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Smog over Salt Lake Valley at dawn

Learning to See Clearly

By | Observations, Philosophy | No Comments

Sometimes we discover our greatest opportunities when we learn to sacrifice our immediate desires in order to follow our intuition. A big part of this is learning to move with the ebbs and flows of life and stop trying to control that which we have no control over, or that which only causes us pain and frustration when we try and control it. It means letting go and moving forward despite the pain and discomfort of the unpracticed and unfamiliar. Continually searching for new opportunities and embracing them when they pass our way. I learned to see more clearly this…

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Lance Dickey rappells down the 350 foot Fantasy Well Pit in Nielson's Well

Nielson’s Well

By | Caving | 2 Comments

For some strange reason I find it incredibly relaxing to attach myself to a rope and glide of into the abyss. Perhaps it is the heightened sense of focus that drowns out all other concerns, or the sound of my own heartbeat echoing through the inner chambers of my head, or the feeling of accomplishment after surviving obstacles that could consume my life in one miscalculated instant. Either way, life seems better when I go underground.

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Buildings in the historic area of Minneapolis

The Urban Landscape

By | Urban Landscape | No Comments

Beauty is a matter of perspective and sometimes downtown can be just as beautiful as the remote mountain landscape of southern Utah, if we will simply open our eyes and broaden our vision to another way of seeing. I recently took a trip to Minneapolis to present at a national conference. During our down time I wandered the city streets to enjoy the harmonious clash of past and present. It was fascinating to see how the city had renovated old buildings, merging them with modern architecture, like a half fleshed out android.

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Canyonlands National Park

By | Observations | No Comments

Sometimes, though it may seem better at the moment to travel somewhere else to get the great shot, where you are can be just as good if not better. The day had been long, Michelle, our 4 month old daughter Sierra, and I were tired from trying to care for Sierra on this, her first camping trip, and we were just getting dinner started. As we had gotten a late start that morning we were unable to secure a campground within Canyonlands National Park and now I felt myself getting particular antsy because I wanted to hurry up and scarf…

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Zion National Park Overlook

Zion National Park

By | Observations, Philosophy, Teaching | One Comment

Adaptation seems to be the name of the game when it comes to photographing the natural world. Even when the weather report cooperates it doesn’t necessarily mean that the weather will actually follow suit. For our short weekend field trip for the SLCC Nature Photography class we had hoped for a beautiful sunset, crystal clear night skies, and a glorious sunrise. Instead we got a sunset that was consumed by the shadow of giants, a hazy night sky, and an overcast sunrise. Disappointing to some, but full of possibilities for those of us who have trained our vision to see…

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Slowing Down

By | Observations, Philosophy, Teaching | No Comments

The one thing I have noticed with the proliferation of the digital medium is what I refer to as “good enough” syndrome. We snap, snap, snap without even thinking and enjoying that which lies before us. The internal dialog may go something like this, “Should I snap it? I don’t know if it is really that great of a shot. What am I thinking, it’s digital.” Snap. Snap. Snap. And we head home with a massive¬†collection of digital data, most of which will serve only to hog space on our hard drive. Consequently, that one great shot, may be easily…

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Winter in the Canyon

By | Observations | No Comments

I think the hardest thing about shooting in the winter is finding the motivation to get up early and head out into the mountains when the temperatures are so bitterly cold. But then I was reading in People magazine about a woman who holds a pre-school for ages 3-6 in the forests of Washington and tells the children the following: There is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Once you arrive at your destination, or the beginning of your journey, it never really seems to be as bad as your mind made it out to be while you were laying…

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Sand ripples on the Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake

By | Teaching | No Comments

The part of nature photography that I most look forward to are those quiet moments of observation, when I don’t have to worry about where I was or where I am going, but can just be in the moment. Enjoying the scene or the object before me. Contemplating its form. Cleaning my mind. Listening to that visual guide within me tell me how to arrange each shape and form. During today’s nature photography field workshop to the Great Salt Lake, I became so engrossed in the changing light that when the light finally faded into full, washed-out sun, I found…

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The Artist Statement

By | Philosophy | No Comments

I recently attended the Mountain West Art Conference and one of the workshops that was particularly helpful was “Know Thyself! Crafting and Engaging Artist Statement”. So here are a few tips for those who are undergoing the difficult task of writing up your artist statement: Describe WHO you are, WHAT you are, WHEN you are, WHERE you are from, and WHY you are Write about what you believe to be true about your work Avoid excessive use of the thesaurus. It’s hard to effectively communicate with words whose definitions you are unsure of. No more than a page. And with…

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Reasons Not to Stay Inside

By | Observations | No Comments

At 8:00 in the morning I debate as to whether or not I should go out. The weatherman was once again wrong and a sky that was supposed to be “partly cloudy” has turned out to be “mostly rainy” with a mix of snow. Despite the turn I decide to chance it. The parking lot at the trailhead is completely empty and it’s not hard to see why. The good thing is that I don’t have to worry about overheating on the way up the trail. On the way up, neither the light nor the landscape being particularly pleasing this…

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