Storm chasing across the South Dakota back country on July 4th was in and of itself an incredible experience (photo of the storm below), but upon returning to the cabin an old truck was already ablaze, with sounds of crackling and popping--almost as if fireworks were left in the front seat--filling the night sky.
In the distance the lighting from the storm lit up the sky as fire fighters from Waubay began to pull up.
Not only was the car on fire, but it had caught a large, dry field across the road on fire, too. Hardly any wind was present, surprisingly in retrospect because of the storm, so it never was out of control, but it did spread a considerably.
Quite the show.
THE STORM IN THE DISTANCE
WAUBAY FIRE DEPARTMENT
It's been a while.
Tending to my website, telling visual stories, finding time and the ambition to get it all up and moving again hasn't been easy.
But with a New Year comes new goals, new routines, and most of all a renewed sense of purpose. As the days get longer, and the sun continues it's ascension towards summer a new light emerges--both literally and metaphorically--and sometimes we make our way back to where it all began, to our old haunts.
With winter depression taking its toll it was time for new sleep patterns, new exercise routines, new eating habits. The walk, as boring and mundane as it always seemed to me, brought me back from the brink, and with my camera in hand I've slowly made my way back to normalcy.
All images taken with the Fujifilm X100T
One of the first things new parents around Portland do is take their children to the Oregon Zoo, and while the zoo is a double edged sword in terms of child education vs. animal incarceration, it's still a worthwhile experience.
We started with a great breakfast at The Babica Hen in Dundee, and arrived at the Oregon Zoo at about 10:00am.
The bears were out, the cats were sleeping, and kids from the Boys and Girls Club were running about.
Shot with Nikon D750 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens
Modeling isn't about getting up and looking beautiful; it's hard work and a lot of preparation.
A couple of weeks ago Jeannie Wheeler, Anika Cherie, Audrey Skullee, and I prepared for a rather difficult shoot in cold water and water falls near Roseburg, Oregon. While we cannot post the photos from the shoot at this time (exclusivity clause for print), I did take some behind-the-scenes images of the preparation and a few of the prep location.
I would like to extend a special thank you to Anika and Audrey for being professionals even though they were so cold they were shaking (literally). It pains me to even think about what you two had to endure in the name of art.
While in West Virginia for my sister-in-law's wedding I came to the conclusion that my current (at the time) camera simply would not work for event work. We were in a dark hall, with some significant back lighting, and the Fuji cameras had a hell of a time focusing.
It pains me to say it, because I love the Fujifilm cameras for their weight, ease of use, and tactile controls, but they are not ready for serious event work. With that said, we came home a couple of days ago, and I found myself ordering a new Nikon D750 with the following lenses:
- Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens
- Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 ED AF-S NIkkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens
- Nikon 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor FX Lens
Unlike the Fujifilm primes these things are build like tanks, and as a consequence they weigh like tanks. I can't say I'm thrilled to switch back to Nikon, but you should never have to fight your camera tooth and nail to get it to focus in light that DSLRs have been able to for a decade or more.
Nonetheless, the camera and lenses arrived yesterday, and it was time to walk around my property in Dundee, Oregon (close to Newberg, Oregon) and find something interesting to photograph. The Nikon system is nothing like the Fujifilm system, for good and bad, thus muscle memory has not developed yet.
My daughter is an easy subject, so you'll see a couple of her here, and a helicopter buzzed our house so it was nice to see that the Nikon D750 was capable of focusing in fractions of seconds with significant back light.
These were shot with the first three lenses mentioned above. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.
A couple of years ago I worked at a restaurant supply company, I had a lot of friends there, but after I left I kind of disconnected from everyone there-- I suppose as a way to 'start over', or something.
One of my dearest friends from that old job was Jon, and by extension one of my favorite families. There were very few people I could talk to candidly, and genuinely, as most everyone there, by no fault of their own, were in work mode all the time. But with Jon I got close to his family, we shared our various challenges in and out of the work place, and we hung out occasionally outside of work. I would sit at his desk, or he at my desk, and I swear I could talk for hours about, well, anything really.
At any rate, his family feels like family to me, and although I haven't seen them for so long, having them come over to shoot a few photographs with me was like old times all over again... the good, old times.
It was legitimately my pleasure, and I thank you all again for coming to see me, having some fun stomping around the property, a big thank you to Alicia for dealing with my studio direction, and helping me create some of my favorite photographs to date.
Thank you genuinely.
With coyotes yelling nearby, our Bernese Mountain Dog decided to let the whole house know at 4:35 am this morning. The dog quieted down quickly, but getting back to sleep wasn't going to happen.
With new blooms on the Pinot Noir vineyards, and just minutes from sunrise, it seemed reasonable to get out and see if there was something interesting.
I was reading today, on one of my Facebook group posts, how excited everyone was to possibly attend another lighting workshop by Brett Howard. It got me recollecting the experience for a bit, and then I remembered I took some behind-the-scenes photos from the experience.
Brett understands just about everything there is to know from a technical perspective, but he outlines it clearly and concisely. What you're left with is a full primer on the fundamentals of not only lighting, but your camera as well, and access to professional quality equipment with professional models/actresses. It was an awesome experience.
Brett Howard is going to conduct another Shoot For Wind lighting workshop on July 11th, 2015. I hope to see you there.
Below are the BTS frames, as well as some of the better frames from that session.
BEHIND THE SCENES:
From my backyard I can see the big, red barn.
The old structure has been there a long time obviously, and with it comes the history of not only Maresh Vineyards, but also a history of the area. Just the vines themselves, still sleeping since early winter, have character and charisma. The only color emitting from the ancient looking stumps is lichen and moss, but hidden inside the roots, is a legacy—years of supplying some of the finest winemakers in the world with fruit that is converted to world class Pinot Noir.
I waited towards the end of the day to take these photographs in the best possible light, but as I arrived the sun hid behind dark, gray storm clouds for the remainder of the evening.
And so these photographs will not dazzle you with a sunburst or an explosion of color, but they undoubtedly represent a typical early spring evening in the Dundee Hills.
Sometimes you have to start them young.
Sometimes you have to be social for your child even though you're an introvert.
Sometimes it's time to take your ten month old to the library for story time.
And so we did.
It turns out the Newberg Library has some history haunting the halls, walls, and architecture. Personally I was surprised as I expected our little, small town library to be pretty minimal-- but alas it has character.
Regardless, every Tuesday they put on a thirty to forty five minute story/activity time for babies under a year old, and it's really quite brilliant.
They never know when they'll get the call. The call to put themselves in harms way, to protect the citizens of the community.
Our local fire department is no different of course, but on this occasion they were tasked with burning a four plex, a house, and a garage, on the same block for the purpose of learning. They call it 'Burn to Learn', which is what this series of photographs chronicles, but make no mistake without careful attention to detail things could of gotten out of hand.
To the Newberg Fire Department I say thank you.
We are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful part of the country, the Northwest, and with it comes the wildlife, the trees, the hills, the water, and yes the rain– lots of it.
But there are days when the rain takes a break, the jet stream decides to keep the arctic cold at bay, and what we are left with is a stunning display of color– the greens from the foliage are vivid, the skies are deep blue, and the sunsets cast the colors that only winter sun can conjure.
My wife decided to tempt me with a photography opportunity, whilst also giving her an excuse to get the family out of the house, and get a little exercise.
We proceeded to take off down the road to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, and we indeed had a break in the weather, my wife had the day off, and our daughter was finally back to full strength after another bout with a cold a few weeks earlier. Quite a bit of the refuge is roped off until the beginning of May (presumably the water needs to recede before it is deemed safe), but there was plenty to shoot, especially as the sun started making its final decent for the evening.
It’s grey. It’s depressing, which is not good medicine for motivation. I’m stuck inside again, and I’m not going to shoot today. The rain returns.
I hate Northwest winters.
But there was a break in the clouds, and so I got my camera, jumped out the front door, and started looking for interesting light. The truth is the break lasted all but three minutes, yet sometimes you just have to suck it up, look for something interesting, and live with the flat, gray blah that nature hands you.