Perhaps some of you have noticed that this has been a pretty quiet year for me in terms of photography. If you did, you are correct! This was, perhaps, one of the busiest years of my life for a variety of reasons, all of which are very good. I had so many opportunities to do some incredible things, and I have a year full of amazing life experiences and memories to look back on. So strap in and venture through my year with me as I reminisce!
I think I’d be remiss if I started with anything other than the biggest event that happened to me this year … I got married! It was so much fun being on the other side of the lens after shooting so many weddings (I’m up to about 30 now), and I could not be more excited to be starting on this wonderful adventure with my wife, Sharon. She is the most talented, smart, and loving person I have ever met, and I am so grateful every day that she said “yes” when I asked her to be my wife. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of adventures with her by my side. Thanks to Meghan Rose Photography for taking these photos of our big day!
About a week before we got married, I ‘took the plunge’ and went skydiving for the first time! My best man, Mark, took me for my bachelor party, and then we went back home and hung out with the other groomsmen and some friends. I thoroughly enjoyed jumping out of a plane, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I do it again in the future!
Another major milestone for us this year happened just over six months ago … we purchased our first home together! To say that it is perfect for us is probably the understatement of the year. We LOVE our house. We are hoping it will be our forever home. It has a room in it for anything we could possibly want. It is huge – big enough for us to have multiple guests stay over if they desire, to have multiple children, for Sharon to have her own room for crafts, a gorgeous screened-in back porch, a movie theater in the basement, a two car garage, and LOTS of space. Six months later and I’m still blown away by it daily. Being a homeowner is definitely a job in itself, and I have been learning all sorts of things about house maintenance in the past half of a year. My collection of tool has vastly grown. I now know the basics of lawn care and mowing grass, something that I have never had to know before. I know how to hang Christmas lights outside the house, and I know how to work a gas fireplace. It’s quite fun, and I am so excited to be learning alongside Sharon with each new home challenge. We feel so blessed to have this house, as it is truly perfect for us.
Not to be forgotten by the grandeur of the house, are our two little fur-ball babies. When Sharon and I were dating, she purchased two kittens that we named Ivy and Willow. Sadly, Sharon wasn’t able to keep them when she moved to Virginia initially, so my wonderful grandma housed them for us for a year or so until we got our house. Once we purchased it, we got them back from her, and they can now be found galavanting around the house, tearing through the hallways causing mayhem, or curled up on each other by the fire on a cold night. They bring us a lot of joy, and they are a daily bright spot to us both.
As if all of those aren’t big enough life events, I had the very unique opportunity this year to do a TON of travel. Again, starting with the best travel of the year, Sharon and I had the opportunity to go on a 2 week honeymoon to Seattle, Alaska, and Canada! It was one of the most memorable trips of my life, and it was particularly fun to cross those states off of my bucket list of places to visit. We started the honeymoon in Seattle, and spent a few days there experiencing all that the city had to offer. It was a remarkably artistic place – some of our favorite spots to visit were the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit, the Underground Seattle Tour, and of course, the Space Needle for a romantic dinner. After we hit Seattle, we took a cruise all through Alaska for 7 days – we got to visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria B.C, and the Inside Passage. The sights were amazing, and the cruise was a blast. We even got to do a variety of excursions that were not ones I’ll be forgetting anytime soon. In Ketchikan, we ran around a zip line course on the top of the canopy of the forest. In Juneau, we took a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier, and then got to dogsled on said glacier with dogs that were training for the Iditarod dog races. In Skagway, we took a parlor car ride to a beautiful lake in the mountains, and then kayaked around for a few hours. Our honeymoon was amazing, and was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip. There are just too many photos to put in this post, so instead I’ll link the video that I made of the trip. Enjoy!
Shifting gears to my design career, I never really expected to get to travel around for work, as design can be done from anywhere. However, in October of 2014, LastPass was acquired by LogMeIn, a Boston-based tech-company. The design team is largely based out of that office, so I have gotten to travel to Boston a bunch to interact with them. I believe over the course of the year, I made it to Boston 6 times, and stayed half of a week to a week each time. I very much enjoyed it, and I actually think that Boston has become my favorite city, despite being a suburban kind of guy, myself.
At the start of the year, LogMeIn also had a kick-off party for the entire company in Las Vegas. I was out there for about a week with my coworkers doing a bit of work, a bit of gambling, and a lot of relaxing and having a good time. It was my first time in Vegas, and I certainly enjoyed it, though I don’t think I could stay for much longer than I did. I think it’s a great place to visit in small doses of time. More than that, and it’d be overkill, I think.
Also near the start of the year, I landed in San Francisco for about a week for the company’s first annual Design Summit. All of the designers across the company got to spend the week attending conferences, listening to various talks, breaking into small groups and doing design activities! When we weren’t working, we got to enjoy some amazing food, and take in all the sights that the city had to offer. It was my first time in San Francisco, though not my first time in California. I had always wanted to visit, so it was a real treat for me! The photos are pretty low-res cell phone shots, but I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz before I left.
Then, in October, I had an AMAZING opportunity to go to Budapest with the Product and Engineering team at LogMeIn for the company’s annual Hackathon. A hackathon is when normal work stops for a week, everyone groups up into small teams of 3-7 people, and works on a side project that they are passionate about that relates to one of the products that the company sells. It’s a modern way to have people re-energize, innovate, and create awesome new things for the company. Throughout the week, my team worked on our idea, and took it from conceptualization to coded prototype to present in front of a panel of judges … at the Budapest NATIONAL THEATER. How cool is that!? I am proud to say that my team took 2nd place out of 60 teams total, and in the process I got to meet and work with some very talented engineers from our Budapest office. On our non-work hours, my coworkers and I took in all sorts of sights and experienced the history that has made Budapest such a large tourist attraction. This was my very first time ever being in Europe, so I was particularly amazed by the stunning architecture and overall beauty of the city. Their rich culture was everywhere – from local food establishments, to vast bridges across canals, to a street fair of food and beer – it was all amazing and highly enjoyable. Needless to say, I am very excited to head back there next year for 2017’s Hackathon.
Rounding out my travel for the year, Sharon and I took a week long trip to Idaho, where my dad, stepmom, and little brother and sister live. With all the business of wedding planning last year, I didn’t get a chance to go out there, so I was particularly excited to be visiting them this year. It was also Sharon’s first trip there with me, which was very exciting. Typically when I tell people that I vacation in Idaho, they don’t quite know what to make of it, as it seems like there is not a lot to do there. However, Idaho is FULL of awesome activities, particularly in the wintertime. This trip, we went skiing, ice fishing, camped in a Fish and Game cabin, elk spotting, snowshoeing, saw the new Star Wars movie (awesome, by the way), and had lots of time to hang out and relax! It was a great trip to end the year, and we just got back last night. Here are a few of the highlights.
So amidst the getting married, buying a house, moving, going on a honeymoon, and spending about 50 days of the year traveling, I have definitely not had as much time for maintaining my photography business as I would typically. At first, I was bummed out about this, but I’m not anymore. It has been a truly incredible year – one that I don’t want to take for granted, and certainly one that I will never forget. And despite all the travel and business, I was still able to photograph two engagements and three weddings! Check out the recap below.
I have been incredibly blessed with my photography business thus far. I celebrated 5 years of being in business this October. This year, I am really grateful for my wife, house, family, friends, cats, day job of being a designer, side job of running a photography business, and all the other little things that have occurred through the year to make it the best one of my life so far. To everyone that has played a part in it, thank you. I wouldn’t be where I’m at in life both professionally and personally without lots of other people in my life helping me along. I wish each of you who are reading this blog post a very Happy New Year! 2016 was an amazing year, and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.