Smoky Mountains

Good family time is always a treasure, which these past handful of years has been rare, considering that the 8 of us are now spread between Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and California. But starting last year, an adventurous family vacation is now a yearly tradition that I’ll try to keep going for as long as possible. :) This past July (yes, I’m late) we all stayed in a cabin near Gatlinburg Tennessee and explored the beauty of nature that is the Smoky Mountains. Here’s a brief chronicle of our 2015 Yoder family adventure!

I’m a big fan of nature, but the family time is what I’ll treasure about this time the most. :)

2015 Year In Review

This is probably the most nostalgia-inducing post I do each year.

Each of these photos bring back a flood of memories and put me right back into the moment that I pressed the camera shutter. All the memories of joy, tears, quiet contemplative times, and feelings of thankfulness that I’m able to work with some of the best humans…it’s all still here.

Contained below is the collection of tiny moments of what this past year has been to me. From personal adventures to weddings to portraits to engagement sessions. It has been a wild ride.

Thanks for being a part of it and/or for following along. It means a lot. :)


Pacific Coast Adventures

This is only exactly a year late, but this is the extended version of the Pacific Northwest Adventures of 2014.

It all started with an idea to road trip up the cost with my California stationed sister. My sister Felicia is always up for adventure, so of course was down. I don’t know exactly how the conversation developed, but we soon arrived at the idea of seeing if the whole family would want to join us. This for me felt pretty crazy since my family is pretty frugal with money and we’ve never done anything similar to this. I was also skeptical that our whole huge family with everyone having different jobs and things going on would be able to travel to the west coast  for 10 days at the same time. But then…

Everyone said yes!

After that, a sketchy craigslist RV, and a bunch of Southwest credit card sign up bonus miles later, we were off!

Our chronological destinations included:

  • Whiskeytown Lake in Redding, CA (swimming, paddle boarding)
  • Crater Lake (sunrise hike, exploring & hiking)
  • Silver Falls State Park
  • Portland, OR (visited some good friends, ate some good food)
  • Vancouver…WA. Meant to make it up to the Canadian Vancouver, but we didn’t want to rush the rest of the trip to do so. A quick drive across Portland’s Columbia river brought us to a town of the same name. So yes, I’ve been to Vancouver.
  • Cape Kiwanda beach, OR. The whole coast south of there is the most wonderful stretch of road that I’ve driven — Hwy 101. I was constantly blown away by how beautiful everything was on this stretch. We probably pulled over 5-10 times for different pretty stops along this highway. I mean…I wasn’t going to just drive by! :)
  • One of these unscheduled stops–that happened to be one of my favorite places ever–was Cape Perpetua and Thor’s well. Such a cool place.
  • Redwoods State Park (lots of hiking & exploring)
  • Finally, back to Nevada City -> Sacramento -> Home

It was grand. I absolutely recommend a trip like this to everyone. :)

Here’s the photo diary of the trip…

This took a lot of planning and was not without problems and dilemmas, but these 10 days turned out to be some of my favorite travels of my life. Looking back on all the good memories and seeing my family so happy makes it all worth it.

I guess you could say that this trip kinda brought back the trend of having a yearly family vacation. This weekend we got back from a week in the Smoky Mountains. I plan to blog that in less than 12 months. :)

If you’d like to see part 1 of my favorite images from this trip, here’s the post Pacific Northwest Abridged.

Invest in memories, not things.


Continuing on in my friend portrait project, this is my friend Jamie! She’s been a great friend who can always add wise and thoughtful words to any conversation, is quite cultured and intelligent, and is a class act friend. :)


Loveland Pass is quite the magical place. This trip was a nice combination of hiking until I felt like death, skiing & then repeating both of those. But all in the best adventurous and beautiful-scene-overload way. :) Also, when everything is this pretty, it’s hard to not jam pack the schedule with exploring all this goodness.

I just need to do a wedding here next time. :)

This is Loveland Pass in Georgetown and the Flatirons trail/mountain in Boulder, Colorado. dreams.

2014 Personal Year in Review

I’m a sucker for nostalgia. I put a lot of weight into reflecting over past memories and highlighting the goodness of life. That’s a big part of why I do photography–to show real stories through photographs.

Other Year In Review Posts– Sessions // Weddings

Here are the highlights of 2014.

And that’s it! I’m so grateful to all the people that made this year so special…in and out of these photos. Adventures by themselves aren’t quite the same. :)

~ Jon

Thanksgiving Wonderland

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope it has been an incredible time for you, dear reader, and will continue to look up and up. :) You wouldn’t be able to get this vibe from my quiet blog and social media pages, but I’ve been reinvigorated to write more on here and share more of the work that I’ve been involved in. This won’t be too sappy or introspective, that’s for a later day, but I do intend to post on here more often and share my thoughts and process behind my photos.

Today I’m going to highlight arguably the most special time of the year for the Yoder family — Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s the one time of the year that most all of my extended family gets together to share, feast, and do a family tradition or two or three. :) One of the greatest gifts that I’ve been blessed with in life is having such a loving family and extended family, so it’s always a good time when we’re all together.

Here are a few glimpses of my week back in Pennsylvania.

In order:

  1. It snowed!
  2. Friend thanksgiving at my sisters house. Extra thanksgiving food is always welcome. :)
  3. Yoder Thanksgiving! Always full of wonderful memories.
  4. We visited Centralia, Pennsylvania! A mystic nearly abandoned town not far from where my parents live. It has quite the story to it and is most famous for its underground coal mine fire that wouldn’t go away. Quite a cool place!

I photographed my cousin Rebekah and Justin’s wedding several summers ago and wasn’t able to do engagement pictures due to the 1000 mile distance. So–I couldn’t help but get a couple. :) A few years later and more in love than ever!

And that was my week in Pennsylvania.

Pacific Northwest Abridged

These are a few of my favorite photos from our family trip to the Pacific Northwest! I plan to do a part 2 post with a lot more photos and a lot more writing, but this is my official start! :) It was quite an incredible trip with the entirety of my family adventuring in some of the prettiest places I’ve ever been.

It was wonderful.

The Legend of the Kitteh

Introducing… my favorite new member of the family since my brother’s wedding. This is Cramer aka Chumbo aka Prim (his female pen name).  But I just call him Kitteh. He’s pretty much the best. His schedule consists of sleeping/snuggling/lazing 80% of the day and night, and then the other 20% is running around like a mad man (mad cat?) terrorizing guests and housemates alike, finding anything possible to chase or swat at.

He’s been quite the crazy but great subject. I would also guess that he’s one of the top 5 photographed cats ever. He doesn’t seem to care too much about these pictures, but I appreciate the positive feedback that I’ve gotten from the human people. :)

If you’d like to follow more of Kitteh Cramer’s shenanigans, check out the facebook Kitteh album!

Humans pictured: momma Chelsey, pappa Woody (he’s the dad, I’m just the godfather), and my little buddy Jay, future NBA star. Also, free climbing obstacle Kristy.

~ Jon