The past 365 days have been filled with great professional growth and many personal firsts. I became a college graduate and celebrated my fifth consecutive year photographing both The Arnold Sports Festival as well as The Kentucky Derby. I also experienced the hardships and culture shock of working and photographing in a developing country while in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
At the end of May I returned from Port-au-Prince and took my talents to South Beach for the summer, interning for The Miami Herald. There, I developed my skills at double-dipping: With my Nikon D3 on one shoulder and a video camera on the other, I learned how to balance shooting both photos and video while on the same assignment. I became the versatile, "Swiss Army Knife" visual journalist I set out to be. While in Miami I had the opportunity to ride an alligator, photograph Major League Baseball for the first time with the Marlins, as well as shoot the Dolphins football training camp.
At the end of August I returned home to Louisville, Kentucky, to figure out what my next adventure would be. After nearly a month I got a call from my current editor Angela asking me to move to the Pacific Northwest to intern for 16 weeks at The Seattle Times.
After a daunting 35 hour road trip, I made it to the coffee capital of the world and quickly fell in love with the city. Between the breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and the supportive, hard-working staff at the paper, I already know it will be difficult to leave. Since September I have been able to cover the Seattle Sounders win their first ever MLS Cup, as well as the rollercoaster presidential election and the ensuing protests. With the latter, I also had my first experience being pepper sprayed.
Flashing back to the images I made last year and comparing them to this year, I noticed that I am not the same photographer as I was. My vision was there, but in 2016 the execution of what I had in mind was much faster, cleaner and just better overall.
So, thank you 2016 for laying the groundwork to making 2017 another incredible year.