Best Nine Photos 2016

If I hear Taylor Swift is doing her best 9 photos of 2016 by putting her Instagram handle into the best nine website, yeah, you can bet I need to get in on that action too.  I rushed over and found my "best nine" - my nine photos people liked the largest number of times on Instagram.  I am ever so grateful to people for liking these photos (mostly related to this blog, readers- mad love to you!) but I didn't think they really capture the whole of what for me has been one the biggest years of my life.     Instead I've decided to put together 9 photos that tell a lot of the story of 2016 for me.  They were chosen by a combination of feeling + composition + memories, and they are either taken by me or of me.  

nine - crafter's hands

I'm a large person - Kyle had to specially order my engagement ring from the States because they didn't carry it in a size large enough for my ring finger in Canada.  That means my ring finger is larger than the average Canadian woman's thumb I guess.  This has lead to a rather understandable belief that my hands are not graceful.  

During the rather intensive wedding crafting process I asked Kyle to take some photos of me crafting.  What I began to notice in those pictures was that whether or not my hands were large, they look very graceful.  They look like someone who has spent endless hours over countless years working on creating.  My hands show something of who I am.  

This photo, with the mess surrounding me as I sit at our table preparing invitations for a dinner party captured something I didn't entirely know about myself, but when I saw it it made perfect sense.  

eight - just a couple of basic bitches

This is a super cute photo of the little miss angel biatch but I love it for more than it's adorableness.  Kyle was out of town on his stag, and Mckee and I were home alone having a pretty killer girl's weekend.  My friend Lindsay came over to craft and drink wine, the next night my mom and I went to yoga and watched Bride Wars and had a sleepover and in the morning went and got pedicures.  After all the loveliness it was just me and my pup sitting in the winter sun on the bed and I got this snap of her.  Whenever I see it the whole weekend comes back.  

seven - bride to be babe 

My lovely // amazing // incredible // make-you-feel-like-you-won-the-friendship-lottery friends held a bridal shower for me complete with a waffle and mimosa bar, a hashtag (#doitforeva), an introduction to a plastic flamingo (#FlameyLaFlame) who became a summertime mascot, a floral crown from Rogue Florist, a white-on-white crop top and skirt combo, a Hello Kitty Collection manicure, BFFs, and this wonderful photo from my cousin-in-law Jenny.  

six - neighbourhood reflections

After our wedding was over I was feeling a little craft-directionless and crafted-out so I started to get a little more into photography, and decided to actually pay attention to what I was doing.  On our around-the-world trip it was easy to take wonderful photos because every corner was new and exciting and I just really wanted to capture it all.  

It's a lot harder to feel the same way as that at home.  I'll take a photo here and will think, "ehhhhhhhh boring" knowing full well if I took the same photo on a trip I would be all "ahhhhhhhh thrilling."  As a challenge I've decided to take Mckee for a walk whenever it's not raining and intentionally look for things to inspire me as much as they do on my travels.  Combining the photography with Mckee walks is especially challenging as she only really likes to pull hard when I have lined up the shot, and I also have to keep very aware to make sure she doesn't attack anyone when I'm shooting.  As an extra-extra bonus challenge I try not to go down to the ocean as those photos sort of just turn out by default and head out to different parts of my neighbourhood.

I snapped this one at the Trout Lake community centre.  The reflection reflecting, the rain, the colours- they all inspired me as much as the colours of India, or the waterfalls of Iceland and when I see it I am ever so proud of myself for capturing it.  

five - feeling hella hot

I'm a female-identified-female-person-from-the-super-fit-city-of-Vancouver so I have a lot of insecurities over how I look.  I also have a lot of insecurities over how I express myself, and over how people will interpret how I think I look.  

But in this photo, on this night out, on my 8th anniversary, I just straight up think I look hella hot and I'm owning it.  Feeling yourself is super important and I'm feeling myself in this photo.  I'm only going to look like this for a short time in my life, and hell yes, I want to celebrate it.  

four - double the canadians double the scoops

I won $25 to Beta 5 for this photo!

I opened my Instagram account to the public in May of this year, and up until then I had about 60 followers.  I decided I wanted to share my photos and that I wasn't really saying anything nasty so I may as well go for it- so this was one of the first photos that had the chance to win anything // be featured anywhere.  On Kyle's first ever Canada Day as an actual real official Canadian (he became a Canadian mid-July last year) he and I went to Beta 5 and got these Canadian Double Scoopers, and I posted this photo hoping to win the #beta5icecreamsocial and gosh darn it, I won!  Since then I've had a few of my photos featured in a few places (yes, that was my shoe in one of the J Crew newsletters this summer, thanks for noticing) and I just find it so thrilling and fun whenever one of my photos are picked up.  Having some "featured photos" is one of the reasons I felt brave enough to start this blog.  

three - exactly what i imagined 

On our trip to Iceland with our photographers Shari + Mike, Mike asked me what my favourite photo of the day was.  As if!

I gave a vague answer- I like the ones that capture the feeling and emotion of the day and Kyle likes ones with more of an architectural // design feel.  But after months of thinking about it, this one really stands out.  It's maybe not my favourite photo of the day (I like ones of K + me gazing at each other or laughing) but this one captures one of my life's favourite moments perfectly.  

When I think back to our wedding this was the moment.  Sitting at the long table.  The venue was beautiful.  I was married to my person.  The food was delicious.  Everyone we loved was there and they were loving it.  I thought to myself "but when does a reality ever match up with what you dreamed? How did I get this lucky?"

This photo basically sums up everything I hoped our wedding would be and was.  

two - the best polaroid ever taken

I talked about this photo in the post about my 30th birthday, but I mean way to start off the year of photos 2016!  January 2016, some besties in black wearing metallic glitter party hats drinking from a flaming tiki bowl.  This is the very definition of life is good.

Plus, it's a Polaroid.  You don't get to take 500 and post the best one, you get one shot at capturing the moment.  And it somehow captures the fact that it's a moment even more.

Not to get too philosophical here (it's a photo of 3 of us drinking a flaming tiki bowl) but this year has been kind of amazing and kind of hard.  Holding onto happy moments make all the shitty ones worth getting through.  And knowing that even when sometimes you only have a small shot at catching something amazing, it's there for the catching - well.  

one - the light after the storm

This one is my favourite photo of the year.  

I pulled out The McHowe World Tour photo album and flipped through wondering if I should feature a different photo and realized that I could easily fill up all 9 slots with photos from our trip, but choosing only one was more truthful to the year, and this one has my whole heart.

There was a small storm and as it cleared up Kyle and I ducked out to get new train tickets (getting new train tickets was nearly a daily non-intentional occurrence for us.) This photo was snapped right outside of our hotel- a converted Hindu Temple- in Jodphur (possibly my favourite city we visited.) The ladies shopping in their bright saris, the marigolds that the men sat stringing together, the tuk-tuk, the young boy riding his bike, the light + the shadows, the rain on the ground- it all adds up to somehow capturing something more than is held within the frame.

When we got back from the train station the storm hit again and flooded the whole street, washed a van into the marigolds (don't worry, no one got hurt and everything was fine once the rain stopped later that evening) and I got to sit inside, eating street food with my meteorologist on his first really big trip, watching him look up and explain the radar to anyone who would listen.  

This is it.  

My favourite photo of the year.