2016 Recap

2016 slapped us all in the face.

It was a year in which many things did not behave as they should, and many things chugged forward as they always have, like a well-oiled locomotive. The sun still rises, the sun still sets, and all the while there is nothing new beneath it.

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I am grateful for learning the same lesson that people everywhere learned: that the world is on fire and I want to help, and to do that I’ve got to look within. Fix first (or put my best foot forward anyways) my broken thought patterns, my underlying prejudices, my own selfishness, and my neighborhood. It is true, after all, that big change starts small – in your country, in your state, city, block, and heart; the latter needs special attention.

I find comfort in two things, the first being that humans are seemingly, endlessly resilient, and have endured worse than our current social conditions (the health of our planet being a different issue, and unprecedented). The second is that achieving world peace appears as if it’s far past the tipping point, out of our control, and this may be true. But, the fact that the nature of peace starts at the micro scale, the constructive conversations that you can have in your house, gives me hope, because that is something that we can in fact control.

So, cheer up captain, we don’t need to brace for impact quite yet.

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On a more positive note: 2016, what a year! It brought in travels to new states, new countries, friendships forged with new people, and furthered with familiar faces. Many hours were spent on the road with nothing but coffee and gasoline keeping the car plowing down the highway.

Here is a brief ledger of favorite moments:

  1. Seeing the sun rise over the Pacific ocean from a mountain in Kauai, with any existential thoughts drowned out by the crowing of waking roosters.
  2. Camping in the snow at the base of Mount Rainier, and watching the cloud-filled night sky clear solely directly above the peak to reveal a million stars, as if a finger from heaven swaddled the Washington gloom away like cotton candy.
  3. Finally learning how stocks are priced.
  4. Helplessly watching myself transform into the biggest pain in the butt for everybody in my AIARE Level 1 avalanche course (driving car off the road, borrowing every piece of gear, looking like a fish out of water while learning to skin, attempting to snowboard down a mountain with a brake on said snowboard, and temporarily losing my $400 beacon). To all of the guides at North Cascades Mountain Guides: I love you.
  5. I’ll end here with a fifth: watching my Dawgs rise up and put on for UW. SCOOO DAWGS! #woof

Truly, what a year – many lessons learned, perhaps one of the greatest is that there is nobody better to be than yourself. Do you booboo.

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Physics says that for every action there has got to be an equal and opposite reaction, and it’s true: life rarely maintains without its hardships.

2016 taught me that sometimes you might read what you were originally convinced was a book, and sadly find out that it’s a chapter instead. If there’s one thing I know about books, it’s that certain chapters are great, and better than others, but regardless of the disappointing chapters to follow, the book is always good.

My hope is that you and I can tip the scales and defy physics more than a little, and live a life with far more positives than negatives.

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As for photography, I love it just as much as ever. Though I find myself busy with other awesome things, I always seem to want more time behind the lens. In all honesty, 2016 was not as productive photographically as I would have hoped, but I did still see beautiful things and come away with some captured moments to share with the world.

My hope is for 2017 to be even greater than 2016, and to learn even more from God by keeping my ears open to hear. It sure is a big question mark as to what all it will entail… Hopefully baby steps towards a life lived in the outdoors with a camera in hand. The plan is, for now, to go to New Zealand and pick up the native accent, continue to learn about business and photography, make home wherever I’m at and not wherever I came from, become a better person, and help others to discover their destinies with the ulterior motive that I might discover my own.

It is what it is, and it’s pretty good.

Happy New Year!

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Favorite Photos 

Here is a collection of some of my favorites (not always my best) from this last year, displaying many of, but not nearly all of the adventures, excursions, nights under stars, frozen fingers, laughs, and everlasting memories.

January

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The quintessential PNW, Multnomah Falls shot. 620 feet of beauty! (Columbia River Gorge, Oregon)
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The Emerald City, glowing in the blue hour, with her watchful protector to the south. The town was happy to fly Ken Griffey Jr’s number in commemoration of his legendary career. (Seattle, Washington)
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Dejounte Murray cuts through two Utah defenders as he makes his way to the basket, the focus in his eyes clear. (Seattle, Washington)

February

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Soren makes his way down a snowfield after a night-like-none-other camping. The Tatoosh Range provides the backdrop. (Mount Rainier, Washington)
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Snow camping in the shadow of Mount Rainier became one of my favorite nights spent under the stars in my life. The clouds broke only above the peak, allowing for quite the show. (Mount Rainier, Washington)

March

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The last ray of light kisses the beautiful colors composing the Waimea Canyon. (Kauai, Hawaii)
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The iconic McWay Falls of Big Sur keeps pumping, and the sunset kept coming. (Big Sur, California)
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El Capitan of Yosemite, in one of my favorite images from this year, is reflected in the Merced River as the sky went cotton candy above its heights. (Yosemite, California)

April

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The Oneonta Gorge took my breath away in more ways than one: the first being the insane beauty of its vibrant, mossy green walls, and the second being when the near-freezing water reached the height of my heart as we waded through the river. (Columbia River Gorge, Oregon)

May

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Quite possibly found thee hammock spot in Washington over Memorial Day weekend at Deception Pass. (Deception Pass, Washington)

June

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A mountain goat making its own final push to the summit of Grays Peak, a Colorado 14er, with the Rockies serving as the backdrop. (Front Range, Colorado)
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Perhaps the most gorgeous color gradient I’ve been able to witness in nature during a stunner of a sunset, as seen from Park Butte Lookout in Washington. (North Cascades, Washington)
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Fishing out of a hammock: not the most practical, and not even the most comfortable…but perhaps the most comical. Taken at Diamond Lake, where we stayed during a trip to visit the nearby Crater Lake. (Diamond Lake, Oregon)

July

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Kelsie out for an evening paddle at the Younglife camp Castaway, in Minnesota. The sunsets and good conversation were abundant during a month serving hundreds of campers on the rock wall/zipline/swing. (Detroit Lakes, Minnesota)
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The passion is displayed in a toothy grin as a camp staffer’s boy takes aim at ol’ pops. (Detroit Lakes, Minnesota)

August

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To the right: cliff of certain death; to the back: an expansive mountain view; up ahead: a lifetime spent in the outdoors, I hope. Soren making his way up to the summit of Vesper Peak. (Central Cascades, Washington)
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A gorgeous mountain lake, Goat Lake, of the Cascades in Washington. (Central Cascades, Washington)
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The familiar sun bathes the otherworldly rock formations at Shi Shi Beach in Washington. (Olympic Peninsula, Washington)

September

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In September the Northern Lights reached all the way down to Washington’s humble North Cascades, and filled the sky with sheets of energy – green, purple, and white. (North Cascades, Washington)
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A Parisian dog steps off of the stoop and onto the sidewalk, contemplates espresso, love, the synergy between the two…and returns inside to his baguette. Another morning in the Latin Quarter. (Paris, France)
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People will do whatever I tell them to if they get a photo out of the deal. “Run down the beach with hammocks”… “Okay.” (Redwoods National Park, California)

October

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Jake displayed truly one-of-a-kind improvisation skills by making a gaiter out of duct tape and plastic. His foot stayed dry! Taken on an unsuccessful trip to summit Black Peak. (North Cascades, Washington)
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: every peak looks better in white. (Black Peak, Washington)

November

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Half Dome, I love you. A photo can never do justice or offer scale to exactly how big this rock is. That face is over 2000 feet in height. (Yosemite, California)
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Kevin King makes the catch of the year as he intercepts this long ball from ASU. (Seattle, Washington)

December

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A sunrise venture into the Cathy Fromme prairie resulted in no wildlife, as was my hope, but there was this nice tree. All is never lost! (Fort Collins, Colorado)

Favorite “Love Your Mug” Shot

My favorite shot in this ongoing project goes to Jeffrey Coats, for his nice face.

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(Seattle, Washington)
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9 thoughts on “2016 Recap

  1. Your love of “true beauty” is so evident. I pray that the Lord will lead you into a blessed career that highlights your incredible talents!….and pays you well! I am so glad that you came into our lives. “Yet those that wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31

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  2. Stunning. Your photos are absolutely breathtaking and your musings are thought- provoking and uplifting. Upward and onward 2017. You got this bro!!! Can’t wait to see the year unfold. Love you and so proud of you.

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  3. I just keep going over this wonderful year of fabulous photographs and very profound thoughts. We couldn’t be more proud of who you have become and where you are headed…physically, intellectually and spiritually. Keep in touch. I love you, Grannie

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    1. Hi Luke,
      Your photography is terrific…the subjects, angles and perspectives are great! You have a great eye and we know you will go far with it. It is a great profession that is looking for talents like yours.

      Your descriptions and writings are fine, fine, fine too. I hadn’t realized just how good a writer you’ve become….it shouldn’t surprise me tho, because you’ve always been able to express yourself very well.
      Have a terrific time in New Zealand. Wish we could be there too. It’s a gorgeous country.
      Grannie and I are very proud of you Luke.
      Love
      Grampie

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  4. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW!!!! Luke… You are amazing, bright, SO talented and brilliant!! I’m incredibly proud of you! I feel privileged that I get to see and “experience” new and awesome scenery through your lenses. Thank you for sharing Gods glorious beauty as you continue to explore his world! Keep going and keep soaking it in! You’re living, and sharing, an amazing life!! Sending hugs your way! Love you, Christy

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