Sunday, March 29, 2009

Post #100 - Lucky

For anyone that has been to my house in the past year and a half or so I am sure you will be familiar with our neighbors fuzzball from hell....Lucky. (Aptly named because he is lucky his family loves him or...who knows what would have happened to him.) I thought I used to hate little yippy dogs before but Lucky changed my hate tolerance to previously unknown levels. Anyways for those who have met Lucky I thought you would be glad to know (We are ecstatic) that Lucky's family has moved to Pleasant Grove and taken Lucky with them. (If you live in Pleasant Grove I extend my apologies.)

P.S. We are ecstatic about Lucky moving. His family was actually quite nice and were wonderful neighbors. We will miss them.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


This is kind of a postdated post since I've actually been home for a while but have not had a lot of time to work on pictures. I'm always excited about having a chance to add an additional stamp to my passport. So when I figured out a way to justify an invitation to Cancun I was very excited. Despite my excitement I have to admit that the first stop of this trip did leave a little to be desired...Wal-Mart. I travel all the way to Cancun and we go to Wal-Mart. I guess on the bright side starting out this way means the trip can only get better.

It did. We had a condo right on the beach and spent most of our time in the water. Four of the group were certified for scuba so they went on an open water dive. (They saw a nurse shark, I was very jealous.) I spent a lot of my time snorkeling. There were some very nice reefs right off our beach. Swam with a few rays and some very beautiful fish.

There was also a lagoon right by our condo in Akumal that we went snorkeling in.

We did go on a very colorful tour of Tulum. When our tour guide found out that we were LDS I think he pulled out a different tour book and gave us a very non-scientific pro-LDS tour. It was funny, not very educational but we had a good time.

This was our condo.

Apparently not only us Americans come to Cancun to relax. This dog was totally on vacation.

We also went scuba diving/snorkeling in the dos ojos cenote. There are no rivers in Cancun, all of the water runs underground and occasionally the ground will collapse where the water has eroded the ground enough. This is one of those places and it is quite beautiful. The water is very clear and still relatively warm. It is only about 5 degrees colder than the ocean.

While me and Becca waited for the four scuba divers we went and made friends with this little monkey that was over by a gift shop.

We spent our last night in a small town closer to Chichen Itza I'm not sure what it was called but looking at maps I believe it was Valladolid. Our timing was pretty good, the town was at the end
of a week long Latin celebration. We had planned on doing some tourist shopping but all the shops were closed for the festival so we decided to join in.

Finally we went to Chichen Itza. We had planned on going here the night before but we didn't move nearly fast enough that day. We spent a lot longer at the dos ojos cenote than we had planned on and the drive was longer than we had planned on. As a result we would only have two hours to be able to see all of Chicen Itza before we had to leave to catch our plane. It was way to quick. Luckily tripods are illegal because apparently if you are using a tripod you are a professional and will be trying to make money. Since I couldn't make money I was able to move much quicker and was able to see quite a bit. So if you think any of these pictures turned out nice and you would like to purchase one I will have to warn you that they will not be "professional" because I could not use a tripod.

Just in case you were wondering not only were the Mayan extremely talented in architecture, astronomy, and athletics but they also seemed to have developed a very early form of Tic-Tac-Toe. I think they missed the basic gist of the game since X took more turns and O still won but it does demonstrate the sheer ingenuity of the ancient Mayan.

And finally as a new twist on the self portrait we did one while driving to the airport. And you thought talking on your cell phone while driving was unsafe.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Break - Candids

So for Spring Break '09 we decided to head out to California and play along the coastline. We headed out very early Wednesday morning. We spent the majority of the day either driving or at one rest stop or another. The first few images were taken at these stops including the Bonneville Salt Flats and of course In-n-Out. (Why people insist on stopping there I will never know. I definitely hope its not for the quality or taste of the food and I can't see it being for the environment either. One of the great mysteries of life I suppose.)

Mary Beth felt the need to get us attired appropriately for driving by San Francisco and Dave obliged. (Maybe a bit to obliging I think.)

I decided that these were the two most random signs I saw along the way. I seriously want to have sat in on the government meeting where they thought it was necessary to put Mexico on the official coastal trails signage. In San Diego maybe, but in San Francisco that is just awesome.

And of course this made me feel safe.

The first planned activity was to go visit Kim Weston who is the grandson of Edward Weston and currently lives on Edwards property. We stopped for sunrise at Monastery Beach and after that went further south to check out the calla lillies. Then we headed back to meet with Kim.

The old house and darkroom were still there and we got to go through and take a relaxed tour while Kim showed us a lot of the small hidden treasures in the house. It was surprising how simple and unpretentious Edwards life was. It was simply a one room house with the darkroom at the end. They added on a bedroom later in Edwards life when he contracted Parkinson's disease. We get this delusional stereotype of what artists are and how they act and even though Edward may have been one of the greatest photographers to have ever lived it was refreshing to see that it is not necessary to buy into the hype of elitism and intellectual grandeur that pervades academic and gallery art now. One of my photographic idols lived the simplest of lives and we are all blessed for how it taught him to see.

This is where Edward printed. His "enlarger" was simply a lightbulb that he controlled the exposure by changing the wattage and raising and lowering the bulb. Edwards images were shot on large format cameras and then contact printed. You can see a duplicate negative of pepper #30 in the background. This is one of his most influential and well recognized images. The duplicate negative would be the same size as the original negative. You can see Pepper #30 by clicking here.

This is Edwards desk that he would have wrote his famous daybooks at early each morning. Of course this may have been after he did some printing starting at around 3 am which he had to do since his darkroom leaked light so badly.

Kim then took us into his studio and showed us a number of Edward's and his own prints.

It was a wonderful visit and I would like to graciously thank Kim and his wife Gina for there hospitality and generosity in spending some of there day with us. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope all the students did as well.

Then on to San Francisco. We tried to keep the trip cheap and our hotel here confirmed it. Right after we checked in 6 or 7 policeman came to haul a guy out of a room on a stretcher that was right by ours. The next morning 6 or 7 more policeman showed up to arrest someone for parole violation in the next room over. For the photographic end of things we went out to Baker Beach for a beautiful fogged in morning by the Golden Gate Bridge. It seemed to be the one area that provided the most technical difficulties (myself included). I keep hearing stories of what someone did to tweak there film.

In my new-found desire to provide pictorial evidence that I physically go to all the places that my camera does I present my newest self-portrait. People are going to start to think I look perpetually tired since I keep photographing myself at sunrise.

Driving the famed Lombard street.

We made it up to Trinadad and Eureka and photographed down at the ocean that night. For sunrise we headed into the redwoods. We had no specific location in mind so I randomly pulled off into a grove. Brandon suggested that we should head back one spot to Lady Bird Johnson Grove. We failed to mention this to one car. As we headed out to the road to go back that car lagged behind and didn't see that we had turned left. We realized this shortly after arriving at the new grove. I immediately back tracked to see if we could find the lost car. With no luck at tracking them down we finally decided to photograph. To my chagrin I realized my large format camera was residing in the back of the lost car. We left voice mail messages and text messages and decided waiting was doing no good. I took my digital camera and wandered into the woods. By shear luck we finally tracked down the lost car about four hours later in Orick where we had stopped for brunch. The great irony of this story is the turnout we lost the car at was named Lost Man Creek.

The rest of the day we had to deal with a torrential downpour. We braved the elements and stopped at Patricks Point which I will put on my to do again some day when it is not raining list.

My candids stopped at this point. We drove around entertaining ourselves while we hoped for the rain to clear. We drove down to Ferndale which is a beautiful old Victorian town that has been used in movies such as The Majestic. We finally gave up on being able to photograph due to the rain and decided to start heading home. To mock our decision the rain finally abated and we decided to go back to Trinadad beach to discover the shoreline that we missed the first night. This was easily the photographic highlight of the trip for me. The previous post had pictures from this night. It is crazy to think how close we came to not stopping.

The marathon drive that I mentioned came about due to the storm that had been hitting us all day long. The pass we planned on going over had been hit by about two feet of snow and and we decided to head south to Sacremento that night. This decision was made at dinner and we did not get out of Eureka until 8 pm. We did not make it to Sacremento. We drove until about two-thirty and finally called it quits. When we woke up in the morning we checked out Donners Pass to discover that it recieved about one foot of snow and were discouraging all travel. So we ended up taking the logical route from northern California through Bakersfield and Las Vegas. We started out at nine in the morning and did not reach the Utah Valley University parking lot until 3 am.

A great adventure that I think converted everyone to embrace the miracle of flight. It was alot of fun and whenever some good photographs are produced then I think it is a trip well worth it.

P.S. If you ever have to stop in Tehachapi, CA to go to the bathroom, budget in some extra time. Or find a better gas station than we did.

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