November 13, 2023

2023 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix for Texas Highways

I was fortunate to once again have the opportunity to travel to Austin to cover the 2023 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas for Texas Highways magazine. When I first had the assignment of covering the race in 2015, I figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Somehow, whether through pure luck, manifesting it, or just maybe some skill I've not attended the Austin-based race eight times as credentialed media. It gets more challenging every year to get creative, but such an amazing experience very time.

Below you'll find mainly outtakes from the published photo essay, which can be found here: "F1 in Austin Makes History With America's First Sprint Race"

Scuderia Alpha Tauri's Yuki Tsunoda climbs the "Big Red" hill towards turn one during the Grand Prix.
MoneyGram Haas F1's Kevin Magnussen rounds the tower complex during Saturday's Formula 1 Sprint Race.
The back of Red Bull Racing's pit wall command center with the main grandstand in the background.
McLaren's Lando Norris exits turn one in the early stages of the Grand Prix.
Fictional racing legend Ricky Bobby poses with a longhorn outside the paddock entrance prior to Sundays race.
MoneyGram Haas F1's Nico Hulkenberg speeds down the start/finish straight.
McLaren's Lando Norris overtakes Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the first corner of the 2023 Formula 1 Lenovo United States Grand PRix.
Scuderia Ferrari's Carlos Sainz passes the COTA Observation Tower during Satruday's Formula 1 Sprint Race.
Scuderia Ferrari's Charles Leclerc speeds up the hill towards "Big Red"—the first corner of the racetrack named after one of the initial investors, Red McCombs—during the Formula 1 Sprint Shootout.
Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team's Fernando Alonso—a two-time F1 Drivers Champion—stops at the end of the pit lane at the start of the Sprint Shootout on Saturtday aftertnoon.
Kim Reimer—the "Ferrari Hat Guy"—hails from Florida and has been to numerous Grand Prix including Montreal and Miami, and makes a new hat every season. This year's rendition is his 20th such hat. He likes the United States Grand Prix here in Austin because the track provides numerous excellent vantage points where you can see the track action for a good duration, versus the slivers of track many other racetracks offer.
Scuderia Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is interviewed after finishing third in Saturday evening's Formula 1 Sprint Race.
Racing legend Jackie Stewart—Sir John Young Stewart OBE formally—speaks to attendees in the paddock area behind the team garages.
Members of the University of Texas Longhorn Band flash the horns before hefore heading out onto the track to perform prior to the race.
A very Texas-sized welcome greets visitors as they enter the Grand Plaza area at the circuit through the main entrance gates.
In a bit of deja vu from the Sprint Race the day prior, Max Verstappen also won the 2023 Formula 1 Lenovo United States Grand Prix on October 22, 2023.
A large homage to Austin's Mexican Free-Tailed bat population on the mural outside the main grandstand.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Norht America is one of the support races being run during the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix weekend in Austin. Here, a competitor heads towards turn three during the qualifying session Saturday morning.
A performer does lasso tricks on the councourse outside the main grandstand during Friday's track action.
Scuderia Ferrari's Charles Leclerc navigate the second qualifying round for Sunday's Grand Prix.
Scuderia Ferrari's Carlos Sainz navigate the second qualifying round for Sunday's Grand Prix.
McLaren F1 Team's Lando Norris crests the hill at Turn 10 with the massive Texas state flag and COTA tower looming in the background.
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team's Nico Hülkenberg stops to take a selfie with a fan during the team's unveiling of a special livery for ithe United States Grand Prix.
A new mural to th eleft of the main grandstand outside the circuit depciting the three primary race series that COTA hosts, as well as items from the Austin skyline.
Oracle Red Bull Racing's Sergio "Checo" Perez navigates the tower complex during free practice one.
Juan Marin, visiting from Houston, is attending his second United States Grand Prix, after having grown up watching it. He couldn't pass up the opportunity after living just a couple of hours away.
Prema Racing's Chloe Chong takes part in free practice one of the F1 Academy series, and all female series meant to serve as a pipeline to the elite levels of motorsport for women.
A view from the back of the Turn 19 grandstand while fans take in the first Formula 1 free practice.
At the United States Grand Prixc, Formula 1 as a whole—and the teams individually—have long embraced what people in other countries view as U.S. culture in general and Texas culture specifically. Here, Scuderia Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz play a friendly game of corn hole in football-styled team jerseys, cowboy hats, and face mustaches.
Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas arrives at the track in cowboy couture.
Race preperation presents itself in hundreds of different ways, not the least of which are teams accounting for their tire allocation for the weekend, and makig sure they're inflated to the requireed specifications.

November 10, 2023

Fall Glacier National Park Adventure Portrait Session, Lindsay & Brady

When is a "day after" adventure session? When it's five months later. Lindsay desperately wanted some portraits done in the mountains, in the Fall but also wanted more predictable weather for the wedding day itself. The solution? A June wedding with a Glacier National Park portrait session in late October was the obvious answer. And while we were constantly getting spitting rain as we traversed Going-to-the-Sun Road, the Fall colors were popping off everywhere. It could not have been more vibrant, moody, and more in line with what they were hoping to accomplish.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Glacier is a cheat code for photographers, and I am not mad about it.

November 6, 2023

Austin Senior Portrait Photographer, Holden, Class of 2024

This past fall I was delighted to receive an email from a former coworker from my very first job after school. Her son—who was just starting elementary school when we first worked together—was entering his senior year in High School and she was wondering if there was any chance I'd be in Austin over the next six months or so for a senior portrait session! After I got over the shock of feeling super old I was happy to report that I would be in town that fall. I was able to piggyback that portrait session on my time in town to cover the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

We met up at a county park closer to their house and then headed into downtown Austin where we used the more urban environment as a backdrop and took advantage of sunset on the skyline.

November 3, 2023

Whitefish Wedding Photographer, Christopher & Nick’s Backyard Wedding

Christoper and Nick were another couple I was fortunate to meet at the My Montana Wedding Expo back in January. They approached my booth with a unique request. They were planning an evening, outdoor wedding. Their timeline guaranteed that artificial light would be needed so they needed to see how comfortable I was working with artificial lighting. Great news, I'm super comfortable with it, it's something I don't get to do as often as I'd like because we get so many hours of daylight here during the summer months—not that I'm complaining—so I was all in.

The wedding was happening in Christopher's parents' backyard, it was planned by family members, and the food was prepared by the families, it couldn't have been more intimate.

Bakery: Ephemera Confections / Couture: Rococo Bridal & Formal Wear / Rentals & Decor: Celebrate Event & Party Rental / Second Photographer: Porsche Jean Photography

November 1, 2023

Montana Wedding Photographer, Rebecca & Bobby at Green Valley Ranch

Rebecca, Bobby, and I initially met to discuss their wedding at Gunsight Saloon in downtown Columbia Falls. It was primarily a vibe-check meeting to make sure we were compatible. You see over and over again on social media that you should get along with your photographer because of all of your vendors, you're going to spend the most time with them on your wedding day, and that is one piece of advice I wholeheartedly agree with.

Needless to say, I felt I had an instant rapport with these two. We only discussed their wedding for about 15 minutes and then proceeded to discuss life in general, snowboarding and skiing, and classic cars for the next hour plus.

They were working with Big Day Celebrations as their planner so I knew the vendor team would be a band of all-stars to work with it, and was eagerly awaiting their wedding day.

As I've said before weather here in Montana can be sketchy in the Fall, but rarely does it stay sloppy all day. Well, this was one of those one in 100 occurrences. It alternated between spitting rain and heavy rain quite literally all day. But true to their laid-back nature, Rebecca and Bobby didn't want to fall back on a 'plan B' scenario for their ceremony and quite literally said "We're going to full-send it" in true snowboarder fashion and it was a beautiful, rain-filled vow exchange in a meadow surrounded by their friends and family.

Venue: Green Valley Ranch / Planning: Big Day Celebrations / Bakery: Mountain Mama's Cupcakery / Catering: Forage 406 / Couture: Mimi's Bridal / DJ: RMF Entertainment / Florals: Conrad Floral / Hair & Makeup: Bridal Bliss by Lana / Rentals: Empress Tents & Events and The Party Store / Transportation: Montanan Trolly Co. and Wild Horse Limo / Second Photographer: Cortney Foster

October 30, 2023

Glacier National Park Elopement, Amanda & Cale

I was so excited to get a message from Amanda telling me she was engaged and that I was her first thought to photograph it! I initially met Amanda when I photographed her with her parents, her brother, and her dog Penny. The elopement was a great opportunity to reconnect with the family and be a part of an amazing sweet elopement.

October 27, 2023

West Glacier Wedding Photographer, Alaina & Harrison at Snowmoon Ranch

I was honored to be brought into this wedding at the suggestion of Empress Tents & Events for this lovely wedding they were planning at Snowmoon Ranch which has an amazing panoramic view of Glacier National Park. We had the absolute perfect weather and a dream team of wedding vendors that made for a night not soon forgotten by anyone in attendance.

Venue: Snowmoon Ranch / Planning and Rentals: Empress Tents & Events / Bakery: Bonjour Bakery & Bistro / Band: The MAC Band / Bar Services: Mavericks Bar & Casino / Catering: A Moveable Feast / Florals: Forage & Floral / Couture: Mimi's Bridal / Hair & Makeup: Bridal Bliss by Lana / Invitations: Paper Muse Co. / Officiant: Best Day Officiants / Photobooth: Pixelated Photobooth Gigs / Transportation: Wild Horse Limo / Second Photographer: Porsche Jean Photography

October 26, 2023

Whitefish Wedding Photographer, Emily & Kyle at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Montana's Fall weather is rivaled only by Spring weather in terms of unpredictability. What you can bet on, is it will be either beautiful, or sloppy (whether that means cold, rainy, snowing, or all of the above.) Emily and Kyle were blessed with the latter, without the snow. It rained a good majority of the evening but gave us enough of a break for some lovely portraits before the wedding after a first look on the dock.

Venue & Catering: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake / Bakery: Ephemera Confection / Couture: The White Dress / DJ: Sidecar Audio / Florals: Elevate Amenities / Rentals & Decor: Celebrate Event & Party Rentals

October 25, 2023

Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer, Emily & Zachary

Emily and Zachary decided to have a lovely Fall elopement in Glacier National Park and secured a permit for the shoreline behind Lake McDonald Lodge. We met up just outside the park as it's often easiest to do so where cellular service is still available, and then proceeded to Lake McDonald Lodge.

After a brief first look right there on the beach next to where the DeSmet launches for its boat tours, they exchanged vows officiated by Emily's Father. Afterward, we traveled along Going-to-the-Sun Road for some epic portraits. As always it's such an honor to play my small part in such intimate celebrations.

October 20, 2023

Whitefish Theatre Co.’s production of “Lost in Yonkers”

Whitefish Theatre Company's first full theatre production for this 2023-2024 season was Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers." This production, it also marked my third season working with the crew at WTC and it's always a blast, even if the material my not be... celebratory. To put it lightly.

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

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