The Year in Review

With Gratitude...

I wanted to take a moment and look back upon some of the things I have accomplished this past year. Things that are life-changing moments, at least to me, and I'd like to take this opportunity to give a huge and very heartfelt Thank You! to those who have supported and encouraged me. I couldn't have done it without all of you. So, here's a look back at 2015 with much appreciation!

In the spring of 2015, I was absolutely thrilled that the Sierra Club of Tennessee asked to use my photograph of the Nolichucky River for their campaign that highlighted caring for TN rivers. Having virtually grown up in the Nolichucky, it was an especially moving moment to see a photo I made, of a river I love, on such a prestigious publication, advocating its defense. Definitely a defining moment for me on many levels, because, as most of you probably know, fighting to keep US Nitrogen (an explosives company) from dumping their waste into it has been at the top of my priority list for a while.

Also, this past spring, I officially launched my own company, HPP Media & Design. And just to have some fun, purposely obtained my business license on Friday the 13th and officially "opened" on April Fool's Day because I'm all about nonconforming. :)

HPP Media & Design encompasses Hoi Polloi Photography,, and Nolichucky Guardian, my own online newspaper; and I was granted press credentials by the US Press Association, also something I am proud to have. I wanted a newspaper that told the truth, and wasn't afraid to touch the subjects that other news media shied away from covering, as well as good news about our local communities.

One of the most exciting things I accomplished in 2015 was writing and publishing my own book, The Simple Guide to Great Photography. People would often ask for advice on photography, and it almost came natural to write it. I enjoy helping new photographers get their feet under them, or folks who don't want to have to learn all the technicals to make a good photo, and the book was a wonderful way to share knowledge.

Not everyone has a photographer handy at life's special moments, and I hope my book will help people capture special times with photos that they can be proud to pass down to their kids.

I am currently working on a second book, about composition. Hopefully to be out by the spring/summer 2016.

As I mentioned before, saving the Nolichucky is very important to me, so I was thrilled to be contacted by Lorelei Goff, who was writing an article for The Appalachian Voice about our plight, and super honored to have them use more of my photos to illustrate the article.

I had the opportunity to do the family photo shoot for State Rep. Jeremy Faison's Christmas cards that went out to thousands of people this year. A gorgeous Foothills Parkway backdrop made for some great family photos!

And, perhaps, a couple of the biggest compliments I've ever gotten came at the very end of this year (not that I don't appreciate each and every compliment from all of you). A couple of photographers that I have followed for years, admiring their work, hoping a little of their magic would rub off on me, complimented my work. You might not know who they are, but in my world, these guys are Rock Stars!

Jake Olson is a photographer from Nebraska, who does some absolutely amazing things with light! As photographers, light is always that elusive element we strive to catch, that makes a photo come alive. Jake Olson does it so magnificently, and his work has been featured all over the world. I've watched his tutorials to learn how to capture a little bit of his magic light, and his encouragement means so much!

If you follow Bassmasters, you probably have seen James Overstreet's work. He's the guy who makes all those cool shots of the top fishermen, but he also has a portfolio of some of the most beautiful nature photography I have ever seen. He is referring to the shot of Cable Mill (above) also. To get this response from him definitely made my year!

I feel like I have certainly grown professionally over the past year and hope to continue. Once again, I know I wouldn't be here without all the wonderful people, friends and family, all over the globe who  in some way or another have helped me to grow and become a better photographer, better writer, and better person. May all of you have your best year ever, and may we all help each other through the journey.

It's always fun to look back through the year's photos and reflect on changes. It also helps remind us to appreciate every moment, for we will never get them back. I've pulled out my favorites to share with you.

I hope you enjoy them, and that my photos can bring a bit of joy to those who see them. I appreciate you all! Your kind words always mean the world to me!

Much love!

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