Some Highlights along my Journey...
A little background on how I became an elopement, wedding, portrait (and food!) photographer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
My early days at gymnastics.
Playing in the ocean at the Jersey shore with my cousin Kellie.
Skiing with my father and brother in New England.
Getting some quick champagne-cork-popping instructions after winning my first career World Cup at Deer Valley Mountain Resort. This was an especially sweet personal victory as I had missed the previous two ski seasons rehabbing from back-to-back knee surgeries (while simultaneously completing most of my business degree from Cornell University.)
Exactly one year later, walking into the opening ceremonies at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games was one of the most emotional moments of my life. It is hard to describe the intensity of the energy, the hopes, the dreams, and the potentiality that is contained in that stadium when all the athletes and coaches from around the world file in to the thundering applause of the fans. I took one step into Rice-Eccles stadium and burst into tears. For that one night of the Olympics, there are no winners or losers, no contracts or prize money, no MVPs or media favorites. Instead, it is as if the whole of humanity has somehow collectively won, and I can not think of a more beautiful feeling.
On a month long self-supported bike tour with friends on the North Island of New Zealand.
Traveling with my husband Jeff, everywhere from Moab to British Columbia to Burning Man and beyond, in our "Spaceship."
I love getting to experience first-hand places that I grew up learning about only in my school textbooks or through stories and pictures. Being in the presence of great historical wonders makes me stop and think about all the people and cultures that came before us and ponder the smallness of my existence. I love the incredible way it has of putting all my cares and worries into perspective seemingly in a single instant, and how my photographs can tap me right back into those feelings. When I look at the photo of the sun rising behind Ankgor Wat, I am transported back to that slightly cool, moist early morning and the feeling of peace I felt watching the sun dramatically color the sky as it greeted another day. I can almost hear the monks off in the distance chanting as they file into the complex for their morning prayers. Witnessing the first rays of sunshine hit Machu Picchu I remember a similar feeling of awe and reverence as I reflected about how the Incas managed to build their stone city on top of this remote mountain 9,000 feet above sea level over 500 years ago, and how many mornings someone just like myself probably watched the same early morning sun illuminate the city from the very spot I was sitting.
While rowing through the floating slums of Belen, deep in the Peruvian Amazon, the local children came running out of their homes to see us. This particular boy gave us quite a show, dramatically diving into the water and swimming right up next to our boat to give us a closer look. I don't think many "tourists" opted to visit the slums, at least at that time. It was a highlight of my 6 weeks touring through South America.
These are two of my favorite photos, both taken on our "Engagemoon" in Sri Lanka. An hour before scurrying along this path to this little boy’s village, I was perched on the back of a motorcycle speeding past endless fields of rice paddies, coconut trees, and water buffaloes. On a whim, Jeff and I detoured from the main road to check out one of the island’s iconic lighthouses. From the galleries at the top, many hundreds of stairs above the ground, we could see a small cove off in the distance with a bunch of energetic children splashing about in the water. It looked like a perfect respite from the mid-afternoon heat and sun so we scrambled down the lighthouse steps. A handful of minutes and a few dead-end streets later, we pulled our bike up onto the beach and slipped into the cool, crystal clear water. These adorable children were happily playing with old pieces of styrofoam and trying to stand on them as if they were surfboards. It wasn’t long before we became the main entertainment of the afternoon for the extended family gathered there. The kids excitedly circled us, practicing their classroom English phrases and intermittently giggling and hiding behind one another. And then before we knew it, we were being ushered up this narrow path to one of their homes, for hot cups of sweet milky tea. These are the types of unexpected magical encounters i love so very much about traveling!!!
One of my all-time most memorable and delicious meals was warm goat cheese drizzled with homemade honey. It was made by the cutest little family of artisan cheese makers. High up in the Corsican mountains, far from cilvilization, they lived in this small stone cabin and tended to their herd of goats. Jeff and I sought out this place while camper-vaning around Corsica on our Honeymoon. As we slowly spooned miniature bites of the creamy cheese, we snuggled up, sipping hot cocoa and coffee, and looking out at a waterfall cascading down from the surrounding jagged Granite peaks... and watched the goats wandering around too, of course.
The ceremony was by far our favorite part of the day. I was adamant about having an unplugged ceremony and it is hard to express how powerful it was to have (almost) all of our favorite people surrounding us and giving us their full love and attention. It still takes my breath away thinking about it. Our first dance was another highlight and was incredibly romantic as Jeff twirled me around the dance floor in the dimly lit tent to "At Last" by Etta James. (Photos from our wedding by my talented friend Heather Nan.)
In 2019, we embarked on our biggest adventure yet when we welcomed our little Khyber Samurai into the world. (Photo by Sofia Jaramillo.)