Archive for 'Personal'
It was a surprisingly brisk, dew-drenched morning that brilliantly reflected the golden California sunshine up into my face as I walked down to the barn for morning chores. With the dogs playing at my heels, I opened the warped, wooden barn door and was immediately greeted by a bouquet of fresh straw and the sight of dozens of young lambs beginning their routine stretches in the morning and preparing for a day full of frolicking and playing king of the hill on the resident straw pile. As I rationed out flakes of alfalfa, fresh scoops of molasses soaked grain, and scrubbed and filled water buckets to the cleanliness standards of a surgery center, I would always take a second to relax and enjoy the sight and expectations of this year’s lamb crop that we would sell to 4-H and FFA members across the State.
As usual, my mom was right there with me, helping me do chores, formulate the best nutritional rations for our ewes, and just chat about what we were seeing. An accomplished horse trainer, she had a certain way of life that just exuded knowledge about the blending of livestock and life. Little did I know, this everyday meeting would be different.
My mom and I started evaluating the year’s lamb crop and talking about what direction we wanted to go when purchasing rams and ewes to help improve our flock for next year. After several back and forth exchanges on viewpoints, I decided to win this argument once and for all, “knowing” I was right. I mean, I was a teenager after all. I exclaimed “We have to go to Berry’s Farm to purchase stock from him, he’s the most popular person right now, and he’ll help us become popular breeders too.” Taking a second to think of a response, she replied “But Scott, You don’t even like his stock or style.” I thought to myself in all my infinite teenage wisdom that it didn’t matter, I wanted to get customers, and I wanted notoriety in the show ring. What came next was a lesson beyond the barn.
“You see, every day you and I wake up at sunrise and come out here to the barn to feed, water, and complete all the chores that are needed. We’re up at 2 am just to check on the health of our ewes who we are expecting to lamb, and we are out here till sunset practicing. We’ve had a lot of great memories in this barn…and a lot of heart breaks too. Whether its freezing or 110 degrees, we are out here working with our only company being the sheep.” At this point, I have to guess my eyes were beginning to roll, but that’s when she got right to the point. “You can’t go chasing after the trends. With all this work, you have to like what’s in the barn.”
In other words, when you are giving all that you are to your work, you better enjoy the taste of the fruit of your labor the most. Even if no one else appreciates it, you need to. Now how does this lesson in the barn have anything to do with photography? It’s quite simple, as most important things truly are.
As artists, we often thrive on positive affirmation to validate our worth as photographers. There’s nothing wrong looking for positive feedback, in fact, it is always appreciated. However, as a creative I can place too much emphasis on the feedback and too little of it on creating art that inspires me and makes me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I desperately want to please my clients beyond their expectations, but I ultimately want to do that by becoming an inspired and fulfilled photographer ,who, by creating work that he enjoys, overflows that joy to my clients. After all, my clients hire me for who I am, not just my work. I can’t enter into that place of creative Zen without first creating images I love. And in reality, if I don’t love my images, how can I expect anyone else to?
I’m reminded of the contrasting lifestyles of Howard Roark and Peter Keating in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. One created for the pure joy of creating things that he enjoyed, and the other was too consumed with creating what others wanted and neglected creating work that inspires his heart. Keating found temporary notoriety and success, while Roark found fulfillment and ultimately great unnecessary fame.
I’ve been realizing a few things lately, with the first being that I need to create for myself. I sat down to coffee with a good friend and heart the other day, and he said something that has stuck with me. “Scott, skill wise you can technically pull off any photograph you want, but what I want to see is YOU in the photograph.” He didn’t mean a literal “YOU.” I mean, who would want to see that? My morning sit up routine involves the transition of my bed to my espresso machine. What he advised was a creation of art that demonstrated who I am and my heart in every image by simply creating art that I enjoyed and made me happy.
So that’s my goal. I’m going to be removing the “comment” section of my blog page simply because I’m the type of person who chases after affirmation too much. I want to focus on only one thing, creating artwork that inspires me and, in turn, inspires my clients beyond what they could ever image.
As the memory of dew and the smell of fresh straw fill my nose and heart while I drink my morning espresso, I sit down to edit my latest photographs with one thing in mind…I have to like what’s in the barn, even if no one else does. If I stay true to that idea, hopefully I find people that like what is in my barn too.
This post wouldn’t be complete without several embarrassing pictures of me growing up, but hey, I’m not ashamed because it was a life I enjoyed in the barn. Don’t ask about the hats and ties…I had to wear them
With my last California Wine Country wedding wrapped up just a few weeks ago, I find myself starting to look at what an incredible journey this year has been. Alyssa and I moved closer to Denver and Fort Collins, a long time goal of ours. We decided to intentionally slow down and just take on a few weddings this year because of the biggest news we have had yet…the arrival of Carter Thomas Stebner this summer. So with our abbreviated year in the books, we are now able to take a look back at what an amazing year it has been and look forward to what is already shaping up to be an incredible 2013 wedding with shoots lined up from California to North Carolina, and everywhere in-between. We cannot wait for another year filled with wedding art.
Art is truly the expression of one’s soul. In a photographer’s case, it’s the heart breaking free with something to say in the opening and closing of a shutter in thousands of a second. I’ve not only seen how my art has grown this year, but also how I have grown. It gives me a glimpse into where I’m going and who I want to become. With a new family, I’ve been desperately trying to remove distractions in life and just focus on the simplicity that drives my soul. That is, to remove anything that’s not from God..anything that takes away from my family and His will. This is true in my art, and no doubt why you see more black and white images focusing on the relationships between light and shadow, emotion and the moment. As I have been desperately seeking to remove clutter from my life and heart, I find myself seeking minimalism that much more. Minimalism and simplicity isn’t boring and it sure isn’t easy. Simplicity is timeless. Simplicity is beautiful. After all, love is simple. It’s the unwavering, all-giving expression that comes from the depth of who you are. We know when we are in love…there’s no wavering or second guessing. It’s simple nature resonates with us and changes the course of our lives. I think that is what is going to drive me towards simplicity that much more. I will still be using my off camera lighting techniques, I’ll never give that up, so don’t worry But above all else, this is just a confession to everyone that I am just yearning for the simple life…my heart desires only what matters and nothing else. I want my wedding art to focus only on what matters: the story, the love, the beauty, the emotion…the people.
These are a few favorites. These are not a “best of”. These images are simply ones that made me smile a little more at night and when I woke up in the morning.
Thank you to all of our brides who trusted us with your most important and beautiful day. We were so blessed by our experiences at each one of your weddings. Words cannot express how thankful we are for your trust and inspiration.
Scott & Alyssa
Thank you Steve Stanton and Amanda Forbes for letting me second shoot for you this year. Image #5 and #13 were while photographing with Steve Stanton. Image #10, #11, and#17 were while second shooting for Amanda Forbes.
We should have known. Really, we should have expected it. Alyssa and I have never done well with waiting for surprises. As a kid, Alyssa could be found on Christmas Eve finding her presents and unwrapping them early because she couldn’t contain the excitement. As a boy, I would often fast forward to the end of movies to find out how they ended. You see, both of us have had a bad habit of trying to speed up the arrival time of things. It’s not ENTIRELY that we are impatient, it’s just we can’t contain our excitement and curiosity takes over. So when Alyssa woke up two weeks before her due date thinking she might be in labor, I brushed it off, but in the back of my mind I started thinking that old habits don’t go away too easily. Looking over at 3:30 am, our minds started wandering…could this be the day we finally get to meet the little man who has already stolen our hearts completely?
I love him more than words can describe. It really is true, it’s my own heart beating in someone else. I’m transformed to a dedicated protector, nurturer, and provider. The mass of the world has shrunken to 5 pounds, 13 ounces.
Welcome home Carter Thomas Stebner
On our way to the beautiful Beaver Creed Lodge Wedding last week, we decided to hit up Maroon Bells at sunset and drive all night for some night photography and sunrise pics of Arches National Park. Matt and I jogged up the 2 mile trail in pitch black conditions (not knowing there was a rather large edge) on the way to Double Arch in Arches National Park. At about 5:30 in the morning, the light was beautiful as I was perched on a steep incline, one hand on my remote shutter, the other grasping to a tree to stop me from falling.
I love this image.
A few months ago Alyssa and I were telling the story of how we met to some friends of ours over a cup of (you guessed it) coffee. We know our story pretty well. Alyssa has her funny parts that she describes, and I have mine…hers are more funny And at the end of our describing the beginning of our relationship up until now, our company simply responded “Wow, you have a great story.”
I guess it took us off guard. We’ve enjoyed our moments getting to this point in life, and looking back on all of it now, yes, we do have a great story; from our first date, to our engagement, wedding, anniversaries, and now our soon to be new arrival. But stories are better when you share them with people who are near and dear to your heart.
When we first met RJ Kern of Kern-Photo, we were at Caribou Coffee a few days after we got engaged to talk about our wedding photos and see if we’d be a good match as a photographer / couple on a wedding day. RJ was originally booked on our first choice, so we actually changed our wedding date to fit his schedule. Something just felt “right” about it.
So on a freezing day in February, we started our story in pictures in our Denver Engagement Session.
To our beautiful day where we became one, saying yes to a lifetime. Simply one of the best days of our lives!
To celebrating a year of marriage together in a portrait event that was the result of a good
bottle bottles of wine, food, and O’Brother Where Art Thou.
And now to our beautiful Maternity Session which has truly made me realize once again, what a beautiful and classy woman I have married.
To working together on a few projects, be it photos, house restoration, or even Landscaping in freaking insane heat and humidity.
All of these photos on this post were taken by RJ, and we wouldn’t haveit any other way. It is such a blessing as a creative professional to find someone else who shares the same unique vision and outlook on life that you do, who you can give an idea and absolute trust to. Alyssa and I have only been photographed by one person, and we are so thankful that RJ truly understands who we are and makes that a reality in our photographs.
But even more so, we are so happy to have RJ and Krista as dear friends in our life, which makes our story just that much better. RJ, thanks for being such a great, consistent, and giving friend to Alyssa and me. To many more glasses of wine, enjoying the simple things in life, and infectious enthusiasm that sets all our souls and world on fire.
Continuing my night documentary of Aging America in North East Colorado
Who says photography can only be during the best light of the day? Why not just make your own? I’ve been making a real attempt just to focus on my own art lately and try to enjoy slowing down and creating something of value. I love weddings, but as a byproduct sometimes you just get used to working very quickly with your camera, and you have to find other avenues just to slow yourself down.
Many of you might remember this property from the Free to Create session we put on. The place is as unique as any out there with a story that I’ll tell soon. I ran across this truck and new I just had to do a light painting of it.
Canon 52MK2, 24-70 Lens
340 Second Exposure
Lighting, cheap Walmart LED light (120 lumens) and a SEARS automotive light. I like these because they have a strong magnet on them you can really stick anywhere. Oh, and some super cheap tissue paper from Wally-world as well.
If you haven’t heard already, Alyssa and I are so blessed to be moving to the Greeley / Loveland area and we just cannot wait to be there in early July. However, with this move, I’m hit more with a sense of urgency to document this peculiar place we live. On my drive home today the sky was a perfect mix of warm skies mixed with diffused light through clouds.
Keeping up with my personal projects, a little gem I found when I was in San Diego for the Partnercon Convention.