It’s Been A Productive While

I just realized I haven’t posted since April which is much longer than I’d prefer, but I’ve been quite busy! With what you ask? Why with Moving!

You see, the wife had gotten a job offer from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and so we packed up all of our art and books, threw everything else in the garbage and drove 1800 miles from Ogden to Huntsville. The drive itself wasn’t much to write about, but we did make a few stops of varying levels of relaxation or stress. One of which was Memphis, TN. I’d had much higher hopes for the city as I’ve heard very good things about the nightlife and downtown. But, having arrived in downtown, on a Friday Night no less, I was saddened to learn not a lot was happening except for a few of the local bars were packed to the brim. We I still 21, that might have had some appeal to me, but given I’m an old fart now, standing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of loud and smelly bar people seems like the opposite of a good time.

Instead, I went on the roof of the hotel and took some pictures. Here’s one of the “Famous” Peabody Hotel in downtown:

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You may notice for this post the photos look a little different than my pictures usually do and that’s because I edited them on my phone using PS Express instead of Lightroom. It’s not nearly as good, but for the ability to post a quick shot to IG (which you should follow me on @earthquakephotography) which is all I’ve been doing as of late, it works rather well.

After leaving Memphis, we drove a few more hours where we finally hit our new home state of Alabama:

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I’ll be 100% honest here (so if you work for the State of ‘Bama, take note): This sign is awesome. It’s probably one of the coolest “Welcome to X” signs out there. It’s carved marble with great patina, and has tons of most excellent character. However, it’s not nearly as big as you might be thinking, or all that easy to see. In fact, it’s largely covered by some bushes, behind a typical big-ugly-green-road sign that says “Welcome to Alabama” in the typical shitty ‘road sign’ font. Why would you put up a garbage road sign when you have something or quality and substance nearby? Shame on you Alabama. Shame.

For what it’s worth, the sunsets here are just about as good as they were in Utah. Here’s one from my front porch:

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I’m also quite thrilled to see that Huntsville seems to have an art scene, although upon a quick google search, the hip young people art place is out of business (Boo!). Nonetheless, you can find things like this down the alleyways of downtown Huntsville:

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Hopefully before too long I can get out and do some solid exploring in the area. Until then, hang tight peeps! It’s gonna be a clunky shift …

-D

Concert/Photo Shoot: Escher Case

A few weeks back, I was chatting with a buddy of mine at work who told me he’s in a band and asked if I’d be willing to shoot some photos for them. Being that I was looking to build up my portfolio I agreed and asked if he had some of their music I could listen to to get a feel for what the band was going for. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was an incredibly talented group of guys who are super passionate about what they do and it shows through their music. In fact, I recommend you go and give them a listen on bandcamp.

Once I knew what I was working with I planned out a shoot for some band photos in which they wanted some set shots and some behind the scenes stuff of them goofing off in their basement. So I spent the day with them shooting those things and getting to know everyone. I ended up with the following shots for their photo shoot session:

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In regards to the last shot, I’m kind bummed my focus was more on Braun, the lead singer and less on the dog. Not that I don’t like the band members, but having the dogs face be slightly out of focus, screws up the entire shot I was going for. It’s likely one I’ll be trying to redo in the future.

After closing the shoot out, we discussed doing some additional photos down the road as the drummer just had his wisdom teeth pulled, and one of the guitarists was in a cast so their ability to wander about in search of the perfect shot was limited. It came up however that they had a show at a local bar (Funk n’ Dive) on the 18th and if I could snap a few photos of that for them.

Given I’ve been desperately wanting to get into concert photography, I was willing to do any kind of live music shoot and I jumped at the chance. There were indeed some harsh lessons learned however. For one, quality lighting is everything, and in a run of the mill pub, that’s not a thing you get. What that meant for me is I had to be quite a bit more creative in how I edited the shots to make sure everyone didn’t look like either a smurf or a hot red-orange mess (since the lighting consisted of two stagnant gel lights, 1 red and 1 blue). Luckily, I’m brilliant (toot, toot), so I was able to make it work. Here’s what I wheeled from their show Saturday night:

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Like I said earlier, the show was phenomenal and I can’t recommend this band enough. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, do me a huge favor and give them a listen at the link at the top, and give them a like on their FB page. It would help them out a lot! You can find that here.

As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

#Ogdenwide Photowalk for Q1 2017

This weekend presented another fantastic opportunity to hang out with some excellent people and shoot some thing I normally would have never even stopped to look at. One of the great things about the group is that people of all shooting styles and skill levels show up and meander about town like a flock of flamingos (or foreign tourists) snapping pictures of every nook and cranny along the route. What it provides for me is a different perspective on how other view the world, or what they find visually appealing. So even though most of the time a lot of us will shoot the same object (or set of objects) never have I seen two photos look alike. So much so, that by now it’s starting to get kind of weird. You’d think there would at least be one or two overlapping images, but nay! It’s all original and it’s all most excellent.

Instead of boring you with commentary on each of the shots, here’s the pictures I liked and posted up online:

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One thing of note (or maybe two), in the last two photos, I spent roughly about 3-5 minutes waiting with my camera focused and pointed through the tire, for someone, anyone to walk into the frame. I was starting to lose hope of getting a candid shot and almost went to grab someone to stage it which Zach (@zachary.leroy on IG) wandered in. So the lesson here: Patience! You can get the shot you want, if you just wait! Or if you’re super impatient, grab another human being (or whatever) and stage it!. It’s all the same when printed and framed.

The very last shot of the grouping involved another buddy of mine being willing to sit on a very gross and sketchy looking chair thing. Thank goodness for his adventurous spirit. You can follow him on IG as well (@atomritchey)

I hope you enjoyed these all as well, and as always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Bulls and Horses and Cowboys – Oh My!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get out and shoot with some purpose, but Friday and Saturday presented some excellent options. To frame this though, a little backstory:

My daughter came home on Thursday with a paper from her school saying they were giving away free tickets to the Rodeo on the 17th and 18th. Being it was the 16th, I figured this had been lost in a shuffle of papers but nonetheless agreed we could go. I tried making a few calls on Friday morning to see how one would secure such tickets, but it turns out her school was closed for the administrators for some reason or another. Now, being in a spot of having told my daughter we’d go and not having the tickets, I was super pleased to find out that the rodeo is surprisingly inexpensive. So I opted to just buy em and call it a day.

I’ve been to a rodeo once or twice before in the past, as it was something my mother quite enjoyed watching. So whenever we’d travel from New Mexico, to St George, Utah to visit her and my sister, we’d walk across the street and watch the bull-riding through the chain link fence. With that in mind, as we got closer to go time I got quite excited given I have some familiarity with these things, I knew what I was looking for now that I had a camera.

Due to the mediocre lighting inside the arena, I wasn’t able to get any real shots of the bull riding portion, but I was able to catch the bronco riding a little later in the evening. Of the some number of shots I took during that here’s the ones I am most happy with:

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I opted to edit the last one in a little different fashion than I normally do as I wanted to really push the idea that the cowboy in question was out cold at the end of that fall. I titled it “No More Pain, Only Dreams Now” and had a good chuckle to myself.

Unlike a lot of people I don’t tend to have a lot of sympathy for the riders when they get nailed. Given the way the animals are treated to entice the bucking for the show, I find it to be a perfect case of comeuppance when a cowboy gets dropped on his head or kicked in the gut. Maybe next time, you’ll think twice about climbing on top of a 2 ton animal whose balls you just put in a vice and prodded. Checkmate.

Saturday morning brought another great opportunity in the form of the “World Championship Chariot Races”. Needless to say, you don’t have to tell me twice when presenting me an option to watch some live-action Ben Hur. Sadly, there was very little multi-carriage collision action, as the races were run more like a drag race, than “Nascar with horses”. Even still, it was a great time, and I happened to get a few more shots I was happy with:

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Aside from those most excellent festivities, I was also able to go on a photo-walk with the awesome #ogdenwide group, and shoot a concert a couple of my work friends are in that night. I’ll do a write up about those for another day, as this one has likely gotten long enough. As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

#notmypresidentsday Protest

Today, at around 9:30am a few hundred people gathered in front of the steps of the Salt Lake City and County Building in Washington Square to protest the current administration. Armed with homemade signs and rigorous chants the crowd rallied around a message of unity pushing back against the President’s recent actions which include: Attempting to ban Muslims from entering the US, The announcement of a wall along the border of Mexico, and The reinstatement of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The March began at 9:00am sharp in front of the Wallace Bennett Federal Building, as protests walked from there to Washington Square to the chant of “This is what Democracy looks like”. While the initial crowd seemed small, dozens of protesters joined along the way to amass a sizable crowd.

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The top image is of one of the main protest organizers rallying the audience prior to the march. I selected the other two as an interesting feature hopefully to push the idea that the ability to march, while a protected right under the Constitution, is also a privilege not afforded to all of us. While some Utahan’s march through the streets to express their concerns and angst against what will likely be one of our worst President’s, there are others who struggle simply to get from one day to the next. Let us not forget them as we make our stand for equal treatments and progressive values.

Once the crowd had arrived at Washington square the group was greeted in an opening statement/prayer by local Native American, who asked for Trump to see the error of his ways:

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The crowd cheered off and on as the young man discussed the current situation at Standing Rock and called for everyone to consider lending them their support in any way they can. In addition to the opening speaker, the protesters heard talks by a handful of other Utahans’ which included a trans-gendered individual who spoke about the need to rally against oppression and fear-mongering.

Another speaker, a young black man, stood up in front of the audience and spoke of his extensive education and how little it matters to some people who see him only as a black man, or worse an ape.

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He was eloquent and vicious, and he spoke about not letting fear dictate our decisions or interactions with one another. He also had one of the best one-liners of the day when he told the crowd he was “An ape who could solve differential equations.” I had a good chuckle at both the line, and how uncomfortable his adjectives were making those who listened. There is most assuredly an issue or disconnect, especially here in Northern Utah where diversity is not what it could be to say the least. Having to see a well educated and well spoken man, discuss how his skin color has an effect on the way he is treated tends to make the exceptionally white people around here somewhat skittish. However, in his speech he called on the group to stand as one people, as brothers and sisters, not divided by any sort of contingent characteristics but as those who share a progressive value set. Of the handful or so speakers, I felt that his speech was by far the most impassioned and powerful.

In addition to the fiery speeches and cheering hoard, there was (as there always are with such public gatherings) some people whose method of speech stood out to me more than others:

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In addition, there were of course the rabble-rousers who slinked about the outer edges of the protest chanting pro trump slogans such as “Trump for a second term” or “Illegal immigrants are criminals”:

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I have to admit I was surprised there was only the two of them. I would have expected the basement dwelling trolls to be out in a stronger force. It’s as though these two were simply walking by on their way to do something else and decided to just hang out and yell stupid shit for a few minutes.

Last but not least, Capitalism at its finest! I mean, what good is a protest if you can’t find a way to turn a quick buck off it?

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All in all, it was good morning full of civic engagement with a couple of solid photo-ops. I do plan on making it out to more of these and hopefully even getting some more politically charged studio work in here in the near future. So stay tuned for that. As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!

P.S. In relation to my previous post, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts here’s the number to the helpline: 1-800-273-8255 or you can text “CONNECT” to 741741. This will likely be a common addition to my posts for the next little while. So keep sharing and keep the conversation open. Remember, you are loved.

Starting the Conversation: Suicide Awareness Shoot.

Like many of you out there, I’ve known more than one person who’s been down and out and felt helpless. Sadly, like some of you, I wasn’t there when they were at their lowest and looking for a hand to hold or an ear to listen to their troubles. It’s more likely than not that either you, or someone you know has had a close friend or family member take their own life. For me, it’s happened a little more often in the last few years than I’d care to think about. What hurts most when I think back on the lives of my friends who are no longer with us, it that suicide doesn’t care about what rung of the economic ladder you stand on, what color you are, your religious or even your political beliefs. Deep seated depression, the kind that makes you look at your liquor cabinet and full bottle of pain killers and say to yourself “Well, it can’t be any worse than it is now.” hits people of all walks of life.

But because we as a society are of the utmost level of cowardly when it comes to having difficult conversations or admitting when we need a hand; whether it’s in fear of being labeled weak, or the fear that comes from being rejected by someone we trust enough to spill out guts out too, when the time comes to have a conversation about how someone is really feeling or whether they (or even you, if you find yourself in this place) need some help, we clam up. We make an uncomfortable joke. We stop answering the phone when someone calls. We tell ourselves and our loved ones that everything is “fine” or it’s just a “case of the Monday’s”.

In all reality, suicide is not 100% preventable, but it damn sure shouldn’t be happening with any regularity. So when a buddy of mine posted some photos to Facebook a couple weeks back with the number to the suicide hotline hoping to start the conversation and get people to not shy away from the topic, it really hit me. Reading through the comments in which people were disgusted that he would post such a thing, to say the least, pissed me off. Was his photo shoot the absolute best way to show the ugly and dark side of how people feel right before going over the edge? Maybe, Maybe not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you saw it. You saw it and it forced you to say something about it. His post if nothing else, was successful on that front.

That being said, I reached out and asked if I could come in to the studio and take a crack at my own interpretation of what that feeling looks like and what I felt may get the conversation going. The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to find someone who would model for, as once again it’s a touchy subject that no one really wants to have rammed in their face. Nonetheless, a most excellent human and good friend of mine stepped up to the plate and absolutely crushed it. Here’s the three shots I’m most happy with:

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Hopefully, my thoughts and intentions come across in the imagery. It’s definitely something I will be thinking about more and revisiting at least for the next little while. In the meantime, know that if you’re reading this (or hell, even if you aren’t), you are loved. If you are considering suicide as an option for you, know there is help. Reach out to someone. Don’t beat around the bush. If you don’t know someone who you think understands, call this number: 1-800-273-8255 or Text Connect to 741741 if you’d rather not speak on the phone. Whatever you do though, ask for help. You are not weak, you are not crazy. Helping and loving one another are what make us human and it’s the only thing that will ensure we continue as a species. Stay Safe, Stay Alive, Keep fighting. As always, Thanks for reading!
-D

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:

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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!

-D