Tag Archives: himalaya


My pre wedding photography life

I am going to state something that not a lot of professional photographers would do, photography is not my passion in life. In fact, it never was. My passions involve experiences such as travel, eating, meeting new people, experiencing new things. For me photography started as a means to share those experiences with others, and through a little luck combined with drive, it became a financial means to make that happen.

I didn’t get my start as a wedding or portrait photographer. The first photos that ever earned me money were ones that I took of hiking and camping in college for Northern Illinois University‘s outdoor program. Soon after I was photographing cycling events for Chicago’s Windy City Sports Magazine. After spending our entire lives in Illinois, my wife, Carin, and I moved to southern California.  By that time in 2002, I was starting to take photography more seriously and began attending the Brooks Institute of Photography.  While studying, I was photographing mainly for a handful of environmental organizations like the Community Environmental Council. During my time in California, I focused on mostly landscape photography, and the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and Yosemite National Park, in particular.

After a year in California, we relocated to the mountains of Colorado where I visited often as a child. We made our home in Summit County, and I focused heavily on a combination of landscape and adventure travel photography.  Within year, my work was being featured in magazines like National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Trail Runner, Freeskier, and several other small publications. In many ways, I was living the dream life of a photographer.


I have a question about wedding photography: How well can you ski?

So where does wedding photography come in to play? Here is the funny thing about Colorado; people get married here because they love travel and adventure. Recently, I received a phone call that went a little like, “I have a question about wedding photography: How well can you ski?” The couple who asked was having a wedding at Copper Mountain in which everyone would be skiing. By now, I am used to those kinds of questions, but 10 years ago I was a little surprised at how people who saw my adventure photography were interested in having me photograph their weddings.

After a decade of photographing weddings, I have realized that this notion I had about weddings being boring, was based on my limited experiences growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. The people that hire me to photograph their weddings are different. They are fun and adventurous. In the last decade, I have photographed weddings in the desert, on roofs of buildings, on the tops of mountains, on tropical islands, on boats, and just about anywhere else you can think of. Everything I want out of life (having adventures and meeting new people) I get through wedding photography.

Below is a selection of images of things I have photographed that have nothing to do with weddings. Many of them are from before I photographed my first wedding.

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Anatomy of an Image #4

Window Light Portrait in Tibet

Buddhist Monk in Potala Palace, Lhasa, ibet

Many of you mostly know me as a wedding photographer.  Many years ago, I also worked quite a bit doing adventure travel photographer for magazines like Outside and National Geographic Adventure. While spending nearly two months traveling in Asia, I made a number or portraits throughout Tibet, China, and Nepal.
Sometimes a photograph takes a lot of planning and preparation. Other times it is just a matter of just seeing it and making it happen. I saw this monk sitting by a window inside of a monastery in the Potala Palace (the Dali Llama’s winter home) in Lhasa, Tibet. The light coming into the monastery through a dirt covered window.  It made an excellent softbox.  I couldn’t ask the monk directly if I could take his picture since I didn’t speak that much Tibetan, so I gestured to him and to the camera, and he nodded his approval.  In order to achieve the Rembrandt lighting I was looking for, I just took a small step into the room so he turned his head away from the window just enough to allow the small triangle of light to fall on his cheek bone.
This is actually the second image I made.  In the first one, the monk was smiling just a little, but I felt like it didn’t quite fit the mood of the lighting.  Instead just as I lowered the camera, I made this second image in which he had a much more natural expression on his face. That is a “trick” that I have used repeatedly in my career, especially when photographing weddings. Many times the expression in the initial image looks forced, while a split second later, it is much more relaxed and natural.

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I Can Order Beer in 10 Languages


My wife, Carin, and I really enjoy traveling.  I wish I was one of those cultured individuals that could carry on a conversation in dozens of languages as I traveled the world.  Sadly, that just isn’t the case. What I can do is go is order beer in Mandarin Chinese, Nepali, German, French, Tibetan, Spanish (both Castillian and Mexican,) Japanese, and of course, several variations of English.


Beer might be one of humanity’s oldest inventions, dating back at least 7,000 years. and has been credited for the existence of civilization because it was safer to drink than water.  As it turns out this was likely due to the fact that water needed to be boiled to make the beer, thus they ended up unknowingly killing the microorganisms. (It’s easy for the chemist in my to geek out on beer.)


It is almost universally enjoyed in every civilization on earth dating back to Mesopotamian times. Each culture has its own variation on it from the darker and heavy ales of England to the light and crisp beers of Asia.  I may be biased, but I still think the best beers from from the United States, and particularly right here in Colorado.
Once, when Carin and I were in London, we stopped in at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub in a dark alley off of Fleet Street. The Chesire Cheese has been in the same location for just shy of 500 years, and it definitely feels like it on the inside complete with gloomy rooms and coal burning fireplace. The cellars supposedly day back to the 13th century. While there we met a lovely couple from the country that was in London to see a play. After a beer at the bar, we ended up dining together, sharing stories, and even stayed in touch through letters for several years afterwards.

But I digress. When traveling, there is nothing better than sitting down with new friends over a glass of beer, and sharing stories and traveler’s tales. I remember playing pool in Tibet with our guide and a few locals while sharing some beer. I spoke almost no Tibetan, but my ability to order beer was enough to open the door to a fun night.  When you have games to play and beer to drink, you don’t need a common language to enjoy the company of new friends.

On another trip, Carin and I decided to take a drive through the south coast of Spain and visit some of the smaller out of the way villages.  We had no plan, no guidebook, just a map and the desire to get lost in the countryside. In some ways, Spain was more difficult than Tibet, because I speak just enough Spanish to get in over my head.  The thing is, I can walk into a restaurant, say hello, ask how the weather is, ask for a table, and order beer with just enough of an accent to sound like I might speak the language.  Unfortunately, my entire 3 years of high school Spanish was exhausted in that initial exchange. When our waiter asks us something else, I am left completely clueless.  I think I need how to say the following phrase in Spanish:

My apologies, but I think I may have misrepresented my ability to speak your language. May I have a beer?

If you ever run in to Carin and I while we are out traveling, pull up a chair and join us. The first round is on me.

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Cliff and Karen’s Leavenworth Wedding

Balancing Act


One of my favorite things to do is to photograph the weddings of friends.  I met Karen over ten years ago when I was in graduate school at Northern Illinois University.  At the time, I was the graduate assistant for the Outing Centre, the university’s outdoor adventure program.  I hired Karen to work as a backpacking and climbing guide back in 2000. Since then we have shared many adventures together mostly revolving around rock climbing.
I love the story of how I met her future husband, Cliff, back in 2009. I was sitting in a small internet cafe in Kathmandu, Nepal, and decided to check my Facebook page. Which I can assure you, is no easy task in a city that only gets electricity for 8 hours per day, and it takes a little luck for the internet and electricity to be on at the same time.  I just happened to notice a post on Karen’s page that said she was sitting in a different internet cafe also in Kathmandu.  I had no idea she was even in that part of the world, let alone on the other side of town.  I sent her a message suggesting we should meet the next day before I left to return home.  The next day, we met up for lunch, and that is how I met Cliff for the first time.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had too many opportunities to spend time with Karen and Cliff in the last few years because of busy schedules all of us being on the road a lot.  The one time I did get to see them was on our 2010 attempt to climb Mount Rainier.  Unfortunately due to an injury on our team, we turned around a few thousand feet from the summit, but spending several days tied to each other on a rope team is a great way to get to know someone.  Either you end up hating each other or become fast friends.  Fortunately my experience was the latter, and I was thrilled when Karen told me that her and Cliff were engaged, and that they wanted me to photograph their wedding in Leavenworth, Washington.


To see more images of this event, visit www.pictage.com/1201307.

Posted in Destination Weddings, Real Weddings, Timothy's Adventures, Wedding Planning Also tagged , , , , , , , |

Faces of the Himalaya Show January 9th, 2009 at Altitude Gallery.

I love the mountains and the outdoors, but my favorite thing about travelling (aside from eating exotic foods) is getting a chance to meet with people from different cultures around the world. Before leaving for Asia, I had planned on photographing landscapes, mountains, rivers, and ancient monasteries. However, after a few days of travelling through Tibet, I was really drawn to the people there.

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