2018, that's a wrap

This year has been crazy, fun, and mostly crazy fun! I achieved personal goals this year (becoming a full-time photographer!), and also many goals I didn't even know I had... like sleeping outside for 50 nights this year. I improved 100% on my mountain bike with minimal carnage, and turned 30 in Laos. 

Work for me now is all photography and content writing. I am incredibly lucky to work with an amazing team at Visit USA Parks, and to travel to so many beautiful places. I worked with some kickass outdoor brands, documented families and love stories, and even photographed my first rodeo!

With the help of a friend, I am revisiting the film era with a simple, fully-manual Minolta. Each exposure challenges me to take a breath and consider the frame--something that I think I have lost touch with in the digital era.

Now, for some eye candy and a brief recap of the year…


I returned to Montana in June with clients in Livingston, Billings and Great Falls. I spent a few days bouncing around Glacier National Park, avoiding bears and catching great views.

My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in a Colorado yurt in September. The ceiling even had a window for stargazing!

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I spent 5 whole days camping in Fruita, Colorado, whizzing around on the rollercoaster of mountain bike trails. I was joined by friends and family for most of it, creating lifestyle content for a few outdoor brands.

I was lucky enough to return to California for tourism campaigns with Bishop and the Tahoe area. This time I brought along one of my oldest friends who now lives in New York, Anna!

Hands down, the funnest photo gig I had this summer was capturing Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming! The excitement of photographing from the “pit” and behind the chutes was immeasurable. I’ve never felt an energy like that before!

I worked on a campaign in Alamosa, Colorado, and naturally spent time in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Oddly, one of my favorite captures from that evening wasn’t necessarily of the sand, rather the silhouette of the sand and my friend against the dramatic sky.

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A couple of my friends got married in June and the evening wrapped up around a tall burning sculpture and a whole lot of instruments… lakeside. It was amazing, and so are they!

I finally backpacked to a lake in Indian Peaks Wilderness that I’ve been hoping to reach for some time. A trip that was supposed to be a trio of “Emily’s” turned into a duo, and it was a blast (literally, the winds were raging!).

I made it to Utah on 5 different trips in 2018 (can ya tell that I just love it there?!) I explored Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, sat on the rim of Flaming Gorge, hiked to petroglyphs in Canyonlands, photographed Arches under a blanket of snow, camped on dusty dirt roads, pushed my friend’s patience in slot canyons in the San Rafael Swell, showed my nephew some amazing places, and mountain biked—a lot. I’m pushing for 6 trips to Utah in 2019!

I stood on the corner… in Winslow, Arizona.

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Got a taste of Cloud Peak Wilderness in Wyoming… one night in the backcountry there simply isn’t enough!

Our family camping trip to Wyoming was a blast, even though some of us face-planted in the dirt :)

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I had the privilege to work with my favorite marketing gal, Marily, on another campaign for Wenzel, X20 Sports and Slumberjack.

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My dad got his pilot’s license (yeeeehaw!), and we flew over Rocky Mountain National Park to Kremmling, Colorado for breakfast!

Perhaps one of my favorite days over the summer was during a campaign with Cortez, Colorado. I mountain biked around ancient cliff dwellings in Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, then sampled wines at Sutcliffe Vineyards across the road. By chance encounter, I also met an artist that I greatly admire at the winery… then ate sushi. Seriously, that day was just freakin’ unreal.

I camped with friends in Salida, Colorado and created content for a couple of my favorite outdoor companies: Forsake Shoes and Kuat Racks. Just when we thought we had had enough mountain biking, Whitney and I flew through golden tunnels of changing aspens on one of the funnest bike rides ever!

Work in Grand Rapids, Michigan included a night river float into the city…. so neat (and buggy)!

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I photographed the new line of (my favorite) shirts for Cedarpass Creative in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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I had never been to Telluride, Colorado before this year, and I made it to this gorgeous Colorado town on 3 occasions! My husband’s band, Wood Belly, won the Telluride Band Contest (YASSSSS!), and the fall colors in southern Colorado were just insane.

Skiing happened, and continues to happen this winter! One of my favorite trails on the the ol’ cross country setup leads to this view of Sawtooth…

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I flew over Grand Mesa, Colorado on a film project (featuring me, the overly-excited talent in the airplane!)

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Enjoyed yet another backpacking trip into the Wind River Range this summer. If you know me, you know how often I talk about my favorite mountains in the West. Already planning for a longer trip next year!

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I photographed a whole lot of outdoor activities in Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico this summer. This particular evening was really rad, following a mother and son mountain bike duo around. You just can’t beat moments like this.

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Returned to a place that stole my heart two years ago—Stanley, Idaho. That place is ugly—don’t go there!

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I photographed my husband fly fishing more than a few times this year. Here he is, searching for trout outside of Yellowstone National Park.

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Perhaps the biggest highlight of the year (best for last!) was our trip to Laos. Ever since my husband and my first trip to Southeast Asia 7 years ago, we’ve dreamt of visiting this country. We slept in treehouses (this is a view from a treehouse there), rode motorbikes, hiked, and ate a lot of ridiculously tasty food. Put this country on your list of travel destinations!

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If you made it to the end of this storybook, thanks for following along. I don’t share these reflections and memories to brag about all the greatness in the year, but rather to inspire and encourage others to get out and explore this wonderful world. A lot of the work I do now is intended to inspire travelers to rural, off-the-beaten path destinations, to help diffuse the crowds in densely packed and overrun iconic destinations. I love what I do, and I consider myself very lucky—indeed.

Here’s to 2019, a year packed with new experiences, places and faces.

Emily