I kicked off the year in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for my final five months with MLive.com. I made some pictures I liked but I found myself falling into routines and needed to push beyond. The latter seven months of this year, I’ve been traveling, visiting friends, shot a friend’s wedding and began working for a community college in the Bay Area. But this post isn’t about pictures I was paid to take, it’s about pictures I made while soul searching after emerging from nearly two years of interning at community newspapers. (For Grand Rapids highlights see Zayden Needs Me, Prom season and Fashion show.) After driving more than 6,500 miles this summer, I slowed down enough to remember the parts I enjoyed most about photography — connecting with others, exploring my surroundings and documenting daily life. I found the same gratification photographing Alex & Andrea’s wedding, my cross-country road trip, and just being present while volunteering with First Descents during a whitewater kayak trip on the Rouge River in Oregon. My 2017 goal is to fold my vision while I'm not on assignment into my assignment work.