Friday, September 30, 2011

Moon, Cloud, Sky

Moon, Cloud, Sky

The Cloud's tendrils reach out to surround the fingernail moon and I wonder why isn't there more color, more drama, more aspects that can draw a reader--maybe even a first time visitor to the site. Will they come and see? We can know for sure for the statistics that are checked like the scores of a game won't lie.

But the picture is a moment in time, a moment of wonder considering that there is a huge object bound by an invisible band of gravity that keeps the moon close. Mathematics and lighting cause the waxing sliver of visible light to be seen and photographed by humans on earth.

I wonder, too, as I look at the almost invisible light reflecting off the surface, if anyone else took a picture of the moon either today or tonight. Chances are quite good that many of the almost seven billion of us did. And, another strange thought comes to mind, I wonder if any of them used film...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wow! That Picture Looks Groovy!

There are a ton of apps for the iPhone out there (and unfortunately, I seem to gather as many as I can--mostly the free ones...I know, I'm a self-admitted app hoarder...). I came across one the other day. It's called HDR Camera.


What is HDR you ask? That's what I asked after I downloaded the app. Let's refer to the fount of all knowledge to learn more on the subject, Wikipedia. Here's their definition: HERE.

Some of the people I follow on Google + are incredible photographers and they have utilized this HDR technology to create some mind-blowing shots. I wondered what some of my pictures might look like using the app so I've included the classic "Before/After" design.

I've discussed before that I love photography, but as technology as progressed, I've lacked the means (financially and otherwise...) to keep up. I'm amazed when we go to the gymnastics meets for my daughter, some of the parents are holding thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment...if only.

I do enjoy the look of a great photograph, but there's something about the un-doctored photo, the shot that's just what the eye sees. I'm not naive... I understand the camera itself is a manipulating device. Still, when that shot comes and it looks just the way it did when I took the picture, there's not much better...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Halloween...Any Thoughts?


My FAVORITE time of year.

My favorite time of year isn't necessarily the day of Halloween, but autumn, the fall, that's the time of year I love. Halloween is just lucky enough to fall within the best months. Which brings me to the question, (for those of you who also love the holiday...)

What do you love MOST about Halloween?

Of course, things may change considering the age of the one answering. Children, and those addicted to sugary sweets, will have to say, it's the candy. A few years ago we eliminated all food containing artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors in the food we have at home. If you've ever looked at any of the popular candy that's out there, that means, our kids do not eat Halloween candy. Maybe many of you out there think denying our kids candy--especially on Halloween is tantamount to child abuse. And maybe it is...

To me, Halloween will also be connected to the Heidelberg Restaurant. Those familiar with the history of Davis County should remember the upscale German restaurant that closed maybe 15-20 years ago. In high school I worked as a cook with some great people. How can this eatery be associated with the "festival of the dead?" Easy...the place was haunted.

To capitalize on the scariness of the the haunted building, each Halloween after the restaurant closed, those who worked there would gather on the upper level, set up a big TV and watch a scary movie. Let's just say, an active imagination influenced by the ambiance can create a lot of interesting moments.

When the road at the end of our street was undeveloped, my mom set up some card tables and served home-made root beer and doughnuts to the little trick-or-treaters. She figured that if someone took the time to come all the way down the street just to visit two homes, they should be rewarded for going the extra mile (or 10th of a mile...). We have tried keeping up the tradition. It's a good tradition.

However you enjoy the holiday, please let me know. I love hearing about other family's traditions. And whatever you do, have a safe and fun Halloween in one month and two days from today!

Monarch Winner

Monarch…Giveaway Winner

Just a quick notice to say congratulations to TORI ELDRIDGE who won the free copy of Michelle's latest book, and thank you to all who read my little review. 

For additional information on both Michelle and her book (including being able to read the first two chapters of the book...), please visit her website: HERE.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Random Pictures, 27 September 2011

Driving to work this morning while it was still dark, I passed my friend's barbershop and saw a flyer in the window. I thought it might be a notice informing us of his wife's recent passing (she died last week; she was very young; it is very sad...). I hopped out of the car and was surprised the flyer advertised something else completely.

On my way home I thought I could catch an interesting shot (or two...) at the local pond. There were a few fishermen and fisherkids, but the most interesting subjects honked and warmed themselves in the afternoon sun. Only one of the birds seemed to care that I was there.

Interestingly enough, my son's scout group decided to go fishing at that very pond tonight. It's only about 1/2 mile away from my house and since I needed to exercise, I plugged in my Sony headphones into my LG phone, laced up the ol' running shoes and ran/walked to the pond. I snapped a picture of the sunset on the way. Even though it wasn't the most stunning sunset I've ever seen, it was beautiful, none the less...

The scouts fished even after anyone could adequately see. I did take out my point-and-shoot just to see if I could catch anything myself. I'm sure had I arrived 15 minutes earlier, that sunset would be reflecting off the water and I might have got an amazing shot or two...

But standing a little uphill from my son I took a picture and I think I did okay...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Saturday Afternoon In A Dojo...

Last Saturday afternoon, we loaded the family in the van and drove to Utah County to attend a portion of my niece's black belt certification. It was an amazing experience.

We arrived halfway through the event. Across the south wall sat a row of judges all dressed in black. There room was huge and there were so many competitors on the floor. After eating lunch outside, we found spots inside and watched the action take place.

My niece did a fantastic job. She fought two black belts at the same time, fought five black belts in five minutes--fighting each black belt for a minute then the next one would come in. I was not prepared for how emotional it was to watch these kids fight through the pain and fatigue. Everyone in the dojo was screaming and cheering and we all counted down the last 10 seconds together. One of the competitors dropped the second the time ran out. Rarely have I seen kids work that hard.

The final test was the breaking of things. First boards, then bricks. My niece aced them both. There was one person who had some trouble with the bricks. She tried over and over again and failed to break the brick. I don't believe there was anyone in that room that would have belittled her or felt anything but empathy for the young woman. I think I learned more from watching her than I did anything else.

Watching my son workout with his karate trainers, I thought I had respect for the art. That respect increased last Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Farmington Elementary School Class Pictures

Today in church an old friend (the term "old" is one of endearment and not necessarily meant to denote age...even though we are getting old) came up to me and said "hello." His family now lives in California but he plans on returning to the old berg one day. Seeing him again reminded me of the days we spent together in school. The friend who I saw today in church is in the above picture with me.

Here was my first school. I've posted this picture before and I loved that school even though I was only there a couple of years.

After 1st grade, we moved to the modern edifice that still stands today. I've also included this picture before, and yes...planted trees have matured, there's grass in front of the school--even the parking lot is paved (many times over...). The building, once so new and shinny, looks old now. It has not, in my opinion, weathered well the years.

The friend I saw today was also in my 2nd grade class and he's in this picture. It's interesting living across the street in the same house in which I was raised. I see many of these children (now adults) as time goes on. I saw of the these boys at the dentist's office last month. Several girls live close, and some live across the country. I know our principle (who is in every class picture...) died several years ago, and I don't dare guess how long it has been since my 2nd grade teacher passed. 

Grade 3...some new faces, some the same. There are many about whom I can remember many things except their names. I even remember where some of them lived. I wonder what has become of those I no longer claim a familiarity...

My wife is only a few years younger than me, and when she showed me some of her elementary school class photos. The children looked so similar. In the above picture above I see someone who's father just died this week and I wonder how the family is doing. I also see friend with whom I've had a chance to re-connect long after we posed for this photo in which the teacher is mysteriously missing, for some reason...

Some of these children are a grade above me. We shared a 5th/6th grade class. I always wished I could have only "enjoyed" only two years of Jr. high school. Nope, I got three years at Kaysville's finest Jr. high. 

There are so many memories associated with these simple images, so many communications, so many feelings, embarrassments, joys, pains, and laughs. At times as I drive around the streets of my hometown and see the homes where we all once lived, these memories come back and offer me a moment of joy mixed with melancholy for I know that these memories are only that, memories. Thank God for pictures.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Morning Produce Run...

I've written about the produce co-op before (HERE) but this morning was a little different. Since the whole Bountiful Baskets operation is run by volunteers, my wife decided to sign up to be the person in charge. This morning was our first attempt at managing things.

All in all, things went extremely well. We "recruited" our kids to help. What they lack in ability they more than make up for in ambition. The truck was on time, we had adequate volunteers to move and distribute the food items (we even got a pineapple...), and problems were at a minimum.

Around 10 a.m. the patrons formed queues, a slight delay hopefully encouraged some to volunteer in the future (those who volunteer arrive an hour early but they get to check out their food first...). I say it's worth the time.

We have thrown ourselves into this little food gathering and distributing adventure. The kids had a lot of fun helping out with the other volunteers. Once the crowds had all but gone, only three orders remained. We called those who ordered their food earlier in the week. They came and picked up their assigned items. The floors were swept, the baskets stacked and put away, and we drove away from the fire station blessed with the opportunity to serve. It was a great morning.

Friday, September 23, 2011

St. George Temple, St. George, Utah

Last week we found ourselves in St. George. On our last full day in the city and we decided to take a walking tour of arguably the city's most famous attraction, the St. George Temple.

We arrived just after sunset and tried my best to capture just how stunning the building looks.

Of course, after spending nearly a week in St. George, one hears things about the famous building. Apparently, the building was built using the native red rocks of the area.

Then, the pioneers who settled the city whitewashed the building.

If you walk around the back you'll see these doors which--we believe--lead into the baptistry.

The huge lights that illuminate the building lie next to the walking path. My 12-year old decided to try to see if he could make any shadow puppets on the huge white walls. I thought he did a pretty good job of creating a shadow wolf about to attack a large man in a silly hat.

The building's entrance can be accessed on the north side. In front of the door is a fountain, which, strangely reminds me of the temples located in Provo and Ogden, Utah.

I've been told, although I cannot recall exactly when, that the invention of the revolving door made modern air conditioning possible.

When driving on the freeway in St. George the temple rises above the surrounding buildings. It looks small from the street, but when you're standing right by it, it overwhelms.

We finished our clockwise walking tour, the sky a little darker, the white a little brighter. The building stands as a testament to the people and their faith.

We parked our minivan across the street and as the kids piled in, each secure in their own traveling cocoons, I took a final picture from across the street. I hope you've enjoyed this little visual tour of the building. It's an amazing site, and I'm convinced the best time to see the temple in St. George is at night.