The Daily Focal Point

February 6, 2009

Nice Curves

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:48 am



February 4, 2009

The Rule of 6’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:34 pm

Normally I hate tags. Seriously. I have a rule. I simply don’t do them. Nice rule huh? Well rules are made to be broken I guess because I was tagged by my good friend Abby at Belina Blue Eyes. This tag is such a great idea I just had to do it.

Here are the rules:

1. Go to your documents/pictures.

2. Go to your 6th file.

3. Go to your 6th picture.

4. Blog about it.

5. Tag 6 people to do the same.

So here is my sixth picture in my sixth file folder.


I took this on March 13th, 2007 in downtown San Jose. It was a night shot and was taken at 11:30 PM. I was all alone. Being by myself at near midnight in a major metropolitan downtown isn’t a normal occurrence for me. That night I left the house in an argument with my wife and needed some time alone. I grabbed the camera and headed out of the door. Everyone has rough patches throughout their marriages, this was ours.

As hard as those times were, when I look at this picture I have a feeling of accomplishment. I love my wife so much and to overcome hard times just makes your realize how much you enjoy the good times. We’ve been through what I feel like is a lot and I’m proud that we’ve been strengthened because of it. I don’t want this post to be a “Debbie Downer” but it’s life right?

Oh! And that blur in-between the two palm trees is actually an airplane. For those who know San Jose, the airport is just north of the skyscrapers. When planes come in for a landing I have a split second of terror thinking, “OH SNAP! THAT PLANE IS GOING TO HIT THE BUILDINGS!”

Now, to do something I’ve never done before.

I shall tag…

1. Carlos
2. Mary Elizabeth
3. RCH
4. Dr. Cason
5. Gail
6. Lisa

February 2, 2009

O.C.D. “The O.C. Disorder”

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 10:56 pm

"Bluth Banana Stand"

The "O.C." Disorder

Being down in San Diego it reminded me of how beautiful and completely different it is from the “Bay Area”.

February 1, 2009

Back in Black… and White

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:57 pm

I’m back with a vengeance! Not really. More like back exhausted and ready for a real vacation. These conferences are just what I like to call “tease trips”, where I go to a beautiful resort in a gorgeous place and all I do is sit in a windowless taupe conference room. (And why the H do hotels feel like everything has to be taupe colored?)

As you can imagine, with the way the economy is rollin’ these days it was a lively meeting.

Yes, I know I’ve been complaining this entire entry, so I’m posting a picture of a sad sock monkey. (One of Wyatt’s billion toys)

Sock Monkey

He doe’s look sad doesn’t he? Maybe he had to go to a 5 day convention too… I can just picture it now. Sock Monkeys cramped in a room (some drunk at 3:00 PM) talking about the need to “synergize” more.


January 28, 2009

Blah Blah Blah

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:29 pm

I’m at a work convention this week… oh how I loath these. Posting is going to be light for the next few days. Kim loves these trips because it’s free and she can spend all her time shopping with her best friend (my business partner’s wife) while I spend my days in a windowless conference room. WAHOO!! I’ll post what I can but trust me… nothing interesting here. And can I just say how blown away I am when people are drunk AT 3:00 IN THE AFTERNOON!??!! Come on people!

So for my post today I’m going to reference my Father’s Day gift my wife gave to me!.(why so early? because she was so excited about it)

CORPORATE FLASHCARDS! It’s a joke that mixes in corporate words or phrases into fake sentences. Here are my favorites…

(old fashioned picture of a girl holding a ball and a boy holding a shovel)
” Your shovel, my ball – I smell synergy

(Family sitting down for dinner)
“Isn’t your new stepmom delightfully plug-and-play?”

(Picture of a boy pushing his little brother in a stroller)
“I can’t believe mom wanted to outsource this.”

(Picture of a receptionist)
“I’m sorry, he’s busy thinking outside the box right now.”

(two ladies filing paperwork)
“I’m not a secretary – I’m a specialist in knowledge management.”

(picture of a boy and a dog)
“I’m really enjoying our face time.”

THANKS CORPORATE FLASHCARDS! I feel more prepared for my presentation and that I’ll be able to on the “low down” … no … “down low” … no doubt!

January 27, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:09 am

Well hello again! So how does everyone feel like they did? This was the first time I’ve been specific in these challenges and I thought these came out great. Once again, I am blown away at how all of you raised to the challenge and exceeded expectations.

So onto the challenge!

Our first photo this challenge comes from Rob at Dusty Lens at Dusty Lens – North Metro.

Luminous Cat Eyes

Rob says, “Here is my interpretation entry for the Eyes challenge. Luminous Cat Eyes
This evening, just Roaming the Cities, Mr. J, St. Paul Photos, Snapshutter, myself and Mrs. DL met up at Cossettas in St. Paul for a winter photo walk about. Despite the balmy -4 degrees F (-19 degrees C) we strapped on our mad bomber hats braving the y winds. We spent the time admiring the ice sculptures throughout Rice Park for the annual St. Paul Winter Carnival..”

I love the blue hue to it. Great pic Rob.

Our next photo comes from our newest participant Carlos at Still Format. Again, Carlos has some serious skills with his Canon. Some stunning photos on his site.
Hmm… I think I’ve seen this one before! Beautiful soft lighting

Our next Photo comes from Sheila at Sheila has some fantastic photography tips on her site. Check her out!
Single Eye
I love the tunnel vision and the way this was taken (by using an old SLR lens and turning it backwards in front of your camera) provides a nice tunnel vision macro. love it.

Our next photo comes from Kathleen
Kat says, “Here is my photo for the eyes photo challenge. As you can see from my Mackenzie’s eyes, brown eyes run rampant in our family. Mackenzie is so beautiful with these long eyelashes too. Oh what a precious little girl she is to her grandma kat.”

Grandma Kat! I love that. 🙂 Beautiful brown eyes indeed! Great picture!

Our next photo come from Stacy. This photo just POPS! I love it!
Stacy says, “Here is my photo. This was taken on Christmas Eve at JD and Lindsay’s house. The kids were getting ready to go to bed and Jaci was extremely excited to say the least. This photo just makes me laugh. This just captures the essence of Jaci. Her fun, sweet, and hyper personality. I’m not 100% happy with the editing. I couldn’t get the photo to look exactly how I wanted to. Any suggestions?
Stacy I love this picture. Like I said, it just pops! You’ve got such an extremely excited girl with a fun background. I counted the times I can see your reflections in the Christmas balls. What a fun pic. Great job Stacy

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck.
Out the Window
Gail says, “Eyes come with expression and expression comes with eyes because eyes are saying something, and that changes the face. I don’t have any beautiful, angelic children to photograph right now. So, here’s my entry to your challenge, eyes that are a little older, wiser, and tuned in to their world.”
I absolutely love this photo. So much real life in it. I love the reflection. It’s perfectly composed. Great pic Gail.

Our next photo comes from Terry at Not Quite Country Girl
Terry says, “This is a tough one, since I have SO MANY photos of beautiful eyes! But I
thought I’d go a different route, contrasting the innocent hopeful eyes of a
baby with the tired desperate eyes of an elderly woman.”

I took both of these photos on a trip to India this past October. The Hindu
baby came with her mother to a medical camp where I was helping. What
gorgeous, big brown eyes! This elderly Hindu woman was sitting on a step as
I strolled through a village. Her eyes reflect her life, a very poor,
destitute existence. But after I took her photo, I showed it to her on the
LCD screen, and then her eyes were smiling with delight! I found it amazing
how especially the older people loved having their pictures taken and then
were amazed and giggly when they saw the image!”

I love the first one. It just blew me away. Exotic, wise, weathered. All of these words come to mind. I’d love to see it in black and white. (I hate when people say that, sorry. I just love the image!) Great pictures Terry! Very beautiful

Next is Tiff at My Three Ring Circus. This is Tiff’s first time posting on the DFP and I couldn’t be happier that she’s participating. I’ve loved her blog and especially her pictures for some time now.
Tiff Says, “Hi Cabe, Hope you don’t mind an Aussie joining in with the challenge.”
Tiff says this about her photo, “This is a photo of my daughter Ivy. She is chronically ill and had been for a two weeks. This was taken the morning she started to feel (and look) better. I love the relaxed look in her eyes and for the first time in days they are clear and they look relaxed.”
I’m blown away by this picture Tiff, it’s absolutely beautiful. Eyes are very telling of someone’s emotions, she does look relaxed. I’m glad to hear she’s doing better.
Tiff says, “We were on the beach at sunset the other night and the light caught her eyes. People have been speculating that her eyes are changing to a greeny colour, as opposed to blue. This was a photo of her that I first thought, maybe…”
I love the feel of this one. Great picture!

Next is from from my other cousin in-law Joanna
I love the angle of this and the shades. Seriously Jo, this is a fantastic picture.

This photo comes to us by way of Ginger at Ramble Ramble. It’s good to have you back Ginger!
One blule eye
“I took this photo over the holidays–this horse on my parents
ranch has this one stunning blue eye, which just looked amazing next to
that beautiful red/brown coat. He didn’t want to hold still very often, so
the fact that I got this shot is a bit of a minor miracle.”

I’m sure, like me, you probably have 50,000 of this horse trying to get the shot. The contrast between the coat and the bright eye is awesome.

Our next entry is from Mary Elizabeth check out her non-photography blog (still has some fantastic images)
Mary Elizabeth says, “This is my beautiful friend Ashley… I love this shot for many reasons — but mainly it is the beautiful color of her eyes that almost perfectly match the wood door frame behind her. The combination of those + her beautiful red hair, i think it’s a stunning photo of her…”
I’ve seen this on your blog and it has been one of my favorites of yours. It’s the red hair and the background that stand out but it’s her eyes that make the image pop. Wonderful Mary Elizabeth.

Our next photo is from Kevyn at KJ YOU’RE BACK!!! It’s good to see your face ur um… pictures around here again!

Kevyn said, “It took forever to decide, but I think I’d like to go with these two (or you can pick one). I tried making a mosaic of the best shots from the weekend but it turned out kind of creepy, like some multi-eyed creature.”

Kevyn says, “First, here’s Alfred, my cat. He is always getting in front of my camera (often when I’m not after another cat photo) so he’s pretty easy to get good shots of.”

January 25
“And this is Bijou, the neighbor’s dog who is staying with us for a while. She’s a sweet, gentle dog and this photo of her eyes says that to me”
Sweet puppy. The contrast and color in the cat is amazing. Great shots.

Next up is my friend Henie at Henie Art Online Henie is extremley talented and has some just amazing photos on her site. I’m a fan because the ones she has of people just seem so REAL. Not posed or fake, just in the moment. Check out her site.
This is why I love eyes for the subject. They are multi-layered and seem to have as many colors in them as a Kaleidoscope. Beautiful capture here Henie.

This photo comes from my old buddy Danny. Who has become a staple around here with these challenges! Danny inadvertently became a participating member of this challenge. He sent me a bunch of pictures and I picked this one and asked if I could share it.
This is of his dog Jack.
We need to get Bear and Jack together and get some energy out of my dog!

Our next batch comes from Nana Nana’s photography is just wonderful, check out her submitted photos.


Is it me or when you see these insects up close it looks like they belong on another planet? I love these two!

And finally we have one of the funniest things that happened to a good friend of mine Chris at Chris-Soapboxes who my or my not have some acid induced posts. (just kidding Chris… or am I?)
Chris has been denied access to the DFP challenges before… inadvertently…. yeah.
Chris sent me an email just recently with this explanation, “So I found out from your helpful wife that I’ve been sending emails with photos and AD quotes to the wrong email address ( My last email was signed “Of course they’re strippers – can’t you see how hot they are!” I always thought my photos just weren’t getting posted because they just sucked. Anyways, I wanted you to see my submission for movement – even though it’s too late. It’s not blurry or anything, but it screamed movement to much to me to not have you see it”
So I’m posting his late picture that was for last time’s challenge on movement.

Vote for your favorite!

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:06 am

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the challenge! It will be posted momentarily. Can I just say again, how incredibly amazing all of you are? Seriously, I am blown away! I can’t wait to post them, stay tuned”

January 25, 2009

Growin’ Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:33 pm

Lately, it has been jarring for me to see how fast Wyatt has grown in the past few months.

I find myself asking Kim

“Hey! Did you know he could do that?!”

“Honey! Get over here and check this out!”

“What have you been feeding him?”

It’s even more amazing for me to look back at his pictures (and he has folders and folders just of him)

Still in the hospital all bundled up…

Wyatt Triple

to his first bath…

My wonderful wife has turned into just an amazing mom


This is when he lost of his hair just on the front of his head… he had a baby mullet in the back. I called it, “Business in the front, Party in the back.”



And being a father is my greatest accomplishment. It gives me, my marriage, my life… EVERYTHING extra purpose. I am a proud Dad and I wouldn’t trade this feeling for anything… I might be tempted by the Nikon D700 but I wouldn’t give in. 🙂

January 24, 2009

The Lord

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 7:34 pm


January 23, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:14 am

Wow… didn’t we just do this? 🙂

There are few things that amaze me more about our bodies than our eyes… okay that sounded a bit creepy. But more the color or patterns that our eyes can have. Each eye is distinct and beautiful, like our fingerprints. The patterns with color have always reminded me of staring through kaleidoscopes when I was a kid.

So you’re challenge this week (if you choose to accept) is to capture an image that showcases a subjects eye(s). I thought of this challenge when Kim, Wyatt and I were at home for Christmas. We were at my parent’s farewell a few weeks ago. (SIDE NOTE: My parents were called from our church to serve as directors over 2 historical sites in Independence Missouri, just outside of Kansas City. The church I belong to was founded back east and has a significant amount of history in certain areas spread across the mid-eastern states. You can read more about what historical sites they are over HERE it’s interesting stuff. We will miss them terribly as they will be gone for 2 years.)

Anyways, we were at my brother and sister in-laws beautiful home. Their kids are the cutest kids with the most striking blue eyes. I grabbed my camera and started snapping away hoping to create images showcasing the pop of color/glow in their eyes.


I grabbed my camera and so did Lu! Her mom had to help her turn it around so she wouldn’t take a picture of herself! She is just a sweetheart.

This is their youngest during feeding time.

Eyes have the beauty of being expressive as well. It sets the entire mood of the subject in a photograph –

(I must issue a special thanks to my little beautiful nieces above. Thanks girls!)

You can also make them interesting. This was a color shot that I turned into black and white (except the eye)

SEND ME YOUR ENTRY BY EMAILING ME THE HTML FLICKR LINK TO YOUR PHOTO. If you DON’T have a Flickr account DON’T WORRY! Just email me your photo as usual. But if you do have a Flickr account, just follow these simple instructions.

* Upload your photo to Flickr
* Click on the “All Sizes Tab” right above the photo
* Select the “MEDIUM” sized (500×335)
* Then just email me the “Copy and Paste the HTML link into your webpage” link

Again, email me your favorite pic (via link or attach it) to cabenelson (at) gmail (dot) com. You’re always welcome to put anything in the email letting me know a description of the image so that I can post it here as well.

EMAIL THESE TO ME BEFORE MONDAY JAN 23RD! (short time I’m sorry!)

(Also please don’t sent me the URL link. Please send me the HTML link. It’s the one right below the image in your flickr account that is a couple of lines long)

Well, this might sound like a strange challenge but I think we’re all going to be blown away with the submitted pictures. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! GOOD LUCK!

January 22, 2009

Frozen Tundra

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:03 am


Ah… it’s nice to be back in the Bay Area. 🙂

January 19, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:52 pm

This weeks challenge was all about capturing movement in photography. The options were endless, blurry, lines for your eyes to follow, etc. It was all about creating a certain sense of movement. This week’s results is (like always) outstanding. Everyone that rose to the challenge killed it!

Our first photo this challenge comes from Rob at Dusty Lens at Dusty Lens – North Metro. Again, I love Rob’s eye for photography.

Rob says, “A male house finch feeding it’s young. I captured this one while sitting on our deck one afternoon. The birds returned to the feeding station after a summer rain. i had never seen a male feed it’s young seeds in this way. The youngster must really enjoy the seed I put in the feeder.”
I just love the stationary bird’s colors. So sharp and bold, wonderful shot.

Our next photo comes from our newest participant Carlos at Still Format. Still Format has become one of my favorite sites recently. If you love photography check it out.
Musician on the go
This is just a beautiful and unique shot. Perfect amount of movement with the right amount of sharpness. The color and tones are perfect for the image. Great shot Carlos!

Our next Photo comes from my good friend (or I’d like to think so) Sheila at
Moving Past
Sheila says, I agree that everything needn’t be crisp and sharp to be interesting. At first when I took this I was disappointed in the blur. I thought the photo was ruined. Now I think that’s the most interesting part of the photo. Taken by me leaning out the cab’s window in Bali.
I love these “out of window” shots of real life. Great photo Sheila.

Our next photo comes from Kathleen Who’s most recent post on new beginnings is just beautiful.
Kathleen told me that this was the perfect challenge for her. It’s perfect for me too Kat, half of my pictures come out blurry! I love this and my wife (I’m sure) would love your little Sophie! I love this shot, she seems like a sweetheart.

Our next two photos come from Stacy. Who captures movement perfectly in these two shots.


Stacy says, “Attached are some photos of some motion. My shots are very typical in what you will see when it comes to motion shots. My professor last semester had us do a stop motion and a blur motion photo. I didn’t use these photos, but the ones I did use are on my blog. I took these in October. The weather here was perfect. Nick’s parents were in town and we took them to the Union Station and to the WWI Museum. I took these pictures at the museum. They aren’t very chaotic. Which is why I like them. I just think that these pictures remind me of the time when his parents came and it really was one of the best times that I’ve had. They are really great people and encourage me a LOT with my photography.
You nailed it Stacy. Movement photography doesn’t have to be about blurry photos all the time. It’s all about movement with the eyes and creating that through lines. Great shots.

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck.
Gail says, “I’m trying to get out and actually take pictures for the challenge instead of relying upon anything in my bank. These challenges force me to pick up my camera and think. Even though the outcomes may not be stellar at least I am present ….Nothing fancy. She’s just my dog. She loves to run.”
I’m so happy Gail, that is what these challenges are all about! Showcasing your work, yes, but more so for an excuse to use pick up your camera and learn something new. We should get our dogs together and your dog can get some energy out of Bear! Love the pic Gail.

Our next photo comes from Terry at Not Quite Country Girl
Terry says, “This is from the Little 500 bicycle race at Indiana University this past
April. That is my son getting ready to get on the bike as his teammate is
getting off during an exchange. My son Kamaron as well as the crowd is in
(decent, but not perfect!) focus while the rest of the bicyclers are moving

I do love the fast paced action captured by your photography in the bike race and the sharpness of the crowd. Great composition!

Next is Lisa at This week Lisa submitted an awesome photo taken by her husband Will.
Will this is the first time I’ve seen your work and it’s awesome.
Seal Beach
It’s hard for me to describe why I love some of these blurry/motion orriented photos so much. They just seem more real to me or like they’re buzzing. I love the graininess in the shot too. It adds to the color/lighting. Great photo Will, thanks for the submission Lisa!

Next is from from my cousin in-law Joanna THIS IS LIKE A BIG FAMILY REUNION! I’m so happy that Jo decided to participate.
She sent this over to me with an email titled “You Want Blurry!?” It cracked me up. This is an indoor controlled wave at a place in Ogden UT where you can indoor surf on a continual wave for an hour. I should know, I was there! I love this photo Jo. It really is just perfect for this challenge! It has a wonderful amount of moment to it. I hope we can see more of your photos on here Jo!

This photo comes to us by way of Trish
linda grace fireworks
I love this image! The sparkler is the attention grabber but it’s the burst of color from the door to the right that really caught my eye. It’s good to have you back Trish. 🙂

Our next entry is from Mary Elizabeth check out her non-photography blog (still has some fantastic images) it’s hilarious!
Mary Elizabeth says, “This was my husband playing guitar hero the other day, and i just thought it was a cool picture.”
Oh… my love for GH (Guitar Hero) runs deep. How I love to play Weezer, “My Name is Jonas” in Expert mode… 🙂

“This one happened by accident! I had just gotten my new camera (back in November) and was constantly taking pictures (although, that hasn’t stopped even though I’ve had the camera for a while now) and sometimes as my husband was leaving for school, I’d pretend to be the paparazzi! this shot happened while I was continuously shooting, and I flipped the camera around. the shot actually kind of makes me dizzy if I look at it too long! :D”
Seriously, I just had a seizure. I am always mesmerized by these shots though, I can find myself staring at them for 10 minutes or so…

“This one if my favorite! This was a shot I took back in March 2008 at my friends roller disco birthday party… this is the birthday girl picking a song. I love that her face is in focus but everything else is crazy! love love LOVE this shot!!”
This is my favorite as well. The chaotic look with uber bright (that’s right I just said uber) colors make it electric. I love this!

Our final photo comes from my old buddy Danny. Who has become a staple around here with these challenges!
Danny says, “I was at the Huntington Museum in Pasadena, CA over California and I played around with this screen for about 10 minutes testing out different settings, lighting, and effects. This was one of the few pictures I was able to snap with the flash before the curator came and shooed me outside for taking flash photography. I like how the light catches different layers and curves of the screen providing for very stark contrast.”
This is a very moody photo, I love it Danny. Very rich and dark but still great lighting!

Danny says, “I have always thought it was fun taking pictures of lights with a 2-3 second exposure and adding neat effects either by zooming in while the shutter is open, moving the camera as the shutter is open, or a combination thereof. This picture was particularly fun because the light source was about 500 strands of fiber-optic lights hanging from the ceiling. The naked eye was barely able to pick up much light from the strand until it reached the tip, but the camera was able to pick up light as the light traveled down the strand as well. I took this shot with about a 2.5 second exposure and did a slight zoom out. Would have turned out cleaner with a tripod, but hey, you gotta take the pictures in the moment, right?”
I played around with this same of shot last year and I love these types of images. It’s like IN YOUR FACE or something like that. I love the fact that it’s just the lights. Great shot, I can’t believe you did that without a tripod. It actually came out very smooth!

So that’s it! I encourage you to check out those who participated by clicking on their blog links.

What photos do you like?

Don’t Feed The Bears

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:09 am

I flunked out of math but I am starting to learn one equation by heart. I hear repetition is the fastest way to learn.

Bad Dog + Valentines Day chocolate wrapped in tinfoil + Dog Puke = One Angry Wife

Seriously, why do we even have candy in this house?

In spite all of this, I still love this little furball.




January 15, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:57 pm

So this challenge is going to be easy! Have blurry pictures?! PERFECT! They are welcome here.

I was inspired by Carlos most recent post HERE with his beautiful use of movement.

There is a certain beauty to movement in photography. I know for me I can be so focused on getting the image super sharp and in focus that I can tend to forget this side of photography. But there are huge groups on Flickr just for “Camera Tossing” Where you open your shutter and literally throw your camera… not kidding. Some of the images are just stunning.

Now I’m not asking you to toss your camera’s 20 feet and see what images you come up with, but I am challenging you to create a photograph with MOVEMENT. A photo that has the feel of objects/subjects moving and for what purpose. These images can be soft and small. Or they can be noisy and chaotic, it’s all up to you.

Here are mine:

Indoor Arena Football – Go Sabercats! (only been to one game) See how his left arm is in focus but everything else is chaotic?

Temple Blur

It doesn’t even need to make sense really… like this

SEND ME YOUR ENTRY BY EMAILING ME THE HTML FLICKR LINK TO YOUR PHOTO. If you DON’T have a Flickr account DON’T WORRY! Just email me your photo as usual. But if you do have a Flickr account, just follow these simple instructions.

* Upload your photo to Flickr
* Click on the “All Sizes Tab” right above the photo
* Select the “MEDIUM” sized (500×335)
* Then just email me the “Copy and Paste the HTML link into your webpage” link

Again, email me your favorite pic (via link or attach it) to cabenelson (at) gmail (dot) com. You’re always welcome to put anything in the email letting me know a description of the image so that I can post it here as well.


Oh… and have fun will ya?

January 14, 2009

Photo of the week PART DEUX!

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:19 pm

You voted and here it is…


Son of a …

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 1:13 am

It’s 12:04 AM and I just woke up in a panic. I just realized that I forgot Lisa’s submital to the DFP Challenges!
My brain has been a mess lately and has to do with finally getting back into California and being away for 3.5 Weeks.

Without further ado I provide to you Lisa’s favorite place San Francisco.
Sunset on the City

Such a beautiful photograph. San Fran is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This pic perfectly captures the way our day trips into “The City” usually end.

Beautiful pic Lisa.

Lisa also has a recent post showcasing color and geometry in photography. Everyone needs to check it out Lisa has some fantastic examples. CLICK HERE

January 13, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 5:11 pm

Well this was a surprise. I didn’t think anyone liked this one (unless people got confused and voted for the wrong one :))

I give you your photo of the week… part one

Horse Tree

Now vote for your favorite for part deux!


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:59 am

Ahhhh… doesn’t this feel nice? Like slipping into a hot tub (I could use that right about now)
Getting back into the groove of things and starting back up these weekly challenges, there ain’t nothin’ better.

And before we began, let me tell you all how incredibly stoked I am. I just drove 14 hours straight from SLC to the San Francisco Bay with a dog and a 2 month old AND I’M STILL STOKED! (No dog puke this time)

ALRIGHT let’s get it on!

Our first photo this challenge comes from Rob at Dusty Lens at Dusty Lens – North Metro. Visit Rob’s site has some absolutley stunning photos. Check it out. (His recent photo titled “Crystal Ice” is wonderful)

Rob says, “My first favorite place is Pisa Italy. I shot this image from our room window at the Grand Duomo Hotel room 409. Quite a tiny room, we had to stack our suitcases on the desk in order to get around the room. There was a nice 3 foot wide balcony to step out onto and observe the city scene. I must add, the cafe next door served a fabulous tiramisu gelato. I do regret not having enough time to climb the tower or visit the cathedral.”
Uh Rob? I don’t know what you do for a day job but maybe you should quit and work for National Geographic. This is an absolutely stunning photo.

Rob says, “My second favorite place is along the Mississippi River downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota near the Stone Arch bridge. Here I crossed under the Stone Arch Bridge on the river’s edge to capture the classic downtown scene nearly every Minneapolis photographer has shot. Note the Heron standing in the river in the reflected red light. On one side of the Mississippi River is St. Anthony Main with it’s restaurants and shops. On the other side is downtown and the Guthrie Theater. There is so much to photograph in this area of the river.”
In further communication with Rob I expressed how amazing I thought this photo was. Later on he sent me this… which I don’t think he wanted me to post.
Too bad Rob. This photo is my favorite. Seriously dude, National Geographic.

Our next Photo comes from my good friend/mentor Sheila at Sheila has the ability to capture beautiful images that aren’t set up or fake. Her talent is capturing real life and she does it beautifully. Whether through her children, her surrounding in Guam, or just outside her window as she’s driving down the street. I owe her a lot.
Looky Here
Sheila says, “My favorite place is just sitting with the kids and playing. That I can take photos of them and catch a priceless moment is even better! This is my middle one showing me the close up of her eagle. :)”
Oh and I heard from someone (:)) that Sheila was nominated for the 2008 Weblog Awards for the Best Photo Blog. Go vote for her HERE!

Our next two photos come from Stacy. Stacy and I got together with our families over Christmas. We did everything with photography except to go and actually take some pictures (what the?!) Stacy is extremely talented and I’m loving her work.
Stacy says, “This is my favorite subject. I love my little nephew Stockton. He was really fun to shoot. I guess you could say that I like babies. ha ha ha. Anywho, here is my adorable nephew.”
These two photos are beautiful. Your nephew has the longest eyelashes that I have ever seen. I’m sure most girls would die for some those long! I absolutely love the first one in B&W. Sharp image too for an indoor shot!

Our next set of photos come from Nana. I couldn’t be more excited to see Nana participate with the DFP. Nana has a wonderful view and eye for photography. Everyone needs to hop on over to her blog and scroll down to see the photo labeled “Friday Photo: White” It’s a gorgeous photo.
Photo 1: collage france

Photo 2: collage provence

Photo 3: kleinzoon

These are so wonderful. I spent about 20 minutes looking at the 3 separate picture because of the amount of detail in each one. I love collage pictures as well! Thanks Nana!

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck.
Garden in Snow
Gail says, “This is my favorite place. It’s the Garden of the Gods in Colorado. I lived about ten minutes from there and walked in that Garden every morning. I miss Colorado. If I could go back, I would, for many many reasons.
WOW. It looks so serene and quiet. In the words of Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, “I want to go to there” Seriously though, this is a great image. The structure of the the photograph is amazing. Wonderful submission as usual Gail!

Our next photos come from Kathleen. I might have mentioned this before but for those of you who don’t know Kathleen she is just the sweetest person. She has such a soft heart and always a positive thing to say. And she has some beautiful photographs as well! Check out her site. She has a major soft spot in her heart for animals and it’s a joy to read her posts.



Kathleen says, “Well, this is it. My son and his wife lived close to South Padre Island, Texas, I visited, and I fell in love. I believe it was the beauty of the area and its wild beaches, but also the local love for nature. There is a lady call the Turtle Lady who has helped preserve the turtles there. The birds are incredible. And the dolphins are so accustomed to the boats, etc., they come right up to visit. It is definitely a natural paradise. I would love to retire here someday.
Two of these pictures were taken from the boat I love to go out on when we are there. Sitting on this boat, enjoying the breeze blowing through my hair, and visiting with God’s creation and creatures gives me more pleasure than I could ever explain. South Padre Island and its wild beaches is just something very special to me.”

Great photos Kathleen! I grew up in San Antonio, TX and our family would travel to South Padre, it’s such a beautiful place and you captured it so well!

Our next shot of the challenge comes from Mary Elizabeth. Who I always love when she participates and I love looking at her photos. I tend to gain a new perspective because of the talented way that she shoots. It’s so different than my perspective and she is amazing at portraits. Check out her site!
Mary Elizabeth says, “Here is a photo I took back in the Spring of the Bountiful Utah Temple. I grew up in Bountiful, literally lived there my entire life until I was 18. I was able to go to the ground-breaking, open house, & dedication of this beautiful building. I also went through this temple when I recieved my endowments (you can leave that part out of my photo description!) so it is really very special to me. I was just in Bountiful one day, and the temple looked stunning, so I had to go up and photograph it. This is one of my very favorite pictures. It is so simple, but means so much to me and my faith. This is definitely one of my very favorite places.”
Mary Elizabeth and I grew up in the same hometown (Bountiful) just outside of Salt Lake City, UT. The Bountiful Temple is such a staple of the city that every time I see it or see a picture of it, I immediately think of home. I have a hundred or so photos of this building because it is so beautiful. It is a wonderful piece of architecture to look at but for me (as well as Mary Elizabeth) it goes much deeper than that; I am grateful for my faith. I have seen this building many times before but I have rarely seen it as beautiful as this picture.

Our next photo comes from Terry at Not Quite Country Girl (love that) This is Terry’s first time participating in the DFP’s Challenges and what a first photo.
Terry says, “My favorite vacation spot in all the world is the beach at Emerald Isle, North Carolina. I’ve been vacationing at this same beach for my whole life! My parents took me there as a child, my husband and I took our own 4 children there when they were growing up, and now that they’re grown and on their own our growing family still vacations there every summer! It’s a beautiful, restful place that I have grown to love. Even though I was born and raised and still live in Indiana, I think I’m truly a beach-girl inside, and I yearn for the waves and the smell of saltwater. Just seeing this photo again takes me back there…so much better than the swirling snow outside my Indiana window!”
Now this is composition. This gives your eyes something to follow with the lines in the handrails going forward then down to the sand and the waves. It’s a wonderful image and the bird flying by in the air is icing on the cake. My favorite part though is the few stalks of weeds on the sand. It breaks up the image and provides texture. Great photo Terry and I hope to see plenty more from where this came from. Also, great choice on the D80. That’s what I shoot with and I love it. I need to get with you and see what manual functions you’re shooting with etc. Thanks Terry!

Next is from Ginger who has been one of the first participants the the DFP challenges and who’s perspective in photography is very similar to my own. (Or I would like to think so at least!)
Ginger says, “So one of my favorite places…the beach! Ever since I was a landlocked kid in Texas, the beach has been one of those mystical magical places where I can recharge. What I like about this photo (besides the subject matter), is the color. I find it hard to capture sunset accurately, colorwise, so this shot (which hasn’t been photoshopped) is one I’m pretty
proud of.”

I was blown away by this photo when I first saw it. It’s such a soft light that is so different than normal sunset photos. It’s champagne color provides just the right tone and softness with the two gentle waves. This has to be one of the best sunset at the beach photos I’ve seen in a while. Great tones and great composition!

This photo comes to us by way of Jen at Jen’s 365 Project. Her most recent post on shooting in RAW is awesome.
I want to know what camera you use and what lens you have because this is an amazing shot. Just the softness and the lighting. along is amazing. The eyes are the main subject that just bounce.
365 day 4 020
Jen says, “Hi – I’m pretty new to Photography, but I’d love to start entering some of your photo challenges…
I have a favorite someone, not somewhere….. 😉
How can you want to be anywhere else when you have a little one? (ok, except for maybe at 3 am when they won’t sleep!)”
How true that is. Wait… it’s my wife that gets up for our little 2 month old boy… I sleep great!
Great photo Jen, I can’t wait to see more. Seriously, email me and let me know about what you use because this is beautiful! Oh and isn’t that 50mm 1.8 lens amazing!?

Our final photo comes from Audubon from Ducks Mahal who has become one of my favorite bloggers. Audubon is hilarious. Flat out one of the funniest and most talented writers I’ve read. I respect it so much because I just can’t do it! My favorite recent post is here.. Check it out.
I must apologize to Audubon as he submitted this photo to me almost a full month ago! As soon as he sent it over to me I took a hiatus on the Challenges for Holiday break. I loved this photo from the minute I opened it up last month. It’s a great example of layers. It’s hard to do layers in photography as one subject usually comes in super sharp and everything else is way blurred. This is a powerful shot with the secondary statue in front of the St Louis Cathedral. Great shot man! I’m sorry it took so long. 🙂

Well, what does everyone think? The purpose of these challenges (and the DFP) is to learn and to improve your photography. The biggest way I can improve is by viewing others work and perspective. Photography is not about perfect composition or subject matter, it’s all about perspective.

So, which ones do you like?

Great shots this week! Again, very talented group and I couldn’t be more pleased with the participation I’m getting from everyone, it’s just awesome.

January 11, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 10:42 pm

So… I’ve been slacking lately on your favorite weekly photos. Normally, I like to do this weekly but my schedule has been a few clicks left of center. So we’re going to be voting twice over the next couple of days!


In spite of myself

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:31 am

My beautiful wife

I was talking to a very wise friend tonight about how absolutely blessed I am to have married my sweetheart. This woman is like a rock.

One word to describe what she has given me since we’ve been married: Stability

Kim has been the best thing for me in my life and I owe her more than she knows.

DON’T FORGET! Get your weekly Photo Challenge pictures to me by TOMORROW! You can send me the HTML Flickr link or just email me the pic. This week’s Challenge is to share your favorite place something with us. Favorite place, person, activity, story w/ a picture etc. Whatever! Hopefully it will bring a smile to your face as you participate. It never hurts to remember your favorite things.

January 9, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:22 pm

I’m submitting this for Dr Cason’s Friday Photo Challenge. Her theme is “New Beginnings”

Boy Reflections Done

I’ve always felt strongly about this picture. It’s not much but it means more to me than the actual visuals of image. I typically don’t think or structure my photography to symbolize something. I see things for how they are. However, this photo has always been the exception. I can relate to the nameless boy in this photo for some reason. Running on sand full speed into the future. Eager for the next thing in life. Tripping over his feet sometimes and feeling the resistance of the sand. Looking into the reflection at the same time, still trying to find exactly who he is.


That was deep.

Point is, I like this picture because it makes me think of the past and the future. So, there you have it. New Beginnings.

Paint Strokes

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:00 am

Tonight I was helping my father-in-law move a 10,000 lbs TV, no joke. (Moving other people’s stuff has been the story of my life lately) We had just lifted it up, legs quivering, faces red, when I hear my wife say, “Look at that sunset!” With one eye I glanced out the window and saw a portion of the sky. I nearly dropped the TV on our feet and in 2 seconds flat I was issuing my father-in-law a mumbled explanation as I was looking around for my camera. I heard him let out an “Umpf!!” as I booked it outside camera in hand. This is the view from their deck.





And as soon as it came, it was gone. Showing me that sometimes you need to stop doing whatever you’re focused on and look around. Otherwise, you might miss what’s going on just outside your window. And sometimes that means dropping a 10,000 lbs TV on your father-in-law’s foot (sorry Fred)

January 8, 2009

The Blessing

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:17 am

A few weeks ago we had a baby blessing in our church for Wyatt. In our religion the father issues a blessing to the baby during our church services on Sunday. It’s not a set wording that you say or anything (which my nerves would have been a lot more happy about) instead it’s more along the lines of a prayer.

It was a wonderful Sunday and besides being nervous, it went great! Getting baby Wyatt prepared and in his blessing outfit was a fun occasion.

Wyatt was an absolute angel the entire day.


Kim tying his tiny white shoes…




My wife hates this picture… It brings a small smile to my face as it shows the “real life” version of taking pictures.

Much more content…



Words can’t express how much love I have for my son. It amazes me how immediate that love was the minute I saw him. Kim and I were talking the other night how we can’t imagine our lives without him and what an amazing change in responsibility this has been.

We are incredibly blessed.

January 7, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:13 am



I’ve been here… but I haven’t really been here. Holy crap, can I tell you how hard it is to be away from home for close to 4 weeks… with a newborn… and working?!?

Uh… schedule? What schedule.

Things I’m looking forward to the most when I actually get home:

  • Our Tempurpedic Bed (My back feels like it’s twisted in half)
  • Creating a REAL schedule with the “little one”
  • Oddly enough, WORK

But guess what?
The DFP is resuming the PHOTO CHALLENGES!!! I’m sorry about the hiatus and I’m positive this week’s challenge will only be me participating because, well, I’ve lost all of my readers.

So Mom, if you’re reading this, I could really use your help. 🙂

Your Photo Challenge this week is submitting a picture(s) of your favorite place. And it could be anything! A favorite city you traveled to, a favorite spot you like to go to, a favorite anything!

OR you can do what I’m doing… my favorite place to have a heart attack!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly present to you my favorite eating establishment…


Home of the Double Country Boy with Extra Cheese – Don’t let the word “double” fool you. This Man-Wich is four patties. TAKE THAT HEALTHY ARTERIES. Living to an old age is out, haven’t you heard?

DSC_0626 - Copy
This photo wasn’t actually taken by me but I’m going to say that it was. Look at how happy I am…

DSC_0624 - Copy
I’m so happy infact, that I am doing the “white man” moon walk with a single hand “raising the roof” It’s actually a difficult dance move. I picked it up while I was living on the streets in the ghetto…

DSC_0627 - Copy
DSC_0628 - Copy
My friend Tyler Bunnell (yest that’s his real middle name)

DSC_0630 - Copy
Love the stuffed bear

Bountiful UT is one of those places where you run into people you know no matter if you’re going to the grocery store or buying a gas at Costco. Bunnell and I actually ran into my good friend Jesse who we grew up with.

Ah… Priceless

Yup, still my favorite place to eat.

SEND ME A PICTURE OF YOUR FAVORITE PLACE BY EMAILING ME THE HTML FLICKR LINK TO YOUR PHOTO. If you DON’T have a Flickr account DON’T WORRY! Just email me your photo as usual. But if you do have a Flickr account, just follow these simple instructions.

* Upload your photo to Flickr
* Click on the “All Sizes Tab” right above the photo
* Select the “MEDIUM” sized (500×335)
* Then just email me the “Copy and Paste the HTML link into your webpage” link

Again, email me your favorite pic (via link or attach it) to cabenelson (at) gmail (dot) com. I would also ask that if you put a little paragraph together describing your pic or your favorite place!

It’s been so long since I’ve done these Photo Challenge’s that the reason I do them is to learn and to see what other people’s perspective’s are.

So… what’s your favorite place?

January 4, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:05 am


Does anyone else see a stretched out Slinky?

January 1, 2009

You’re Not That Far

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 9:58 pm

You know that point when you’re on a long vacation and you have that dreaded feeling of returning? The, “No… no… don’t make me go back” and then you stay a couple more days and it turns into, “You know what? I could go back and be happy.” Then you stay another couple of days and it turns into, “Dude… GET ME BACK HOME!”

By the time we actually get back we will have been gone for 3 and a half weeks. Uh… seriously? Good thing my wife is a stay at home mom and I have the flexibility in my own company. But I’ve got the itch…

Oh Santa Cruz, you’re not that far…

Surfer Desktop

Ski Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 1:43 am

Do you want to know something about me?

I use to ski… a lot. Not just a little bit or occasionally or even frequently. I use to ski …. all …. the …. time.

Ask anyone who knew me in Jr. High, High school, College (what little there was) and beyond. It was what I lived for. And if I didn’t come home bleeding, it wasn’t a good day.

I can go through cycles of obsessiveness. I always have. But there has been two recreational obsessions that have never left. Skiing and Photography.

I grew up in one of the most desired areas to ski in the world. I spent all Jr High and High school ditching school to go up for a day. In college I built my class schedule so that I could ski ever other day in the winter.

I did the freestyle skiing, X-Games type. Half-pipes, cliffs, big mountain, terrain parks etc. At my peak I placed 2nd in the Utah Winter Games and was sponsored. I hated the culture but I loved the sport.

In Feb of 2003 I was doing a particularly difficult trick in preparation for a West Coast competition and I fell… hard. I landed on my shoulder and the back of my neck. I had some severe season ending injuries and was told I needed surgery. I had realized that I could fully recover and keep at skiing. But I had progressed to a point in the sport as far as I could go without diving into the entire culture and scene. (a lot of it was drinking and partying, not really my thing) So I walked away from it. In the last 4 years I’ve gone 6 times.

This past Saturday was my 7th time. I went with my good friend Tom and we just had a blast. I am so grateful I can still do the sport I love so much. Although, I’m very tame now, I still had a blast.

I wrote down in my journal about 4 years back the statistics of my skiing over the past 5 years.

  • 14 (Number of pair of skis I’ve broken)
  • 4 (Number of bindings I’ve broken)
  • 1 (fractured knee cap)
  • 3 (Number of fractured heals)
  • 7 (Number of Concussions)
  • 2 (Broken eye sockets)
  • 1 (Broken shoulder)
  • 50 + (Number of stitches)

For the most part on Saturday, I just took it easy. I was barely able to head down the hill without catching my breath, let alone spinning a Cork 1080. Again, I just feel grateful that I can still do the sport I love!

Here are a couple of shots:

This is the view from Little Cottonwood Canyon looking into Salt Lake City.

Can you find the helicopter?

My love for the sport has to do with being in and around such beautiful surroundings. Knowing that you’re simply a visitor in Mother Natures playground, it’s humbling being in and around Mountains so large.

Here is also a really lame video of me traversing over to a ridge line. I’m just cutting across the mountain.
When we took the video the temperature was 10 below zero…. yeah. And you might need to take some Dramamine before you watch it.

And here… I’m the tiny dot at the top of the screen.

My crazy days are over. But I’m always looking to go up to the hill with someone. Or maybe to AK and visit my friend KJ. 🙂 Right?!?

December 30, 2008

Just Add Color

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 1:20 am

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had attempted a shot that I had been thinking about for over a year. Well here it is…

We live in San Jose CA. I have no problem mentioning that, as most Californian’s reading this blog would find out soon enough just by looking at these pictures. Not necessarily because the area is so recognizable, but because of the lights. San Jose is known to have these strange yellowish amber street lights. It’s suppose to be for low light pollution but it completely messes with your mind. Seriously! You think your red car is easy to spot at night under yellow street lights? Think again…The yellow washes out all color, more like floods it. It really makes you feel like you’re losing your mind when the street lights turns from green to yellow. IT IS A PERFECT MATCH! I’m telling you, it’s that yellow! You never know the light is yellow, it just blends in with the rest of the lights.

However! This makes for a beautiful picture when the streets are wet. The wet pavement just reflects the color and light and creates a color pallet as you drive down the street. And there has been one street in particular that just stands out. It’s not the safest of streets, but whatever right?

So that night, I put on my best thug hat and looked over my shoulders like every 5 seconds. This place is just down the street from “The Pink Poodle” it’s a very classy and sophisticated gentleman’s club. (What kind of name is the Pink Poodle anyway?)

The reason I’ve been wanting and waiting to take these shots was because this street has so much color to begin with, but when you add water… it just makes for a perfect mirrored colorful surface. Almost just like melting paint…

I pull my car over to the side of the road and start testing my camera.

Rain drops of color

The whole idea of this shoot was captured in this single picture. The amount of color that is reflected is just insane.

I step out of the car with the tripod and start snapping away.

Red light…

Green light…

Then… over thinking things (as I tend to do) I realize that all I’m doing is capturing multi-colorful lights. I’m not capturing objects or street signs. The lights form the object but what if I open up my shutter speed and jerk the camera straight up. The camera is exposed to the light and records just my movements.



Just a disclaimer. I didn’t do anything to enhance these photos. This is how they were taken…

Is there ever such as thing as too much color? My eyes hurt

December 29, 2008

Random Shots

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:01 am

I couldn’t really think of a theme for this post, but I did want to showcase my new lens I got for Christmas from Kim Santa. This lens is amazing. It’s inexpensive and has completely opened up a new way of shooting for me. For anyone who is in the market to enhance their photos and has a Digital SLR, the prime lens at 50MM with a 1.8 has been fantastic. It’s tiny too, which makes it perfect for travel. When I say Prime lens I mean it’s set at 50MM. That means it has no zoom in or out. It’s always at that setting. Sounds lame right? Well, it provides extremely sharp images and is perfect for portraits. I’ve realized that this is also a good all around lens, too. It might make you use your feet more, but hey, we all could use a little more exercise right?

My favorite part about this lens has been that it works wonders in low light situations. You know how you’re indoors and taking pictures of whatever, but it just turns out dark and blurry? This completely compensates for that. I wouldn’t normally take photos if I need to use the flash.


This lens can provide a very shallow depth of field, creating a more intimate feel.


Even in dark or low light situations, the lens can pick up enough light to make it look natural without being blurry. This is my best friend Tyler. We’re going to go to Paces Dairy Ann tomorrow to down a couple Double Country Boys w/ extra cheese. That’s four patties people… someone better call the Meat Wagon prior to me going down there.

This is my beautiful sister, Cara.


If you have the means I highly recommend picking one up. It’s relatively inexpensive and it will significantly help out with your indoor pics. It’s also super fast, so if you have kids you’re taking pictures of who love to move around a lot, this is a perfect lens. Great gift, Kim.

December 25, 2008

Snow Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:17 pm

I know you’re probably all sick of seeing more pictures of snow, but living full time in California makes you realize how much you love this stuff. We’re expecting to get another 3-4 feet of snow in the mountains by the end of tomorrow! (Which I will be fully taking advantage of when I go skiing on Saturday)

Again, at my parent’s property… it’s just such a beautiful place

I love this picture. All I wanted to do was capture snowflakes in mid fall. It’s insanely hard to do unless you have a black background to make them stand out. The blackness behind is water from our ponds. It’s so amazing to me that each one has a different pattern.

This is my self portrait. I noticed how good looking in my snow gear as I walked by the glass door. 🙂 Actually, I just liked that it was translucent with the big tree in the background.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and spent time with family. I have realized that family is one of the only things that truly matters in this world. A career, money, homes, etc. can’t compare to the importance and love that you can feel from your loved ones. In times of uncertainty (like these) the only things that really matter is family, beliefs, and charity.
Okay, I just stole that line from a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book 🙂 (not really)

OH! My wonderful wife gave me a new lens and I’ve been loving it. I’ll post some pics with it soon!

December 23, 2008

I hear a train a coming

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:56 pm

First of all, did anyone ever see the Polar Express movie that came out a couple of years ago? Was anyone as freaked out as I was during it?!? For some reason, the way the animation was done, it was just creepy. I absolutely loved the story as a kid. I’d flip through the pages and study the illustrations. I’d tell myself that I wouldn’t be like his parents when I got older, that I would always hear the bell.

Visiting my parent’s home in a small town just outside of Park City, they have their own Polar Express. The city still owns and manages one of the oldest operating steam engines in the western US. My parents and their property is within a stones throw from the station and it creeps by twice a day. Hence the name, The Heber Creeper. There isn’t much in this life that is more peaceful than sitting next to the river and listening to the old Heber Creeper chug down the canyon. It’s sound is a low pitch fog horn when it comes to intersections, it takes you completely out of this world of jets and cars. It’s a wonderful sight and sound.

During the winter months, the Heber Ceeper runs a Polar Express theme. Tickets are $32 a person (yes, I know… amazing what they can get away with right?) and they encourage the kids to dress up in their warmest of PJ’s. How amazing of an experience is it for a wide-eyed child to step onto a real steam engine? To look out their windows and see snow covered fields and mountains? To hear and feel the trains engine chug? My entire family went on it a few years back and it really was just an amazing experience. They serve hot cocoa, the only lights inside are Christmas lights hung from the ceiling, and they put on a good show. Just before the train departs, they sneak out a smaller train with Santa stashed inside. The smaller train goes first and drops Santa off down the canyon. As the main train full of all the little kiddies creeps down the canyon the see themselves a “Real” Santa on their way to the North Pole. Cool right?

I wanted to document it this year for free (hello? We’re in a recession) and share it with you all.

Excuse the low light. It had just snowed like crazy and was a short break between another storm hit.


No Heber Creeper down this way…

Just starting to depart from the station…

Cue the insanely loud fog horn…



See the Christmas lights inside?


Have fun kids… and wave hi to Santa for me. The spirit of Christmas is still strong with me after all of these years.

December 22, 2008

It’s about time

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:20 pm

Now it’s feeling like the holidays…

Horse Tree

Tree Snow

What up my homie?

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:31 am

Skater Boy

Yeah, I think this is what those dang wippersnappers kids are calling each other these days. “Home-eeee”

I used to be able to completely relate to kids like these. Lately, I’ve been feeling like the world (how I’ve known it for the past 10 years) is passing me up. I’m not worried about it, nor am I sad about it. I’m just more aware and conscience about my place in life. I feel the transition into the next stage of my life happening and I’m okay with that. I could not be more blessed and thankful for my place in this world and for my wonderful family.

I don’t know if this post makes any sense but has anyone else felt this way before? Whether starting a career and needing to stop to raise a family? Giving up a hobby you loved? etc?

I was on Facebook and saw a status one of my friends had placed and it completely summed up how out of touch I have been feeling lately. It was, “Michael just popped, dropped, and locked it. Now he’s locked out and can’t get back in.”

If nothing else, I’ve always enjoyed this picture. And by diggity, I hope you do too dog.

December 21, 2008

Puke, Poop, & Perseverance

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 1:12 am

You know how people say, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” ? Yeah, they’re full of crap because our “Journey” sucked… big time.

All I can seem to muster up right now is, “Oh Snap”

This is the only way I can begin to describe what our trip was like on our drive from San Francisco to Salt Lake City.

Remember how I said yesterday that it was going to be interesting with a 1 month old newborn, 2 people, tons of presents, and a 50 lbs dog in a Toyota Avalon? Yeah, add to the mix that my dog Bear ate a heaping bowl of Reese’s “Holiday Bells” (great little chocolate treats wrapped in tin foil) and a second heaping bowl of Chocolate Kisses just 10 hours before we took off… HE ATE THEM- TIN FOIL AND ALL.

I’m no Dog Whisperer, but I didn’t think Tin Foil and digestive systems worked well together. And boy was I right.

Needless to say, grabbing my dog’s neck to make sure he didn’t puke on the baby going 80 miles on hour trying to get off the Freeway with a screaming wife with horns honking and a barfing dog, was a new experience for me.

Here are the stats:

  • 3  – Number of times the dog barfed in the car
  • 4 – Number of diapers changed
  • 2- Number of times we ate at the Golden Arches (puke- Try and find something else in Eastern Nevada, I dare you)
  • 2 – Number of times baby Wyatt pooped on Kim
  • 150- Number of times Kim tried to talk me into leaving Bear in the middle of Nowheresville  Nevada.
  • 5 – Number of times we stopped to so Kim could feed our “Little Monster”

We laughed at our misfortunes and the fact that those chocolates have been on our entry room table since Dec 1st but of course the day Bear decided to eat them was just before our trip home… psh typical.

Even though it was building memories (Some I will never be able to forget) Kim and I wish we would have just flown in the open sky…

(This was taken last summer on our flight to Lake Powell)

When we pulled in to the driveway, Kim and I emerged from our hellmobile like a couple of Zombies

Ahhhh… it’s good to be home. But in the back of my mind I keep thinking, “Maybe we can sell our car and fly back.”


December 20, 2008

Maybe Tomorrow

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:23 am

Tomorrow we make our trip home. We are going to attempt the 12 hour drive with a one month old and a 50lbs dog in the back of our Toyota Avalon. And what a drive it’s going to be! We’ll tour some of the most beautiful parts of Eastern Nevada woo woo! Let me tell ya.
I just keep staring at my desktop widget on my computer. It lists the current weather and temperature for Salt Lake City.

Current Weather: SLC
Heavy Snow – 14 degrees Fahrenheit


This picture is what I’m expecting…
The Mist

When I see this I feel cold

Although I lived in different places growing up I will always consider Bountiful UT my home. It’s beautiful. I’ll try and capture it so you can see. It’s just unlike most places.

The idea of “Going Home” makes me immediately think of one of my favorite songs of all time. Music is a major inspiration and this song means a lot to me for some reason. I’ve always felt connected to it. It also happens to be one of my favorite music videos of all time. Of course it’s in B&W so I might be a bit biased. But each frame could be a beautiful photograph.

December 19, 2008

It’s 10:36 PM…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 1:22 am

And my wife is going to kill me. She asked me to go to the store for three items… THREE items! I took this as my opportunity, I grabbed my Nikon and the tripod. “Of course I’d go to the store honey! Anything to help out!” I enthusiastically exclaim. She sighs as I turn to leave and asks, “Are you going to get your shot?”
I smile wide and say, “I don’t know… that’s the plan.” I told her I loved her and that I would be back soon. She gave me the look. It wasn’t a look like she was disgusted that I would leave her at 9:30 PM to take pictures and run by the store. It was more of a, “I’m cool with you doing this, just don’t take too long” look. I knew that face, I’ve seen it many times before.

It cracked me up that she knew what shot I was going to attempt without me saying anything. I guess I’ve been talking about it for the past year or so. It’s a night shot and it requires rain, something of an oddity here in the Bay Area until recently. I got my desired shot (it will be shared in another post) and stopped by the store.

Now having it be more than an hour after I left, I was driving home and I could only think of two things. My wife’s look she gave me as I went out the door and an idea for another shot I’ve been thinking about. I weight the pros and cons and factor in our new baby then multiply the fact that I have all my equipment already with me. I then subtract the fact that my wife is tired today. And would you know it, by the time I could decide what I was going to do, I had already pulled into the spot where my idea needed to be photographed. Weird how it happened like that! 🙂
I listen to the rain fall on the car as I quickly assemble the camera. I tell myself that this can be done in 5 minutes flat. I adjust my camera, change out my lenses, and program the manual settings. This is done with the speed and efficiency of a well trained Marine on a mission. I step outside in the ran, take one test shot to see the lighting. I make one adjustment and with the help of a tripod I take my picture.. I realize that there is no use taking more, I got it on the first shot.
I toss the camera with Tripod still attached into my car and book it home. I walk into our old craftsman style home and Kim looks at me and smiles. “I take it you got your shot?” We both smile and hand her the camera to see.


I swear Kim, those ladies in my picture aren’t real. They be painted.

Thanks for being patient honey.

December 18, 2008

RESULTS! Week Eight

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:58 am

Thank you for voting! I give you your photo of the week…

Winter Horses


December 17, 2008

The Bridge

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 12:01 am

Waterfall B&W

This photo was originally in color and I couldn’t for the life of me get it to be interesting. I must have played with it in Photoshop for over an hour without much success. I decided to drop the beautiful green color in the plants and focus just on the shades. I used my favorite tools in Photoshop (dodge and burn) to bring out certain parts of the image. I’m just happy I found a way to make the image pop a little.

December 16, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 2:33 pm

(Scroll down to see the pictures in a larger format)

Results! Photo Challenge: Lights

Filed under: Light, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 12:36 am

Dude… are you freezing or what? Is it not the coldest it’s been in a while? I’M FREEZING and I’m in California!

So how was this challenge? I’m sure it forced some people to have either a very steady hand or busting out that old tripod of yours. It’s a challenging shot but just like always, I’m super impressed with the level of talent.
Again, I hope we all learn something new or take a different perspective in our photography.

Our first photo this challenge comes from Rob at Dusty Lens at Dusty Lens – North Metro. Visit Rob’s site and take a look at his “Urban Art” photo, it’s a beautiful picture.
Great colors and wonderful glow! Rob says, “It was darn cold here as it was 8 degrees (f) and windy as I was out taking some photos. I was shooting at a shopping mall with an outdoor pavilion area. I was approached by mall security who asked what I was up to. I replied I was shooting the Christmas display. He told me he didn’t mind me doing this just so I keep from photographing the shops. The shop owners don’t like photos of their place nor does the mall owner approve of their property to be photographed. Thanks to an understanding security guard, I got my photos.”
Don’t you hate it when “the man” comes down on us? And what’s the harm in taking some pictures, It’s not like we’re the Paparazzi! Great photos as usual Rob. I’m glad you got the shot.

Our next Photo comes from Sheila at I’m loving her blog and it’s not just because her photos are great (which they are -very talented) but it’s because of her writing. She has the ability to put fluidly put together a good story or capture what she was wanting to convey. I fully respect that because I can’t do it. As evidence of my terrible grammar and structure.
Pewter Hope
Sheila has a wonderful story that goes hand-in-hand with this picture. If you’re going to view the picture, you’re going to need to read the story. I love pictures like that, that mean so much to someone they have to explain it because it’s only 50%. You’ll need to click here for the story. I love the photo and the story. My wife and I went through that earlier on when she was living in Australia and I was in Texas. I almost, almost cherish those times because it shaped us so much. Okay, blah! I’ll stop. Great photo Dr Cason.

Our next two photos come from Stacy. Stacy has a great eye for photography and I’m very excited to see her at Christmas (we’re family) I think she thinks of me like Cousin Eddie.
I love the line in this last shot and how you framed it on the left side of the field. Stacy said this, “Here are my shots for the week. I must say that I’m not very happy with my shots. I kind of waited until the last minute to do these today. It started to rain and it’s like 12 degrees today. So needless to say this isn’t my best work. lol. Here they are. I like the Light Path better than the green lights but these were the only two that looked semi-decent.”
They look great Stacy! Can’t wait for us to go shoot together when I get home.

Our next set of photos come from Nana. Again, I couldn’t be more stoked that Nana chose to participate with these challenges. Nana has a wonderful view and eye for photography.
tunnel of lights
I absolutely love the first one and the second one has wonderful textures and layers. These layers make your eyes have a fun time following it up close and then further as the lights go back. Very cool!

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck. Gail had a recent post on her love/hate relationship with photography and it hit me. It’s the same feeling I have my hobby/passion. Read it, chances are you might feel the same way. It can be found here.
Quiet at Last
Great mood! It’s perfectly framed. Gail said, “The wind blew and the temperature fell. Snow flurried and roads closed from ice and snow. No elegant picture of holiday lights planned in advance. Just simple candles.” Looks great Gail.

Our next photo comes from Ginger at Ramble Ramble. I’ve mentioned this before but Ginger has a great eye for photographs. And this picture is great!
Ginger says, “Just like in my Christmas decorations, I’m running late with this challenge. This is the ONLY shot I could pull off this weekend that wasn’t horrible…photographing the lights with no tripod made for some crazy bad pictures.
But, I really like what’s happening with this one–of course the macro setting helped make me more comfortable!”

Dude Ginger you must be on Valium or something because you’ve got some steady hands! Very impressive without a tripod. Great shot! You labeled this photo tangled and the word “tangled” being associated with Christmas lights gives me the chills.

Our final shot of the challenge comes from Mary Elizabeth. Who I always love when she participates and I love looking at her photos.
Okay, I had to look at this shot for a while. My first initial response was, “I love it!” Then I thought I was viewing it form the wrong angle, or you provided it to me not rotated. And then I realized that nope, this was it and that it didn’t matter. It wasn’t about the light themselves, rather it was about the light from it. Mary Elizabeth, you successfully created a great mood with this picture by just capturing the light reflect from the walls. At least that’s how I see it! Mary Elizabeth said, “i really struggled with capturing the Christmas lights how i wanted to, but this was one of the last shots i took and i ended up really liking it. i was just laying down next to it, and i noticed how pretty the lights on the tree lit up the ceiling so i began to shot from that angle. i’m pleased as punch as how it turned out (considering i couldn’t get a single other shot i liked!!)!”

Great shots this week! Again, very talented group and I couldn’t be more pleased with the participation I’m getting from everyone, it’s just awesome.

So which ones did you like?

I’m contemplating taking a hiatus this next week. I’m sure most people are going to be busy and I didn’t want to issue a challenge and have it be one of those things on your mind, “Crap, I need to send something in” at a time when you should be hanging out with family. That is unless people are up for it? Is everyone okay with a challenge this next week? Who would be in?

Thanks All!

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