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Showing posts from 2018

Year in Review: 2018

Here we are again. Is that starting to feel cliche? This happens every twelve months and yet when it’s time to buy a new calendar all we do is reflect on how quick the previous year flew by. The unfortunate reality is every year lasts for roughly the same amount of time (and for all you sticklers out there I will add) with the exception of a leap year. What makes the passing of the prior year more or less bitter comes down to how we did personally. If you feel like the year wasn't as productive as you'd hoped it probably flew by, whereas if you kicked ass it may not be so bittersweet preparing for the New Years party tonight.

I’ve developed a new way of classifying my years. If you read my work at the beginning of 2018 you know I’m not big on resolutions. I find them to be too strict. Rather than going cold turkey I prefer to ween myself off the bad habits by setting guidelines to improve on. So when I look back I’m searching for signs of progress that I can continue…

I Got A Name

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"I Got A Name" - By Jim Croce


In the spring of 2016 I embarked on my first photography expedition. Shortly after convincing myself to pursue a career as a landscape photographer I booked a trip to Oregon for my first photography expedition. The trip was something of a reward for finally making the leap to chase this crazy dream of traveling and taking pictures for a living. Even though I had done nothing to ensure a promising future, when the wheels touched down in Portland I felt proud.

"Moving ahead so life won't pass me by"

Every day of the trip was spent driving through lush green landscapes to trailhead after trailhead. I had easily overbooked my stay but still didn't feel guilty for making spontaneous stops between hikes when my eye called for it. It was during a spontaneous pull off that "I Got A Name" was captured.

The lyrics of the song repeat a reassuring phrase like "I got a name" or "I got a dream" as if the protago…

Tryin'

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"Tryin'" by Eagles

I've long wished that life were like a movie where the perfect song would soundtrack a moment. Imagine walking down the street to AC/DC's "TNT". That song can make you shoot a wink at someone because you know they were thinking you look good. Just try to hold back from kicking over the nearest trash can as your confidence overflows. Or how much better would your underwater experience be if Enya was playing whenever you snorkeled.

Now imagine driving down an empty two lane highway winding through the mountains. Pine trees line the asphalt strip baking in the afternoon sun without a cloud to obstruct it. Pick your car, sleek convertible, purring sports car, maybe a rumbling motorcycle either way the wind is blowing your hair and your hand is out cutting through the gentle breeze. You've just begun a road trip after surviving another week of work and have two days of fun once you reach your destination.

With that image in your mind…

More Than a Title

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“Funny how a melody sounds like a memory” 
That line sums up the song “Springsteen” by Eric Church. The song is about the memory of a midsummer's night Bruce Springsteen concert. The lyrics tell the story of a teenage romance that is reignited by the melodies heard on that July Saturday night. While the pair have become distant, they are forever bonded by the music of "The Boss". The lyrics lay out the scene, describe the events of the night and the emotions felt as the protagonist reminisces on a memory triggered by a song.
That is the power of music. Songs evoke emotions and have the power to take us back to a moment immortalized in a melody. Couples often appropriate a song as their defining soundtrack, when they get married they select a song to be their first dance and that song forms a link back to the day they said "I do". We turn to music to make us happy, to get us pumped up, to get us through tough times, and to work through anger. Music is cons…

Go Get Lost

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I don't know how to describe the emotion. It's mostly disappointment but there's a pinch of disbelief involved as well. It's like coming home one day to a house full of friends and family shouting surprise but rather than an unexpected birthday party they have decided on a very confusing way to begin an intervention. That's how I felt when we parked at Kenosha Pass during peak fall colors.

For every golden aspen tree on the hillside there was a person there to see them. Cars were parked along the highway for a quarter mile on either side leading up to the long overflowing parking lot for Kenosha Pass. This was a place I had driven through countless times on the way to the Gunnison National Forest which is my temporary home during autumn peak. Having seen the sign so many times I eventually googled the pass that led deep into the aspen carpeted hills on either side of the road and soon after added it to my hiking to do list.

However, peak color around Kenosha occurs …

The Struggle II

It was just another typical day at work. I was sequestered to the back of the building producing artwork for other artists as I did everyday. Every piece that passed through my hands drew a comparison and a quick critique against my own photography. Of course my work was typically better but there was a steep jealousy mountain beyond bias valley that was stacked against every piece. My journey was just beginning and I could only dream about the day my work would start flowing through the lab. As the afternoon dragged by and I counted down the minutes until quitting time, my boss walked up to me and told me I had to go up front right away.

The request was strange, this was not her usual visit to discuss my daily objectives or discuss an order coming my way. Today she was in need of my presence at a part of the building I was rarely needed for some mystery reason. My route would run through our company gallery where our various products were displayed. One of my photographs had been use…

The Struggle

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The sun is shining on a cloudless Sunday morning as my Prius races west along I-70. For the fourth time in as many days I am making this drive. The first three days had been full of optimism as I sang along to the blaring radio over the two hour commute to Vail. The weather had been perfect, calm, sunny with temperatures in the low 80s and today was more of the same. Today however, the radio was not on, my optimism traded for a mind raging with pessimistic thoughts. 15 minutes from Vail at the Eagle County line the blue sky met a wall of clouds and it began to hail.

Thursday was an exciting day. I drove my wife's SUV out to Vail's Lionshead Village loaded to capacity. I was set to arrive promptly at 9am to check in and set up for my very first art festival. Everything I needed to build my booth was in the moss green Honda CRV except for my artwork which would be coming with me on Friday. The festival was a big step in pursuing my dreams and as I walked up to the welcome tent, …

The Return

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The average adult human being will make around 35,000 decisions in a day. While I was stranded on a lake in Canada for a week the average was probably closer to 3,000, with half of them involving the use of the outhouse. That box deep in the Ontario wilderness was a delightful hybrid of septic tank and sauna. Every day brought a unique philosophical debate regarding the necessity of certain bodily functions, searching for creative and desperate alternatives to an unpleasant problem. If you’ve ever smelled an old whiskey or wine barrel the burn of the whiskey or the sweetness of the wine lingers in the wood. When that hut buried in the Ontario wilderness rightfully meets its maker, those planks that harbored those putrid fumes will forever, well, you get it. 
Everyday life is full of stress that builds up over time and weighs us down. It's like being stuck in a net filled with rocks trying to sink you deeper into the water. We have developed ways to cut the net like …

The Long Shutter Project

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There was one thing I knew for certain growing up, I wanted to be passionate about my career. I didn't want a safe job, it wasn't about the money, I just wanted to wake up and be excited about the day ahead and to be happy would be enough for me. That lone requirement wasn't pushing me in a certain direction though.

In high school, I was incredibly shy, choosing to be invisible rather than face the possibility of rejection. The majority of my four years was spent with my head down hoping nobody noticed me. I over analyzed every interaction, dissecting every word that tripped out of my mouth just chipping away at my self esteem. My focus was on my piers' perception of me to the point I never focused on becoming an individual.

Photography helped cure both of those problems. My initial focus was sports. I walked into the first handful of games feeling extremely self conscious. Standing on the sidelines, exposed, I was concerned with the crowd reigning judgement on me …

Capturing the Character of Earth: Approach

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Sarah's hands are full, one is clutching mine for guidance while the other is trying to hold back our charging goldendoodle, Lambeau. The sky is still asleep and the air sharp as we make our way through the darkness. We are holding true to the concrete beneath our feet, hoping it will deliver us to our destination. I am relying more on my gut than anything else until I see a few faint red lights in the distance.

We exit the forest into a clearing where it's finally possible to see the ground beneath our feet. Sarah lets go of my hand but remains close as I follow the red lights looking for a gap. I step over bags and dodge chairs, following the chain until I reach a place along the water. Lambeau and Sarah hang back now as I set my camera up on my tripod. As the darkness is chased from the sky, the Maroon Bells emerge.

The Maroon Bells are like Colorado's Eiffel Tower, everyone and their mom has a picture of the striped peaks reflecting in Maroon Lake. Dawn brings light t…