ADVENTURES OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Two weeks ago I up and decided to take a trip to Oak Harbor, WA. My friend Sarah is from there and was going home for vacation. Over coffee one day we thought it would be fun for me to take a couple of days off to visit her. We had thrown around the idea, not sure I’d be able to pull it off with work and finances. I called her up on a Wednesday night ecstatic, saying that I would be leaving the next day. So I packed my bags, bought film for my camera, got my oil changed and headed off on my solo adventure out to the Pacific Northwest.

On my way there I stopped in Seattle to see my friend Steel for dinner, coffee, and a walk around Green Lake Park.

My first day in Oak Harbor was spent at the beach with Sarah and her friends.

The next day our adventures included Coupeville for lunch and ice cream, Deception Pass and Mt. Erie.

On my last day we took the ferry to Port Townsend, those photos will be coming soon!

-All photos shot with Kodak Ektar 100

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DEAR MOM

I love you. I want to let you know that you are doing an amazing job, and I don’t think I tell you that enough. Though we may disagree and argue at times, I appreciate you more than you know. I appreciate the fact that you let me drive you around town to find the perfect park to take photos at because I didn’t want there to be people around, just you and me having some much needed mother-daughter time. Oh, and I can’t forget about Sammi (our Cocker Spaniel) time as well.

As I get older, the more I see you in myself. My sense of adventure, curiosity, wonder, and passion are all derived from you. That ever-growing independent spirit, I most definitely get from you. I’m growing as an individual and learning more about you at the same time. At 22 years old you gave birth to me and it’s interesting to hear what you were like at my age. The triumphs and struggles you had to overcome, and the rewards that followed. I am completely intrigued. I hope the stories only continue to follow.



“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

– Cecil Beaton

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMERALD

Happy 23rd birthday Emerald! From ‘watch me move like my juke’ nights in the dorms to spend the nights and painting our nails in the apartment above your grandparents’ house that I love so much, it has been a whirlwind of an adventure. The list could go on and on of all our memories from the past five years. I can still  remember moving out of the dorms our freshman year, saying our goodbyes then walking down the hallway with my suitcases and boxes as you came running out of your room crying after me. We hugged forever saying how much we would miss each other and couldn’t wait to see to see the other again. We would only be apart for the summer, but after an incredible freshman year of college and becoming so close, a summer seemed like a lifetime.

Summer ended, and we would spend the next two years of college living together, building upon our friendship while making unforgettable memories. Now, here we are, one year after graduating from college, with a friendship that is stronger than ever. You are one of the most beautiful, kind, charismatic and genuine people that I know. Life has thrown a lot at you this past year, but you have only grown from it, becoming more secure in the person you are and are meant to be.  I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of you.

So here is to turning 23!

“Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.” -Lucy Larcom

All photos taken with a Canon AE-1 and Fuji 400H.

ED + LOIS

This last weekend I got the chance to visit my dear friend Emerald. She lives in Helena in this cute little quaint apartment above her grandparents’ house. Living there she has the opportunity to spend quality time with her grandparents, Ed and Lois. While staying there Emerald and I spent some time downstairs with the two of them. Ed is the cutest, most entertaining grandpa I have ever been around, while Lois is very quiet and reserved. After being together for 64 years she just might not be entertained as easily by his jokes as I was! As Emmy and I were getting ready to head upstairs we walked out into the living room to see Ed holding up this huge atlas. He looked up at the two of us and said, “The atlas and the Bible are my two favorite books.” Emmy replied with, “Don’t forget about the dictionary Grandpa.”

I will never forget what was said next. Ed looked up at me smiling, “Oh yes, the dictionary! I was looking around for our dictionary just the other day actually to look up the word serendipitous!”

My jaw dropped as I looked over at Emmy. She went on to tell Ed that ‘serendipity’ was my favorite word and I could tell him the definition. As I told him he said ‘serendipity’ had never happened to him. He paused, chuckled to himself and then said, “Except for once!” He went on to tell the story of how he met Lois. I’ve heard this story a couple other times while visiting Emmy, but I just smiled as he told it again with such pride.

Ed lived in New York City. Lois lived in Helena, Montana. Lois was visiting her cousin Wayne in NYC. Wayne knew Ed. Wayne invited Ed out to dinner one night with Lois and a few other people. The night Ed met Lois, she was actually on a date with another guy. The next day Ed called Wayne up and said, “Is your cousin Lois going with anyone?” Wayne responded no and Ed came back with, “Well she is now!”

I must say that every time Ed says that last line he has the most incredibly adorable smile on his face. It’s his favorite part of the story. One story that I don’t mind hearing over and over again.

TATUM + ISLEY

Just as serendipity has entered my life, the medium of film has decided to curl up and make itself at home as well. And boy have I welcomed it with open arms.

As a photographer, I’m still trying to find my own voice. I’m only 22 for goodness sake. I feel incredibly blessed to even know what I want to do with my life at this age. Blessed by the people who have entered my life and had an impact on both my photography and growth as an individual. Blessed to have the opportunity to keep learning, growing, and continuing on the journey of finding that big voice I know exists.

First step in finding said voice: start shooting film. I was inspired by the thought of  film and continue to be on a daily basis. It gives me a sense of freedom. The kind of freedom that allows me to focus on the moments happening in front of me, instead of checking to see if I’ve gotten the perfect exposure. Moments just like the ones below. Tatum and Isley are two darling little girls that I hold near and dear to my heart. From stories, to dress up, to singing made up songs and laughter that is completely contagious, these girls know how to put a smile on my face and how to make that voice inside of me scream just a little bit louder. 

All photos taken with a Canon AE-1 and Kodak Portra 400.

SERENDIPTY

Jonathan: How’d you find this place?
Sara: I first came in because of the name: Serendipity. It’s one of my favorite words.
Jonathan: It is? Why?
Sara: It’s such a nice sounding word for what it means: a fortunate accident.

Serendipity has been kind enough to make an appearance in my life a lot lately. Mostly in the experiences I’ve encountered with photography. Each event, every person I have met. They are all linked to one another and have lead me to where I stand today. Or where I sit now, in front of this computer writing out my very first blog post. Where do I even begin?

Connecting the dots.

Filling in the gaps.

Sharing my “serendipitous” journey.

Lets not forget some photos in there as well.

That seems as good as any place to start.

It was the summer of 2008. I was about to begin my sophomore year of college with still no idea of what career I wanted to pursue. I needed to find something I was passionate about, something that let me express myself creatively, something that I would LOVE doing for the rest of my life. Photography became the answer.

First step: networking. What better place to start out then with a photographer from your hometown? I emailed Cindy Cieluch in hopes that would she take me under her wing, and she did just that. Cindy and I started meeting for coffee whenever I was back in Great Falls. She became my mentor, I looked up to her in every way. I was inspired. Then she shot this engagement session. I was even more inspired and not to mention completely in love with the building. I wanted to know where it was. Wanted to have some sort of connection with it. I never asked where it was, but every time I was back in town I searched for the building. I traveled up and down alleys, yet never came across it.

Fast forward three years. I graduated from The University of Montana and was about to begin my internship with Cindy. All those emails and coffee dates had paid off! The only thing left to do was find a place to live. I hadn’t had any time to travel to Great Falls to search for an apartment so I sent my mom out hunting. I came across a listing on Craigslist for a studio apartment in the downtown area. It was perfect and just three blocks away from where I would be working. My mom checked it out, approved, and there I had it. My first apartment in which I would be living completely on my own. No roommates, no sister, just myself. With everything packed up, I left Missoula to start a new chapter.

You know those moments in life, the ones that let you know you are right where you are supposed to be?  What happened next was one of those brief periods of time in which I had absolutely no doubt that I was on the right track.

I arrived in Great Falls, pulled into the designated parking lot of my apartment building and couldn’t believe what I saw. The “Serendipity” building. There it had been all along. Just waiting for me to discover it by accident.