August 10, 2019

Bigfork, Montana Family Photographer – The Flawn Family

This multi-generation family portrait session was a big helping of "it's a small world after all." If only because many of the individuals either grew up or still currently live in Austin, Texas, which is of course where I moved to Montana from. Odd that it would take a cross country move for me to meet people who live less than five miles away from my old address and other parts of Austin I frequented in my youth.

I'm fortunate that Northwest Montana isn't just a destination for weddings, but also family vacations and reunions. And one of the absolute best parts of being a photographer is it provides me the opportunity to meet such awesome people from all over the country.

The Flawn's were staying in Bigfork at Sentinel Pine, a beautiful rental with a neat history on Swan Lake and it was so fun to hang out with them for a couple of hours grabbing family portraits as well as candids as they enjoyed lake activities.

August 8, 2019

Whitefish Wedding Photographer, Kathryn & Justin, The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

When I first met Kathryn for coffee at Coffee Traders to discuss the possibility of photographing her and Justin's wedding I had to really try to contain my excitement. While I wasn't able to meet Justin ahead of time, here was an awesome couple—both of whom are pilots—and the plan was for Kathryn to arrive at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake in a floatplane. How cool is that?! Seriously, in my mind, I was almost thinking "Can I pay you to photograph your wedding? Because this is something I have to do."

Thankfully for my own personal livelihood, it didn't come to that and last month, despite gusty winds threatening to scrap the most epic bride's entrance ever, the evening ultimately went off without a hitch. Congratulations to Kathyrn & Justin, thank you so much for including me in your special day, I had a blast with everyone.

Shout out to the other vendors who made this such a night to remember: Venue & Catering: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake; DJ: Sidecar Audio; and my associate photographer Leah Lamberson Photography.

July 17, 2019

Flathead Lake Family Photographer, the Fenoglio Family

I was contacted by the Fenoglio family to join them out at Finley Point in Polson right on Flathead Lake to capture some family photos as a surprise gift for their mom. And I'm so glad they did! They were predominantly visiting from Colorado, so they were no strangers to how awesome the Rocky Mountains can be, but they got to experience the Northern Rockies and all they have to enjoy. We shared lots of laughs, jokes, and I was even invited to dinner

I can't believe I get paid to hang out with amazing families on vacation and document the occasion for them.

June 25, 2019

Flathead Lake Engagement Photographer, Kelly & Adam

The nice thing about engagement sessions is it gives me a chance to meet the couple face-to-face. And after Kelly and Adam's session, I feel like we're old friends, and I can't wait for their intimate wedding at Adam's dad's house next year. We spent a couple of hours exploring the shores of Flathead Lake in and around Somers and Lakeside on the Northern part of the lake. They're such a fun couple, and Adam's dad is really turning his yard into a truly unique and beautiful venue.

We'll pick up this party where we left off next summer.

March 27, 2019

Inaugural IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas for Texas Highways magazine

The IndyCar Series finally came to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas this March and I was fortunate to be there covering the event for Texas Highways magazine.

While it doesn't happen at every race, it sure seems like the purpose-built Formula 1 track has a knack for being the setting for history-making events of varying degrees (see Kimi Raikonnen's winning drive at the 2018 F1 United States Grand Prix.) The IndyCar Classic was no exception, with Colton Herta taking the checkered flag, and becoming the youngest race-winning driver in IndyCar Series history at age 18.

Check out the whole gallery over at Texas Highways.

Alexander Rossi with the general admission area adjacent to the turn one hill in the background during the 2019 IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas.
James Hinchcliffe, rookie Patricio O'Ward, and rookie Felix Rosenqvist make their way from the main straight up the 133-foot hill to turn one as Scott Dixon exits the pit lane during the 2019 IndyCar classic.
Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay crests turn 10 with the Circuit of the Americas tower in the background during the first IndyCar practice session.
Team Penske's Josef Newgarden exits turn 11 behind a field of bluebonnets. Because Texas.
One of the support races at the inaugural IndyCar classic featured Stadium Super Trucks., which are clearly a departure from your standard road racing featuring jumps, and lots of corners where the trucks end up on two wheels.
One of the support races at the inaugural IndyCar classic featured Stadium Super Trucks., which are clearly a departure from your standard road racing featuring jumps, and lots of corners where the trucks end up on two wheels.
Ameripolitan Music legend Dale Watson performing on the "Lone Star Stage" which featured Texas-tinged music throughout the IndyCar Classic weekend.
Carlin's Max Chilton rises up the hill past turn 9 during IndyCar practice three.
Mayer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM's Jack Harvey view from the platform atop the COTA tower. Spectators take tours to the viewing platform 230 feet in the air for a 360-degree view of the track, surrounding landscape, and the Austin Skyline.
Race winner Colton Herta—the youngest winner of an IndyCar race in history—autographs the television camera at the conclusion of the 2019 IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas.
Confetti cannons going off during the podium celebration for the inaugural IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas.

February 18, 2019

Styled Winter Bridal Portraits, Club Bed Tanning Ad Session

This was a fun shoot for Club Bed Tanning Resort here in Whitefish that happens to be a fellow My Montana Wedding Association member. They needed a new ad to run in the My Montana Wedding magazine to promote their spray tan offerings. They lined up the model and borrowed a dress from Mimi's Bridal in downtown Kalispell and we met up at Whitefish City Beach on a cold, 32-degree day.  It was probably more fun for me than it was for our model Brooke since I was able to keep my hoodie on the whole time and she had to stand there with bare arms.

October 31, 2018

2018 Formula 1 Pirelli United States Grand Prix for Texas Highways magazine

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to once again return to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas to cover the 2018 Formula 1 Pirelli United States Grand Prix for Texas Highways magazine The weekend narrative was Lewis Hamilton's impending fifth driver's championship making him one of only three drivers to reach that number. However, despite starting the race on pole, it wasn't meant to be. Kimi Raikonnen ultimately took the win—his first since 2014—giving the crowds something to truly be excited to see, even if it wasn't the history they were expecting to see.

Here's a selection of photos from the weekend, but to see the full photo essay you'll need to head on over to Texas Highways.

The iconic COTA Tower at sunrise on race day. Just because this is a motorsport event doesn't mean you can have a typical Texas Highways landscape.
Tires upon tires upon tires lined up outside of a team garage. The wet weather early in the weekend necessitated lots of these green-walled "intermediate" tiles being used.
Lewis Hamilton's—of the Great Brittain—number 44 Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport car sitting in the team garage as they make final adjustments to prepare the car for the weekend.
Driver Lando Norris putting his McLaren through the paces in a very wet FP1 session. Lando will be driving full-time for McLaren for the 2019 season.
Daniel Ricciardo speeding past the iconic COTA Tower during FP3.
Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen signing autographs.
Charles LeClerc's Alfa Romeo Sauber exiting turn 1 during FP2.
Fan-favorite Daniel Ricciardo running his number 3 Red Bull Racing machine through turns 12 and 13.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso running his McLaren through turns 12 and 13 during the rain-soaked FP1.
Sergey Sirotkin's number 35 Williams Martini Racing exiting turn 1 during an even more water-soaked track in FP2.
Sebastian Vettel at turn 10 during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session.
Due to the extraordinarily low ground clearance, it is common for sparks to fly from underneath the cars as they run over any track imperfections.
Charles LeClerc in his parade transportation.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the pre-race drivers' parade.
The University of Texas Longhorn Show Band performing on track prior to the race.
McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Force India's Esteban Ocon during the pre-race drivers' parade.
Lance Stroll opted for some Texas appropriate headwear for the festivities.
Prior to the start of FP3, the team performs several repetitions of pit stop practice by rolling the car into the pit box and performing different tasks like changing the tires. This practice is what helps them do pitstops in under three seconds on a regular basis.
Kimi Raikonnen between turns 5 and 6 during qualifying.
Haas F1's other driver, Kevin Magnussen, flying past turn 19 during FP1.
Pierre Gasly's number 10 Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda flying up the hill into turn 1 during FP2.
Kimi Raikonnen giving a thumbs up to the crowd after securing his first race win in 113 races, and first since rejoining Ferrari in 2014.
Max Verstappen's team enjoying an unexpected second-place finish for the 2018 USGP.
Max Verstappen celebrates with his team after a stellar drive from 18th to 2nd, something extremely rare in Formula 1.
Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen celebrates his second-place finish.
Max Verstappen turned 21 just before the race, finally allowing him to actually drink the champaign on the podium at a U.S. race.
Podium group photo.
Media, teams, and fans crowd the podium ceremony.

August 8, 2018

West Glacier Engagement Photographer, Holly & Eric

I was lucky to receive a "last minute" email from Eric days before he and Holly would be venturing into Glacier National Park for several days of hiking, where he was planning on popping the question. Even better, I got the email the day after their final hike proclaiming "She didn't say no!" and the reason he requested she bring a dress on a hiking trip was made clear. We met up early on their final morning in Montana for a quick engagement mini-session and they couldn't have been more sweet, friendly, and fun to work with. Congratulations to you Holly & Eric and thank you so much for letting me document your Glacier engagement.

July 21, 2018

Polson Wedding Photographer, Jojo & Bill at The Barn at Finley Point

What to say about these two. They've got just about the most amazing "meet cute" on earth, and they couldn't possibly be any sweeter than they are. From the moment I arrived Leah Lamberson and I were treated like family by everyone from the couple to the entire guest list. The Barn at Finley Point provided an idyllic setting, with rentals from Barn Door Rentals.

June 25, 2018

Kalispell Wedding Photographer, Jaimee & Gavin at Diamond B Weddings

I don't think I could've asked for a better couple to share a wedding with for my first "Montana Wedding" than Jaimee and Gavin. From our first correspondence to their wedding day, they couldn't have been sweeter, or more welcoming. It was soon very clear myself and the rest of the vendors were going to be treated as if we were guests of the wedding, so the initial rain that threatened to put a damper on the evening quickly became a distant memory once it stopped, giving way to a beautiful ceremony and one breathtaking sunset to close out the night. Congratulations Jaimee and Gavin, and thank you so much for including me in the evening!

Shout out to the other vendors who all came together for an amazing night: Diamond B WeddingsBe Our Guest Wedding & Event PlannerCelebrate Event & Party Rental, Smart Alex Band, Dickey's CateringSpotted Bear Distillery, Farm-to-Market Hog, Soucie Soucie Salon & SpaSkeeter Johnston ProductionsPIXelated Photobooth Gigs, and last but not least my second photographer Leah Lamberson Photography!

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Matt Wetzler is an editorial, motorsport, portrait, and destination wedding photographer based in Northwest Montana.

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