Archive for November, 2008

Christa and Jerry

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
Christa and Jerry

Opportunity is always around the corner if you are open to it. Nothing fits that concept better than photography. I had a contract back out and a couple getting married had their planned photographer back out and, the next thing you know, I am photographing the lovely wedding between Christa and Jerry at St. Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral in east Anchorage. It was my first Russian Orthodox wedding, so there were a lot of new things going on. It was also, of course, an entirely new venue for me, and without the advantage of a rehearsal to previsualize. After spending time taking some getting ready photos at the home of the bride’s mother, I arrived early at the church to check out the space. If this is any example, the Russian Orthodox Church truly knows how to make a church look like a church. Replete with icons, statues, and many other indicia of the culture, the interior of the church is simply gorgeous. I made sure to incorporate as much detail as possible into the portraits and ceremony photos. For the reception, I had the pleasure of exploring another beautiful venue, the Aleutian-Pribilof Islands Association building on International Airport Road. Fully decked-out for the holidays, the APIA building was a photographer’s dream, both on the inside and the out. Add to that a couple and guests who were very accommodating for photos, and I was happy to have lost out on another opportunity so I could have this one.

Turnagain Blue

Sunday, November 16th, 2008
Turnagain Blue

Michelle and I took one of our many drives down the Turnagain Arm again today. I knew that I had found the right person when, on our third date, we took a drive down the Turnagain Arm so I could photograph the lupine patch near Twenty Mile River, and she enjoyed it. Since then, as today, she has also taken a book along for the ride in case I spend a little longer taking photos than she cares to hang around for. As also with many trips before, we stopped for a meal at Chair 5 to relax and enjoy some great food before starting the long way back. Normally, one can drive to Girdwood in about thirty minutes. I tend to take longer. Even this evening, though the sun was down for about a half an hour before we headed back, I found something to stop and photograph. One of the things I enjoy the most about photographing in the Arm is that a low tide will create many wonderful patterns in the tide silts and sand bars along the way. Those areas get wet and reflect any color the sky happens to be offering. Tonight, the offering came in the many shades of blue. I found the right spot with the right reflection, and it just so happened that a tree was there to provide an anchor to my composition. It was as cold as it looks.

Fortunately, I was able to capture some other images on the way down to Chair 5, when the sun was periodically peeking through the clouds.

They’re back

Saturday, November 15th, 2008
They're back

We were once again visited by the cow and calf we have seen in our neighborhood, and on our property, several times during this autumn. I figure they probably bed down in the muskeg to the south of Jewel Lake, just a block or so away. This time, they came along to munch on the Halloween pumpkins we had left out, specifically for moose to feed on. The calf was almost brushing up against the picture window for our dining room as it snacked away on the Jack-o-lantern on the porch, while mom worked on the one near the side door. As a consequence, I was a little late leaving the house to go photograph the state volleyball championships. Fortunately, the first games were consolation games for fourth place. Anyway, mom apparently had difficulties with the pumpkin on the side, so she came up to fight with her offspring over the porch pumpkin. Things got a little off track, though, when another cow came walking down the street and the calf became confused and started following it away. Mom belatedly noticed what was happening and trotted away to catch up with her wayward child.

Back to what she does best

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Back to what she does best

During the 2008 Iditarod, I had the fortune of being able to interview Sarah Palin at the starting line. She had just signed into law the bill commemorating the first Saturday of March as Susan Butcher Day. I asked her how she felt about being referred to as “America’s Hottest Governor,” then touched on more serious issues, such as the rumors around the blogosphere at the time that she would be John McCain’s running mate for the GOP presidential ticket. Yes, back in early March of this year the rumors were out. She responded that while it was flattering to think that others in the party would think of her, she really wanted to focus on Alaska’s many important issues.

Well, now that her ticket lost the election, she will have a chance to do that. Unfortunately for her, the tone and actions she took during the campaign may make it a bit difficult to resolve important issues. It will be hard for her to work with the opposing party when she constantly referred to that party’s new President-elect as a terrorist, allowing fanatics at her rallies to say things like “Kill him” without so much as a response.

At least there are those other things that she can still do that may not be so difficult, like ribbon cutting ceremonies, dropping out the puck for a state hockey tournament, or tossing the coin for an Alaska Wild game. I have seen and photographed our Governor as she performs these functions, and found her to be gracious, friendly and welcoming. Perhaps she should limit her calling to those sorts of activities, as it seems to be where she really excels. It’s also really hard to do any damage to your country or state while performing such simple tasks.

Go Rachel!

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Go Rachel!

Going way back to when she was just someone who substituted for vacationing hosts on Air America Radio, I have been a longtime fan of Rachel Maddow. Now, not only does she have her own show on Air America Radio, she has an increasingly popular and influential show on MSNBC. For example, last week she had the second-rated nightly news program for her time slot in the daily Nielson ratings, beating out Larry King Live. And she has only had her own show on MSNBC for a few months. One of the vestiges of her radio show she has maintained on the MSNBC show is her segments where she explores popular culture with Kent Jones; or, more accurately, she learns what she can from Kent about popular culture so she can carry on conversations at cocktail parties about something other than foreign policy, domestic issues, public policy, government, politics …. well, you get the idea. As she says, he tells her just what she needs to know so she can go out in public.

Anyway, if you follow my blog, you would have read about the human Obama logo that Alaska Women for Obama organized a little while ago. The story about that day has now made its way to the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC as part of her Kent Jones segment. Watch the video.

Love those winter sunsets

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Love those winter sunsets

On my way home from my on-location senior portrait session with Adrian, I was heading through downtown and took L Street south when I caught a glimpse of some pastel salmon and blue hues to the west. I headed down toward the coastal trail to see if I could get a good view, and found a perfect spot to pull over and set up my tripod. I determined the optimum exposure and set it manually to record six images with the same exposure. I later combined them together for this panoramic of the Cook Inlet, just off the shores of Anchorage, with the Alaska Range and the Tordrillo Mountains in the distance. I find myself increasingly using the panoramic format as a creative tool, these days. We have a lot of wide, open horizon views up in Alaska, and quite often one frame is not enough to capture it adequately. As easy as it is to create panoramic images using the “Photomerge” feature in Photo Shop, I sometimes yearn for a Fuji 6×17 camera to do a “true” panoramic using a single shot.

I have selected this photo to be the Print of the Month for November.

Driveway decor

Saturday, November 1st, 2008
Driveway decor

A couple of weeks ago, we had a good dose of heavy winds and rain that knocked all of the leaves on our trees down to the ground. I enjoyed the arrangements I saw on the ground, but simply did not have any time to photograph them until the weekend. On the Sunday I had planned to spend some time with them, I awoke to find heavy, falling snow accumulating on the ground. A warming trend took most of that snow away, giving way to the sunny, clear skies we have had as of late. This morning and early afternoon brought a fog to our neighborhood, so when I returned from photographing the Region IV gymnastics tournament, I saw frost crystals all over the leaves in the driveway. I spent a while capturing various compositions of leaves and frost, but I would say that this was my favorite.