Sunday, March 29, 2009


I've cleaned out my memory cards. The following are the leftovers. Just random things from photography class. Enjoy. Or don't. I really don't care.

1) The river on its way out to Utah Lake.

2) Professor Jami.

3) Marie. Life of the party.

4) Baby on a box.

5) Baby in a basket.

P.S. These were all taken with that little Casio point and shoot that I brought to class all those times. Probably would have done a better job with my new camera. Oh well.

Spring Storm '09. A treat for the dogs.

Just wanted to post these photos. I took them today after the sky threw down about 4 inches of snow. It always puts a little spring in my dogs' steps. And, since I haven't taken any pictures of Jake and Puka for awhile, I thought today was the perfect opportunity.

Puka is our 4 year old Siberian Husky/wolf female. While I would never promote wolf/dog breeding, we wanted to give Puka a better home than she previously had. And we love her. She's so pretty. We especially love her icy blue eyes, which are a little tough to capture, given her wiggly, high-strung temperment.

Jake is our 10 year old Alaskan Malamute. I've had him since he was a pup and we have been best friends ever since. He's a terrific pet.

It took these two over a year to accept each other, but they have and are quite the pair. Incidentally, they were quick to accept our son, Jericho, as the newest pack member. I'd love to do an entire family portrait. But that's really going to take some work and more patience than I have to spare right now.

Jami's photography workshop '09...

I've forever been interested in photography and, recently, I signed up for and attended a photography workshop. It was given by a good friend of ours, Jami Broadbent. She's the pretty girl holding the flower. (She was helping me learn to use the focus points on my camera.) I've known Jami for over 10 years, having met her through one of my longtime friends, Mr. Jarin Broadbent, Emeritus Champion Elvis impersonator and 1st chair percussionist, 8th grade band. He's the classy guy with the polka-dot phone in hand. Anyway, these are two of the best people I know, and it's been fun having Jami teach me the art of portrait photography. (Mind you, she is one of the best photographers around, seriously.)

Her course was six weeks long and I learned a lot. The class was interesting from the beginning. When I arrived for the first class, I found myself to be the only guy. The other 10 students were all girls. I could also be identified in class as the only one using a point and shoot camera, rather than the fancier, more professional SLRs. Everyone was nice to me about it, and eventually, I got my own SLR. Yeah!!! Best present to myself, ever! (Thank you for letting me get it Honey). Also, eventually, another guy began showing up for class. The testosterone and estrogen see-sawed more toward a balance.

Jami taught us everything we need to know. (Well, to get us started anyway. I keep telling her she needs to do "Jami's Photography Workshop, Volume II.") I now know about apertures, f-stops, ISO, and histograms. I know what someone means when they talk about leading lines, the rule of thirds, and proper subject-framing. I feel so smart. But I also know that there is a ton that I still don't know. And I'm still thousands of dollars away from being properly and sufficiently equipped to do wildlife photography as I'd like. Still, I'm wiser than I was a couple of months ago.

Saturday was our final class. For it, we hung out around the quaint downtown of Payson, UT. We had a model there, a daughter of one of my classmates. (I'm so bad; I've forgotten her name. I want to say Mallory, but I'm unsure). At any rate, she was a great model; made it easy to take decent pictures. I still don't have all the settings just right, but I've posted 3 of, what I feel are, my best pictures.

Hope you all like them. And if you don't, I'll gladly accept your constructive criticism.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lions and Tigers and...well....mostly bears...OH MY!!!

Last year at this same time, my boss told me about the possibility of going with him and this biologist friend of his down to track bears in Southeastern Utah. But when it came down to it, there wasn't room for me after he decided to take all of his boy scouts instead. I was bummed to say the least. But this year, he had the same chance to go again and made sure that there was a place for me. No scouts this time. Yeah!!!
So today I woke up at about 5AM so that I could get myself ready to meet Rich (my boss) at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon by around 6. My wife worked last night and, since she wouldn't be off until 6AM, she was kind enough to let me drop Jericho off at the ER for the remainder of her shift. So nice to have such a wonderful wife and so glad that dropping Jericho off at the ER is cool with everyone else.
Anyway, I met my boss and we drove about 3 1/2 hours to an area called the Book Cliffs. I sort of had the idea that it was just me and Rich going with Doc Black (the head biologist). When we arrived at the meeting point, there were about 100 other people. No; literally about a hundred other people. I was a little disappointed at first, hoping that I was in for a more intimate encounter with nature and wildlife, but after this experience I am grinning ear to ear.
The bear we tracked--by radio collar--was a 24 year old sow. (Black bears have a life expectancy of around 25 years--and this one is still having babies). She has been tracked for many years and was once thought to be a bum mom, never successfully rearing her cubs past the first year. Instead, most of her cubs starved. Anyway, in her sunset years, she has had 2 sets of triplets and had just a single female cub this year. I was sort of hoping for a nice hike but this bear was found only 1/4 mile from the road. As you can imagine, having a 100 people there, of all ages, was a recipe for chaos. Doc Black and his students kept stressing the importance of being quiet and not doing anything that might frighten or alarm the sow or the cub. But a crowd will be a crowd, and it was a bit like the lines for the rides at DisneyLand. We were kept back at the road until the grad students had successfully tranquilized the sow. Then we were told, "OK, now talk in your church voices and we're just going to SLOWLY meander on over to the den; no need to run or get into a hurry." I was immediately taken back to my days as a tour bus driver in Alaska when I'd tell people to, "Be quiet." "Don't run." "Don't feed/touch the animals." This crowd of 100 eager bear lookers moved like an army of hungry ants on their way to devour the day's unlucky victim. I pretty much saw it coming.
Well, when I finally got my turn at the den, I was thrilled to sit down by that magnificent animal. How amazing to think that this stealthy bear has made it 24 years in this area known for some of the most prize hunting in Utah. And here she was, raising another cub, one that will, hopefully, go on to raise her own for years to come. The photo opportunity at this point was over quickly. Once everyone had taken their turns, most everyone took off back to the road and their vehicles. Rich and I stayed behind, watching Doc Black as some BYU students interviewed him on camera. The biology students had pulled the sow back into her den by now, and had placed her cub with her again. And then, to my astonishment, they told us we could crawl back into the den and take pictures in there, since the sedation hadn't yet worn off. "Are you serious?!?!, I asked." And they said it was OK. So we crawled in their on our stomachs, with our cameras and got within about 3 feet of her head to snap some amazing shots. (Funny thing, apparently my new camera's setting was on too large a file size so the pics I've posted were all that will fit here). I'll post everything on facebook.
Anyway, this was such an amazing experience. Those of you who know me well enough, know that I LOVE wildlife, especially seeing it alive. (Not so big on killing things so I can look at the carcass on my walls). I really hope this will turn into something I can do a few more times in the future.