Friday, April 15, 2005

She's Here!

Last week, in my haste to complain that Spring hadn't yet graced me with her presence, I failed to notice that my tulips had emerged from the rain-drenched soil and into the warming air. I came home from work on Wednesday and was delightfully welcomed by forty bright and smiling yellow tulip blossoms. I could hear their musings on the breeze. They begged me. I couldn't resist. I dropped my things inside, grabbed my Holga and some Provia and practically skipped across the yard to photograph my beautiful girls.

Welcome, Spring! Kick off your shoes, grab a lemonade and just rest here in Utah for a while. I'm not ready for Summer.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hurry up, Spring!

I don’t think I’ve ever welcomed Spring with such fervency. It hasn’t been a hard winter here in Utah, at least not in the valleys. We’ve had somewhat mild temperatures and hardly any snow to speak of, but more rain than I can handle. On the flipside, our mountains have more snow than they’ve seen in 20 years. It’s great, considering the drought and all, but I’ve had enough. I want sunshine and warmth.

My husband and I have been dreaming about hikes all winter -- old favorites and new adventures. I’ve realized in the past year or so that my favorite type of hike is one that will get me on top of a mountain. There is such exhilaration from topping out, such a deep sense of accomplishment. I’m not talking Everest. No, just local stuff. Peaks that look like mere hills compared to the tallest mountain on the planet. The hike I’m looking most forward to at the moment is Sunset Peak in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake. The only problem: snow. At the base of the mountain, down at Alta Ski Resort, they’ve still got fifteen feet of the stuff. In April. We’ll have to snowshoe the damn thing in June!

Mother Nature teased us with Spring about a month ago so my husband and I took advantage of it. We hiked the Frary Peak trail on Antelope Island in the middle of the vast Great Salt Lake. Frary, at 6596’, is the highest point on the island. It was gorgeous and so different. Most of our hikes take us to places where the lake is in the far western distance, but this time, we were surrounded by the lake and looking east, toward the Wasatch range. Plus, since we were on the island, we could see past it, further west. The views were amazing! There was Utah scenery I’d never seen before. From our perch on top, we munched on peanut butter sandwiches, string cheese and fruit leather, and watched herds of bison meandering on the valley floor below, oblivious to the growing cities just miles beyond their island. Tiny blue birds chattered with each other and cawing crows floated in the breeze. I loved every second of it and quickly added the hike to my list of favorites.

I can’t wait for real Spring.

We stopped here, about a mile from the summit of Frary, to wait for three hulking bison to move off the trail. The openness on the right of the image is the shoreline of Great Salt Lake a thousand feet below, and on the horizon is the Ogden portion of the Wasatch range.

We stopped briefly at the marina on Antelope Island before we started hiking and were treated to an unlocked gate and no one in sight.

Monday, April 04, 2005


On a whim, I picked up a copy of LensWork last weekend (I was waiting in line to buy more film and paper I didn’t need) and haven’t yet been able to put it down. I’d never seen this publication before and now I wouldn’t mind seeing it in my mailbox on a regular basis. I love it! This January/February 2005 issue that’s glued to my hands contains some of the most beautiful black and white photographs I’ve ever seen. I’ve been further inspired to work more with black and white.

I’ve loved black and white since that very first roll of Tri-X that I ran through my grandpa’s old Fujica. It was for my first SLR assignment in my first college photo class and the most interesting place I could think to shoot was at Beus Pond, a small nature reserve at the edge of my hometown. There’s a paved path around the pond, thick wooded patches and the furthest thing from silence you’ll ever hear. Aside from delighted, squealing children, the place is teeming with waterfowl: ducks, swans, varying migratory birds, and the loudest and perhaps most active of all birds (I say active because they will RUN YOU DOWN) -- the hungry, honking goose, which I believe is its official name. These geese are white and/or gray-feathered beasts with bright orange (killer) beaks. They have webbed feet the size of an adult male’s hands and the most laughable, yet feared “HOOOOONK” you’ll ever hear. And like I said, they will run you down. If you don’t have that bag of stale hamburger buns open and ready by the time you are within gentle tossing distance of these mean little buggers, they will crane their thick necks and lower their heads, start up the honking and waddle as fast as their man-hand feet will carry them. Beware. You could lose a finger.

Anyway, back to photography. I went to Beus Pond, where every just-beginning photo student goes to shoot a roll or two. It would be an understatement to say I was impressed with my first b/w results. I was ecstatic. I had 36 frames of ducks. Floating ducks. Flying ducks. Sleeping ducks. Bread-eating ducks. At the time, the concept was stellar! Black and white ducks! No one would ever think of that! Today, however, I just laugh and roll my eyes at myself when I think about how “good” that first roll was. But, at the same time, I am grateful for each and every lackluster composition I’ve made thus far. It is from rolls like that first one that I learn what is good and interesting and worthwhile. That being said, I’ve decided to revisit a few of my older black and white images. I printed each of the following images in a traditional wet darkroom, but have since made the transition to a digital darkroom. I feel that I’ve got color printing down to a science, but I’m struggling with black and white. I was never taught anything about b/w digital printing in college and have been learning about it on my own. Because I’ve got good wet prints of these images, I’ve decided to scan them and print them digitally. I figure I’ll be able to make good comparisons between the two, so I’ll let you know how they work. Let me know what you think of the images. Thanks!

Mud Bucket, 2002

Lickin' Horse, 2002

Dad's fireplace, 2002

Pumpkin Patch, 2002

Modern Cabins, Last Chance, Idaho 2003