Rockhouding inside the mosquito vortex

Last weekend I took the kiddo out for a hike to get her out of the house as we were both starting to go crazy. For those unaware, my daughter is quite the little rock-hound and has begun amassing quite the little collection of rocks (and seashells) in her room. So anytime I offer to take her outdoors, the first question is always: “Can we look for rocks and shells?” to which the reply is always “Of course!”

Now that we live in Alabama, the shells portion is not likely going to be a thing when we’re out hiking, unlike Utah where you could find all sorts of things up on the mountain trails. Since most of Utah was underwater until somewhat recently (geologically speaking) seashells and neat rocks can be found most anywhere. I’m not entirely sure about the landscape of Alabama just yet, but prior to the hike I found out there are some cool rocks to be found along the rivers/streams here.

So we set out to the Hays Nature Preserve, which provided (or so I was hoping) two main things: First, some hiking trails so I could get some exercise (and burn off some of the energy on the kiddo); and second, a shady place with a bunch of rocks she can pick through.

Luckily, we got both. She managed to find some cool Blue Quartz and some Onyx. I managed to score some pretty sweet photos of the swamps and the “World Championship Tupelo trees”:

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Aside from those, I snapped some more shots of the swamplands and a pretty neat bridge that connected the trailheads to the biking trails:

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Minus the hundred(s) of mosquito’s we had to fend off on the couple hours we were out there, even though we were both smothered in OFF! repellent, it was an excellent trip. I’m quite looking forward to hitting up some of the other trails in the area.

This one, as well as the next few posts, is going to be a short one as I’m going to be working on moving these into a more video-blog style format. However, since I’ve never done anything with video, there is a lot of research and learning I am working on currently. So be sure to follow me on FB and Twitter as that will be where the posts are going. I’ll work on getting them uploaded here as well once I figure out that mess too. As always — Thanks for reading!
-D

Battling the weather for new hiking trails

Since we’ve moved to Huntsville, the weather here has been anything but predictable. As it turns out, we’re in Northern Alabama’s monsoon season and so the rains will be coming and going throughout the day for a few more weeks. What that means for me, is trying to plan a trip out to photograph stuff is damn near impossible. Just the other day I got everything ready to head out the door and in the time it took me to put on shoes, a thunderstorm had rolled in and dropped about 3 inches of rain on us.

Not to be entirely deterred, I decided to get out and do something regardless of the rain situation. So last week I drove up to Monte Sano state park and drove around a bit looking for a trail to hike on. The first one I stopped at, I got rained out of about 75 feet into the trail as the random sprinkling turned into a torrential downpour much faster than I was expecting. I was about to just pack it in and head home, but as I got back towards the front of the park, the clouds parted and I was given a second chance. It’s a good thing I took it as well! I ended up on a short trail that led me to a tucked away Japanese tea house and garden. The rain did come again while I was exploring, but the little tea house provided plenty of shelter for me to wait it out. Here’s some shots I got of that:

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All in all, it’s a wonderful little place and I fully intend to spend much more time there. Next time I’ll probably even take the Yoga mat with me and have a quiet and relaxing afternoon to myself.

On my way out of the trail and back towards the car, I noticed it started raining again, but not on top of me like before. This time it was dry over my head and downpouring about 100 feet into the woods behind me. So I stopped and snapped a few shots of that in a fun little panorama:

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The weird haze you see across the middle of the image is actually just the rain as the sun punches through the trees to hit it. It made for this interesting mist look and I’m happy with how it turned out.

If you’re curious what the weather looks like, I made it a point to bring my camera on our last little family outing into downtown so we could show our kiddo the park downtown (and let her feed the Koi fish). Within five minutes of arriving we were met with this:

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It rained so hard that in about five minutes it raised the water level of the pond from about 3 inches under the lip to flowing up over the top. After that nice five minute rain break, the clouds parted and the rest of the day proceeded as if it never happened. If I hadn’t spent the last four years in Utah watching it go from 55 to snowing to 60 to 35 and raining over the course of 4 hours, this might have shocked me. I am getting used to temperamental weather though, and as long as I can find a source of rain ponchos, I won’t let the weather keep me down!

That’s it for this round. On a more administrative note, I updated the portfolio pages (links at the top) and will be fixing the online store to add in newer products and adjust prices. So stay tuned for more stuff and as always, thanks for reading!
-D

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.