The holidays are over and here I am, crammed onto a little plane flying back to Seattle. After 30-something flights this year, planes have become the thinking space just as my car had become last year. I'm honestly not sure why photographers are so hyped on doing "End of the year" reviews, buuuuut I'm going to do one anyway.
Comparison can kill creativity, but I'm learning it can also help measure personal growth. As I look through photos from 2015 and think about the monstrous changes of life, it's hard not to compare to how I've lived this year. There's been ups and downs and twists and turns, moments of worry and doubt and happiness and too much stoke, but here I am with an entirely new portfolio of images, catalogue of stories, and somewhat new job.
Quick backstory - A year ago I had driven 30,000 miles in my car, spent nearly 11 months on the road, and photographed 30 weddings. Add all that up and you get one burnt out guy. I had glimpses of shooting for outdoor brands here and there, but it was the friends I made at Kammok and Oru Kayak that made a difference. Fast forward through lots of thinking while driving and I decided to stop photographing weddings so I could work full time within the outdoor industry.
Back to present.
If there was one phrase I could use to sum up 2016, it'd be some good 'ol fashion Latin. It's a phrase I read in "How to Be Here" and it says Creatio Ex Nihilo, or Creation out of Nothing. Why's that important? It's a like a secret super power we all have but can't exactly figure out yet. And not that I've figured it out by any means, but it's something I explored throughout the year. Random thoughts like "Hey I don't like shooting weddings anymore, I should figure something else out. Working for some of these brands has been fun, lets see if there's something there." And so, conversation started, the word spread, I bought tickets to New Zealand with my now business partner, Adam Wells, and we were off.
This was a year that showed the power of friendships and connections. Of asking for help and starting conversations with new people. Of not asking "what if" but saying "why not." It was a year of working and living with people, surrounding myself with movers and shakers and doers and people who build the stoke alongside me.
From New Zealand to the Philippines, Alaska, 8,000 mile road trips, 60 miles of backcountry travel through Glacier, and everything in between, there's a lot to be thankful for.
Here's to a year with even more stoke. An uncontainable amount. Here's to fighting for the places we call home, the wild places that have taught us how to live over the years. Here's to exploring new land, jumping in cold water, and crying from laughing too much. Here's to the people we love and keep close.
Here's to now.
Headed out to Steamboat Springs, CO with the Wondercamp boys to shoot a story about Big Agnes. If I didn't love this company enough, spending a night out in some yurts with the whole team sure sealed the deal. Frozen beard, midnight showshoeing, and a solid laughter.
Welcome to New Zealand, the chapter of 2016 that kickstarted this whole outdoor thing becoming a reality. We spent 4 weeks traveling across the country, crammed into a 12-person passenger van with all of our gear.
This is Geoff. He's a legend.
Josh & Magali on 120mm film
When your friend says he found roundtrip tickets to the Philippines for $350, you buy them (even if you'll miss a flight from Singapore because of the date change). When you're riding scooters over a wet metal bridge and want to hit the breaks, don't do that. I did and now I have a fun scar on my leg from sliding out.
After living out of my CR-V throughout last year, I had the opportunity to take a new 2016 CR-V on a 10-day road trip, snapping photos along the way for Honda. I drove 3,000 miles from Seattle all the way down to Southern Utah, across Death Valley into California, and up Highway 395 into Oregon.
In June I was invited to join the one and only Chris Brinlee Jr. on a 3-day excursion into Alaska for a small campaign with Cotopaxi. We planned and planned our route only to show up and realize the zones could fill up, forcing us to improvise on the spot and pick a new location. We hiked 25+ miles, walked through the midnight sun until 3am, and Chris hopped onto the Denali bus in a sleeping bag. What a dude.
I was afraid to sleep at the bus stop because there had been a bear attack a few days earlier. Chris had no hesitation.
At some point this summer, I thought it'd be a fun idea to try an intro to mountaineering climb. I've watched lots of friends summit some crazy peaks in the Cascades and talked to my roommate about Mount Adams. It's one of the easier and less technical routes, and after researching it a bit more, it seemed pretty doable. I called up my buddy Chris. Our conversation went something like,
"Hey, you ever had any interest in climbing Adams?"
"Yeah man! That'd be rad. Have you ever done anything like that?"
"Nope, first time. Gotta get some crampons and an axe. You"
"Cool. Next Wednesday work for you?"
"Let's do it!"