind. I was lucky to be a part of a few elopements this past year, and absolutely loved it. It just feels so honest and intimate and real.

You can see more of their PNW elopement featured on the amazing Green Wedding Shoes.

Photographed on Kodak Portra 400 film, expertly developed and scanned by Alpine Film Lab.

A LOOK BACK AT 2014

2014. Whoa. It's February and I feel like I'm still catching my breath from this last year. This has been by far our busiest, craziest year yet, which feels like - and is - a huge blessing. This spring my wife Emily joined me full time, helping making everything run smoothly. To everyone who commissioned us this year, thank you. Thank you for inviting us to be a part of some of the most momentous and long-planned days and moments of your lives. I know it's probably a cliche, but I honestly don't care - it's such an honor to get to do what I love.

I didn't want this post to be a "Best of 2014" or a "2014 Favorites" type of thing. Although these photos are some of my best, and some of my favorites. It was impossible to work every shoot into this post, or every photo I love - because I love them all and I kinda get attached. Just too many photos. Going through the tens of thousands of images we made was a joy, it was fun to take a step back, breath, and relive everything we created this year. It also made me realize that posting every photo I wanted to would make an internet-breakingly big post. Ain't nobody got time for that. So what this post is, is a small (haha) slice of the moments and portraits at some of the weddings, engagement and boudoir sessions that we photographed. Little pieces that meant something to me.

Look out for full blog posts of a bunch of these sessions in the coming months.