Feb 14, 2013


Things--life--seem to move in cycles and patterns and rotations. I feel like I'm coming around again and it's a nice way to wrap things up. I'm moving to Portland, Oregon later this month, if you hadn't heard, and everyone is saying goodbye to me. JM is one who has come cyclicly through my photography and this blog. She's been a real friend, always supporting me, and a joy to have in front of the camera, too. 

She and her brother came to classes in 2010 for the first time, and everyone had a great time making pictures with her and N. This is one I didn't share back then. The doorway in the background is my first Studio over on Church Street!

Nikon D90, 85mm f/1.8 D lens, f/6.3, 1/80s, ISO 800.
Looking at that picture now, I realize that I was still frequently shooting jpegs only. Now I shoot everything in RAW, and occasionally RAW with an additional jpeg file (for black and whites, as described in the post below). 

This shoot above was really an auspicious day, too. While we were walking the streets outside the Studio I met my pal Sam, made this picture, and started a friendship thats going strong to this day.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @140mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 400.
What's more, Sam obliged the next session of my classes by coming and modeling for us--and this while rehearsing and playing violin in the orchestra for the Utah Festival Opera everyday. As I recall, he had to boogie from the studio and run across the block to rehearsals as soon as class was over. He's a true friend to spend energy helping us create when he still has creating of his own to do.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 98mm, f/3.5, 1/80s, ISO 320.
While I was making the above image of Sam, Erin Holmstead was also in the room shooting as one of my students. Another day we were making pictures of flowers in the Studio and I was so inspired by her image that I turned around and made my most favoritest rose picture.

Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.8 D lens, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 400.

Nikon D700, 55mm micro lens, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 800.
Well, about a year later, Erin started working for me as my intern at the new studion in the Thatcher-Young Mansion. She tried to help me get organized...but I was too much for even her skills, I'm afraid. She was a huge help getting things done, though, and we had a lot of fun times making pictures for people and trying out some wacky stuff occasionally. Eventually, she even let me make pictures for her new family!

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 50mm, f/11, 1/125s, ISO 200.
Well, right about the time Erin started working with me, another student asked me to help him one-on-one. J. needed some specific help just for himself at his own pace. So we headed up to USU to walk the walks and see what there was to see. Foolishly, I didn't shoot a single image of J. that day. However, while we were hassling people outside the campus library, cajoling them to be in our pictures, JM walked up and said hello! I hadn't seen her in quite sometime, and I was glad to talk with her a minute.

Naturally, I invited JM to be in a picture or two. She demurred, however, claiming that she wasn't really made up, and didn't think she was ready to be in a picture that day. I said she looked great, but I also respect someone who takes a picture seriously, so I said goodbye and got back to coaching J. on the use of a diffuser in bright sunlight.

You can imagine my surprise a few minutes later when JM tapped on my shoulder and said, "I decided I could be in a picture." She was so genuine and disarming, I couldn't help smiling as I invited her into our location studio on the planter by the sidewalk. I'm so glad that she stopped because it made for one of my all time favorite images.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 92mm, F/5.3, !/3200s, ISO 800.
I love to see the maturity in JM's eyes here, compared with the image made one year prior at the top.

In speaking of all time favorite images, although I didn't make a picture of J. that day, I did have the privilege of photographing he and his wife a little later on. I hope I can become half the husband and friend that J. is.

Nikon D3, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 105mm, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 200.
Oh, and one more all time favorite includes my man Sam. He was back in town again this last summer for the Opera and was, once again, good enough to indulge me in some creative activities. Fortunately, his stay overlapped the Cache Valley Cruise In, so we headed to the fairgrounds in search of the perfect automobile to match up with Sam. As we walked he talked about wanting a '69 mustang. We happened to find one.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 145 mm, f/2.8, 1/400s, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex 4, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

After convincing the owner of the Mustang to let us use his car for awhile, and after a few more days' break, I got Sam back into the Studio for some more portraits. If you're like me, you can help smiling when you see Sam laugh. That's the kind of treasure this black box I work with keeps for me, and lets me share. In fact, I can share it and share it and never run out.
Nikon D800, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 250mm, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 100.
Which brings us to today. I was texting with Erin and Facebook messaging with Sam, when J. surprised me by showing up right before my class to help setup for our club meeting this evening; and who surprised him but JM, who came to model. So, nearly three years and five cameras later, JM is with my class again, sharing herself and helping us learn to create, helping us to consider the importance of pictures. 

What was it Norman Maclean wrote?

"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."

As I sail through life, I find it all goes 'round, and friends come again, and the shutter records it.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens @90mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 800.


  1. Beautiful! Thanks for teaching and inspiring us in your time in Cache Valley. Go easy, and we'll all be watching your work.

  2. Wish you were moving to Vernal instead Levi. We'd love to have you here. Have a great time in Oregon. It's so beautiful up there. I'm sure you'll take MANY great shots up there! Will you have a studio there?

  3. Thanks, Gang. Monica, I will continue shooting full time, but there are so many rental studios, I think I'll not need to plunk down a bunch of rent for my own building right away. I'll catch you next time I come for a SMUG in Vernal, though!

  4. Beautiful images and sentiment. Thanks for sharing, Levi.