Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Wedding

Despite my banner, my friends Jenni & Jeff both wanted me to photograph their wedding. Here are a few of the results:

This was during the ceremony - it rained, so we were under cover. The lighting wasn't great, but this picture of the exchange of rings turned out well.

It cleared up soon after the ceremony, so we got some pictures in front of the river. I tried to take non-posed pictures with a long lens, and the spontaneity of that turned out well, I thought.

Here I told a (slightly) inappropriate joke, and the reaction was priceless.

This one was posed, but they just looked so sweet together. I like that they aren't looking at the camera - it feels less posed that way.

Ah . . . the sun! There were actually several shots with the fluffy clouds and bright blue sky in the background. I like this one for the simplicity.

There are many more pictures I took, but the thing I liked about shooting this wedding was the pure love and joy that radiated from their faces. It was obvious to me, and I hope it is to you as well, that they are deeply in love. I wish them all the best.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Boy

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted anything on this site. What can I tell you? I've been busy. And when I am busy I tend to neglect certian aspects of my life. I figured 'I can either leave photography alone for a while, or ignore my kids.' It wasn't too tough of a choice. But, at long last, here are some new pictures.

We finally had some lovely weather, so while his sister was napping, my son and I played outside. This swing hangs from our Magnolia tree, which is about to burst forth with beautiful blossoms. (I like alliteration.)

My son is silly. So, so, SO silly.

I recently watched a documentary about skateboarding, Dogtown and Z-Boys. I highly recommend it. The photography of the boys skating was unbelievable, and I tried to emulate the sense of movement and pure joy in this shot. But, as you can see, I failed.

We have a small, but steep hill in the backyard, and my son decided to take flying leaps from the top and tumble down to the bottom. He's not daring at all, so his behavior was a bit of a shock to me and I just had to document it. He, by the way, loves this picture.

Again, the daredevil flying past the camera. He was nervous about this because he had to jump really close to me to stay in frame, but it turned out well. I can't tell he was nervous, can you?
By the way, I guess I have to come up with a more obvious banner for my blog, 'cause one of my good friends asked me to photograph her wedding. I'm excited for her, but nervous for me. There's a lot of pressure that comes with documenting a one time only (hopefully!) event in a way that is quirky, yet pleasing. I'm thinking of shooting it in black and white. I don't really know why I'm writing about this except to say that come August there'll be lots of new photos to post! Yay.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Storm II: The Miracles

Here's a couple more pics from The Storm:

This is my kids' favorite park. It is only a couple of blocks from our house, and during the summer we're there every day, some times twice. Miraculously, only the picnic area got smashed, with the tree falling right between the play structure and the merry-go-round. Lucky. Also, if you look in the upper right hand corner of the picture, you can see a few fir branches blowing in the breeze. About two hours after I took this picture, that tree fell on another picnic bench. Bad day for benches.

This is a big old tree directly behind our church. It fell over, obviously. But our Church was safe and sound - we lost a few shingles and a fan vent (I rescued it as it skidded across the parking lot. At the rate it was moving, I figured it was light-weight aluminum. Um - it wasn't . It probably weighed about 50 pounds. That's how fast the wind was moving.) But other than those two things, our building was fine. Divine intervention? Hmmm . . .

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Storm

Sunday, December 2nd, shall forever live in infamy for being the day the 36 hour hurricane force winds smashed into the northern Oregon coast and wreaked havoc on all aspects of peoples' lives. This was my first major natural disaster and I am glad I survived. It was pretty hairy.

I usually try to keep my writing short and let the pictures speak for themselves, but I feel like I need to provide a little background for those of you who haven't heard what happened up here. I also want to give a disclaimer that in my photos I looked for iconic imagery, not straightforward reporting. I don't have a lot of destruction of people's property and whatnot because I just feel badly showing other people's misfortune. Large companies, the town, and utilities, no problem - but displaying someone's wrecked house for my own agenda just seems jerky. Plus, I just didn't take any that were very good.
So anyway, here's the rundown from the Hills' perspective. After our first church meeting on Sunday our Bishop (church leader) stood and announced that the rest of church was canceled and we should all go home. 10 minutes later, the power went out and the winds kicked up a notch. I went home and my wife and I readied our home as best we could by gathering firewood into the basement, locating flashlights and candles, and feeding ourselves. Well, we fed ourselves first, actually. Then we waited for the power to come back. 2-3 hours later, it did. We had a hot meal, called our families to tell them we were fine, and went about our business. At 10:00 that night, the power went out and it didn't come back for 4 days.

We have frequent high winds here and we're fairly used to it. Storms in the Pacific Northwest usually last around 6 hours and then they blow themselves out and everything is fine. We clean up debris from the streets and continue about our daily lives. This storm just wouldn't stop. Some of the pictures I took were in the height of the storm, but because earlier I had read that the storm should be dying down, I went out anyway . . . with my 2 year old daughter in the car! I got some cool shots, but it was stupid.

It gets dark around 4:30 up here and I never realized just how dark it actually gets until there was no light from anywhere except the occasional passing car. We had a fire in the fireplace and candles burning, but it was dark and lonesome. Lonesome because of the extreme isolation we felt. There were no roads out of town that weren't blocked by trees, floods, or both, and we had no communications by phone, except for within our own exchanges. We could call people in Astoria, but not across the bay to Warrenton because those calls are all routed through Portland, and the main phone line to Portland was broken and buried 8 feet underground, which was itself 8 feet underwater from floods. The cell towers were down too, so we literally had no communications with the outside world for three days. Apparently, some news stations reported on the destruction in other towns on the coast and they said, ". . . but we can't get into Clatsop County and no information can get out. But we do know that they bore the brunt of this storm." Great. Nothing like a little panic to get your parent's heart rates going.

But, despite it all, we survived. I am very lucky and blessed to have the superb family that I do. My wife was (and is) amazing, keeping the kids happy and entertained, then working in the ER all night, then keeping us entertained again the next day. Our house, by the way, has never been cleaner because of her stalwart efforts to keep us all busy. The kids too, were amazing. Little to no fighting or arguing, and the whole event was seen as an adventure not a burden, which made it easier for me to handle. We read books and cuddled in front of the fire, then watched Sesame Street podcasts on the iPod for a treat. The kids were really amazing.

Our house sustained very little damage. All our windows held up, our door didn't leak too badly, and we only lost a few shingles. This is impressive considering that our neighbors across the street lost the eves to their roof, and some of their roof, and a whole lot of insulation that flew through the air like an itchy pink mist. So our hose did well for being 77 years old. We did have our garage/shed get knocked off of its foundation by about a foot, but it was pretty rickety to begin with. The whole thing will probably have to come down and be re-built, but that doesn't seem to be a huge deal, 'cause we don't live in there.

So, all in all, it wasn't too bad of an experience. We now know that we need to be more prepared in some ways (an emergency radio, for one) and that we are pretty resilient in others (Mac N' Cheese is great - all the time!) We also really had a chance to get closer as a family and bond in a way that we rarely get to in today's busy modern world. And that was pretty nice, to really play with the kids, talk with my wife, and enjoy what it really means to be a family.

Then the power came back on and we became zombie slaves to technology once again. Speaking of which, here's my pictures:

I had never seen power lines down like this - especially not with the pole still attached!

This picture is a little dark, but if you look carefully behind the destruction of the power poles you'll see the trees whipping around in the background. Also keep in mind that I took all these pictures in between gusts, so those trees are really relaxing in the just strong winds, not the full on gales they had gotten used to.
This is at a local park - again note the trees in the background - at least a couple more fell before the storm was over.
I like this shot for its simplicity. I like the previous statement for the same reason.
Poor Dairy Queen.
This was a darn big tree! And it was snapped in half like a toothpick! I could not believe it, and I stood there taking the picture!
This shot requires extensive explanation. (This is more reporting on how crazy the storm was than it being a particularly interesting shot) The hole you are looking at was caused by the log sitting directly behind it. The hole is about a foot deep and the log is a 25 foot long tree top that came crashing down, thumped a hole in the ground, then twisted to its final resting place. I'm glad I wasn't in the woods during the storm.
And then my children - they were playing and playing in the dark and I took this shot with the flash - I think they knew it was coming, but it's a heck of a facial expression on my kid anyway!
That's all for now. I'll put some more up later.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Beach

No, I am not referencing the Leonardo DeCaprio film, or the bestselling book it was based on - I am talking about the trip my family and I took this weekend to Newport, Oregon for my daughters 2nd birthday. Why, you may ask, would someone who lives on the coast in Astoria go 150 miles down the shore for a vacation? Obviously for the Oregon coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center - both based in Newport. Seaside's Aquarium is nice, but ti doesn't really cut it for my little oceanologists. We had a great time, and I had a lot of fun taking pictures.

My son loves the ocean - and after being trapped in the car for 3+ hours, he needed a silly release. This was it.

The two girls in my life are gorgeous. I love them to pieces.

I took this on the beach, and it took a lot of shots to get it just right. When I got home, it was still lacking some pizazz, so I used an infrared film filter on the computer and got this image. The texture of the ocean waves popped out and the bird itself was suddenly defined as a silhouette - no longer a bird, but the idea of a bird. Weird.

This one is from the aquarium, and I subjected it to the joy of infrared as well. I like that he is mostly hidden from view, and that all we see is a hint of a smile behind his otherwise stark and unfeeling avian eye. I have pictures of him with his beak totally exposed, but they lack the mischievous mystery that this shot possesses. Well, I like it, anyway.

I took this picture on a very low shutter speed and had to hold the camera very still. As a result, the lobster appeared to glow beneath the fluorescent lights of his tank. I enjoyed the effect of infrared film so much that I tried it on him, and the effect was eerie and humorous at the same time, so you can't beat that! Also, his eyes are just two black knobs on the end of some protuberances, which was really weird to look at.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Family Reunion Video

Every year my wife's side of the family likes to make silly family reuinion videos. This is our attempt at a 70s cop show spoof. It is pretty lame, and there are a lot of inside jokes, but perhaps someone might think it's funny. Summer blockbuster it is not.

Egads! An Eagle!

Three boys I worked with for several years in the Young Men's program at my church recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. I was asked to participate in their Court of Honor, so I did. One of the mothers hired "Wildlife Images" to come up with a live Bald Eagle to be a part of the program. It was very cool to be so close to a real Eagle, so as soon as the ceremony was over I scurried home to get my son. When we returned, they had already put "Defiance" (the eagle) back in his box, but my son was so cute, the trainer brought him out again. I then took these pictures. (Well, one of them was taken for me, 'cause I was in it.)

Just for the record - I was not shorter than the lady in this picture. I was sitting down, because my son was scared. So stop making fun.

If you are interested in "Wildlife Images," visit thier website: They offer free tours of their facilities, and it looks sweet. Unfortunately, I think they are in Grant's Pass - not exactly a day trip for us.