Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ocean Energy...

About a month ago, I was in LA for a few days to manage a project down there. One afternoon, I drove to Oceanside and spent the afternoon in the crashing waves.

I absolutely adore the ocean. There is nothing quite like standing in water chest deep, and watching as a three or four foot wave approaches and then breaks over you, followed by the feeling as the tide rushes back past you and the sand erodes from under your feet. Words escape me to describe the elation and euphoria that I enjoyed for a couple of hours. As I went back to the car, I took this picture.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Colors at Saint Johns Abbey...

This last weekend I drove something like 1600 miles, and spent three days on the road.

I took a truck that we sold back to Iowa, and then I flew back to Salt Lake. In three nights, I had no more then 4 1/2 hours of sleep per night, and I spent most of the time driving. I circled through Wyoming, across South Dakota, into Minnesota and then down to Iowa. On the way I stopped at Martins Cove WY, Edgemont SD, Wounded Knee SD, and St Cloud MN.

It is sort of comical that this was the same truck that I drove back from New York earlier this year, and I stopped at most of the same places. It is a different time of year though, and I was in a much different frame of mind for this trip then I was back then. It made for a very different experience, and even with the sleep deprivation, I had a wonderful time.

The most memorable was my stop in St Cloud. The hotels were all full, so I drove out of town a ways and stayed in the back seat of the truck in some field. I had a good sleep, and the next day then I drove right over to St Johns Abbey.

St Johns is a Monastery/University about ten miles outside of St Cloud. It sits on 2,480 acres of prairie and forests with lakes and wetlands scattered throughout. Trails abound, and it is a wonderfully peaceful place to retreat. Although I liked it when I was there in April, I absolutely fell in love with it this trip. The fall colors and leaves turn the place into something of a fairyland. Originally, I was going to try and stay at the Abbey Guesthouse for two nights, but it didn't work out. I ended up wishing that I had tried a bit harder to make it all happen. As it was, I was there for about three hours. I wandered around to the far side of the lake (Lake Sagatagan) and visited the small Stella Maris Chapel on the far side. It was cooler weather, but nice with a light jacket. The wind would blow along and stir the leaves up around me, and I watched as families wandered around the trails, the children kicking the leaves as they went, laughing and playing.

I sat on a log next to the lake and the tall grasses rose all around me. The gentle sound of the breeze rustled through them. Out on the lake a sailboat drifted along, the sun wandered in and out of the cloud cover, and I was consumed by a sense of calm euphoria. I wished that I could stay, but I had to leave before it got too late to drive to Lake City, Iowa.

My opinion of Minnesota is drastically changed though. I was there in April and I didn't really care for it. (It was cold and still pretty dead a the time.) This time, as I drove along freeways and looked at the vibrant colors, I decided that I loved it. So the time to go there is in the fall. It really is beautiful. And as far as a retreat goes, St Johns is really nice if your looking for something woodsy, but a bit more civilized. (Beds, showers, etc. They even have meals if you want them.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I just couldn't think of a good title for this on a short moment...

I was on a photo shoot yesterday that was super important to me. Possibly one of the most important so far. It turned out okay. I am reminded of how much I need to learn and how much I know and yet need to do better at putting into practice. Anyway, on the way back down the canyon I stopped and took this. I had my niece with me as an assistant and I let her take some photos with my camera also. She doesn't know much about photography, and I sort of taught her as we went along. I really enjoy teaching. Especially on an individual basis.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The D3...

I'd like to introduce you to my Nikon D3. This thing is great. It fits my hand like a glove. Albeit a heavy glove, a glove none the less. In fact, that is my only possible problem with it, is the weight. The lens on it here is the smallest lens I own for it. My 70-200 2.8 (which it seems like I use the most) is four times that big, so you can imagine that it is huge. It's really quite a comforting feeling to have it hanging at my side with the 70-200 on it. I'm sure it sounds wierd, but I can't explain it any better. It's not so much the camera as it is what the camera allows me to do.

I sold my motorcycle to buy this and I have never looked back. I think the money I spent on it is quite possibly the best money I ever spent, except for maybe my old Toyota truck, which I bought brand new and has 345,000 miles on it so far.

Seriously, most people probably would never care, but a while back I sent my D3 in for cleaning, and while it was gone then I had to use my older D200 for an engagement photo session. I really missed the D3 and I was so excited when I got it back that I could hardly contain myself. So I went out and took this picture.

On another note, I sold an older D200 body and a 12-24 lens, and between the two I was able to get the newer Nikon 24-70 2.8 midrange zoom that I have wanted for some time. It arrived today. I really wanted to get it for the upcoming weddings that I am photographing next month. With this purchase, I will be retiring my Nikon 24-85, and it will be up for sale. Although I used to be really happy with the 24-85, the last couple of months it has failed to meet my expectations. I believe that I have started to push it more and that is why. I am demanding a lot more then I used to, and I can see the difference in the image quality. I have great hopes for this 24-70. Just like all the Pro Nikons, it feels...different. Very solid, and the response is very nice. I will be trying it out in the next few days and see what I think.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's snowing! ...a little...

We got our first real snow on the valley floor Saturday night. I went out and walked around it in it a bit at about 1:00 AM. We got somewhere around an inch at my house, but it didn't last long. It was mostly gone by Sunday afternoon.

These were taken at Presidents Circle at the University of Utah. I was down there walking around Sunday morning, the snow was still falling, and it was sort of magical. Everything was so peaceful and serene that I had to get my camera out. There has been something in the air the last few days, as though everything is in harmony with everything else. It's really been nice.

I suppose that everything natural is always in harmony, but it is just us that loses that harmony with everything else.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Up against the wall...

It's funny to me, I had some shoots that went really badly, so I sort of stopped shooting anything for a while. As it turns out, that was a mistake. I've been shooting again the last few days and I'm having a blast.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back shooting...

Last weekend on my way back from a project in Park City, I took the long way home and I stopped and took some pictures. It's the first time in over a month since I really took any pictures, and I have to say that it really felt good. I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of having a camera in my hand again.

It's really nice up there in the mountains right now. Really nice. I was actually looking for a good location for a couple shot that I have coming up, but I took this while I was going along. The time of day is not the best, and I might go back up and take it again in better light.