Sunday, December 28, 2008

I can tell it's winter by the lump in my throat

So good to be back where I can free myself on the steep slopes of the Wasatch Mountains. This is what my car looked like at the airport after I'd left it there for a week. I really do like this part of Utah.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Quest Continues Still

Crouched  in the door of a twin prop modified skydiving plane at thirteen thousand feet, I am strapped to Joe Johnson, a member of the golden knights, but more importantly someone in whom I have trusted my life, as it is perched in the doorway of the loud plane. I feel for a moment that I am staring at a huge map that has very clear detail. I am at that moment thrust into a surreal, impossible leap into emptiness. Nothing I have ever done in my entire life could be compared to jumping out of an airplane while looking at the ground thirteen thousand feet below. This is truly a unique feeling. Only a second or two of my stomach pushing on my throat, then the hurricane of wind pulled my arms and legs upward. We were flying. I'm not moving my hands and arms very much while we're falling. The day before, we stopped at the indoor skydiving building and I watched how the slightest movement of the arms or legs sent the jumper bouncing and tumbling through the tunnel. I'm a bit wary of flailing my limbs while in a real free fall. The video tells the rest of the story. I contained my excitement well, but this was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A plane, a Team, and Gravity

The sky is perfectly clear and and the air still as we watch the painted black and gold plane climb, circling higher and higher above the small crowd of people standing at the edge of a huge drop zone at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The people attending are close friends and family of the newly inducted members of the U.S. Army parachute team- "The Golden Knights". The plane, barely visible makes the third of its precise 3 minute 15 second passes as a small stream of white smoke appears from the plane. Murmurs race through the crowd and fingers point upward. The source of the smoke drifts slowly behind the plane and it becomes obvious that this is Rachel, free-falling with a smoke canister strapped to her heal. At the precise moment the smoke appeared, the P.A. system began playing loudly the song, "I'm Proud to be an American". Mom gazed upward at her plummeting daughter with her hands over her mouth, her eyes wet, repeating to herself, "not this song". From thirteen thousand feet away, I could feel the same sense of ultimate satisfaction and pride beaming from my sister as she continued her free-fall at over one hundred twenty miles per hour toward the earth, her smile visible from over two miles away. Her parachute opened at what appeared to be the last second and she glided and spun gracefully, and as the smoke from her heel painted beautiful pink swirls in the sky, she made her way to a perfect pin-point landing on a large red "x" placed on the field for the jumpers to aim for. She walked solemnly and proudly to the narrator's podium, shooting a glance and grin at mom and I as she walked. She then proceeded to narrate the 15 minute presentation verbatim and without written aid. The show was inspiring, but as I watched her fall, it made me realize once again that Rachel will always make me pale in my attempt at a life of true thrill and satisfaction. What can possibly tie you down when your job requires you to be thirteen thousand feet above the ground?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cannot Be Hid

In 1998, after more than 25 years of war ravaged the country of Mozambique, two South African missionaries ventured across the border into a land that had never before been trodden by bearers of the True Gospel. A small branch was organized in the capital city, Maputo. Not long after, another branch was organized in a suburb called Matola, situated just to the south of Maputo. In the year 2000, a 16 year-old girl was walking home as she passed a house with a sign on the front, "A igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ultimos Dias". She had never seen or heard of this church before. Hearing the sound of young people coming from inside, she decided to find out what it was all about. A youth Family Home Evening activity was in full swing and she introduced herself to the missionaries, two americans. There was a video playing on a small television. She was intrigued by the video and continued to watch. Her heart skipped as the video showed an enormous, beautiful edifice, similar to a castle. The building was rectangular, with three huge spires at either end. At the top of one of the spires stood a golden statue playing a trumpet. She had no idea where the building was, but was overcome with a desire to become more familiar with its meaning. When the activity was over, she quickly approached the missionaries and said, "that building, I will go to it and I will see it, and be married in it." The missionaries found it humorous, and in an attempt to bring her back to reality, explained that the building is in America, Salt Lake City, the other side of the world. A place where few, if any Mozambicans have ever travelled. She took pride in being called crazy, and for setting such a lofty goal. In that same year she was baptized and became one of the strongest members of the church in Mozambique.

Eight years later (three days ago), I passed through the gates onto Temple Square, at the side of this same young girl, now 24 years old, who could hardly contain herself from excitement. She had finally arrived to see this same beautiful building she had seen in a church video so many years before. As she approached the temple, she could do nothing but gaze straight up at its enormity. With tears in her eyes, she reached out and touched the roughly chiseled granite. As she stood there touching the granite, I could feel the presence and the happiness of those who sacrificed so much to give us this wonderful temple. It has effected literally millions of lives. It had been calling to this young girl since the day she saw its picture, and now she was finally there. I could only stand by and imagine the immense gratitude this young girl must have felt to finally have arrived here. I think we should be more grateful for having The Lord's House so close to us.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I thought alot about where I was a year ago on the Fourth of July. Sitting on a log with a few of my friends on a hill above town, waiting for the long anticipated Ketchikan firework show to begin. They never lit them off. We had an amazing session of freestyle couch jumping that was very well documented. Although we were disappointed by the anticlimactic evening without fireworks, that was one of the most memorable 4ths ever, spent with some of my closest friends. This year, I was blessed with the opportunity to come home once again after three years of absence, and join my family in the traditional festivities of the 4th of July. I had to, howerever, do something to remind myself of where I was a year ago. And here it is- Sobe bombs. Thanks Marc and Bronx.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Addiction

For the first time in my life, after numerous tries, I finally pulled myself out of the water onto a wakeboard. It felt strangely natural and came to me very quickly. I now understand first-hand the ravings I have heard from so many of my friends and I say they are all understated. I am in love with wakeboarding, even though I am far from experienced enough to call myself a "wakeboarder". I will be one by the end of the summer.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fuel like a champion

"If you want to win, you gotta fuel like a champion!"
-Dwight Schrute, The Office

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Find it

As the semester ends, time flings us all into yet another scorching work-and-play filled summer. Although I expect this summer to be very rewarding, it doesn't bring as much anticipation as the last two summers. I've come to understand that we all are on a never-ending search for happiness. I've thought alot about times when I have been really happy in the past. When I look at this picture, I get a surging sensation of freedom and happiness. Being completely free and alone, for three days of hopping the islands of Southeast Alaska, I came to a city that I have longed to return to ever since I set foot there. The city of Petersburg, Alaska. A small town at the foot of the massive Stakine Mountain Range. The Devil's Thumb rises 10,000 feet above the town and dwarfs the many small fishing boats that dot the harbor. No matter how mundane or redundant every day life can be, I always look back to the adventure and freedom that I felt in Alaska.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I am pleased to announce that my advertisements have reached 1 million screen impressions. In six months, between google and facebook, advertisements for my website have shown on peoples' screen 1 million separate times. Of these, only about 5,000 have actually gone to my site, but I feel like more of an accomplished person to say that some part of my business reached a million. That's a cool number to say.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Global Cooling

Even though we've had the best winter ever, I'm excited for the warm weather to return. I think that the global warming is going on where the hippies are and so it just keeps staying cold here. It's strange that the majority of people that are concerned about global warming are people who live in naturally warm climates (e.g. California, Florida). I think they're just tired of living where it's hot all the time. I'm starting to think that we should fight back with complaints of global cooling. We got over two feet of snow in the last two days at brighton. I'm sorry, but if the globe is heating up so much, we wouldn't be getting powder days in mid-april.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Living in Utah, I am constantly reminded that this is some of the best snow in the world. March is an interesting month. It should be a spring month, but it just keeps wanting to be a winter month. This picture of the last day of march sums up how this winter has been. As if we already haven't had enough amazing powder days on the mountain, we might just get one more week of it. Seems too good to be true.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Mama said they'd take me anywhere"

I am writing on my blog instead of my journal, which I've heard some say that is a true sign of a "blogger". Ok, I admit I've been inducted into the world of internetifying my life, but I spend enough time in front of the computer, it's convenient.
A normal day, returning from work at the sizzler at about 10:30. I talked on the phone with dad for a bit as I recounted detailed memories of broken plates and stunned children watching the chards fly about the kitchen. I almost felt bad talking about it because Dad was laughing so hard and coughing from being sick I thought he might be choking. Hindsight is so awesome. The conversation evolved to the subject that constantly reminds me of one thing- Heavenly Father loves me enough to let the powers of entropy do all it can to keep my car off the road. I grow stronger with every penny I spend on that beloved ball and chain.
After talking to dad, I sat down in front of my computer to finish some newspaper ads for a 5k walk/run at UVSC. I instinctively reached for the tv remote to provide myself with some ambient noise (that usually ends up being a distraction). Right as I was about to push the power button to open the valve of filth and dirty humor, I looked at the ad, and though- "no, I'm going to finish these and do something constructive. I tossed down the remote and fished the ads in silence, then decided to go for a run (it's finally warm enough!). I prepared, stretched, strapped on my running shoes (bought in alaska at the advice of my good friends), then checked my watch right as I was leaving my apartment. 11:58 pm. A thoughtful grin. The phrase popped into my mind, "Only fools run at midnight". I was taken back to that amazing rainy night when I ran a 5k in Ketchikan with Cassidy and Tyleen. Every memory I have of Alaska brings such swells of happiness and excitement to me, it overpowers the sadness brought by nostalgia.
As I made my way over the freeway toward campus, I realized why I loved running so much in Alaska- the elevation. My lungs scream at me when I run in Utah. I ran over the freeway and ran a lap around campus. While running, I thought about happiness, or at least positive thinking. My institute lesson today taught that "I do not see the world as it is, I see it as I am". Many people develop the mindset of- "my life will finally be good when ____" (graduate, marriage, etc). This is habituated state of mind that is not cured by reaching those landmarks. One has to be positive and happy with his life now and then he will be in the habit of positive thinking no matter his situation.
As I ran, I reflected on one of the most rewarding, happy times in my life; finishing a 5 mile run in Ketchikan (at sea level), then getting cleaned up and walking the few blocks with some of my best friends to work at the Cape Fox restaurant. For some reason that specific image stands out. Why was the summer in alaska one of the happiest times in my life? Because I ran. I ran every day. I am reminded of this every time I run. Running forces the juices of optimism to flow through my body. Although a short 30 minute run is not that significant in terms of the span of my existence, it helps me to remember what is really important. Optimism, Running.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A crack in the shell

I've spent the last few days learning the language of a whole new universe- the internet. My goal is to have my website up and running by this summer. This sample of buttons on my site may be a bit disappointing to the uneducated eye, but after days of studying and learning, and a few hours of cutting and linking, I came up with this - a pretty cool example of a rollover. Watch what happens when the mouse moves over each button on the page. Once I finally got it all coded out, I sat and just watched each button as I moved the mouse over each one for about ten minutes. I'm so easily entertained it's ridiculous. I hope you can get at least some entertainment out of doing the same thing. This is my first baby step toward building an absolutely stunning website for myself and hopefully for future clients.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Open your mouth in the rain.

I just noticed on my google advertisement, in the last few months, that it has been shown about a quarter of a million times (255,000). On facebook about 60,000. That means alot of people have gone to my site. That's a good thing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Last summer I went to the Coachella Valley Music Festival. It was a three day concert in Palm Springs. Some of the bands that played were Nickel Creek, Stephen Marley, Tom Morello, Willey Nelson, The Roots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course, after seven years of retirement, Rage Against the Machine. Another band that was invited to play was Crowded House, the band that plays the song you hear right now. I remember this band particularly because they played right before Rage Against the Machine. Now imagine for a moment, over 50,000 people who, for the last seven years, have been waiting to see Rage once again, having to wait through a band like this. I think the noise of the crowd chanting "RAGE, RAGE" drowned out the music from Crowded House. As they played "Don't Dream it's Over", someone from the front row threw a full opened water bottle and hit the lead singer right in the chest. He was so mad that he made the band stop playing and made the crowd sing the rest of the song. Hilarious. The lead singer reassured us that Rage would be out soon and they quickly finished their set before something more damaging might have come from the ferociously anxious crowd. Words can't describe the noise and energy that followed for the next two hours as one of my favorite bands played all of my favorite songs.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Self Portrait

This was a quick shot a classmate took for a photoshop class project. I look a little like a serial killer, but she did a pretty dang good job with the picture. I did help a little. When I look at this picture, I'm reminded of a classic quote from none other than Dwight Schrute - "I feel like it's staring into my soul".

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Weekend in Paradise

I flew home to Eureka for the weekend. I haven't seen Rachel for at least two years. I am so glad we got to spend some quality time together. Sunday, I will go back to Utah and she will begin her journey back to Iraq. It is so easy to let time get away from you. You have to see your family, even more than you think you have time to.
Rachel got a new camera and I have been showing her alot about how to use photoshop. Rachel took this picture of me at Moonstone beach, one of my favorite places in the world.
The sets would drop out about 100 yards, then come crashing back in every few minutes. Between sets, everyone ran to the cave and climb up on the rocks before the next set came in and closed it off. The tide was going out so we weren't too worried, plus the way out was only blocked by about 8 inches deep of water.
Driftwood. Just holding it sets me off into a thick sea of nostalgic memories of growing up in this amazing place.

Monday, February 4, 2008


President Hinckley was the prophet during the time in my life that I feel I experienced the most spiritual growth. His signature marks the letter that sent me to Mozambique, where I had the most amazing experiences of my life. I attended three general conference sessions in person where I felt his presence in person. President Hinckley has always been an amazing example to me. Whenever I hear or read the things he teaches, it makes me want so bad to be the kind of man that he was.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New Update

A fellow photographer told me that one of his best selling points on his website is his bio (a short section talking bout himself as a photographer). I played around in photoshop and wrote up this short bio of myself. The bio will also be featured on a local photographer's website who has alot more traffic than I do.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Good Day

Me and Sean went to brighton today and had boarded snow I never knew existed. The powder was waist deep all day. While we were riding the lift, Sean noticed that goose down was flying around us, then we found this tear on the back of my jacket. One of the many twigs and branches that brushed me as I was boarding must have been a little stiffer than I thought. Sorry Sarah

Friday, January 25, 2008

Here is the link to my digital portfolio. It includes school projects and also promotional work done for the UVSC Athletic Department.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fine Art Photography: Defined

For an assignment in my photography class, I was asked to define "fine art photography" in its most fundamental terms. More simply, a person who has no internalized notions of what art is, or was, has asked you to define "fine art photography".

I believe the words "art" and "photography" are dramatically different concepts.
Photography is a very specialized way of using complicated, technical equipment and light to expose a light-sensitive surface, then transfer that image to a printed surface that represents the period of time that the surface was exposed to light.

Every person has internalized the world in a different way. When a person attempts to externalize this world by visible, audible, or tangible means, this is what, in our society, we call "art".

It is obvious then, that "fine art photography" is more than just the technical knowledge of photographic equipment, but rather, the attempt to express one's subjectified world, using the technical knowledge as the foundation.

Here are ten images that I believe are good examples of fine art photography.

(above - Aaron Hobson, American Labor 1) Although there is nothing moving while the photo is taken, there was obviously a tremendous amount of destruction sometime before. This relays a strong feeling of isolation, as well as a strong symbolism of the repercussions of living a fast-paced, irresponsible lifestyle (isolation, destruction, loneliness, darkness, weakness).

(above - Fam Van de Heyning, Mother with son) This photo was most likely meant to do nothing more than be used in an article about social struggling. I like this photo alot because it there is an obvious story that is told within the frame. The protective mother dominates the majority of the frame and completely surrounds the boy's figure. The stern expression on her face tells how she feels about what happened to her son. On the other hand, perhaps the boy was punished by his mother and she wears an expression of the disciplinary as the boy shows the photographer what she has done.

(above - Sarah Small, Ariella and Crow) One of my favorite emotions depicted in art is tension or fear. As you see the girl's expression of fear, notice how it causes you to sub-consciously tense up yourself and feel almost the same way she does. The form-fitting clothing she is wearing attributes to her feeling of vulnerability, as well as makes visible the tension in her body. There is a universal fear among children of electrical sockets. The girl looks trapped between two things she is afraid of.

(above - Gideon Photography) An immediate observation could be that this is a very provocative photograph. This aspect is accented by a number of characteristics. The only color in the photo is the woman's red dress, which psychologically triggers feelings of passion. There is a strong contrast between the woman's flowing dress and curved body against the chiseled surface of the brick wall behind her. The only curved lines in the photo are the woman's dress and body. In many ways this photograph is symbolic of femininity.

(above - Mark Tompkins) The mysterious, surreal nature of this photo is very similar to the mysterious nature of death, the very subject of this photo. Death (or the notion of existence thereafter) is by far the dominant cause of religious dispute, war, and has been the least understood of any natural phenomena. One of my favorite places to photograph is at cemeteries because of this mysterious nature they posses.