If you head west from Austin, pass through Dripping Springs and go all the way to Fredericksburg and then keep going west, you’ll end up in Kerville. But if you drive a little further, you’ll pass through the little town of Hunt and then find yourself in the deep, true Texas Hill Country. You’ll also find yourself at Mo Ranch, a camp along the towering banks of the Guadalupe. After the long drive, arriving at Mo Ranch for Audrey & Mitch’s weekend of wedding festivities felt like an escape from reality: beautiful views, canoes, water slides, and little to no cell service. But while it might have felt that way for the guests and myself, Audrey & Mitch already live a life that is adventure and travel. They don’t need to escape because exploring interesting places with the people they love is normal. Maybe we should all aspire to make our weekends (and weekdays!) so vibrant that wedding weekends can be a continuation of a life we love already.
I could not be more proud to be sharing the music video I made for Free the Honey‘s song, Take Me Home. Having zero video experience, I knew this would just be an experiment, but what a glorious experiment it was! To create a visual story to accompany their enchanting song in one of the most gorgeous places in the hill country was a dream. It may not be perfect, but I’m still overjoyed with how it turned out. I can’t wait to do another music video, so let me know if music makes your heart come alive and you want to share that with the world!
As 2015 turned into 2016, my dad led our group of friends and neighbors in a version of Auld Lang Syne that mostly involved the first two lines and a lot of indistinguishable humming. I always treasure that moment of transition, because it feels like we are joining centuries of people before us in celebrating a new year, but also mourning the passing of the previous. 2015 held beautiful adventures with beautiful people and I loved spending time remembering the moments that made me feel alive. I created beautiful images, climbed mountains, witnessed devastating storms, grieved the passing of precious friends, fulfilled a childhood dream of cheering on the US Women in the World Cup, explored my ancestor’s hometown, told incredible stories, rejoiced in my second wedding anniversary, petted/tried to pet many cats, enjoyed my family (including my inlaws!), and witnessed the glorious creation of a gracious God.
In December last year I did something a little crazy. I bought a plane ticket to Baltimore and flew there for a one day workshop with Nessa K & Sara Byrne. That’s a long way for a short time, but every penny was worth it. Nessa & Sara weren’t there to hold our hands and tell us to dream big, they were there to help us be the best photographers and business owners possible. Both women are insanely talented photographers, but what struck me the most about their workshop was their honesty. They shared their knowledge, experience, and wry sense of humor with us in Nessa’s exposed brick studio that she shares with my other favorite photographer, Sam Hurd. After four years of documenting weddings, I needed the kick in the pants to take risks and stop being lazy. As nerve-wracking as it was, my favorite part of the (12 hour!) day was when they did critiques of our most recent blog post. Even as an extrovert who doesn’t mind being in the spotlight, that was terrifying. Their honest and kind critique, in front of 12 other phenomenal photographers, reminded me that growth isn’t a bad thing. Failure shouldn’t end with shame, it should precede progress. If I’m not willing to look at my work critically, how can I get better? I’m so thankful for Nessa & Sara’s input, encouragement, and bravery in choosing to be real with us. It would have been much easier to preach an inspirational message and let us carry on, unchanged. So if you’re looking for a workshop that doesn’t challenge you and just gives you lots of warm fuzzies, don’t attend one of their’s! But if you want to talk about Wes Anderson, the magic of light, and seriously grow as a photographer and business owner, please be crazy like me and fly across the country to wherever their next workshop is!
P.S. Here are some photos from our jaunt into the chilly streets of Baltimore!