Dec 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Made this with my dad and wife in Garden of the Gods this afternoon. It's best viewed big--so click on it to view it larger.

Nikon D7000, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens @ 24mm, f/8, 10 exposure HDR, Nik HDR Efex Pro, Nik Silver Efex Pro2.

Dec 21, 2011

Flower Friday

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens @ 200mm, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 200.
So, she's not our usual Flower Friday.

I had a blast this afternoon working with Laura Pennock, Summer Stott,  and Kayley King. They did paint, hair and makeup, respectively, for a bunch of gals we had over to make some fun pictures. I highly recommend them and their services. D. is our model here, and she was incredibly patient and talented. She is a lovely violinist and a talented model, I can tell you, and I'm glad she came over after school--what better way to kick off Christmas break? 

Dec 20, 2011

Frosty Mornings

No place has mornings like Cache Valley in the winter. Seriously. I've never seen such fog and frost and mist and mountains. It's pretty incredible. Roosevelt has some terrific fogs, but lacks the mountains as backdrop. This place is really unique.

I made this image leaving the airport in Logan the other day after making some really fun pictures for a private jet pilot there. We worked early so we had the hangar to ourselves before the rest of the office arrived, and I had a good time making pictures--when you're limited by space (inside a small jet) and light inlets (windshields on very fast planes are disturbingly tiny) it makes for creative pictures. I had a speedlight in one window and an Alien Bee in another. What fun!

And to top it off, the sun was just rising and the mists were just getting started, too, as I left the airfield. I debated for half a second (it's cold, you understand?) then said, You only live once! and jumped out, grabbed the tripod form the trunk and started looking for the right arrangement. I shot several dozen frames, almost got run over by the garbage truck, and came away with this as a favorite.

It's good to shoot this stuff. It keeps me creative in my portraiture. Anyone want to go wading one of these mornings? The picture will be worth it...

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 250mm, f/9, 1/160s, ISO 100.
I think what stuck out to me in this image is not only the mist on the water, but the total depth. I love the circle of the culvert amidst all the straight lines. I love the telephone poles leading deeper and across the image. I love the fence drawing me inward (and wondering if I'm outside a prison). I love the selective sharpness, focussing on the reeds not far in. I love the trees and rooflines in the distance showing just how hazy it is. I love the little orange cone by the fence. I love the circle of the bridge bringing me back in. I love that I didn't get hit by the garbage truck after all!

Coming and Going

N. found me on Google. That never happens to me. Almost all of my clients are friends of my other clients. I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm just surprised and pleased. Very pleased, actually. N. is one of the funnest people to work with, and her family follows suit. Not only where they all looking great for pictures, but they were naturals in front of my lens. I gave directions and chatted with them and made pictures. 

See, many folks stop talking and freeze a smile on their face when I lift the camera to my eye. Or, even better, they talk through their teeth without moving their face. I also love it when people are quiet in the studio--like a library!--as if talking ruins the pictures. I'm not picking on people who do these things: I sincerely appreciate their efforts to make the best pictures of themselves. And we always end up with terrific images...once I convince them it's okay to keep on talking with me as I shoot.

Anyway, 'Coming and Going'. Little A. is only a week old--just came. Big T. on the end is heading to Europe to be a missionary. Going. I'd be happy if they came a little more often, actually.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @82mm, f/10, 1/200s, ISO 200.

Dec 17, 2011


Folks like these are just plain fun to work with. O. and S. are getting married, and making pictures for their engagement was wonderful--they're in love, and they're cute, and I just couldn't make a bad picture. 

I love working with couples, young and old. One of my favorite things about family pictures is making individual and couple shots of the parents--I get to see that old sparkle return and we have fun while they remember their first times together.

Anyway, best wishes for O. and S. as they get started...

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/3.2, 1/250s, ISO 400.

Dec 16, 2011

Freezing Flower Friday

Here's a little something I made with a student the other day. We were walking to another spot where I have been noticing great light lately, and I looked down and saw the pristine frost on the soft gradients of colors in the leaves and the little camera in my brain started winding, and the computer in there started processing how the image would be finished with Lightroom and Nik softwares and I was thinking how great it would look.

Then I realized, "I'm with a student, who I'm teaching photography...I have a camera in my hand!" I love when I remember that there is a camera in my hand. Not like the other day when I was walking to work and saw a great picture, wished I had a camera, pulled out my iPhone and made a few frames then kept walking, then adjusted the camera strap on my shoulder cause the lens was bumping me in the hip...duh.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @135mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 400.

Dec 13, 2011


Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 135mm, f/10, 1/200s, ISO 200.
So, this guy calls me up and asks what kind of photography I do. That translates to instant alert status for a photographer: I perked up and put on my best 'I'm the guy who can do your job well' voice. "I'm a photographer, and I study all kinds of photography, but people are my speciality," I say.

Turns out he got my name from a manager at Icon Health and Fitness who recommended me from the work I've done for them. Sweet. Also turns out he's a model himself, and is looking to build his portfolio. Double sweet. Kade came over and we discussed ideas and where he's going (look for his clothing line coming out soon) and what his plans are. Then we decided to just try something--just get together and make some pictures. That way we know if we like working with each other, and we know how we work, and we can recommend one another at the appropriate times when work comes along. Triple sweet.

Here's how I know Kade is going to go far. We had an appointment today to make pictures. However, he's feeling ill today. Nevertheless, he planned to keep his appointment and tarry on through. Then the lugnuts on his car sheered off, leaving a wheel lying someplace. His text to me: had a little trouble, be there soon. 

Tenacity gets things done. Tenacity engenders powerful and enduring relationships and systems. Kade's got it. Plus, he makes nerdy look good.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 70mm, f/10, 1/200s, ISO 200.
 For more on Kade, see his Model Mayhem page (Model Mayhem as a whole is a PG-13 site).

Dec 12, 2011

Bad Day, Good Pictures

Sometimes things just don't work out the way we hope. Sometimes there's traffic that makes you late, or frost on the windshield that takes too long to scrape off, or extra work that takes longer than expected. Or little boys with the flu on the day of their photo shoot. Things happen. Fortunately, it doesn't mean that the pictures will suffer because of it. Mom loves this image, and I think it's nice, too...

Dec 9, 2011

Best Family Portrait Ever

That's what the R. family said, anyway. Mom called me up yesterday and asked if we could make this happen super quick--she gave me the idea of what she wanted, and we made it happen super quick! It was fun, too.

The thing everyone enjoyed most was not having to do hair and buy new shirts and practice smiling. I still had to jump around and catch the attention of the little one, but every one else just stood in their spot and made a picture! What a fun idea.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 40mm, f/11, 1/80s, ISO 200.

Nov 29, 2011


I got caught up looking at some images I made last year when I visited Tokyo. Scenes like this make me miss Asia.

Nikon D700, 70-300mm @ 300mm, f/4.5-5.6 VR lens, f/11, 1/320s, ISO 800.

Nov 19, 2011


I'm practicing with lots of techniques right now, and I'm trying to make beautiful portraits under various circumstances.

M. makes making a beautiful portrait under any circumstance easy.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 180mm, f/18, 1/200s, ISO 400.


When I was a missionary in Taiwan (wow, ten years goes by so quickly!) I remember there were these girls who worked at the malls and department stores at the makeup counters. The thing is, they had so much makeup on, you could never recognize them in the real world. Sporting super powdered faces, garish lipsticks and eye shadows they would wrangle all the women walking by into letting them apply a quick makeover. You could always tell which entrance the women customers came in.

So, the thing is, color can be fun! N. is one of my favorite clients. She and her daughter return each year to kick off the holidays with family pictures. N. confided that she has been told that colors would look great on her, but her work environment makes colors go to grey very quickly, so she has not indulged very often. Well, when you're making pictures is the perfect time to let loose and try something out of the ordinary. This splash of color and texture is just right to show off N.'s youthful complexion.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 105mm, f/20, 1/200s, ISO 200.

Nov 18, 2011


Don't you hate when you've got decisions to make? That's why I only have oatmeal in the cupboard, black shirts, blue jeans, and Nikon equipment. 

Okay, I also have some red shirts, cause sometimes you just need a little color! That's how I feel about these two images. I think they both look nice, even though they have completely different subjects and feelings about them. 

Fortunately, this is my blog and I don't have to choose which picture to post. I can have my black and wear red, too.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 125mm, f/14, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 125mm, f/14, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Nov 17, 2011


See, these boys are dangerous. 

Nikon D3s, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 122mm, f/9, 1/200s, ISO 1000, SB-600 through umbrella

Every time I see them they are building something or crafting a new method for launching arrows or other projectiles. They are becoming increasingly accurate and powerful. Plus, the oldest brother, E., is a thinker; you can hear the gears of his mind turning from across the neighborhood. Then he's got the next boy, B., to refine thoughts and act as sounding board and executer. K. is dangerous just because he's fearless--he can literally do anything. Watch for him break dancing--he'll be famous and you can claim to have known him when. And don't let that little guy's innocent look fool you: he'll be joining the brothers in mischief in no time--just as soon as he can sit up on his own...

They think they have mom and dad fooled, too, but S. and S. are in the know, managing the boys and directing the mayhem in a controlled manner. They know what they're doing.

Nikon D3s, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 300mm, f/9, 1/125s, ISO 640, SB-600 through umbrella
We had fun making pictures together. I see the boys finding ingenius ways to haul one another around the 'hood on a single bicycle. I'm glad that we made these pictures before they kill themselves.

Nikon D3s, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 150mm, f/9, 1/125, ISO 1000, SB-600 through umbrella.

Nov 16, 2011

Killer Arab

Ever hear that The Cure song? "Killin' An Arab"? I have no idea what it was about, but it comes to mind every time I wear this scarf I was given by a friend in Saudi Arabia last year.

However, I've never made it look as good as T. did this morning. She looked exactly like the arabs I saw in Saudi arabia last year, except they were wearing extremely expensive leather coats. Still, she looks killer.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 230mm, f/18, 1/200s, ISO 200.

Nov 13, 2011

Woodsy Tales

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 28mm, f/9, 1/160s, ISO 200.
There's a story you should read, if you haven't already. See, when I was a kid, my elementary school didn't have a gymnasium. We spent every day outside doing calisthenics while Coach Johnson sang "Daisy Daisy", then playing tetherball and tag on the playground, falling off monkey bars, rolling in tires, and getting bit by fire ants. Good times.

But, when it rained (this is Florida, ya know?) we had to stay inside. Sometimes P.E. was held in the cafeteria where we sat at tables and played BINGO; northern Florida in the '80's, what can I say? Other times we convened in the library where we watched film strips.

My favorite was the Lorax. I often helped load the tapes and the film strip and synchronize the two. The film perfectly followed the book by Dr. Seuss, plus some music. Remember the Grinch film? Just like that one, but you should have seen the brown barbaloots dancing about in their barbaloot suits! Good times.

Maybe that's why I've always enjoyed the woods...

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 28mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 400.
And we were enjoying the woods a little while ago. This Autumn has been very lovely. Now with the first snows sitting heavy on the hills, it's a good thing we got some time for these fun images.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f.3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 180mm, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 200.
I say 'we'. That's cause my friends C., L., and L. were good enough to let 11 photographers from the Cache Valley Photographers come along and work with them making pictures throughout a very chilly morning. Cafe Ibis cocoa kept us warm, though.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 28mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 400.
Oh, back to that story you should read. I recommend the Lorax, but that's not what got me thinking. It was picturing L. in a wedding dress one of the club members brought along. You've heard of The Bride of Frankenstein, right? Creepy looking bride with hair sticking straight back with stripes and plenty of diodes attached to her reanimated flesh? Well, the woods and the leaves and the vines and the dress got my mind stewing on another film we watched during rainy days on the playground.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 56mm, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 320.
It was a claymation rendition of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle. Pretty awesome little film. I remember Rip testing the wind for a kite by licking his claymation finger and holding it in the breeze, and playing nine-pins with gnomes in the Catskills. At the end...well, I don't want to ruin it for you.

Suffice it to say, L. in her dress was a perfect Bride of Rip Van Winkle with vines and leaves of a hundred years grown about her. Bride of Rip Van Winkle: look for it in a theater near you.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 90mm, f/7.1, 1/160s, ISO 320.
There was one other film we watched, too, and it also happen's to be based on one of Irving's stories, though I believe it was produced by Walt Disney: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I'll let you know as soon as I figure out how to get L. on a horse and a pumpkin on her head.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 300mm, f/9, 1/250s, ISO 500.

Oct 28, 2011

Homeward Bound

J. is an old friend. My wife and I often go listen to her perform--singing and playing guitar, with a bit of yuke thrown in now and again. Always a pleasure.

Well, she stopped by the other evening to bring some friends to see the Thatcher-Young Mansion (my home away from home) and we happened to be holding a photography class. Ever the good sport, J. acquiesced to a few frames.

Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2.5, 1/400s, ISO 400.

Oct 20, 2011

Morning Has Broken

You know that Cat Steven's song? I love the last lines, speaking about morning as God's recreation. That's we did this morning--recreated in the Dawn.

Nikon D700, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 400.
K. is a great friend to come out this cold morning and dance down the trail (barefoot in the freezing cold). She and her sister, Andrea have done this twice this week. Andrea is a phenomenal hair stylist and I always enjoy the creations she comes up with. Look her up at K Salon in Logan and I know you'll be impressed, too.

Oct 19, 2011


Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/4, 1/40s, ISO 400.

I was working with one of my students, walking about USU meeting new friends and making on the spot portraits with them, when Kenny happened along. I spotted him at once--see, he was wearing a fedora, and I have a weak spot for those fine hats (have you seen my logo?).

So, we made a few frames on the sidewalk with Kenny, and he had some great looks and good confidence in front of the lens. I invited him to the Mansion for another class I was teaching on flash photography. Again, great looks and a good time.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 200.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 200.

Oct 13, 2011

Jobs Project

So, Steve Jobs passed away last week. I don't know the man, and I don't whether he was a good man--I don't know if he spent his money on humanitarian projects or if he built himself a castle with genuine leprechauns in the basement. I don't know.

I do know that he put apple computers in Mary Esther Elementary in Mary Esther florida where I went to school. I do know that I survived Mrs. Meyer's (bless her heart) third grade class because I got to play to Oregon Trail  and Odell Lake on said computers. It was a goal to work toward--my five minutes of free time on the computer. I suppose we did other stuff with the computers, too, but for those times I thank Mr. Job's for his efforts.

Besides making computing possible for me, he also ruined my life by making sure that I can be connected to everybody all the time. How's a guy supposed to get a break when he can check facebook and emails and text messages on an iPad anywhere in the world? Sheesh.

Jobs' favorite portrait was the one that is currently the landing page for That portrait was made by Albert Watson, who has apparently worked with many celebrities (his work is incredible, but it's also not for general audiences; view with awareness). Well, in tribute to Mr. Jobs, I'm doing a project based on this portrait. View the complete project here as it grows, and please come in and allow me to make a portrait of you in this manner, as well. It literally takes 20 seconds, and we'll have you in and out with a fun portrait. I hope to see you soon...

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 170mm, f/6.3, 1/250s, ISO 200.

Oct 10, 2011

Eyes to Die For...

Nikon D7000, Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/4.5, 1/400s, ISO 400.
Those eyes are enough to make you want one. Well, almost.

Found this fellow at the Gardener's Market in Salt Lake. I was thinking to myself, "Climbing rope? that's maybe overkill--he's such a little guy...." That was right before this little lab flew six feet into the air and covered the passersby's faces in slobbery kisses. I'm thinking a less dynamic tether--6 gauge linked chain, perhaps? 

Alabama BBQ

Met this fellow at the Gardener's Market in Salt Lake yesterday. Best barbeque I've had! you should look him up--he can prepare your meal for Thanksgiving and Christmas! Naturally, I was drawn in by his hat, but I lingered for the smell.

Marcus Dean's Smoke House Catering: 435-654-0254
Nikon D7000, Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 400.
He was good enough to work with me as I adjusted myself to using the Zeiss lens. These are legendary lenses that are rumored to produce the sharpest images with incredible resolution. Well, I talked the Zeiss representative into letting me borrow this one for the photo walk I arranged during Digitalfest at Pictureline this weekend. The thing is, as sharp (and expensive!) as these lenses are, they do not have autofocus for Canons and Nikons! (Sony owners have a little more luck--they auto focus on their bodies). Honestly, I haven't used manual focus lenses regularly since I was in High School, and I really never made any portraits. It was a bit of a trick, especially with this shallow depth of field, to get the important stuff looking sharp. And wouldn't you know it, just as I was getting pretty good at it, I had to return the lens! But, I finagled another one and made the skating pictures you see below. Pretty fun day shooting!

Oct 9, 2011

High Flight

Nikon D7000, Zeiss 18mm f/2 lens, f8, 1/2500s, ISO 400.
I have a scar on my left arm. I also have scars on my knees, and all the way down my right foot. However, only the scar on my left arm came from skate boarding. I was 8, and my older brother had a board (which he ruined a leg on himself) and all I did was ride it down the neighbor's driveway; on my stomach. Anyway, got the bottom and the board stopped, but I didn't. 

Seems like there's an entrance fee to sport's like this--a cost to prove you're worthy. I didn't pay it. I didn't get back on and learn to ride. You know that saying about getting back on the horse? Well, this wasn't the horse for me.

There are lots of ways to fly, but the adventure gods don't let just anybody in the club. They have to be sure that the applicants are diligent, worthy to enjoy the free of the sky. I didn't continue with skating, but I found flight on a few other avenues. If you haven't found a means to fly for yourself, you're missing out. I'm thinking that it's never too late to find flight. At least, I hope that's the case; I hope I can find it again myself.

These four fellows really fly. Their passion and commitment is quite obvious, and it was a pleasure watching them worship in the temple of flight. I particularly appreciated their skill as I lay below...

Nikon D7000, Zeiss 18mm f/2 lens, f/8, 1/2500s, ISO 400.
Nikon D7000, Zeiss 18mm f/2 lens, f8, 1/2500s, ISO 400.
Nikon D7000, Zeiss 18mm f/2 lens, f8, 1/2500s, ISO 400.

Oct 6, 2011

Fortunate Meeting

I was just thinking to myself, "I need a baby to try this look on..." and low and behold, W. & W. were introduced to me with their little J. Sure had fun making pictures with them in a hurry this morning!

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 110mm, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 640.

Oct 4, 2011

There Goes Another One...

B. has been a friend of mine for a while now--comes to all kinds of photo club events, and has really made incredible images lately--you should see his work from a recent trip to China. Well, this week he got a new tool and he dropped by to share it with me. A new Nikon DSLR. It's over. He's hooked. 

We made a few frames, trading places in front of the lens, messing around with lights. Pretty fun. You've gotta break these things in.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Oct 2, 2011

Photo Walking

Yesterday was Scott Kelby's Fourth Annual World Wide Photo Walk. As always, it was a blast. Our local chapter got together and roamed the USU campus making pictures of whatever oddball stuff we could find. In speaking of oddballs, K. was one of the participants, and was good enough to almost hold still long enough for me to make a few frames. It's great people like K. who make these activities and all the fun things we do in the Cache Valley Photographers worth it.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 125mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 200.
Also made this funky one, finished it using HDR Efex Pro from Nik software (trial version--but I like it!)

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 28mm, f/4.5, ISO 200.


Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens @ 75mm, f/11, ISO 200.

Seems like the whole valley drove up the canyon this afternoon to view the leaves. They are in full color at Tony Grove, and creeping down the canyons daily, like a shag carpet--out with the green, in with the orange!

There's a special grandeur to the changing of the leaves--like the world is putting on it's best clothes before death. Have you seen that movie, "Get Low"? Like this is the party of the year, and it's time to dress up for it. 

Nikon D700, 300mm f/4 lens, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 200.

So, we oblige. I called up the Cache Valley Paparazzi on Friday and invited them all to come with me on Saturday morning for the red carpet opening of Autumn up the Canyon. We tossed around where to attend, as if J. Lo and Lady Gaga were both throwing galas and we had to choose which one. We thought of heading to the Temple Fork road with it's high vantages, but Steve scouted that beforehand and noted that there was a distinct lack of red maples; we decided the place to be was Tony's.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens @ 70mm, f/16, 1/125s, ISO 640.

A herd of photogs appeared for the show, and it was well worth awaking at 5:00am. That first image was one of the very ones I made. I like to begin shooting well before the sun is up because the colors are very rich and the sky is not yet bright so there is not too much contrast between light and dark, which means that you can capture detail in both the sky and the landscape. And anyway, I'm already up, so I may as well shoot!

Nikon D700, 300mm f/4 lens, f8, 1/100s, ISO 200.
It never ceases to amaze me how much fun it is to make pictures of this kind of majesty. The colors, the clouds, the light, the hills themselves--it's all quite stunning. This kind of experience reminds of how much I love travel photography. I love creating images that show some of the soul of a place, the things that locals rave about--the things they are proud of in their home. Tony Grove is just such a place to the residents of Cache Valley. Everyone always goes on about how beautiful it is, at every season, and they spend weekends there and hundreds of people use it for snowmobiling each winter. Well, this was my first trip to that particular spot, and it really is lovely.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens @112mm, f/8, 1/160s, ISO 200.
So, this great place has been in my backyard while I've been traveling to Dubai, Korea, and St. Louis, etc. and relishing the pictures I made in those great places. The lesson for me, then, is that I can create great travel photographs right in the place where I live! I don't need to travel around the world to find great locales loaded with culture and interest.

Anyone want to join us for our Caribbean cruise this winter?

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens @160mm, f/8, 1/320s, ISO 200.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, f/2.8 VR II lens @ 145mm, f/8, ISO 200.