Family, History and Love

Wanda and I have been discussing, of late, the need to set down in writing some portion of our family history so that in the future our children and grandchildren will have the stories and tales of our lives direct from the source. The technophile that I am, I choose to do this online so that the what we write will be accessible and available for comment to our wider family (though I reserve the right to moderate those comments).

To that end, I have repurposed this blog. In coming posts, we will endeavor to provide an abridged story of our life (hey, everyone has their secrets). We're writing this for our children and their children and those that come later so elements of these tales will be familiar only to our family,

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2005 Photo in Review

So, the forum thread in Photography on the Net got me to thinking about how the year went photographically. Did I get any keepers? How many photos did I take compared to previous years? Did my technique improve, and did I expand my capabilities? Did I shoot anything of any real substance?

I undertook a review of my photography for the past year to answer those questions and I determined the following:

1. I had about two dozen or so photos that I considered worthy of publication. This is much, much less than in previous years. That relates primarily to the next item.
2. I took far fewer photos this year than I have in previous years. This is, I think, primarily due to the issues I discussed in my last entry. I would say that most years I take an average of two or three thousand photographs, sometimes even more. This year I doubt I took more than a thousand photos total. And, when my heart is in it, I get much better results than a couple of dozen worthy shots.
3. In some ways, my techniques did improve considerably. I added some equipment that allowed me to have far more versatility with my studio lighting, and I’ve really improved my techniques with outdoor fill flash. I also shot quite a bit of film this year (which also contributed to the reduction in volume mentioned above), and I found that I have a much easier time compensating for adverse lighting conditions to get the exposure correct. Having said that, though, I didn’t practice and improve on some skills that I had intended to work on this year, such as macro photography and wildlife photography. I did try my hand at wildlife photography (specifically birding), but I discovered that my longest lens (300mm) isn’t quite sufficient to do a good job at it. So, fates willing, I’ll add a 100-400mm f4L zoom to my lens collection this year.
4. The last question is probably the most difficult to answer, but if I’m completely honest with myself, I would say, not really. I shot a few fairs and festivals. I documented a rafting trip with my family and friends. I did some portraits and some glamour shoots for a few clients, but I didn’t really shoot anything that “wows” me. In 2003 I shot an incredible sunset in Death Valley and in 2004 I got some terrific shots of a fire dancer and of the Oregon Coast. This year, I just couldn’t seem to pull any great shots out of my heart.

In 2006 I hope to do much better. First of all, I’m going to make a concerted effort to get out of the house on an early morning a couple of times a month. I’m already planning several photographic day trips to photograph in specific locations: The Columbia River Gorge (Eagle Creek, Punchbowl Falls, Rooster Rock, Shepherd’s Falls), Silver Falls State Park, McKenzie Bridge, Crater Lake National Park, Brandon Beach, Ecola Point, Haystack Rock, Seaside, Astoria, and Deschutes. I’m also planning a trip to Hawaii in the spring, so that should definitely help me to get the creative juices flowing.

I’m also hoping to work with a few new models this year. I have a project I’d like to start working on. I simply need s couple of sets of faery wings to get started. I have several models who are interested in working with me. So, I think, 2006 should be a much better year for me photographically. Wish me luck.

So let me share with you, some of my favorite photographs from 2005. There aren’t many, but there are the ones I like:

This coloful fellow was the jester at the 2005 Washington Renaissance and Fantasy Fair. He was a jolly fellow and kept the fair crowds well entertained. I got several shots of him throughout the weekend we were there, but I like this one best.

This gent was one of the knights at the Washington Renaissance and Fantasy Fair. He was one of the younger knights, out to prove himself, and he was an excellent rider. I liked this photo because I think it captured his determination to do well in the tourney.

This was, as I recall, the only female in the tourney this year. She was determined and fierce, and gave us a real show. I caught her as she galloped into a sword fighting exhibition. Unfortunately, I cut off I tiny bit of the horses nose. Still, this shot, I think captures a sense of motion and spirit.

This is Bonnie Stangelove, one of the Thryce Wycked Wenches, a singing troupe at the fair. Bonnie is a beautiful redhead with a wonderful voice and a most expressive face. The other two wenches are sweethearts too, but I really didn’t get any good photo of them this year. The Thryce Wycked Wenches sing bawdy songs of a dubious nature and are hilarious! If you ever get a chance to see them, don’t miss it.

This is a a musical troupe from the fair. They play authentic music from days gone by.

This is my favorite red-headed wench. I just love this shot of her for some reason. She’s a fine wench, with a big heart and a beautiful smile.

This is the sunset over the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon. We did a rafting trip there earlier this year, and as we were sitting around the camp on the last day of rafting, I shot this photograph. There’s another photo coming up later with a different view of the sunset, but I like the bridge and the river in this shot.

I don’t know why I like this shot so much. It’s just a candid taken on the first day of the Oregon Country Fair. The lady was in an animated conversation with a couple of gents, and she just looked so colorful and ready to have fun that I couldn’t help but aim my lens at her.

I don’t know what these are, but they were on display at the Oregon Country Fair and I thought they would make a good photograph. I think they did. What do you think?

This colorful young lady sat down beside me at the Oregon Country Fair while we were having some lunch. She was with a group of her friends and they were having a great time at the fair. She most graciously consented to posing for me, and I really love her smile and the colorful attire and makeup.

This is my friend, Tia, after she spent some time with Kathleen, the body painter, at the Oregon Country Fair. Tia’s a sweetheart, and a wonderful person. Doesn’t she have a lovely smile?

Candles at the fair. I just thought they made a wonderful set of repetitive elements for a photograph. The Oregon Country Fair is great for finding these little colorful scenes. The OCF was probably my biggest photographic event this year. The first day of the fair was pretty wet and rainy, though, which sort of cut down on the volume of photos I was able to take as well as the number of attendees.

Matching sets - more body painting at the fair. This couple actually asked me to take their photo because they had seen some previous photos of mine. They bought a couple of photos from me as well.

This lovely lady posed for me at the Shrewsbury Ren Fair. It’s a nice portrait that’s full of color. I guess what I like about this photo is that half smile and the lovely dimple in her cheek.

This is Gabby. She’s a real sweetie. Although she’s not related, she’s like a niece to me. She has a wonderful smile, but like any teenager, can be a real pill to her parents. I always have fun with her though.

This is Gabby’s mom, Bridgett. She’s a very close friend and a real sweetheart in her own right. She’s my IM buddy and keeps me company on the days when I work from home. She and her husband are among our closest and dearest friends, and I’m hoping to get to do a photoshoot with her in 2006. I’ve worked a deal out with her husband--I’ll loan him my redhead for a shoot, if he’ll loan me his. It should be fun.

These are the cliffs along the White River near Maupin, Oregon. This is near the confluence of the Deschutes River and the White River. If you walk up the White River a ways, you’ll find a natural water slide. I shot a lot of photos there too, but this is a better shot.

A natural light portrait in a pub in St. Helens, Oregon; a river port along the Columbia River, north and west of Portland. I just love the subtle play of light on her face and on her hair.

This is my niece, Sasha. I traveled home to Georgia in June of this past year, and I spent a day or so shooting her. She a sweet girl, but rather shy and rather spoiled. I’m afraid I spoiled her even more. That’s okay, though, since I don’t see her very often. She has been raised by her grandparents by very strict rules (which has been very good for her). I gave her a bit of a break by taking her to my mom’s house for the weekend (and my mom’s anything but strict). We went to Stone Mountain for a day of photos and this was one of my favorites.

This is another shot of the sunset a Maupin, Oregon. It’s reminiscent of the sunset photos I took in Death Valley in 2003. I just really like this shot, even though it’s a bit cliched.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

2005 - My Photography in Review

On the website Photography on the Net, there’s a thread that asks the members to post their best 2005 photograph. I thought I might participate, and I started looking through my archives of photos. You know, I was sad to find that I didn’t have any photographs that I would have been willing to submit to such a peer review. That’s just sad.

If I look back at my archives from previous years, I have several strong contenders for great photographs. This year, however, I was just too distracted by other matters. The year started off with an altercation between two of my kids, resulting in the arrest of one. Not good. Then, my son was sent to Afghanistan. My wife was sick and hurting all year long, and I had a daughter full-time in college all year long requiring extensive financial support.

Most days this year, I just wanted to get through the day without any new problems. So, my mind wasn’t really on photography. We did go to a few fairs and festivals, but honestly, my heart wasn’t into the events. I’m really hoping 2006 will be better. I’m giving Wendy a trip to Hawaii for Christmas (travel dates to be determined), so that should start the year off right. And we have a grand-baby due in June - that should give me plenty to photography in the 2nd half of the year.

So, I’m hoping 2006 will result in a new creativity for me - better photos, a brighter outlook on life, and renewed energy. I wish the same for everyone who happens to read this.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Keeping Up

I haven’t been keeping this blog up. I had hoped to turn it into a private journal only to be found by happenstance. A place where I could share thoughts, ideas and photos, but not necessarily with people who know me directly. I have a couple of other places where I blog, but the interface isn’t nearly as nice and/or as easy as this interface.

In any event, my idea was to use this journal as sort of a photographic journey through the year, but alas, the year was just too “interesting.” So, we’ll just have to see what 2006 will bring. Maybe I’ll actually get this to work and it will help spur some of my creative juices, of which I feel sadly lacking in of late.

So, if you stumble across this blog, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Joyous New Year!

Happy Holidays

Friday, May 13, 2005

Mac Journal

I've found a great new software program called MacJournal. It's a journaling program with the ability to actually post to the various online blogging sites. Now, if it will let me insert photos into my journal entry, I'll be all set, since my intention with this blog has been to discuss photography and photos all along. So let's see if it works with a glamour photo from a trip to the coast:

Glamour Stream

Monday, March 14, 2005

No Drama

I've been reading other blogs lately, and I'm just surprised by the amount of drama that exists in other people's lives. It certainly makes for interesting reading. There's very little drama in my life right now, and that's fine with me, but very boring reading for you. There was all together too much drama when the year began, but things have settled out since then. Most of the drama comes from my kids anyway.

My life is usually that of an ordinary business man and middle-aged father. Most people would be surprised to know that I used to operate nuclear reactors on Navy submarines. But I do have a lot of great stories. I'll have to write some of them down here sometime......

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Beautiful weather, not much photography

The weather has been beautiful of late, so much so that all the forecasters are concerned about the amount of water available in the reservoirs this summer and the possibility of an early and long wildfire season. Still, it's hard to complain when it's dry and warm in March.

The advantages are that the yards are already cleaned up from winter. The grass has been fertilized, and the sprinklers have been turned on and tested. And all the little items that fall into disrepair over the winter have been identified and fixed, or will be soon. There are only a couple of major outdoor chores to be done, and if the weather keeps up, they'll be completed by the end of March. That's exceptionally rare for this part of the country.

The good weather spurred me to break out the cameras and attempt some outdoor photography. I tried my hand at birding over on the PCC College Campus. I had only moderate luck. I was using a 300mm Image Stabilized lens and a 1.6 crop factor digital camera (which gave me a 500mm equivalent Field of View) and it still seemed like I couldn't get close enough to get a decent photo. There was one red-tailed hawk in the area that would wait until I was within 20 feet of the perch, then sail off to a new tree that was only a hundred yards away.

W and I did go to Sauvie Island yesterday to check out the wildlife preserve and the beaches. Although it was warm, it was also windy, which meant there were a lot of kite boarders playing on the Columbia River. So, I did get a few shots of them. I didn't get many shots of birds though, as they were mostly out on the waterways and unapproachable. I'll be looking through the photos later today to determine if any of the captures are worth posting. If so, I'll have them up this evening or tomorrow.

Here's one of the photos:

Friday, March 11, 2005


I'm telecommuting today and it's great. My cube at work is a tiny thing--my company calls it "compressed." I call it a closet. I've been working out of that little horror for nearly 5 years. When I first moved into my department, I was assigned this office space because there was simply no other place to put me. The building I work in was full, and there were lots of people working out of compressed cubes or even smaller spots. So I understood.

However, about three years ago, the building emptied out and there are lots of open cubes all around me. I've been trying to get moved ever since this happend. Unfortunately, I'm a satellite (my main group is in Arizona and I'm in Oregon). That means, I'm out of sight and out of mind to my management. So, I'm stuck in this tiny space (my office on a submarine was bigger). So, when I get a chance to telecommute and work out of my home office, it's great. I have room to move around, I have a window right by my desk so I can enjoy the beautiful sunshine, and I can turn my radio and listen to music or talk radio while I work.

Here's a view from my back deck!

View from my deck

Okay, it's not really the view from my deck, but it is part of my screensaver and I do enjoy the view. It's a photo of Canon Beach I made from Ecola Point about two years ago. See, I told you I lived in a beautiful state.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

First Thoughts

Portland Summer SceneI'm new to the process of blogging, but not to the concept of keeping a journal of thoughts. I spent 20 years in the submarine fleet and during that time spent a lot of time at sea. During those many patrols, I kept journals to record my thoughts and feelings, and in many ways those writings helped to ease the stress of those long, isolated months at sea.

I'm not, however, at sea anymore. It many way, though, writing still helps to ease the stress of daily life, and so I'll try blogging for a while. I'm not sure where I will go with this, but it seems like an opportunity to share my unvarnished thoughts and ideas.

Fortunately, not only will I be able to write, I will be able to share my photos with those who visit here. I have the great fortune to live in a beautiful area of the country, with some wonderful photographic opportunities, especially in the summer months.