Nov 29, 2010

Kinda Creepy

Nikon D700, 28-70mm f/2.8 lens @ 35mm, f/2.8, 1/15s, ISO 1600, all candle light.

Nov 28, 2010

Ground Support

Nikon D700, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @ 24mm, f/4.0, 1/1600s, ISO 1600.

It takes a lot of work to get a hot air balloon off the ground--a lot of hands.

The Thanksgiving Day parade in New York got me thinking about these balloon images we made in Colorado on Labor Day. These people travel around and race balloons and do various other activities. The balloon being inflated here was a  prize for winning another race. This fellow attends the same pilot at many event each year.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 125mm, f/2.8, 1/8000s, ISO 1600.

It's just fun to make these pictures! And easy, too.

See, it's not really hot air that makes them fly; it's air that's less dense on the inside than the air outside the ballon. So, the air inside may be, I dunno, 90 degrees, which is no big deal on a summer afternoon in Colorado. So, in order to get a greater difference between the inside and the outside, they always launch early in the morning, but they never leave the ground before the sun is up. Perfect Portrait lighting!

And of course, there're the colors to consider.
Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 70mm, f/10, 1/500s, ISO 1000.

Flower Friday on Sunday

Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.8 lens, f/7.1, 1/200s, ISO 400. 

Highland Sunset

The hills north of Highland, Utah, are always so amazing looking with a little snow and a sunset. The trouble is finding a spot without power lines to shoot through. Tonight, I found one. I'm going to have to spend some more time at that spot in the future, try and perfect this exposure. This one is about twelve exposures stitched together in Photoshop; it's over ten feet long at full resolution. Kinda cool to make.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II lens @ 230mm, f/10, 1/400s, ISO 400. This is my newest lens, and it covers a huge range of focal lengths. We'll see if ends up being as sharp as my 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens.

Nov 23, 2010

Blizzard Wedding

This is about an hour before the hugest storm of the century. Pretty fun for a gal from Florida, and a guy who lives in Oklahoma.

How did they meet, anyway?
Nikon D700, 300mm f/4 lens, f/8.0, 1/400s, ISO 800. There'll be many more from this fun wedding fiasco soon.

Nov 20, 2010

My Name is Levi, and I'm a Nikon Shooter...

It's no secret that I'm a Nikon shooter, and it may even be evident that I kinda proselytize Nikon, as well. If you ask me which camera to buy, I'll probably tell you to get a Nikon, and my Canon shooting friends get down on me about it, sometimes. So I'd like to take a megabytes and tell you why I'm a Nikon shooter, and also provide definitive decision making information for you to choose your camera.

And that information will not direct you to buy a Nikon. But it should.

Why I Shoot the Best Nikon

Nov 19, 2010

Don't Move Here

Once again, another reason not to move to Cache Valley. I mean, look at that mountain: it's already covered in snow! Who would want to live here? Plus, there have been multiple car crashes the last two nights as drivers have been distracted from their texting by the remarkable sunsets. Unbelievable. You definitely should not move here.

Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/4.0, 1/200s, ISO 200.

Flower Friday

Nikon D90, 55mm f/3.5 micro lens, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 400. L. is always requesting tha I make these full you go!

B.'s Boys

Do you have people in your life who are perpetually encouraging and always giving you props? I hope you do. I hope you have a few people who tell you that you do good work--people who are a fan of you. I hope you don't have too many, cause it, ya know, goes to your head.

Still, it's good for you to get a pat on the back and reassurance that you're on the right path.

Blogs are good that way. You can share something, publish something--anything--and invite people to read/view it and they will. And a bunch of people will even leave comments (nirvana for bloggers is getting comments on a post) and then tell you next time they see you that they saw your blog. It's fun, and it makes you feel good about a little something you made.

However, you may soon receive fewer comments, and people you see often say that they like to stop by your blog sometimes (but they fail a trivia test about your blog, so you know they haven't been reading your morning updates, let alone your afternoon edition). You soon notice that you've lost some vigor in your blogging (the afternoon edition is down to two pages), and you wonder why you ever even started, and why anyone would ever even care to read it in the first place.

But then, just when you're ready to quit (the afternoon edition, that is--the morning update must press on!) you happen upon your fan who encourages you.

You notice that she has quotes from your blog, or pictures on her desktop. She raves about something you posted, and reminisces about that little piece you shared a coupe of months ago. She says she loves reading everyone else's comments and picks up where the last left off. She carries on like everyone in the world knows everything you've ever posted, and shares it around. She encourages you once again, and you leave with that old vigor busting out, and as you walk down the corridor you're already composing your first evening edition post.

Well, my friend B. isn't like that at all. Nope. She's not so much into the head swelling jabber that is apparently fertilizing the blogosphere. She's encouraging, to be sure, and she tells you when she likes something. She doesn't add fluff. She just says she likes it, and you know it's sincere because she said it. She's not a fan.

Just a friend.

I've been looking forward to making these pictures for a very long time. B. likes my flower pictures (she calls them 'botanicals'; maybe she fluffs a little), and we've had her boy, N. on here before, too. It sure was fun to finally have all her men in one place with her. May be a couple more to come.

Nov 17, 2010

A Sneak Peek of J.

These girls are some of my oldest clients. I enjoy working with this family because they are kind folks, and it shows in their faces. They also are easy to photograph and capture some very fun expressions. These two links take are a little flash back to some memories we made last year.

This is one I never posted here, but has been one of my favorite portraits for a long time. P. and O. are fun sisters and I feel like this image shows so much of themselves and their relationship at that time in their lives. This picture will never be 'out of date', and will always be a favorite of mine.

Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.8 lens, f/2.5, 1/250s, ISO 200.

J. is their older sister, and she's getting ready to head to school and start her own chapter of life. What a pleasure to record her at this transition time!

Keep an eye out for more of J. to come. 

I'll never tire of photographing with this family!

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @105mm, f/8.0, 1/250s, ISO 500.

Nov 16, 2010

Dugout, Panama

Nikon D90, 12-24mm f/4 lens @17mm, f/8.0, 1/100s, ISO 200.

Nov 14, 2010

Waiting for the Train...and Trendsetting

Went to Salt Lake with the boys, yesterday--my brothers and their boys, that is. (of course, the girls were along, too, but the little guys ruled the pictures).

There is a Planetarium at the Gateway mall, where they have this huge ball moving contraption. Little E. couldn't stop watching; for over an hour.

Next we had a real treat. These guys hadn't ever been on a train before, so we headed out to wait on the light rail downtown. N. couldn't wait to get on; seemed like the train would never arrive.

Of course, it did finally come, and E. had the time of his life ('course, he's only two...).

 A. and C. also came along for their first outing with the Clan.

After we were done downtown, we swung by the great-grandparents' house to introduce the new guys. There we found a yard covered in leaves, which we made short work of.

The thing is, when my grandfather is involved short work usually takes a little longer. Actually, I'd like to take this opportunity to set a few things straight.

I have a sister-in-law who fancies herself a very green individual, who works hard to reduce her (whole block's) carbon footprint. She's good at it! She even teaches classes on green living at the community college. Still, she doesn't hold a light to my grandpa. My grandpa wrote the book on green living, and set the trend before there was a trend.

For as long as I've been alive (and longer) my grandpa has been composting every possible scrap of garbage and bio matter produced on his property. There is a one gallon ice cream bucket on his kitchen counter with a produce bag (you know, the ones you put bananas in at the grocery store) in it and every peeling and stem discarded from every vegetable and fruit goes into that bucket. When the bucket is full the bag is taken out to the garden (year round) and the contents are tuned into the dirt to become the next generation of meals. In fact, his garden could feed the whole block. I dare say that his is the most fertile 1/2 acre on the planet.

Take the leaves above. We bagged them up but we didn't put them on the curb--nope, they went to the garden. But, we didn't spread them out to be tilled under. Uh-uh. That's not the process. Those leaves will remain in their bag until next Fall. Right now they will be put on top of the row of carrots, which will keep the ground from freezing under them, which will allow grandpa to come and pull fresh carrots all winter.

In the Spring, these bags will be placed under the apricot tree where they will continue aging to perfection all summer until most of the garden has been harvested and they will be tilled under at that time. But that's not all! The bags themselves will likely be used as ground cover to keep the weeds from sprouting. 

Yep. These systems are ages old, and have been producing loads of locally grown food for decades. So, g, when you're ready to enter the PhD. program, I'll help you with your application to the Sim School of Green Living. 

In the meantime, the new recruits above will begin their discipleship, soon. 


Nikon D700, 28-70mm f/2.8 lens @32mm, f/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 400.

Nov 12, 2010

Fall Did

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 78 mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 200. Fall sure was nice while it lasted this year, but it's fallen, now.

Nov 11, 2010

Flower Friday

Nikon D700, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens @ 300mm, f/11 (for sharpness), 1/320 sec, ISO 800 (for f/11). Just another from that Hong Kong greenhouse. I wanted my sharpest aperture, which on that lens at 300mm is f/11ish, so I raised the ISO in order to obtain the faster shutter speed so that I could hand hold this shot. 2.39:1 crop finishes it off pretty nicely, I think (a la Scott Kelby). Click on the image for Desktop size.

Nov 9, 2010

Sea Lions

Ever feel like your house is too small?

Be grateful.

Nikon D700, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens @ 300mm, f/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 1600.

Nov 7, 2010

Self Portraits

This is my wife. We headed out to take advantage of the last of the good weather this Autumn. It's rumored to begin snowing this week. So, we boogied up to one of my favorite spots for family pictures with tripod in tow.

Apparently, we weren't the only ones thinking that it was the last chance for Fall--we practically had to wait in line behind all the other photographers just to get in the parking lot at USU. However, no one else was carrying a tripod, and there's a good reason they always suggest that you buy the biggest tripod you can carry. Yep, one look at me bumbling along with my tripod, twisting and turning to look at leaves on trees, swingin that thing willy nilly, and everyone gave me a wide berth--after I accidentally swung 'round to look at Old Main and sent one smallish photog careering down the hill, everyone else got out of the way. (I apologized and offered to send pictures of him catching air before hitting the maple trees...)

Anyway, The great thing about this spot is that at any time of day, and at any time of year it has the same light! Sometimes it's a little brighter, sometimes it's a little bluer, but you walk up, set the camera to f/5.6, zoom in to at least 100mm and you've got yourself a nice picture. There's a background, but it's just back there; the focus is clearly the people. Even guys in goofy hats can't ruin this location.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 150mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 500.

Click through and you'll understand why J. insisted on the hat; not that I would argue...

Nov 6, 2010

Fall Finals

It has been an amazing fall--I've never seen the leaves stick around for so long! We've been really lucky. R. and her husband J. came for pictures this morning, and we had a great time making them. They both graduate this year from USU and wanted some pictures of them in this place. The leaves and weather are still cooperating, so if you are still looking for pictures give me a call immediately.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 110mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200, SB-600 Speedlight with 1/4 CTO gel, fired through a white umbrella (mounted on a Manfrotto monopod, with a Bogen Justin-Clamp secured with a ball bungee from Walmart, if you must know).

Nov 5, 2010

My Three Sons

You gotta admit, C. easily reminds you of Fred MacMurry, especially when you get to know him. He and his family were really fun to work play with. These four boys kept each other smiling the whole time. In fact, I had to use Photoshop to remove the grass stains from their shirts. Well, from C.'s shirt, anyway--he kept tackling the other guys. 


Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 125mm, f/6.3, 1/30s, ISO 640.

Nov 4, 2010

Flower Friday

Nikon D7000, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens @ 300mm, f/7.1, 1/320s, ISO 800. That Hong Kong greenhouse has been treating me well. I've got to find some other greenhouses, too, or I'm going to run out of Flower Friday fuel before winter has even begun.

I liked this picture as an incredible design found in nature. It's like a silk screening of an entire plant on the surface of the leaf--like a little plant climbing skyward. It reminds me of a phrase from biology, "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". Or something like that. It's also kinda purdy with the sunlight shinin' behind and the far wall hidden in shadows. Please keep your Haeckeling to a minimum.

Nov 3, 2010

Still Bonding

Four Five Six kids later, they still look like they're engaged.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 130mm, f/7.1, 1/100s, ISO 400.