Looking back on 2018, it was a pretty dang good year!
January started out with a feature with the new program, Lensbaby Artists and Makers. It never fails me to see my name associated with this company, and I'm so excited to be heading to Vegas to work with them this February at WPPI! Stay tuned for more on that!
February was a quick month, but it also was the release of the Lensbaby Burnside 35 lens. I was lucky enough to be one of the beta testers for this amazing lens! You can read about my experience with that lens in Taos, NM, a portrait session with Sydney, & at the print shop.
End of February and into March I spent in Tallahassee with Dallas to watch Addams Family. Because he was still in school, I spent my days either walking around Tally seeing some sites or spent time working at Dunkin Donuts fueling my love for their coffee.
Xanthia, Dani, Joey, & I decided to tour our own little town and see what hidden treasures we could find. Roswell is always full of surprises!
This year I decided to move the free photos for first responders to spring just for the fact that it made more sense that doing them in the fall during my busy season wasn't the smartest idea. Another year of successful sessions and meeting a bunch of wonderful people!
Also posted this blog which soon became my most popular informative blog of the year.
May was the month we had been looking forward too for a while. First, my baby turned a year old! She is full of spunk, love, hate, and bites. I'm so happy Dallas convinced me to bring her home and give her a place in our hearts. Jasmine has truly been such a joy in my life. Not to mention she looks so much like her mama!
And then our summer vacation began! Hawaii here we came!
Watched many beautiful storms and captured this beauty!
July was a huge month for me and my career! I finally took the step and quit my full time job at the print shop. It was time and I needed to see what I could do on my own.
...and it was the BEST DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE.
I also lost my very first pet.
And lastly in July, Dallas and I headed to Washington, DC for the Kennedy Center Intensive. While he spent his day's learning and immersing himself in theatre and the art community, I ventured out into the streets and experienced as much of the culture as I could.
Blog coming on that soon.
I even experienced my first photographer meet-up and met several creatives that I feel like I could reach out to anytime I'm back in the area.
I also found a lady that allowed me to photograph her for a new Lensbaby campaign. I'm not sure she realized what she signed up for, but her face is now all over the website and social media blasts. If you're reading this Mel, thanks for coming out after less then 12 hours of meeting me to model and help me out!
And just because... STORY TIME! The photo on the left of the US Capitol building I shot around 8 in the evening. I learned very quickly with my family that once I've been in a place for too long, it's time to move because there is always more to see... or i'm in the middle of the street with oncoming traffic. I had only been at the Capitol for maybe 30 mins getting some pretty shots when I realized I was done. I got the shot I had come for, but I wasn't ready to leave the National Mall because I had just spent $20 on an Uber to get there. My bright idea. Oh I can turn around and walk to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. It doesn't look too far and I have my phone flashlight and charger. I start heading that way. I didn't need my map because it's right there in front of me. So I head towards the big monuments. TWO & A HALF MILES LATER!!!! My out of shape tush and blistered feet are drenched in sweat still trecking towards these stupid things with a thunderstorm warning flashing on my phone. It doesn't see like much while i'm writing this but it felt like a long way to walk alone. in the dark. at like 10 pm at night. I finally make it to the Washington monument with a bunch of old people getting off their tour bus walking SOOOO SLOWWWW. I'm just like MOVE OUT OF MY WAY. ...I was a little tired & slightly cranky... I do my couple photos and continue on towards the Lincoln Memorial. I realize that I still have to walk the length of the reflection pool after I get this BEAUTIFUL shot you see here. I made my way to the Lincoln Memorial and just sat for a minute to enjoy the beauty of what was in front of me.
Around 11:00 pm, I HAD NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY TO GET INTO MY UBER AND HEAD BACK TO THE HOUSE.
August was another super busy month. From Dallas going back to Florida to my busy season with seniors and our first gallery opening.
Florida was as hot and humid as ever but we got Dallas moved into his new place, found all his furniture in the dumpster across the street and found out that his neighbor mows their yard at 6 am on Saturday's... It was another crappy semester of being apart but thankfully technology allows us to facetime and see each other whenever we could. This semester he will be doing the play Mr. Burns Post Electric Play and next year, a show that has been on his bucketlist for awhile, In the Heights! I'm so proud of what he's doing and achieving!
This year I totaled over 50 sessions in 4 months and met so many amazing people! Ya'll are truly what keep me going and living my dream.
August included another fun Lensbaby release of the Sol 45 that I was able to beta test while in DC and with one of my seniors! You can read the senior blog here.
I think September was probably my busiest month with traveling, sessions, workshops, etc... At the beginning, my parents and I headed to Dallas, TX. We stayed with my brother and within the week my dad flew to Oregon to see my grandparents and I headed to attend one of my bucketlist workshops. When Hunter announced that he would be doing another Bonnie & Clyde workshop, I knew I had to be there. I waited the morning tickets went on sale and within 10 minutes, they were sold out. I was so excited to be heading to Shreveport to attend his workshop. You can read more on that here.
After that whirlwind of trip, I headed back to Dallas to attend the Pinners Conference with my mom for a second year. I learned new techniques for my handlettering and ate too many macaroons.
Heading back from Dallas, we got the call that one of my cousins, Jason, had passed away from a car wreck.
I love and miss you Jason.
And lastly, to wrap up September, I had my first solo gallery opening titled Motion Captured featuring a series of my dancer photos. These girls are champs with my crazy ideas and I'm forever thankful for letting them photograph them in crazy settings!
You can read the story behind the show HERE & the article about the show HERE.
October was mostly filled with session after session. A few highlights from October: • Dallas went through another hurricane. This time was worse then the last one as it went right through Tally. • I learned a lesson in always signing any artwork that is sold to another person and even in the midst of distrust and unnecessary rude posts, to stay positive and let things go that don't matter... We all go through it and I guess it was my turn. • And lastly in October, my parents, Dani & Joey and I headed to the Lantern Fest in Albuquerque to fulfill a bucketlist goal. Not to mention, I got to live my dream of being Rapunzel from Tangled.
November was another full month of sessions. We also planned another trip to Dallas for Thanksgiving this time and went to a Christmas light park.
I also got to work with several different small businesses to create this beautiful Gatsby inspired images. You can see more photos from that session HERE.
December included a few sessions. But the most exciting part, DALLAS WAS CAME HOME! This long distance thing sucks and as soon as he was here, it felt like he was gone. We spent the holidays with my family and shoved our faces with sweets and yummy food.
A few random things that happened throughout the year!
Achieved my goal of seeing 3 new shows with my theatre babe!
Caught up with some old friends.
Went to a couple concerts including The Swon Brothers, Us the Duo, Joe Nichols, & Jason Mraz.
Dad received a prestigious award for being AWESOME in what he does!
Scared the shit out of my mom multiple times. You can see all of them here!
Met with these amazing women to document their strength and gave them a place to talk about what they had been through. To read their stories, click on a name below.
And the month after I did those photos, Click Magazine announced their Voice collection for Photos of the Year and wanted people to send in their photos for each category. Over 48,000 entries and multiple judgings, I received the magazine in the mail and Cecilia has a beautiful two page spread as well as be on display in the gallery at the Click Conference in Cali in the category of Strength.
Possibly the coolest feature was the US Capitol instagram!
Won a photo contest with this beautiful photo of Sam for New Mexico Dancewear!
Let's talk about everything Lensbaby from this year! I honestly can't say enough amazing things about this company. They have pushed my creativity and allowed me to share my love and passion for the world of storytelling. "Our passion is the imperfect" is one of their manifesto's and reading this over and over has made me realize that I can create for me and that nothing has to be perfect in what I CREATE. Nobody can create YOUR art and being your own individual artist is what everyone should strive for.