Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A visit from Laura

Our niece Laura is on her summer break from Gonzaga, up in Spokane, WA.  She was on a road trip with her boyfriend and two other friends down to Price, UT.  On their drive heading back to Gonzaga, they were kind enough to stop by and say "howdy".

We had breakfast together at Squatters before they started off again for another 10 hours of driving.  It was great to get to see Laura. It has been too long.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jasper still has the speed

Julie and I took Jasper to City Park for some exercise.  At almost 11 years old, the dog can still fly!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Teaching a photography class

Every once in a while, I teach a photography class over at the Kimball Arts Center.  This time, it was two afternoons with six teenagers.  The first day we were walking around Park City.  The second, we hopped in the Pilot and went to some more remote locations around town.

I mostly kept my camera in my bag and focused on their efforts, but every once in a while I would snap a quick shot.  This is just some quick examples of the things you can shoot.

Two blocks from the center, there is a stream that normally runs pretty dry in the summer.  This year, because of some pipe construction, there is more water running.  It's a great place to learn about long shutter speeds versus quick ones.
Down the creek is Park City's famous shoe tree.  Lots of opportunities to find different angles and play with depth of field.
One of the reasons I like working with kids is they are always finding creative things to shoot.  This student turned out to be the daughter of two people I got to know through CrossFit. That's life in a small town.
The skateboard park is normally a good place to learn how to predict where action will happen, but you never know whether anyone will be doing bigger tricks.  This was a fairly hot summer day to be out in the sun and the boarders were pretty lethargic, even when lured by six photographers.
There are a number of places around town with funky art to shoot.
Then we hit the city park playground. We were trying to find creative angles to get shots.  The star burst next to her head is from a reflection off a car windshield a long ways off.  It's pretty distracting, but I liked it anyway.
Another student, Zach, in the playground.  I shot him from the side a number of times, but that was looking pretty boring.  Then I managed to get this one where it almost looks like he is standing on the fence, looking over the bar.
Park City's Old Town has so many interesting subjects, even just walking along the street.
Day 1 was very hot and everyone was melting by the end.  For Day 2, we traveled by car between stops and kept it a little shorter. We even made a quick Slurpee stop at the 7-11.

Up at Guardsman's Pass, the flowers were blooming big time!
Sadly, we lost two of the kids for the second day.  One had come up from Salt Lake City and they weren't sure they could get her back to Park City again the next day.  Never heard from the other girl, Emily.  Sad to have lost her, but these four were great!
Teenagers are  fun to work with because they are creative, motivated, and suck up information like a sponge.  I really enjoyed it.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Running a 5k

As many of you may know, I am not supposed to be running at all because I basically have bone-on-bone in my right knee.  Running can earn me a knee replacement surgery.  Just the same, I get the urge to run the occasional race.  To avoid all the wear and tear, I do absolutely no training.  I rely on some combination of a natural inclination to run and brute stupid will.

One race I do every year is the July 4th 5k.  This year there were a little over 1000 runners, and more women than men.  My goal was to grind out a sub 8:00 minute mile pace, and I made it with about 20 seconds to spare.  I was 7th out of 50 in my age/gender and I would have crushed it if I was allowed in the age 70-99 category.  Now the humbling part.

Living in this uber athletic town, I am used to being beaten by 15 year old high school track stars.  In this race, one beat me by about 6:30.  Nice run! Two things did bother me.  The first was getting beaten by a 6 year old boy.  I was standing next to him at the starting line and he came up to about my hip. At the 2.5 mile mark, he was ahead of me.  This pissed me off so I started cranking up the pace.  Right then, a 12 year old girl passed him.  That pissed him off and he accelerated dramatically.  Are you kidding?  There was no way I could catch him.  I slowed down and he beat me by 40 seconds.
In a different category was the 10 year old girl who smoked me by over 5 minutes.  Grace Ping ran a 19:15.  Essentially, she was out of my vision after the first 400 yards or so.  I read up on her.  She ran a race back at the end of April, doing a 5k on a track in 18:02!  For those of you struggling with the math, that's 5:48 miles.  Yes, she shattered the world record for 10 year old girls.

So, while I was OK with my ability to run a decent race without no training runs for nine months, I still feel somehow robbed of any joy or pride. Getting your ass kicked by a 10 year old girl and a 6 year old boy is pretty humbling.  Normally I would crank up my running and start dpoing some intervals for speed.  With a bum knee, I just go for a bike ride.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Why I turned off iMessage on my iPhone

Years ago, Apple enhanced its iPhone text messaging with something called iMessage.  Whenever you were texting between two iPhone's, you went through the data network and Apple servers instead of through the cellular network to the carriers' servers.  Back when you were paying per text or had a small number of free texts, this was a great thing.  Going through Apple was free and iMessage was smart enough to use normal texting to get to non-iPhones.

Over the past several years, most carrier plan either include unlimited texting or some very large number of free texts per month. This means the financial benefit no longer exists.

Now the bad stuff....  Apple has a bug in their iMessage system.  If you are using it with your iPhone (which is the default) and then change phones to to Android, Apple doesn't clear their server's knowledge of you.  So when iPhone people try to get in touch with you by text, Apple stills tries (and fails) to reach you by iMessage.  It should know that you are no longer using iMessage and tell the phone to reach you by normal texting.

Julie switched phones lately and this was a royal pain in the butt.  When you call Apple service, they try a few things and get you to try some things, none of which does much. It's a bug in their design and they have known about it for quite a while.

I am still an iPhone user and will be for at least another year.  However, I went into my settings and turned iMessage off.  I have no intention of ever turning it on again.  I suggest everyone with iPhones do the same.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Oakley Rodeo

A couple of nights ago, Julie Greg, Miriam and I went to the Oakley Rodeo.  Oakley is a small town about 15 miles from Park City. The rodeo is pretty big and draws competitors from all around the west.  As a photography choice, it's a tough one.  The event starts at 8:00pm, so the sun is almost down.  Add some pretty mediocre lighting and fast action and you have something that is quite the pisser to photograph well.

You can't start a rodeo without a lot of  American songs and flags.  If you look in the background, you can see a lot of people with their hands over their hearts.  This was a very patriotic group of spectators.  They put their hands over their hearts for the pledge, the Star Spangled Banner, and any country western song that mentioned loving America.  I'm not making this up.
Then we had all the rodeo queens and their attendants. Just like in the beauty pageants, you have to master that perfect little wave.  The challenge is doing it at a good clip on the back of a big horse.
On to the competitions.  First we have bareback riding.  At this point I didn't have a lot of perspective, but in hindsight, these guys had almost as tough a ride as the bull riders.  These were some angry horses and you had next to nothing to control yourself with.
This guy actually managed to stay on for the complete ride.  Lots of his fellow riders did not do as well.
The next event should be called something like "High Speed Cow Tackling".  The cow comes ripping out of the gate.  The horse takes off after the cow and quickly catches up.  Then the cowboy jumps off said horse and tries to wrestle the cow to the ground.  It is all for best time.
Did I mention that I pull for the animals to win all the contests?  Everyone else is pulling for the cowboys, so I think it's only fair.  As best I can tell, this cowboy jumped off his horse, grabbing the cow on the way down, at which point the cow promptly pinned him to the ground. Cow 1 - Cowboy 0.
The next event I refuse to show in its entirety.  A cowboy ropes a running calf and jumps down.  The horse, who is apparently the smartest in the bunch, immediately pulls backwards so the rope stays tight. The calf suddenly gets yanked to the ground by his neck. The cowboy jumps on the poor little calf  and ties his feet.  Not only does this suck for picking on a calf instead of a cow, or better yet a bull, but the little guy gets yanked so hard by the neck you can feel it in the stands. Might as well rope lambs. I would call this event "Not Tough Enough To Do Real Cowboy Events".
Back to the broncos, but this time with saddles.  I'm no cowboy, but this seemed a hell of a lot easier than the bareback version.  These guys stayed on most of the rides and seemed to have time to go for style.
Here was one of the best poses.
The horses were still doing their best to get that guy off their back.
And sometimes it worked.
And if it did work, you needed to get out of the way very quickly.  In the bareback riding, one guy got thrown off the back and before he could hit the ground, the horse kicked him in the head.  That does not make for a good evening.
The next event required quite a bit of coordination.  The cow bolts.  Two horsemen give chase.  One ropes the cow's head and pulls him around.  The second cowboy ropes the moving back feet of the cow.  I haven't quite figured out the physics of that one.
Done correctly, it looks like this.
Then the ladies took center court for barrel racing.  It is a sprint for time, navigating several barrels. I was not able to figure out how the horses kept traction making such tight turns at high speed. The ladies were amazing to stay up on a horse cranking dirt at a 45%  angle.
Some excellent horsemanship.
The final event is often referred to as "the longest eight seconds in sports".  Quite simple:  Get on bull. Stay on bull. Good luck.
I don't know the different riding techniques, but I am guessing this isn't one of the correct ones.
Yep.  Guessed right.
How would you like to hit the ground on your back, look up, and see all that angry bull completely  up in the air.  Notice the rodeo clown heading over to try and distract the bull.
Look how high that bulls rear end is.  Getting throw forward towards the horns and in the bull's sight is probably the worst alternative.
This guy was getting some of the same style that the bronco riders did.
And the bull did not find that amusing.

Rodeo can be a bit hard to watch because they are giving the animals a rough night.  Then again, the animals were beating the crap out of the cowboys as revenge.

Note to self: next time you go, sit down at the southeast end, near where the bulls come out.  Five or six rows up on an aisle would be perfect.  Better photos there.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Boys and their toys

After Hurricane Fran, I would have loved to have had use of one of these for a few weeks. 30 minutes to clear the 100+ trees down on our property and the following days to have made a fortune at other people's houses. It's even a stump grinder.