Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

 My Scariest Halloween Creatures

These photos were taken of bigger than life sized creatures created at the Weta Workshop in New Zealand.  This company is responsible for the design and production of the creatures in the movies Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Avatar, to name just a few.  Happy Halloween!! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

With Child

My daughter-in-law - beautiful and modest
(She is due this week!!!)

 With her husband who happens to be my handsome son.

 This will be their first child and our 12th grandchild.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Scrub Oak in Autumn

Here in northern Utah many of our hills and mountains are covered with what we call scrub oak bushes.  I'm sure that is not the 'official' name, but that name fits them well. The leaves are definitely oak shaped but other than that, these scrubby bushes do not much resemble their more beautiful relatives, the tall and majestic mighty oak trees.  Most of the year, scrub oak is not very impressive, although it does green up our desert mountains in the summer.  But come fall, these bushes are in their brilliant glory, arrayed in shades of gold, rust, yellow, red, orange, bronze, and every other color of fall.  

I read somewhere just recently that we should take a lesson from how leaves end their life cycle.  They don't fade away quietly, they end their lives with a colorful and brilliant blaze of glory.  I like that thought!!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Arches Nat'l Park, UT

I took this photo in early summer on a trip to Moab and Arches National Park.    I should be posting photos of our annual Lake Powell trip, but we had to cancel because our planned vacation week was during the time the national parks were closed.  How disappointing, but not nearly the hardship many people are dealing with due to the shameful antics of our self serving elected government officials from BOTH parties!!  The 'children' in Washington don't understand concepts like 'reasonable compromise', 'playing fair', 'working together for the best interest of the American people',  'integrity', etc. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mt. Timpanogos, Utah

One afternoon last week I drove up a dirt road that I've been on many times, but drove farther (further?) than ever before.  I found this beautiful vista of Mt. Timpanogos.  I think the next time I have a request to take a family portrait with Timp in the background, I've found just the right location!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our Newest Angel - Evelyn May

 Sent From Heaven with His Love

".....Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, 
        Hath had elsewhere its setting,
          And cometh from afar:
        Not in entire forgetfulness,
        And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
        From God, who is our home:...."
                                                                                                         --William Wordsworth
(Excerpt from 'Ode Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood')
Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood - See more at:
Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood - See more at:

Meet our newest grandchild, so sweet, so innocent.  Isn't she the most adorable little bundle of cuteness?  This makes number 11 for us.  Our children and grandchildren bring us such joy and are our greatest blessings! They give us hope and faith.  They remind us that God is in His heavens, we are not here by chance, we are His children, and He has a magnificent future planned for each of us in our heavenly home!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Shooting Into the Sun

What to do when the sun is still high enough to wash out colors and to cast harsh shadows and, when I'm not very patient at waiting until the sun sets so I can take some 'golden hour' shots at the beach?  Well, I found a composition I liked where the tidal waters had receded to form a leading 'S' curve line to the sea stacks that were silhouetted in front of the sun.  I had a polarizer on my lens and set my camera to -2 stops exposure to compensate for the harsh light.  In post processing I cropped half of the sun out to bring attention to the interesting rays and sun flare and then boosted the colors that were washed out in the original image.  (Another case of 'making do' and 'rethinking possibilities' as I talked about in the last post.)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mt. Rainier Waterfall - Living with Disappointment

A month or so ago my sister-in-law sent me some beautiful photographs she had taken on a trip to Mt. Rainier National Park.  The sky was a lovely shade of blue, the wildflowers were gorgeous, the shades of green in the forests were vivid.  So when Jeff & I were in Washington a few weeks ago and had one day for sightseeing, we headed there, hoping I could also find some beautiful scenes to photograph.

But by the time we arrived at the park entrance, the sky became overcast, and within a few minutes of driving, the weather turned drizzly, windy, foggy and cold.  So much for my anticipated beautiful photo ops!  Below is a photo taken out the car window showing how most of our drive looked:

Lessons Learned in Disappointment, Acceptance and Making Do!

I've learned that in order to be a 'serious' hobbyist photographer, one must accept and deal with a certain amount of disappointment, acceptance and making do.  Professional photographers working on assignment for a client, may have the financial means and time to be able to wait for ideal conditions, but most hobbyists have only limited amounts of time and money, and are usually reduced to a weekend here or there, or a set number of vacation days a year to feed their landscape and travel photography passion.  And often the weather or other factors pop up to thwart photography efforts during the time of the trip, that has probably been planned for months in advance.  Maybe it's not even the weather.  I just thought of the Chevy Chase movie, National Lampoon's 'Vacation' where the Griswold family struggles through all sorts of hilarious (and sometimes irreverent) situations to drive across the country to Walley World, only to find out it's closed!  Another lesson, make sure to do your homework in advance.  (And a little closer to home, this Friday starts our annual family vacation on our houseboat timeshare at Lake Powell.  I always look forward to photographing that beautiful area.  Who would have thought the government would shut down and all the national parks would close!  Major disappointment!  Sigh!)  But back to our day at Mt. Rainier:

 Unknown Waterfall in Mt. Rainier National Park

This is a 'making do' photo.  For a brief period, the fog lifted long enough for me to get out of the car along side the road to take the above shot.  It was cold and windy and I had to put my telephoto lens on a tripod and hold it from being blown over.  The original photo was dull and soft because of the moving trees and moving camera.  In post editing, I decided to boost the saturation, sharpen and add a bit more 'magic'.  This shot doesn't look anything like the original, but in my mind, it looks like the photo I could have taken if I'd have had the time to come back on a day when the weather conditions were perfect.  

And who knows, I may be able to salvage one of my foggy, rainy shots and create something dark and moody, just right for Halloween.

When considering outdoor, travel, and landscape photography, if we learn to accept and make do with disappointments and changes we didn't anticipate, and force ourselves to rethink the possibilities, we may actually be increasing our photography skills and our ability to be more creative!