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.
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.)
Last week ago Dawn and I flew to Salt Lake City to attend the wedding of my niece, Rebecca Ostler to Austin Copeland-Rynders. For the record, the wedding date was October 7, 2012. It was a fabulous event at a beautiful location. Picture taking was fun—all the Ostlers clean up quite nicely! Here are some photos I took at the wedding.
The wedding and reception were held at La Caille,
a picture-perfect venue for a such an affair (though with a tragic history).
Our neighbor and friend, Christina Reeve, has hosted wonderful pre-Christmas dinners for a number of years. Chris, a culinary artist, is in charge of the food for these parties, aided by her friend Anita and cousin Gigi, who likewise know their way around a kitchen. Recently, Chris’ daughter, Jessica, (aided by Anita), decided to turn the tables and surprise Chris with a birthday party. Jessica is a director of culinary services for Bon Appetit, a top-flight catering company. As you might guess, the feast was wonderful.
I took along my camera and shot photos of the food. But what I most enjoyed was shooting the people. (I know that last sentence sounds a bit odd.) I enjoy recording the character in the faces of friends we have known and appreciated for many years. Most of my photos are un-posed candids; I simply try to capture a familiar expression. Sometimes they turn out well; sometimes they don’t. Here are the ones I particularly liked from Christina’s party (in no particular order). My apologies to the folks whose photos I missed — there’s always next time.
Christina Reeve — Our frequent host and nearby neighbor for thirty-four years. Apparently she is only three years old (or maybe thirty, if each candle stands for ten years).
OK, I may have gotten carried away with this blog title.
On my birthday (May 25) Dawn and I attended a baseball game at Anaheim Stadium between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Toronto Blue Jays. We don’t attend live sporting events very often so when my Fidelity Investments representative called a few weeks ago and offered two free tickets in their luxury suite I accepted.
Anaheim Stadium is located just a few miles from our house and getting to the game is quite simple. By leaving at 6:00 p.m. we were at the gates of the parking lot by 6:20, giving us plenty of time to park and find our suite before the 7:00 start time.
I planned to spend the day following my Kennedy School panel traipsing around Boston and Cambridge, indulging in one of my loves: photography. I had even lugged my big, heavy Nikon D300 (with external flash attachment and spare battery) to Boston with me. On Wednesday morning when I looked out my window it was gloomy, so I dressed warmly grabbed my camera and headed for the bus stop, intending to go to Cambridge. As soon as I reached the corner it started to rain. I ducked into a little bookstore called “Trident Booksellers & Café” and found they had a terrific breakfast menu, so I ordered a New England-style omelette made with apples and creamy brie.
[Left: Tyson at the Middle East]
I had hoped the weather would clear a bit while I was in the café, but it was not to be. If anything, the rain was falling harder when I left, so I just went back to the Harvard Club and spent the afternoon in my room working on various projects – the Miller Eccles website and some family history research. It was a shame to spend my only free time in Boston in a bedroom, but there seemed to be no appealing alternative.
During the afternoon Tyson called – he was en route from New York City to Boston – and we made arrangements to meet for dinner at a restaurant that was part of the club where his band, called Magical, Beautiful, would be performing. By then the rain had mostly stopped, so I took a bus to Central Square (near MIT) where I soon found The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub.
I mentioned in my last blog entry that my plan was to spend the second week of my Utah stay attending the NGS annual conference in Salt Lake City. I had even paid my registration fee for the event. However, shortly before I left for Utah, I was asked if I could participate on a panel at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that would address the topic, “Is Marriage a Right?” It would require me to miss most of the NGS conference.
Nevertheless, this seemed to be a great opportunity to return to Cambridge and speak on a subject I feel passionately about and Kennedy School students are likely to be heavily represented among future leaders of governments. I agreed to go.
The panel was co-sponsored by four of the Kennedy School “caucuses” (affinity groups) – Mormon, LGBT, California and Massachusetts. It would bring together students from a church that supports laws prohibiting same-sex marriage (Mormon), a group that is directly affected such laws (gays and lesbians), a state where same-sex marriage is legal (Massachusetts) and a state where it is not (California).
The television show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” (sponsored by Ancestry.com), is currently airing Friday nights (8:00 Eastern & Pacific; 7:00 Mountain & Central) on NBC. Although a show by the same name has been enormously popular on BBC for a number of years, this is the first season for the American version. I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys learning about history with a personal touch.
“Who Do You Think You Are” falls into the “reality show” genre. Each week it features an American celebrity who wants to know more about his or her ancestors. Ordinarily the show looks at just one ancestral line and focuses one or two individuals from that line. This is understandable—the producers have only 45 minutes or so (after commercials) to tell each story and they want to be sure to select an ancestor whose story will create drama. Continue reading →
I’ve been asked to review a book for the Journal of Mormon History—andit’s not just some yawn-inducing tome exploring another arcane cranny of the Mormon past.
I’m to review the eagerly-awaited latest novel by perhaps the most beloved of all Mormon novelists, Gerald N. Lund. As you may know, Lund is the author of seventeen books that have sold nearly three million copies! His output includes the nine-volume Work and the Glory series that traces the fictional Steed family through the various phases of early Mormon history, and The Fire and the Covenant, a fictional account of the Willie and Martin handcart company tragedy of 1856.
It has been said that most Mormons have learned more of their Church history from Lund’s novels than any other source—and I have no reason to doubt it. Lund’s special gift is being able to turn history into a page-turner. He even includes footnotes—not enough to scare anyone away—but just enough to let you know when he’s not just making something up.