AAU Spring Art Show 2011

Oh my.

I have lots to share and I’m literally swimming in so many pictures that I don’t know where to start.

Life has been busy.  Very busy.  Fun too (of course!).  David likes to tell me that I’m “too busy and important” (this is a long standing joke that we categorize people in who are just to dang “busy and “important”) to slow down, but what woman isn’t?

So . . .

This is my attempt at sharing some of our happenings, however discombobulated my thoughts are!

Sometime on our trip we ended up buying a Bob Revolution Duallie Stroller.  I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago when I pushed my kids in one during the one mile fun run that I won.


How could we not have known about these Cadillac strollers?  Who cares if you’re not a runner . . . if you WALK anywhere and need a stroller to haul your kids around and all your hud, then YOU NEED THIS STROLLER.

Honestly, we don’t know how we lived without it.  We’re thinking a third child might be in order just so we can use it for a few years.  (Okay, that was a bad joke.)  These things aren’t cheap, but you get what you pay for!  We’d known we were going to get this stroller for some time now (and my “some time now” I mean like a few weeks) and to FINALLY get one was just AWESOME.

Please note happy content kids in their new Cadillac SUV.

We didn’t go down to San Francisco with the intent of buying a Bob, but after one day at the Golden Gate Park with our old Baby Trend sit n’ stand, those hills were killer.  We went off the first REI we could find and bought it straightaway.  Back at our hotel, we left our other stroller with a nice housekeeper.

Moving on to the Bay Area Rapid Transit AKA The BART.

The kids were DANG excited to ride on the BART!  It was a train!  A REAL LIFE TRAIN!

Apparently, kids don’t ride on the BART.  EVER.  And I mean EVER.

Imagine a bunch of commuters, all 18 or older, silently riding to and from work.

Boring.  Quiet.  Stale.

Now, imagine a two year old and a four year old who have waited their WHOLE LIVES to ride on a train.

Stark contrast people.

Wanna know what happened?

Everyone FELL IN LOVE with our kids.  And It’s not just because they were so dang cute and talkative.  Because we had kids with us, we met LOTS of people on the BART.  We knew their names, their birthday’s, how long they lived in the city, where they worked, and how old they were.  We also learned a bit of San Francisco history as Hannah asked multiple people random questions.  (Hey, better them than me!  I get my fill of questions everyday!)

Several people commented on what a treat it was to have kids on the BART.  Many of them commented that they had NEVER seen kids on the BART in all their years of commuting.  EVER. One girl came over to congratulate me on having such darling kids and for being beautiful and then she licked her finger and singed the air.  We’re talking friendly people who tell you what they think.  (She was’t playing for the female team FYI.)

Hello?  Do kids not exist in SF?

The BART was a lovey 40 minute ride which dropped us downtown SF right at at my school!

The Academy of Art’s Spring Show 2011 was incredible!  I was surrounded by amazing, gifted artists!  It was an honor to be a part of such an incredible exhibit!  To be a part of a larger body of work was quite surreal. (My image is the bottom left.)  It was very fun to sit back and watch people react to my image!

I had a chance to meet some of my professors, and talk to the program director.  Guess who else showed up at this art show?  Just a few names you might recognize:  Disney, Pixar, Nike, and Canon to name a few!

Look!  I even got to meet my online friend Kelly!  She and I had two classes together online during our first semester at the Academy!  We felt just like old pals, we just had to formally meet!  Kelly attends the school on campus and I’m 100%  envious!  (Especially since she resides in the “Chanel” house, does the name not say it all?!)

This is not the Chanel house here, but it is student housing!  Look at this house!  What the heck?!  STUDENT HOUSING?!  What ever happened to dorms and cinder block walls?  Now can you see why I’d want to move there?

Look!  It’s me!  It’s my school!  It’s me at my school!

It was so fun for me to have my family with me at this show.  David and the kids were great sports (I mean, how could they not be, riding in total comfort!) at the show.  On the shuttle bus from the art gallery back to the school, Hannah sat by a girl from Taiwan who attends AAU.  Hannah asked the girl if she would teach her all the Chinese she knew.  The girl smiled saying, “That would take a long time.”

I love kids.  They are so dang cute.

Schools Kill Creativity

David sent me an email several weeks ago with a link to this video.  I didn’t watch it immediately because the clip is 20 minutes long, and let’s face it . . . 20 minutes is about 15 minutes longer than my attention span.

However, when I watched it a few days ago, I found myself immediately taking notes on the closest thing that resembled paper–a photo envelope.  This man brings up several interesting points and addresses many issues with the public school system.

Is now a good time to mention that I’m considering home schooling my kids?

Did I just open a can of worms?  🙂

Yes, I’m considering all of our options: public school (100% positive this is not the option for us), charter school (she’s on a lottery list for a school), private school (we’ve narrowed it down to one school and it is pricey, YIKES!), K-12 which is an online charter school, and . . . home school.

There are so many options once you entertain them all, and I’ve been analyzing all the pros and cons for years.

Yes, YEARS. (Before we even knew if we would ever have children, David and I talked about home schooling.)

I have a big decision to make in a few months and I want to behave like an ostrich and stick my head in the sand, wishing all this decision making would just go away!   Can’t my kids just stay little FOREVER?!

I’ll post the pros and cons of each option (in my opinion of course) soon.  Maybe if I write it all out the answer will be clear to me.

Labor Day Weekend? CHECK.

Labor Day weekend:

Swiss Days? Check.

Swimming at the Lindon pool for the last time this summer?  Check.

Attended the baptism of good friend’s daughter?  Check.

Girls night out with my sister-in-law Angie?  Check.

Family get together?  Check.

School at AAU started?  Check.

Ate LOTS and LOTS of Hi-Chew?  CHECK!

Photo session with my favorite little girl?  CHECK!  CHECK!

(More from this shoot coming up!)

The Post Where I Divulge a Little Bit Too Much About Orem High School

My high school is going to be razed next week.  The new high school has been under construction for a few years and will be completed shortly.  A parking lot will be made where the old school sits, and the new school was built in the old school’s parking lot.

I am one of the few people (so I’m told) that loved high school and I find myself very nostalgic at the moment.

  • I have wonderful memories of being on the debate team and winning lots of speaker awards (very cool mallets for winning) and state championships in my division.  The best part is, I seriously had no idea what I was doing.  I talked fast, I was quick, and I let my debate partner do all the dirty work (research) and I presented it all.  I think he still resents me for it.
  • I loved sneaking out of swim class.  I was not a fast swimmer, but I loved being on the team anyway.  I learned “She who swims the fastest does not have the most fun.  She who swims along the bottom of the 13 foot pool with her best friend and successfully sneaks out of the pool to sit in the sauna has the most fun!”
  • My fashion and advertising classes (which I loved) may have been the most relevant classes I took to prepare me for “real life.”
  • I loved choir.  I mostly loved choir tour.  🙂

I drove by Orem High today to take some pictures before it was destroyed and I was too late!  The school’s name was already taken off the building! (Do you see the snow capped mountains?  They are compliments of the Monday’s storm.)  Today was the last day this building functioned as a school.

I happened to go to my old high school right as school was letting out . . . not something I suggest when carrying a bunch of camera gear.  I ran into my niece Betsy (who graduates on Friday) and my nephew Jake in the halls.  They were pretty surprised to see me wandering about!

Each year, the graduating class would nominate people for “Superlatives.”  I had forgotten I was nominated, and found it interesting and funny that I was voted “Most Photogenic.”  Yes, there was a time when I LOVED to be in front of the camera, that was about 10 years and 20 pounds ago.  Now, I just like to be behind the camera.  Maybe the category, “Most Likely to Become a Photographer” would have been more appropriate.  🙂

I posted some of these pictures on facebook and it seems like everyone is a bit nostalgic!  Poor us . . . all of our memories will have to remain in our minds.  Our homecoming King from the class of 1996 (Andy Payne for anyone who knows/cares) messaged me after seeing these pics and told me I made a great Homecoming Queen.  I was all, um . . . what exactly made me great?  They way I accepted and wore my tiara?  Not a lot of duties (meaning NONE) if I remember correctly . . .

I saw this chart outside of the counselor’s office and it stopped me short.  I mean, 27 credits to graduate from high school?  Seriously?  Only 27 credits?  Doesn’t that seem like, not enough?  Gosh.  Four years to complete it too.  That is an average of six credits per semester.  No wonder I thought high school was easy.  To put it in perspective, medical school is an average of 31 credits per semester and there are no lame-o-filler-classes with that.  I’m just sayin’!

As I walked through the school, I couldn’t think of one teacher that I really remembered or who had influenced me . . . most of my memories were of my friends and in the cafeteria, which was renovated a few years ago.  I did however, drop into one classroom where I recognized the teacher’s name, Mr. Ashdown.  He was my driver’s ed teacher and had absolutely no recollection of me.  When I told him I was in his class in 1993, a girl sitting in a desk overheard me and said, “Hey!  I was born in 1993!”

Yes.  she just said that.  In that moment, I knew I had been in denial about aging.  Seriously, how can you deny your age when current high school kids were born the year you attended high school, and the actual school itself is going to be torn down because it is is SO OLD?

I must not deny it anymore.  I am aging.  I have wrinkles and some sun spots.

Heaven help me.

Wait, I think I just need a dermatologist to help me get back into the denial stage.

Yes.  I think I like being in denial.

Last Night . . .

My husband graciously allowed me to photograph him for one of my assignments.

Can I tell you how happy I was to go out with this handsome guy on a photo shoot?

Can I also tell you how happy I was to nail the focus on his eyes, while the tip of his nose and the outer part of his brows are out of focus? Honestly, shallow depth of field can be so great (when the image calls for it) but it can be a huge pain in your side too when you upload your images only to find out the most important features (the eyes) are in soft focus while the tip of the nose is tack sharp.

That is not fun.

More from this shoot later!

Have a great weekend!

How to Incorporate Gels

Do you know gels (for hot lights and strobes) are nearly impossible to find in this valley?  I checked every camera store in Utah Valley looking for some gels to shoot with.

No one had them.

You know what they told me? “Gels are a speciality item, and we don’t usually carry them.  You can get a similar effect in Photoshop.”

OK, I know I don’t have a neon sign on my forehead that says, “I Speak Photoshop” but man, I need one.

OF COURSE you can  simulate a “gel” effect on your image in Photoshop.

BUT . . .

If there is one thing I have learned in school, it is to shoot perfectly, and use Photoshop as a tool to enhance, not as a crutch, to do the job you should have done during capture.

Fortunately, I was able to track down some gels at a photo super store in SLC and had David pick them up on his way home from work.

This image was my first attempt using gels:

This is straight out of the camera.  No Photoshop here folks.

This diagram shows how I lit the first image: I used two white shoot through umbrellas with tungsten hot lights, and on the back I used another hot light with the gel wrapped around it with a white diffusion panel in front of it which acted as a diffuser and a white seamless backdrop for my glass.

I liked it, but I thought the composition needed a bit more, so I added our wedding rings and decreased the saturation on this image when I edited it in RAW.

I thought I’d try out the blue gel as well.  The reflection shows up nicely on the glass.

And here is the same shot with the red gel.

This diagram shows how I photographed the above images with the rings.  The big difference is bare bulbs on my subject.

If you are interested in trying this at home, check out my set up shot to see how it all came together:

Gosh, gels are fun and I can feel the creative potential just welling up inside of me. 🙂

He Made the Cover!

OK, so the real story isn’t that exciting . . .

For one of my classes, the assignment was to shoot a “magazine cover” using a softbox.

Well . . .

I don’t exactly have a softbox . . . (it was optional for the class, I opted not to get it right away)

So I had to improvise using a diffusion panel, which works well, but it’s still not a softbox.

Anyway, this is the magazine cover I came up with:

Why did I pick to shoot a “golf magazine?”  It certainly isn’t my love for the game, or my natural ability at it either.


AH!  Did I just admit that?

Let’s see:

  • Wardrobe?  CHECK
  • Props:  CHECK
  • Hair and Makeup?  CHECK (more like a non factor for this shoot)
  • Model: CHECK

And so, the concept for my magazine was born.  🙂

I asked my father-in-law if he had any “golf” magazines I could look at (for research and ideas) and his jaw dropped to the floor and he replied, “Are you serious?”

Yes.  I guess it is that shocking that I would be asking to look at golf magazines.

Now for the set up shot:

I used two hot lights with beauty dishes to light the background (if your subject is lit and your background is not, a white background will turn a shade of gray which I certainly did not want) and one hot light with a beauty dish and a white diffusion panel in front of David.

Let me tell you, our garage is one poppin’ place around 11:00 PM on weekend nights.  🙂