I went to Cambodia last month for an epic photography trip, and then continued on to Thailand afterward to have some more fun, because heck, I was already in Asia anyway, and life is short! (You can read about the Cambodia portion HERE.)
Thailand was completely different from Cambodia, but equally wonderful in its own way. It was me, two close friends, and an entire country to explore with almost limitless options. We started in Chiang Mai, rode a few elephants, visited a famous temple on Buddah Day, caught the end of the Flower Festival, and thoroughly enjoyed the city, the shopping and the food. From there we continued to Koh Samui, experienced the craziness that was the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, spent a day sea kayaking at Ang Thong Marine National Park, and then head back to the mainland briefly to hike and canoe in Khao Sok National Park before finally ending our journey on the beaches of Koh Phi Phi. We flew out of Phuket exhausted, sunburned, but feeling totally alive and refreshed.
Thailand. Was. Incredible.
This trip reawakened ALL of my passion for adventure. That wanderlust I try to ignore but that never goes away. Every day was unpredictable and I loved it that way. We met incredible locals and world travelers alike while exploring some of the most stunning natural scenery I’ve ever seen (it even gave my New Zealand trip a run for it’s money – especially Khao Sok). It’s so hard to explain in words, so pictures will have to suffice. Here are a few of my favorites, in random order. I hope I can return one day. And if you ever get the chance to go… just do it. Seriously. I was so so intimidated of visiting Asia before this trip, but once I got there I realized it was 100X better than I had ever imagined. So real. So rich in culture and beauty. So awesome.
It was his birthday. They stood atop a cliff in Pacific City, wind rippling through their hair as a wild, moody ocean crashed below them. Sea birds called from above. The Oregon Coast surrounded them with all of its raw beauty.
That was the moment when Sean asked Anna to be his wife.
Of course, she said yes, because she had known all along that Sean was the one. For almost 5 years. Since the moment he told her he loved her in 2009. Since he gave her a promise ring in 2010. Since he became her adventure buddy, her favorite person, her best friend.
We took their engagement photos on freezing cold winter day in Sellwood, but somehow it felt perfect anyway. There is a peacefulness between these two. A sense of calm that comes when you 100% know the person you are with. I had a fantastic time working with them and getting to know them, and I cannot wait to shoot their wedding in a few months! Congrats you two!
Cambodia enveloped me in a hug that smelled like incense. Sweet and smoky evening air filled my lungs as I hopped onto a tuk-tuk and set off into the city with a few strangers that would be soon become my best friends. We passed through crowded, dusty streets filled with the noise of motorbikes, cars and people laughing in languages I couldn’t understand.
It wasn’t a postcard. It wasn’t perfect. But oh my gosh, was it beautiful. Cambodia has this authenticity to it. The people, the villages, the cities, the history. I felt safe there, and genuinely welcomed by the Cambodians I had the privilege of meeting. Never have I been smiled at by so many kind strangers before.
I only spent a week there, but it changed me. I had never planned on visiting Cambodia until I signed up for Bobby Earle’s Raddest Photo Trip Ever when I heard about it on Andria Lindquist’s blog. Was I doing anything in February? Nope. Was I all in? Yup.
So, not only did this country astonish me, the people who were with me did too. I learned so much about understanding the simplicity of happiness, staying true to oneself, new business ideas and photo tips, and so much more that I can’t even begin to explain here. Every day was an adventure. Tuk-tuk rides at dawn and dusk, playing with children in remote fishing villages, exploring temples, goofing off with monkeys, drinking 75 cent beers, having really meaningful conversations about life, and of course, taking tons and tons and TONS of photos. Because when you get to hang out with Bobby Earle, Nick Radford and Andria Lindquist for a week straight, not to mention 15 other incredible photographers, you get inspired.
Like, really inspired.
Sooo, here are some images. I took so much more than this, but if I don’t post a few now, I might never get around to it. So here goes. In no particular order. Enjoy!
(PS- I visited Thailand for two weeks after this trip and I’ll be sharing those photos soon in a separate post!)
I drove up to Seattle, Washington a few weeks ago to take Kristin and Michael’s engagement pictures around the city! They are SUCH an awesome, down-to-earth couple and we had a blast exploring Volunteer and Discovery Parks. I cannot wait to shoot their wedding in Cle Elum, WA this summer!
Carmen and Joe met in Switzerland while they were both studying abroad from the same school in Washington.
She’s now in the US Navy stationed in Japan.
He works for an international hotel company and is on the road hundreds of days out of the year.
Travel isn’t just for fun – it’s a way of life for these two.
For that reason, I never got to meet them until I photographed their wedding on the last weekend of December. However, I did get to spend the entire next day with them alone, exploring the beauty of Seattle and the forests in Northern Washington, helping Carmen get back into her wedding dress in a campground bathroom, chasing sunlight and snow and mist.
Their wedding was beautiful and special and I’ll hopefully share it at some other point if I get the chance. But this day-after session was perfectly THEM. Wandering and playing and exploring. So I’m posting it first.
Congratulations you two!
It was Thanksgiving.
Chris was with ALL of Justine’s big family at the dinner table.
As part of tradition, each person went around saying what they were thankful for. Chris went last.
He started to tell them all the ways he was blessed. And how incredibly grateful he was that Justine was in his life. How thankful he was for her.
And one other thing.
If she would be his wife.
“Every single female family member was in tears,” Justine told me, as she recollected one of the happiest days of her life.
As you can see, this couple is adorable.
I met them for the first time during this session as we road-tripped through the gorge to take some epic engagement photos on one of the most perfect winter days I’ve ever seen. It was my first shoot of 2014 and I could not have been happier than to spend it with these two kind-hearted, down-to-earth people in one of my all-time favorite places!