Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Backward, Looking Forward

2011 has been an interesting year, to say the least.

Since a lot of blogs I read have been doing retrospectives, I thought maybe I would do mine too.

First and foremost, I have to admit that I lost the ability to keep up with project 52 towards the end of the year. With everything else I had to do, I just forgot to work on it. I’m looking forward to a personal project with less of a deadline next year. Any suggestions?

I was sure when I sat down to write this that the words would come spilling out. But instead, it’s a slow twisting motion to wring them from my heart. In some ways, I feel like I’m holding these memories close to my heart because I’m afraid if I share them, I’ll lose them. That is the silliest thing ever because I picked up a camera to be able to show other people the way I see the world.

I think I’m just going to pick photos that meant a lot to me and explain why. No rhyme, no reason… just staring at captured memories and remembering why they meant so much to me.
2011 sparklers


I didn't shoot much in January but I distinctly remember this. January was kind of a fight because I felt so sick and so scared. But I chose to take my camera and listen to "Swim" and take photos. This is the moment that prepared me to fly to Salt Lake City to meet (and photograph!) Jack's Mannequin.


construction site
My first success at 'street' photography. I saw the perfect composition and it was a race to get my settings right and get the shot before the moment was over. I think this is one of the first times I realized how much I can do intuitively now.
Mai-Kai fire dancers 2
We went to Mai-Kai for my father's birthday. When it was time for the fire dance to be performed, an announcement was made about how flash photography was forbidden for the dancers' safety. While everyone else put their cameras away, I adjusted my settings accordingly (bumped the ISO, opened my aperture, and guessed at a shutter speed to capture light trails without overexposing) and captured some of the most amazing shots of the year.


March was a month of highs and lows. I had heart surgery, but I also had two awesome adventures.

My friend Corbin came down for spring break. It ended up being the weekend of my surgery so his visit was not at all what we thought it would be. But he loved the airboat ride and laying around, talking for hours. I enjoyed getting to see one of my favorite people in person.

Epcot pixie topiary triptych
Epcot fireworks
I also went to Epcot in a wheelchair. I still haven't fully processed all the feelings I have about that trip: how it felt to be invisible or looked down upon by random strangers, how important it was to the Disney staff that I have a good time, the way my friend Erin cheered me on and helped me plan my adventure accordingly... It's taken me nine months to even share a photo of me in the wheelchair with you. We'll just say it was important and leave it at that.


spinning beauty 8
This was my fully thought out first conceptual shoot. I started out doing it as an assignment for class but it grew into a big passion project of mine. I love the idea of exploring the darker side of fairy tales. This may become one of my back-burner projects for the next few years or so.

I photographed the Bar Mitzvah of a family friend. Whenever I see these photos in my slide show, I have a moment where I still can't believe that I took them.


golden hour grapevine
Not every memory has to be a monumental moment. This is from a quiet night where I ran outside to capture the golden light.
Mattie Jim wedding 03 diptych
Laumeier sculpture park portrait
I went to St. Louis to photograph Mattie and Jim's wedding. I recommend you read the original blog post.
smokestacks and skylines
sunset over Atlanta
And so begins a trend of taking photos out airplane windows...


MODS fish tank bedroom diptych
I was invited along on the Cub Scout sleepover at MODS as the official photographer. I ended up sleeping in the coral cave. (If you look carefully in the photo on the left, you can see a sleeping bag.)

I photographed mom's Bat Mitzvah. It was crazy and hectic and stressful, but it was worth it. And it came together beautifully.
Everglades Holiday Park peacock square
A peacock from Everglades Holiday Park, just because.


July 4th fireworks diptych 6
I love the Fourth of July. I just love fireworks, period.
party diptych 7
I photographed a second birthday party for a shy little girl.
baby naming 8
The day after Hayden's second birthday party, I photographed her cousin Lu's baby naming/first birthday. I love this photo because it's Lu, but also because it's the first time I played the "trust me, I'm the photographer" card and exceeded my expectations for myself. Also, window light and pancakes are amazing. That is all.
Layla wedding diptych 2
This is Layla, my best friend from preschool, dancing at her wedding. Her smile in the photo on the right was worth everything.


rainy walk manual comparison 3
This is the first time I compared manual mode to program mode and realized how much work my camera does for me (and how wrong it can be sometimes).
baby Liam 1
baby Liam 5
Preston diptych 1
I photographed my friend Kat and her sons, Preston (toddler) and Liam (baby). I love photographing her family because a) I love them and b) they let me run the show and do whatever.
project 52-33-sea turtle release
I got to go to a sea turtle hatching release and it was AMAZING! No flash, no flashlights (except the red ones)... and somehow, I got this.


60 second self portrait 4
I got a job. It kind of cuts into my shooting time but I like it. And, I look somewhat professional.
I think I'm going to remember 2011 as the year I started shooting manual.
Fort Lauderdale beach diptych 5
I love the autumn sunlight. On the beach. Because I live in South Florida. And just because it's there.


accomplishment fortune
This photo itself isn't what's special; what it symbolizes is. I took a HUGE leap of faith and flew out to Salt Lake City for a little over 24 hours to photograph a charity event/go to a concert with Aunt Terri/feel alive again.
Jack's Mannequin meet and greet 2
Yes, that is Andrew hugging me and talking to Aunt Terri. He was so genuinely happy to have a chance to meet with everyone in the group and was so surprised that Cancer Wellness House had survivor flags in his honor (which were presented to him). I'm tearing up again trying to write this. (The original post was a tearjerker too.)
Jack's Mannequin sound check 1
They let us stay for sound check and I took pictures (which are now framed with my signed poster).
Salt Lake City 8
Salt Lake City snow hands
Aunt Terri drove me up into the mountains so I could play in the snow.
airplane window diptych 7
airplane window diptych 9
The first time I saw snow from the air. Hopefully not my last.


engagement ring
Doug and I got engaged.


winter concert 4
winter concert 16
Brotherface impressed me with his cello solo at the winter concert. I also photographed the first time orchestra, band, and the choir performed together. It may or may not end up hanging in the band wing.
Hanukkah cookies 8
Hanukkah cookies. One of my favorite family traditions. Need I say more?

What next year holds

-Tonight, Team Sandcastle is hosting a Rock Band New Year's Eve party. I also may toss together a 'photo booth'.
-I'm shooting a wedding in October.

This post has taken me three hours to write and I'm still not sure it accurately expresses the year but it will have to do. If I want to make memories, I need to step away from the screen.

See you in 2012.

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