2015 is coming to an end so I thought it'd be a good idea to go back and share some of my photos I've taken this year. The only problem is that I don't really know which ones to pick, because I have this bad habit where I get annoyed with the photos I've taken after I'm done editing them. So how do I go about looking through my archive for 2015 and pick the ones worth sharing? I've shot over thousands of photos this year, some personal, some for actual work and I can probably name a couple off the top of my head that I really, really liked but for the most part I'm not a big fan of looking at my work again. So this is going to be challenging, but I think I can do it. This year especially has been very trying, but also very rewarding. I've changed so much as a photographer and as a person that I've experienced so much growth than I have before in a single year. It's a strange feeling but I feel like I'm really starting to come into my own as a photographer and starting to hit my stride. Compare this year to previous years when I was shooting, the progression I've felt is different this time around. I actually feel like I've made significant strides compared to just saying I have and I think it's been showing in my work. At least to me I see a difference in my material I shot in January compared to now and for the first time in a long time, I'm actually excited about what 2016 is going to bring me.
We'll start in January. The new year has come and I only had one thing on my mind: Photography. A good place to start is the pond hockey tournaments here in Minnesota, the US Pond Hockey Championships and the North American Pond Hockey Championships.
USPHC especially is always a treat for me to shoot and is still one of my favorite events to cover. For 2016 my time at the event is going to be a little short but I'm still going to make it out and do what I can to cover it because it's still so much fun to shoot.
Fast forward to May, I was planning on going to Nashville, TN for a paintball event but since it was cancelled I made it a vacation. After Nashville, I went to Joliet, IL for Living Legends at CPX Sports.
June, I went to the new National Xball League's very first event, the NXL Great Lakes Open.
I never told anyone this, but I'm fine with sharing it now. After I got home from that NXL event, I was scared. I was scared that I was going to just be a paintball photographer and that's all I was going to be when it came to photography. I love paintball and wish I could still shoot it but for my actual photography work I had always wanted more even when I first started out. Some people still enjoy shooting paintball and want to keep shooting it, and that's fine. I just always saw paintball as a stepping stone for me and something that was a good introduction to sports photography. So when I got home, I was scared. For the rest of the month I would go to bed thinking about what my future was going to be like without photography and without something to work for. I had a lot of self doubt and had a feeling that I was failing myself big time because I've had so many people tell me that pursuing sports photography wasn't realistic and it wasn't going to happen, and it made me feel bad that these people were potentially going to be right. Once July rolled around I said to myself "No, not today" and started submitting my work to media outlets yet again, which is when I got an email back from Icon Sportswire and I became a contributor. I've had low points in life, who hasn't, but that whole month of June after I got home was the 2nd lowest I had ever felt and I consider myself incredibly blessed with the opportunities I now have.
July was a month of doubt (until the email came) and invigoration. I tried my hand at something new, BMX and baseball.
After that, you skip ahead to October and over the span of October to now, it has been pedal to the metal for me ever since. I started covering the Minnesota Wild and have covered them almost exclusively the past couple of months. I've experimented with my shots, I've gained more skill with how I approach shooting games and how I actually shoot games, and the behind the scenes stuff such as editing, captioning, etc I've gotten so much better at as time goes on.
Looking back on it and just back on my career, I have so much to be thankful for and I have so many people that I'm thankful that have impacted my life, both positively and negatively. Sometimes I feel like I'm on this journey alone but when I do get the chance to sit back and think about things, it's not just me here. I do this work because it makes me happy and I still have fun with it, but mainly I do it because I don't want to let myself or the people that have encouraged me throughout the years down. People I've just met, people that I've known for the longest time, they're always in the back of my mind when I'm shooting.
Here's to 2016.