Monday, December 29, 2008

Ping Pong Portrait

My wife hates clutter. As I am typing this, she is approaching a nervous breakdown while cleaning up after...well, me. I have books, magazines, PEZ dispensers, coffee cups, sunflower seed shells, photo's, computer parts, DVD's, remote controls, business cards, hard drives and all sorts of miscellaneous papers ranging in levels of importance from gas receipts to tax deductions worth potentially thousands of dollars laying around in any number of places. In other words...I'm a slob.

It has been Lea's lifetime goal to minimize the amount of crap we have in the house. It isn't uncommon for me to find a pair of shoes I can't live without (granted, I haven't worn in 5 or 6 years though) buried unceremoniously in a box labeled for Goodwill. Anytime I find these little treasures I unpack them and put them back where they belong. On the floor in the bedroom.

Well, imagine my surprise when on Christmas morning I got a Ping Pong table from Lea. Before I even opened the gift, she said probably 5 or 6 times..."I regret buying you this." I couldn't imagine what it would be but my imagination did wander a bit and a Ping Pong table wasn't the direction it was going I can assure you :)

Anyway, I got this sucker put together and it looks pretty huge in the basement! I love it! I suppose I could have been a good husband and moved the stuff I needed to move for the table into more appropriate places than say...the corner of the room but what the heck, it looks good :)

I wanted to try a self portrait with my new toy so I set up a couple of soft boxes, and ended up using the timer on the camera to trigger the shot. For some reason my remote trigger for pocket wizards wasn't synching right with the camera. Any of you photogs out there reading this that may have come across the same problem in the past and knows what I need to change please feel free to drop me a line would ya?

Anyway, the shot is done, it is posted here. I will post it in Facebook in a moment with this same story and as I look back at the table I wonder if I should remove the tripod, lenses, caps, flashes, laptop, batteries and other goodies I've left on it...Naaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve is a special time. That goes without saying. The church service was especially powerful at New Life one point all the lights were out and a video began playing where Pastor Nate was barely visible but was speaking with a deep powerful voice. My youngest daughter Sophie tapped her Mom on the arm and brought her down to her level to whisper to her. Lea couldn't here her at first so Sophie repeated herself a little louder while pointing at the monitor..."Is that God?" She asked :)

Then tonight, I asked my oldest daughter Savannah what she thought the chances were of Santa showing up based on how good she was this year..."Oh, for sure Dad..don't you remember? In the summertime I was really good for at least four or five days in a row!"

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Anna Poetzl opened the service with a hypnotic song that filled the room with energy and power. She is an incredibly gifted artist that plays the violin and the piano (who knows what else..I'm guessing a lot), sings opera and every other type of music you can imagine. It is always wonderful when she performs.
Here is Anna singing again with Carolyn Bath-Foster who I am proud to say is one of my Facebook friends and someone whom Lea and I have tremendous respect for. Carolyn's voice is like no other and it is matched by her amazing energy. I kid you not..when Carolyn leads worship I get goosebumps 100% of the time.
Brooks Rice oversees the high school/college ministry at New Life. I've seen him play some serious tunes at many services. He's a dynamic speaker with a great sense of humor.

Pastor Nate Poetzl is the man. From my home town of Eugene, OR (go Ducks) Nate is a powerful speaker and someone for whom I have tremendous respect. He communicates in a way that allows everyone to feel at ease, not judged in any way, shape or form and he conveys the message with passion. We are so blessed to have met Nate and his awesome wife Jennie (also one of my Facebook friends and my toughest competition in the Word Challenge).

Another amazing talent on stage at New Life...Marli Hansen is energetic, charismatic and has an amazing voice. She sang a song written by Anna that was nothing short of incredible.

They do such a great job decorating the church. It's always unique, pretty and as a photographer I must say...well lit! :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Day

Parenting 101: Don't put your kid on a wobbly stool while wearing a hat too big too see while wearing and give her a sharp butcher knife...unless it makes for a cute photo op :)
The cool thing is that Lea always gets this dolled up before cooking me dinner :)

The loves of my life.
So my neighborhood was blasted with snow which was converted to a sheet of ice yesterday. Rather than risk my rump and venture outside in the cold I decided to set up a few lights, dress up my girls and do a quick stock photo shoot. Here are a few of my favorites.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Times are tough, but life is good

The holiday season is a joyful time of year. It can also be a stressful time of year. As the Christmas tree goes up and the light in the eyes of my children is as bright as ever I can't help but feel a warm glow inside.

This year is a tough one though. It's an understatement to say that the economy is a mess right now. I worry about my Mom who works in the auto-industry. Obviously, there is great concern for the American auto-makers though it appears that they are going to be helped out by the government. This relieves me for my Mom's sake though concerns me for the country. I hope they use this opportunity to catch up with the eco-friendly, ultra fuel efficient cars they are competing with and create something new and exciting to revolutionize the auto industry.

In the Seattle area where I live, the Boeing employees are finally done with the strike. That devastated our local economy but it didn't start or end there. My friends wife was just layed off after 21 years working for Bank of America. She is now and suddenly thrown into the job market with thousands of other bank employees recently layed off by locally ran Washington Mutual.

There are brand new houses a block away from my house that last year wouldn't have stayed on the market for a month. They've been there nearly a year now unoccupied even as the prices go down and down.

I've always said that photography feeds my soul but offered the disclaimer that the restaurant industry feeds my family. Restaurants are being hit hard and the restaurant I run is no exception. Guest counts are down, those that are coming in are spending less, wages are going up shortly and the outlook is pretty bleak right now.

That being said, it isn't important. What is important is friends, family and life. A good friend of our family died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday shocking us all. He was on the way home from visiting his adopted family in California who loved him very much. Grandpa Bob as my girls enjoyed calling him was traveling home on a 2 day train ride when he became ill. They stopped the train for him and brought him to a hotel where he was found dead the next morning. It is heartbreaking for those of us left here on Earth though he had tremendous and inspiring faith in God and I know that he is now in a better place. His death reminds me of our mortality and our short and precious every day is. No matter how difficult life may seem at times, every day is a gift and I intend to live each and every one I can accordingly. I hope that you do the same.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Honorable Mention

For the second year in a row I've been awarded honorable mention in the annual Association of Zoo's and Aquarium's Communique Photo Contest. This year my entry is going to be published in their magazine in a fairly large format which has inflated my ego to new heights. Poor Lea will never hear the end of this one. I wasn't able to make it out to the Zoo much over the summer unfortunately but this contest has motivated me to really nail it for next year so they'll be seeing a lot more of me coming up really soon.

Myself, Dennis Conner, Tianna Klineburger, Tammy Fullum and the Woodland Park Zoo's staff photographer Ryan Hawk each earned an honorable mention this year with our photo's from WPZ which is a pretty outstanding result in my opinion. You can view all of the images at the following link...

AZA Publications

Thanks again to Ric Brewer and Ryan Hawk for providing me with such a unique opportunity to photograph at the Zoo. It is something I truly enjoy.