Travel by Train | Appreciating Adventures on Amtrak

Pretty much everyone who knows me knows how much I love trains.

I love talking about trains. Spending time in train stations. Gawking over model trains. Traveling on trains (duh). And of course, taking pictures from trains. I AM a photographer after all.

VIDEO: iPhone pictures from our first cross country trip in 2014, aboard the California Zephyr, from Denver to Chicago

And sure, flying is ok if you’re in a hurry, but to me it’s like watching a movie rather than having an experience for yourself.

The train invites you to be part of the journey.

To see what’s between here and your destination with your own eyes. To feel the atmosphere shift between rural and urban places.

To feel the history in the rails which unfailingly guide your travel, and watch the unfolding of our landscape from town to farm to city and beyond.

On the train, you become, almost viscerally, a part of that connection between places which seem so different, but all tended by humans for different purposes. Sustenance. Dwelling. Appreciation.

Even at 80mph you bear witness to the curving metamorphosis that unfurls as you cross into a new state. With a bit of attention, the subtle shifts that occur between rural, agricultural and urban parts of our country reveal themselves. Historic towns almost appear to wear a filter of sepia, and then somehow roll into sparkling new metropolises only a short passing of time later. Changes in vegetation seem to yield their own changes in atmospheric conditions, the height of the clouds, the thickness of fog.

VIDEO: Snowy train travel, November 2018 between Denver and Chicago

Rather than dropping in on a place as you quite literally do when you travel by airplane, on the rails the country unwraps itself before you mile by mile, in a story of connections and unique characteristics which define place and make our lands so special.

TRAVEL BY TRAIN invites me to enjoy the journey as an integral part of travel. The window seat also invites me to see, create and share art from the adventure…

ABOVE: long exposure photographs (via iPhone) of passing rails and landscape from the train

Enjoy the journey!

VIDEO: Cross country adventure taking my son to college aboard the Zephyr (Denver, CO to Chicago, IL), the Capitol Limited (Chicago, IL to Washington, D.C.) and the Silver Meteor (Washington, D.C. to Savannah, GA)

Global Photo Contest - Top Performing Photographer!

On a bit of a whim (meaning, the night before the contest entry deadline) I decided to pull together a batch of this past year's photos and enter them into a global photo contest called Shoot & Share.

The photos collect votes over the course of 4 weeks (last year's contest gathered over 81 million votes and I think this year got even more!). Most of the photos were in the "seniors" category, in which there were nearly 30,000 entries.

And this is cool... the RESULTS!

I had 5 photos make it to the top 10%, 4 more in the top 20% and 9 more in the top 30% of entries from all over the world!

Here's a video that one of the contest sponsors (Vivi) made for me, of my top performing photos:

Honestly, as I watch this, all I can do is smile and think is how HAPPY these photos make me, for the wonderful people I've been able to meet, photograph and work with this year.

I truly love this work for the connections I get to make!!

Want to book a session or set up a consultation?

Meet Riley | Urban Senior Guy Portraits

When my son arrived as a wee sixth grader at Denver School of the Arts, he and this amazing young man forged something of a brotherhood. At the time they were both only sons (although Riley ended up being an awesome big brother to two little boys), and they forged one of those friendships which has produced laughter, immeasurable growth and has inspired gratitude over the years.

And now... they are high school seniors. All those cliches about time flying? They are TOO TRUE!

In any event, we're thrilled to have this kid (and his whole family) in our lives. Riley is truly one of the good ones. Huge heart, kind soul, tons of talent, the kind of charm that just makes you want to giggle when you're with him, a quirky sense of humor and an overall very adorable human. 

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For Riley’s session, we decided to go a little artsy/urban. So we set out to discover photo opportunities in one of my favorite parts of town. I’m not sure it has an official designation but I think of it as the Museum District in downtown Denver, not far from Civic Center Park. Full of vibrant color, gorgeous light and a striking, eclectic mix of architecture, this whole area is a dream in which to photograph portraits.

And I just love photographing a guy with a sense of his own style. Riley’s style in this location was a perfect fit. Classic, colorful, fun. We were able to find great backgrounds and light for each look -- from sleek and modern to more edgy and artful.

We laughed… A LOT… on this session. I like to laugh on every session (it's hard to get great photos if you're not having fun, after all), but there’s something about relaxing into a session with great people like Riley and his fabulous mom that really does remind me again that I've got the best job in the world!

Riley's mom recorded a few iphone videos on our session and some great behind the scenes photos, so here's a quick glimpse behind the scenes... with sincere thanks to my dear friend Kimberly for the great shots! Gabe and I are happy to have your family in our lives and we look forward to watching Riley's next chapter unfold!

NOW BOOKING SENIOR PORTRAIT SESSIONS FOR CLASS OF 2019! NOW'S THE TIME to set up your session consultation and details for your session even if you want to shoot later in summer or fall (those dates are booking already, and I had to turn away too many end of season clients last year -- it broke my heart!)

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: I’m a fun-loving, Award Winning, Denver high school senior portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection and personality in the eyes of my clients. I strive to do more than just take senior pictures for yearbook. Instead my focus is on creating an unforgettable experience. Together we are telling a part of your story with pictures. I collaborate with each of my clients to design an immersive and empowering portrait experience, custom tailored around his or her personality, style and interests. I’d love to tell a high school senior story about YOU. Let’s grab a coffee and chat about designing an amazing high school senior photo shoot for you!

Dream Fashion Editorial Photo Shoot | Redthreaded at Blanc Denver

There’s a question often posed to photographers: “which photo is your favorite? Photographer Imogen Cunningham is credited for having coined my idea of the most perfect answer, “the one I’ll take tomorrow.

Given my own enthusiastic desire to remain a"student of life," with a genuine thirst to keep learning, growing, experimenting and creating new work, this notion of each new session producing my new favorite -- until the one I shoot tomorrow -- resonates deeply.

But let’s be honest -- certain experiences do stand out and have the power to shape you as an artist...

... and I’ve got a feeling this session will hold a special place in my list of favorites for quite some time. This fashion editorial photo session pushed me into new creative spaces and invited an artistic freedom that I'm excited to keep stretching as a photographer and creative.

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After photographing her work on the stage for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the uber talented seamstress / costume corset designer and fellow entrepreneur Cindy Settje of Redthreaded approached me with a commission to photograph her corset designs.

Drawing inspiration from imagery she shared with me, a collection of images marked by a moody, painterly light and historic-meets-contemporary feel, we designed the details of this editorial session with a full dose of enthusiastic, collaborative creative energy.

I knew immediately that Sarah (perhaps you saw THIS incredible session??) would be the perfect model for the look Cindy wanted. Having photographed her twice before, I am very familiar with just how much the camera loves her incredibly strong and striking features. But it was her theatrical experience that excited me for this shoot in particular -- I absolutely love working with this gorgeous and talented young woman, and was excited to explore some more fashion editorial poses with her. Not surprisingly, she ROCKED the session.

Inviting hair and makeup artist Sara Duffey to get to explore her creativity with a more avant garde look than we typically get to explore together was also super satisfying. Cindy threaded a gold theme throughout the session, so we got to play with gold leaf, gold lashes, glitter and an exciting modern-meets-historic look was born.

Then there were our dream team of fashion collaborators (links below)... OMG. In Sarah’s hair were creative and eye catching pieces, hand crafted and spectacularly designed by Frontier Millinery. And those shoes?!  SPECTACULAR designs (some of which were originally designed for Whoopi Goldberg), hand crafted by American Duchess. Perfectly appointed historical jewelry sparkled and completed the look, by Dames a la Mode.

And the corsets… the artful centerpieces around which this whole editorial photo shoot was styled...

Well, Cindy’s work is just breathtakingly incredible, as evidenced by her collaborations with regional theatres all the way to Broadway, Television shows, film and her own successful Etsy shop (also, her Instagram feed is awesome!) The exquisite fabrics, colors, combinations, details, designs and quality are stunning to behold.

And to photograph her incredible work: What. An. Honor.

Perhaps most satisfying of all is how much I enjoyed working with these PEOPLE -- such a wonderful collaborative team. SO grateful to have been asked to photograph this project. It left me at once deeply creatively inspired, and hungry to photograph more fashion editorial… something admittedly new to my body of work.

Finally, turn up your speakers, and enjoy this behind the scenes VIDEO (below) that I made to say thank you to the team!  Watching the looks come together in these creative people's hands is magical. Truly, I LOVE this work.

Seriously... PRESS PLAY!

BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO: Join us for a glimpse into the making of this fashion editorial photo session at Blanc in Denver for Cynthia Settje of Redthreaded.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE | PHOTO SESSION CREDITS :

Model: Sarah Doerner

Corsets + Styling: Cynthia Settje | Redthreaded

Shoes: American Duchess

Millinery: Frontier Millinery

Jewelry: Dames a la Mode

Hair + Makeup: Sara Duffey

Location: Blanc Denver

Photographer: Jennifer Koskinen | Merritt Portrait Studio

Photographer's assistant: Gabe Koskinen-Sansone