As usual, I step into the New Year feeling as though 2018 flew by quickly, but when I look back through the last 365 days I find that most of the moments I shot over the last 12 months seem like ages ago.
I read an article that states that our observed passage of time is linked to the amount of new information we absorb. For instance, when we’re young, everything is new and therefore our perceived time slows down to allow our minds to process this new information. As we get older, we settle into routines that lack new experiences and therefore aren’t learning anything new, and so time seems to fly by. If that’s the case, this year must have been full of wild new adventures because I truly feel like I’ve lived at least four different lives in the past year, each one growing and morphing from one phase into another.
It started with a job in eastern Africa. My buddy and forever mentor, Ian, invited me to join the Janji crew for a two-week shoot in Uganda. What unfolded was the most in-depth tour of a country I have ever experienced coupled with scouting and shooting fifteen awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets. It was a pretty sweet trip.
When I returned, I hunkered down for two weeks and finally finished the van. I’ve honestly never been prouder of myself for finishing such an massive project and it is without a doubt my greatest accomplishment to date.
I took a couple small producing jobs when I returned from Uganda, but the shoot really made me think about how I wanted to prioritize my photography work. When another month long producing gig came up, I decided to pass in order to keep my schedule open for work that I really wanted – a risky move financially, but one that paid off. I ended up booking a few more photo gigs, ones that I wouldn’t have been able to book if I had previously signed on to produce. I like to think that this seemingly simple decision is ultimately what opened a lot of doors to the work I was interested in for the rest of the year.
In April, I returned to Moab and met up with my brother to revive the Earle Collective. Over the next few weeks, we raged deep into the remote corners of the desert and put together another film — “Ringlock Ranch.”
I spent my first spring in Yosemite. The climbing was minimal due to a persistent shoulder injury, but I continued to take advantage of the trails and elevation to keep in shape and ended the season documenting Alex and Tommy nab the new speed record on the Nose.
I returned to Chamonix for the month of June. My sister got a job in Geneva and we planned a lot of running adventures while she transitioned into her new life abroad. I also hung out with the Patagonia trail running team in the Dolomites and shot photos for them while their athletes and designers tested new products.
My brother got married in Salt Lake City and we celebrated with all our family and friends.
Before I knew it, I was flying south with the Janji crew for another shoot in Bolivia, followed immediately with a small expedition into the Cordillera Huayhuash of Peru with a team of athletes for Eddie Bauer.
I returned to the States totally exhausted after three months of traveling and non-stop shooting. I was super thankful for the work and the experiences, but was really excited to hang out in the van and lay low for a while.
That didn’t last long. No sooner had I unpacked from the three pervious trips than I found myself boarding another plane back to Chamonix to crew for my sister in the Monte Rosa 100k – an awesome spur of the moment decision and a chance to play in the mountains with my favorite person once again.
I returned to Yosemite for the rest of the fall. If anywhere feels the most like home these days, it’s the valley. While everyone else around me raged on big walls and focused in on their projects, I settled back into a low-key routine and slowed down after a crazy summer. It felt so good to be back. The weather was perfect, acquaintances turned into life long friends, and I ran the most beautiful 30-mile loop up into Tuolumne by myself.
It was definitely a year of window seats and layovers. I flew to five continents and visited eight countries, the last of which was for a shoot in New Zealand. All of my biggest clients this year were outdoor brands, yet each shoot was so remarkably different. It was really cool to learn how to shoot with different people, personalities, and workflows.
I also discovered surfing this year. With the help of a small underwater housing for my rx100, I dove headfirst into the most addicting sport. Also water is so much fun to shoot.
Finally, I wrapped up a year of travel with a final trip to Chamonix to play in the snow. The skiing was good for about a day, but then I got the flu and was pretty wrecked for the rest of the week. I slept a lot though, so here’s hoping I go into 2019 well rested…
I like looking back through the year this way — through photos. It’s fun to dip back into these memories, reflecting on every single day with a snapshot. It becomes a lot harder to pass judgment on the year. I hate labeling a year “good” or “bad.” It just was, and it will always just be another year.