Playing Catch-up: A Christmas Jazz Extravaganza!

So I haven’t posted in a little while and that’s mostly due to having largely spaced it. I’ve been focusing more on actually shooting photos and bettering myself as a person than simply writing about those things while doing nothing. However, in order to maintain some level of balance, I feel I should probably post about some of my excursions over the last few weeks before rolling into my New Year’s endeavors.

In early December, I was asked to come snap a few pictures of another “Jazz at the Station” event in which a good friend of mine was playing the drums. Given our various conversations on music, I was excited to get the chance to hear him play, and much as I expected, the show was phenomenal. Unlike other jazz shows I’ve been to, this one was Christmas themed and I had no idea how I was going to feel about it, given my strong distaste for most Christmas music. To be fair, I think it stems from spending so many years working in retail, where the music starts in early November and plays for ten hours a day until after New Year’s. By the middle of December I’m usually ready to violently stab anyone who even mentions reindeer.

Oddly enough though, I was surprised to find that I quite enjoy the jazz variations of classic Christmas songs. I also managed to snap a couple of photos I’m reasonably proud of and look forward to this month’s concert which will feature the Weber State University Jazz Band.

As for the concert though, the song list was pretty traditional, but the gentlemen playing seemed to be loose and having a good time. So by the end of the second song, they’d opted to start adding their own flair and solos to the melodies, and towards the end, it was almost as if they just started winging it. For those unfamiliar with Jazz, you might think of that as a disparaging criticism, but realistically, that’s just how jazz is. It’s also why I enjoy going to shows in that genre, as no two bands are ever alike. If you gave fifty jazz groups the same five songs to play, you’d end up with a hundred variations of that set.

That all being said, I know you aren’t here for my brilliant and insightful commentary, but rather some pictures. So here you are:



On a final note, WordPress has changed the way you post to it recently, which I abhor. If you’d do me a solid, leave me a comment and let me know if this page is taking forever to load for you, or if it’s giving you any issues. If the actual posts are as buggy as the editor seems, I may leave this site in favor of another.

That’s all for this one. As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!


The Right Place at the Right Time: The Peery Apartments

As part of my mission to get out and shoot more, I took another walk today, this time opting to head eastbound up 24th. Originally, I had wanted to check out one of the churches on the corner, but it was unfortunately all closed up and I was forced to find something else. Luckily, as I mosey’d down the street, I came across a boarded up apartment complex that has been built in 1910. While wandering around the outside looking to see if there was a way in, I happened upon the woman who manages the place! Turns out, they are working to remodel the inside of the building to update it and start renting out the apartments again. In our small talk I mentioned that I was just out shooting photos and was interested in old buildings and architecture. Since she was waiting on a plumber to come by and take a look at a few things, she asked if I’d like to see the inside, to which I jumped at the chance. And boy howdy am I happy I did!


Not only did I get a full tour of the building, it turns out her mom had lived in the building for 28 years before it got closed down and she was well versed in every nook and cranny of the place. This gave me the opportunity to snap some cool photos from a series of apartments. Mostly, because my awesome tour guide knew which apartments had all the best accouterments like this ornament over one of the fireplaces:


Or these awesome heaters in the various bedrooms:



Seeing these types of things always forces me to wonder why we don’t put this kind of effort into anything anymore. It’s also primarily the reason that both my wife and I agree that when we get to the point where we are going to buy a home, we want something old. I want the ornate woodwork on the stairwells, and the embellishments in all the finer details. I mean, just look at the interior stairwells for crying out loud:



And on top of all of that, one of the cooler parts about these apartments, is that they’re trying to keep as much of the old stuff as they can during the renovation. So things, like these awesome mailboxes:


Or this sweet vintage call-box system in which you can buzz an apartment from the front door all Seinfeld status:



Of course, what good is a trip into an old, dirty, run-down building without a few pictures of some grimey stuff or some crunchy textures? Don’t worry dear reader, I’ve got you covered on that front as well:





All in all, it was an awesome little excursion and the lady who manages the apartments was super sweet. I look forward to them being finished in all their old meets new glory (i.e., they plan to keep the apartments mostly the same and simply add new appliances and some cool modern features). I also hope you’re enjoying these posts as much as I do because with any luck, they won’t be ending anytime soon!

As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!

Jumping the Gun on a New Me: Mid-day Photowalk

For the regular readers, you’ve likely noticed a sharp decline in the posts I’ve been making. After switching roles at work I got into a bit of a funk where I felt wholly unsatisfied with my job and my current state in the world. In turn, it led to me not getting and out and shooting as much and seriously lacking inspiration. Earlier this week, I decided that wasn’t good enough anymore and I needed to shake things up some. I promised myself I would simply “be happier”, I’d work harder, and I’d also push to focus on the things I care about more. One of those obviously being photography. I figured that if nothing else, I could burn up my hour lunch break at work by instead of sitting around on my phone, going out for a walk and snapping some photos of random things. It would of course be mostly downtown Ogden near my office, but for now it would force me to shoot something. Anything really.

Yesterday was day one of the new method and it went exceptionally well as while I was wondering the street behind my work, I caught a few construction workers who were working on the old Keisel Building, which I’ve wanted to explore the inside of for a while, and I asked if I could poke around. They said it was fine but just look out for stray nails and such as it was a construction zone after all.

As it currently stands, the building is mostly done with the demolition side of the long term renovation plans and the interior has been pretty much gutted. However, there are still a number of the more interesting embellishments from the original building which made for some neat photos. Since the Kiesel building was primarily office spaces and home to a number of businesses, one of the cooler features was the mail chute that ran alongside the elevators from the top floor to the bottom:




Aside from those, the elevator control mechanism on the top floor was open to dig through as well as a huge vault on the first floor:



Outside of the fun, little things, I got a cool shot of the stairwell, and a fun picture of a busted up window on one of the top floors:



Finally, I got up to the roof where I got a panorama shot of the clouds rolling in over the mountains now that our first good snow is completed:


All in all it was a great day. I got some good work done, I got some sweet photos, and my mood was much better than it had been in a while. Even a nasty puddle was looking pretty good:


So hopefully I will be posting here a little more often, as I get out and shoot more and who knows, maybe I’ll find the inspiration I’ve been wanting (even though I’m not sure what it would even look like at this point).

As always, until next time –thanks for reading!

Utah Forgotten: Thistle, Utah

So it’s been a little over a month since my last post. Which I apologize for, but sometimes life has a way of getting between us and our passions. Between mine and my wife’s work, weekends have been pretty scarce. This weekend however, I got to make a short trip to snap some photos and I opted to check out the ghost town of Thistle, UT.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the area Google maps said I should be in, is that there were quite a few new homes in the area. By new of course, I mean within the last few years. If your interested in the History of why this ghost town came to be, you can check out the wiki here. The tl;dr version of it is a large scale landslide in 1983 caused the town to have to be evacuated before it was completely flooded out. If you drive out there nowadays you’ll see some fairly nice ranch homes and new structures juxtaposed to the rubble of a town that once was. Luckily for me, that rubble is a thing and I got some cool things to take photos of! Here’s a few shots I managed:





There were a couple other buildings in the area I wanted to explore, but we had left late in the afternoon, and so we were running out of daylight. I’ll hopefully get to make another trip out before too long. On the bright side, on the way back home, I was in a good position to catch some serious cloud action during sunset and got this one:


It was nice to get out and explore again. It’s something I need to make sure I do for myself, as I have a lot of high hopes and a laundry list of photo projects I want to do, but those all require I actually get out and shoot some. Next week should be promising as we’re making another long drive down to New Mexico, so I may have to force myself to pull the car over and snap some pictures if an opportunity presents itself. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

As always, until next time – Thanks for reading!

M is for Modeling: The Great Cookie Shoot of 2016

Over the last year or so I’ve joined up a couple of local photography groups. One of them, which meets in Layton once a month, periodically brings in some models from around the area for some hands on learning. This month I was fortunate enough to work with some really cool people. While I don’t really focus on shooting people, it is a thing I want to get better at since a lot of my crazy ideas involve having people in the shot.

Normal people in this situation would be making sure they have perfect outfits, make-up and they’d painstakingly arrange a model in a horrible array of torture poses to get that perfect shot. I however, am by no means normal. So after firing off a couple of “regular” model shots, I gave each of them a chocolate chip cookie and had them eat it while I snapped off some shots.




As you can tell by the progression of faces and laughter, these “pros” clearly didn’t understand my brilliantly creative plan (Read: I got busted for pulling this out of my rear at the last second and many jokes were had). Not to be deterred by the models desire for professionalism, I got two of them to fight for said cookie:


All jokes aside, these folks were super chill and an absolute blast to hang out with and shoot. Unlike other model shoots I’ve gotten to do where the air reeks of pretentiousness and a urine-like odor (from the assumed pissing contest that takes places between flashes of the lights), the Sundry models were exceptionally approachable and easy to work with. I never had to suggest a pose, or ask them to do something (minus the cookie incident), as they just knew how to do their thing and made it work.

Once we’d finished goofing off, we rolled over to the other set-up with used a gel-light rig. To be honest, I actually despise the look of gel photos. The red/blue hues are often too much when hit with a flash. I ended up getting a couple of things that worked but only after heavily processing out the colors and switching to a black and white look. I won’t be posting those images here until I get a release from the models on those. So if you’re really interested, be sure to keep an eye out for those! As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!

Being a kid again: The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

What kid doesn’t love balloons? My daughter, who recently turned six has an obsession with them. Any mildly important date of note whether it’s a birthday, Mother’s Day, Saturday, etc. all days deserve a plethora of balloons to float about the house and eventually become awkward volleyballs for living-room sports. The first of October brought us a similar set of circumstances, except that we couldn’t later take the balloons with us as most of them were larger than our home.

Having run for over 40 years now, the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is the largest hot-air balloon showing in the world, with most years having over 500 hot-air balloons roll into the sky during the nine day event. Odd as it is, even though I had lived in New Mexico most of my life, I’d never actually made it out to one. So this year we packed up the Jeep and made the drive figuring it would make for a fun way to celebrate the kiddo’s birthday.

While I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I didn’t happen to really get a shot that “did it” for me. I had some decent ones, but over all the scope of the festival and my location left a little to be desired. I could have been down on the ground level which is where my wife and daughter were, but I wanted to get a slightly higher position so I could cat a good wide angle shot of the mass ascension (where all the balloons launch within a few minutes of each other). I though a view of the city, and the balloons spread across it would be good, and I didn’t want to take the same photo everyone else was taking either. In the end, here’s what I got, and while it could have been better photo wise, the weekend was enjoyable and relaxing and the Kiddo ended up having a great time. Which is really what matters.




On the ride back I happened to snap a couple of pictures I was a little happier with including this one:


I’m actually pretty happy with how that one came out, so the trip wasn’t a total photography bust. That’s all I’ve got for now. There are a few more things in the works, and as I get them together, I’ll be sure to post about them. Be sure to check out the storefront for prints if you see anything you’d like to own! As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!

Learning A New Trick: Spinning Wool

Last night was a blast as I got to head out for a couple hours with my buddy Zach (IG: @zacharyleroy). One of the primary goals was to try out spinning some wool for a cool shot. When he first mentioned it I had legitimately no idea what he was talking about, but once we got to work, it all made sense, and it made for some killer photos. I won’t go into detail into how it works here as I’m sure there are a hundred other blog posts or how to’s somewhere in the bounds of a google search, but what I will show you is the end result:


This shot was our very first attempt with only the theory available to us. Luckily, it was about as easy as it sounded and my friend was able to masterfully spin that wool like an old hand. After some discussion on where some other spots would be that would work out for that “perfect shot” we decided to put this on hold for a little bit and just wander the streets of downtown and see what we can find. Within about two minutes, we found a huge puddle from the rain storm the previous day with a gritty, ugly backdrop. Who knew we’d stumble into an excellent shot so quickly:


So of course, we had to take a shot at spinning here as well. Once again, Zach threw down some sick spins and we ended up with this beauty:


With not a lot of other options in the area, we took our stroll downtown and just snapped what we could find. I took a few more shots at the puddle prior to leaving it and ended up with one I am really happy with:


From there, I found a stairwell and some street art:


A few more puddles, one in particular with a pretty good reflection:


and of course, who doesn’t take two way selfies when presented with such options:


Photo Courtesy of @zacharyleroy

Photo Courtesy of @zacharyleroy

Great minds think alike eh?

There are still a few shots in mind we want to complete and hopefully we’ll get those together soon. In the meantime, that’s it for this post. If you like the shots, be sure to check out the sop in the top corner and help support my art making addiction. As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!