Numb hands, full hearts, can't lose. This late December engagement session for Anna & Lex was appropriately chilly—considering the time of year—but that didn't stop us from having a great time. I always look forward to sharing Glacier National Park—if even just the tiniest slice of it—with my couples, especially when they've either not been there at all, or only once before a long time ago.
For this engagement session, we started in downtown Whitefish to utilize the postcard-perfect Central Ave. while it was still decorated for the holidays, and then made our way West Glacier and Apgar Village to take advantage of some of the most iconic backdrops in the state of Montana.
Thank you, Anna & Lex, for hanging out with me on the Saturday after Christmas, and I can't wait to party with you and your families this coming August at your wedding!
There are few things more satisfying to a photographer when their clients refer friends and family to you. One thing that comes awfully close though is when a fellow photographer refers their past clients to you in an emergency. The amount of trust involved in such an act is something I take extremely seriously, so when my friend Kiralee texted me after being stricken with the flu to see if I was available to handle some family portraits for Sam and her family when they weren't able to reschedule I was extremely humbled and glad I was able to help her out. On top of that, Sam and her family were a hoot, and it was such a pleasure working with them for some late fall photos.
Every time I find myself at Circuit of the Americas outside Austin, Texas I mentally pinch myself. Mentally because if I were to walk around physically pinching myself that'd just be weird. This past November I had the opportunity to cover my fifth Formula 1 United States Grand Prix for the team at Texas Highways—the official travel magazine of Texas—and I truly can't thank them enough.
When I photographed my first race back in 2015, if I'm being totally honest, I just barely deserved to be there. It isn't that I didn't get some shots that I really, really like, and I was fortunate that my instincts partially gained from photographing weddings and live music events placed me in the right spot at the right time for the podium ceremony where Lewis Hamilton secured his—at the time—third drivers championship, but I just didn't really know what I was doing. I generally had a sense of the format of a Grand Prix weekend, but I didn't follow the sport at the time. Which I suppose meant I was no better or worse off than your typical American when it comes to Formula 1, but still. It also didn't help that Central Texas experienced some truly severe weather that weekend which scuttled basically an entire day of racing and the subsequent photography of said racing.
Fast forward to this year, and Lewis Hamilton secured his sixth driver championship in Austin, and I was very much aware of that storyline—and all of the storylines—of the 2019 season. I'm now the kind of fan that subscribes to the sports streaming service where I can watch every practice session, every qualifying session, and every race live if I choose—or should I say if I can stay up late or get up super early to watch races live that are taking place on the other side of the world.
When working on an editorial assignment for a magazine covering a sporting event, it really helps me hone my skills in quickly culling and editing photos, and turning them around into something of a narrative—if just barely—and publishing them. Going through over six thousand photos from four days, and culling those down to a manageable slideshow number, and writing captions, and having it all ready to go no later than the day following the race is a heck of a skill set to have when I am trying to turn around wedding photos or family portraits, and really helps me provide those photos to my clients more quickly than many other wedding and family photographers.
With all of that said, enjoy some outtakes that simply wouldn't fit in the published gallery over at Texas Highways. And if you've never followed Formula 1, or only done so casually, maybe this will help change your mind and turn you into the superfan I've become.
Did you know that you don't have to be recently engaged in order to get some portraits taken in a beautiful place? It's true! And Windy & James are here to prove it. They came all the way from a "small-town" in Texas—which just happens to be the same small-town my wife grew up in—to spend some time in Whitefish and wanted to commemorate their vacation with just the two of them. They were an absolute delight to work with as briefly strolled through downtown Whitefish and spoke of our favorite places in the Texas Hill Country.
I was so fortunate to be included in this wedding at the summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort. Norman & Tyler had a small wedding with around 70 of their closest friends and family who experienced a gorgeous day where clouds and rain stayed in the forecast the day prior and returned the day after. As you can see that was absolutely not the case during the ceremony. Instead of traditional formal wear, they wore traditional philippine barongs which provided a delightful pop of color into the proceedings and made it difficult to deliver too many black and white photos because they looked so great.
Take one look at this engagement session and tell me with a straight face that being a photographer in Northwest Montana—particularly one who does weddings and engagements—isn't one of the best jobs you could possibly have if you love the outdoors. I mean, is it really "work" if what I do is hang out with awesome couples, in some truly awe-inspiring settings, and document momentous occasions? Whatever it is, it is truly humbling and I can't thank Lauren's mom enough for contacting me about my availability to venture to the St. Mary Lake area on the east side of Glacier National Park for a quick engagement session after Conary popped the question the day before.
While they're regular visitors to the area due to familial ties, Debra and Christopher were planning their wedding day from the East coast. Naturally, in the best of scenarios, this can make planning and coordinating a wedding without a planner difficult. And when a permitting snafu scuttles plans for a wedding in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park you're forced to fall back to a plan B. Of course when your fallback is family land on the shores of Lower Saint Mary Lake, your plan B is better than many people's plan A!
From getting ready, the first look, the wedding ceremony, and then a family hike in the Two Medicine area the day after the wedding, I really got a chance to get to know both of them and their children, and it couldn't have been more fun. It is so humbling to be included in such a special day.
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.
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.
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.