Joe Hendricks

 971114-N-2302H-001Aboard USS George Washington (November 14, 1997) -- A catapult team performs a first run Òno-loadÓ on the number two catapult steam system during morning preparations for launch. George Washington and her embarked Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) are currently deployed on a regularly scheduled deployment to the eastern Mediterranean. The President has ordered the George Washington and elements of her Battle Group to proceed to the Arabian Gulf to support UN efforts to complete Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions, joining the USS Nimitz already on station.  U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 3rd Class Joseph Hendricks (Released)

25 years ago, I wanted to be a photographer in the US NAVY! Unfortunately, I went to a general school instead, which taught me how to tie knots and work on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Never the less, I walked on board the USS George Washington and was asked “where do you want to work son?” I said “I want to be a photographer more than anything in the world!!” That man made a phone call and I was sent to the photo lab, where I would work for 5 years and eventually become a “Photographers Mate”. Fast Forward 16 years: Come to find out, I was told that on that fateful day, the photo lab on the USS George Washington asked if the next undesignated airman could be sent down to the photo lab. I was that Airman and said those exact words! Talk about “meant to be”.

Those 7 years were some of the best of my life! They gave me the skills I have to be the photographer I am today. That said, the road has not been easy, but it’s been the best ride ever! I made my way to Nashville where I started taking songwriter pictures and headshots. Songwriters were the most emotional people ever and some of them made me want to quit photography forever, but I kept pushing on. Nothing really clicked with photography outside of the NAVY until I met Rhonda (my wife). She has this amazing passion for wanting to help brides make their day perfect and helps them schedule all the pictures. I on the other hand, just wanted to take pictures and before we knew it, we were making a living as a wedding photography business. Business was great! We loved our clients, I was being super creative and and we had our son (Austin) who added even more joy to our lives! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, we went on a trip out west to see some of our national parks. It was there that I saw my wife come alive in a way I had never seen before. Watching her stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon was so breathtaking! She looked like she could accomplish anything. On the other hand, my son was exploring and climbing in a way he never had the chance to do in Nashville TN! For me, Taking landscape pictures got me away from the busy world of weddings and I found new purpose in taking pictures. Some of the most epic pictures I’ve ever taken were on that trip and I wanted more of it! It was then that I decided to convince my family to sell everything, but an Airstream and hit the road full-time!

There’s another story that fits in the middle of all of this called “Showing Mom America” that you need to read! It helped us to get on the road full time, but had some crazy twists and turns along the way!

We bought the Airstream and truck to tow it with and hit the road! There really are no words to describe how amazing it was, but it was the best and hardest decision we have ever made in our lives! We got to experience America in a way that most people only dream of. The experience came at a huge cost though. I still shot a lot of weddings while on the road, but we had to turn down so many more, because we were on the road.

The very last place we visited on the road was Colorado. It was there in the mountains that I found the mix of Landscapes and Weddings that blew me away….. eloping! Being in the presence of a beautiful landscape will inspire you. Being in the presence of two people giving their lives to each other in the middle of that landscape transcends space and time in a way that can only be explained by experiencing it yourself! From that moment on, I felt obligated to tell as many people as I could about eloping and how it’s the most amazing way to start off your marriage!

So that’s me in a nutshell. We all have an amazing story to tell and this is mine, at least the photography side of it. I want to hear your story. I want to learn what moves you and makes you who you are. If you are ever in my neck of the world, please look me up and lets get together. If you’re getting married and are curious about eloping in the mountains of Colorado, I would love to talk to you! It is the hottest trend in the wedding industry, but it’s not for everyone. Let me tell you the in’s and out and if you love it, we can set a date to take your pictures up in the mountains as you start your marriage off in a way everyone else will be envious of.