2018 Water Carnival - a look back at an amazing week!

For those that have never been involved with Water Carnival, they have a hard time connecting with what I'm about to say.  For those that have, you know exactly what I am talking about.

The most amazing thing about the Hutchinson Jaycee Water Carnival is just how close everyone becomes.  It is said time and time again that it's like a family - and it really is.  I have made some great friends in this group.  I just wish I would have been involved earlier.  And that's a strong point to make.  This festival is run by a group of amazing people.  No, you don't have to be a member of the Jaycee's to help out with Water Carnival.  You just have to have a desire to help make our community celebration be better each year.  The festival is only as good as those helping out. 

I want to take a quick moment and just say how much I appreciate everyone involved in putting this together.  You all are amazing people.  Thank you for inviting me to be a part of it.

Water Carnival Committee

Water Carnival Committee

Now, on to the candidates and the great week we had.

I am pretty lucky.  Outside of the "Queen Mom's" (great title btw), I think I am somewhere near the top of time spent with the candidates.  My work with them starts in April for their official head shots.  A few weeks later in May, we get together for Button Night.  Then before we know it, Water Carnival week begins with Music in the Park. 

Ashley, Taylor, Erin, Olivia, Ann, Mandy, Taylor, and Alison.

Ashley, Taylor, Erin, Olivia, Ann, Mandy, Taylor, and Alison.

Then the week gets really crazy.  Wednesday is all about practice.  Thursday is portraits in the park, then they hop on board their boats for the boat parade.  This year, I was lucky to have Kristine Leuze (her website) helping out for a few events.  I have a ton of respect for Kristine and really appreciate her help this year with the boat parade, parade and coronation.

photo: Kristine Leuze

photo: Kristine Leuze

Friday morning begins my three days of non-stop running.  We kick it off with photos out of the limo as they check in to their hotel..then off for an hour of portraits all over Hutchinson.  Then off to the local nursing home for a program.  Teddy Bear Band in Library Square soon follows.  Then it's off to practice again at Maplewood Academy.  I quickly run home to upload photos before heading back for the pageant.


Saturday morning I get to spend some time with the Women of the Year and Mr. Hutchinson at their brunch for a quick photo op.  Then it's a quick run across town for the Jr. coronation.  Then it's off to the Commodore's dinner and Queen's Dance.  


It's all capped off on Sunday with a quick photo of all of the visiting royalty and the morning breakfast.  We all know about the parade.  (Our parade stands out as one of the best in the region.)  Then finally off to the Coronation.

Monday morning is the new Queen and Princess official portraits.

Sounds fun, right?  I think so.

Even though those last three days are my favorite, the whole time I spend with the candidates is a blast.  Why?  I get to watch them take the next step in their story, no matter what that ends up being.  Each one of them grows so much during this program.  I can't recommend this program enough to anyone who is thinking of giving it a try.


Before I go, I want to share something really quick with Bailey and Loraina.

Thank you for putting up with my dumb humor, and for allowing me to be your photographer last year and this year. 

I had a great time at our photo shoot in January, even if it was super cold.  You both were so awesome to work with. 

Bailey, you are a strong young woman, and an absolute gem to be around.  We are all very proud of you and what you've accomplished to this point.  You have worn the crown well, and represented Hutchinson the way it should be done.  Good luck at the Aquatennial!  The highest of fives.

Loraina, you are the only princess I have worked with that had a knack for knowing when the lens in heading in your direction.  The goofy faces you gave me made me laugh each time!  You have shown everyone what it means to be a great princess.  You are such an amazing person, I can't wait to see what's next for you.  The highest of fives for you too.

You both represented Hutchinson well!


And finally, to each of the candidates.  

Each of you should be incredibly proud of how you represented both Hutchinson, and more importantly, yourself.  Some of you I have known for awhile, and some of you I have just met.  Each of you grew by leaps and bounds during this event, and all of us couldn't be more proud of you!  The whole city was behind you the whole way.  I hope you came out of this with lifelong friends, and I hope you had as much fun in this experience as we all had with you!

Finally, congratulations to the new royal family!  To see the raw emotion (yaaasss!) on your faces as you were crowned made me smile and a bit emotional.  I am excited to see where this journey takes you.

Congratulations to Queen Erin and Princess Olivia!

Princess Olivia

Princess Olivia

Queen Erin

Queen Erin

2019 Royal Family

2019 Royal Family

15/10.  Would totally recommend getting involved, volunteering, or running as a queen/princess candidate. 

#muchinhutch #sparkle

Bailey and Loraina

For the past few years, I've been the lead photographer for the Hutchinson Jaycee Water Carnival.  For the past two years, I've offered the opportunity for the Queen and Princess to come in over their holiday break to get a few portraits done.

I have always thought that it would be a fun opportunity for the two of them to come back in, after the parade season has wound down, to just have some fun images done, one more time before the end of their time as Queen and Princess.  In all of the excitement of the event, it can get lost, so I was excited to have Bailey and Loraina reach out to do a session on their break.


Bailey and Loraina have been awesome to work with.  Both during Water Carnival, and since.  This day was no different.

When we set out for this session, we made sure that we got a few standard images.  But we really wanted to push out to see what we could come up with. 


We did a lot of stuff with dresses, and smoke.....


It was an incredibly cold day outside (-15ish), with a pretty strong windchill.  Due to the extreme temps, we unfortunately couldn't do everything we had wanted to do outside.  We instead pivoted to the studio, and saved a few images for outside.  They were troopers in the cold, no doubt about it.


Thank you Bailey and Loraina!  You two have been a blast to work with this year!

Hanna's Fall Session

I'm just going to leave this right here.

After getting all of Hanna's images up and ready to view, I told her I kept coming back to one thing - "these images looked like she was about to drop her next country album."

When we went to this area to shoot, this was exactly what I had envisioned it would turn out to be.  I've mentioned it before, but every session I want to come away conveying an emotion.  In this series of images, I wanted the images to convey the thought about her next chapter in life.  

Hanna Fall 2017--75.jpg

I feel like I say this after each session, but I really had a blast capturing this moment in time for Hanna.  

I can't wait for our winter session!

Hanna Fall 2017--101.jpg


We had serious location ambitions on Kaitlyn's senior portrait session.  And by we, I mean me.

I knew going in to the session that I wanted to hit some of my go to locations.  If anything, it was to just get warmed up.  


Now, I talked about location ambitions - and when that happens, I usually start to run out of sunlight.  But on this day, we were moving, and the light played nice in the sandbox with us.


I swear this never happens to me as a photographer, but the day prior to this, I got really lucky. As I was heading out of town on a work trip, I came across a field of flowers that had just bloomed.  Upon seeing it, I knew I had to shoot there.


From the first image, I knew I was in trouble.  I knew at that moment, I was going to take too many images.  Whatever, we went for it, and we were not disappointed.


As we chased the sun down, we had just a couple of stops left, but we made it!

Oh, and thanks for jumping in to the corn for me!


You've made it!  All the way to senior year.  Enjoy every last minute of your senior year, it goes by way to fast!  

Have a great year, and thank you for choosing me to capture this moment in your life!  



I look forward to all of my portrait sessions - even though sometimes I get a bit nervous.  But with Mary's senior portrait session, I was particularly intrigued.  See, Mary is in to sports.  Tennis, and Softball are her main sports, and I love it when senior's bring props along.  With the sports aspect, I knew we would get to do something creative with the equipment.  

More on that later.


First, we walked around downtown Hutchinson.  There are many reasons that I love Hutchinson, but downtown Hutchinson really sticks out.  There is so much architecture and park areas that really make for good backgrounds.  We also headed down to what seems like every photographer in town's favorite bridge.  We can't help ourselves sometimes.  


Mary has been involved in Girl Scouts as well, and the flowers were blooming in the park.  It made for a perfect location.


Then it was on to the sports - and I was ready!

We started with tennis, and then to softball.  

Mary was gracious enough to come back to the studio after the session was done to work on a new product offering for me.  These images will be made in to composites for athletes looking to make something special to remember their season.  I'll have more on this product offering on the blog soon!


Mary, I hope you have an amazing senior year!  Thank you for trusting me to capture this moment in time of your life.  Good luck in tennis, and softball this year.  Get out there and dominate!


It's been awhile - mainly busy, you too?

When I started the new website, I thought I was going to be really good at writing new blogs.  I guess I have to work on that a bit more.

It's been a pretty busy summer, and now we are running at full blast on senior sessions for fall. There are still a few spots left, but with the way August has played out, weather-wise, I can already see some leaves in the trees starting to change.

From corporate head shots, to senior sessions, it's been a bit busy.  Not so much that I shouldn't be blogging a bit more.  Over the next couple of days, I will try and post a few of the senior sessions that I've been working on.



If you've followed me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or here on this website and blog, you've seen Isabelle grace the pages more than once.  Isabelle is a great model that I've been able to work with over the past few years.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with her again on a shoot with the Hutchinson Photography Club.  I also had the chance to work with Vanessa Soliz, MUAH, again.  If you haven't seen her work yet, you need to do so. (click here)

With each session we've done over the past few years, it is obvious that she has been honing her craft.  

Vanessa was great too as she came in and out of the session to fix Isabelle's hair in a different ways and to touch up her makeup as we went along.

I want to thank Isabelle for being such an awesome model for me over the past few years. You've done an amazing job.  Good luck in college.  Hopefully we will get a chance to shoot again down the road!

Model - Isabelle Gasser

MUAH - Vanessa Soliz

Thanks to the both of you for a great shoot.

Gallery from this session is below.



Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph a friend of mine.  I met Elena a few years ago after she opened up a bakery here in Hutchinson.  Everyone has a sweet tooth, and Elena's caramel rolls are probably the best I've ever had.  On any given Saturday, you may find me there picking up one before a long ride on my bike.  I'll leave the link to her bakery (click here).

But that's not what you're here for.  You came to see her portrait. 

Elena made this process easy.  Even though she hadn't really been in front of the camera before, she did an amazing job.

As with most sessions, it's hard to pick just one photo that I like the best.

I mean, it is really tough to pick just one.

But just then, the right moment happens, and there it is.

Thank you Elena for doing such an amazing job.  I loved all of the photos that we took.  These are just the few that I thought really stood out.

I also need to give a lot of thanks to Vanessa Soliz, the MUAH for this session.  Vanessa does an amazing job!  We've worked on a couple of sessions together and hope to do more in the future.  You can find a link to her site (click here).

Gallery is below.



One of the things that I love about our local photography club is how active it is.  For all fields of practice - from portraits to landscapes, to macro photography, they do it all.  Each year they also plan a big field trip for the club as well.  But my favorite is the workshops.

In January, it was a portrait session with ballerina's.  We set up three separate areas to shoot.  Each section was to have a model, then they would rotate through.  It's fun because we typically get a chance to expand and practice with something that we may not normally get a chance to do in a paid portrait session.


Rachel was up first.  It took me a beat to get going.  Honestly, I didn't know we were taking portraits of ballerina's until I showed up.  Once the creative flow started though, things got really fun.  I was up on chairs, set up a ladder to shoot from above, I was down on the ground to get reflection off of the floor.  Just a really fun shoot.

I have to thank Kristine, one of my friends for holding the lights for me and generally putting up with me during the shoot.  We didn't have a boom arm for the flash, so there was a lot of holding the light above the models.  In the image above, the softbox (light) was just above her shoulders, just out of the frame of the photo.

Terrin was fun to work with too.  She put up with all sorts of awkward poses we could get her in to.  What I like about the image above is the amount of space around her.  There is nothing to distract the eye from her.

I didn't get much chance to shoot with Payton.  One of those things where there's never enough time in the session to do what you want.  I did get a chance to take some head shots of her which I really liked.  Something about the eyes that are staring right through the image.  There's a saying out there that goes something like "black and white photos are the key to a person's soul".  In many ways, that's what I think of when I see this image.

I want to sincerely thank Rachel, Terrin, and Payton for taking the time out of their schedules to come and be our models for a night.  They were patient with the novices in the group and were willing to stay after the meeting to work with myself and a few of the other photographers.

Thanks for stopping by,


2016 Photography Showcase

I was asked the question last night about how long I have been a member of the photography club.  I honestly can't remember, but it predates 2011.  If I remember right, I joined up around 2009 or so.  Maybe 2010.

Each year, the club hosts a photography showcase at the Hutchinson Arts Center.  We did dodge the blizzard by a day, so that was a good start.

The one thing that I will say about the club, is how great each of the photographers are.  When I joined, there were a handful of photographers in the group.  Over the years, we grew the group to about 25+ photographers.  Many come from around the area, not just from Hutchinson.  It's been really fun to watch the talent grow as well.  Each year, the talent has gotten better and better.

2016 Showcase participants

2016 Showcase participants

This year, I entered photos in the portrait category.  I entered four photos.  Two were from a stylized session the club did last February - also around a blizzard called "Ice Princess".

Both of them placed in the portrait category.  One in second place, and one as an honorable mention.  I was pretty proud of both of the images and how they turned out.  


Isabella as an Ice Princess

Isabella as an Ice Princess

Sarah as an Ice Princess

Sarah as an Ice Princess

It's always cool when the models come to see their photos.  In the photo below, Isabelle's mom took our photo with her image.  Pretty neat when they take as much pride in the image as I do as the photographer.

Photo: Beth Gasser

Photo: Beth Gasser

Lydia, one of the other models came to the event as well.  We have her tapped to be a model in our next workshop - Rock and Roll.  You can see Lydia in the Black and White image below.

Lydia is in the black and white photo, second in from the top left.

Lydia is in the black and white photo, second in from the top left.

Feel free to click through the images I submitted to this year's showcase below.

I want to thank all of our supporters who came out to this year's event.  It was great to see everyone.  Hutchinson is a huge supporter of the arts, and we are lucky to have such a vibrant club, and a location such as the Center for the Arts to showcase local artists.



I seem to get one guy every year who is sneaky cool.  Outward, he maybe isn't really looking forward to the shoot - at least that's what he will tell his mom - but on the inside is a solid guy about ready to make his mark on the world.



This year, that was Nick.  


Nick was great.  He was willing to try whatever I threw at him, including getting up on the bridge a bit.  It was also a bit windy the day we took his photos - with his long hair, we had to wait for the wind to die down a bit before each shot.  It gave me a bit more time to talk with him and his mom throughout the shoot as well.  I'm a talker anyway, as most of my senior clients can probably attest to.  


I had a great time with Nick and his mom.  The world awaits this guy's next move!

Thanks for choosing me to take your photos.



I recently had a chance to photograph Brandon's senior session, and I have to say, he made my job really easy.

When his mom and I first started talking about his senior session, I really wanted to know what it was the would help tell his story.  What was it about him that made him who he was.  She said there were two things.  First, was his guitar.  Second was his bike.  As soon as she said it, I already had ideas running through my head for his session.

She also was looking for the fall colors to be incorporated somehow.  I had some places in mind, but we had to wait until the timing was just right.


We went to one of my secret locations to get the shots with his bike done.  I just loved the way the background helped put the focus on something that he loves to do.


My favorite part of the session was to get back to my studio with him and his guitar.  I had been planning this set up from the beginning.  



I had a great time taking Brandon's senior photos.  I hope that I was able to capture them in a way that helped tell his story. 


Ben's Senior Session

I had the opportunity to take Ben's senior photos recently.  The guy absolutely nailed it.


I am always challenged to shoot things in a new way.  In Hutchinson, many photographers use the same locations over and over again.  Our challenges are to shoot those locations in ways that stand out.

Ben was all smiles, but he played along and gave me some of moody stuff as well.  While I always like the smiles, our faces tell so much about ourselves.  When it came to the moody parts of the shoot, he knocked it out of the park.


At the end of the session, we went back to the studio to shoot a couple of shots on the black backdrop.

When the shoot is all said and done, we had many images to choose from.  My favorite part of any session is sitting down with mom afterwards to watch her expressions as her son or daughter gets ready to pass another milestone.  This session was no different.

Thanks for choosing me to capture this moment in your life.  Ben, you were a rockstar!