Photography Journal

Paris, Je T’aime

Like so many people around the world, I was shocked by the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Fifteen years ago to the day, I was in that holy place. And one of the most poignant things I have found as I search the available news was a headline that read: the...

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Glacier Engagement

One of my friends is getting married. They asked me to do engagement photos with them in Glacier National Park.
What a perfect day!

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O my stars…

More than one million acres have been burned in the 2017 fire season in Montana. The heavy smoke these have created have, for weeks, robbed us of blue skies and stars and the simple blessing of breathing easily. On Saturday, September 9, the skies cleared just a little I this is a collection of photo of the night sky that I’ve been missing, and the Sprague Fire in Glacier National Pakr.

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Total Perfection

The total eclipse of the sun on 21 August 2017 as seen from Roberts, Idaho. Along with the story I wrote for the Daily Inter Lake and at the end, a combined image (digital art) that is my attempt to capture what I felt.

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Israel 2018

I am going to Israel. A dream that has been building for decades is about to become a reality.

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Camera Gear and Loyalty

As a newspaper photographer, out in the community, I am frequently asked for advice on camera gear. I never mind the questions, but I also never know exactly how to help people.

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Keeping Journals

Keeping journals is the best thing I do for myself. This practice has helped me survive the darkest chapters of my life.

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White Wedding

A perfect day for a winter wedding in Northwest Montana at an unforgettable frozen waterfall.

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Absent Too Long

Sunrises in Glacier National Park are unpredictable. The mountains can change the weather around them so swiftly. But even though there is no telling what conditions you may encounter, I would encourage anyone visiting Glacier to go before dawn. The Park is deserted and the solitude is immense and refreshing.

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Dreams and Plans

“Die with memories, not dreams.”
For many years I have dreamed of going to Israel. In 2018 that is finally going to become a reality.

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Best First Look EVER

Don’t be afraid to be yourself on your wedding day. Embrace your inner crazy because I promise you, it will make for some incredibly wonderful photography.

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A Mission of Safety

This blog was written following two ride alongs with Montana Highway Patrol and an interview with Captain Duane Bowers, Commander of District 6 (Kalispell and the Northwest). It was originally an article for The Daily Inter Lake which appeared in the Sunday, January 22, Montana Life section.

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I love snow

Snowy sunrise on Big Mountain as seen from Whitefish Lake State Park in Whitefish, Montana.

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An artist’s workshop

I always love walking into an artist’s workshop. There is something captivating about the chaos that surrounds their creativity.

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Changes to the Newsroom

This is a solemn week here at the Daily Inter Lake. It is the final week for our news editor, Scott Crandell. After 26 years with the paper he has announced his retirement and is heading off to whatever adventures life has for him next.

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Cutest town in Montana

Apparently Whitefish, Montana has been named the cutest town in Montana by Pure Wow. This morning as I was leaving my house I saw a rainbow over downtown and knew I wanted to photograph it.

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Big Sky Weekend 2016

This weekend I finished one of my favorite photography projects of the year…the Big Sky Workshop Weekend. Swing dancers from all over the Northwest and beyond travel to little ole Kalispell, Montana…

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Wedding at Blacktail Ski Resort

Earlier in June I photographed my first wedding in Missouri. Photographing a wedding in St. Louis was exciting; a cityscape, a new environment for me, new photo opportunities, and of course, the Arch. But this week I am reminded of the reasons so many people come to Montana for their destination wedding locations. This place is really gorgeous.

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My First Camera

This is my first camera. These days I am a dedicated Nikon photographer, but I got my start with my father’s old AE-1. Today it was returned to me after 17 years.

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Photographing funerals

I absolutely hate photographing funerals. They break my heart. The last time I had to do this, I lived in Washington DC. So it has been seven years since I have had to carry a camera and go document the very worst of moments.

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Marines in their blues

For me, few things are as inspiring as seeing United States marines in their dress blues. They look sharp. And strong. And good. All the qualities that remind me of my father (Sgt. Michael James Ahearn, USMC, Vietnam War Veteran). I have a deep appreciation for all who have served in the Armed Forces, but I will admit, I have a particular bias for the Marines.

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The Shot

In photojournalism there is a beloved idea: it’s called the decisive moment. It’s the one magical capture where every piece of the story comes together in one frame that tells the complete story. The absolute master of this is photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. He said, “The Moment! Once you miss it, it’s gone forever!”  

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Hardest Days

The hardest days to be a photographer are ones when you have to photograph someone’s tragedy. Last night a fire in a dumpster (possibly fireworks set off by kids) led to a fully engulfed structure fire that destroyed the Sapa-Johnsrud Babe Ruth Field stadium in Columbia Falls.

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Power of Prints

Photography has never experienced a time like this. Everyone has a camera. And everyone is making and publishing photos thanks to social media. We are inundated with digital images. And yet, for all the images we see over and over there is still a great power in printed photographs.

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Monochrome

One of my favorite things with weddings is to go back and pick out photos to re-edit in black and white. When I started out in photography (in 1996) I started on black and white film. Tmax. Tri-X.

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Glacier Wedding

May is a risky month for weddings in Montana. This is especially true in Glacier National Park where the mountains bring in their own weather.

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Photographing the Northern Lights

Before moving to Montana I had never seen the Northern Lights. The first time I saw them was because I got a text from a friend at the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office: “Northern Lights over Big Mountain.”

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Art and Fear

Why are criticisms so much easier to believe than compliments? When someone says something kind, I smile, say thank you, and go on my merry way — grateful, but forgetful. But say one negative thing, even without malice, and I find myself coming back to those hurtful words over and over again.

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See what a difference 18 minutes can make…

This is my favorite photo of the sunset last night at City Beach, Whitefish, Montana.But the night didn't start off looking like this. It started off with some great clouds and good light, but the very tip of the mountain was shaded. This is what it started off as......

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Wedding Portfolio

For weeks my life has been consumed with preparing my wedding portfolio. It's been a long time since I have made one of these and sorting through thousands of photographs was not an easy task. I've decided to share a few of my favorite pages from my new 8.5 inch...

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The Big Mountain Location Challenge

This post is really going to only apply to people who have some connection to the Flathead Valley. I need help with a project and I'm getting desperate. So I have decided create this Big Mountain Location Challenge. The winner will get a complimentary 16x20 print of...

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2015 Year in Review: part two – Music, Theater and Dancing

I love being a photographer for a lot of reasons, but one of my favorite things to photograph is other artists. I love being around creative people. Engaging with them. Seeing them live out their passion. Being inspired by the way they chase after what they long...

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2015 Year in Review: part one – Photojournalism

Welcome to a brand new year! In true procrastinator style I have waited for the end of 2015 to write up my reflections on the year. In my defense, I don't really feel my year is over. Personally, I have always counted my birthday (April 4) as my year, so by my...

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Do something good in the world…

Here you will find details on your chance to get $100 dollars off family photo sessions  and the rest of the money goes directly to saving a life. (Please note: there are only 14 photo sessions available and you must contact me to confirm you are one of...

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Bury Me in Montana

Today I am celebrating six years in Montana. Six years at the Daily Inter Lake. I love this place. I love the job. I love my life. And for the past couple of weeks I have been working on a video slideshow and an article for the paper that was published yesterday....

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Bridezilla

Sometimes, my job at the Daily Inter Lake is a lot of fun. For Halloween this year, the entertainment editor asked the reporters to do stories about monsters. I don't normally write, my job is photos. But as I thought about the section and what it would need I thought...

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Too Close to the Story

I love my work. A few weeks ago I got to attend the first Orthodox ordination in the state of Montana. If you are not familiar with Orthodoxy, it is complex, ornate, exquisite, formal. It's beautiful. It makes the traditionalist in me very happy, even if does run a...

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The Charm Campaign

It doesn't take spending a whole lot of time with me to realize that I consider those who serve in the military, in law enforcement, or as firefighters, heroes. They are the good guys (and girls) and they have my respect and admiration. In a way, they all remind me of...

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…where no one notices the contrast in white on white…

In 1994 the Counting Crows released their version of the song Round Here from their August and Everything After album. I liked it instantly, but the line that really stuck out for me was "...into the fog where no one notices the contrast in white on white." Twenty...

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Chasing someone else’s vision

I have a friend. A great friend. A very particular friend. One might even say a persnickety friend. This friend loves my photography. Sweet, right? This friend likes to hang my photos on his wall. And I'm honored. This friend likes to come to me with projects. It will...

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Remembering Chosin

On this day 64 years ago, the Chinese Ninth Army Group set out to annihilate the United States 1st Marine Division at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. The battle began the night of Nov. 27 and continued for 17 days. The 1st Marine Division, reinforced by a British...

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Documenting something more…

This year I have been asked to do a special project with the Alpine Theatre Project. I am doing photos from the shows they produce and I am excited for these because ATP always does great work with costumes and lighting and staging. But the photos I am personally most...

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The good guys and why I love them…

This photo did not initially go with this blog. I wrote the blog a week ago, and while waiting for permission to publish it, further developments have occurred. Last night, for Valentine's, I got called out to the scene of a fatal shooting about 20 miles down the road...

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Another attempt at the perfect Swan Mountain Sunset

Last night as I left the office for the day, I looked up at the sky and just knew the sunset was going to be incredible. I hopped in my jeep and took off toward Bigfork, to the place where I had such wonderful views last time. But the light was fading fast and...

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Words That Last Longer Than A Lifetime

I do not remember the first time I came across the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. I loved it instantly. There are so many powerful life lessons in the 32 lines. The poem was published in 1895. Nearly 70 years later my grandmother, Gertrude Ahearn, gave a copy of...

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The Most Challenging Assignment Ever

For a month or so I have been looking at the mountains to the east and scouting for locations from which to photograph them. I've been in love with these mountains since I moved here and realized exactly how close I was going to be living to them. But this recent push...

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The Dream of Becoming a Photographer

Being a professional photographer brings me into contact with a lot of people. And one of the conversations I have again and again usually begins with the words "I've always wanted to be a photographer." And I smile every time I hear it. On the one hand it reminds me...

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Year in Review

I always love looking back through the photos of year. What I did, where I went, what I captured: it never fails to leave me feeling proud of what I accomplished and challenged to do even better next time. I believe that great things are coming for 2014 and am really...

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Flying Over Glacier

I will never get tired of Glacier National Park. It is my favorite place to visit...photograph...hike...see...explore...look for the Milky Way...wander...sit on a rock by a river and read...see the wildlife...see the sunrise...see the stars.I love Glacier. Glacier is...

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Photos that Linger

Back to school has arrived and with it, the calls for senior portraits. I love these. When someone opens up, gives you their trust, shows you something authentic...then you can have a lot of fun and make some photos that matter, photos that linger in the memory. I...

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