2016 has been an incredibly interesting year. A lot happened! Lots of good things, lots of minor inconveniences that drove me up the wall, and probably the biggest obstacle I’ve run into in my 17 years of living. I had to quit dance, the one thing that kept me functioning for about 11 years. It was super rough, still is some days, but photography was able to fill that spot and in a lot of ways keep me connected to the dance world. Looking back through these photos from this year, I picked the top 10 photos I’m most proud of. I hope you enjoy.

10) Corda Mor Irish Dance – August

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

This was the first time I wasn’t dancing at Irish Fair in years and years. It was an emotional experience but I brought my camera and hoped for the best. It’s actually really difficult to get that perfectly timed leap shot when shooting dancers. When I took this photo I remember looking down at my camera to see if I captured the exact moment I needed to for a good picture and my mouth dropped. I sat there smiling like an idiot really giddy until the end of this number at least.

9) Hands Like Houses – December


This picture is just really pleasant for me to look at. This show had everyone shooting from the crowd, no photo pit and no side stage. Considering I’m a lot taller than a lot of the other photogs there I had it a bit easier than most, but it was still kind of a challenge because the show was sold out. It was a good challenge though, and I definitely believe it helped me improve a lot.

8) The Plot in You – July


Plot was the first big touring band to post one of my pictures on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. That was one of my goals for the year and I’d be lying if I said when it happened I didn’t cry. I didn’t do much editing to this one, their lighting was just that awesome and the colors are just that beautiful.

7) Our Last Night – December


Sometimes you like photos that just look sick. This isn’t quite all in focus and the colors are a little weird and there’s a lot happening, but I think it captures the moment really well and that is my goal as a photographer.

6) Glass Houses – October


This band is crazy live. Their vocalist is quite literally all over the place. One second he’s rolling on the ground, the next he’s head banging right in your face. It makes them really exciting to shoot but hard to get a good photo of. Movement is always fun to capture, though.

5) Rince Nua School Of Irish Dance – September


My old studio owner hired me to shoot her dancers at the MN Renaissance Festival. The lighting was pretty awesome in my opinion for the first few performances and I was really pleased with how a lot of the pictures turned out. And look how cute these wee ones are!

4) Villain of the Story – December


This picture was taken in Michigan at a venue I’ve never been to before. It was interesting to say the least, lots of flashing lights of various colors and fog you could hardly see through. The picture itself really isn’t anything too special, but I’m really stoked on the way I ended up editing this. Originally the photo was a really ugly pinky, red color with pretty much zero contrast. I took the easy way out and made it black and white, but it’s black and white like I haven’t done before and I’m really stoked with the final result.

3) Rince Nua Irish Dance – September


Another one from the Renaissance Festival, but this time some of the older girls were performing. I just really like the overall composition of this photo.

2) Gaelic Storm – August


This was easily one of the craziest days of my entire life. I was at Irish Fair the night before this was taken to see my old dance teacher and my then current studio dance. I ended up staying and watching Gaelic Storm. Because I had my camera I took some pictures, posted them, and really thought nothing of it. The next day while watching some of the schools from the area dance I checked my Instagram and saw that Gaelic Storm’s fiddler commented on the picture I posted from the night before. After her Q&A session that just happened to be a few hours later (seriously everything worked out perfectly in this situation) I introduced myself and asked if she could get me a photo pass. An agonizing wait and a giant ice cream cone later I got the message that said I could shoot them! There were quite a few photographers there, all with their thousand dollar zoom lenses and dual camera set up and then there was me with my little camera and my 50mm.  This was only my second show shooting from a photo pit, and was HUGE for me as a freelance artist.

1) Villain of the Story – November


I can’t tell this is actually my favorite photo from the year or if I’m biased because VOTS is straight up my favorite band. However, this picture was the best I took at the show that night. It was one of the photos included in the article written about me for the art issue of the school newspaper. This is also one of the pictures that made me realize “hey you know what I could actually do this for a living” after Christian (that’s him in the picture) was talking to me about the photos I took at this show. I look at this picture and get excited for the future, which I believe is the best way to end something like this!