End of Year Highlights 2023

End of Year Highlights 2023

Another great year has come to an end, and I’ve got a whopper blog post roundup as usual of all my 2023 highlights! Also, I told myself I wouldn’t bother this year with a highlights blog post. But here we are, I’m making it happen because I truly had so much fun this year and wanted to relive it!

2023 in Numbers

  • 37,329 Photos taken on location
  • 9,626 Edited images delivered to clients
  • 101.5 Hours spent photographing
  • 1,399 Miles driven
  • 89 New bird species spotted (life list number 470)
  • 19.4 Miles hiked (with clients)
  • 17 National Parks (12 were new!)
  • 17 New Photography Awards
  • 14 Happy Clients
  • 12 New 5-Star reviews
  • 11 States visited
  • 6 Flights
  • 5 Nosebleeds
  • 4 State parks
  • 3 Elopements officiated
  • 1 Happy elopement photographer!

2023 Camper Tour!

After almost 2 years on the road, I finally got around to making a video tour of the camper we’ve lived in since July of 2021! You can view the full camper tour here!

Behind the Scenes Highlights 2023

I know why you’re here, and it’s to see all the nonsense I get up to while I’m working. It’s ok- Looking back at all these fun moments is my favorite part too! What will I get up to next year?!

On the hike VS After the hike 2023

One of my favorite series is the absolute pain, suffering and regret on my face after I complete a difficult hike. This year I challenged myself to several really tough hikes. I don’t have a before and after pic for every one, but the ones I do have certainly paint a picture. Though I’m an avid hiker, please know I’m no athlete, and high elevations kick my ass. I’m usually really happy until I get back to my car, and that’s when the whimpering starts.

My First Visit to Capitol Reef

For my birthday in March, I got to visit Everglades NP in Florida and go birdwatching in the swamps and kayaking with crocodiles. You know – every girl’s dream! Then in the slow season of April, I was able to revisit Saguaro National Park and see Grand Canyon‘s South rim for the first time, having only been to the North rim in 2018. Then we headed to Utah’s Capitol Reef, and it ended up being my favorite of all the Utah Mighty Five! Desert wilderness, arches, slot canyons, and colorful formations make this an epic spot. I was also featured on Charley Van Ambeg’s podcast, in which I tell my best elopement story that will have you rolling.

Capitol Reef National Park Elopement Guide

See my map and guide on where to elope in Capitol Reef National Park in central Utah.

Elopement Highlights 2023

This year’s roundup includes 7 incredible couples who gave me the honor of seeing and photographing their best days. In return, I bombarded them with friendship and gorgeous photos. (Note: being friends with me after your elopement is optional, but encouraged.) We started the year with a banger 2 day elopement in Yosemite National Park and the Redwoods with Emma & Damian. These non conforming dreamboats took elopement style to the next level. They even gave me the honor of officiating their ceremony while wearing a mustache in the sequoia grove, which was later witnessed by a band of passing Germans. We all had a good laugh after I said, “Mein Deutsch ist sheiss!” (My German is sh*t!) True story! After touring the Redwoods with the newlyweds, my husband and I stayed on the North California coast for three weeks, prompting me to put together a Redwoods Elopement Guide.

Summer 2023 Highlights

Before my next booking, I was able to take a whirlwind trip to some bucket list National Parks in the summer. Starting with Grand Tetons National Park, where my husband and I were lucky to see Grizzly 399 and her cub Spirit in the flesh! The Tetons are such a paradise for a landscape photographer, so I was in heaven, especially at sunrise. Then I got to see and experience Yellowstone for the first time. It was unforgettable and incredibly cool, and we barely scratched the surface of what there is to see. While driving up to Glacier National Park I was filled with anticipation and glee. Seeing the Glaciers and mountains there for the first time was SO exciting and fulfilling, and I felt so lucky to be there. It quickly became my favorite National Park of all time.

I loved the Tetons so much, I had to write a guide to eloping and marrying in these epic mountains! Click below to read the full how to guide to eloping in Grand Tetons National Park.

Check out the Glacier National Park Elopement Guide I wrote after I visited all the wedding sites and photo locations in this epic Montana National Park.

Disaster in Montana

On the way to Boise to catch a flight to New York, we blew a tire on the MCC in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE Montana. This was our first major blowout, and we were super lucky that very little was damaged. But we were hella stranded, and though we had the tools to change to our spare, we were terrified of the mostly-still-unexploded tire that was still on the rig. But, as if in a movie, a Big-Rig Roadside Assistance vehicle drove by 2 minutes later and the kind technician proceeded to change our tire for free. We were back on the road within 45 minutes. Whatever karma I’d earned in my life up to this point, I’m sure I used it all up in that one day.

A Destination Couple

By now you may know that every year I travel back to Upstate New York because some of my old friends are always getting married. I swear they time it on purpose so I have to keep coming back regularly. I lived in NY from 2012 to 2015 and the community there is unmistakably home. Amazingly, I got to reunite with my own wedding photographer, many beloved cats and too many LSP alumni to name, like Tara & Aaron. But enough about me! This year’s trip back was all about Patrick and Sophia! I’ve known Patrick for over 10 years now, so it was a special treat to witness his marriage to Sophia. And Sophia is the sort of instant-friend everyone would be lucky to have, and I get to count myself in! I’d go back for them a thousand times! Here are some of the highlights from their day.

August’s New Parks

In August, I was able to visit 5 more new National Parks! Starting with Crater Lake in Oregon, Lassen Volcanic and Pinnacles in Northern California. Crater Lake is so stunning, and I had 4 nosebleeds there alone, incredible! I can’t wait to go back to Crater Lake in August 2024 for another epic elopement! I also fitted in a land trip and a dive trip to Channel Islands, which was very unique, and finished the month in Nevada’s only National Park, Great Basin. If you venture there, do NOT miss the Lehman caves tour and alpine hikes! Information about Eloping in Lassen, Pinnacles, Channel Islands and all 9 National Parks in California can be found here.

Crater Lake National Park Elopement Guide

See my map and guide on where to elope in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

August Elopement in Yosemite

Good thing this whopper elopement has a whole post all to itself to explain all the mishaps and amazing disaster that went on. I’ll try to sum it up by saying we tried and succeeded in seeing all of Yosemite’s best landscapes, waterfalls, and views. It. WAS. EPIC. But at what cost? Well about 15 miles of grueling hiking and chafing in places where the sun don’t shine. During which it rained 3 times and we lost the keys to our pickup vehicle sometime before sunrise, but didn’t realize that until late afternoon. Matt mooned everyone at their ceremony the next day, and we could barely walk. And you know what? The next day felt like the day after Christmas, because Matt & Kyrielle’s crazy Yosemite elopement was one of the best days of my life.

September’s Whirlwind

If you’re not already exhausted reading that, buckle up (but also maybe get under a blanket and grab some snacks because we are NOT done.) I started September with a steamy outdoor boudoir session in the mountains of Colorado. Me and my gutter mouth said some things I can’t repeat here (especially since only my mom reads my blog) so you’ll just have to believe me when I say they were very funny. Almost as funny as her husband acting out a tiger on the prowl. Then I got to shoot an empowerment session in Boulder with the goddess that is Kim, who is an incredibly kind person and archer, no big deal. It was an honor to meet Kim after she’s been commenting on all my posts for 3+ years. She made me feel like a celebrity! We just won’t talk about the part where she got locked out of her car at the end of her session, and I didn’t realize that and I DROVE AWAY… I felt awful for a week! I also got to explore the night sky with 2017 LSP Alumni Valerie & James for an epic after-dark anniversary session at Loveland Pass.

Colorado Elopements in September

Three epic elopements in the mountains of Colorado dominated the second half of September. Starting with Lydia & Dan’s Marble Colorado Elopement on the banks of a river. We drove ATVs up to Crystal mill and had the world’s best mashed potatoes back at their Airbnb. We goofed off from dawn until well after sunset and still joke about how they intertwined their toes right after their ceremony. I LOVE these goofball couples!

Trout Lake Elopement Highlights

Julie & Sebastien’s family-centered microwedding in Telluride was next, and boy was it beautiful. Pinch me – shooting their marriage felt like I was in a dream! I even rented a canoe from a stranger in Montrose and tasked my husband with driving it to Telluride and back. Thanks babe! That meant I had to walk into the lake to get the perfect shot.. it was ICE COLD!

Crested Butte Elopement Highlights

Finally, Jenny and Andrew’s incredible 1.5 day elopement in Crested Butte was the perfect capstone to my Colorado adventure elopements this fall. They enjoyed peak fall colors, jeeping, horseback riding, campfire smores, a freak windstorm, and a puking baby before their intimate 6 person ceremony on the shore of a lake. Wow, wow, wow.

October Elopement in Mammoth Lakes

After exploring a bit more of Western Colorado – the better half of the state – We high-tailed it to Nevada. Of course we stopped at Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, and Monument Valley “on the way”. From Nevada, I drove solo to Mammoth Lakes, California for the final elopement of my 2023 season with Natalie and Alex! A sunrise hike, tons of cute doggy moments, and lakeside ceremony was just the start of their beautiful elopement. (though due to a leaky camelback, I was on my second pair of pants by 9am.) The sunset we got at the hot springs was the best all year! On my drive back to Nevada, I loved exploring Alabama Hills and was able to capture the milky way over a flooded Death Valley National Park, which is one of my favorite landscape images of my year.

Personal Time in November

I took some much needed time off in November. Starting with a concert at the Sphere in Las Vegas, where I got to see my 6th U2 show with my friend Bonnie! We also hiked all up in Valley of Fire state park, a park I keep returning to see more of! I wrote several new elopement guides: on state park elopements, on how to plan road trip elopement or a diving elopement. And also began selling my location guides to other photographers, dove into image licensing for my Landscape photographs, and started a second business, so you could say its been a relaxing month. Wait- what?! Details about my new business are coming soon and it will be open in 2024 – yes it is photography related!

2023 Awards

I snagged a few awards this year for candid storytelling! Below are the award winning images and their backstories. 1 True Love Captured Award, 5 Artistic Guild awards, 5 Masterpiece Awards, and 4 WedElope Story awards. Story awards are given out to a collection of images that tell the STORY of the elopement. I’ve earned 28 of these – the most of any photographer worldwide.

What’s Next in 2024?

2024 is already looking to be filled with adventure and loving couples – my heart is so full! My husband and I are also excited to begin our next chapter.. in NEW ZEALAND! We have been applying for jobs & visas for several months and hope to move there sometime in 2024. Don’t worry – I’ll be coming back to the USA for limited dates in August and September. So if you’re wanting to get on my calendar, don’t wait!

My 2024 Travel Schedule

My 2024 travel schedule is shaping up, but still flexible. There is 1 spot left in each of the national parks I’ll be in in 2024, but I can only take about 2 more bookings total in the USA. And there is room for a few more destination locations as well from March to July and October to December.

  • March to July: New Zealand + Anywhere
  • Mid August: Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks
  • Late August: Redwoods and Crater Lake National Parks
  • September: Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain, and Aspen, Colorado
  • October to December: New Zealand + Anywhere

Get in touch now to be part of my 2024 family!

See Also:
2022 Highlights
2021 Highlights

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *