2014 Year End Review

2014 was a big year for my photography. Not in the sense that I knocked it out of the park business wise, or did a million weddings, or flew all over the country shooting magazine covers. This year I finally figured out that where I want to eventually bring my full focus is to portraiture of the editorial sort. It’s not something I have a clear plan on, but sometimes the figuring out the how isn’t as important as the goal itself. 2014 also was a bit of an editing shift for me. It was a change in my color editing a little more than midway through the year that still is evolving a bit, but decidedly closer to where I’ve wanted to be than I’ve ever been with it in the past.

This is the second year I’ve decided to post mostly personal work instead of paid stuff. It’s partly because the personal work is what drives me and inspires me the most. There are some shots in here from paid work, but most of these are on my own dime, and that in a sense makes them feel the most like they are truly mine. The other thing I’ve decided to do is to attempt to write a bit about each photo I’ve posted. It may be something long, or just a sentence as to where it was taken or what I titled it. A lot of photos I’ve selected on their own may not be super impressive, but they have meaning to me. Anyways hopefully this will be a little more enjoyable to look through than the lame year end review Facebook had whipped up for me.

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“blackhawks and estuaries” In early January we went down on a little exploration mission in Imperial Beach and explored the area around the Tijuana river slough. It was a surreal experience watching the border patrol helicopters flying back and forth along the border fence. It’s a strange thing for one city to be in such close proximity to another, and yet be so very different.

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Tony and Jeanette were one of our favorite couples from 2014, and I had to post something from their stylish shoot in North Park. North Park is one of my favorite spots in San Diego to shoot, especially for the colorful street art murals.

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“I’ve been waiting to meet you” A shot from a portrait session with Noor. Noor means “light” in Arabic. Noor is an interesting young woman, and even though she was very quiet in our time together I captured a few images from her session that I really like. The weird orange glow around her originates from a high pressure sodium light mounted on the ceiling of the alcove she’s standing in front of. I framed it so she was standing in front of it and blocking it from view, but still bathed in the glow.

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“we all want to be found” Like every year we’ve been in San Diego we’ve hiked Torrey Pines State Reserve a number of times. Every time we go I take a camera and usually wind up with a small handful of images that I like. This particular day the tide was out pretty far and we made it down to the beach much earlier than usual and decided to explore the other side. It struck me that everyone I saw that day seemed to be searching for something. Maybe that’s a universal message.

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“it’s all in your minds” I feel like sunsets (even the most epic ones) are always made better by some human element. Who are they? How do they know each other? What are they talking about? What motivated them to come to this place? Do they see the light and color like I do?

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Joshua Albanese (a photographer I know from Chicago) brought his girlfriend Juliana out to San Diego for a couple of days to get away from the Chicago freeze. This is a very engagement shoot sort of moment, but for me it’s always been more powerful to capture the moment before a kiss than the kiss itself.

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I’ve always believed that love is in fact a conditional thing. Different loves have different degrees of resilience, but all have the capacity to flourish or die. It takes energy put forth to sustain any energy you wish to receive. Not every love needs constant attention – but don’t take any for granted. It may take less than you believe for something important to be washed away.

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A photo of Juliana cheating at trivia. There is a photographer I discovered on Flickr named Seymour Templar who has a series of photos of people in a variety of night time settings all lit from the blue white light of their smart phones. He calls it “the Social Light.” I haven’t stopped being fascinated by this subject since I saw his images. We now almost all universally carry these devices that can facilitate our communication between each other in a variety of different ways. Yet as a society I feel like we are more disconnected than we’ve ever been. This isn’t to say Juliana was staring at her phone the entire time we were with her, just a statement overall on what I have observed regarding our interactions with these devices.

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“your warnings are beautiful” One day we hiked Torrey Pines while it was raining. We were one of the only people up on the plateau. It was such a peaceful and memorable day for me. It was hard to choose a photo that represents it, but I love the color in this one. It’s so clean and green, which is not how I usually experience the Pines as they are typically dusty, dry, and a brownish tint. It’s amazing what just a little water can do.

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On a whim Melissa and I drove out to the western side of the Salton Sea one day to explore a little. The Salton Sea is a strange and magical place. This was taken at Salton City. That day we saw quite a few paragliders buzzing around the shore.

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For me there are few things that can equal the beauty of the pastel hues of the Salton Sea as the sun sets over the still waters.

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A favorite photo of Melissa from the Salton Sea taken with the Canon 45mm tilt shift lens what I had somewhat of a love hate relationship with. Well love for 45mm tilt shifts in general, hate for the Canon version over the Nikon one.

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One day I met Morgan for a little photowalk around San Diego and we saw this very cute Morgan sized door, and I had her stand in front of it for a photo. Note: every photo I have ever taken of Morgan she has been wearing a denim shirt.

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A 15 second exposure on the top of Mt. Soledad overlooking the city. I used to really enjoy doing photos like these, and hardly ever go out and do them anymore. Maybe that can be a 2015 goal.

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I tried my hand at doing a family documentary session with Margo and Nick’s family. Truth told I’m really not much into kids at all, but it was an interesting experience to take a documentary approach to telling the story of a day in their lives. This shot was probably my favorite from the day as they shared a laugh together.

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Jacob our long lost intern from our days in Portland came down to San Diego to look into schools here. He didn’t end up moving which is too bad, I’d love to see that kid escape Portland. But it was good to see him nonetheless. Taken at Old Town after our default Old Town Mexican Cafe carnitas meal we provide all first time visitors.

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I have this thing called “Your Face is Rad.” Basically it’s a business card I hand people with interesting faces that I’d like to photograph. Thus far my only success story with it has been Siri, who I met randomly at a pizza place she was working at in Hillcrest. That said I also rarely hand out the cards, which I should really make a goal of at least giving away all of the ones I had printed off.

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This is from an engagement shoot in San Francisco. Now if I lived as a photographer in San Francisco I’d probably groan if a couple wanted to have their photos taken at Baker Beach, because I bet it is THE spot for iconic portrait shoots. However since I don’t live in San Francisco I was pretty stoked to have this shot in my portfolio.

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A candid shot of Cheriene being weird on the drive to WPPI. We brought her with us to do some styled shoots, which turned out to be a catalyst for my big eye opener to the world of editorial portraiture. Sometimes it’s hard to predict that something as sticking a weird Canadian makeup artist in the back of your vangina for WPPI could really be such a game changer.

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Megan on a boulder at Red Rocks for the first of three styled shoots we did in Las Vegas during WPPI. At this point in time the BAPR was not a thought in our minds, but this was the beginning. It was also the beginning of my friendship with Megan which grew a lot stronger in the months to come.

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I think this is probably the most striking portrait I took at WPPI 2014 of Morgan in a flower crown at Red Rocks backlit by the sun.

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We had a major miscommunication in the timing of this particular shoot and didn’t end up having much time at all. Flash is not my forte, and if Dennis Pike had not been there to lend his expertise I am not sure I would have gotten this shot of Morgan being a fierce telephone pole night tiger.

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One of our roommates for WPPI was Jessica. Cheriene did her makeup one of the nights we were there and I took this in the very well lit hallway of the Wyndham. Flash tricks.

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Skye – a model from Las Vegas lying on the floor of the dry lake bed on one of our styled shoots.

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One of my favorite shots of Morgan, also from the dry lake bed shoot in Las Vegas. All three of those shoots were huge learning experiences in logistics and planning.

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Of all of the photographers I’ve taken photos of, Jasmine seems most at home in front of a lens as well as behind it. This image came from the little Olympus EM5 I carried around most of 2014 at the abandoned ruins of a waterpark on the road to Las Vegas.

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This was my favorite photo at the ruins that day. I posted this on Cheriene’s birthday and wrote the following about the photo and her: “My favorite photo of Cheriene is this one we took on the way back from WPPI in March this year. We were all tired that day, none of us wearing any makeup (not even the makeup artist). I can only personally vouch for myself having showered. We still had some adventure left in us, and we stopped on the way back at this weird abandoned waterpark. Taken on the way out this photo of her was in front of a stark white tree. The tree wasn’t something I could really do justice to with a photo that day, but there was something magical about it. Just being near it to me felt powerful. It was quiet there, just the wind and the occasional car going by in the distance.

Calm silent moments mean a lot to me. The light and shadow were in all the right places. Most of all a it was a small moment of stillness in my very high energy friend. Getting Cheriene to slow down is rare. Maybe that is why this photo feels like the most honest one I’ve ever taken of her. Cheriene creates and enhances beauty in others, but she may not often hear that her own beauty is something that needs no enhancement. So today on her birthday I just wanted to acknowledge that Cheriene is beautiful. I think we get caught up being overwhelmed by what she creates and fail to tell her that she herself has a special and unique beauty. I may never fully understand her thought processes. I may never not be driven just a little crazy by her. But Cheriene – don’t for a second think I don’t appreciate you and who you are. If it were possible to have a sister from Canada from other parents – you’d be mine.

Happy birthday little one.”

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“the blur of the braid” Cheriene and I “strongly encouraged” Jade to have a portrait shoot with us one day in March.

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Our local photography group used to have monthly meetings, after which we’d go to an obnoxiously loud bar and yell at each other conversationally. I forget what Jeff was so excited about, probably winning a round of “What Are the Odds?”

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Sarah takes her shoes off to feel the sand on her toes at Torrey Pines beach. Still bothers me that she hikes in jeans, but oh well.

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If I recall correctly Lindsey had left a comment on Megan’s Instagram, and I was drawn to her profile photo. It was a very Lindsey sort of shot, her blonde bangs swept across her right eye, her left a brilliant shade of blue with a spot of green that I found quite intriguing. I decided I needed to photograph her and a few weeks later she had come down from OC to do this shoot with us out in the woods. Now the thing to know about Lindsey is she’s a fairly modest and reserved person. She had never modeled before or done a shoot like this, and we weren’t expecting her to just be totally fearless and confident. Usually that is something that takes a lot of time to build up. Yet there she was in this crazy bodysuit (totally her idea), being beautiful and strong. She’s inspired me ever since. I couldn’t pick just one photo from that shoot, but the images of her in the bodysuit are the most amazing – and these two are my favorites.

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I loved the light and shadows in this image of Sarah and Gilly from a portrait session we did after their courthouse wedding. First it’s amazing still to me that we’re now able to do legal same sex marriages. What a huge victory for civil rights that I’m proud to have seen in my generation. Second I’ve come to realize that often times the smallest unions can often times be the most powerful.

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On a hike up Iron Mountain we witnessed a helicopter evacuation for a girl who had a bad broken ankle. At that time I only had a 50mm equivalent lens for my EM5, but we still were pretty close to all of the action.

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In 2014 Melissa discovered her love for chicken pot pies at the Chicken Pie Shop (which has been there forever). Here she is twirling her hair and catching up on the internet while we have our short wait for the meal to arrive.

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The day after we wrapped a long two day corporate event in Laguna we were at a Starbucks enjoying CDLs when I captured her being exceptionally cute.

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That same day we decompressed with some of the crew from the event. That’s Marc in the center, our favorite cinema guy from Portland.

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Jenny is Lindsey’s best friend, and we got connected via Instagram and Lindsey. She’s a pretty outrageous human being in general, and photographing her is always an experience. It was tough to nail down a favorite from the shoot we did in Anza Borrego, but I knew it had to be something from her silver bodysuit.

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Maykel Loomans is a guy I met through Livejournal years and years ago. When I first met him he was living in the Netherlands where he is from. He eventually got a job working for Instagram and moved to San Francisco. Ironically I didn’t meet him in San Francisco, but in New York City at the Facebook headquarters. We just happened to both be in NYC at the same time. Maykel photographs all of his friends much like me, so we exchanged portraits that day. Cool guy.

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“make every step rewarding” One of the coolest features of the Olympus EM5 is in camera stabilization. It makes hand held exposures possible at really slow shutter speeds without the need for a tripod like this 2 second shot in Time Square. I really love the motion effect in crowds of people and traffic. This shot was a hidden gem, I was more focused on the action and when I finally got around to processing it the words “make every step rewarding” added a lot of meaning to it.

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“the commute” I took quite a few shots of the subway system while in NYC. Public transportation is something I’ve always found pretty fascinating. All of these people and their destinations. They probably have routine paths but seeing and recognizing the same face on a subway commute is a needle in a haystack occurrence. Who are they? What do they do? What are their lives like?

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Looking down on New York from the Empire State building. We are so small to have thought so large.

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“you didn’t know you were being beautiful” The girl in the star shirt was alone photographing the skyline from the bridge. She had a full frame Nikon that she was carrying by a strap dangling from her hand. Although she probably would have been a great target for thieves I thought her look and movements were something out of a movie. I contemplated giving her a card because I thought this photo of her was pretty cool. It’d be the sort of photo I’d want of myself on my Facebook cover or something. Unfortunately I contemplated that too long and by the time I decided to ask Melissa’s opinion on whether a card was in order it had reached the creepy time cut off.

She’ll just remain anonymous, but maybe that’s the beauty of the moment.

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This is Lacy. She had come to a boudoir workshop we attended to speak about her high volume business model. I was definitely intimidated by her when I first met her, she’s very no nonsense in the beginning and I felt a bit out of place by being the one of the only photographers there who wasn’t really a specialist in boudoir. Plus she modeled the first day and obviously she’s gorgeous. The spot I photographed her was near a freeway and it was actually kind of hard for her to hear my voice in the lower octaves trying to talk her through this new technique I was learning. I’m pretty sure these images were more Lacy’s natural grace than my directing, but I love them regardless. By the end of the retreat she had me thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be in Oklahoma if people like Lacy were your friends. She’s awesome. Talented, intelligent, powerful, and really really funny.

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I spent the first day shooting at this boudoir workshop trying my best to focus just on what we were learning and adopting those techniques. At the end of the shooting day I felt a bit wiped, and I was just about to put the camera away when I saw this pop of color out of the corner of my eye and I envisioned Lynn there. It was getting a little cold, and Lynn being dressed pretty minimally seemed appreciative that I wanted her to be wrapped in the blanket completely. Possibly not so boudoir-y of a shot, but maybe the intent of longing came out in it. It was something different.

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This is a shot of Jenn Williams after we wrapped up shooting the first day of the Modern Love workshop. She was in the front seat of the vangina and when I pointed my camera at her she spontaneously scrunched up and got adorable. In of itself it was just a candid little snapshot I would have expected to have happened with someone I had known for a long time. Not from my bigshot boudoir idol (and big is figurative – Jenn is pretty much Hobbit stature) who I’d just met a few hours prior. As it turns out Jen and I have gotten to be pretty good friends, and she’s amazingly down to earth. This photo made it as her profile photo on Facebook for awhile and that was the moment I knew I had arrived as a photographer.

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I got a lot out of this workshop, not just in learning techniques that resonated pretty deeply with me – but in connections that I was able to form with the attendees. One of those connections was with Shelby, a sassy smart mouthed Oklahoman photographer and model who works for Lacy. Lacy had trained her as a photographer in a matter of a few months. To go from ground zero to being a pretty talented portrait photographer is something I still can’t quite wrap my brain around. Shelby has a confidence in how she approaches everything thing that is something my ever cautious self instantly admires. She’s the perfect partner in crime to Lacy, and the two of them were quite the pair. She’s someone I think I’ll know a long time.

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“repeat: I am free.” This photo became my favorite from a shoot in the desert that later became the precursor to the Badass Photo Retreat. The BAPR beta test. I wrote a fairly extensive bit about it on my personal Facebook page which you can read here. I’ve learned a lot about this struggle since then, and it’s deeper and more far reaching than what I wrote that day. But I will always be endeavoring to understand.

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“heavenly” Just Lindsey being impossibly beautiful. Shot with 45mm tilt shift at the Salton Sea.

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“where one thing ends another begins” There was just something magical about the light that day, the perfect amount of haze, clouds, and energy. This was the photo that came out of the BAPR beta that had other photographers wanting to come with us on the next one.

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“young and beautiful” Starting to shoot for specific emotions this year has totally changed my approach to portraiture.

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“at your most beautiful” I’m not sure I can take a more beautiful photo of Lindsey. Just not sure if it’s even possible.

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Morgan being long legged and retro in Palm Springs.

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The desert mountains around Palm Springs, the light becoming magical, and the girls looking small and distant.

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Megan has big hair, and we began a tradition of making her the girl we put weird things in her hair during photo shoots. I couldn’t not have a beer can hair shot in the best of the year.

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Palm Springs sunsets with all of the wind turbines are one of the most beautiful and surreal views in the California deserts.

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2014 was a year of inner circles, and one of the biggest scores in friendship connections was being invited in to be close to Ali. A wrote a bit more extensively on the sort of person she is on the night of her birthday party here.

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Mari is a model I met through Model Mayhem who was looking for some photos of herself with her then current shade of fire engine red hair. There were quite a few images of her that I liked that day, but I think I loved this one the best for the genuine candid nature of her smile. I forget what she was laughing at, probably something inappropriate that Cheriene said.

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Jasmine was someone I discovered through my photographer friend Jasmine. Confusing right? Jasmine via Jasmine. While initially talking to Jasmine I could see how some might dismiss her as being a little “out there” because she is so deeply spiritual. But she combines it with this amazingly genuine wide eyed curiosity towards life that I find incredibly endearing. I have often said that she is most calming person I have photographed, and I still think that’s true. She’s like a deep breath.

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Megan is probably the deepest connection I’ve formed with anyone through photography this year. I don’t have any siblings, but I imagine having a little sister would feel a lot like the bond I feel with her. She’s special to me, and I wrote a lot more about her and her visit to San Diego a few days before she moved to Colorado here. This photo was my favorite from those couple of days.

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We did a wedding down in Rosarito this year, which was the first experience I’ve had driving through any portion of Mexico in many years. This particular rock formation was at the hotel we photographed the wedding at. We had gone down the day before to scout everything out and just make sure we could get in and out without major difficulty. During the scouting run I photographed this spot, but on the actual day of the wedding I was able to get back there at a much more magical time of the day and this shot was taken.

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I’m about halfway through this year review and I’m realizing that I’ve actually met more people through Instagram than I’ve realized. I’m not sure what led me to following her Morgan’s Instagram, but eventually we transitioned from Instagram friends, to Facebook friends, to in person friends. She’s become one of my favorite new people in 2014. I still think Morgan is prettier than any photograph I’ve taken of her, but this is the closest one to what it feels like to be in her presence. Again, denim.

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One of my favorite wedding images in 2014, Nick and Brittney kissing spontaneously below the love marquee at their reception.

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I had never met Lisa until WPPI earlier in March this year, but she’s another one of my inner circle victories in friendship for 2014. Hard to even put into words how good of a friend she is, thoughtful and sincere. I had only managed to get one photo of her from WPPI and it wasn’t the best of the best. So at one of our parties this summer while our partygoers gazed at us from a distance in confusion, I had her up on my garage roof where I took this shot.

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One day Melissa and I decided we were going to circumnavigate Mission Bay. It’s a much longer walk than we thought. I’m always really fascinated by people who fish, especially in bays or other waterways that to me just wouldn’t be the logical choice in capturing a healthy fish for the purpose of eating. Of course you can always counter they are just doing it for sport, which I also find strange and curious. Possibly because of my grandfather who fished avidly. It’s an interesting aspect of living in a city with a water culture.

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Our friend Tori attempting a cheerleading move at Torrey Pines in which she subsequently injured herself. I can’t imagine that the pain she endured as a result of doing this stunt was worth it (she had a neck injury that she made worse), but I figured the photo should make it into the best of review to somehow make it worth it?

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Geneva and Bob were probably the nicest people we’ve ever met and shot a wedding for, which is quite a statement since we’ve shot weddings for some pretty nice people. Although it’s totally not uncommon to have weird weather on wedding days it’s always unfortunate when people from areas like Boston are here for a destination wedding and they get a less than California experience. This was a fun night shot we did right before the very end of the light that day.

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One of many favorite images in 2014 of Torrey Pines.

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I don’t think I could ever live somewhere that did not have easy access to the ocean. There is just something spectacular about the sun dipping low in the western sky.

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Jasmine came over one day for a little photography lesson and ever the model herself wound up sitting on top of my garage being majestic.

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Heather is special. She’s a former bride from Chicago who I developed a pretty strong bond with because she used to work for a news station and had a really late night shift and was on Facebook A LOT. She doesn’t work there anymore so it’s safe to make that public. The key to being close to me is often just being available to chat late into the night, because the night is where I’m at. We had drifted apart a little over the course of time and not conversing as much, but she decided to come and visit us in San Diego and we had so much fun with her. Heather is an absolute perfect house guest. She’s super independent and has a fearless adventure streak in her. She was not at all put off by our weird overly commercial neighborhood and just did her own thing while she waited for the Mitchells to wake up everyday. It’s just great to have a friendship that can survive and flourish over both time and distance.

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Every year I tend to do a small handful of high school senior photoshoots. Isabelle was my favorite, and she photographed so well and naturally. I think I was instructing her to audition for a hair commercial in this shot.

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Melissa and I went on a scouting missing to Borrego Springs one day. It was miserably hot and full of bugs that seemed intent on flying directly into your nose and ears. We had actually been out there to photograph some metal sculptures and I had intended on staying out there until the light got really good. However there really is nothing in Borrego Springs and with the bugs and miserable heat we quickly decided to pack it in. I did however get this one shot of the mountains that I absolutely love, so that made it worth it.

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After the Modern Love workshop I was all amped to eventually start a boudoir business. It lost a bit of steam but it’s still something I want to do more of. It’s a hugely rewarding thing to photograph, and although I think an eyebrow is always collectively raised when it’s a male photographer doing it when it’s down for the empowerment of a woman it always makes sense. This was the first session I shot this season post workshop with a woman who was not a model and it was awesome.

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Nikki actually found me on Model Mayhem. I mention that because while I have found a handful of good humans on that site, usually it’s been me seeking them out. We nicknamed her the chameleon. She arrives before a shoot looking like a cute bundle of nerd, but gets transformed into a mega model goddess. In addition to just being gorgeous, she’s a total dream to work with. She has a sweet and quirky personality and is just a pleasure to be around. I count knowing her as a major victory in 2014.

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I took this shot of Jasmine in the warm glow of a restaurant we were celebrating her birthday at. Then I wrote this novel on Facebook about her.

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Back in late 2011 we were on the brink of ruin. I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but things were pretty dire for us on both a financial and morale level. The move to San Diego was much needed, but it was a last ditch effort to hang on to this whole photography as a full time career thing. We reached out to a lot of people before our move in efforts of networking. Not surprisingly few responded to our outreach, but one person that did was Jeff. He didn’t tell me that San Diego was an oversaturated market or that we were leaving a great place – he just welcomed us in. The first networking meeting I attended he gave me what I came to discover is a patented Youngren hug (they are huggers the Youngrens), and introduced me to a plethora of great photographers that all became our friends. He’s done a lot for us in 2014 both in being supportive and getting to be a closer friend. So this shot which I have entitled “Magic Jeff” which seems appropriate for the sort of magic he creates.

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In September I did a shoot for a woman who had gone through a rough patch of her life and for the sole purpose of a self esteem boost had wanted some nice photos of herself. It was an illustration of exactly why I want to be a photographer, and the impact it can have to people’s lives. She was a ball of nerves throughout the early parts of the shoot, but by the time we were finishing up she had relaxed enough to give me exactly what I wanted – and I got this shot.

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This is Earl. He’s my favorite tree at Torrey Pines. I named him awhile back, and I’ve photographed him every time we walk the trail he’s on. The challenge is to do it in a different way than I’ve done it before. This shot was my favorite of my tree in 2014. I titled this shot, “with this darkness all around me” after a line in a Peter Gabriel song.

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“I’ll forever look at them differently because of you.” I have a friend who thinks her spirit animal is the pigeon. The overlooked bird that no one thinks anything of. Ugly and unwanted, dumb, common, anonymous, but always a resilient species that survives in numbers. While she is a survivor she is the furthest thing from being like a pigeon. And even though I know that she isn’t a pigeon, it’s still important to acknowledge how people feel. So now I look at them differently.

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“a sliver of life in the night” A shot of a street taco spot in Tijuana at night.

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Ashley and Wes rocking a sunglasses at night shot. A fun shot, but boy do I need to work on my flash skills in 2015.

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A candid moment with Ali at taco Tuesday one day that captured her spirit perfectly.

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A day or so before the Badass Photo Retreat kicked off we got Megan and took her out on the roof for some portraits to test out some lighting modifiers. Lisa happened to come by and I borrowed her new Nikon D810. The autofocus instantly convinced me to go back to Nikon. And doesn’t Muffin look foxy on the roof?

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The day we arrived to the BAPR in Indio we got this epically ominous and inspiring sunset. It was a great way to begin what I think was the true highlight of my 2014.

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“breathe the desert wind” Breath became hugely important to me in 2014. This image of Nikki was one of my favorites.

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Jenny. Jenny’s abs. Joshua Trees. The wind.

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The light and the emotion. Megan has been through a lot. The tribal look we did with the girls was probably my favorite and Megan’s hair complete with the coyote tail was truly epic.

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Jasmine using sage to cleanse the world, one photo retreat at a time. This was an awesome moment to surprise her with something she loved and to get to take photos of it.

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At the end of shooting on day one of BAPR we brought out some sparklers. This was my favorite shot from that series. You wouldn’t know that she was sitting indian style in the middle of the road.

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Nikki in an alcove on Salvation Mountain. Still so much to explore.

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“purple heart”

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“corridors of color”

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“forever is the open sky”

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“the spirit of softness”

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“go towards the light”

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“the war between the sea and the sky”

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“standing together” I believe this spot in Torrey Pines is called Flat Rock. It’s a great area for silhouettes as it is often backlit with people up there exploring the views.

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These two images were taken a few days apart. But I love that this woman has a spot that she watches the sunset from.

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“passing by”

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An image from an Trish and John’s engagement session at the embarcadero. Every time I’m in that area I’m reminded of seeing Yanni in concert.

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We’ve had some pretty epic sunsets this year, and while I think I already post too many of them this was one that caught my eye. It was taken with my Olympus EM5.

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Cheriene forced me to do some Christmas card photos of her and Ryan this year. The funny thing was that I had to force them to do this one “serious” shot which ended up being the one they chose for their card. Art won!

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In 2014 I started doing yoga with Melissa, and it became kind of a big deal for me. Later I met Nikky randomly at Torrey Pines and ended doing a photo session with her on Halloween doing yoga poses at Crown Point. I think I’ll photograph more yoga in 2015.

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Siri and I reunited for more photos, this time I shot an entire portrait session on the EM5 as a challenge to see if the little camera was capable of delivering. It was.

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Jules came into our life via Ali, and this year we’ve gotten close to her. She’s a huge asset in terms of both friendship and business support. I did a headshot session for her all over downtown one day and this was my favorite shot from that series.

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I really do love and appreciate living on the west coast. This shot came from a photowalk I did with Lisa, since we both have EM5s.

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A street scene from downtown San Diego. I’ll always be impressed how hard people will work to just make it in the world.

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We took Jasmine to Torrey Pines one day and as we walked on the beach back towards the car both of us simultaneously spotted this woman near the water enjoying the view. I took it as a sign that creatives think alike.

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One of the shoots I am most proud of this year is an all black and white shoot we did in the sand dunes of Glamis with a model named Beth. My idea for the shoot was to portray the photos of Beth in the white outfits as strong and powerful, and the photos of her in the black outfits to be sorrowful and vulnerable. I really love everything about that shoot. It would have been impossible to explain it with just one photo.

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Jules and Melissa’s reflections in the ceiling of a place we met to discuss Jules’ future help working on our website.

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At the end of 2014 I was admittedly a bit burned out on weddings. Everything seemed to be so focused on little details and the elegance of the location rather than the emotions of the people getting married. This little 3 hour elopement we shot renewed my love for what I do with weddings.

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In November we switched our camera systems back to Nikon, to shoot with the D750. Melissa had never had a rooftop portrait done from my garage roof (epicenter of all great portraits apparently), so with just a few minutes of daylight remaining we went up there and I took a few. This was my favorite.

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I shot a portrait session with Jasmine in her neighborhood to further get used to the D750. We happened upon an old bank of telephone booths, one of which actually had a working phone in it. You don’t see that anymore.

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I have a friend who has been in trouble for as long as I’ve known her. Things seem to have gotten progressively worse as time as passed. I took this moment sitting up high on the cliffs of Cabrillo that there is always a hope to be found in life.

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Reno (left) and Rebecka (right) are two models I recently test shot for BAPR. Both are friends of Nikki (unsurprising as she knows every model in San Diego), and both were super amazing to work with. So excited for the future of BAPR.

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Lindsey AKA White Cobra, AKA 4 Lane Slaney, AKA Lemon Tush drove down to attend Mitchellfest and hang out with us in San Diego. She of course got a rooftop portrait.

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Sadly it rained the night of our Christmas party, but I did set up one light to take weird photos of our guests. Luckily the Youngrens never back down from a weird photo. I bet Erin is still wondering why there was a mug with her letter on it in our cupboard.

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Lindsey enjoying the ocean view at the lower tidepools of the Cabrillo National Monument. It was a good day.

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For our last hike of Torrey Pines in 2014 I just brought a D750 and the tilt shift lens. It was a good call.

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Even though I’ve got a zillion sunsets in this year’s review I felt it was a good thing to go out with one at the end. There will be many more to come, and that human element is what makes our time here so much more interesting and better. 2014 was an interesting year. Funny how the the older I get the more I feel like I am at the beginning.

Ali Meza - I just spent literally 30 minutes staring at every photo and reading every caption. And I’m about to do it all over again. Photographs are the perfect medium for you to communicate, and I love your little captions too. Happy new year, Josh. My life is so much better because I know you.

Lauren Nygard - Beautiful, Josh!

Lisa Conrad - I have so much love for you and this post. Everything about it is beautiful.

Megan Amanda Hatcher - Dead. these were all so beautiful. i love you so much

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