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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/30972857960

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/30972863820

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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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/30534302793

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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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/30972856670

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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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/30534311583

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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/31305814866

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!
-D

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A busy week of decent shots

Last week the kiddo got the chance to spend some time with her Great Grand Parents which meant I had some free time to get out and shoot some photos and my wife got some time to relax by herself. All good things.

The week in question started last Saturday when my buddy Collin and I decided to try and go shoot some wildlife at one of the various birding spots. Unfortunately, they had decided to close and lock the gates early, so we had ended up driving there for nothing. After some humming and hawing, we ran a few errands and then I got convinced to do a midnight hike up Adams Canyon. Normally, I really enjoy the hike as it’s quite scenic and the stream is a great relaxer. However, it was dark and I was in flip-flops. Thusly, I was not in any way ready for this. In hindsight I’m glad he talked me into it as we got to the top and shot some long exposures of the waterfall with the stars in the background. Here’s the shot I ended up with:

Adam's Canyon at Night

I tried fidgeting with it to see if I could post in a Milky Way trail behind the waterfall, but none of those images looked very good so I decided to stick with the original.

On Wednesday, I was invited out for an impromptu photo walk as a buddy of mine Zach Leroy (IG: @zacharyleroy) was wanting to get some iconic Ogden shots for his upcoming gallery for next month’s FFAS (First Friday Art Stroll). I always enjoy following him around as he has an extremely unusual perspective by which he sees normal or boring things. I’d recommend check out his Instagram as there is a real sense of art in the mundane objects he shoots. I do think these excursions make me a substantially better photographer. Of course the trip wasn’t just watching someone else snap pictures, I managed to get a few myself. I was pretty happy with most of the keepers. Since I have been trying to work on my HDR skills a little more, I opted to shoot things that would push me more that way. My favorite shot of the evening ended up being the little coffee stop on the corner of Washington and 25th:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/28664980052

I also managed to get a few decent shots around sunset (which was the entire point of the trip) one of which had a funky painted van, and the other a nice shot of the Well’s Fargo building:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/28692785041

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Aside from those, we stopped on 24th to snap a couple of pictures and swap IG follows with a few kids who were out skateboarding in the area. I’ve always liked snapping photos of skateboarding as the action shots are always super dramatic. If you catch someone mid trick (whether they land it or not) they always look like a bad-ass. Example:

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The week wrapped up yesterday as Collin and I went out to snatch some more sunset shots from a place I visited a few years ago by accident with my buddy Trevor. Unfortunately, the mountains ran in such a way that we didn’t get the sunset hitting the valley we were in like I was hoping. We did however get to pet a couple of beautiful and sweet horses, which was nice.

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Unlike with most photos where I really waver back and forth on whether or not to go black and white, this one was obvious from the start. Going Monochrome here just adds so much more texture and drama. I really loved this shot (even if it kind of looks like there’s a horse-centipede going on in the back).

Since we knew early on the valley was going to be a bust, we moved on as quick as we could in hopes to catch a sunset. The sky was cloudy and it was raining in various parts of the Wasatch front so we figured the sky would be exploding with color if we could just get high enough on the mountain to look out west. We ended up missing it by about 10-15 minutes, but we know where to head to next time. I did manage to get one more pretty solid HDR shots, and a couple mediocre ones. Here’s how those came out:

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I’m not 100% sure I’m going to keep the bottom two in color. I’m not even entirely sure how much I like them. But, I figure I’d post them here and see what everyone else though and if they stink I can always dump them later.

It felt really good to be able to get out and shoot more this last week as prior to this, the last time I got to take a photo of something was around the 4th of July, and that is much too long to go without being outside and roaming about. I think that will do it for this one. As always, until next time– Thanks for reading!
-D

Epic Family Roadtrip #2, Part 1: The Land of Enchantment

Wednesday June 22nd at an ungodly hour of the night, My wife and I loaded up the car and started the long drive down to Albuquerque, NM to spend the next few days with her family. Her grandparents had put together a family reunion of sorts and we figured we could lump that and some time with her parents in together as the first leg of our trip.

The drive itself is around ten hours if you don’t stop at all, but since we need things like food, water, and gas for the car (not to mention the occasional stop for a photo-op), it is in reality around 12 hours. However, even though it’s insanely long and not terribly interesting at 2:30 in the morning when it’s too dark to see, the sunrise on Thursday outside of Monticello, UT was super worthwhile:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/27912802546

It’s also only the second time I got to break out the new camera. I recently (about three days prior) had upgraded into a full frame Sony A7Rii. The only shot I had managed to take with it prior to the road trip (that was salvagable) was this one:

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I snapped this one from Willard Bay on Tuesday night as my wife and I drove around the greater Ogden area trying to catch the sunset. Of course, all that is neither here nor there.

The rest of the drive into New Mexico was fairly uneventful as I tried to sleep for most of it. I’ve always found New Mexico to be fairly ugly –largely the opposite of picturesque. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with having grown up here and spending roughly twenty plus years of my life in various parts of the state. Once you’ve kind of seen everything a place has to offer it tends to lose its luster. Given that, I haven’t really broken out the camera a whole lot on this initial leg of the trip as there isn’t a lot that inspires me to take any pictures. I did however feel that it would be worth getting up one of the mornings while we were up in Los Alamos to try and catch the sunrise. The reason being, is that the mountains sit fairly low on the horizon from the vantage point of the east canyon you drive up to get into town. So that mixed with a valley and the few trees that have managed to thrive in this barren wasteland of a state looked like it might be worth an early morning. As it turns out, it was. I managed a 4-shot panorama that came out surprisingly well:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/27667732690

While it isn’t going to crack into my top tier of photos I’ve taken, it was pretty good considering how biased I am against the aesthetic value of the state as a whole.

The trip however has been anything but a bust though, as we’ve gotten to spend some time with family, in which I repeatedly put my foot in my mouth trying to be funny. We got the chance to see some friends we haven’t seen in a while and catch up/reminisce about the olden days; and on Tuesday we went down to the Albuquerque Zoo/Bio Park, to take the kiddos (our child, and my wife’s little sister who’s eleven now) out for a fun filled afternoon of complaining about how hot it is, and how much their feet hurt. I even managed to take some pictures while I was there and ended up with a few winners:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/27868043922

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As for the next stage, Wednesday morning finds us heading out super early in order to make it to Santa Cruz as the second leg of the trip will involve lying on a beach and enjoying the sun. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to that. So the next post will likely come on Sunday or Monday pre-4th once I’ve gone through those photos and recharged the batteries on both my gear and myself enough to write another post. As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Me Time + Charity Work = Awesomest Week Ever!

This last week managed to be eventful for a couple of reasons. Monday I called into work and opted to take a personal day so I could get out and have some much needed nature time. For the last month or so the weather has been sunny and 60+ degrees during the week and cold, windy, and rainy on the weekends. Knowing full well that Monday was going to be beautiful and it really was. I opted then, after a short search, to find a new hike to take since I had plenty of time to do so. After grabbing some breakfast and moseying about, I left for the Hidden Valley.

I had read online that the trail was pretty well hidden and that there weren’t markers to tell you when to turn off. Since the Hidden Valley hike is connected Indian Head Trail, I manged to accidentally hike about 2/3rd’s of the trail before doubling back and finding the right turnoff. On the bright side though, I happened to detour off to a small rock outcropping and get a decent shot of the Ogden Canyon:

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Once I got back to the right turnoff, I was fortunate enough to run into a group of other hikers who were headed to the same place. It was kind of nice having some people to chat with along the way as the hike up was grueling and long. It was however, totally worth it. I managed a few pretty cool shots along the trail including this one:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/26904327846

Once I got to the top of the mountain range, there is a short drop back down into a gorgeous wooded valley that sits between the front and back peaks of the Wasatch. Also the payoff at the end is not only a view of the mountain that was peeking out through the trees, but some really neat rock stacking piles that hikers have added to over the years.

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The stack in the top photo is about five and a half feet tall whereas the bottom one is about three feet tall. Of course, like a good hiker and art lover I made sure to add a rock to each pile, snap a few more photos and head out. I would have likely stayed a little longer, but it was starting to rain, and I was in shorts and a t-shirt and thusly not prepared for that. I stopped for one more photo op on the way down to catch a shot of the storm rolling into Ogden from the mountains:

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After recovering from a small cold I caught and pushing through a long week of work, I got to participate in my second adventure of the week: The Utah Firefighters Calendar!

This is exactly what you think it is, and it’s entirely a volunteer based project. My buddy Ben Sant, who also shot last years calendar invited me along to assist him and learn some lighting as well as how to pose models, who were in this case, shredded shirtless Firefighters. The project, which will put out the calendar later this year was done through donations of time and labor, and the sale of the calendars goes to the American Cancer Society. For those who know me, I’m a sucker for a good cause and love the opportunity to give back to a community anyway I can. While I can’t post any full on shots of the gentlemen who are in the calendar I am able to show off a few behind the scenes photos of the shoot, which will hopefully tease you all enough to go out and buy one! If you’re interested in learning more about the project you can check the facebook page here, or if you want to buy one of last years calendars now (and a new one later this year), you can order those through the website Here! You can also search the hashtags ‪#‎fightcanerwithmuscle‬ ‪#‎utahfirefightercalendar

Now for a couple shots:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/26433482153

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/26433480183

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/26433482653

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On a final note for this post, I finally got around to uploading a few more things into the store front, so If you’d like to order some prints (I can assure you I’d love you forever if you did!), be sure to click the image in the top right corner of the page! Also, I added some more shots to my 500px portfolio which you can see here. If you want to order a print that isn’t in the store, shoot me a message on any of my various networks and let me know, and I’ll get it uploaded for you.

Well that’s all for this one. As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Pulling out all the (f)stops

Thankfully, yesterday I was able to get out and shoot some photos again. It’s been a couple of weeks (thus the lack of blog posts) due to a very hectic schedule on both mine and my wife’s part. Nonetheless, it felt great to get out and do some hiking and I opted to try one I hadn’t done before. So I charged my camera and headed out to the Layton area to explore Adam’s Canyon.

This hike was both gorgeous and grueling, taking me just a little over three hours to finish. The hike portion felt a lot like when I attempted Indian Head trail a few years back. There is a series of switchbacks at the start where you pick up a majority of your elevation. It also was similar to Waterfall Canyon in that the payoff for completing this 4 mile (round-trip) hike is a decently sized, albeit not quite as big, 40 foot waterfall at the end. I figured this would be a great place to try and work on pulling water again since you hike along a pretty fast-paced river the whole way. Best of all there were at least a couple of points throughout the hike where you had a few drop offs on the river to make for some great shots, like so:

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The Last shot of the above group was probably my favorite of the three. There is a small bridge that crosses over the river at around the 75% mark of the hike and the surrounding area is absolutely gorgeous.

Of course, what good would I be if I didn’t provide a shot of the payoff at the end of the hike. I have mixed feelings about it for a couple of reasons:

1) I had managed to keep myself (especially my feet) dry the entire way up to the top. Except that in order to see the actual waterfall you have to tread through the river thus wasting all that effort and subsequently making for a soggy and sloppy hike back down.

2) The waterfall while wonderful, isn’t near the size and scope of the one at Waterfall Canyon, and as such will always feel a little lackluster given that the hike to get to it is substantially more difficult and time consuming.

3) On the positive side, the water was exceptionally cold and refreshing, and I managed to run into a trio of awesome humans who had made the hike for the purpose of cleaning up garbage along the trail. I chatted with them for a little bit, but didn’t think to get their names, so if you happen to know them, give them a big hug and another thank you from me!

Anyways, here’s the money shot:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/26375575125

and here’s a shot of the three lovely souls who help take care of our trails:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/26375602845/

With all that said, I want to take a quick second as an aside to this to say something.

If the burden of carrying the extra 3-5 grams of weight that your snack wrappers, ziploc bags, or empty water bottles is too much for you to bear, then you should not only skip hiking altogether, but you should probably stop breathing all of out air, you filthy lazy slobs. Please, do us a favor and stay home, where you can be free to lie about in your own filth like the garbage monster you truly are. /End Rant

Now, where was I? Oh yes! Hiking.

All in all I was pretty happy with most of the shots I got and I feel like I am definitely getting better at the silky water thing. I also managed to snap a panorama on my way out right as the sun started setting which I’m pretty happy with as well.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/26349739676

There were some other shots I took of the sunset itself as the clouds lent themselves to a pretty epic shoot, but my angles were either way off, or the Sun was much too blown out to be salvageable. Maybe next time I’ll get some that work.

That’s all for this time. As always, thanks for reading!
-D

TFW You’re Actually Productive!

Yesterday I had every intention on waking up early and going out to a spot near park city that a friend of mine and I had stumbled upon last year. In case you’re wondering, it would have been magical. However, when 5 O’clock rolled around, things went awry and it didn’t happen. Had this been like any of the last few weekends, I probably would have been discouraged enough to just fart around the house and not get out and take any photos at all. However, yesterday was a little different. I actually felt somewhat inspired to get out and shoot! Knowing this feeling has been coming in waves as of late I figured I shouldn’t pass it up and decided to find my way out to a place that I had been wanting to see for a while.

I did end up puttering around the house for a bit before eventually leaving, double-checking the google map to make sure I knew the right unmarked dirt road to turn off on to get myself out onto the Southern Pacific Causeway. I’m pretty glad I went. while the drive itself was a little tedious given the awful condition of the dirt road that runs along the side of the train tracks. Once you get out far enough down the road to where you’re in a part of the Salt Lake where water is a thing, the view is nothing short of incredible. Just clear still water as far as you can see. So still it’s basically glass. Which makes for some nice reflection shots:

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I did even try recording a few videos on my iphone while I was out there too. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be uploading them though as I um’d and uh’d quite a bit and have no idea how to edit video. So it would be long and awkward, which I’d rather not subject you all too.

One of the main reasons I chose the causeway was because I’d heard of various ship/boat wreckage that was located along the road and given my love of old, ugly and rusty stuff I knew this would be right up my alley. I was not disappointed at all when I finally stumbled upon them:

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I think this trip was probably one of my most productive excursions to date. I got to try some more infrared work, which to be honest didn’t come out nearly as well as I had hoped, but was still pretty cool:

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This one is MUCH too blue, but at the same time, if I tried warming it up in post, it just got this ugly purple hue instead. I had a few shots that would have been the right color mix, but I forgot to set the manual focus and ended up with blurry blue blobs. Whoops! So I suppose I’ll chalk this up as a loss and try again the next time I go out.

As for the rest of the excursion, I got to meet a guy I’ve only known online to this point who is also a pretty talented photographer (who specializes in Sports Photography, which is awesome!) You can check out his work here:

https://www.facebook.com/saltedempirephoto/?pnref=lhc

I also managed to find lots of neat broken junk like so:

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I’m not entirely sure why there is a calculator out there, but it made for a cool photo. I also managed to shoot a few other reflection shots that I am pretty happy with:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/25535764006

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/24931400684

And here’s an artsy one of some stacked rocks out in the dry bed part of the lake:

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On top of all the fun new photos I got, I also made it a point to snap a few on the way home for my “There’s No Time” Project, both of which ended up WAY better than I expected for a point and snap while shooting out the window of my car. The Bottom one was especially neat as I was turning a corner to get back on the road to head home and just started snapping away knowing that if I pulled over to try and get a “good” shot the deer would have long since ran off. Sometimes you just get super lucky. Which is entirely the point of the project!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/25446187252

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That’s it for this one. As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!
-D

Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year

What can I say about 2015? Well I could say quite a bit, but that’s actually for my next post. While this last year has been great it’s the upcoming year I am substantially more excited for. Much like this time last year it’s time to post some overly specific resolutions I have absolutely no ability or drive to meet and then wait 365 days so that I may wistfully reflect on them and make new ones. Auld Lang Syne indeed.

But before I get too far ahead of myself, and begin spewing forth the list for this coming year, I wanted to pull up my list form last year and see how I did. Let’s begin!

1) Take an award winning photo
2) Sell my Work
3) Get into Sports Photography
4) Have a real website

Well then … Where to start? Aside from the top of the list (yuck yuck), I suppose the best place to start is to find a dark corner and silently weep. Once I’m done there, I can come back and see what went so horribly wrong.

Not so surprisingly I only managed to finish one of these goals last year. And very much to my surprise it came in the form of #1. Right about the beginning of December this year, I got a message and an e-mail from Viewbug, which is the site I enter all my photography contests on, that I had won an award for one of my photos from January. This one in fact:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/earthquakephotography/15595333723

I happened to win “Staff Winter Selection 2015”. I’m not entirely sure what that means or what I won, but I’ll take it. Scratch #1 off the list.

Regarding #2, I haven’t yet sold any prints, but I have put a lot of work into doing and I think there is much more to be done. However, towards the end of this last year, I have seen somewhat of a shift in my goals here. Instead of just trying to sell my work to anyone who’ll buy it (which I’ll still happily do), I’m now more focused on creating work that pertains to a long term projects instead of one-shot images. I think this year may be better suited for selling my work though. Since investing in all the things I needed last year to set up a booth for various art festivals, this year I can focus on actually going to said festivals.

For #3, somewhere along the line last year, this stopped being a priority for me. Not sure why, it is still something that interests me, just not nearly as much as other things at this time. I am wanting to learn a little bit from every genre of photography so that when I find my true niche I can apply everything else I’ve learned and hopefully find a truly interesting and enjoyable voice for my work.

As for #4, I actually explored this option a few times last year, but in the end decided not to spend the money at that time. Mostly because I didn’t have the scratch people were asking for. Instead, I opted to keep the blog alive and focus on a site sometime down the road when I can just do it myself.

This brings us to 2016. While I was only 1 of 4 on my goals last year, I am by no means actually bummed or discouraged. I learned and grew a lot in my picture taking and I am more driven than ever to succeed. On that note, here’s my goals for this year:

1) Learn two new styles of Photography.
I happen to work with both a concert photographer and a fashion photographer. So I’ve made it a goal to spend some time working with both of these gentlemen and absorbing as much information as I can. I also plan on trying some more of Eric Kim’s advice which is “Buy books, not gear.” and see what i can learn from that as well.

2) Start a photography club.
I may be overly optimistic or sociable, but I love the idea of getting all the photographers I know together to drink coffee and/or booze and take pictures of stuff. I participated in an instagram meet-up last year and it was a total blast getting to meet a whole slew of local photogs. It’s something I think I’d like to do every month this year.

3) Do a model based photo shoot.
I’ve met over the last year a couple of people who are pretty familiar with studio style photography and it’s something I’ve really wanted to try my hand at. Every time I find myself day-dreaming about starting a new photography project they usually involve models of some sort. What kind you might ask … Well, all kinds really. I have a few ideas in mind as of now, but I’ll save those for another time. If you’re reading this however and are interested in participating in a model shoot, be sure to leave a comment or hit me up on one of my networks so I can provide you with the details.

4) Post more.

All-in-all I am ready for 2016 to be a great year. And better yet since this was a lot of reading comparable to my other posts. So here’s my first photo of the year, taken at Antelope Island on New Year’s day:

Antelope Island

Until next time, Thanks for reading!
-D