Like a trucker in line at a gas station in Flagstaff, AZ once told me, ” Hey kid, I have candy in my car. ”
Is that relevant to this post? No, actually, it’s not. But sometimes slightly traumatic things happen that you need to tell someone about.
Once, during an all night drive across Wyoming, I stopped in Sheridan to get gas at a Mighty Mart or whatever the flip it was. I was buzzed out of my mind on no sleep and a few 5 Hour Energy shots. (They don’t work. Really.) I’d just spent the better part of 4 hours driving from Casper, WY, which is technically only supposed to take 2 hours, but not when you’re driving at the speed of butt, dodging all the deer and antelope that decide to play on the highway at night. I’m in love with the Toyota Prius I drive. I really am. But it would lose in a fight between it and squirrel if you’re going faster than 5 mph and hit the squirrel. It would total the Prius and the squirrel would walk away laughing. And so I drove excruciatingly slow that night.
To surmise, I was stressed out. I wanted to get gas, coffee, and to hit the Montana state line and leave the deer and the antelope to terrify someone else. And I walk into this gas station, around 3 in the morning, and behind the counter was an Indian man in his late 60’s, thick glasses, horrible comb-over, slightly pudgy, gold chain around his neck, with what looked like Don King living on his chest. I’ve never understood the whole…leave 4 buttons of your shirt unbuttoned and show the world your massive amounts of chest-poof, but hey. To each his, or God forbid….her, own. So I’m walking towards this guy, trying to process what I’m seeing, and I realize the guy is singing. Like, full on, bobbing his head, singing with the radio. He and I are the only ones in the gas station. And right as I get to the counter, he looks up, smiles at me with a mouthful of gold teeth and belts out in an extremely thick Indian accent ” I’m…too sexy for my shirt….too sexy for my shirt….so sexy it hurts…”
He then picks up an ink pen on the counter, extends it towards my face, microphone style, and I did the only thing I knew to do in my stressed out, slightly terrified, completely exhausted state.
I sang with him.
“And I’m…too sexy for Milan….too sexy for Milan…New York and Japan”.
Two complete strangers, Wyoming, middle of the night, singing one line of a ridiculous song together in a gas station. He kept singing as he took my cash, handed me my receipt, and I left.
If you were hoping for a meaningful tidbit of inspirational drivel from me, I’m sorry. You’ll have to find that elsewhere.
This past year was full of crazy incidents such as the one mentioned above, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences of meeting random people in random places for anything. It’s honestly a huge part of the reason that I detest flying. I have no interest in quickly getting from one point to another. There’s way too many things to see, people to meet, discoveries to find along the way.
I have no idea how many miles I traveled this year. I stopped counting midway through at around 35,000, and then forgot to keep track. It was a lot of beef jerky, bottled water, and not enough In-N-Out Burger. But it was also a lot of really great memories. I’m sure some will come out on the blog eventually, or if you’re crazy enough to hang out with me for any amount of time, you’ll most likely hear a few then as well.
One thing I regret is not stopping to take enough pictures of my surroundings, wherever I was. The majority of what I do have is from hanging my iPhone out the window and taking pictures of whatever I was passing by at the moment. I’m going to try to work on that this year. The very few I do have that were taken with an actual camera I really enjoy, and so I’m sharing a few of those with all 4 of you that read my blog in this post.
The following is a completely random assortment of personal shots that I love, and one each from a bridal session, a wedding, and an engagement session that stuck out in my memory.
1. 3 am, side of the road, outside Salt Lake City, Utah. This was more me trying to stay awake and get out of the car for a little bit, then turned into a long exposure shot. Thought it was kind of cool.
2. This was from a friend’s impromptu engagement session in Nelson, Nevada, right outside of Las Vegas. I know I ramble about Borrowlenses.com a lot, but this session wouldn’t have happened without them. The day before this shoot I had absolutely no gear with me. I made a phone call, and by the time I got to Vegas, there was a box full of gear waiting for me. This is one of my favorite sessions. Sincere thanks to the BL crew and my friends for making it possible.
3. From the same session, and probably my personal favorite of the year. I have no good explanation of why I love this shot so much. It was snapped mindlessly as my friend turned to listen to me talking about the next few shots I wanted to do. And while I’m sure there’s ten million technical things wrong with it, it’s one of my favorites.
4. From one of the last weddings of the year, in the Florida Keys. The lighting that I wanted for the shot was only attainable, at least for me, at long exposure times. Which, thanks to the couple enduring my endless requests to hold completely still, we were able to pull off and get this shot.
5. From a bridal session outside of Destin, Florida at Eden Gardens state park. Beautiful bride, beautiful background. Loved the shot.
6. Lightning shot from outside of Hays, Kansas. Probably one of the only times I’ve ever been excited in Kansas, but I’m kind of a freak for lightning shots.
7. From a camping trip to Big Sur, California during one of the road trips on that side of the country. One of my all time favorite places to be, and more honestly the one single place I actually felt myself relax and breathe this year. It probably helps that there’s absolutely zero cell phone reception there. It also probably helps that the camp store sells beer. But that’s a story for another blog post.
8. From the same camping trip, while briefly looking for a four- leafed clover. I instead found this one.
9. An attempt at a panoramic shot of San Francisco, California. Alcatraz Island being on the top left. I make no claims of being any kind of landscape photographer at all. These are again personal shots I wanted to share, so forgive the imperfections.
10. Somewhere along the California coast, an attempt at a long exposure shot. Bottom right of the photo is a beach party complete with bonfire, lights of the traffic going by above.
To all the clients and friends that made the entire past year possible, many complete and sincere thanks for the hotel rooms, the dinners, the drinks, the couches to crash on, and endless love and support along the way. There’s absolutely no way any of this could happen without you.
I wish all of you the greatest of love, joy and success for this year.