Reflections of 2016 – travel & life

True to form, more than a week into 2017 and I’m finally posting my reflections of 2016. I usually do some kind of year in review post, though usually on my wedding photography blog. This time I decided to post here because there is a lot to share, and mostly from my travels. I do have a separate post going up there with more wedding and portrait work though, if you’re curious.

Anyway, it was a crazy year! I’m not going to get into politics or anything too very personal, but let’s just say 2016 has been full of major ups and downs! It was a year of trials and heart ache, the likes of which I’ve never experienced before, but those were balanced out with several positive life-changing moments and promises of happier times to come.

As always, I did my fair share of chasing sunrises and sunsets. I continued to explore my own neck of the woods and revisited some favorite places in the state of Washington.

Kerry Park sunrise

One of many sunrises at Kerry Park, the perfect sky eluding me each time I went. This one was okay.

A seaplane over Gasworks Park

A sunrise visit to Gasworks Park, capturing the silhouette of a local seaplane about to land.

rainbow over Seattle

A bucket list photo checked off my list – Seattle under a rainbow!

Mount St. Helens wildflowers

Mt. St. Helens visit #1 with my travel blogging friends from MyTanFeet!

Mount St. Helens at sunset

Mt. St. Helens visit #2, lasting well into the night for star photos with my local night photography buddies.

Snow Lake hike

A hot and tiring hike to Snow Lake, with views to make it all worthwhile.

Bremerton to Seattle ferry

A nice ferry ride back to Seattle from a family day in Bremerton.

Dock Butte hike

A second attempt at Dock Butte, this time without the rain and fog!

Discovery Park sunset

A short walk at my favorite Seattle oasis, Discovery Park.

Coal Creek Falls, WA

Another hike attempted again with better results. In the summer, Coal Creek falls is sometimes just a dribble, so it was nice to see it flowing in the fall.


2016 had some sad endings, but it was full of new beginnings, large and small. I taught some photo lessons locally. Just for fun for now. I completed a massive project – my non-technical photo tips series on the blog. If you haven’t seen it, it starts with this popular intro post. I opened an Etsy shop! I have 75 photos and products on there right now and I’m adding more.

A new puppy joined my Dad’s household. The cute little monster is a handful, but fun to visit when we go over there. Speaking of animal friends, we now have a resident hummingbird, who just the other day drank from his feeder as I was holding it! I am in the process of saying goodbye to my loyal car of 20 years, but I did get a new one. It’s been sad for me to let go of it, but exciting to have something shiny and new. Oh yeah, and I got engaged! :)

My bestie wanted lessons during her visit.

Etsy travel photography -

Have some favorites photos from the blog or Instagram? Let me know and I can add it to my shop!

Etsy travel photography -

hummingbird photo

He’s always sitting on his favorite limb. It’s funny how much his presence brightens my day.

I did a mini photo shoot with my old car to honor our great times together. Cheesy, I know.

My love. Ans yes, I took my own engagement photos. ;)

Family and friends were a big theme for me in 2016. I was able to visit with lots of family who I rarely get to see. I also spent some good quality time with some new and old friends. It’s good to know there are some people who you will always be friends with no matter how much time has gone by!

Mount Rainier family time

Family time at Mt. Rainier.

I couldn’t believe that our travel plans happened to coincide in Paris for one day! Thanks to Kristin for this shot!

College friends reconnecting. Pretty much the same as ever!

Wedding work was especially fun this year! I had more elopements than ever before and I got to shoot in some amazing locations! Sadly I can only share a few of these with you for now.

Hawaii wedding photography

My Hawaii bride. I had restrictions for sharing certain shots of this wedding, sadly.

Seattle wedding photography

Love these guys! A super sweet Seattle wedding.

Paris engagement photography

A Paris engagement in the fall!

Paris engagement photography

Seattle Municipal Courthouse wedding photography

A beautiful elopement at the Seattle Municipal Courthouse.

Snoqualmie Falls wedding photography

An elopement witnessed by strangers at Snoqualmie Falls.

And of course, the year was full of travel! Stateside travel included Indiana, California, Utah, and Hawaii. I visited B.C. as well, but that’s technically international despite being so close! I worked with some great companies and even got to check off a few big items from my bucket list!

River scene at hwy 279 in Utah

This is Utah! Pretty close to where our wedding ceremony will be held.

view from Fisher Towers in Utah

Also Utah. Breathtaking isn’t it?

Doors off helicopter tour with Paradise Helicopters

My first ride in a helicopter with the doors off! And over a lava flow, no less!

Joshua Tree arch

A quick jaunt to Joshua Tree after a California wedding.

Swimming with dolphins in Hawaii

Swimming with dolphins was huge for me! I’d do it again in a heartbeat… once I have a better underwater camera!

Lava glow from afar at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

My second encounter with lava on the Big Island.

Lava flowing into the ocean at Kalapana.

The grand finale of my lava experiences! This one was big on my bucket list!

I also went to back to Europe! I have an entire post dedicated to highlights of the road trip portion of my trip in Eastern Europe, but here are just a few of those photos and some from Paris.

Primosten, a stunning little town on Croatia

Primosten, a stunning little town on Croatia’s coast that I stumbled upon.

a guide to visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park

A third bucket list item was checked off when I finally visited Plitvice Lakes National Park! I’ve got a whole post about it that you won’t want to miss.

Budapest night photo tour

The sparkling city of Budapest at dusk.

A fantastic bird’s eye view of Sibiu.

Bridge view of the Eiffel Tower

Purchase your very own print by clicking here!

Paris city view from Notre Dame

Purchase your very own print by clicking here!

Eiffel Tower at dusk

Purchase your very own print by clicking here!


It was a roller coaster kind of year! Have a look at my Instagram for more highlights and visit my recent blog posts for more from my destinations of 2016.

Here’s to 2017 being even better! Happy travels!

Ready set pinReflections of 2016 - travel and life - Tracie Travels


  • Luminita - Hi Tracie!
    It seems like you had a very interesting year and the photos are also amazing. I loved the one from Plitvice Lakes National Park.ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Hi Luminita! Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. Plitvice Lakes National Park is AHmazing!ReplyCancel

  • Chris - Every time I see a photo of Mt St Helens, I’m still awestruck by the devastating power that can blow up the side of a mountain…

    Some stunning images as always!

    I can’t believe I didn’t know you’d been to Plitvice, one of our all time favourite places :-)

    I’m a very interested observer of the US at the moment. 2017 is shaping as a very interesting, potentially scary year indeed!ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thanks, Chris! Mt St. Helens is so impressive in person! I’m a little obsessed with it! Plitvice was just at the end of last year, so it was a recent trip. One of my all time favorite places as well!! Please observe our country and hope for the best. I certainly am!ReplyCancel

  • The Travel Ninjas - You had such a beautiful year. You should be so proud of all the beauty you create with your photos. You’re really gifted. .ReplyCancel

  • Kassie - Wow it sounds like you had a busy year. You’re photos are amazing! I especially liked the lava picture and the rainbow over Seattle! Can’t wait to check out your Etsy shop!ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thanks so much, Kassie! I love those particular photos too, so I really appreciate your comment! :)ReplyCancel

  • Ami Bhat - Your pictures are just mindblowing. Totally love them all. You have had one interesting travel year. Well done and here is to even better one this coming year. CheersReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thank you so much, Ami! It really was an interesting year and I hope this one is at least just as fulfilling!ReplyCancel

  • neha - Such beautiful snaps. It looks like you were in a fairyland, not on this earth. Great travel all through the year..hope many more will follow this year. I totally love the rainbow shotReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thank you Neha! Everyone seems to love that rainbow shot so far. I do feel compelled to photograph things that are fairyland-like, that’s for sure. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sandy N Vyjay - The photos are really stunning. Each one of them has frozen a different aspect of life and nature for posterity. My favourite one is the one with the rainbow. Looks exquisite.ReplyCancel

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