2016 was an awesome year for me, full of great friends, lots of laughter, and plenty of learning experiences that I will take with me into the new year. Perhaps one of the greatest things that happened to me in 2016 was I fell in love. I fell in love with looking through a lens, chasing the best light, and trying to look at things in a new, fresh perspective. Yes, I fell in love with photography!

I had always been intrigued with photography and those flashy DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras, but I never really thought of myself being a photographer. As I continued to adventure, I found myself in places I wanted to capture and share. It was then that my shopping began. When I buy expensive gear, hours of internet searches and questions to friends ensue. Finally, I settled on what I thought would be the perfect camera for me to start with: the Nikon D5300. I am happy to say, I have continued to be impressed by it!

With zero background in using a DSLR camera,  or photography as a whole, I started taking pictures everywhere I went. I still have a lot to learn, I think every photographer does. There is no perfect combination of gear, nor can you guess when the perfect moment for a picture might be. The greatest parts of photography are the unplanned, beautiful moments that you capture at just the right time.

Every picture has a story, some big and some small. Sharing those moments is my favorite part of taking them. With that being said, here are 10 of my favorite photos that I took in 2016.

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Snowy Egret eyeing me down on the beaches on Indian Shores, Florida

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Typically I see these energetic red squirrels running around and through the trees. This guy decided to take a nice snooze instead!

 

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Few places captivate me like the banks of the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin
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Woke up early while visiting friends in South Carolina for this shot. This is the historic Church of the Cross in Bluffton, SC
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Working as an adventure guide can be incredibly rewarding. This was one of those days. This beautiful family, visiting the Everglades from the UK, is paddling towards my favorite Bald Cypress tree. That bad boy is almost 700 years old!
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The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are hard to put into perspective. I took this on top of a pathway during a solo hike.
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Outside our house on Plantation Island in the Florida Everglades with my roommate, co-worker, and friend Abby.
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A boat-billed heron at the Milwaukee Zoo. They have a great bird exhibit!
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The Super Moon illuminated the sky and allowed for some pretty fun photos. Here is the night sky, illuminated by the moon, with Wildman’s Alpine Tower in the foreground.
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The only thing that can make this waterfall more beautiful is a pretty blonde girl.I took this one on my birthday this year at Long Slide Falls, in Northern Wisconsin.

 

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