Unfamiliar places with unfamiliar faces

On September 9th I joined a local photographer based out of Des Moines on an early morning adventure utilizing the light from the sun. Previously I observed him successfully chasing the low setting fog with the sun shining ever so slightly as it greets the horizon. He posted one evening that if anyone was interested in joining him on one of the whimsical adventures to contact him and so I immediately did. He was a very reserved and from what I gathered honest individual so the chance of getting abducted and chopped into sausage seemed impossible. I set my alarm for 5:30 put the A7 on the charger, made sure I had a clear memory card and got some sleep.

I woke up on the 9th doing my normal rituals before exiting the house, ill prepared for the tall vegetation we would experience I decided to wear shorts. I sweat and unless it is 60 degrees I refuse to wear jeans, this would soon get the best of me. We met at the meet up spot, I located the photographer Justin Meyer (http://www.justinsalemmeyer.com) (https://www.facebook.com/justinsalemmeyerphoto) and the silohuettes of what I presumed were the subjects for the day, unsure of what was about to happen I hastily grabbed my camera bag and indulged in small talk as I made my way to the vehicle. Moments later we departed! 

So I introduced myself formally to the two females in the back of the vehicle and instantly conversation took off as if the four of us always got coffee and set out on adventures. Instantly I felt like I was in the right place at the right time, as a majority of people were just crawling out of bed we were set out to do magical things with no true results in mind. It was something that I had not done in a while, I was so overwhelmed with weddings and work that I had failed to find the time to shoot without a true purpose and to just experiment and see where I was taken. We arrived at a small spanish church that if you asked me to show you on a map where it was I would point to the South side of Des Moines and say "there" we then crossed the street and entered a wooded area that is a portion of one of the many parks in Des Moines. Remember my genius idea to wear shorts? This is where I regretted that decision, Justin the genius that he was wore boots that screamed adventure as this was no doubt not his first rodeo. Kadira and Amina instantly followed behind Justin as I hesitantly tried to recall what poison ivy looked like, Justin shoots with Nikon so I tip my hat to him as he donned a single lens which I believe was a Sigma Art but I can't be certain as I was too busy noting his tendencies and very few quips he was agile and very attentive to detail as he composed his shots, rather than firing the shutter 15 times every 30 seconds you would sparingly hear the shutter fire knowing that when he elected to push down on the button to capture what he envisioned. He didn't even question whether or not to join Kadira atop a fallen tree that laid horizontally 10 feet above the ground. 

We moved further into the woods and the adventure continued, overwhelmed and happy to finally be awake at sunrise I timidly continued to follow the clan as they proceeded on as I questioned if we knew where we were going. Justin however had scouted the area the evening before and noted that he discovered an epic tree. It was a majestic tree with numerous branches that definitely would tell some amazing stories if given the opportunity. As we proceeded on we encountered 3 deer that were not even startled by our presence it was a moment of tranquility to see wildlife fearless and minding their own business as we proceeded to mind our own. I stopped briefly as Amina gently crossed off the beaten path towards the deer and for a moment I felt that she was almost able to touch them. Sure enough they finished with their early morning feast and slowly headed in the opposite direction. If the sunrise didn't already induce a smile the presence of wildlife surely did. 

We eventually made our way to an open area with a pond and freshly cut grass where a few more portraits managed to occur including one of myself despite have all sorts of seeds on my lightly dampened shirt. I followed a few swift instructions from Justin and then once again we were off. We made our way back to his vehicle and would make a journey to what seemed like a giant petting zoo. He told me about the donkey farm, pointed out camels, peacocks, and we even observed a zebra (again if you asked me to take you to the location I would spend hours trying to remember where it was, all I knew was that we were on the southern side of Des Moines which appeared even more remote). We would make two more stops to shoot, although brief as the bugs were atrocious and mosquitoes were out in full force we still managed to have an enjoyable morning. I made three new contacts, got out with my camera, saw the sunrise and enjoyed studying and casually taking photographs in a pressure free atmosphere. I look forward to another adventure with Justin and the opportunity to work with Kadira and Amina again as I will feel less timid and more comfortable with the adventures once again. I always enjoy the unexpected and the results were quite successful for such a brief outing. Hopefully you enjoyed my post midnight story telling and at least understood some of it, if it didn't make sense then just admire the photos. Justin is a very talented individual and brings a unique aesthetic to the photography realm when the number of photographers is constantly on the rise. 

Everything doesn't have to be about competition or jealousy, sometimes it is even more pleasant to embrace the work of another individual and just enjoy their company and engage in meaningful conversation. I am always willing to join others for such adventures and hope to bring you more stories of my collaborations with other artists both in the Des Moines and Twin Cities markets. 

More to come soon! 

I promise!


Younkers Fire - 2015 Pricing - USB DRIVES - Wedding Season

Nearly two months have gone by since my last entry wow time flies! I've been overwhelmed with my job as I edit more than 1000 images a week for the various papers that Gannett owns. It's a fun journey but you really begin to wonder why some people are taking photographs, and why some feel it is necessary to utilize Iphone 4 photos for newsprint. Nonetheless I edit them and send them back because it's my job. I'm just the drone, I've picked up quite a few new tricks that I was unaware of and noted a few new features that are almost like easter eggs on the back end of things. Then again there are a billion different ways to do the same tasks in Photoshop and it's interesting to see the various ways each person reaches the ending. 

Since I last updated a fire destroyed a historic landmark of downtown. The Younkers building which was in the middle of being renovated for other uses caught fire and led firefighters to utilize 160 million gallons of water to put out the blaze, during the events part of the building collapsed and engulfed a majority of downtown in a cloud of smoke. The building had a historic past and even was the location where my mother got her wedding cake. It's tragic to see something so beautiful crumble. Unfortunately I left my job at 11pm the evening of the fire and headed home. Upon reading about it on Facebook I headed back downtown and by the time I arrived a majority of the fire was under control, I captured images of the events after and also assembled a video as firefighters continued through the night and into the next day to minimize the damage. 

BnW Fbook.jpg

Too often I find people not understanding packages that they order or how incredible of a deal I have given them compared to being overcharged and receiving inadequate services and quality that is less than desirable so I'm going to post the available options and in detail what they are being offered.  It seems people overlook quality at a point and are paying far too much for an end product that is inadequate I look to change this and allow the client to see what they are capable of receiving. You get what you pay for and it's getting the point where I'm satisfied with my portfolio that I will finally put it online as well as the variety of packages and options available! You will be able to find pricing for 2015 wedding packages as well as other services by the end of the month!  I'm eager to show everyone what I have been diligently working on the past few months. As I am wrapping up a few minor things on past weddings I am pleased to announce that I will be moving on to USB drives for photography sessions as I've experienced a few bad batches of discs and not everyone has a computer capable of reading dual layer DVDs.

Wedding season is finally here for me! I had one in March with a beautiful couple and despite some snow on the ground it was a gorgeous wedding and in the final steps of finalizing their video! I look forward to the next few months as I will be busy until the end of October. I'm going to potentially pick up one more wedding but I dont want to be overburdened and want to still be able to enjoy my personal time. I'm going to end 2014 with a trip to the Virgin Islands with the girlfriend and her family which is a vacation long overdue. The last opportunity I had to just get away was in 2012 when I visited the dry state of Arizona (If I don't count 2013 where I traveled to everywhere you could possibly imagine!) 


Thanks for taking the time to read about the upcoming endeavors and I hope you're enjoying the progress as I continue pushing forward! I'm preparing for the Iowa State Fair photography salon and will release the images I have selected to enter during my next post!