Happy Birthday, Chelsea!

Chelsea and I have known each other since 2006, and dated for a large portion of the time period, and she has become, by far, my best friend in the time since our last break-up (yes, there were several). We always go all-out for each other's birthdays, and this year I thought it would be fun to go up to Park City and do some hiking. We had initially planned on going up Guardsman Pass from the BCC side, then hiking up to Scott's Bowl and then down to Shadow Lake, which sits by the bottom of the Jupiter chairlift at PCMR. That didn't work out, because Guardsman Pass is still closed to through traffic, which I thought was weird, because I was under the assumption that all the gates opened at about Memorial Day. I was wrong. Instead we drove to the top ridge of the Park City Ridgeline that separates Deer Valley from Wasatch State Park, and the above photo is an HDR Panorama looking toward point 10,420 above Great Western at Brighton, but from the northeast.
We joked that if I had told her four years ago that she'd spend her 26th (ahem, I mean 21st?) birthday climbing mountains, she probably would have laughed in my face. But it was cool because we ended up parking in a Deer Valley parking lot, then hiked all the way over to McKonkey's Bowl, just east of Jupiter Peak inside Park City Mountain Resort. We thought about doing the peak, which only would have been another 25 minutes, but our timing was poor, and the sun had set, and we were improperly dressed, so the temperature was starting to dive. So we headed back to the car, she opened her presents (two seasons of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a Star Wars poster, Muppet Wizard of Oz, a stretchy dragon, and a Big Hissy Fit). The best present is probably the Star Wars poster, and I told her that it's a celebration that she can finally admit that the geek lifestyle is superior to that of other media consumers. 
Provo Peak and Mount Cascade from the north.
The Timber Lakes area east of Heber City, UT.
After hiking and presents, we had dinner at Maxwell's Fat Kid Pizza in Kimball Junction. I think the rest of the world should take a lesson from these guys with regard to portions. We started with an appetizer of french fries. The plate of fries was bigger than most of New Jersey, and the pizza was probably five times the size of the french fries. Approved.


Red Bull Manny Mania

I recently stopped working directly with Red Bull Energy Drink as an employee, but have been kept on as a consultant and independent contractor with the brand to do photography and video work at key branding events, which is much more to my liking anyway. One of the biggest campaigns in the action sports community right now is the Manny Mania series, which is a skateboard competition that focuses on manuals (a trick where the skateboard rides on only two of his/her four wheels). There's a lot of different kinds of manuals (mannies) and a ton of variations that can lead into, or out from a manny, so the competition combinations are virtually limitless.
Utah has such a rich cultural heritage that ranges a broad spectrum of origins, and the Red Bull marketing folks in Utah always try to incorporate a sense of heritage into all the events that are thrown in the state, and it was really cool to have Manny Mania SLC taking place in the shadow of the old Union Pacific Train Depot. Such a cool building, if you haven't ever had a chance to check it out. It's on South Temple and 400 West in downtown right by the Gateway Mall, and directly across the street from the Energy Solutions Arena where the Utah Jazz have their home games (and coincidentally where we held the event). 
Serious hammers were being thrown down all day, and there was even a dude with no legs who totally rips at skateboarding. He's way better than I am and I even have legs! Overall I'm pretty stoked to be involved with such a cool company like Red Bull, and count my blessings each time I'm able to participate in an event. Look for my photos in their upcoming press releases, and get stoked on some of these images here.


Home Sweet Home

Home has varying definitions for different people. For some, it is where they were raised, for others it's where they settle. For others beyond that, it's wherever they rest their head. "Home is where the heart is," being the common idiom. The lovely above picture was taken in Easton, Pennsylvania while I was serving my mission. If memory serves, it was taken from the Smith Street bridge over the Lehigh River near its confluence into the Delaware, on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I lived in Easton for nearly six months, and can't, for the life of me, figure out why someone would choose to live there, over living where I call home. Now I have to take one step backward and state that everyone has a different value system as to why their choice for "home" is great, so I can only measure based on my personal value system. But let's compare two pictures:

First, this one from Easton.

This picture was taken about 20 minutes from my apartment on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River looking back at the downtown area of Easton, and you can see the Lehigh River flowing into the Delaware. It's beautiful, and I can definitely appreciate how green and amazing the scenery is there. But when you stack it next to a picture like this:
This picture was taken about 20 minutes from my home in Utah. And about 5 minutes from where I lived when I was in high school, and the home that my family lived in while I was on my mission. Why anyone on earth would choose the east coast over the majesty of the mountains escapes my understanding. Granted, everyone has their preferences, and I'm not saying those preferences are wrong or bad in anyway, I just don't understand it. It doesn't makes the remotest sense in my simple mind.

Here's another fun contrast; while I lived in Easton, I baptized Jenni Fehr. This was six years ago. She'll probably hate me for posting this, but it's entertaining for me. Well, she came to visit last week so here's a few more pics, plus a rad foggy/cloudy shot of the western cliffs of Mount Cascade from approximately the Hope Campground region.
Jenni Fehr, Me, and Erin McMullin Wojcicki
Jenni six years later with a radical backdrop.
Epic shot of Mount Cascade.

Ultimately, the definition of home will come down to what the Lord has said, and there's a passage in 3 Nephi 21:28 that I really like, and I'll leave you with that:

Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance.

Learning Experience. Period.

The next two and a half years, for me, at least, is going to be filled with triathalons. I'm going to be the principal cinematographer on a documentary featuring James Lawrence (shown above after finishing the Boise 70.3 Ironman race) who is planning to break the world record in 2012 by doing 20 full Ironman triathalons in order to raise money for Kenyan famine relief. We shot the Boise event and I learned quite a few things about shooting swimming, running, and biking. Things that I hadn't known before, and it's really interesting. Hopefully everything I do from now on will be better. Here's a few images from the race. Most are still frame grabs from the video I was shooting. I love my camera.
The Tri And Give a Dam folks
James rounding the loop of the halfway point of the run portion of the Ironman
Approaching the finish line and looking strong.
Showing off for the crowd and the cameras. My shutter speed on the video was a little bit slow, I'm coming to find out. I want it to look a little crispier.


Round One: Fight!

Boise is gorgeous this time of year, and the 70.3 Iron Man Triathalon taking place on Saturday 6/12 couldn't have picked more gorgeous conditions. Primarily shooting video for this one, because it's a trial run for the project I'm working on in 2012. We're attempting to work out the kinks and figure out the best way to cover these events because we're going to be traveling the globe shooting James Lawrence doing 20 Iron Man races in one year. I'm pretty stoked. Boise is round one. Let the battle begin.
Kyle, James, Ryan, and Kyle after check-in.
Ryan Rudd is along for the ride, and ended up doing maintenance.
Rob Schopke just got his new 5D Mark II setup and is stoked.
We couldn't decide if he was flexing for this picture, but ultimately we decided that because he's a triathalete, he's always flexing.


1942 Ferrari Race Car

"Hey, is that a race car? What kind is it?" shouts the man in a drunken near-stupor sitting on the bench outside ABG's bar in downtown Provo, UT. 

"It's a Ferrari!" replies Ryan Rudd, sitting in the right-hand driver's seat of his olive green motorized vehicle.

"What year is it?"



In reality it's not a 1942 Ferrari Race Car, but rather a 1972 Skyline 2000 GT that Ryan imported from Japan. It's a pretty good ride for getting double-takes because the steering column in on the right-hand side of the car instead of the left, so people always see us cruising down the street and realize that something weird is afoot. Ryan and I got together for about 35 minutes this morning to hammer out a couple detail shots of his car for a web article that's being put together later today, so here's some of those images.


War Machines

You know, people sometimes get on my case about the fact that I don't like shooting weddings and senior portraits. But if they shot the same types of things that I shoot, they'd never want to shoot another wedding in their life. I mean, seriously, just think about this: given the choice between shooting an engagement session, or shooting at the top of a mountain, which is cooler? The mountain. Given the choice between a bridal shoot, and Apache freaking helicopters? Duh. Apache freaking attack helicopters. 
I've worked with my friend Weston Critchfield on several projects over the last year, and he's DPing a music video which features some footage of US Army choppers taking off from the airfield, and I was brought on for the shoot for one day just to shoot some video of the helicopters with my telephoto lens. Yeah, it was awesome. I'm tempted to join the National Guard just so I can make $20,000 a year and fly helicopters. Ok, so that's a lie, but you get the idea. I shot a couple of photos while we were there, but my primary concern was shooting cool video.
I can proudly tout the fact that I was the first UVU student to purchase an HDDSLR for the primary purpose of shooting video. I got my Canon 5DMKII in December of 2008, and since that time, several of my peers have joined the ranks of proud owners of an HDDSLR. For those of you who don't know, I'm talking about a camera system that is a single-lens-reflex still photo camera, and also an HD video camera built into the same camera body with the same sensor. Canon and Nikon both have three different models of camera that do double duty, and I've been shooting then entire Wasatch Podcast on my HDDSLR. One of the major benefits is the fact that you can throw incredible lenses on these cameras and get depth-of-field effects that can't be duplicated by prosumer HD camcorders. The Panasonic HVX has been the industry standard for independent video for the past several years, and has been pushed aside by video systems that technically have inferior color and image data, but the depth of field just makes it look so much better that people are willing to sacrifice on the technical side for the benefits on the aesthetic side.
There were five of us on the shoot that had HDDSLRs and it was fun to bounce ideas off each other and share lenses. I had a fun time shooting with David's 200mm ƒ/2.8 prime lens. I couldn't tell a difference between that lens and my 70-200 ƒ/2.8L IS USM lens with regard to sharpness at 200mm, but it was nice to not have a million pounds of lens hanging off the end of my camera. Much more compact and a lot lighter.
All the people at the base were so much more helpful than I thought they were going to be. I should have known better, considering my good friend Ryan is in the National Guard, but for some reason I thought the environment was going to be a lot more rigid and stiff, but it turned out to be very laid back and fun. Utterly stress-free, and just a rad rush of watching these incredible war machines, and the soldiers that spend their time mastering them, do what they were intended to do.



Over the Memorial Day weekend, I saw Prince of Persia three times, each viewing accompanied by different groups of people. I really enjoyed the movie, and each successive time I felt a greater significance attached to the line spoken by the King to his adopted son Dastan: 

"Family; the bond between brothers is the sword that defends the empire."

Pictured above is the eldest of my three brothers Mick, who is twenty-two years old. In recent years I've felt a distance grow between my brothers and myself, and whether it be just part of growing up, or something I've subconsciously help construct (or perhaps something they have individually constructed), this is a distance I'm trying to shorten of late. Mick's lifestyle doesn't always mesh well with mine, and as a result we spend a lot of time apart, but recently we've been able to find a lot of middle ground where we can spend time with each other and both have a really good time. 
My second brother, Kory, just left last week for London to serve for two years as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, preaching the good news of the Gospel of Christ to the people of southern London. His passion for snowboarding over the past two seasons has allowed me to spend more time with him than the rest of my siblings during the time since returning from my full-time mission nearly five years ago. It is my hope that I can continue building a closer relationship with him while he's on the other side of the globe.
There is a large age-gap between Kyle and I, and as a result our schedules rarely work out, and we don't have a ton in common. He loves to spend his time exploring the limits of different video games and shooting pellet guns at his friend's farm, and hiking and snowboarding have little interest for him currently. In fact, nothing really interests him, including getting his driver license or a job, although he recently got hired on as an extra hand at his buddy's farm milking cows and doing odd jobs. It's tough to build a close relationship that is full of depth and meaning when you don't have a ton in common, but we've recently been able to have a lot of fun together and I feel like things are looking up across the board with my brothers.
Oh, what can I say? Elanor a spoiled attention seeker who loves to get her brothers in trouble by making a scene out of just about anything, but she still manages to put a smile on my face everytime I spend time around her. She's nine-years-old, and trying to grow up much too fast. Her recent obsession is text-messaging. When Kory left for his mission last Thursday, his cell-phone unwittingly fell into the groping hands of Elanor, and now almost daily I get a "How R U?" or a "Lol" from Elanor. She's definitely not satisfied with being nine, and I think nineteen can't come too soon in her eyes. Mick taught her to do a backflip on the trampoline a couple weeks ago, and now she's managed to do a backflip while holding the cell phone and probably texting with one hand at the same time. 

I love my family, and although we're kind of mess, whose family isn't? I submit that the moment the perfect family appears, the world will end. Until then, I'll keep mine.