Category Archives: Is your wife interested in photography?

Advances in the Photography Front

I’ve yet to become a huge fan of post processing.  In a way, it seems like cheating, but mostly it’s just because I loose interest in such things after a photo has been taken.  But I’m trying to do better.  We recently purchased an iMac, and with it comes iPhoto.  I love this program, and it has finally helped me take an interest in photo editing.  With a single click of the “Enhance” button, a good photo can become great.  I also enjoy the shutter correction features and filters.  Some day soon, I’ll probably purchase some full-blown processing software such as Photoshop Elements, which seems the obvious choice.  Pixelmator looks like a pretty solid option as well.

Here are some of the photos from our Christmas trip to Tahoe, thanks to iPhoto:




Tara’s parents were nice enough to give me an external flash for Christmas.  Now I can accomplish that nice ceiling bounce without doing tricks like this.







An anniversary trip to Wine Country

Back in August, Tara and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary.  Since we did not have any thawed wedding cake this year, we decided to take a mini vacation. Last fall we had the idea to go on a weekend trip to Grand Junction, CO for wine tasting.  A year later, that idea came to fruition.

We waited until mid-September so it wouldn’t be too hot and the fruit would be peaking.  At 3:30 Saturday morning, we boarded an eastbound Amtrak train with our bikes stowed in boxes and everything we needed for the weekend in our backpacks.

After a somewhat fitful sleep, we awoke to sunlight streaming through the train windows and enjoyed breakfast in the dining car before arriving in GJ at 10:30.  We unpacked the bikes, shouldered our packs, and started pedaling towards wine country.


Tara at the train station


The tour we embarked on that day was admittedly a little more than we had intended, but was worth every hard-earned mile.  In the end, we rode about 27 miles before rolling into the Bed & Breakfast.  All I can say is, our asses were sore.




We stopped at 4 wineries in total, each offering free tastings.  Consequently, each stop increased the weight of our packs—we’ve been needing to stock up on wine for a while.  Rolling up on our bikes with our packs was quite the conversation starter.  The response is almost always: “We should look into riding the train”.  It feels good to promote Amtrak because it is so awesome!




In the late afternoon, after a wild ride down from atop the bluffs, across the river, and into Palisade, we stopped for a break in the riverside park.  We spread a blanket out in the shade of the tall cottonwoods and lay on it eating peaches and honey sticks.  It’s fun to play vagabond every once and a while.




After 6 more miles and 1 final tasting, we arrived at the B&B.  The host couple was super nice and suggested a Mexican restaurant which we walked to—a welcome change in transportation.  Dinner was good, but the best part was the full-strength margaritas.  You can’t get them like that in Utah.




The next morning, we exchanged stories with the other couple at the B&B who also happened to be cyclists, and then, much to our hind-quarters’ dismay, climbed on the bikes again and rode back towards Grand Junction.  It was 9 miles in total and we arrived before noon.  We explored downtown and a hit a brew pub for lunch.  The micro brew completed the CO trip for me.





The train was supposed to leave at 4:30 that afternoon, but was delayed an hour, so we dropped the bikes and packs off at the train station and did some exploring on foot.  Needless to say, we were very ready for dinner on the train that evening, which turned out to be very awkward because the two guys we go seated with never said a word.  We arrived back in SLC around 12:30 that night.  All told, it was an amazing trip.  Highly recommend it.



“Was that girl topless?”

This past weekend, Tara and I tried out a new style of camping: Yurt camping.  A yurt is a Mongolian style dwelling.  Chances are, you’ve seen one before, you just didn’t realize that it was called a yurt.

Cheating, for sure.

There is a fair number of these dwellings throughout Utah backcountry.  We chose the ones at East Canyon State Park (no, not the place that the Donner Party spent the winter—I made that mistake myself).  These are by no means rustic or in the backcountry, but it was a fun, unique way to ease into the camping season.  The yurt had a thermostat-controlled propane stove for heat.  As much as we liked this feature, we were slightly disappointed because it meant we didn’t get to try out our new 15 degree sleeping bags.

Could have been made by Amish people


Must have one of these in my backyard some day!

We set out Saturday afternoon after we got there in search of hiking.  We were headed up a highway that we knew was closed, but were hoping that we’d find a trailhead before the closure.  Just beyond a sign that said “Road closed ahead”, we rounded a bend and stumbled upon what was apparently a nude photo shoot.  A topless girl took off running, covering herself, to a vehicle parked just off the road.  The photographer stayed by his equipment—in the middle of the road, laughing as we drove by.  We were utterly confounded by it all.  The guy looked pretty legit—he had quite the setup, but they couldn’t have picked a less scenic spot.  And did they really think nobody would drive up there just because the road was closed ahead?  We never did find the trail.  We ended up walking up the closed road for a ways.  We did not encounter any more nudity.

After dinner that night, I gathered up my own photography gear, and we headed down to the lake for our own “shoot”.  And by “shoot”, I mean the sunset, of course.  I found a good spot long before sunset, so we passed the time with Tara throwing rocks in the water and me shooting the splashes.

I think that one nailed a fish.


Thank goodness she puts up with my "artistic" attemtps


Then we played Hide & Seek.  Sort of…

Used manual focus on this one.  Is that like the photography equivalent to tuning by ear?


I love sage


Then Tara said I should photograph my tripod down on beach.  It ended up being a pretty good suggestion. 😉

Stay away, duck  


Then at last the sun was low enough.




The next morning it rained heavily, so we curled up with our Nooks in the warmth of the Yurt enjoying the patter of rain drops on the canvas roof.


Then when we got back down to the valley that afternoon, it was sunny and warm, so I had to mow the lawn…

Photo of the Whatever

I feel slightly silly posting this picture here after I already posted it in a facebook album, but I’m just so darn pleased with how it turned out.  Tara and I were on our way back from Omaha after the holidays on the Amtrak, and got off in Winter Park, CO to stretch our legs.  It was like 3 degrees out, but it wasn’t so bad in the sun.  I had gotten a polarizing filter for Christmas, so I was eager to try it out.  Now I just need to learn some Photoshop magic so I can remove the rest of the people from the platform!


_DSC315770mm  F5.6  1/500 sec  ISO-100  With Polarizer  


If you haven’t ridden the train, definitely add it to your bucket list.  There is not a more relaxing way to travel, save maybe a water vessel, and the scenery is simply amazing.

So, my wife caught me light painting…

I recently purchased a new tripod.  This is very exciting because it was a long process of deliberating back and forth between something that is light and something that is functional.  In the end, I opted for functional, and have been happy with it. 

The other night, I was down in the basement with the lights off using the tripod for some light painting.  7 seconds into a 15 second exposure in which I was attempting to trace my snowboard with an LED flashlight, I heard Tara on the stairs coming to see what I was up to.  I immediately knew I’d be receiving crap for this one.  I guess I could have scrapped the shot, and assumed a less compromising position by the time she entered the room, but I didn’t feel like it.   It was exactly as predicted.  Although she nearly assumed I was not in the basement when she rounded the landing and saw the lights off, it was not long before she noticed me, snowboard in one hand, waving a flashlight with the other.  Her laughter was loud and immediate.  Were we not married, I may have been thoroughly embarrassed.




I then enlisted her help holding the snowboard up for me

Photo of the Whatever

So this just in: October is nearly over.  This means fall is giving way to winter.  I swear Summer goes way faster when one is no longer in school.  This doesn’t really make sense to me.  To be honest, I don’t mind that the warm weather is dwindling.  I’d say Tara and I made good use of it.  I could have have done with at least one more backpacking trip, but two is good.  Besides, we could just get winter sleeping bags and then we could go in the winter too.  Then we wouldn’t even need a tent!  We’d just dig a snow cave!  Not to mention, my snowboard is waiting down there in the basement, and I’m starting to itch to have it out again.  And we’re only a month away!  Insane!

Anyway, I figured I should post a fall picture or two before it’s too late.  These are from a Sunday afternoon hike up in Millcreek Canyon Tara and I did a few weeks ago.  I love the red “berries” that come out in fall.  I’m not sure what they are though.

Can't think of anything quirky to say here.

60mm  F5.6  1/125 sec  ISO-100


The mysterious berries

70mm  F5.6  1/20 sec  ISO-100

Photo of the Whatever

Tara and I traveled up Millcreek canyon on a Sunday afternoon so she could have a change of scenery while she studied for her board exam.  Meanwhile, I entertained myself down at the stream.  I had trouble picking the best photo, though.  I was ready to say the first is the best, but Tara insisted the second is better.  I’ll let you decide.

In this one, the moss-covered rocks are the subject and the water compliments

60mm     F29     2 sec     ISO 100

This one is almost too busy in my opinion.35mm     F22     2 sec     ISO 100

Adventures with Light Painting

A few months ago, thanks to the National Geographic Photo of the Day RSS feed, my mind was opened up to a whole new realm of photography: Light Painting.  Sure, I was always well aware of the concept—nightime city shots with streaked headlights or the incredible all-night exposure of the starry sky, but I had never realized just how much could be accomplished.  I have been determined ever since to try some of my own.

This past Saturday, while Tara was studying, I dug out my long neglected nerdery, that is, prized electrical components that I’ve pillaged throughout the years, and mimicking a project from Make Magazine, I built a couple light orbs.  The first one is a bunch of red LED’s soldered together and a few pennies and a dead AA battery for weight powered by a 9V battery cased in an Altoids box.  The second is a strip of tiny neon lights that I procured years ago from a dangerous corner of the web for electronics nerds: The Electronic Goldmine.


I was too lazy to actually take a quality photo here My 2 Light Painting tools: the Orb, and the Lightsaber

Once the nerdery was complete, I shut myself in the darkened bathroom to try them out.  The results were interesting…

I should have been sitting on the toilet for this Attempt 1 with the orb.  The exposure was a bit long.  Also, I did not expect that I would be that visible.

How would you like to see this in the night?


I am your father...Attempt 1 with the Lightsaber.


I then tried a few abstract self portraits… I typically don't care for profiles...

I had a better one of this, but accidently deleted it


Tara says it's fine as long as I don't get a cloak. 

And now for something completely different…

Set Phasors to StunThis one I took after a hike.  It was a 15 second exposure, timed such that a car would be headed down the road (the red).  However, a cop pulled up in the final seconds and stopped to yell at some kids to put out their fire (the bright white).  Thus, the end result looks like a friggin’ laser!