Sunday, November 22, 2009

Everyone has a story...

"Everyone has a story." It's a quote from one of my favorite movies.

I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to go out with a new mother and photograph her baby. As usual, with any portrait session, I was all stressed about it for weeks. Things like lighting, expression, and posing, had me as concerned as they always do.

I'll admit, I went with a bit of an expectation for what I wanted. The primary subject was the little boy, and the mom really didn't want to get in the pictures, but what I really wanted to capture was the experience of a new mother showing her little boy the world. I wanted to capture the joys, the wonders, the compassion, the love, the mystery, and the magic of it all. Talking to a friend a week before the shoot, I made the comment that I really didn't want the mom to feel rushed at all. "I want her to sit down and play with her little boy," I had said.

This little guy is very photogenic, and we had several really nice shots where his personality came right through. But it was when we walked past this road covered in leaves that I felt like something was there, lying uncovered. And luckily, the mother did just what I'd hoped, she sat down and played with her little boy. I swapped out for the longer lens and retreated to a distance to catch the magic as it happened.

What do you think? Success or no?

But wait, there's more...

Everyone has a story. The story of this mother and baby boy, is that she was childless for over fourteen years before this miraculous little guy came along. The dad is my Nephew, and we work together every day. Because of all that, I've known about some of the frustrations, despairs and unfulfilled desires that they went through over the years.

Since "Eli" came along, I've personally watched them both with fascination. I've watched the mother fawn over this little guy as though he were her whole world, and that's what I really wanted to capture.

Monday, October 5, 2009


"...he sat and observed the awesome creation manifested before him. He pondered it, wondered at it, and strove to understand it. But it was beyond him..."

After spending an entire Sunday in the house last weekend, I decided just after dark that I would go out for a walk. I donned my shoes and jacket, and set off down the street.

It was in fact, absolutely wonderful outside. The sidewalks and the streets were wet from the rain, there were little streams running down the gutters, and the air was heavy with a variety of aromas that made a person want to stop, breath deep, deep breaths, and feel the sheer joy of being ALIVE!

I wandered past the library, past the business offices, past the bank, and past the McDonald's, crossing the street several times because the sidewalk doesn't run continuously. I hopped over puddles, chuckled a bit to myself at the way I obsess about trying not to step on the cracks in the sidewalk (obviously, I look down too much), and I smiled a bit when the sidewalk ended abruptly in a corner behind a power transformer.

Turning around, I wandered back the same way, passing my house and continuing around the block. I stopped by some juniper hedge, stunned by the aroma that brought back deep memories. I wondered a bit at how the hedge was trimmed into a funny little row with humps along the top. And then I found a little hidden path that led to the inside of the bushes. "How delightful," I thought to myself, "It's like a hidden little corner."

On the way back, I realized that there was some sort of vacant lot on my street that I've never even realized was there. And I also discovered a very large yard without a fence that had grass in it and a huge old tree. I wondered a bit that I had never even noticed it, even though I have walked my street several times.

In the dim light, I couldn't quite figure out which house the yard even belonged to, but I ventured the ten feet into the short grass to touch the huge tree. It is enormous, probably close to four feet in diameter, and it has too be about 30 feet taller then any other tree on the street. I wondered a bit that I have never noticed it before. As I touched the old weathered bark, I felt as though I was wrapped in it's grandfatherly embrace. Smiling, I looked up into it's branches towering above me and wished for a moment that I could climb it.

I decided that I must always hurry too much to notice what is around my house. Perhaps it's time to open my eyes a bit.

During the last few days, between reading Eckhart Tolle's: A New Earth, and Arbinger’s: Leadership and Self Deception, I don't think I'm looking at life through quite the same glasses. I feel profoundly affected, and I highly recommend both books. I feel like we need to try and look beyond the words and the labels that we attach to things in life. It might be said that we need to allow ourselves to actually experience life, and the people that are in our lives. We need to feel, see, and understand more.

And most importantly, we need to understand who we truly are....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Look at the MOON!

The white light fell around me, gently shimmering through the trees. A slight breeze flitted along, and the clouds raced overhead, now and then obscuring the moonlight that brought the landscape to life with strange shadows.

What an amazing day, I thought to myself. What an amazing moment. A bit of magic, to be sure.

I arrived home late Friday night (or early Saturday morning, depending on your point of view), and I was so enamored by the moon, that I dropped my briefcase in the house and then went back out with my camera and took several shots.

I felt like standing back and shouting: LOOK AT THE MOON!

If you’ve seen the movie The Kid, then you know what I’m talking about. :)

With this entry and this shot, I close out the Chamenos Series, and I start a brand-new series. A series dedicated to the beauties, joys, and emotions of living life, even when it seems hard or difficult.

There is a secret in this picture, a hidden celebration if you will. I’ll leave you to figure it out. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Path...

"I stood there in the fading light, and stared down the at the path. I wondered what madness had ever convinced me to set my feet on the path in the first place, and I further wondered why I had been brought here to this place. For I really did believe that I had indeed, been brought to the winding path; a path in which the end was obscured and lost to me. "


Quite often, people talk about living in the moment and creating your own destiny. It seems to be a trendy sort of thing, and while all of these ideas carry a great deal of good, and a great deal of truth with them, I personally think that they err a bit.

Other people wonder at the term "calling", and wonder why people say it and what they mean by it.

I believe that peoples' lives carry a certain mission that they came to accomplish in this realm. It may be simple, or it may be great, but it is specific and necessary for them to perform. A calling is simply this: The sum, or at least an extension, of their mission in this life. It is something that they need to perform in order to be whole and complete.

Things are so intricately connected in this life that if we could fully see the connections, I think that it would baffle us. And although we may think that we are creating something majestic by our own power, we really are all a part of a grand prophecy that has been in force for eons. A set of words so powerful as to shape worlds without end. And each and every human life and conscious intelligence is a part of that prophecy, which rolls forth with a power well beyond our tiny arms and mouths. Each one of them enlisted to play a part that may be great, or small, in the moment; and yet infinitely important at the same time.

And yet, to our trial, we sometimes only see that mission and purpose one day, or one moment at a time. Hence the reason to "live in the moment". But we must remember the responsibility of our mission and seek after it, to live it fully.

To quote Stalking Wolf: "A man not living his vision is living death."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

4 minutes 4 seconds...

That's how long it took. Four minutes and four seconds elapsed between the moment that the bride handed the bouquet to the first bridesmaid, and the time that the person conducting the ceremony presented them to the audience as "Mr and Mrs.".

Later on, as I sat and thought to myself, I was quietly amazed. So short a thing for such a significant agreement. I found myself thinking that it should seem more ceremonious, or something.

And then I thought further about it and I realized that the commitment they had just agreed to had been happening slowly for a long time. Indeed, it had started when they first met, and had progressed all along. The agreement had been slowly happening for months. Every step they took had affected one very short, but dramatic outcome.

I dunno. It makes one think and wonder a bit. What are we leading towards every day of our lives?

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Corvette...

This couple was so fun to work with. It probably helped that it was my sister, but they were very amiable and patient. And credit goes to the groom for being adaptable and willing...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Charlotte's Wedding...

The couple wandered to the top of the hill and posed themselves. It turned out to be one of my favorites shots of the day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Life goes on doesn't it? A lot of us are pretty blessed if we take a minute to stop and really think about it... God is, after all, quite good whether we think so or not.

Those of you who were out camping where I was a couple of weeks ago know that I hung around most of the afternoon waiting for the lighting in this shot. I ended up with about one minute to catch this.

I had been out on the bluff the evening before in the rain, so I knew sort of what I was looking for. To get this, I used the lowest ISO with the longest shutter speed possible, and then I used my hat to shade part of the lens and even out the exposure. I had to flip the hat up at just the right moment to fade everything properly. You would usually use a neutral density filter for this sort of thing, but I had accidentally left mine at home. In the end, it really was sheer luck that I got the timing right.

The beetle....

Sometimes, maybe the only real option left is to rake all the rubbish into piles and set fire to it....

For many years now, our family has owned some property in the Ashley National Forest. In the last five years, there has been a shortage of water in the area and at the same time, the forest was invaded by a beetle. Unless the trees have sufficient water, they cannot resist the beetle, and the end result is that they die.

The result for our little area, was that many, many old trees died, and the forest has been in a sort of ruins for a while. There are new little trees growing, but right now, it all just looks pretty bad.

When I drove in, loggers had gone all along the road and piled all the dead limbs into these neat little piles. Although they had done a really nice job, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of devastation as I looked at all the piles. I was listening to Secondhand Serenade's song: "Why" at the time, and honestly, I felt like pulling over right there and crying.

I spent a day and half wandering the hills and valleys that I walked as a little kid. In many ways, it was like going back in time. Because there has been so much rainfall this year, it is greener then I have seen it in a long time. Possibly the greenest that it has been since '83-'84 when I went up there the very first time. Flowers. Tall grass. It was nice. And it was sad. Sad because so many things have been lost. So many things have changed.

From the moment I pulled in, I wanted to take a photograph that captured what I felt when I looked at all those neat little piles. I took this the last evening that I was there, on my way out...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Miracle Shots...

"I don’t want to have my picture taken," she said. "I’d like one of those puffy flower things though."

"Well go pick one," I replied.

The next thing I knew, there she was, all settled in with the tall grass all around her. Suddenly, I felt like I was photographing an angel...

Later on, when I sorted through the images, I thought to myself how every so often, we are graced with a miracle shot. I suppose that some people can produce them all the time at will. I can't do that. Especially when I'm working with people.

My goal in photography is to be an artist. I have no interest in being a professional, and the two are significantly different in my opinion. My interest lies in catching something that is just a bit more than a photograph, and with this shot, that worked out.

For an entertaining read, visit Ken Rockwell's site and read his Seven levels of Photographers artical.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Live...

A while back then a friend said something to me:

"I would prefer to give everything I have and live for just that moment than to live a sham of a life never expressing my feelings and sharing with others." - A. McIntyre

So many times in life, I feel like I've gone out there and I've hoped, I've tried. And in the end so often, just so, so often, I feel like I've fallen on my face. Like I've done it all wrong. It's seems like if there could have been a mistake, I would have made it. And sometimes I've felt like there was no way that I could do anything right. And sometimes, it makes me want to just run and hide. Hide from a world where so much seems wrong, where so much seems broken.


I've honestly struggled, and tried to do the best that I could. I've loved. I've laughed. I've cried. And in the end, I wouldn't trade it at all. Despite the hurt, the pain, the disappointment, I still think that it has been worth it.

It's the moment when I feel the vibrations from a musical instrument as they carry a piece of soul from the one who plays it. The moment when I stand on a rock hundreds of feet above the ground and feel the wind sweep around me, almost as though it could carry me away. The moment when I see the pure joy in a child as it plays. The moment when I see a tiny new blade of grass pushing to the surface from a soft, brown, mother earth. The moment when I stand out on a bluff and watch the sun set, it's golden rays spreading out across the sky above me. The moment when I look deep into another persons eyes, and I see a piece of their soul. And those moments when I sit and watch the stars, and everything is so quiet that I could hear a pin drop. And I wonder....I wonder who? Who can fathom something so grand? Something so wonderful?

Those moments, they are the moments that I feel loved. And those are the times when I believe that if I continue to try my best, things will work okay.

So, like my friend so beautifully said, don't settle for a sham of a life. Give everything you have, because in the end, it will be worth it.

This photo is taken at The Red Butte Gardens at the University of Utah.

Monday, June 22, 2009

On engagement sessions...

This is one of my favorite shots from an engagement session that I did about seven weeks ago. I've totally ignored my blog lately, so they are actually married now.

Out of people shots, I believe engagement sessions just might be my favorite to shoot. The two people are usually so accommodating of each other that they tend to trip over themselves in the process, and the entire atmosphere has a unique and beautiful energy about it. Two people on the verge of making a commitment to each other that will change their lives forever. And they usually can't hardly wait to walk down the isle.

This is my sister Charlotte, who has modeled for me in experimental photography sessions many times, and her fiancé. This is one of the last shots that we took that evening. I had not been out with the camera in a while, and it was a very nice, pleasant experience. Thanks goes out to my assistant Carol for her help during that session.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day, '09

On Sunday, July 31, 1994, my older brother Sephton Frank Naylor, was killed in a car wreck on his way home from a fishing trip with his young family. He was 26 years old, and had three small children.

The loss of Sephton was an incomprehensible loss to the entire Naylor family. A deeply spiritual person, he had probably only begun to catch a glimpse of his potential; and we can only wonder where his gifts as a Shaman and Healer might have taken him.

I was 16 at the time, and I vividly recall standing in the funeral home as many, many people walked through and quietly paid their respects. Countless nephews and nieces that respected and loved him. People that had grown up with him, and many people that he had worked with over the few short years.

"A terrible tragedy," we all said. And it was. I still remember walking in the room and seeing the haunting looks in his small families eyes. An incomprehensible loss.

But then again, maybe there was more to it then we know...

Maybe the Naylor family was in real need of a spiritual giant on the other side, working in their behalf. Maybe there was more that he could do as healer there, working with us on a spiritual level. I don't know, but it just might be the case.

In the Bible, in 2 Kings chapter 6, the king of Syria learns that the prophet Elisha is in a place called Dothan, and he sends an army to "fetch" him. The story says that there was a "great host" of horses and chariots, so use your imagination there for a number. But in any case, it was enough of an army to scare Elisha's servant.

The story continues:

"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. "

This memorial day as we go out and visit the graves of our loved ones, and recall the tender memories that we have of them, and as our hearts ache for the loved ones that we have lost, I want to leave people with a simple thought:

Your loved ones that seem gone, are in fact with you, working for you, and doing everything that they can to help you. It might be possible that they are able to help you more then if they were here. I don't know that, but it just might be the case. So take heart, and try and be comforted. Feel them, and even talk with them.

I'm not saying that you won't miss them. I'm not saying it won't hurt. And it just might be that way your whole life.


Sometimes, you can still be graced a little bit with their presence. And someday, you will see them again. I can promise you that. And in the meantime, they will help you, maybe more then you know.

This photo was taken at the Fort Lawton Cemetery, located within the grounds of Discovery Park in Seattle, Washington.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One year of publishing...

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of this bog. Really, it’s a little amazing to me, and almost every time I log in to my blog page, I wonder a little at myself. Being a person that loves to keep my life, and my doings, so private and secretive, it’s really weird that I would be publishing a blog with my thoughts, writings and photos.

I’m also surprised at the way that it has changed over the months that I have been publishing. I’ve had some people ask why I write a blog. They ask why I take pictures. I usually answer, "I don’t know", but that’s not entirely true.

It’s interesting to note the paths that life leads us into. The original reason that I even started this thing was a slightly ridicules childish fantasy. But it seems like things are larger then me, and it seems that even though I may have reasons for doing things at one point, they seem to sometimes end up as something much different then I might have imagined.

I don’t know what will become of this blog. I don’t know what will become of my photography. I suppose that everyone in life wants to make some sort of a difference in the world. I feel like it is a little pretentious for me to think that this blog is, "making a difference". But I can hope that somehow, my life and efforts can be used to somehow touch others, to somehow become a catalyst for comfort, hope and change.

We live in a world that is so full of pain, sorrow, and heartbreak. Just last week:
  • I went and watched The Soloist, and I left pondering about the 90,000 homeless people on the streets of LA, and the countless homeless people the world over. People dying from disease, hunger, and tragedy...
  • I talked to a friend of mine that had broken up with the guy that she had been seeing for eight months. She was heartbroken, and she said some line about things like that making you stronger. I told her I thought that line was BS...stronger for what? Harder? Colder?
  • I talked with a dear friend that was struggling with her marriage and was deeply hurt. It seemed that she didn’t know how to go on, or what to do. I knew not what to say...
  • I found out that someone that I had recently become acquainted with had lost her sister in death about a year ago, and she was having a hard time with the one year anniversary...
What can I say to these sorts of things? What can I do? I don't know. And yet, there are happy things. Last week on the flip side:
  • I talked with dear friend of mine, in her fifties, that was excited about the prospects of a new relationship that she is in, after having been single for about ten years..
  • I shot an engagement photo session for a young couple. Such an amazing experience it is, to watch a young couple, excited to embark on a journey through life together.
  • My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I visited her, and listened, as she recounted the love that she realized that she had for this little girl before she was born.
  • I watched a new mother with her little girl, as she held her, and talked to her. Her dad worked on something close by. I watched as the little girl watched her dad, her soft brown eyes intent on his every move.
  • I watched a friend that had been childless for 14 years of marriage, as she held her new little baby boy, and cooed at him...
Life happens. What can we say to it? What can we change about it? Really change? With our puny little arms? I don’t know that we really can. Not without the help of our dear Father in Heaven.

In short, I continue to publish this blog for the same reason that I continue to photograph.

I feel called to.

Plain and simple. I don’t know why. I don’t know what good it does. I just feel like right now, it is something that I am supposed to do. I trust that. It might just be practice for something that is yet to come. Maybe it does good, and maybe it does not. I don’t know.

And another reason. I love the creative process. I love it when I start with a blank sheet of paper and emerge with a written piece. I love it when I drive down the road, or when I walk across a park and words come into my head. I love it when I pick up my camera, and I loose myself in my surroundings. To where time and place almost don’t matter, and it is just me and the camera, the light, the scene. I love it when I look at a photograph later and it takes me back to that second, that moment in time, the things that I felt, the things that I thought, the things that I hoped for. Sometimes it is sad, and sometimes it is happy, but it is all real. I don't really get inspired by my own photographs. I simply remember...

Some artists start with an image in their head and create that. I don’t. I don’t see it until it is there in front of me. It is the evolution of the subject, the writing, the photograph, the drawing, the song, or the dance, that I love. The change, the design on the fly. The complete lack of planning and structure. A sort of free-flowing creation that creates an exhilaration in my soul, and my spirit.

I suppose it is something that you have to experience to appreciate...

This photo was taken at Martin’s Cove, Wyoming. I was deeply moved while I was there, and the area is very sacred to me. I was coming back from New York via Wounded Knee, South Dakota, and I drove right past it, quite on accident. I had no idea I was going to pass it.

The people of the Martin, Willie, and other companies that embarked on the journey that ended in the death and suffering of so many, were undoubtedly remarkable people. I believe that they were people of faith. People that cared, that believed, that trusted God.

My ancestors were among those that struggled with the Willie company in that area, so I stopped and hiked around. I got there at dark, so I couldn’t stay long, but I did make it back to the actual campsite of the Martin company and I took this photo. I like it because we all have a path in life, with shadows and bright spots, sorrow, pain, happiness, and joy. And we might not see the end of the road right now, but somewhere on the horizon, there are bright areas, and all things work to the good of those that love God.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Tribute to Paul Cardall...

Paul Cardall is one of my hero's. He is a fabulous musician that has done huge things for the music community here in Salt Lake. I've been listening to his music for years, and it never ceases to touch me.

A few years ago, I bought one of his albums for a dear friend of mine as a gift. I e-mailed him and asked if I could meet him and get the album autographed. He told me that he had a signing already scheduled at a local store. When I went down to the store, no one else was there, and we talked for a few minutes. He smiled at me with a mischievous smile, and asked me what I wanted him to say on the album. "Nothing too heavy," I replied. He chuckled a bit as he autographed the CD.

We talked a bit about his albums. "Paul," I said, "you realize that Hymns One and Hymns Two are totally different." (For those of you that don't know the story, Hymns One was recorded on the spur of a moment while they were in the studio recording another album. Hymns Two was a planned recording.)

"I know," he replied. "The first one has magic."

What a perfect way to describe it.

About two years ago, I attended a concert by him at the Rose Wagner Theatre. It was a small and intimate setting. Just him and the piano. A wonderful setting and a wonderful concert, I sat in deep introspection through most of the music.

Paul Cardall has fought Congenital Heart Disease his whole life, and he is currently on a waiting list for a heart transplant. I want to recognize him while he is alive, and I hope he is with us for some time to come. I'd love to hear him again in concert.

I wanted to post this photograph, and when I read Paul's blog today, I knew what I was going to write to go with it.

This shot was taken in the Sacred Grove on the Smith Farm in Palmyra New York. This is my shot of the grove. And by that, I mean that this is the one that you would find in my house, on my wall. I took the other one to depict the common story, and it is clean of me. This one however, has me all over it. I adore this picture, and I am dedicating it to Paul Cardall, his efforts, and his inspiration to me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Forgotten City...

As I looked over the city ruins, I wondered, who had walked here? Who had lived, loved, laughed, and cried? What happened to them? Forgotten and lost, who had they been, and what had they done while they were here?

This is my first post that includes a photograph from my trip to Turkey in 2005. It's a neat place, with a lot of neat ruins. Everywhere. I'd really like to go back and spend some quality time with the light in some of those places, but I wouldn't want to be on a tour again. I'd have to be on my own time. You know the cool thing? That person just wandered out there as I took this shot. I didn't pose that, and I don't know who it was. I never even realized it until I got home. This shot is nice in color as well, but has a much different feel.

In 2007, at an international competition, PPA found this print "not worthy of a merit." Sort of surprised me. That's when I decided that I was going to have to ignore PPA's opinion on things. I haven't bothered to submit anything since. This was shot with film on Fuji Reala 100 (not the best), so maybe a better scan would have helped. I dunno.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Last Sunday, I made the first site visit for what will be called the Di-Ahman Project.

In short, this project will be an effort to get one photograph that captures the spiritual essence, hopes, and dreams that Adam-Ondi-Ahman holds for those with Mormon background.

I've never seen a photograph that really captures this place. It's a huge valley, and frankly, it's not easy to shoot. But the place is magical. I drove there and I expected to feel nothing. Honestly, I lived in Missouri for about five years and it's a nice place, but I wouldn't care to really live there again. I joke with people about what there is to see. "Trees and grass", I always say. Indeed, it seems like you can drive across four states and they all look the same.

When I got to Di-Ahman, I came in the back way and drove straight to Tower Hill. I got out of my car and walked down the little path that goes down the hill to the valley floor.

I was overcome.

Overcome with a deep sense of peace and tranquility. The place is possibly the most peaceful place that I have been to in the whole world. Honestly, I really didn't want to leave. I could have sat down by a tree and just sat there for hours. I wandered through the trees and fields almost mindlessly for an hour or so and it was very, very healing on a deep spiritual level. It was Magic, in the best possible way.

Once while looking at my Sacred Grove shot, I told someone that I wanted to shoot a shot of Di-Ahman but that I figured that I would need to spend about three days. They said that there wasn't a lot to see there, and that they didn't think I could spend three days there. After this visit, my conclusion is that my preliminary estimate was wrong. I could easily spend a solid week here, just watching the light, the weather, and trying to capture it. The place was just amazing, and so many shots seemed to just leap out at me, with everything coming from a hundred different directions and angles. I didn't even have any sunlight to work with, because it was overcast. Just imagine the different light possibilities...

I probably could spend every weekend for six months. I'd really like to see it in all different weather and seasons.

It's a long way away from Salt Lake though. I have no idea how I can do this project, but I decided that it is important. I don't know if I can even get a shot that portrays the valley. It's really big, but I feel like I have to try. I will probably be working on this for a while, and it will likely be the focus of all my foreseeable trips to Missouri.

This shot is taken at the main entrance to the fenced farm area, about a mile from Spring Hill and next to the mouth of the valley. I actually drove past the main entrance, and then I had a second thought to go back and store the site in my GPS unit. When I pulled in to the main gates, I saw this tree and had to stop. I'm glad that I went back...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Please, sit next to me...?"

The elderly lady walked past me on the path, her gray hair neatly done. She had a large black dog with her that looked like it could have dragged her around. She asked me what I was doing and I replied that I was watching and waiting for the light. She smiled and continued on her walk.

I had been here a year before, but it seemed differnt now. Different, but the same. Maybe better. It was very pleasant and peaceful.

I moved from the old log that I was sitting on and walked through the small park one more time. Nothing seemed to be working out, but the as the sun went down, it popped from behind the clouds and it was the moment that I had been waiting a couple of hours for. At the bench, I stopped and looked back. And that's when I saw this picture.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Definition: pas·sage·way (n) A way allowing passage, especially a corridor.


I always tell people that there are two reasons that I work with Cabin-Tree. Truthfully, there are a whole lot more, but these are the two that I say:

1) I make a good living.
2) My parking spot.

My parking spot. Almost more important then my desk, with my plants and the funny, short worktable that everyone makes fun of. The spot that everyone knows not to park in because it's Alma's spot. There are a variety of reasons why I like it. Like the fact that makes it easy for me to get in and out of the lot regardless of whatever else is going on at the shop. Because I'm in sales, I'm in and out all day. I have also become very fond of the tree that it is next to. But I think that mostly, it just contributed to my sense of belonging.

Well, the other day I lost my parking spot. It just didn't work for me to have it anymore. It seems that our parking lot is getting to full, and we needed to arrange some stuff differently. At first, I wanted to cry, but then I thought better of it.

Later on, as I drove home, I decided that it was an Omen.

If you have read The Alchemist, you will know the story of Santiago (the boy) and the crystal merchant. Flying back from Phoenix a few days ago, I read the book again, and I read that story once more. If you have read it, you will understand me when I say that is how I feel right now.

"Maktub", I thought to myself.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The miracles of life...

I stared at the newborn baby. The tiny hands, the little face, the dark eyes with a tinge of lightness around the edge. Those same eyes stared back at me. Sometimes he looked at me, and sometimes, he looked at something else. Something...distant and elusive. I found myself wondering what he saw. Suddenly the little face puckered up and sneezed. “Bless you”, I replied. And I smiled. How could you help but smile? He was all wrapped up in his soft yellow blanket and he seemed so...tiny. And simply darling. After a while, he fussed a bit and I passed him back to his mother...

Later on, I was sitting in another house by a dining room table. Once again, I was holding another little bundle, wrapped up in a white blanket. A newborn baby girl this time. She was sleeping, and she never stirred in the time that I was holding her. She was tiny, and something about her was simply angelic. I stared at the fine features, and the black hair that ran along the top of her head and down the back of it. She seemed happy. And content. Content simply to be there...

Sometime later, I sat on another couch in a dimly lit room. There was a third little bundle in my arms. Yet another newborn, the baby girl slept soundly for forty-five minutes while I held her. And once again, I just stared. I smiled a bit at the round, pudgy cheeks. She was darling, and I couldn’t help but notice how she looked like her older sister and her dad. I chuckled inside at the similarities of family members. As I sat there and watched her, she began to wake up. The tiny arms and legs stretched, the tiny mouth yawned. Suddenly there was a little pair of dark eyes staring at me, looking me over and wondering who I was...

But then again, she probably already knew...

Two nieces and a great nephew. Three newborns, all within about two weeks of each other. I marvel at it a bit every time I hold a newborn baby, because it reaffirms to me that life is good, and there are still wonderful things to happen in the history of this world. It shows me that there are still great works to be done here, and that despite the problems of the day, there are still wonderful opportunities in this life. Opportunities and events that people want the chance to take part in.

Later on, in my back yard, I stood out in the falling snow and let it fall around me. I stood there as the flakes built up in my hair, and on my sweater. I took a handful of snow and rubbed it between my fingers. I felt the cold creep into my hands, as my fingers began to burn.

And I laughed...

Inside and outside, from the bottom of my soul, I laughed. Because despite what we may think or feel, the Lord still loves us. Each and every one of us. And that love is evidenced by everything around us. The sunshine on a warm day, the tender new grass shoots poking through the dry grass, the fluffy white clouds in a clear blue sky, the tiny new buds on the branches of a tree, and yes, even in the white, cold powder called snow, and the clear cold icicle hanging from a twig.

And yes, in the tiny smile, sneeze, or angelic face of a newborn baby...

Wherever you are at in your life, believe in the good, and keep working with it, because it’s going to be okay, and your Father in Heaven loves you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Faith and Hope...

Alright. Enough of the doom and the gloom and the smoke people!!! I’m publishing today from Paradise Bakery, which has become one of my favorite restaurants, and it’s time for some happy thoughts. :)

But first, an awareness exercise:

Go outside in the early morning and stand in an open patch of grass, preferably with bare feet. Close your eyes, tip your head back, open your arms, and breath deeply. Listen, but don’t focus on any one sound. Open yourself to hear as much as possible, and let the sounds flow through your consciousness. Feel. Feel the breeze, feel the grass, the trees, the bushes. Feel the harmony of everything around you, and let it penetrate deep inside you.


It’s absolutely fabulous outside today and I can’t help but being overjoyed at the prospect of spring again. The symbol of new beginnings and renewed hope. Life ebbs and flows, and I am convinced that the sooner we learn to flow with it, the happier we will be. Everything isn’t always happy, but when it is I want to soak up every minute of it!

As I walked out of my house this morning, I couldn’t help but be overjoyed with the feeling in the air. A bit of magic manifesting itself for all of us to taste.

I’m also excited today because the Utes Gymnastics team is up against BYU tonight, on BYU’s home floor, and I am thoroughly looking forward to watching them waste BYU into the dust. :) I guess it’s not fair really, their so much better then BYU, but I’m still going to enjoy it!


This photo was taken at the Sacred Grove on the Smith Farm in Palmyra, New York. Certainly not your average "Sacred Grove" picture, but it is possibly one of the happiest shots that I have ever taken, and it is totally different then my Sacred Grove shot. For some reason, it just seems to fit today. The words Faith and Hope come to mind as I sit here and write this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I went to another funeral Saturday. It was the funeral of a little boy who was the son of some friends of mine. His father and I used to go skiing together. Over the years, we have had good times, and many pleasant discussions. It seemed strange for me to be at some event where I wasn’t so involved in the coordination aspect. Usually, I am so wrapped up in trying to make sure that everything is happening like it should be that I am more consumed with those things then in just feeling the event.

But this time, I just sat there, and I listened to what they were saying. I listened to the songs. The little children singing, and adults singing, the dad talking. I watched as the people wiped their eyes, and I thought to myself about losing people. I thought about what it is like to experience loss. I thought about people saying goodbye.

I watched from the back of the room as they closed the small casket. I watched the mother, overcome in her grief. It was tangible, like I could feel, touch, and even taste the overwhelming sadness in the room.

Later on, at the cemetery, I wandered over and stood next to the friends and family that were waiting for the Hearst to arrive. I shuffled around a bit, and looked at the dead, dry grass. I thought about the mom and dad of the little guy. I thought of how they would miss him, about how his little bed would be empty now, his stroller would sit idle. No more blankets for him, no more songs to sing, or to hear.

I bent down and picked up a dried seed pod that was laying on the dry grass. It started to break apart in my fingers. Dead.

Sure, there was little green shoots under the dry grass. And sure, there was a feeling of spring in the air, but who cared that day? I decided I didn’t want to look for the green shoots of grass. It was all swallowed up by the sense of loss that was so heavy in the air.

The Hearst arrived, and I watched as the Dad, Mom, Grandmother and Uncle carried the small casket across the open space to the grave side. I watched as the little brother clung to the grandmothers other hand, and stumbled along. We gathered around for a prayer, and then it was over.

I watched as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends, and family all gathered around; hugging the mom and dad of the little guy that had passed on. People trying to convey their sympathy, their sorrow. People wishing that they could make the hurt go away. People wondering what to say, when there isn’t anything to say.

The dad walked over to me. “I’m sorry,” I said quietly. And the air was filled with an awkwardness. I looked back down at the dry dead grass, and he moved on to talk with other people. I shuffled away...and I thought to myself about something my sister Naomi said once: “You still miss people” she said, “Everyone says it’s happy because they are in a better place.” “I don’t care.” She continued, “’s still sad, and terrible, and I still miss them.” She was right, and that day, it seemed all to real.

As I walked across the cemetery, I thought of my own family members buried there. And I thought of one lone grave, far away, that I can't visit. A light breeze brushed my face, as though it wanted to comfort me. "No", I told it decisively. I was not interested in being comforted.

“Move on” people say. “Whatever”, I reply.

I thought more about what Naomi said as I left. She’s right. It’s just hurts. It probably always will.

This shot was taken as a part of the Memorial Day series that I was working on a couple of years ago, and it is the cemetery where my family members are buried.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I was walking through the forest and stumbled onto this old and abandoned piece of equipment. Somewhere inside of it, I felt like there was a picture to come out. I really struggled with it and nothing was really working out. I worked with it for a while before this emerged, but it did finally emerge.

I took this the evening before I found out that Lorin had passed away. This photograph is dedicated to him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In memory of Lorin G Naylor...

Last Tuesday morning, I got a phone call telling me that my brother Lorin had passed away. I was across the country at the time, and I was flying back to Salt Lake that day. The rest of last week was spent with funeral arrangements, burial plans, and spending time with family.

This picture is of Lorin and myself a few years back on a camping trip, and Lorin is the one on the right. He was two years older then me and we grew up together, sharing a bedroom and working together. Our father had a passion for moving, and one time there was a greenhouse that Lorin and I tore down and rebuilt in three different locations across the United States. He used to put his earphones on with his Walkman while we worked and I would have to yell at the top of my lungs to get him to hear me. I can still hear him singing, "...cold as ice, your willing to sacrifice..." while I was yelling and trying to get his attention.

Then there was the time that he and I stayed for a week by ourselves on a ranch we were building out on the Utah/Nevada line, near a small town called Garrison. A hundred miles out in the middle of nowhere, I swear that the wind never stopped blowing there, and it was cold. Lorin and I stayed in a small trailer for a couple of months. But the week that I mention is one particular week when we were supposedly preparing to leave the place for the winter. Our parents left for a few days and Lorin and I stayed out there to winterize everything. That included us sheetrocking a small building. Without scaffold. Or real ladders. Instead of a scaffolding, we used straw bales and we moved them around the building to stand on while we sheetrocked. Short as I am, it took at least two bales to get me tall enough to do the ceiling. It was the most frustrating job ever and it's amazing that we didn't kill each other before we finished. We cooked for ourselves and in some ways, we had a grand time. We had no phone, and our only means of communication was a ham radio that we had set up.

Lorin loved guns, and while we were out there in that remote place, we snuck out with our father's 38 special pistol and went shooting. And then there was the time that we thought we would be adventurous and we followed the stream about 5 miles to the nearest ranch. We got as close as we dared because we didn't want the ranchers to see us.

While we lived in that area, there was a period of time when we would go haul hay a couple of afternoons a week. Someone would drive Lorin and I into Baker, which was about 20 miles away and we would load up our small trailer as high as we dared with hay bales. The old rancher taught me how to run the scales, and we would usually stop and get ice cream on the way home.

Good times. If a few small things had been different, things might not have ended this way, but I suppose that it is pointless to think like that. In so many ways, he just wanted to be accepted and recognized. I didn't take many pictures of Lorin, it's sort of sad really.

When we sat down to write the obituary last Wednesday, I came up with some stuff but it was too long and complex. However, my mom liked it and asked me to finish it and read it at the funeral. Some of it is pretty cryptic, and it won't make a lot of sense unless you know our family, but a lot of people asked for a copy so I am posting it here.

Who was Lorin, really?

Simplicity is a word that comes to mind. He was childlike, and might have done better in an era when life was simpler.

To see who Lorin was, we have to try and step into his shoes. The shoes of a man that had experienced horrible things, had seen horrible tragedies. We must step into the shoes of a man that loved simply, yet deeply; and whose daughter Kalliann was one of the most important things in his life. We must see a man that had the dreams of ranching and gardening. A man that would have appeared un-religious, but had deep religious roots that he would frequently reference back to.

At face value, he was a hard guy. A person that had made choices in life that he wished he had not made, and that made life very difficult for himself. He was a man that had personal demons that were a constant struggle to him, that he wanted desperately to overcome. “Don’t ever do what I have done”, he would say.

Lorin had a core group of people that deeply cared for him and stood by him. Starting with his mother, who worked tirelessly to help him, especially in recent years. Then his brother Frank, who talked with him endlessly and tried to help him as much as he could. His employer Mark Tyson, who gave him a place to stay, and many other counselors and friends that looked out for him.

If we could step into the past for a minute, we would see Lorin perhaps as he truly was. We would watch him play board games as a child, vigorously shaking the dice with both hands. Or we might see him playing with a toy truck, and using lincoln logs to build a miniature cabin. Later on, we would see him as he became obsessed with well drilling. And then we would see how he would pour over hunting magazines, and memorize ballistic charts. We might see him pray, openly and freely to a God that he deeply believed was listening. And lastly, we might see him as he sat on his couch, and watched a TV cartoon with his little girl.

As a family, we would like to say: Would to God that his choices had not separated him from us. We would like to take him and tell him that we do care about him, and then we might ask the question: Do you realize that we will miss you? And lastly, yes last of all, we would whisper to him: “Lorin, we love you”.

Somewhere, far away on a white shore, in a place more beautiful then you or I can imagine, a young man walks into a new realm. His scars are gone, and he walks differently, in wonderment of his surroundings. As he looks around, he is approached by three men. The first smiles and says “hello” with an unmistakably German accent. The second, who is a bit shorter, with a small build, and dark dark eyes, smiles from the corner of his mouth. He embraces the young man. And then the third comes forward. He is tall, with a curl in his hair and deep brown eyes, he takes the young man in his arms. “There’s some things we need to teach you, and some work you need to do, but first... (and he smiles with that smile that only he can), we need to sweeten you up...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shadows of the past...

As I walked through the woods one evening, I met this shadow from the past. Stories of happy times floated around, echos of laughter flitted on the breeze, and somewhere in the old leaves, I could hear the footsteps of children as they romped and played. I wondered what stories the old swing held, and what it would say if it could speak to me...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Softly falling snow?...check
Fog to filter the light?...check
Fine archetecture with really nice ligthing?...check
Towel to dry off camera? ...Hmm...
Heavy Coat?...uh-oh...
Hat?...not good...
Tripod? ...AARGGHHH!!! I LEFT IT HOME....

Yeah. There I was, looking at some of the nicest lighting and most magical scenes I have seen in a while, and I had left the tripod home. The bad thing was, I had the thought to throw it in the car and I didn't. And I was 100 miles from home.

Not to be deterred, I tried to buy a cheap one at Wal-Mart. Just for kicks, try screwing a D3 with a heavy lens onto a 18.99 plastic special from Wal-Mart. What a joke. It wouldn't even start to hold my camera in place. I ended up bracing the camera up against the fence to get this shot. After all that, I liked the way it turned out. Even despite my frozen fingers.

Looking at this picture later, I got thinking about rituals and structure. Rituals seem to be an important element in our lives. We learn through the symbolism, and the ritual helps us feel like we belong. Shoot, I like ritual enough that I tend to make up my own... :) But I'm not really fond of a lot of structure. If that seems like a contradiction, welcome to my world.

But it seems that there is a precious balance between rituals, symbols, and structure. In structuring things to firmly, it seems like we lose the true value of the symbol, and the ritual becomes merely a dead form.

Can we use the term flexible ritual? Hmm...I'll have to research this more...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bridges of transition...What are yours?

Sometimes, it is a struggle to come up with new posts for this blog. Quite often I will upload a photo into a blog draft because I want to use it, but it doesn't seem to fit at the time, so things just sit for a moment. And sometimes I will stumble onto an old photograph that I instantly know is the photo for my next post. Looking at this photo the other night, I finally had something to write.

As humans, bridges are an inherent part of our lives. They are used to cross obstacles that we could not cross otherwise.

Once in the High Uintas, I had to hike several miles out of my way to get to a bridge because the certain stream that I had to get across was to swollen.

But then there are things that happen in our lives that cause us to change our whole lives. These are also bridges. Bridges from one state of being to another. In Hebrew, the number 100 had a interpretive meaning that meant "passage from one side to another". In each one of our lives, there are things that serve as a passage to the other side. We arrive on the opposite banks a different person, with different views, purposes and lives.

For me, one of those things was my trip to the country of Turkey in 2005. When I booked my trip, I didn't even own a camera that worked. My old Cannon SLR had been broken for seven or eight years. I occasionally borrowed my sisters camera and took a few pictures, and that was about it. Sure, I had loved the subject of photography since I was a kid and back then I had obsessively poured over photography magazines and books. But as an adult, those dreams had been put to sleep and I wasn't really into it. I certainly wasn't very good at it.

Before I left to Turkey, I bought a new Nikon N80, a new tripod, and 40 rolls of pro film. In ten days, I shot about 35 rolls of film. Out of that, I walked away with about 10 shots that I considered good at the time. My trip to Turkey changed my view of the world, and it turned me onto international travel; but even more importantly then that, it got me to buy a new camera. It was so far away that suddenly, I felt that I could justify spending the money.

My pictures of Turkey ultimately led me to undertake the Sharsmith Project, which was really where I actually became a photographer. During my days and nights on that project, something inside me changed on an artistic level. And all of those things have led me now to publish this blog, and I don’t know where it will end, but I feel like it is just the beginning.

Turkey was a bridge that among other things, connected me back to deep dreams from my childhood. It changed me. At the time, because of work and other things, I wondered if I should really go. Deep inside though, I felt like I HAD TO GO, and it turned out to be a straight 100. If I had chosen not to go, who knows what life would be like right now, but I wouldn't be the same person.

What are your bridges? If they are staring you in the face, walk across them...


This photo was taken at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, the same day as "The Grandfathers"...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The lamppost...

With the soft light and the snow falling, I became totally enamored by this lamppost the other night.

On another note: I stumbled onto Leo Babauta's blog titled: Zen Habits. This guy's outlook on productivity and organization is phenomenal. He seems to have a knack for reducing things to the simple. One of my problems with organizational systems is that I very much dislike too much structure. Especially complicated structure. It seems like the struggle is to reduce complexity and still keep the details that are truly needed.

I immediately implemented some of his ideas into my work flow and my life. I have mixed feelings about his "Culture of free". But I like a lot of his stuff enough that I am linking to his web site. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Leave the light on...

You've heard it, you've said it.

Today is link to another persons blog day. I was reading Kim Peterson's blog, and I ran into an older post that had some photos from her coverage of the memorial ceremony for the tragedy at Virgina Tech. Sure it's old news, but I was deeply moved by the photos. Check out her blog post:

Sometimes you have to cry
I am going to be setting up some links to various blogs and websites that I like and that are, or were, an inspiration to me. I will be introducing them as I add them, so stay tuned.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A new title...

A great deal of my thinking last week was occupied by the questions of what I wanted to change about this blog. At one point, I even thought about deleting the whole bloody thing. In the middle of my thoughts, I received an E-mail from an old friend which talked about life providing a few " for reflection...". He further said that, "...I always have very strong reflections when I look at your photography and read your writings..."

I thought to myself, "Self, what more do you want to do then touch people through something inside of themselves?" More then anything else, I want people to connect to the person that is deep inside of them. Their true, and better self.

It reminds me of the story of Narcissus as it is told in the The Prologue of the book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Narcissus falls into a lake and drowns while looking at his reflection and admiring his own beauty. Later, as the Goddesses of the Forest speaks to the lake, the lake replies:

"I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected."

When I walked into the Trisha Romance gallery and saw her paintings, they touched some of the deepest parts of my own soul. That is what I want this blog and my photography to do for you, the reader. So this blogs new title is Windows for Reflection, and hopefully that is what I can turn it into.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This was taken at the edge of the Mississippi River, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. There was a little park alongside of the river and I spent the late afternoon and evening there. Very nice place. Very peaceful, although a bit sad and dark for me at the time.

I read yesterday in a book where the author said, "The happy man is a hollow one." I don't think that is always the case, but in many cases, happiness seems to lead to complacency. The author argued that today we look at sadness as an entirely bad thing that needs to be medically treated. He further says that by not allowing sadness to have it's place, we rob ourselves of many great things, such as our finest art.

For me, some of my finest photographs were taken at times when I was troubled, desperate, or sad. Sometimes I was just reflective, or perhaps a bit melancholy, and other times, I was really disturbed. And on rare occasion, I was ecstatic. So embrace the feeling that life has brought to you. If it is sad, feel the sadness. Every drop of it.

We seem to need opposition in order to inspire us to be our better self.


On another note, I'm thinking of revamping my blog. I'm not quite sure what changes I will be making.