North to the Future

One of the questions you hear more than any other, as a senior in college is, “So, what are you doing after graduation?” and I can finally, with confidence, tell you all that I know what I am doing after college!

I AM MOVING TO ALASKA!

Yep. You heard me. Alaska.

I am glad to announce, that my mother has accepted a position to be a pastor in Anchorage, and so we have decided to all move up there as a family, myself included. So, after I graduate on the 27th of May, we will be packing my apartment back up and….. driving back to Montana. You didn’t think I would leave without saying goodbye to one of the only homes I have ever know, did you?

Yes. That is the truth of it. While I have lived in Oregon for the past four years, Montana truly is the only real home I have ever known. When I say that leaving Montana is going to be hard, I cannot really fathom yet what that means. Of course, by moving away, that in no way means I am never coming back. The Big Sky Country will absolutely always hold a place in my heart. But now, it is time for a new adventure in America’s Last Frontier.

If you wish to make plans to shoot with me before I leave Montana, know that I would LOVE to do that. Please email me at john@jsanderphotography.com, or message me on any of my social media*. I will be around for most of the summer, but time is limited, so schedule early!

*all social media links at the bottom of the page

It’s Just A Day

Over the past few months — really since summer started, I have been in this ‘work-grind’ mode. If I am being honest, that is new for me. I cannot really describe what the other way of being was for me before this point, except to say it was more lackadaisical. But since the beginning of summer, I have just felt more driven to work and to do things.

Since the beginning of the school year, this has transformed itself into throwing myself deep into my studies and my extracurricular activities, something that I do regularly, but now with newfound vigor. Being involved with as many things as I am, it is no wonder at all that with this newfound determination, I threw myself deeply into everything I’ve done. As time went on, and stress took its dark, grey hold on me, I went from passionately busy to just busy. And I stayed there. I was happy in the things I was doing, but looking back at it now, I wasn’t truly, completely myself. Or maybe I was. Maybe that greyness is just something I just deal with. In fact, I know it is. And I should not be ashamed of that. Yeah. I am not always totally happy. No one really ever is, and if they say they are, they absolutely are trying to sell you something.

But whatever I was going through, I knew there was a balance. I knew that somewhere between lackadaisical and overly busy, there was a happy medium. I just had convinced myself I was already there, that this was as good as it was going to be. Then I went to a concert.

Imagine that first breathe as you come up for air after being underwater for just a split-second too long. That is approximately how it felt to get out off campus, out of town, and to Portland, in months. I had been to the next town over a couple of times, but that being just a handful of miles away, this felt much more like escape than that ever could. It is partially because of this escape that this show meant to so much to me.

Ironically, it being on a Friday evening, I had to miss my radio show, which is named Eclectic Oasis, yet the show for which I missed my own was more of an oasis than I could have imagined.

Before the music even started, before we even got inside the venue, I was already surrounded by familiar faces, gathering hugs like coins on the sidewalk, kept and treasured for the next time I needed one. There is no greater feeling than being with people who understand you, and the things you love, and that was only the beginning of my night.

With three bands taking the stage, I knew pretty much what to expect, since I knew two of the bands. Or so I thought. When the North Carolina-based band Mipso (the one band I did not previously know) took the stage to start the night, I knew this night was going to be one for the ages. I had heard from people who had been at the previous few shows to begin the tour that this tour was something special, but it was not until the first notes struck that I knew that for myself.

I could go on for pages and pages about the intricacies and experiences of that night. I could tell the story of the very drunk girl who tried to shove me from my rail spot that I had had for hours since the doors opened, just because she felt in was uncool that I was somehow unwilling to share the approximate 20 inches of space I had nestled in for myself on the rail with her AND her friend. The reason I won’t go into the semantics of that night are because of one song, by one band, played on that night that really sum up just exactly what I want to focus on. If you wish to, pause reading this for a moment, and go listen to Track 1, titled ‘The City‘ in the link below.

If you, like me, are struggling with the hundred-and-fifty-seven things you have to do before you go to sleep tonight, or before Monday, or before the end of the semester, just remember, that just because you have all these things, does not mean that you have to do them all at once. In fact, by taking things one at a time, taking each chore as its own, each day as its own, each hour as its own, it makes it easier to do the things that need doing.

Its just a day. Whatever is bothering you now, whatever is weighing on your mind, whatever thing you just did that makes you want to crawl into a hole never to be seen again, remember that tomorrow really is a new day… if you let it be. But you do need to let it be. If we hold onto the things that make us hurt, we will not heal. But if we learn to let go, to take each new sunrise as a new beginning, we are given a clean slate from which to begin, knowing that each small thing we accomplish today, really is an accomplishment.

So whatever you’re going through, step back, take a moment to remember that you are bigger than your problems, no matter how monolithic they may seem, and that by breaking down those monoliths into cobblestones, we can pave incredible pathways to wherever the world leads next.


To listen to The Lil Smokies new album, and especially the companion track of this Blog post, Track 1: ‘The City‘, click below!


The Lil Smokies – Changing Shades
(on Spotify)

Welcome to J. Sander Photography

Anne Amie Vineyards - Spring 2016

Hello there friends & fans,

Though you may know the story of how this all came to be, I will tell it to you again.

In May of 2015, I was asked by a friend & co-worker of mine, Emilie, to do a photoshoot for her as the last few weeks of the school year were winding down. I was honored to be asked to do such ‘professional work’ & a couple of days later we set out on what ended up being a six-hour day of photo-shooting & adventuring around Yamhill County (OR).

In the coming weeks I set to work editing the shots from the shoot & when I finally sent them all to Emilie she was so in love with them that she said something to the effect of, “John, these are so good. I could really see you doing this professionally.”

I had never really thought of that. Photography had always been something I had loved. I got my first camera at age 13 & I instantly fell in love with taking photographs. There is just something incredible about being able to capture moments & memories in photographs. But it had always just been for fun. I had never really thought of myself as good enough to really get paid for my work. From that day forward, I have worked at making that a reality.

Skip forward to January of 2016. Inspired by Kenna Allison Photography, I started a Facebook Page called Sander Photography, which I have recently rebranded to J. Sander Photography. I chose Sander Photography because my middle name is Sander and it just had a certain ring to it that I liked. I chose to rebrand because I really wanted to start this site and another company already had SanderPhotography.com.

I have been able to do some amazing work with some amazing people and I have so much more currently in the works. This is my passion and it really means the world that I can share it with you all.

Thank you for your support and welcome to the new J. Sander Photography.

~ John S. Christensen