Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 30th already?

Wow, December 30th, and tomorrow is the last day of the year. I'm not sure how I feel about that but I guess it doesn't really matter how I feel, it's here.

Last summer I downloaded an app for my iPhone called tilt shift generator and I thought it was awesome. It makes the right kind of photo look like it's toys that you have photographed. I knew photoshop could do it but I didn't know how. Thanks to some free time the past day or so I followed two tutorials on the procedure and I'm excited about the results. Here are 2 photos that I processed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


November has two big days for Marines, Veterans Day on November 11th but more important to all Marines is November 10th. That is the Marine Corps birthday and this year the Corps will be 235 years old. That is no small feat since some Army leadership through the years have been jealous and sometimes outright hostile to the Marine Corps and the Marines role in serving America. A famous quote :
Secretary of the Navy James
V. Forrestal, commenting upon the flag-raising on Mount
Suribachi, Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945, made clear his
opinion of the Corps' future relevance when he stated:
"This means there will be a Marine Corps for the next 500

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What a Perfect Weekend

I try to get out shooting as often possible but this summer has been too hot and I kind of wimped out. So when our friend Jared Schmidt reminded me that I had promised him a shooting extravaganza in Manti sometime and had not followed through, well, I had to change that. Michael and Bret picked him up in Provo on the way to Manti and by the time they arrived I had the magazines loaded and we were off to the hills.

I'm guessing we filled 2 dozen milk cartons and if we'd taken 10 dozen we wouldn't have had enough, but what a blast that was. This winter I'm going to put food coloring in the water so that should make for some cool effects.

It was perfect weather for shooting, no wind, great temperature, no people around and plenty of loaded magazines!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jump for Peace One Day

Who would have thought that taking jumping pictures would lead me to meet such cool and interesting people. Not me :) But hey, I figure anyone who jumps for pictures, or takes them, has to be an interesting person.

Not long ago I ran across one of the sweetest jump shots I've ever seen, and I bet you can pick it out from the ones I posted here. I hadn't noticed any photos from Miss Construed on Flickr before and then a short time later I found a post she had left on the Jumping Project about a jumping blog she was starting. Meet Alex McGlinn who is behind this endeavor. Well there is no way I could pass up on something like that so I started submitting photos to her. Boy am I glad I did because I've had the chance to get to know someone who is passionate about her life and her feelings. She is a runner, a soccer player, a teacher and a wife who lives on a little tiny island called Kwalajein in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. By her description it is teeny tiny and has a population of about 1,200. You really need to google it to appreciate how small it is.

She and her 3rd grade class have set aside September 21st as Peace One Day and put out the request that people take jump pictures wearing red to symbolize peace and submit them to her blog. I thought that was just plain cool and the result was very good. Alex pulled it off and had a variety of shots from around the world. I hope it grows each year for her.

Some very good news is that the Wall Street Journal has contacted her to do a feature article about her blog, jumps and Peace One Day. She is hoping it is published around the end of October so check back for a final date! I have a permanent link to her blog Jumping Pictures Will Save the World over on the right hand side of the screen. But you can click right here to pay her a visit. Go check it out and see the interesting variety of jumps from around the world. And she would love for you to submit a picture of your own along with a brief write up of what's happening in the photo. Come on you can do it :)

And Alex, you rock, thanks for your efforts!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend at Elevation

I think I enjoy Labor Day weekend more than Memorial Day weekend. Cooling temperatures make me happier than rising temps and nothing quite equals the start of football season. I don't even feel guilty lurping around for 3 days by the time September arrives. The past few years we've loaded into the old Suburban and headed up to the top of Skyline Drive above Manti. We've been lucky enough to have great friends to visit over the holiday weekend and that just makes the family bigger and better.

Yesterday took us to Skyline Drive and a real adventure. I've wanted to get jumpshots with a forever depth of field and that requires light in the foreground and good backlight so I can crank the f stop to 22. Conveniently I bought some pocket wizards a few months ago and they provided the magic touch I needed. Mother Nature did the rest :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kirsten! Too many candles on the cake, yikes!

We celebrated Kirsten's birthday yesterday and we had a classic, carrot cake with ice cream! Yep I'm a happy dude. I think the only reason you need the cake is to hold up the yummy frosting and it was no coincidence that the frosting was thick! But carrot cake is nice and moist so it was perfect. One thing that is a little different for Kirsten is that we can only celebrate for one day. In years past her birthday celebration dragged on for a week. Given the opportunity I would do the same for mine, but for Kirsten it was always a birth "week" rather than a birth "day" celebration. Now with graduate school starting and working, Kirsten only gets one day like most mere mortals.

The biggest decision might be how many candles to put on her cake in the future. Smoke detectors are very sensitive :)

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm a Flickr and photography junkie. I admit it and further more I'm happy about it! Some people live on Facebook or send hundreds of text messages from their cell phone for their passion. Not me, it's Flickr all the way! You can visit anonymously and view pictures posted by others or you can make new friends and discover their secrets for creating awesome photographs. I have made some great friends as a result of posting photographs on Flickr and I have learned something from each one. I have introduced you to a few of my friends in the past and I wanted you to meet Niki.

Emeraldgeal is what she goes by on Flickr and she lives in New Brunswick, Canada. That is a long way from Utah! But her photographs and posts mirror the homey family oriented feelings that Utah offers to so many of us. Like many of my Flickr heroes, I've never met her in person but when you view someones photo's you get an intimate glimpse into who they are, and I could tell from Niki's pictures she was the kind of person I wanted as a friend and someone I could bother for tips and get ideas from to improve my photographic skill. She has an awesome resume as far as art and photography go, but she wants to be low key about that and I respect her feelings.

Here in Utah we are known for our neighborliness and how we watch out for one another, so it caught my attention when Niki posted some things about her neighbor Marg and her ongoing battle with cancer. Nicola's feelings for her neighbor really had an impact on me and her picture of her jumping next to Marg is a classic in my opinion. Those two have an obvious bond and it shows in the photograph.

I asked Niki if I could post some of her pictures that I have enjoyed over the past 6 months and she graciously gave me permission so I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. When you get a minute visit her Flickr photostream. You can follow the link here to see some great photography. Thank you Niki and thanks to your husband Lou for letting you pursue your passion and share it with all of us :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Go Garden Go

I can't believe it's August already! NFL pre-season football starts Sunday, average high temperatures are on the downhill slide, school is right around the corner and the garden is going crazy! At this point in the gardening process the weeding is easier because the vegetable plants are mature and naturally keeping weeds to a minimum. That makes everyone happy! I can actually count the pumpkins that are growing and the tomatoes are filling their cages. Corn is about 2 weeks away from getting picked and the beans are already canned and on the shelf. I wish I knew how to stagger the ripening of things but at this point I'm just happy to have so much growing. All I could think tonight was go garden go!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Calvino

IMG_6076, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

Trying to get everyone together for a group shot proved impossible but at least the die-hards stayed until this awesome sunset. I'm a little sad that the whole neighborhood didn't turn out for Calvin's party because in my mind this is the glue that binds us all together. Taking a few minutes out of busy schedules to give of your time. That's what I believe is important. No gifts, no big scenes, just a little time and renewal of friendships. I saw how the eclectic group of kids played together running back and forth between parents and playgrounds while I stalked around with my camera trying to be invisible. I really like the socialization that exists with our neighborhood and yet I was a little sad that more weren't with us. There are so many friends and neighbors that I love and count as dear friends and yet it seems like they miss all of the great activities and I miss their company. Time is valuable and that's why it's such a special gift to share.

I'm positive Calvin was as happy as a pig in mud and Wyatt and Andrea had everything set up and organized like clock work. It made it one of those times that I will treasure. Maybe I feel that way because I've had so many flipping birthdays that in someways I see the sun going down on me, (yikes), or maybe I'm figuring out that nothing is more important than friends, family and loved ones and the best gift we can give is our time.

Thanks Andrea, and maybe Wyatt, for including us and all the others in Calvino's celebration! I hope all of you enjoyed the evening as much as I did :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Emmett ! That you up there?

IMG_6061, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

I try to hang out with my age group as much as possible which is roughly 2 - 4 year olds, so when my peep Calvin had his 3rd birthday party on the the 29th of July I couldn't wait to go. Andrea bought my favorite cake from Costco with more frosting than cake, and we got to watch Calvin open some presents. Awesome :)

I wanted to get some jump shots but Andrea politely said "screw you" so I rounded up a few of the usual suspects and managed to talk Ian Ferguson into tossing Emmett in the air. I don't imagine there are too many times in our life that we can get tossed like this since we all seem to grow beyond our parents strength to huck us straight up, so I get pretty excited to capture a shot like this.

Thanks Ian and Emmett, and thanks for the invite to Calvin's birthday party Andrea :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Here Come Some Jumps!

During the winter and spring I remember wondering if I would ever have a chance to get jump pictures with blue sky and colors. It seemed like everyday was gray and kind of blah. Well, no more now that summer is here and we have plenty of sunshine. Here is an update of some of my favorites from the past month or so.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Water Water Water

Summer is in full swing so I figured it's safe to try some super fast shutter speeds playing with water. I managed to take these without getting wet :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

hello everyone, welcome to my garden

I haven't posted very many updates on my garden this year and the best part is that it's rocking. I had a couple pumpkin plants bite the dust but for the most part things are growing. I've got corn on my right, beans on my left and some carrots right down the middle. So far so good!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catch me daddy

Catch me daddy, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

The best part of summer is being outside in the evening in a neighborhood like ours because so many people are out on walks and enjoying cool air. I can't imagine sitting in the backyard locked away so you missed the visits and the company. Just one of the 3,117 reasons I love my neighborhood!

The Sparks and their perfect little children (thanks to Molly of course) stopped during their walk for a chat, so my camera came out and the kids went up in the air! Good job Scott :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July !!!

I don't know about you but I find it hard to believe it's the 4th of July already. It could be the cool wet spring we had and with out hot dry weather it doesn't seem like summer, or simply that time passes quicker every year for me. I keep thinking the sun is going down on my life, but that is a story for another day :)

This is the first 4th of July we have all been together as a family for 5 years so it made this holiday even more special. Having Uncle Roger and Aunt Kathleen come up from Phoenix and Uncle David come down from Salt Lake made this celebration even better.

I've felt more like it's Thanksgiving rather than Independence Day because of the gratitude I've felt having my family together, but as I've thought about it the 4th of July is a day of gratitude and thanksgiving. Gratitude for those remarkable men and women who 234 years ago offered everything they had to secure a nation free to worship God as they see fit and to found a democracy for the protection of freedom. Thanksgiving to God for the sustaining of this democracy through all these years. Though not perfect, I treasure it as the best on Earth.

So these jumps are for family and to celebrate the birth of this nation. I hope your celebration was as meaningful to you as this has been to me.