Tuesday, March 25, 2014


When Mike McKell called and asked if I would do his Family and personal photographs I was super excited, after all it's not everyday you get the opportunity to photograph a State Congressman.  Who also happens to be a very successful lawyer, business owner, husband, father and slightly obsessed hunter and fisherman, yes a politician with hunting and fishing "stories" (Don't worry I have boot's designed for this kind of crap, I mean stuff). As I spent time photographing him and his family one word kept coming to mind; traditional.

In the art world sometimes traditional is like a bad four letter word that run amuck in length because it is so boring. In politics as of late it seems to be a word to describe grumpy, rich old men, who hate everything and everyone but their own personal wealth, power and ego. This family,  just also happens to fit the "traditional Mormon" stereotype of Mom, Dad, married in the temple, with four kids. They also wanted to do a formal look, you know formal like suits, dress's, the kind of stuff I have to wear for three hours on Sunday kind of clothing, in the studio on a perfectly sunny beautiful spring day kind of traditional. Are you bored yet?

Through the course of the session this totally traditional family taught me a great deal about traditional, they showed me that we far to often get traditional wrong. Traditional is not so much a descriptive term as it is a value we all need. The McKell's showed me in their smiles, kindness, laughter, love, and charity that traditional is a lot of things.

Traditional is love: Love of your family, community, state and country. This love is not about the make up of your family or the color of the state in which you live. Traditional is just good old fashioned love, the smiling, hugging, laughing and helping kind of love.

Traditional is commitment: Commitment to your dreams, family, job and fellow man. This commitment could care less who you vote for or your political party but how you stay the course in rough times and good times. Commitment is about holding true to principles like liberty, freedom, faith and equality. Commitment is about preserving these ideals we hold self evident up as a light for our kids and the world to see.

Traditional is fun: The pull your sister's hair, photobomb mom then run as fast as you can through the pasture kind of fun. The fun that happens as you do crazy things like spin around on the modeling stool and karate moves as you walk down the drive way.  As counter intuitive as it sounds this traditional family knows how to have fun.

Traditional is Charity: The give your shirt off your back to help your neighbor kind of charity. The spend hours and hours of service to help people, to show people that someone cares. Traditional is doing your best to help take care of those around you. Giving something for the benefit of all. Perhaps the greatest thing I saw through my lens when it was pointed at the McKells was true charity, pure love.

As I photographed the McKell family I saw all the goodness that is traditional, the kind of traditional we all need.  I loved every minute of it!!

**As a disclaimer he still has to convince me his policies are the best to get my vote at the county convention, but I know for sure he is a good man!!

 His campaign add will however have amazingly inviting photo's that will persuade many.  Your welcome Mike :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Colored Glasses

When I was a kid I remember putting on colored glasses and being amazed how the world became a whole new color. Now that I am old I love to put colored glasses on as I edit my photo's. It is amazing what can happen when you add just a little bit of color, how the mood changes and what we feel is often dramatically different. Below is a photo I took tonight and then added some of my favorite filters to. Would love to know how they make you feel. It is always interesting to me to get the ideas of others and contrast them with my own.

Original strait from camera

Filter 1

Filter 2

 Filter 3

Filter 4

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Horsing around

So there are a few things I love, my family, horses, and photography. The best part is I get those things together often.  Well actually everyday in one form or another. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite photo's of people and horses. Tomorrow starts the Utah horse expo and I have a booth set up showcasing the work I do with both. A couple things to keep in mind as you try to combine people and horses.

*People listen a little better than horses, set them up and watch for the horse to be correct with ears up and attentive expression.

*Take your time, horse respond to soft voices and quite movement, remember this and avoid your subjects literally running away.

*Step back and use a long lens, one challenge with a horse is avoiding lens distortion, while a close up of a horses nose may look cute, no one likes their nose or their horses to look long and big. A zoom lens will allow you to step back and zoom in avoiding lens distortion.

*Show love, people love their horses like people love their dogs. Set up poses and settings that allow that affection to shine.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Buildings are amazing, from the ornate to the simple they are a testament to the creative ability of man. Inside them we worship, argue, eat and love. They are tricky to photograph but a tripod and sharp eye can make all the difference. If you find yourself needing to shoot a building interior here are some tips.

Clean lines and spaces...your already working with a confined space make sure there is no clutter, take the time to move distracting objects or compose in a way that eliminates junk. Wide angle short lenses work best but nothing makes up for you watching angles and keeping lines strait.

Use the natural light to your advantage. Look for windows and other sources of natural light that enhance the image. Then use flash as needed to fill in dead spaces.

Bracket your exposures and take advantage of HDR technology. There are several programs that merge an image shot at different exposures into one amazing image. I personally use Photomatix Pro and then Photoshop to do my finishing touches. Remember that a slow shutter speed with your camera on a tripod with a closed aperture will use minimal light to your advantage while keeping all objects sharp.

Tell a story. Buildings all have a story when you set up your shot think about the story the place wants to tell. One of my favorite images is that of a man in simple prayer at a 300 year old church in Albuquerque New Mexico. While the building was amazing his presence told a story of it's value to those who go there.

Below are some images I took recently of the Oklahoma State Capital Building and a Church.