Monday, December 29, 2008

Did You Get Any New Toys?

I got a light stand and umbrella to do "experiments in studio lighting" with my SB600 flash. Not to mention the gift that keeps on giving... goofy pictures of myself while I practice with the set up.

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Special thanks to Pat and Ned for the very cool gift!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

At the Dawn of Last Year

New Year's Eve 2007 Eaton, NH


I had a brand new camera and was fumbling around in the dark to learn how to use it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bokeh Chainsaw and Season's Greetings

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Bokeh (derived from Japanese boke ぼけ, a noun form of bokeru ぼける, "become blurred or fuzzy") is a photographic term referring to the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field. Different lens bokeh produces different aesthetic qualities in out-of-focus backgrounds, which are often used to reduce distractions and emphasize the primary subject.

In this case, the tall end of our Rockefeller Center sized Christmas tree.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Don't Tread on Me

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Wandering around Ocean Beach and soaking up the California vibe, I stepped back to get a picture of a couple of kids running through traffic wearing wetsuits and carrying surf boards. Then I realized I was about to step on something.  I quickly realized it was actually a someone.

“What are you taking pictures of? Take a picture of the homeless. Tell a story about the homeless”. “Dude, get a picture of the 13’s”. I made a picture and thought of my exit strategy from what might be a difficult situation.  Instead, I ended up in a 15 minute conversation and heard tales of six year hitches in the Navy and Marines with tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and hurricane clean-ups.

Marine vet says “They used to want me when I was willing to go do their shit. Now they don’t want me around and don’t respect me. I used to make $3,600 a month plus hazardous duty pay and now they offer me $242 a month. Who can live on that? I eat out of dumpsters.”

Navy vet says “Dude, you slept in a dumpster last night. They shut me out of VA benefits and I paid into the GI bill. I’ve been this close to papa Bush and I should have did to him what he trained me to do."

“I’ll tell you what, Obama is going to change this shit. I used to hate hippies. I’d beat one up whenever I could, but they were right. They were right man.” Navy vet breaks open a cigarette to re-roll it into two. “Dude, take another picture.”

I walked away wondering if they had the number 13 tattooed on themselves to try to conjure up good fortune or as a black mark symbolizing their horrible lot in life. There's always more to the story... who knows what these guys have really been through.  Either way, I’m glad I didn’t accidentally step on one of them.   It seems like these guys have been stepped on enough.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hooray for Hodad's!!!

It's my destiny to own a local, home town fixture sort of restaurant. Many of you have probably heard me wax romantically of the notion. Ok... restaurant may be a bit of a misnomer. I'm talking the hole in the wall chili dog place, lunch cart, burger joint or taco shack. I love to look for these places when I travel for work and I found one of the great ones a couple of weeks ago in Ocean Beach, California . Behold Hodad's...

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A sample of the fine ambience... the gal outside in the black T-shirt is a waitress. Why make customers crane their neck and turn around on their stools when you can go out on the sidewalk to take an order. Now that's service!

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You can learn a lot from license plates. Who knew that North Dakota is the peace garden state? I know how to spell most anything in phonetic license-plate-ese.

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On to the food. I think these were the best onion rings I've ever had. I passed on the ranch dressing. Ranch isn't my thing for rings, but I think they have to give it to you with everything in California. Just like avocado.

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This burger was deeeeeelicious. You ever notice that anything wrapped in wax paper tastes really good?

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All generations and walks of life come here to enjoy the food and rock Dio on the sound system cranked to 11. These folks didn't look like they wanted a picture taken... but shooting from the hip can do wonders sometimes. Very sly...

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The fine people at Hodad's even gave me one of these swell stickers like the one you see here stuck to the bar. I'm getting it as a tattoo.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Frontline

In college, there was always an ad in the school paper to work as a canvasser for Greenpeace. If you think there is a war on to save the environment, Greenpiecers canvassing street corners are street fighting armed with clipboards. Some of these new recruits graduate to “actions”. Stuff like protesting at the offices mega-polluters, having sit-ins, blocking logging roads and, for the more adventurous Navy seal type of Greenpeacer, dodging large ships in the open ocean with tiny zodiac boats. You know the boats you see on the old Jacques Cousteau shows.

This is Travis. We had a nice chat about the corporate enemy Kimberly Clark and their refusal to use post consumer recycled content, preferring to destroy old growth forests to make a few tissues. He believes that by mobilizing the masses under the banner of Greenpeace, there can be a better world. Good for Travis.


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Working for a Living: Part Deux

Nobody should use a Huey Lewis song title twice and now I have. That just isn't right. Anyway... I'm posting again on this work theme trying to make up for being a slacker in September. Here's another post of stuff that I've been getting to play with at work.

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The image above was used on a thank you card for customer presenters at our company's annual user conference. It's distinguished by being the first picture I took with a spiffy new SB-600 flash. This really is beginners luck because I had just opened the box from the UPS delivery about 15 minutes prior to taking the picture.

This is Sarah. She has assistant in her job title, but that really is contradictory. She is central to getting so much done that it goes well beyond anything resembling "assisting". In this case, she was a willing and able model. Little did she know that her picture would end up going to print. This image is part of an ad that is in final edit now.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Working for a Living

September was a quiet blog month. Kids, sleep and work all conspired to limit time to make photos. Except of course more of those cute kid pictures that I'm restraining myself from posting. Something I have been doing with photography is to take pictures for use in marketing at work. I realized this week that there are now several of these photos in circulation or pending submission for upcoming ad. Its nice to mix business with pleasure.

These photos are all customers we work with. The images have been used for ads in Behavioral Healthcare magazine and/or on trade show and mail marketing pieces. This is Janet. She had the patience of a saint while I noodled around getting this picture.

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Jeff was a natural in front of a camera. Good work for an IT Director. He was also a patient man. In search of the perfect spot, we made him wander around the old Lawrence, MA mill building where his offices are located for probably longer than we should have. I think we were having too much fun.

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This is Chuck from Kentucky. He's a great guy. I made his picture this week at our annual user conference and it should appear in an ad next month.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yurt Time

Our yurt is now available for rent. Check this link to get more information and then come visit The Bennett Brook Yurt.

Night time yurt

Our yurt is an amazing place. Jenny and I lived here from from September to November, 2004. We had sold our house in anticipation of building a new home on Hatfield family land. The yurt was our temporary housing until a friend's apartment was ready for us. It was daunting to think about the two of us, plus a dog and a cat, cramming into 20 feet of circular living space. And cold weather was coming. Living in the yurt was one of the best fall seasons of my life. Except for the midnight outhouse runs, I know Jenny would agree. Yurts are remarkably comfortable structures and have what only can be described as "good karma". It just makes you happy being there. If nothing else, I would recommend a bit of yurt life to anyone considering building a house. Yurt living really forces you to understand your priorities for space and things. It would definitely cause some folks to re-assess their McMansion ideals.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

By Popular Demand

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Roadside Photoshoot 2

I've told myself this blog wouldn't be about photos of the kids, but a quick look at the Boy's Life labels and you'll see eight posts. It's a force that just can't be controlled. If you have kids... and I mean cute kids like mine... you just can't help but taking pictures of them and passing them off as art. And of course everyone says, "I looked at your blog. Where are the new pictures of your boys?" So... here you go.

Monday, August 11, 2008

FOHW

Thats Freedom Old Home Week for the uninitiated masses. More classic Americana from a small town in New Hampshire.

Profit motive at Freedom Old Home Week.
Profit Motive

Brisk traffic in the cool, refreshing drink and chocolate chip cookie business
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On a bike like this, this guy is getting all the girls.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Flying the Flag and Expressing an Opinion

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During my adopted hometown's yearly Old Home Week celebration, nearly every home owner in the village lines the road by placing small American flags along the edge of their lawn. A classic New England village named Freedom (no kidding) decked out in red, white and blue and the scene could be viewed as quaint to a fault. The Old Home Week parade passes, veterans march, bands play, flags wave and fire truck sirens wail.

Blind nationalism always sort of rubs me the wrong way. When I hear the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA" I find myself tuning in to my French Canadian roots and beating down an impulse to belt out "O' Canada". And while Toby Keith writes catchy tunes, I disagree with him that "putting a boot in their ass" is the American way. As the Olympics heat up this week, I know at least once or twice the USA chest thumping will get too loud and I'll change the channel. I'm not anti-my country. I guess I just don't see strength and wisdom in arbitrary bravado.

But, I'm annually surprised when I don't feel cynicism for the flourish in my little village. Instead, I feel pride for a small town coming together and carrying on a tradition with generational roots. I love seeing my son's reaction as we walk through town and take it all in. I involuntarily find myself humming John Cougar's song "Aint That America". On our way back home, we walk by my favorite row of flags at the Rhymer's house. What is more American than expressing an opinion. Even when it means you are slightly different from the rest of the crowd.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why Don't We Have a Root Cellar?

The National Weather Service confirmed that on July 24th a tornado moved through New Hampshire from Deerfield to Epsom, Barnstead, Alton and through New Durham, Wolfeboro, Ossipee, Effingham and Freedom.

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Winds in excess of 130 mph shredded a line of damage almost 60 miles up the State. These pictures were taken a mile from my house where the twister ended... Freedom, NH. Who knew this could happen in NH? We don't even have a storm cellar.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Physics Lessons in a Hay Maze

This picture was made seconds before the tragedy occurred.

Hay Maze

Last weekend was the social event of the season for three year olds in our neck of the woods... A Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine. They had this swell hay maze as an added attraction. It was a whole lot of fun but there was an incident. I could see it unfolding as Thomas-crazed toddlers screamed down the raceways of the maze. There was nothing I could do but watch and then it was done. The head-on collision illustrated the pure kinetic energy of hyped-up youngsters running like the story book trains they adore. Both boys bounced off each other, flew backwards and landed on their backs. The oil crisis could be solved if we could harness this power.

But I believe there is good in all life experience and for my young lad, this spectacular crash is no exception. First, it is now imminently clear to him that an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. So... Pretty good for a three year old. He understands Newton's First Law of Motion. Second, Bridger now knows the secret remedy of tough guys everywhere... Walk it off. He was right back at it seconds later. They grow up so fast.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

There Aint No Cure For The Summertime Blues

... but there does seem to be a solution to the summertime greens.
No matter how hard one might try, mid-day light still sucks for making pictures.

There is a cure for the summertime blues

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In Your Own Backyard

Check out the link to Nor'easter on the West Coast for some cool street photography by Justin Raden. It makes these flowers seem like a pretty wimpy subject. But, he lives in the Bay area and thats what he sees in his backyard. Here in Northern New Hampshire, Summer wildflowers are blooming all around our house. So... shoot what you got.

Cloudy Day Daisy

Black Eyed Susan Constellation

Black Eyed Susan Constellation

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Secret Cascades

Right in the middle of Madison, NH there is a trail leading to a quiet gem. I drive by this spot several times a week and I've never seen a car in the small parking area. Sometimes its easy to overlook what is right in front of you if you don't get out and walk.

Madison Cascades

Madison Cascades

If you are looking for Madison Cascades, the trail leaves from the back, right corner of the Madison Historical Society building right near the junction of Route 113 and East Madison Road. Thanks to Madison resident and mountain runner impresario Paul Kirsch for encouraging me to check this out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Old Home Part VI

Another installment in a series of images documenting Old Homes in my town.

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For more info on what this old homes stuff is all about see this post from March 5th.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Welcome Home

After some ups and downs, we brought our new guy home tonight. Our house is officially a home to "boys" plural. It feels good to have the tribe together.

Our new guy says Hi

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Addition


June 11th we checked in to the hospital. After a sumptuous hospital lunch, we waited. Both of us hoped that our guy would come soon and we could avoid a four day epic like we had with the birth of our first son. We joked about how we better not give birth on the dreaded Friday the 13th or else our new baby would be destined to a life like the story line of a Johnny Cash song. At 8:48 pm, Jenny was done with the extraordinary hard work of bringing a baby into the world. 6 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 inches long. Not bad for a few weeks early! Everyone is happy.
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