I was so fortunate to be included in this wedding at the summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort. Norman & Tyler had a small wedding with 70 of their closest friends and family who experienced a gorgeous day where clouds and rain stayed in the forecast the day prior and returned the day after. As you can see that was absolutely not the case during the ceremony. Instead of traditional formal wear, they wore traditional philippine barongs wich injected real color into the proceedings and made it difficult to deliver too many black and white photos because the colors were just so great.
While they're regular visitors to the area due to familial ties, Debra and Christopher were planning their wedding day from the East coast. Naturally, in the best of scenarios, this can make planning and coordinating a wedding without a planner difficult. And when a permitting snafu scuttles plans for a wedding in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park you're forced to fall back to a plan B. Of course when your fallback is family land on the shores of Lower Saint Mary Lake, your plan B is better than many people's plan A!
From getting ready, the first look, the wedding ceremony, and then a family hike in the Two Medicine area the day after the wedding, I really got a chance to get to know both of them and their children, and it couldn't have been more fun. It is so humbling to be included in such a special day.
This multi-generation family portrait session was big helping of "it's a small world after all." If only because many of the individuals either grew up or still currently live in Austin, Texas, which is of course where I moved to Montana from. Odd that it would take a cross country move for me to meet people who live less than five miles away from my old address and other parts of Austin I frequented in my youth.
I'm fortunate that Northwest Montana isn't just a destination for weddings, but also family vacations and reunions. And one of the absolute best parts of being a photographer is it provides me the opportunity to meet such awesome people from all over the country.
The Flawn's were staying in Bigfork at Sentinel Pine, a beautiful rental with a neat history on Swan Lake and it was so fun to hang out with them for a couple of hours grabbing family portraits as well as candids as they enjoyed lake activities.
When I first met Kathryn for coffee at Coffee Traders to discuss the possibility of photographing her and Justin's wedding I had to really try to contain my excitement. While I wasn't able to meet Justin ahead of time, here was an awesome couple—both of whom are pilots—and the plan was for Kathryn to arrive at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake in a floatplane. How cool is that?! Seriously, in my mind, I was almost thinking "Can I pay you to photograph your wedding? Because this is something I have to do." Thankfully for my own personal livelihood, it didn't come to that and last month, despite gusty winds threatening to scrap the most epic bride's entrance ever entirely, the evening ultimately went off without a hitch. Congratulations to Kathyrn & Justin, thank you so much for including me in your special day, I had a blast with everyone.
I was contacted by the Fenoglio family to join them out at Finley Point in Polson to capture some family photos as a surprise gift for their mom. And I'm so glad they did! They were predominantly visiting from Colorado, so they were no strangers to how awesome the Rocky Mountains can be, but they got to experience the Northern Rockies and all they have to enjoy. We shared lots of laughs, jokes, and I can't believe I get paid to hang out with amazing families on vacation and document the occasion for them.
The nice thing about engagement sessions is it gives me a chance to meet the couple face-to-face. And after Kelly and Adam's session, I feel like we're old friends, and I can't wait for their intimate wedding at Adam's dad's house next year. We spent a couple of hours exploring the shores of Flathead Lake in and around Somers and Lakeside on the Northern part of the lake. They're such a fun couple, and Adam's dad is really turning his yard into a truly unique and beautiful venue.
Congratulations you guys, we'll pick up this party where we left off next summer.
Kelly's hair and makeup were done by Raj Salon in Kalispell.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, I had the opportunity to work with and learn about the non-profit Shining Honor Project Shining Honor partners with local organizations that serve adults with developmental challenges to provide job training and employment through a program that sees the participants clean and restore the headstones of our nation's veterans and their families.
This particular event took place at Glacier Memorial Gardens in Kalispell and featured Montana Congressmen Steve Daines and Greg Gianforte, as well as a representative from Jon Tester's office.
This impatient tiger probably enjoys handing out candy as much or more than actually trick-or-treating, but we didn't get too many takers. Probably a combination of damp weather, and the several community-wide events that may have burned out the kiddos—and parents—prior to any neighborhood trick-or-treating.
I was lucky to receive a "last minute" email from Eric days before he and Holly would be venturing into Glacier National Park for several days of hiking, where he was planning on popping the question. Even better, I got the email the day after their final hike proclaiming "She didn't say no!" and the reason he requested she bring a dress on a hiking trip was made clear. We met up early on their final morning in Montana for a quick engagement mini-session and they couldn't have been more sweet, friendly, and fun to work with. Congratulations to you Holly & Eric and thank you so much for letting me document your Glacier engagement.
I don't think I could've asked for a better couple to share a wedding with for my first "Montana Wedding" than Jaimee and Gavin. From our first correspondence to their wedding day, they couldn't have been sweeter, or more welcoming. It was soon very clear myself and the rest of the vendors were going to be treated as if we were guests of the wedding, so the initial rain that threatened to put a damper on the evening quickly became a distant memory once it stopped, giving way to a beautiful ceremony and one breathtaking sunset to close out the night. Congratulations Jaimee and Gavin, and thank you so much for including me in the evening!
Last week I had the distinct pleasure of capturing a surprise vow renewal ceremony for Kathy & Robert on their 50th anniversary. They're children put everything together, writing the vows and each taking turns as the officiant. The weather was perfect, the setting at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake provided an amazing backdrop, and they were all the absolute sweetest people you could ever want to meet. We could all be so lucky to share such a life of adventure with someone for so many years, and to have such a wonderful family to boot! Congratulations on 50 years Kathy and Robert!
Living in a new state, in a new city, lends itself to some very definitive “firsts” for myself and my family. This year was I got to experience my first Whitefish Winter Carnival and several of its related events including the Skijoring competition a week prior, the penguin plunge—benefitting area Special Olympics athletes—which I hope to participate in next year, and the Winter Carnival Parade.
Having never grown up in a small town this sort of community event is reasonably foreign to me. It was really fun to see everyone really get into the event, have people you actually know be in the parade itself, and to run in to people you know from other activities in the course of your daily lives.
The Winter Carnival is loosely based around an area mythology involving nordic deities, yetis, and the encroachment of man on wilderness areas. Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards served as the guest of honor this year—the 70th anniversary of the carnival—with the theme of "fly like an eagle."
Last August—as you may have seen—my family and I took a long road trip up to Whitefish, Montana to spend about a week in the area and visit Glacier National Park. Well long story short, we couldn't help but fall in love with it. The people, the businesses, the weather, just about everything really. We loved it so much in fact, that we decided to seriously consider making the move up there! But there was one catch, my wife doesn't particularly care for the cold, and had never really experienced true Winter having grown up in Texas. And while I predominantly grew up in Texas, I originally hail from Illinois, and spent a couple of years going to college there. I love the cold far more than I do days above 100 degrees.
So what to do with this idea? We decided to spend a large chunk of January in Whitefish to see what it might be like to live there in the depths of Winter. And you know what? It was kind of awesome. Below are a handful of photos I took during our stay, as well as a hastily edited timelapse of the drive to Glacier National Park.
So what was our verdict regarding trying to make the move? Stay tuned!