Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fair Time? Already?!

So i've been dragging my feet choosing pictures for this year's Utah State Fair photography Exhibit thinking i still had plenty of time to decide. I'm really just not that good at picking favorite pictures, which is why i typically post way to many pictures here, i just can't narrow them down - i like them all. Anyway, the pictures are due by the end of the weekend, i probably need to turn them in to get printed on Thursday or Friday to submit on Saturday.
i'll try to break up the pictures by the lot i would submit them in. I'd prefer to only submit one picture per lot, and i can only submit three pictures.
Let me know which ones you like best in the comments.
Lot #12: Panorama


Lot #14: Portraiture: Children


Lot #15: Portraiture: Groups

Lot #16: Scenic (including hand of man)

Lot #17: Scenic (excluding hand of man)


















Lot #19: Still Life


Lot #21: Wedding




Keep the following in mind when comparing photos:
  • Impact (appeal, emotion, statement, composition, rarity)
  • Quality (exposure, sharpness, etc.)
  • Appeal (universal appeal)
  • Purpose & Meaning
  • Craftmanship (composition, depth, contrast, saturation, balance, difficulty, etc.)
Thanks for your help!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Mountain Biking

Shortly before leaving for Williamsburg (i know, that was over two weeks ago), i decided i wanted to get a last mountain bike ride in before leaving. But by the time i got whatever done i needed to get done that day (actually, i probably didn't get anything done; it's more likely i just messed around all morning) it was already late into the afternoon and sweltering hot in the Salt Lake Valley. Something was going on that evening, and if i wanted to go riding i needed to go now, but where?

Enter Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Although you have to drive up the canyon a ways, the cooler temperatures are definitely worth the extra 15 minutes you have to drive. And not only was i rewarded with much more pleasant temperatures, but a blanket of wildflowers as well!

While the resort does offer lift-served hiking and biking, i didn't see enough trails to justify the cost of the lift pass. Besides, i got more exercise biking up anyway. But it was a great ride that i'll definitely revisit to escape hot afternoons in the valley. Plus, they had frisbee golf up there too! I need to go check that out as well.

Overall, a great 6 mile bike ride!

Fast forward to this past weekend (i know, i know, you still want me to rewind to the Grand Canyon and even Williamsburg, and i will, but these are short easy posts)... On Friday Jared, my bro-in-law, Bill, my biking buddy, and i went out to Deer Valley in Park City. Deer Valley is one of Utah's premier ski resorts in the winter, and it definitely lives up to its rep in the summer as well. Bill and i typically try to get out here at least once every summer for our birthday presents to eachother. But i definitely need to get out there again before the end of the summer, what a blast!
Here i am cruising down from the top of the Sterling Express Lift to the trail hub in the Meadow. If you watch closely you might see me catch a little air. Well, actually you won't, Jared was standing in the wrong place, but i did get some air i tell ya!
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Here's Bill rocketing through some Aspens on Deer Camp.

Here's Jared on Deer Camp. Although this was Jared's first lift-served downhilling experience he wasn't near as entertaining as Topher, another bro-in-law, last year. Granted, Topher may have been so "entertaining" last year that he opted out this year. BTW, if you don't know, the real entertainment from these rides comes from spectacular wipe-outs. But you can see all the Aspens, they get pretty close to the trail and Jared did show me one wound that came from getting a little too close to one of those trees. And don't get me wrong, he was still real entertaining, he was the only one gutsy enough to try a lot of the freestyle features. more on that later.

Here i am cutting a turn one of my favorite trails, Deer Crest. Man that trail is FUN!

Although Bill and I have been moutain biking for MUCH longer than Jared (over 15 years vs. maybe 5 for Jared), Jared, as usuall, put us to shame. I'm ashamed to admit in all my years of riding at Deer Valley i've never bothered trying any of their freestyle features. i just figured they'd be too hard-core or something. But Jared got us all excited to try a few of them out, and they were actually pretty fun!
Here's Jared's first attempt on the Teeter-Totter.
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Although he does end up making it on his first attempt, as you can see, it almost got REALLY entertaining at the end - almost.
Here's Jared's second attempt (his third attempt was basically the same as the second)...
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Jared's fourth and fifth attempts were succesful (although he almost got bounced off on the fourth), but i think you get the point. And besides, don't you want to see me try? No? Well too bad, it's my blog.
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I think i would've made the first attempt if my bike hadn't decided all by itself to shift gears at the last second - go figure i had perfectly tuned it the night before, but nooo, get it on the trail and it all goes to pot!
Here's my second attempt:
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Right after the Teeter-Totter was a little raised platform with a narrow entrance. I, uh, have really fat tires, and couldn't get up the narrow entrance, but i told Jared i'd tape him doing it. Of course, he hadn't actually seen it yet...
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Naturally, he made his second attempt, although he did almost endo coming off the drop at the end (he hadn't seen that either...).
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And here's Jared catching some air off another freestyle feature on on Homeward Bound. Bill got some air here too, but my camera didn't quite catch him in the air, doh!

But here i am getting some air off the jump too...
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I know it doesn't look very big, but it was really HUGE! ... or something.

Overall, we biked over 26 miles - granted, most of it was downhill (and by most, i mean 99%). But what a blast! And downhill or not, by the end of the day, we were all beat! We were at Deer valley from about 11am when we got on the first left until about 6:30pm when we got back to the car (after two flats, three if you count the one Bill had when we first got there), but go figure our actual riding time was under three hours. Don't ask me how that works out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Amanda Bridals

A couple of weeks ago i got out and shot Amanda's Bridal photos.

We started fairly early at the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City.

It was actually the first time i had been there while the flowers were actually in bloom, last time i went everything was dead - i guess it was winter.

Please check out the complete photo shoot here: http://alanjphoto.com/danielamandab/dandab.html. No, i'm serious - please check it out. I really need some honest feedback on these photos.

One of my top priorities has always been to make sure the bride is happy with her pictures, and i got the impression she may not have been too happy with her bridals. i wanted to get some input from everyone else on whether as a bride-to-be you'd be happy with these bridals if you had paid $400 for the complete package (engagements, bridals, wedding and reception). Please feel free to be honest.

I think there may have been a couple of other factors that influenced the pictures that day... That morning i know she forgot her flowers and earrings, but those are things i don't have any control over. Later that evening i got the impression she may not have been feeling well and asked if she wanted to reschedule, but she wanted to continue. Again, out of my control - and i almost feel i can't be responsible for those factors. What do you think?

Overall i thought the pictures turned out great, but then i looked back through them again and now i don't know. i'm too biased either way - either too critical or not critical enough.











After the International Peace Gardens we took a break and agreed to meet later on and drive down to American Fork Canyon for the final shoot. Amanda had actually debated between AF Canyon and the Great Salt Lake for sunset. Unfortunately, at the time of the discussion the skies were clear and i indicated that the sunset would probably not be that spectacular - yeah, i was wrong.

We ended up wrapping up right before it started pouring rain. And on the drive back to SLC the sunset was just awesome! Doh!

I really love these falls (you may have seen them before here and here), but it's kinda funny because while we were shooting, someone had setup their campsite right here - tents and everything. It was actually kind of a pain keeping all their stuff out of the photos all of the time.




Anyway, please let me know what you think. i had indicated that if she wanted another shoot that she'd have to give these pictures back and not use them. Obviously though, if i get enough negative feedback i'll just do another shoot. I naturally want all of my clients to be happy, but at the same time i don't want to be taken advantage of. While it may sound bad, there's a reason some of my packages are $400, $500 and more and there's a reason that they're NOT $3,000 (i wish).