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.