The San Rafael

Recently we took a short trip to the San Rafael swell.  For some reason people pronounce that “San Ruh-fell”, still trying to figure that one out.  

Beyond the strange pronunciation this place is an awesome place to visit.  The road going through the swell is an easy ride, pretty much any car could make it on the nicely packed road, and the spot where we camped was some of the most scenic camping I’ve done.  It was a fantastic trip for my maiden photography voyage.  

I feel like I got some good images out of the trip.  I made quite a few rookie blunders (accidentally leaving the ISO at 800 during the day . . . woops, had a lot of exposure fixing to do in post), but I feel like it was a good experience overall.  

There was one part of my trip that I didn’t really manage to capture with pictures, but that I truly enjoyed, was star gazing. It was easy to see a vast array of stars, and with a longer exposure even catch some of the Milky Way.  I had some real issues figuring out if my focus was right, so as it turned out none of my star photos really turned out how I wanted.  But I’ve posted some of my photos below that I felt turned out well.  

My sister-in-law walking through the majestic red rock mountains.  That pose is kind of her “walking about” pose.  

This was a view I caught during one of our longer rides through the mountain ranges.  

My son in an abandoned car outside of an old uranium mine.  

I thought this picture really expressed the personality of my father-in-law.  He is a hard-core hiker and outdoorsman, and this picture just seemed to typify his sense of adventure and desire to explore every location in Utah before he dies.  


Mother’s Day Pictures

As a recent inductee into the world of DSLR photography, this was probably my first real attempt at portraiture.  My wife wanted some pictures of her with the rose she got at church for mother’s day.  The kids were napping, so it was probably one of the only times that we would be able to do a photo shoot without snot-nosed kids (literally snot coming out of the nose at all times) crawling all over us.

So, after taking a fairly large number of pictures we picked the top 4 of the day, which I’m sharing here.

Hope you like, happy mother’s day to the mother of my children, who is the most amazing wife and mother I could ask for!  And as you can clearly see, she is quite a hotty, if I don’t say so myself.

Such beautiful blue eyes!  And I love that red hair. 


I thought that they turned out well.  All were shot with a Nikon D3300 in available light.  Had to do some light editing to bring back the natural color of her hair and accentuate the blue in her eyes.

All in all, it was nice to finally take pictures of someone who holds still enough so that I can find the best angles and experiment, my kids aren’t this cooperative.

Photography – A New Adventure

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I’ve always had an interest in photography.  To see something interesting in the world and take an engaging picture of it.  I find that I just tend to want to see the world from a different perspective, and the way that helps me to do that is to take pictures of it from different, unique angles.

A nice camera has been on my wish list for years.  My wife and I have been talking about getting a DSLR camera since we first got married 6 years ago.  But we’ve always had other things on our wish list that took priority . . . until this year!

And so, finally, I have acquired a DSLR camera.

I got a Nikon D3300 with a basic kit zoom lens.  It’s an 18-55mm lens with a max aperture of 3.5 at 18mm.  So not super fast, and with the crop factor on the D3300 not super wide angle, but so far it’s been a great starter lens.  I also got it in a package deal on Amazon with a memory card and a case, so I’m all set for now.  Just need to look into some other lenses and a tripod and I should be good for most of my photographic needs for some time.

This isn’t really a new hobby for me.  I’ve always liked photography, but have felt a little held back by cell phone cameras, as good as they are.  They’re awesome point-and-shoot cameras, but I kept on wanting more exposure control, more telephoto power, more lens choices.  I realized a while ago that I look at a scene and I get an image in my mind of what I think would make a great picture, but my cell phone camera just wasn’t giving me the picture that I was envisioning.  I was always battling exposure problems, or feeling awkward because I would need to get very close to my subject to get the picture that I wanted and it just wasn’t going to be practical for me to do that.

So far I have been able to get much better photos without changing anything about the way I that I was photographing before, and I’ve even been able to start playing with controls that I would have never had before.  It’s opened up some challenges, but I’m game for a challenge.

Mostly I’ve taken a bunch of pictures of my kids, they are a never ending fountain of interesting pictures.  But I’ve also managed to take my camera outside a bit and shoot some different subjects besides my kids.

I wanted to show a little bit of what I’ve been working on with my photography just because I’m excited to be learning a new skill.