Two years of struggling through my camera and I finally gained some traction.

The year 2015 was my year.

With two pressing, stressful, passionate years behind me, and I finally started to gain noticeable traction with my work. I traveled to Dallas, Hawaii, Florida, Japan, and New Mexico. Not only did I grow as a photographer, but I am starting to fulfill my dream as a traveling photojournalist.

Here is a look at my top 10 shots of the year.

#10: Life is messy.

Discomfort and patience.

I captured this image near the North Shore in Hawaii. I remember the sun setting quickly. I walked to the end of the point and laid on this formation. It was sharp and uncomfortable, hole-ey like swiss cheese, tough like splintered iron — imagine the big rock/asteroid thing on Armageddon.

#9: The wild wild dust storm.

OK. It’s not the greatest thing compositionally.

But, it was my first time to shoot with the dirt in the air like this. I have been told, ALWAYS SHOOT IN ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. Well, this wasn’t necessarily adverse. But I’ll take it. If you would like read more about this day CLICK HERE!

#8: My first real story — Mr. Miller.

Moments are more powerful than composition.

This was my first “big time” feature story. Before a football game, I found Mr. Miller preparing for a celebration at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. This shot tells a story. And, it will always have a special place in my heart. Read more HERE.

#7: A night mission. And the last shot of the night.

At the end of the night, don’t stop shooting.

During a SWAT night mission, I was shooting long exposures of trainees breaching a room and rescuing hostages. These scenarios were challenging. As the night closed, I saw this moment when they packed their gear. Never stop shooting. Check out my images HERE.

#6: My first encounter with OU Football, Baker Mayfield.

We all have to walk out of our own shadows.

After a practice before the 2015 season began, I captured this moment of Baker Mayfield. For me it was a precursor of what was to come. A season filled with new opportunities and tons of growth.

#5: I missed a moment in Japan.

Sometimes the right place and right time just isn’t enough.

As shared in a recent blog post, this moment was devastating to me. BUT, I am stronger. I will get that moment again.

Read the blog post here.

#4 New Mexico sunset. I still hear the calling.

#4 Metadata

Ever since I was a teenager the mountains have been speaking to me.

There is nothing about this image that I did to make it more or less. A camera can only work with what it is given. In moments like this. I feel the camera can’t fully represent the beauty of the moment — but it let’s me remember.

#3 OU vs Texas — what in the hell was I doing?

Data Unknown

First time to travel, shoot a nationally televised game.

In the world of sports, I have learned — a lot — this year. The pace of the game, the positioning, the risks, the anticipation; it’s all here. The OU/Texas game was intense. I missed deadlines. It took me hours to upload my imagery. I was all over the place. But, I’ve learned from it. Although OU lost, I had the biggest growth from this game than any of the others thus far.

#2 Real world scenarios. No faces.

I could’t shoot faces. So, I did the best I could.

During a training scenario I focused on silhouettes. I loved the challenge of this shoot. This was the first time I’ve had to shoot with these limitations. But, it was completely worthwhile.

#1 Look mom, I’m on TV.

It was my first semester back in school and all hell broke loose.

I had just started working for The Daily. The night SAE broke I grabbed my camera and arrived at the scene around 12:00 a.m. (ish). After the prayer vigil, national media started calling from all over. My photo ran on news outlets across the country. See my work on ABC here. More than 15 agencies picked up my work. And, no I didn’t get paid for it… But at least I was doing something worthwhile.

I have a long ways to go. I’m reaching, I’m dreaming, I’m patient.

2016, I’m ready.

“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.” –Henri Cartier-Bresson