It’s that time of year again where many look back and prepare for a new year. I am one of those people. This activity is really hard wired in my brain. I need to look back not only to learn, but to truly put the year to rest and file it away. This year was a big year for sure. At times it seemed like it screamed by, but when I look at these images it seems that the year was never ending. For me, the year was filled with so many great moments. As I put time into this post, it is also clear that in addition to great moments, there is progression of my personal direction, well being and creative growth.
So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and consider this the great 2021 catch up post. I am highlighting some of the significant moments & memories as well as my favorite images. Don’t hesitate to reach out to GNAT at LIVE dot COM if you so desire or leave me a comment.
Little did I know that this trip short trip to KC to visit friends would change the outlook on my year and my future. It was on this trip, alone in my car on I35W South, that I made a commitment to myself to prioritize me, my well being and my health. It was also on this trip that I started seeing and experiencing some creative freedom and direction. Below, is my favorite shot from that trip.
January also included a ski trip and family visit to Steamboat Springs. This was a trip we had planned last year but cancelled due to Covid and the ski resort shutting down. Lucky for us the passes for 2020 were honored and my brother and his wife were able to join us this year. Bonus!
As the world began to open up again, we embarked on a final, family spring break. With our kids off to college in the fall, we knew we this was likely our last chance as a family unit of four before our kids head off to college so we went all in, went through all the safety protocols and testing, and ventured to Hawaii! It was truly magical and a great time. Lots of pics to share here. I am only going to highlight a few here.
I love this image and how it reflects the challenging times we were experiencing. These kids are part of history and this image cements the time period we in. This was a whale watching tour with friends. And yes we saw whales. Lots of whales. Everywhere! See below.
It was on this trip I captured my favorite image of my son as well. This incredible young man has so many facets and is a thinker and lover of both fashion and art. This shot of him looking out into the distance in his hand painted shirt he purchased from a local artist captures that spirit exactly and perfectly.
In the final days of my twins’ senior year, I was called into dad photo journalist role one last time for senior year prom. This was a prom like no other. No event. No dance. But our girl and her friends made the best of it. No dates and a boat cruz on Lake Minnetonka! What an incredible group of girls. Honestly, this may be my most fun photo shoot of the year!
This photo shoot for Senior Prom also gave me my favorite image of my daughter and maybe my personal favorite photo of 2021. Just like the photo of my son above from Hawaii, this image captures my daughter perfectly. Happy. Beautiful. Inspiring.
June marked the a significant milestone with high school graduation for our twins. It was a joy to see my kids endure the crazy year, the changes in our society and the challenges in our eduction system. So proud of them. It also gave me my favorite dog & pet image of the year. So proud of these kids and check out our serious and scholarly dog Odie!
July marked the decision to leave my place of employment of the past 25.5 years. We also visited grandma, family and friends in Colorado. Again, with our twins leaving for college, we took advantage of those last moments before they flew the nest. A side note here, Colorado and especially Estes Park area often make my wife and I contemplate life’s choices. It was also the low point of fitness in my entire life and was even more evident at 10,000+ feet! This year that was especially strong given we knew we’d be empty nest in the fall. No decisions made, but someday we hope to have another house or property somewhere. We love Minnesota, but we are growing not so fond of our winters. Just sayin’!
August was highlighted with a visit up north enjoying my brother’s new cabin life. He bought an old, beaten down property and has spent the summer rebuilding. It’s not done yet, but it was great to be there and be together. I often miss the whole group family photo and this trip to the cabin was no exception. I did capture the dogs though!
We also dropped Nathan off at the University of Minnesota. Fun fact: He is staying in Frontier Hall, the same dorm I stayed in as a freshman when I attended the University of Minnesota!
September marked the reality of empty nest life. We dropped Natalie off at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I am sure any parent reading the next line will understand what I am about to write. It is incredible to see your kids off on this new and incredible journey. It is also incredibly heartbreaking and difficult to imagine relearning and letting go of the incredible 18+ years a family unit and pod. We were far from perfect parents, but this family is the best thing in our lives. So grateful and thankful for these two kids.
Leaving Nathan the prior week and dropping Natalie off in Wisconsin hit us pretty darn hard. While you prepare for these moments, you don’t really know what to prepare for. It hit us pretty hard and to combat that, we made our selves really really busy with friends, activities and travel. We capped off the month of September with a trip to Maine with our friends. I have so many images and thoughts from this trip but I will only share a few. One note, if you ever have the chance to visit Maine please go! It’s incredible.
We were jam packed with stuff in October. A few highlights include seeing both Nathan and Natalie, lots of bike riding and out door activity as well as my birthday. I did not have my best photo month in October as I was focused on other stuff. But here is a fun one from my birthday outing with Nathan and Jen where we visited the Van Gogh Immersive experience. If ya look closely, you can see my self portrait and Jen and Nathan sitting on a bench in the background. Fun night!
Two highlights to share about November. Both Jen an I traveled independently to Chicago to meet friends and we had our kids home for Thanksgiving. I even snuck in an extra short trip to Milwaukee as part of my picking up Natalie for break.
Chicago – Here’s my favorite image from my Chicago with friends trip. I had this image in my head. I didn’t want to leave Chicago without capturing it.
I snuck in a dinner with friend and a Lake Michigan sunrise before picking Natalie up in Madison for Thanksgiving break.
This Thanksgiving, Jen and Natalie ran the Turkey Trot 10K together. It was a highlight for me seeing these two run together. Sorry, no pictures of Nathan as he was sick and in bed almost the entire Thanksgiving break.
And to close out the year, December brings us the holidays, the ending of fall semester for our kids and road trips to visit family.
These two got through their first college semester and courses. It is a big transition and the first of many life changes for them. We are really proud of them. Minot delivered on the snow and the cold. Nothing like spending the day digging out of a fresh snowfall with Jen’s dad. This image has a real vintage feel to it and brings back a ton of memories for me.
And while 2021 is not officially over, that’s my year in photos review. I will have one more look back next week digging into my bikes, my riding and my photography!
Thanks to everyone for their friendship, their love and support during this fun and at time challenging year. I hope your holidays has been spectacular and may 2022 be your best year yet! Love you all.