Malachi Lewis- a California elopepement photographer standing under an arch in Alabama Hills at sunrise.

About Me

A lot of you have read a little about me, or maybe have even met me in person. But I wanted to go a little more in depth into film photography & my love of birds, orchids, & travel with this blog post.

The San Juan Mountains– some of my favorites!


I have always loved photography. Ever since I can remember, I had a camera in my hands, & I mean that quite literally. Some of my earliest memories of myself are with a disposable 35mm camera in my hands. I would go around taking pictures of anything I saw & liked. I remember my mom telling me not to shoot so many picture of my toys because I was always using up the film! Sometimes I would even sit in the backseat of our little green van & just take pictures out the window, of the seats, or whatever else was back there. Eventually I got a point and shoot 35mm camera that kept me busy.

Then the digital era came out when I was about 8 years old or so. I left film photography behind. Now I went crazy with shooting anything & everything. I was amazed at all the little effects & things that my digital cameras could do. I had become known throughout our extended family & friends as the photographer at about 8-10 years of age. But really, I had no real idea about what I was doing, I could take better photos than the average person but that was about it.

Then in 2011, I took a trip to Mexico. I will always remember is as my first trip out of the country. I met a photographer there who was the first of many photographers to truly inspire me. His name was Pelle, a Swedish photographer living in Mexico. I highly recommend you check out his work! {View his website here or Stocksy page here.} He has travelled all over the world, documenting people & places wherever he’s gone. He has also done many incredible destination weddings.

We went on some photo walks around the beautiful historic city of Guanajuato in central Mexico. We explored, experimented, tried new foods, & just had fun. He taught me a lot about composition & what makes a good image. He gave me critiques on my photos & really helped me a lot. Then I went back down for a visit in 2015 & got to learn even more from him, learning about how to create photos that tell a story.

Eventually, I kind of ‘accidentally’ opened a photography business. It wasn’t planned, & I definitely didn’t think it was possible. I always thought of photography as something that was just creative & fun to do, not as a realistic business idea. I didn’t even want to take pictures of people! But now I love it, & I even love taking pictures of people.

In the last year or two, I’ve loved starting to shoot film again. Film makes me slow down, look around, recompose, & do whatever I need to to really get the perfect shot that I have in my head. Yes, you can do this with digital & be intentional with digital, but I just love the whole process of shooting film.

Film photography is a dying art that myself & many others are trying to bring back to life. By the way, didn’t Ashley do a great job on my headshots? And just in case you were wondering, yes they were shot on film. Ashley is another photographer who inspires me & she does A LOT of film photography.

Petri, a Quaker Parrot sitting in the grass

This is Petri, my Quaker Parrot & best bud


I’ve loved birds even longer than I have loved photography. In fact, my first word was not ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ it was ‘bird’. I just love birds so much that it is hard to tell you how much I love birds! Parrots are my favorite type of birds with all their bright colors & fun personalities. When doing my film photography, I love to choose film stocks that have nice colors & I love to photograph colorful things.

Petri is by buddy, he is the bird pictured in the photos. He is over 16 years old now & still going on strong, I’ve had him since he was only a few months old when I was about 7. He is a Quaker parrot & they can live to be up to 40 years old! That is a very long commitment to a pet, some people don’t want to be committed to an animal for that long but I love it. I also share my life with a few other birds: Zeke, a cockatiel that loves towels & is terrified of all other birds, Tango, a budgie that likes to antagonize my other birds & make R2D2 sounds, & I also have a small flock of Gouldian finches.


This is Zeke, my cockatiel

I’ve kind of acquired the nickname ‘bird brain’ but I take it as a compliment. I love birds & probably know way more than I need to about them. People always talk about their dogs or cats being smart or getting into trouble. I’m here to tell you that parrots take that to a whole new level. Petri hates our cats & dogs & they are terrified of him, he rules the roost. One time a cat was sleeping in the living room, he got out of his cage (he tends to escape a lot), snuck up behind the cat & bit him on the tail. The cat freaked out & yowled really loud while Petri did his evil little laugh and head bob.

My birds all make different noises & have their little quirks. Petri will cluck, crow, quack, squeak, peep, growl, pur, laugh, & talk. Zeke likes to wolf whistle at people he likes or he’ll also do it when you’re changing or using a towel! Tango will whistle, make R2D2 sounds, & tease the other birds.

Petri the Quaker parrot and Malachi, by Ashley Crawford Photography

Me & Petri


As you can tell, I’m really into nature. Orchids just kind of happened. One day I was walking through Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha & I came across this strange-looking flower that I later found out was a slipper orchid. I bought an orchid that very evening & have now been growing orchids for over 6 years. I have a collection of over 200. They fill a few shelves and are taking over some windowsills.

I had always heard that orchids were hard to grow & that was reason enough for me to try. I always love a good challenge. When I was first starting out I killed a few, but I got the hang of it and found out that they really aren’t that hard to grow at all, they’re just a little different from the plants we are used to.

Did you know that orchids make up the largest group of flowering plants? There are over 30,000 species of orchids & hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of different hybrids. Orchids are not just tropical plants. There are orchids native to every state, every country, & every continent except Antarctica. There are orchids that grow way up in the arctic circle, even in Alaska. We even have 17 species of orchids native to Nebraska.

adventure wedding photographer in Montrose, Colorado | Colorado elopement photographer | adventure wedding in Colorado

Other stuff

I love to travel (but who doesn’t!), especially when I get to visit foreign countries or go hiking & camping. I’m not afraid to try new things, go new places, & meet new people- even though I can be pretty quiet & reserved. Banff, Glacier National Park, Nashville, Dallas, the Boundary Waters, Guanajuato, & Panama are some of my favorite places that I have been to so far. I’ll be traveling even more this year for some destination weddings. You notice that I may wear quite a few rings, I get rings from different places that I travel to. The rings are usually handmade by a local artisan and/or made with some material from the area. I don’t like to accumulate a lot of stuff. The rings & the photos I take are the only things I bring back with me. They are small things but provide visual reminders of the places I’ve gone.

Malachi Lewis at Shell Creek Photography | adventure wedding photographer skiing in the San Juan mountains of Colorado

A lot of people don’t know this, but I’ve coped with some severe anxiety & depression for quite some time. Honestly somedays it is really hard to function, especially around other people. But the loving support from family & friends has been a huge help. Some good hard exercise, getting outside, & eating healthy has helped a lot too. Sitting down with a good book & some hot tea is a nice way for me to help relieve stress. I just have to keep pushing forward. Other artists also inspire me. And if anyone else copes with a mental illness, I feel for you.

Overall I love a good adventure with friends, getting to photograph people with what makes them unique as an individual, couple, or family, & spending time with my crazy birds! And despite what it may seem like on social media- my life isn’t perfect!

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