Monday, May 31, 2010

Wedding Weekend

I took pictures at two weddings this weekend, one Friday and one Saturday. Both were very beautiful and it is so wonderful to see two people so much in love at each wedding!  What a gift.
I took over 1000 pictures at each one - between the ceremony, posed shots, candid shots and group shots of all those there that wanted to be part of the memories.  Still working through those pictures, but pulled a couple out for the blog from Matt and Jen's wedding (Friday wedding).
Matt is from Mississippi and Jen lives across the street from us. She asked if I would shoot her wedding as she loved the candid shots that I had done around the neighborhood. I, on the other hand, was a bit nervous since if I miss a candid shot no one but me knows!  If I miss a big shot at wedding everyone knows and it cannot be repeated.  Nevertheless - on we went.
I read a lot of articles on taking wedding pictures prior and thought about what equipment was going to be needed.  At these weddings, I shot everything with my 18-200mm lens on the D-300 and a flash with a diffuser on it. The Nikon SB-600 flash let me adjust +-1 on flash intensity and that really helped, especially in closeups and longer distances.  Both weddings were indoors and shooting with backdrop light really needs a filler.
Anyway I learned a lot and had a very good time.  Although weddings can make a lot of money, I think I will only do them for family and friends...and especially only for those that provide libations after!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fiery Furnace

We visited Fiery Furnace for my last morning in Moab.  In all my visits to Arches I had never been here before and I know why!  I was saving it for this trip!
What a photographers treat!  High walls with lots of character, blue sky and clouds scudding across the openings above your head, incredible rock formations and plants to fill in for color at times!  Wow!
There are a few arches in there also, and we went to visit those and take pictures along the way.  Really could have spent a full day in there and come back for more.
Physically not all that simple, but not bad, and always take extra water and something for energy!  Here's a couple of shots from the day that are keepers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Park Place

We took a walk down Park Place in Arches Nat'l Park yesterday afternoon.  The wind was fierce and the dust obscured almost everything.  The light was very different and changeable - sometimes the sun would pierce the haze and sometimes it would disappear completely.  The conditions make for a very intriguing challenge for photography - and decent conditions for converting to black and white.  Here's a couple I had to work over in Lightroom to get the feeling I wanted:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not so Delicate!

We hiked to Delicate Arch last night!  It's been about 5 years since I was last here and I found myself very exhilarated to be back in/on the slickrock.  Walked around Delicate Arch and got some 'postcard' shots as well as some other neat shots.  Here's a couple.
Grandfather Raven, above, soared around the neighborhood with no fear! Very cool!!

This morning we went to Devils Garden at the end of the road and hiked in - I think there are 7 arches along the way.  I made a few but really enjoyed getting up close and friendly with other things than arches.  Here's a few from the hike:
First Landscape Arch:

Kind of a dreamy atmosphere above, but it reflected how I envisioned it. 
Animal tracks and sand to the left, always a treat to see.

The lighting and features in this area are incredible; we were there by 5:30 am and caught wonderful light.
This is a serendipity picture - I turned and saw this and took a picture - one of those times when everything works out.!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Moab Adventure

I'm in Moab these four days (21 thru 24) in a creativity workshop led by John Paul Caponigro.  Early (very early - 4:30am) mornings and late nights make for long days filled with a lot of work.  John Paul provides assignments and then in mid-day critiques of what we've done.  I came to see if I could break through my sense of dead-endedness and I think that is just what is happening.  More later.  Meantime, here's a couple of shots, some from Goblin Valley last night and some from Canyonlands this morning.
Off to a mid-day critique and review, then to Delicate Arch for sunset shots.  Windy here so eating a lot of sand!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Utah Magnolia's

How many of us have wonderful memories of the magnolia tree and blossoms, that rich scent wafting down from above?  Our neighbors have wanted one and Diana found one that was rated hardy in our zone.  After a couple of years of babying, it has produced several flowers each year and their color is as rich as their heritage!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just Beauty

I was looking for a picture of a friend's mother who just died (the mother) which I didn't find cause I don't think I ever took one.  But I did find some beauty from our Sedona trip with our friends, Rick and Carey.  Sometimes Sedona is like another world - perhaps more than one - and very many beautiful things to see.

All of these images were taken in the Tlaquepaque shopping area, a series of small shops interconnected by tunnels and walkways.  Art is everywhere and there is this beautiful old Catholic church that I always have to take a picture of some part of it.

And then there was glass art, one of our very favorites.  The glass artisans are incredible, and this piece was a tall (8 ft or so) outdoors sculpture of glass and steel.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Great Beaks

Grosbeaks are some of the funnest birds to watch, I think.  There's all this beauty - color, lines, etc., and then there is the beak! 
They seem to have very little fear of humans, allowing us to get pretty close to them and work in a nearby garden while they feed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Old Timey

Sometimes things happen and they bring back great old memories.  Tonight a plane flew by very slowly and I said to Diana - 'They could be pulling a sign", and sure enough there it was!  Long before the internet and smart phones were even thought of there were airplanes pulling signs to tell people about some event!  Thank you for still being there!

Backyard Birds

We had heard that the Lazuli Buntings were here but had not seen any and worried that they had passed through while we were on vacation - but not so!  They showed up in force these last few days, as skittish and beautiful as I remembered!

Along with them came a Goldfinch, brilliant in it's colors.  We had just seen a bunch of them in North Carolina and were surprised to see one out here.  But they are here eating the Nijah seeds along with the pine siskins and lesser goldfinchs that we normally get.

The biggest and best news is that we saw our first hummingbird and quickly cooked up syrup and put up the feeder!  We'll see if I can get any shots of them!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wings and Water

This is the name of an award-winning program by the Utah Nature Conservancy.  They've created a training that incorporates some of the Utah Dept of Education requirements and can be used by the teachers to fulfill those requirements for 4th graders. 
Part of accomplishing this is the use of volunteer Naturalist guides, who follow a very well documented training methodology.  In two hours, we expose the classes to the wonders of the wetlands - learning a bit more about both ourselves, the wetlands and the kids in the process!
I started back doing this again this year, skipping last year, and was re-energized once again.  How incredibly exciting it is to have kids exclaim "This is so wonderful!  I'm going to bring my parents back!" and so on.
Here's a few pics from today's tour - I arrived early and walked around and took a few shots prior to arrivals!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The last day!

A wonderful day, our last day in North Carolina.  Cool this morning, and then lunch at Crook's Corner Cafe and Bar in Chapel Hill, where we had shrimp and cheese grits, a signature dish for them!  I normally do not eat grits, but these are so fantastic that I love them.  Momma Jane had a great time also.

Here's a couple of beauty shots from the day, with Slim the cat posing for one.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Sometimes the simple, uncluttered look is exactly what the topic needs.  Here's a couple of shots from around the pond here, simple, elegant and (I think) wonderful.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hello from North Carolina

We're staying with friends outside of Chapel Hill, NC, through Monday.  They live on 100+ acres both wooded and a 50 acre meadow.  A very beautiful place, quiet and full of wildlife.  Here's a few pics from yesterday.
A very cute metal rooster sits in their drive way area. 

As always in NC, the play of leaves, light and other features fascinates me.
This being spring and mating season, the dragonflies arrange and re-arrange themselves constantly.

Fly catching birds, flowering trees (Empress Tree, I believe) and butterflies all add to the beauty.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Amazing Grass Monster!

How many of you have seen a Grass Monster?  How many even know what one is?
Well, this 95 pound monster eats grass wherever he can - the more decorative the grass the more he likes it!  Green, yellow, orange - it doesn't matter, altho' I think he likes the greenish-white the best (maybe because we have more of that than any other!!).
Watch out for him!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


A wonderful time to be watching the kids of Kensington!  So many things going on, it is hard to capture it all.

Cole, the speed demon of the group (daredevil) got an electric scooter!  But when he shares it with others, he has to outrun it!  What a competitor.

I wonder how these traits that you see in youth translate in later life - perhaps I'll be around to find out!