It's hard to believe that 2016 is already over.
Photographically speaking 2016 was a year of quantity - then quality. In January, I was just starting to stretch the legs of my newest camera body (a Canon 7D Mark II). I knew that the best way for me to learn and better myself was to get out there and shoot. A lot. So I developed a little resolution: I would take my camera out at least once a week and practice.
I applauded myself for this challenging goal. The year before, I'd completed my resolution to run over 650 miles. Surely I had time to use my camera once a week! In practice, this was much harder than running 650 miles. Some weeks, I just flat out didn't do it. But in the weeks that I did get out and practice, I was able to explore some fantastic corners of Kansas City, and the world.
Across 2016, I practiced new styles of photography, improved my editing skills (thank goodness), challenged myself in new ways (thank you to KC Fashion Week and Sporting Kansas City for the opportunities!) and, above all, saw improvements in my work.
2016 was a great year of building my portfolio. See some of my favorite moments and memories in the galleries below. And cheers to even more improvement in 2017!
Freshly motivated by my New Year's resolution, I hit the ground running in January. The cold couldn't even deter me; I just took the camera inside to the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
February saw surprisingly warm temperatures, which meant more time outdoors for me! From Lawrence, Kansas, to Jamaica, this was a great month.
In March, I really challenged myself for the first time when I signed up to photograph an evening of KC Fashion Week at Union Station. This was the first time I photographing an event where the subjects and timeline were completely out of my hands. There were some definite learning curves along the way (first and foremost: eat before a photo session!) but I came out the other end proud of my attempts and more prepared for the next challenge.
Ah to be back in New York :) There is so much for the camera to capture. I loved having the opportunity to re-capture old favorites while discovering new ones, like the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design.
May was full of new challenges, from misty days in Los Angelese to fireworks filling the night sky.
After a fun-filled June weekend in Washington DC with friends and nothing but a wide angle lens , I was ready to tackle night photography again. This time, I was far less disappointed with the results.
In July, Sporting Kansas City was kind enough to grant me a media pass so I could photograph the straight from the sidelines! The experience was exhausting from start to finish - photographing sports is quick and difficult! Once I dug through all of my photos I can't say I was overly impressed with the results. But that's what learning is for, right? Hopefully Sporting will let me come back again in 2017 to prove myself.
What's the logical thing to do during the hottest month of the year? Take four nicely dressed women outside and photograph them for three hours! Despite the heat, I held my first portrait session this month with my friend Hayley! This was an awesome opportunity and I was surprised how much I enjoyed posed photography.
Late in the summer, Vince and I beat the heat on our friends' sailboat. Usually I get horribly seasick on any sized boat, but the evening winds out on Perry Lake were calm enough to keep my sickness at bay just along enough for me to capture a few photos of the evening.
In September, I (with Vince's help) lugged three camera lenses and my not-so-light camera body al a four-day hike to Machu Picchu. With the help of gear from Peak Design, I was able to easily carry my camera on the front of my backpack so it was ready at a moment's notice for any shot. I love all of the memories I've captured from this beautiful country.
October was a month lots of new adventures (including a long weekend exploring the beautiful Park City, Utah) and some old traditions. In the third week of the month, I photographed the BOTAR Ball weekend for the second year in a row.
Last year when I photographed this event I was tremendously inexperienced (hello white balance?) and so nervous about screwing it up. I was their only photographer last year, and that's a lot of pressure for an amateur! This year, I was amazed by how much more prepared and confident I felt going into the weekend. I decided to try my hand at practicing more of a storytelling approach this year, and I loved some of the results!
This month held many adventures near and close to home. We started out the month with a weekend trip to Portland, Oregon, for the first time. What a beautiful part of the country! Our favorite part of the trip was visiting the Portland Japanese Gardens. Those are 100% worth the entrance fee if you ever visit Portland.
My second big adventure in November was photographing my first ever engagement session! Drew and Brittney were absolute troopers on our little adventure through the Crossroads and the Nelson-Atkins Museum Sculpture Garden. I had the best time photographing them and capturing this wonderful time in their lives. They definitely inspired me to photograph more couples and portraits!
The final month of 2016 was by far the coldest, but that didn't stop me and my subjects! My friends Sean and Veronica and their pups braved 27°F weather for a (very) quick Christmas card photo session.
Vince and I also took a short trip to Hermann, Missouri, to explore their local wineries. Our favorite stop was Stone Hill Winery since we got to take a private tour of their historic cellars. Our guide was super informative and very patient with me as I roamed the caverns with my camera.
These past 12 months of photos tell so many stories, from the struggles of hiking in Peru, to the hot summer days of DC, and all of the little adventures Vince and I had in between. But the other story they tell is that of my photography skills.
From January to December I look at these photos and see progress. I see a steadier hand with editing tools (finally!). I see stronger composition. I see happy faces smiling at me and at each other as I captured beautiful moments in others' lives.
And most importantly, I see a year of me doing something that I love: exploring the world through the lens of my camera.
Happy New Year to you! May 2017 bring you as much joy - and more.