One of my annual traditions around these parts is to post a nice recap of the year in photos. They range from road trips with friends, family pics, wedding, photoshoots and of course, storm images. It felt like a different year overall, a little more subdued, with spring chasing offering slightly less excitement this time around and a couple less weddings. But wow it was a blast of a year regardless!
The year kicked off at a little shoot with a former bride and groom from Australia and their new baby girl, and then I was off on a road trip with Jay, Jason and Andrew to Death Valley and the eastern Sierras. From there it was wedding season, then storm chasing on the plains, followed by epic haboob and lightning action across Arizona during the monsoon, and finally fall weddings and family portraits. Toss in some wonderful family moments, it was a year to remember.
It also marked my fourth year as a full-time photographer and it keeps getting better and better. I still feel incredibly blessed that I get to do this everyday.
Hope you enjoy this look back at some of my favorite images, including at least a photo from almost every wedding and family session!
Every now and then a couple comes along that blows your mind. Their kindness and thoughtfulness, their story, their passion, their love…it all just works in such a magical way. When Shelly called me and said she wanted to get married up at Horseshoe Bend in a little elopement ceremony with just Joe and her parents, I couldn’t wait. When she shared with me more of her story and how they had gotten to this point, I knew this was something extra special that doesn’t come along too often.
I was so excited about it that I told my three buddies in my text group, and immediately Jay Worsley offered to film it. He’d always wanted to shoot something like an elopement up there, and so I told Shelly about what Jay wanted to do and she was ALL-IN. And our buddy Jason Williams joined as well to help out with shooting, filming and being the baddest assistant ever.
The day was amazing. But for Shelly it started down in Phoenix at 5:30am with Pooja from Makiaj Beauty for hair and makeup. Which was spectacular by the way, Pooja ia amazing! Then they made the four hour drive up to Page and got to the hotel just in time to change super fast into wedding outfits, quickly do a first look and then get to Antelope Canyon for portraits. Our guide Tana was genius and incredible to watch, stopping all the onlookers from snapping photos of our bride and groom. She cleared people out and gave us room to work. Heaps of praises for her!
From there it was lunch and JUMBO margaritas at El Tapatio. They were a little TOO jumbo, but they were delicious! A short break after and we hit Horseshoe Bend for sunset.
The actual elopement was simple and beautiful. To have your own father perform the ceremony and your mother be a witness, it was incredibly moving. The vows, the words from her dad was perfection. You can hear them below in Jay’s video. We found a little spot and people were nice enough to keep their distance so we could have as much privacy as you can with 100’s of people everywhere.
Not many words left to describe this day. Shelly and Joe, thanks for trusting us and including us in such a huge moment of your life. And for all the love after, tagging us, creating graphics to share our websites and just being so complimentary. It goes without saying that we don’t get that kind of showering of praises too often!
And last, but not least…thank you for the cupcakes again. I would love another one right now please.
But in the meantime…here is a little look at their day, with lots more photos still to edit! And please, when you are done with the photos, watch Jay’s film embedded at the bottom. It’s incredible.
Chris and Gretchen from last night. A little stroll around downtown Phoenix. We knew the sky at sunset would be epic.
Love these two people, they know every cool hot spot downtown and even took me out to the Crescent Ballroom for a quick dinner after our shoot. Cannot wait to shoot their wedding at The Icehouse in May! Gonna be awesome!
I knew about 10 minutes into my first meeting with Dan and Stephanie that I wanted to shoot their wedding. They were so happy, so full of life and so excited to get married. I knew instantly that I loved these two people, what they believed in and what this new beginning meant for both of them.
Not to mention how cute they are. She’s a graphic designer and he’s been doing commercials and such for over 20 years. They certainly made the shoot easy on me!
We started off the day by hitting some areas of downtown Phoenix that were new to me, and then finished up over by South Mountain. Dan just had to get some shots with the Harley in it and I couldn’t have been more happy about it. The thing is a beast, he got it all detailed before the shoot and it shined like it was brand new.
Had an awesome time guys, can’t wait for the wedding in May! Going to be epic fun!
Last year on January 3rd, I wrote a blog post that talked about some things I was excited about for 2011. Appears as though that might end up being an annual tradition around these parts.
I shot this little self-portrait of me and Lyla back on September 15th, the last day we went stormchasing in 2011 (if you bought my book, you’ve seen this already). At the time, I believe I was actually standing there thinking about what an amazing summer it had been and how sad I was to see it end.
But then the fall was also amazing. I was more busy and photographed more families/couples than I ever had before. And now this new year looks like it could be the best yet. The weddings are starting to pile up. I even get to shoot one in Park City, Utah this August. My haboob photo will be in the next issue of Arizona Highways. And I’m praying and crossing my fingers that perhaps I can find a publisher for my Stormchasing Arizona series.
What’s weird is that I’m having a hard time writing this post for some reason. The words aren’t easy to find this morning. Maybe because the future is so huge and wide open for me right now, I just don’t even know what to say about it.
Which is why I’ll just end it with this:
I love what I do so much. I love being passionate about the weather and stormchasing during the Arizona summers. I love photographing kids and families. I love meeting couples who have decided to get married. I love the idea of getting to know them and their stories. I love walking around with them as we take engagement photos. I love the big wedding day where I get to be a part of something magical. I love taking pictures of the babies that eventually arrive later down the road.
But mostly…I just love what I do.
Bring it on, 2012.