Let me tell you a little bit about this beauty named Sierra. She and I bonded over our mutual love of gymnastics when I coached her on a team in Cincinnati. There's something special about that sport that just latches on to you and settles in for a good long while, and it creates bonds between people that are unbreakable. I can't explain it, but all you gymnasts out there know what I mean.
I have a lot of vivid and favorite memories of coaching Sierra, but I always come back to an image of this tiny, determined gymnast up on the beam. I'm not sure why I always picture her on the beam—she's probably laughing right now because that's her least favorite event—but there she is in my mind. And I'm spotting her on a back walkover.
Sierra was a part of my life when I was fresh out of college (not that much older than she is now as a senior in high school, ready to leap off into the college world), trying to find my way and figure out how I could balance the mundane aspects of grownup life with all the ideas and dreams I had swirling around in my head. Coaching her and her teammates was therapeutic for me. They were just as excited as I was about gymnastics and they trusted me wholeheartedly. It was such a great place for me to be, and hopefully they have good memories of that team too. :) I'm so indebted to those girls for accepting me as I was, and Sierra has been my biggest cheerleader ever since.
As soon as I started on this photography path, Sierra told me that I was going to take her senior photos. I would laugh, knowing she'd surely forget about it when the time came. But then the time came and sure enough, here came Sierra telling me it was time for her senior photos. That girl is loyal through and through.
I feel like I've got to add my disclaimer now: I'm not actually a senior photographer. It's just never been one of my biggest strengths, even though I love that end-of-high-school stage in life. There's so much possibility and so much excitement. And I knew I had to try my very best to capture that for Sierra, the girl who's followed me through this journey and for whom I'm so grateful.
Sierra is passionate about gymnastics, which I especially love as a coach, but she's got this drive in all aspects of her life. She reminds me of me in some ways, but she's probably way more mature than I was at 17. ;) Hanging out with Sierra during this session was so refreshing. She's interested in lots of stuff, she's a great conversationalist, she laughs easily and doesn't take herself too seriously. My favorite kind of person! Sierra is poised to do great things, and I'm so excited to follow her adventures.
And just for fun, here's an adorable picture of middle-school Sierra and me hanging out in the photobooth at my wedding!