Lessons in What Not to Do: Tying Knots



Wow oh, wow.  Where to begin? 


Meet Holly and Don.  They got married a ten days ago and for some reason decided to hire me to be their “photographer”.  Holy Cow….  I literally cried when her sister, Mrs. B sent me the email.  Seriously?  Really?  Really, REALLY?  Are you sure?  Wow.  To say I was dumb-smacked would be an understatement.  This was either the best compliment yet or a big, heaping bunch of crazy.  No offense M, but I’m leaning towards crazy on this one.   This is me were talking about here; just a girl, her camera and lofty aspirations anchored in concrete shoes.  Gulp.  I said yes.


Homework, lots of homework.  I have a few really good amateur and pro-photog blogs I visit.  Each one has a different style and a unique eye that I would love to have a fraction of.  I got the chance to meet the bride and groom about a month before the big day to get an idea of what they wanted, what I could possibly do, and all the particulars.  I wouldn’t recommend going into any event blind.  Lesson learned;  the more homework the better.


Nightmares and vomit.  Yep.  You’d think I was the one getting hitched.     I was pushing the recommended dosage the so-called experts slapped on the Alka-Seltzer warning label.  Being the optimist that  I am, all the “what if’s” nearly killed me.   What if I under or over expose everything to the point of no return?  What if I fall on the bride and groom.  What if I lose all my shots?  What if I drop my camera or lenses?  What if my computer exploded?  What if a meteorite hits the house?  What if….   Lesson learned; don’t eat anything spicy the week before and pop a couple of valium.  Just kidding on the valium.


So the big day arrives and those knots in my stomach tighten to the breaking point.  There was another “girl with a camera” – a very big, grown-up camera (D700) - that left me feeling that much more under-qualified for the task ahead.  Sure, it’s not the size that counts, but it sure does help.  I watched her work her bride and groom plus family and tried to follow suit.  Unfortunately, high noon doesn’t allow for oodles of open shade to stuff a large group under so we had to wait until they were done before our party could move in.  Lesson learned;  don’t size up the competition, just the group shots.


Phew!  Family temple-side shots in the can as they say and the temperature keeps rising.  I believe it was reaching 100* and everyone was melting, myself included.  Luckily the luncheon was right next door at the meetinghouse so family and friends could find quick relief.  The bride and groom on the other hand were at my mercy.  Having done my homework, I had a series of poses to work through.  A photography road map of sorts to get from point A, B, C and back again without radical changes or crisscrossing the grounds.  Unfortunately, the lawns were soaking wet, muddy and in a few places, underwater.  Mental note to nix the grass pictures and readjust.  Can you smell the smoke?  It’s my map (and my noodle) going up in flames.  Or is it down if flames?  Take your pick, either one will do.  Lesson learned;  adapt and try your darnedest not to spontaneously combust. 


Receptions equal lots of pictures of everything.  The centerpieces, entry tables, cake, punchbowls and pretzels – I mean everything.  All those little things that with everything else going on throughout the day seem to slip through those memory cracks.  To add to the excitement, the fire alarm was pulled and with it came all the sirens, bells, and whistles with a fire truck to boot.  It was pretty funny.  Definitely memorable.  Talk about burning love….  Lesson learned:  take advantage of the chaos and turn it into something worthwhile. 


With the bride and groom happily off on their honeymoon, I was off to start part two – editing.  I’m trying really hard to have a soft hand, the barely there effect that adds just enough snap, crackle, and pop to make it hum.  Anyway…. here’s where another hundred lessons are learned. 


For now a peek.  Holly and Don haven’t seen these yet.  (Just for you, M!)



A Exp Holly Don Temple 9 monogram


A Holly Don Temple 11_9 


A Holly Temple Family 6_1

Kalaloch: The Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest 2009



Hoh Rainforest 1



Hoh Rainforest 2


Hoh Rainforest 3


A Kalaloch 235

Kalaloch: The Beach

Kalaloch 48

Hours and hours upon hours of sandy bliss.


Sand drawings of pirate ships and submarines, deep pits, forts with barricades tested against the tides.  Kites and critters.  Bare feet and Horseshoes. Salty air and seagulls. I love the beach!


Kalaloch 27

 Kids Beach 1

The Pit 

Room to Run

Miss Is Kites & Horseshoes

Tide Pools

See Creatures I

See Creatures II

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach I

Ruby Beach II 

Ruby Beach Rocks 



Kalaloch 69

That’s All!!! 


Up Next,  Kalaloch:  Hoh Rainforest

Kalaloch: The Wood



Map picture


Nestled along the Washington coastline, Kalaloch is surrounded by the Olympic National Forest and the Quinault Indian Reservation.

It took us about 11 hours to make the drive from our Boise-area home.  Of course, you have to factor in multiple bathroom stops, lunch and a fill-up.


I’ve been going to Kalaloch ever since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember.  It was our summer destination of choice.  Mom and Dad once asked if we wanted to go to Disneyland or Kalaloch and to this day, I haven’t set foot in Mickey’s world.  That’s how much we loved it as kids.


It had been two years since I last went “home” so I was more the eager to return.  We were prepared for rain, lots and lots of drizzle, mist, and intermittent downpours, but this trip was beautiful every single day.  One evening was cloudy, but it didn’t matter. 

It’s such a treat to unzip the tent door and have the morning sun peek through the trees to greet you hello. 



Kalaloch 17

Miss B, Mr. C, D.J. and Devin.


Kalaloch 2


Just a few feet from our tent door is the watering hole, potable water piped in from the lodge. 

Washing off under the spigot feels like living in an Irish Spring commercial. 

Cool water, a carpet of moss to stand on, the roar of the waves below and the lush undergrowth, the smell of which no scented candle can replicate. 



Kalaloch 20Kalaloch 21 


So many trees to climb! 

The kids spent their dry, daylight hours in the woods in search of a sasquatch, fighting wild animals, dragons,

aliens, and whichever dumb adult decided to wander in with a camera to capture them.  



 A Kalaloch 14


“I know what you are…  You’re my cousin.”    Sorry, I couldn’t help the reference. 

D.J. and Miss. B were agreeing on the ground rules for the latest round of hide and seek.



Back at camp to burn the sacrificial twigs before getting some much needed shut-eye only to get up and do it all over again.


I didn’t spend the entire vacation with a camera in my hand – I’m on vacation too and honestly, how many “campy” pictures can one endure?


One early morning, my mom woke me up with a photo-op. 

A rather large bald eagle had landed in the dead tree near our campsite and was quite content to perch there while I fumbled with my camera.


Kalaloch 228texture 


To give you perspective of just how close….


 A Kalaloch 73


The blue dome on the far-left is our tent, followed by Grandma & Grandpa’s tent trailer, the eating pavilion, my sister’s tent and the dead tree.  On a side-note, my mother calls to tell me that the morning we left, it landed in the tree right above our tent.  It figures!!!


Kalaloch 225texture


It’s one thing to see such a great bird, the symbol of our nation, chained to a stump in the zoo or wildlife refuge.  It’s another to see it free. 

We ended up seeing a lot of eagles, a “family” of sorts.  Two adults and two fledglings gave us quite a show circling the camp and landing on the beach below.


(Here’s the point were I give love to the telephoto lens and yet curse it at the same time.  I thought it was an auto AF-S lens when I bought it – it’s not so everything is manually focused and much harder to get a crisp, crystal clear shot.  These were the best.  I suppose I’ll just have to try, try again!)




Up next, Kalaloch:  The Beach!

HP 6 and the Girls





So the girls and I stayed up way, way past our bedtime to attend the 12:02am showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

We arrived just after 9:00pm, fully stocked for the long wait.  Tickets – check.  Camp chairs – check.  Strawberries and chocolate ganache complete with fancy paper doilies – check.  Being the envy of all in line – priceless.


Strawberries & Chocolate


Charity Chocolate


We were quite a crew.



Luck would have it, the best seats in theater #3 belonged to us – the center of the center.  Seated around 10:30pm, “informative” and highly stimulating conversation filled in the gap.  Hagrid and Hermione walked in; a couple of young, teenage girls we know.  It happened to be “Hermione’s” seventeenth birthday so we sang to her and hooked “Hagrid” up with the guy sitting just below us.  We’re so helpful that way.  At 12:06am the lights dimmed.  2:45am the credits rolled and so solidified HP6 as my favorite Potter movie to date.


I’ve learned to deal with “creative adaptations” in these movies, HP5 was the biggest disappointment with the exclusion of my favorite scenes.  HP6 is no exception, but it was intense, funny, and a satisfying morsel of the book.  Yes, I love Ron Weasley and we got more Ron, though I’m waiting for the loyal and fiercely protective book Ron to make an appearance.  I’ve read reviews were movie-goers trash this latest effort, claiming the purest side of the road and chalking it up to nothing but a two hour and fifteen minute teenage romance wrapped up in eighteen minutes of meaty, plot-moving magical mayhem.  I disagree.  The young Tom Riddle was creepy.  A slowly dying, less than invincible Dumbledore.  (I still prefer the late Richard Harris.)  Draco’s torment to fulfill his mission and Snape’s Unbreakable, knowing the final outcome of his character, was played to perfection by Alan Rickman.  Of course, seemingly vital scenes were either brought about by different characters, i.e. instead of Tonks finding Harry on the train, it was Luna, or all-together missing  (with the hope of incorporating them into the 7th and 8th movies) would leave the non-reader a little perplexed.  As I understand it, the final movies are in production and due out 2010 and 2011 respectively and IMDB has a blurb about absent characters/plot lines, fostering the hope of pulling it all together.


Can’t wait to see it again with Devin.  For now it’s bottoms-up with the Diet Coke and the challenge of upright habitation with merely three and a half hours sleep.  Here’s to the girls – those who were missing included – can’t wait for HP7, we’re so dressing up.  Dibs on Bellatrix!  lol  Until then, we’ll continue our lapse in maturity this November with New Moon.

Kalaloch Kaleidoscope



We’re back.  The car has been unloaded, the laundry is being washed and I have a mountain of pictures I’m eager to sift through.  Covering Kalaloch and our time there would coalesce into a badly written, poorly shot, coffee-table sized graphic novel minus the damsel and tights.  So I don’t bore you all with lengthy details and a zillion of-kilter shots of the Farmers,  I’ll break it up into loosely relevant ‘chapters’.  The first of which covers one of the reasons why I love Kalaloch so much.  



 A Kalaloch 4

Nikon D60 85mm f/5.6   1/4000”   ISO 400


This was taken the evening we arrived.  David, my dad and I were walking to the lodge to confirm the I, the holder of the reservation, was truly there.  The Sitka spruce trees that line the bluff are beautiful despite their twisted, wind ravaged appearance.


A Kalaloch 8

Nikon D60  34mm  f/4.0   1/13”   ISO  400


On the way back from the lodge, the sun was peeking through the wood just before our campsite.  I think there might be dragons.


A Kalaloch 1

Nikon D60 24mm f/5.0    1/1250”  ISO 400


A Kalaloch 145

Nikon D60  70mm  1/3200”  ISO 800



 A Kalaloch 10

Nikon D60  85mm  f/10  1/250”  ISO 200


A Kalaloch 144 

Nikon D60  270mm  f/5.6   1/1250”  ISO 800


A Kalaloch 11

Nikon D60  85mm  f/8  1/125”  ISO 200


A Kalaloch 140 

Nikon D60  300mm  f/5.6  1/4000”  ISO 100


A Kalaloch 151

Nikon D60  70mm  f/5.6  1/10”  ISO 800


Same evening.   It was pretty dark when I took this and thought it was a great opportunity to play with slow shutter speeds.


A Kalaloch 146 J

Nikon D60  300mm  f/5.6  1/80”  ISO 800  Cropped 100%


Full of firsts, I thought I’d shoot for the moon.


A Kalaloch 162

Nikon D60  40mm  f/4.0  30”   ISO 800


An experiment.  This is a shot of the moon setting.  I used my tripod, remote, 8 pt. light filter and shutter speed of 30 seconds. 

Don’t break out the Windex, there’s no need, the white blob to the right of the moon is a star.


A Kalaloch 13

Nikon D60  135mm  f/4.5  1/200  ISO 200


The wooded drive in from the highway.  I love the column of light breaking through the trees.



A Kalaloch 83

Nikon D60  85mm  f/9.0  1/200”  ISO  100


“My little buttercup, has the sweetest smile.  My little buttercup, could you stay for awhile….”



A Kalaloch 81 Nikon D60  65mm  f/10.0  1/250”  ISO 140


Midway up the bluff.  A veritable gauntlet of buzzing bumblebees to get to the beach from our campsite. 

I wouldn’t have thought that dandelions would be so dangerously beautiful, but the destination is worth the stinging risk.



A Kalaloch 73 Nikon D60  24mm  f/10.0  1/250”  ISO  160


View from the beach looking towards our campsite. 


A Kalaloch 38

Nikon D60  85mm  f/10.0  1/250”  ISO  140


A Kalaloch 43

Nikon D60  85mm  f/8.0  1/160”  ISO  100


There is an outcropping of rocks to the right that are only accessible during really low tides. 

The seagull and the starfish; it sounds like it should be a children’s book title. 


 A Kalaloch 47

Nikon D60  85mm  f/8.0  1/320”  ISO 100


Snail shells on the beach.


A Kalaloch 56

Nikon D60  85mm  f/8.0  1/250”  ISO 100


Feeling a little crabby?  David found this little guy on the beach during our tide pool walk. 

We washed him off, flopped some kelp down and waited for the next wave to make it in. 

I was more than a little nervous of being caught off guard and getting my camera wet, but it all worked out in the end and am so excited to have this. 

David got a “shot” of his own, my biscuits in the air for the world to see as I hunkered down in the sand. 

I will not be posting that award-winner or I will be more than just a little crabby.


A Kalaloch 179

Nikon D60  30mm  f/10.0  1/250”  ISO 125


Ruby beach, a few miles north – and looking north – of Kalaloch.


A Ruby Beach Panorama

Nikon D60  62mm  f/4.5  1/1600”  ISO  100


Another experiment;  Panorama without a tripod. I flubbed it a bit – a lot actually – but overall it’s not too horrible for my first try.  Ruby beach looking southwest. 

That’s Destruction Island on the right.  The lighthouse has since been decommissioned, but when I was a kid it was running. 

We would see if we could hold our breath as long as it took the light to spin back around.  I don’t ever remember making it.


 A Kalaloch 243

Nikon D60  24mm  f/6.3  1/60”  ISO 200


Looking up through the maples in the Hoh Rainforest.


A Kalaloch 242

Nikon D60  85mm  f/10.0  1/250”  ISO  200  Cropped 100%


A Kalaloch 235

Nikon D60  24mm  f/5.0  1/60”  ISO  200


I guess I have a thing for beams of light.  This one was taken on the Hoh river trail.



Just a few of many, many pictures.