Friday, April 30, 2010


SoapChickAsh is the name that my good friend and peep Ashley Lindsey is known by on Flickr. She makes soap ... and has quite a collection of beach glass ... and has two awesome little girls, pretty cool :) She is also a photographer and a good one at that. I was doing my routine on Flickr 5 or 6 months ago when I ran across one of her outstanding photos. It was included in Action Shot! Revolution Pool (click here to see the photo) and it caught my eye because it features two friends jumping on the top of some giant bales of hay. My love of jump shots is fairly well known, so I had to find out who the mastermind was behind that picture.

After a few hiccups, like being creeper blocked from her photostream, I finally had the chance to share a few messages with Ashley, get unblocked, and was able to see more of her photos. I've wanted to post some for a while now and she was kind enough to give me permission the other day to feature some of my favorites. The picture of her daughter Erin jumping with the school bus in the background is my all time favorite with the profile shot of Erin being nearly equal.

What makes a photograph memorable is when it tells a story that I understand and maybe even relate to. Her images all tell a story and it's obvious she takes the time to make them "just so". I am happy to admit many of her photographs intimidate the heck out of me and have given me added incentive to improve my work and try to develop the eye for artsy pictures like Ashley has. I hope you take the time to visit her photostream on Flickr because the 10 pictures I've included in the post are just a tiny sample of her talent.

Having Ash as a friend is pretty awesome and we had the chance to get together a month ago to shoot some pictures while she and her girls were here in Salt Lake. They were on a dead run and I was in the middle of tax season so it was a quick adventure, but long enough that she was able to teach me a few things that I have applied in some of my pictures. She still has to teach me how to use Photoscape :)

Oh, in case you are wondering why she was here in Salt Lake ... her husband Wes, who is a "sigh-yun-tist" haha, got a job in Salt Lake and they are moving here in the near future!!!! Awesome, I can feel more photoshoots on the way with SoapChickAsh. I'll learn to deal with the intimidation factor :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bret Is Home, Yay!!

It's hard to believe that two years have passed and other than the holiday's, I can honestly say it has flown by. 19 years old is a difficult age and it seems like so many of the youth of the world get lost at that impressionable age. I know because without the discipline and structure of the Marine Corps, I have a pretty good idea I would have spent many years lost and confused with what to do with my life. I wanted my children raised different than I was and I wanted them to grow and mature in a safe and stable environment. I want them to be happy and make correct choices in life, to be good citizens and to be people that will make a contribution to society. It would be hard to ask anymore of them.

Bret has always been a wonderful son and it was no surprise when he came to the conclusion that serving a mission would be the right thing to do at 19. I couldn't have been more pleased. Putting education on hold for 24 months is difficult, but the benefits from serving far outweigh the challenges that result. He is now fluent in Mandarin, has made eternal friendships and has come to love the people of Taiwan. I was still muddling my way through life at his age and seeing your children excel beyond where you were at that stage is a very real, parental payday!

Welcome home Bret boy, you've been missed more than you know!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Chores

IMG_0581, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

I haven't had the time to do my Saturday chores for a few months so it was nice to have some help this morning :) I also haven't had the time to mess with photoshop lately so this was a nice break in addition to getting work done! Total Safety all the way!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Best Street In Salt Lake

It's hard to choose my favorite part of spring, more sunshine, warmer weather, the scent of flowers, green grass ... you get the idea. But one thing I always look forward to is the neighborhood coming alive with everyone heading outdoors to soak in the changing season. Moods are better and with the additional daylight it is finally an option to stay outside and share evenings with friends and neighbors.

This is particularly enjoyable when you live on the best street in town like I do. My photographic mentor Andrea "plans" the best impromptu gatherings under her legendary tree and I've looked forward to attending those all winter long. It turns an ordinary street into a family-like community and brings us all together for a few hours of relaxation and visiting. A celebration of spring.

This week has brought some welcome warm weather so it was a chance to get outside and see who was stirring. Any time is a good time for some jump pictures, but it's hard to beat the feeling that comes from jumping in the spring and on the best street in Salt Lake!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Friend Megg

First let me clarify that I haven't met Megg but I have followed her Flickr page for nearly a year and have enjoyed her talent and learned from her, so I feel like I can rightfully call her my friend. She is a teacher by profession so it's no wonder that she has been so willing to help me learn, and so patient with my questions. When I first saw her work I was attracted to it by something very unique and creative but the problem I had was that I am a CPA and I live in the decidedly uncreative world of tax law so I couldn't put my finger on what was so appealing about her images. All I knew is that they kept drawing me back and had me looking forward to more of her interesting posts.

One day as I was enjoying her latest post I knew I had to learn from her so I sent a quick note asking her about her processing. Of course Megg sent me a note back explaining things and forwarding a link to a tutorial that I have referred to a number of times now. The easy part, even for a CPA, is learning the mechanics, but the talent associated with her photography is something else entirely and that's what sets her work apart from so many others that I have seen.

I checked Flickr this morning like I do each day and saw another awesome post from Megg so I fired off another email to ask her permission to post some more of her outstanding pictures. After posting some of her images a month ago I've had a few people mention how much they enjoy her work too, so I'm thrilled to share more. Personally, I have never seen lomography presented any better, but it isn't just the iconic processing that makes her work impressive, it's the amazing talent and dedication to telling a story with each picture she takes. Follow the link to her blog here and enjoy her posts! Megg, if you're out there, you're the best :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 15th (or so)

I have neglected almost everything in my life the past 4 months and although it's normal for tax season (particularly when you are self-employed) this year has seemed worse. When the IRS announced in January that brokerage houses and banks had an additional two weeks to issue 1099's to their customers, it had a ripple effect all the way down to little ole me. Nearly everyone was slower this year getting their information organized so it made it later in the season for me to get things prepared. I am still very grateful for the work I have and this is in no way meant to gripe. I count my blessings everyday for work and health and family. I'm exhausted every April 16th so a rest is welcome. I know many people who are facing employment challenges and they are in my thoughts frequently.

I have been an avid photographer, albeit amateur and a slow learner, for a few years and I have wanted to upgrade my camera for some time .... so, I received a Canon 5D Mark II in the mail this week for my after tax season surprise to myself, and what a sweet camera :) This is going to be fun!

In 10 days Bret will be home from 2 years in Taipei, Taiwan and I can't wait to see him. What an awesome experience he has had, and I have to believe that being fluent in Mandarin at 21 years old will be a real asset for his entire life, let alone the wonderful blessings he has accrued from living among those great people of Taiwan.

Oh yeah, a jump for joy picture for the end of tax season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Way Behind

My friend Don Adamson mentioned to me today that I needed to get my priorities straight and get some updates to this blog. I admit I've been over the top busy with work but I have had time for some awesome jump shots with a few willing victims. I am so ready for nice weather I can't stand it. Just a chance to get some shots outside with blue sky in the background would be nice. This week wraps up the freaking wild tax season so I'm looking forward to a little quality camera time real soon. I can't take credit for the first picture because Bret took it in Taiwan and emailed it to me last week. I was glad to see he is enjoying jump pictures 7,500 miles away!