Sunday, May 31, 2009

P.S. to Last Post.... & a Little Photography Philosophy

Jan asked if I took any photos of the house to share, which I did not. It looked so bad this time, that frankly, I didn't want any pictures to remind me of how sad I felt seeing it like this. I have many years of photos where the presence of the Albrechtsen family was still so evident. Now the land seems just about ready to reclaim its own while waiting for new memories to be made.

I wanted to make a note about the photo of the lane, and my photography in general. The sunset was indeed beautiful and pink like in the photo; however, this was taken after the sun had set behind the mountains, so the sky and clouds were lit but the land was dark. Knowing that cameras are incapable of capturing the spectrum of light to dark that the eye can see, in the 'old' days, a photographer would put a special split level density filter on his lens to compensate for this to bring out the light in the foreground to get a proper exposure of the entire scene. With digital, all this can, and is, done with a combination of camera settings and in post processing on the computer. Camera settings can make scenes more or less vivid in color, show more or less contrast, etc. Computer software gives a photographer even more control. Today, as in the past, all photographers have to define what their art is. Even the famous photographers like Ansel Adams greatly manipulated their photos in the darkroom by dodging and burning and using other darkroom techniques to turn out their masterpieces. Today, however, the sky is the limit as to what photographers can do with their work, from just slight adjustments to creating something that looks nothing like the original photo. So today, good photography still requires skill and talent, but even more than in the past, it is also combined with advanced technology to help the photographer convey what he wants the viewers to see or know or feel about his photo. In my opinion, only in the strictest sense of photojournalism is a photographer obligated to present a photo exactly out of the camera as the scene is, including the best approximation of color (unless it's a black and white photo), and everything else that gives the viewer the correct idea of what the scene is all about, and must not exclude anything that would mislead. For example, if I were photographing a picture of a luxury resort to advertise what a beautiful place and location this would be for a vacation, and my photo cut off the garbage dump that was right next to the resort and blocked the view of the ocean from the resort windows, I personally think that is misleading and wrong. But other than strict photojournalism, every photographer is an artist and instead of using oils or watercolors, uses a camera and 'brushes' from computer software.

Whew...after all that, you never have to wonder if I've 'done' anything to my photographs, because the answer is "YES". I don't want anyone to think that all my photos are just a matter of pointing the camera at something and pushing the button. When I look at a photograph, I want to experience a moment of joy, beauty, fun, happiness, spirituality, humor, love....all the positive uplifting things in life. This is what I want other people to see in my photos, too, so I post process my photos, (some just a little, while others more), to bring out my interpretation of the scene in order to convey these same feelings for others. There is enough sadness, evil and struggle that we all must face, and for the most part, I'll let other people photograph that side of life....well, maybe if there is something really compelling and there's an uplifting message I might pick up my camera.....but not usually. ....So, that's a brief summary of Karen's Philosophy of Photography 101. There will be a quiz next week! J/K

Down Memory Lane

We missed our annual Memorial Day trip to Emery and Calf Creek Falls, so yesterday we loaded up the RZR (Razor), and took a quick trip down there. We had fun exploring some of the back trails around the area. Early evening we went to the cemetery, and then walked around the house. Every year I don't think the house could look any worse and every year it does. Grandpa would be sad to see it like this. As we walked around, there were still rusted parts of old farm equipment laying everywhere, and Jeff could identify everything and would say, "I spent many hours baling hay on that", or he'd talk about some other memory another rusted old piece of metal had for him. It was dusk when we finally went down the lane to the fields. All of our kids first drove a car, (around age 13-14) on this lane, and we would always hunt asparagus here, before walking out into the fields and over ditches to where we would hunt for Indian pottery and arrow heads. Yesterday at dusk, the mosquitoes were so thick that I stayed in the truck while Jeff picked enough asparagus to have for Sunday dinner. While I was in the truck I watched these clouds change from boring to glowing with beautiful sunset lighting, so I got out of the truck long enough to take a few photos. This is how I want to remember this trip to Emery, rather than the dilapidated, abandoned house.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Phriday Phun

Hey, wait a minute....this was supposed to be Jeff's and my toy, and we're not even riding it! Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we took it out for a trail run. Dalin, Emily, Jaron & Michelle have all agreed that it is great fun and are already making future plans.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This Memorial Day we will remember all the warriors and heros who gave their lives so that we can pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beautiful Birds

I am always amazed at how commonplace bird of paradise bushes are in California. They grow in alleys, on the side of the motel we stayed in, and other forgotten places. They obviously don't need a lot of care. Here at the San Diego Mission there were tons of them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Flowering Frenzy

Second in my series of favorite 2009 spring flowers. Again, this was taken at San Juan Capistrano Mission.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Color Explosion

I can't seem to get enough of the beautiful, vibrant colors of spring. On our recent little jaunt to California, I was in flower heaven when we toured 3 of the 21 Spanish missions. This photo was taken at San Juan Capistrano, (where the swallows come back every March 19). There is nothing quite so dramatic as bougainvillea, (yes I had to look up the spelling), in full bloom. Here, contrasted with the textures and architecture of a mission wall, it presents a spectacular sight, (in my humble opinion). For those of you who love, love, love dramatic, prolific flowers, check back tomorrow. I intend to post a picture a day for several days of some of the most beautiful floral scenes I have ever photographed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

JJ's Baby Shower

I'm really slow in posting a few photos of the amazing baby shower that our neighbor and friend Hailey Kandell had for Michelle and JJ several weeks ago. (For those of you who read this blog and don't know, Michelle is the mommy of Gavin in the previous blog entry and is due to have another little boy in a few weeks. For now, we call him JJ, short for 'Joy in the Journey'). Back to the baby shower. Thank you Hailey for making this such a special day for Michelle. You thought of every detail, and we all agree this was the most elegant and fun baby shower we've ever attended!

If you want to see more photos of this fun party, here's the link:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Birthday GaviBear!!!

Today is Gavin's birthday. We had a party to celebrate this beautiful little boy angel who brought so much joy to our family. For dinner we had his favorites: hot dogs, watermelon and blueberries. For dessert we had green rice krispie squares. (For his one year birthday party he also had green rice krispie squares with green frosting instead of cake because he was allergic to milk products.) We sang happy birthday, and his cousins blew out a Number 2 candle, then opened a few presents they got to keep. Then we watched some of our favorite videos of Gavin's brief life and laughed and remembered how cute he was, how much personality he had, and what a joyful little spirit he was. We then went to the cemetery and admired his beautiful gravestone and the tree Jaron & Michelle had planted to honor him. We all sent green and white balloons up to heaven. How blessed we are that Heavenly Father sent Gavin to our family and that he lived in our home for 8 months. We love you Gavin and look forward to living with you for eternity after this brief separation called mortal life is over. Here are some pictures of his one year birthday party, and a couple from today.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Phriday Phun

This really was a Phun Phriday! Here is our new Phriday night date car, and yes, definitely an old age/retirement crisis!!!!! And the most amazing part, it was my idea. So how in the world did this happen! A friend in the ward (Jeff's age), wanted to show us what he bought for his wife for their retirement. When we saw it, I said, "that's what I've been waiting for." I knew I wouldn't like straddling a 4 wheeler, and then there's the safety thing. This 4 wheeler side-by-side drives like a car, you are strapped in, has a roll bar and long arm suspension making it very difficult to roll over. Added bonus, can add a heater and sun top. I like that Jeff and I can ride together and talk about what we see, plus I can tell him when to stop for photo ops. We got it yesterday, and took it out for a trial run for our Phriday date! Yes, we have gone over the edge, but we'll be the coolest grandparents around !!!!!!!!!!!!!! (See link below)

Now check out this link to see what we will NOT be doing, (but the boys already have plans).
(I had a link with some crazy kids doing all sorts of not so safe jumps, but I noticed that the lyrics of the music they used to accompany the video were offensive so I removed it.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Springtime In The Rockies

We have waited sooooo long this year to see colorful blossoms and warmer weather. Don't let this magical time slip by without taking a few minutes, (and a few pictures), to appreciate the gift of spring... the lilacs, the blossoming trees, the vibrant spring bulbs, the brilliant new greenery, the puffy clouds in the sky. I was leaning over the fence of my neighbor (and stake president's) orchard on the busy street in front our our house to take this picture a couple of days ago. P.S. This is how I like snow....far, far away as a backdrop.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This was taken in the atrium of the Bellagio. There were several of these huge water globes. Everywhere you looked there were either vibrant spring flowers or beautiful, soft focus reflections of vibrant spring flowers. This was truly a feast for the eyes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tech Talk Tuesday

Well, I've had several of you say you like my pointers on taking better photos, so I'll continue. We are still talking about COMPOSITION, and today I'll mention LEADING LINES. When you take a photo, you want to be clear about what the subject is and you want to draw attention to that subject. Some of the ways you do this we've already talked about, such as 'framing' your subject and 'simplifying' or removing elements that distract from the subject. Another way to draw the viewer into your photo and take her to the subject is with leading lines. Consider the following photos:

In this shot the diagonal leading line of the purple pansies and grass edge, leads your eye from bottom to top taking you on a tour of the beautiful flowers along the way. Special Note: diagonal or curvy lines are especially pleasing to the eye.

Here, Jeff and I were in a glass factory in Mexico. I was attracted to all the shelves of brightly colored glass. I was looking for a 'creative' shot, and this lady with a bright red shirt and purse walked into the frame. I loved how the bright red in the glasses and the line of the shelves complimented and moved my eye directly toward the lady. Of course, this would have been a much better shot if the lady had been Jeff or someone I really wanted to remember.

Here the large rocks in the foreground lead your eye to smaller rocks that point to the Tetons, which are the main subject.

And in this photo that I also posted earlier, I still feel like I'm standing in the middle of the road, looking right down the yellow lines to the red rock mountains in the background.

NOW, GO FIND AN INTERESTING SUBJECT THAT HAS A LEADING LINE DIRECTING THE VIEWER WHERE TO LOOK. (Remember that leading lines in and of themselves are boring. They have to lead to something interesting for the viewer to look at.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

A Mother's Love Influences Generations

This could be a photo of Amber or Michelle or any of the other young mothers in our extended family. I can't imagine a family more blessed than ours, where our grandchildren are so fortunate to all have mothers who are totally devoted to this most noble calling of motherhood. Young women with many talents and accomplishments, who could contribute so much to other worthwhile endeavors, yet know and believe the most important contribution they can make in this life is to nurture, teach and guide these beautiful little spirits Heavenly Father has sent to our family. I love how all you young mothers can keep in touch with each other through your wonderful blogs, where you share the joys, sorrows, accomplishments, frustrations and all the funny, unforgetable little moments along the road of parenthood. Thank you for rearing such amazing grandchildren!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Inspiring View

San Diego Temple

After our trip to San Francisco we turned around and drove back to California for a car show. We decided to take a few extra days to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was the San Diego Temple. We went on a session and by the time we got out it was dark. I set up my tripod, took three shots at three different exposures and shutter speeds, and combined them to get this magical image. The colors are just as they were, green lights and all. It is indeed a beautiful temple.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

....Where Little Cable Cars......

Jeff and I had a wonderful time in San Francisco with his siblings and spouses a few weeks ago. The weather was beautiful, the sights, sounds, smells, tastes are like nowhere else, and the company was delightful. The only complaint any of us had was that our get-away was just not long enough! (Getting stuck in an elevator, stairwell and on a bus were just part of the adventure, not complaints....HaHa.) Great food, great times, great memories! Thanks Dave and Sherrie for coordinating everything.

Golden Gate Bridge

Well.....not so golden. Very early morning, very misty, shot very far away with a telephoto lens.
For those who want to see all of my San Francisco photos, here is the link: