Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Patrick A. Dwire

Patrick A. Dwire, originally uploaded by preyingjaws.

A young life taken too soon. He valiantly served Our Country right out of high school and did not complain about helping or serving others.

I knew him through the coffee shop we hung out at. A Veteran of several conflicts, he talked stories but revealed nothing. Tormented at times by his injuries sustained in combat, he never let them get in the way of conversation. His introduction to most people would include something about going sky diving, his fading hearing, and his daughter.

After the services on Monday, the group of regulars hung sipping coffee with a chilly wind blowing. Stories of how he'd drop everything to help a friend out floated away on tears. Each tear a leaf of the fading fall.

Today a light snow falls, covering the fresh grave site. Grave and fresh I know do not go together. They shouldn't. I talked to the funeral director after the services, himself a Vet. Irony, we bury our young men often before we bury our old. Young lives taken before their time.

I present to the family my deepest condolences. I knew him enough to be honored by his friendship. He helped me come to terms with my own death of my departed sister.

May the images I share be honoring to you.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I just calibrated my monitor with the Huey. Why does it all look so muddy? Or was it because its been out so long I think it looks muddy?

Either way I needed to calibrate for wedding pictures. I shot Jon & Ann Marie's wedding on Saturday. A wonderful couple I met at the coffee shop about 6 months ago. She immediately swooped in and looked at my images when I mentioned I like to shoot as a hobby. I've got most of the images sorted now. Next just a little more redefining and posting some where private for them. I'll post one or five here for show and tell. Critiques are always welcomed.

Right now I've got a sad shoot to do. I found out a day before the wedding one of the guys we hung with passed away. A First Gulf War Vet, he was plagued by injury sustained in combat. I talked with his roommate about taking a few pictures but, I still didn't feel right so I called the mortuary. They called the family and I have permission. Not fun, sad really, Patrick was a cool cat to listen to tell stories.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jon and Ann Marie

rdc_DSC_1741, originally uploaded by preyingjaws.

Ann Marie asked me, what seems like ages ago, to be at her wedding. This wonderful couple I met at a coffee shop had seen just a small sample of my images. Now more of my images they will see soon enough. Thank you for the opportunity to attend.

I always like to post an image or two of important events within 24 hours. So to the Bride, Groom, and family, congratulations.

Weddings are always hard work, fun, and more hard work. I've got over 1500 images to sort an decide which they will see. These two currently on flickr are what I like to say as defining representative moments.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Photojournalists photographing a launch rollout

The world of photojournalism is dog eat dog. Sometimes it takes more then a little perseverance in finding the right contacts to get to some cool places.

This image of expedition 21 didn't come to just any joe like myself who could buy a ticket to watch some racing at a local track. These guys paid their dues to get there by forging relationships with editors, contact leads, and possible years of shooting the mundane other things.

I can dream, can't I, that one day I'll travel over to the Cosmodrome to to view a launch...

Monday, October 05, 2009

the garden

UTGrandPrix Wheels, originally uploaded by preyingjaws.

A former supervisor tossed an insult my way or was it awake up call or was it simply an observation, anyways it doesn't matter he simply commented that I only talk about two things: hiking and photography. I just returned from a photography club meeting. The club president seems to digress to one subject, stock photography. I hung on her words for a while on how stock photography can provide fulfillment among other things. I came to the conclusion with these two encounters, what's in our gardens?

What's in our gardens? The proverbial onion's been cut to pieces, besides there's more to chop from the garden then the onion. The onion is good to use in many cases because it has layers one can peal away. It's bad to use for when the layers are all removed you don't have anything left but a pile of peeled away layers.

The garden has so much to offer. Currently my garden is but two planter boxes under a south facing window outside. This year I grew a few tomatoes, some basil, sunflowers, and lettuce. This garden is small yes, but it's a start for me. I've never grown anything before and yet I have this year, my first year, something to show for it.

Be a garden of topics, one subject or a few, each topic does contain many aspects. Each plant I grew I quickly found out has different light and water requirements. One can snarl at photography and say so what. Funny thing is the snarling beast may not realize how much of his life is influenced by photographers.

Photography is more then an image or a process, to a photographer it's a lifestyle. Each photographer lives and breathes in their style. It's in the fore front of their minds driving down the road, talking to others on the phone, looking through the lens. A photograph is a concept yet developed and yet nearing completion. From the seed sown to the image on a magazine cover, the photograph is. It is the only aspect of life nearing the majority of a photographer's attention, time, and conversation.

I shoot landscapes. Landscapes go hand in hand with hiking. I desire to give validity to my stories so I take pictures. These pictures are now evolving into an art. I'll hike 2, 3, 6, and many more miles to climb up a ridge line to a peak or down into a valley so deep light seldom sees. I'll traverse snow fields, wade through ice cold creeks, and put up with swarms of mosquitoes just to see something others may never see. Why, the challenge of doing and because I can. That's why, I can.

I also like journalistic styles. I love a good story. I also enjoy seeing a story unfold with out words. Remember the picture books you had when you were a child? How many of those stories had words you needed to read in order to know what the story was about?

To night I shared an image from one of my photo essays. Alone this image is par. It's technically correct with exposure, focus, and the rule of division, etc. What the image lacked is continuity. Why was this image selected for a competition? What is the purpose/message? Truthfully, it met the requirement of the competition subject matter. I pulled it out of context for tonight. This image adds support to the essay.

An onion is seldom used alone. Sure one can eat an onion but, what is the true purpose of the onion? It's purpose is to support the other items grown in the garden. It enhances the flavor of the stew, the k-bob, the salad.

Sure my supervisor made an observation, a wake up call, an insult. Call his comment what every you want. I call it one question shy of looking deeper into the garden of my life.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Peak Baggin' Shadow Monsters

Peak Baggin' Shadow Monsters, originally uploaded by preyingjaws.

This is our second attempt with in a year to hike Lone Peak UT. Our first attempt made last November turned into the story of stories as we post holed through deep snow and turned around as we got into the crique (basin) below the cliffs. This time, under clear sky and on fresh snow all of 2 - 6 inches deep, our legs and lungs churned the vertical feet into miles gained.

This is the most aggressive hike I have ever done. It's been low on my list of things to do in Utah and it is now not only marked off but, is high on the list of things to do again in Utah. The peak is only 6 miles from the trail head yet is nearly a mile gain in elevation. In the first third of the hike 2/3's of the elevation is over conquered. The majority of the last 1/3 is mostly at the summit.

The summit itself is on the far side (a short hike) across a basin doted with rock and lush meadows. The trail up is over and around boulders making up a near knife edge of cliffs. We followed mountain goats across and for the most part also followed them up the summit. Typically out door's men would say this is foolish, this time I'd say the goats had it right, their path easy and safe to follow in the snow.

Leading upwards I made sure of each step, as the snow melted it formed a sheen of glass like ice. In no danger of falling anywhere, I suppressed my fear of heights. Why do I climb then, oh yeah, to over come that fear. Nearing the top, I kept checking each boulder for that little brass plug known as a US Geological Survey Marker. A rather whimsy sigh of relief echoed out as I found it. Looking ahead I was more relieved to know we didn't have to journey up & down yet another bit of precipice.

I didn't make the summit, my hiking partner in climb did. I was her 'guide.' I just happened to be on the lead at that moment. I doubt I'd climbed it myself. I must give a warm thanks to her for saying, 'Lets do it, lets go this week.'

Our journey up took roughly 5 hours from the trail head to the peak. We ate a small lunch and took many a picture. We found 3 brass markers about 20 feet apart, can we claim we summited three times?

20 years ago another friend and I had made an attempt. 20 years ago we got lost on the lower elevations. As I looked out at the valleys below wishing we'd made a second attempt with someone who knew the way. Pictures of mine from far below show a far different city. These pictures show valleys of ever increasing suburbia. What will the pictures in 20 years look like?

Our decent took us roughly along the same path ways. We took notes on where we made minor wrong turns and where approximately time should be at each location. We also had 'remember then moments.' Finally, hit the chute of Jacob's Ladder Trail Sign just at sunset. In the next mile down we enjoyed the warm color of fall and fading light but still bright enough to see the trail.

I highly recommend this trail with caution. Don't go if you are freakishly afraid of heights or steep inclines. Don't go if you are out of shape. Don't go if you have poor route finding skills - there are sections where the trail disappears.

Do go if you are into awe inspiring views. Do go if you want a measure of your stamina and dedication to the task - the climb up from the trail head isn't fun. That's where 2/3's the elevation gain takes place. Do go if you are passionate about hiking.