Mormon History Association – Women’s Public Life and Activism Tour

As usual, the annual conference of the Mormon History Association featured several pre- and post-conference tours. Dawn and I signed up for the “Mormon Women’s Public Life and Activism” tour, led by Professor Andrea Radke-Moss, of BYU Idaho, and Janelle Higbee, a member of the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team. It was a fun and instructive day, as we traveled by bus to various sites in the Salt Lake City area pertinent to Mormon women’s history. I brought along my camera, as did Dawn, and we took lots of photos. Here are some of them. (Click on a photo to enlarge it on your screen.)

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Our tour group on the steps of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum

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France Vacation – I (Paris)

We’ve returned from what can only be described as an incredible almost-three-week vacation to France. We spent time in Paris, Provence, the Dordogne, the Midi-Pyrenees, and the Loire Valley, with a one-evening kicker in Istanbul thrown into the bargain.

We were accompanied on our adventure by my sister Wanda and her husband, Mark Ostler. Mark was the genius trip planner and we could not possibly have had a better one. There were three camera-carriers (Wanda, Dawn and me), and one driver/tour guide (Mark). It worked out just right. Dawn and I split up the wide-angle and telephoto duties; she had the Nikon D800 with a 28-70mm lens and I had the Nikon D750 with a heavier 70-200mm lens.

My original plan was to post some photos from each segment of our trip, with commentary, but after doing this one I am thinking I may not finish the project. It is just too time-consuming and I have so many other things to do.

Wanda has posted her excellent photos and I highly recommend visiting her blog Adventures in Wandaland. I’ll try not to duplicate the exact same shots here. (As always, you can see a better version of each photo by clicking on it.)

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One evening we went down to the Eiffel Tower to get some night photos. I wasn’t entirely happy with how mine turned out, but I did get the moon in the shot. (The little white orb hanging in the middle of the tower is not the moon—it is a ball with “Roland Garros” written on it, The French Open tennis tournament was underway while we were there.

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Sixth Ward YWYM Dinner & Auction

Last Saturday (April 11, 2015) the Anaheim Sixth Ward Young Women and Young Men organizations put on their annual fundraising dinner and auction. It was an outstanding event, well organized, creatively decorated, and smoothly run. All of those involved deserve great praise.

I brought along my Nikon D750 and a 70-200 mm telephoto lens with an extender so I could capture candid portraits of some of the people in attendance. I had no official duties and I didn’t feel obliged to shoot wide-angle shots of the crowd or to try to include everyone present (which would have been impossible). I just took pictures of those who found themselves within the focus of my lens.  I didn’t consciously include some people or exclude others. Some of the shots I took didn’t turn out; sometimes the camera didn’t focus quickly enough and by the time I was able to compose the shot the person’s back was turned or someone else had wandered into my line of sight. Sometimes they were just bad pictures. Although I enjoy capturing images of children, it is a difficult endeavor, as they are constantly moving. However, it is always fun when a successful candid results.

So here are the ones that I felt turned out (with apologies to the folks I missed). If you want to see or download a larger version, just click on the photo. And please don’t complain if I didn’t catch your most flattering look–the whole point of candid shots is to portray subjects in unguarded, natural moments. I wouldn’t post anything that was embarrassing, so be assured that everyone portrayed below looked great to me!

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The party had a cowboy theme with lots of cool decorations. Here is one of them.

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The Orange County Fair and the Thrill of Victory

I have been a competitive person for as long as I can remember. I like to watch championship basketball games and share vicariously the exhilaration of the players on the winning team. The same is true for the Oscars or the Emmys. Of course, I’m not Michael Jordan or Meryl Streep or Julia Louis Dreyfus, so, for me, the thrill of victory is a rare one.

As most of my readers will know, I’m an amateur photographer who loves taking pictures. I think some of my photos are nice, but I don’t pretend to be a pro. I also enjoy making photo books (sometimes called digital scrapbooks). It merges two of my loves—photography and book design—into one art form. I like selecting the photos, determining where to put them, what size to make them, whether borders or shading enhances or detracts, adding color to the backgrounds, inserting text—all with an eye to telling a story.

I had attended county fairs in the past and always admired the beautiful handcrafted work created by participants, oohing and aahing over the particularly spectacular ones. This year I decided to become a participant.

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This is an “establishing” shot of the OC Fair. I didn’t take it, but I admire the work.

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Mothers Day — 2014

We had a fun Mothers Day this year. Almost all of our family members were with us, as was Dawn’s mother. We missed Chicago-based son Tyson and his girlfriend Lyra, but we hope we’ll see them another time.

I had my camera at the ready all day and here are some of the results:

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Dawn and her nearly-ninety-year-old mother, Jessie, who has made a remarkable comeback from life-threatening health issues.

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An Evening at the Clarks’

On Saturday evening, March 8, we had a delightful evening at the home of Dean and Joyce Clark in Capistrano Beach. The company was outstanding — in addition to the Clarks, those in attendance were Scott and Patti Smith and Don and Mary Mealing (along with their son, Brian) and, of course, Dawn. I brought along my trusty Nikon D800.

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We arrived shortly before sunset. The Clarks’ home sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with both Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands clearly visible. As can be seen from the above photo, they are in the midst of a tremendous remodeling project. (This picture was taken from the edge of the bluff looking back at the rear of the home.)

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Wandering Around on Temple Square

While I was in Utah last month for the fall colors photography workshop, I spent a couple of afternoons wandering on and around Temple Square, looking for interesting photos. The day was overcast and the flowers were definitely past their prime, but I think I got some decent shots and wanted to share them.

This shot of the north side of the temple is a very common one, but it is difficult to get a photographic image because it is always shady and turns out too dark. However, I liked how this HDR image was able to capture the vibrancy that the eye sees.

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Autumn in the Utah Mountains

Last week (October 3-5, 2013) I had the opportunity to fly to Utah to participate in a landscape photography workshop conducted by Willie Holdman, an extremely talented photographer who lives in Heber, Utah. Willie has a gallery at 580 Main Street in Park City, which you should visit if you’re ever in that area. Willie got his start as a boy, assisting his father on assignments for National Geographic. Although he has photographed nature all over the world, Willie says it can’t compare with the versatility and beauty of Utah.

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Mt. Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains
(Click on this and the other photos in this blog to see larger versions,
which will more fully illustrate the beauty of the scenes.)

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