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The T3sk3y Defenestrator

Back from Maui!

We recently returned from another trip – this time, the T3sk3ys went to Maui for Cameron Nelson’s wedding during the last week of September.  I’ll have more information and some tales from our trip coming up in the next couple of weeks.  Until then – here’s a photo that I took from the Keanae Peninsula on the road to Hana right at dawn.


Hana Sunrise

Hana Sunrise

For those that can’t wait – all my pictures are located on my SmugMug site:  Mark’s Smugmug Site

The Big Picture

I love sites that don’t care if somebody downloads their high resolution pictures.  Seeing an image bigger than 320×240 on the web is such a cool treat.  My favorite two sites to see great high resolution pictures are and The Boston Globe’s “The Big Picture.  

Their focus couldn’t really be different – The Big Picture concentrates on current photoessays, and Shorpy bills itself as “The 100-year-old photo site”.

Shorpy is neat because they show you a slice of life from the prior couple of centuries – scanned and posted on the web.  It’s amazing to me how clear the photos are considering the original was on glass plates or something equally ancient.

Here are the links for your enjoyment.  Both sites are updated frequently.

What we do when Mommy is away..

The first thing that we do is practice our Karate:

William working on his Karate moves

William working on his Karate moves

Next, Elizabeth eats things that Mommy doesn’t let her eat.. like her fingers!

Mommy wont let me suck my thumb

Mommy won't let me suck my thumb

What mommy doesn’t know WON’T HURT HER!

Take that, Mommy!

Take that, Mommy!

But, don’t worry Mommy.. I’m keeping a good eye on my little sister.

William watching out for his little sister

William watching out for his little sister

Hey daddy.. do you think you could do something about my hair before starting to play in the studio?

See the rest of my daddy’s pictures at his SmugMug site: Studio Light Practice pictures

Three Days with Jon Cornforth – Part Four

(Note: This is a long overdue travelogue wrap-up from my landscape photograph seminar with Jon Cornforth back in April, 2008.  Details fade over time.. but I’ll do my best!)

The last day of our trip started just as the others did – very early.  Ross and I rolled out of our beds in the cabin and met Jon for another attempt at sunrise pictures.  Once again, the weather turned out to be too nice for interesting landscape shots.  The sky was bright and clear with not a cloud in sight.  Because of this, we stayed right on First Beach for the sunrise.

Okay, it wasnt really that dramatic.

Okay, it wasn't really that dramatic.

Amazingly, a small family of whales spent just about the entire morning frolicking in the surf only a hundred or so yards offshore.  I think we spent the better part of a couple of hours watching them and trying to get a photograph with the ‘big glass’ (i.e. Ross’ 100-400 with the 1.4x extender attached).

Once we tired of that, we had some breakfast and reviewed our personal photographs with Jon.  The feedback was great – I just wish I had brought more pictures along.  I’m so reliant on online photos that I’m at a loss when I get point people at my SmugMug site.

We packed up the trailer late morning and started the long journey back to Seattle.  Our plan was to stop at Hurricane Ridge on the way home and shoot the sunset above the cloud line.  We got to Hurricane Ridge late afternoon and climbed up through a bunch of pea soup fog & clouds.  At the top, we shot the next ridgeline while we waited for the sun to set.

Trees poking through near the top of Hurricane Ridge

Trees poking through near the top of Hurricane Ridge

Of course, the fabulous sunset shots weren’t to be.  After climbing up a ten foot snowbank to get on to the glacier, we were shooed off by the ranger who informed us that they were closing the road BEFORE sunset.

We had some tasty fast food Mexican on the drive home and made it back to Seattle at around 10:30 PM.  Ross and I said our goodbyes to Jon and checked in to our hotel for the early flight home the next day.

To wrap all this up, I’ve got a few final thoughts and impressions.

What was my biggest takeaway from the trip? Undoubtedly, it was an appreciation of the process that professional landscape photographers undergo to capture great images.  The ‘how it’s done’ lesson was fantastic.

Would I do it again? Yep – look for some great pictures from “Cornforth Alaska Cruises” in the coming years.

How was Jon as a teacher? In my opinion – I thought he was great.  He had a great mix of information, patience and feedback.  If you are looking for a formal classroom experience, you may want to look elsewhere.  Jon will take you out, get your boots muddy, get sand in your tripod, make you miss lots of sleep (and a few meals) – and come home with some great images.

Favorite part of the trip? From a trip perspective, the first night at Second Beach is probably the most memorable.  From a personal perspective – spending a weekend with a good friend and a new friend taking pictures was priceless.

Check out all of my pictures at SmugMug right here: Olympic National Forest 2008

Jon’s website and seminar information is here:

Who says I don’t post any pictures of Elizabeth?

By the number of requests rolling in, I apparently need to post more pictures of little Elizabeth.

So.. for those requesting.. here you go!


Elizabeth in her Exersaucer

Elizabeth in her Exersaucer

T3sk3y Studios is now open for business

With the arrival of a package from last week, T3sk3y Studios is officially open.  My next great photographic adventure is to try a little DIY studio photography.  Besides being a fun hobby – with two kids, it ought to be a money saver vs. paying for photos of each kid.

My setup includes:

Okay, the wireless triggers are a luxury – but they are a great addition.  Add a receiver to each light, pop the transmitter in the hotshoe, and presto!  Everything fires.

Adding the light meter makes it just about automagic.  To get the right exposure – you take a reading right underneath your subject’s chin by clicking the light meter and hitting the test fire button on the transmitter.  Then, it’s just a matter of entering the exposure and aperture into the camera in Manual mode and firing away.

How’d everything turn out?  Mostly great.  Check it out!


Elizabeths first photo sitting at T3sk3y Studios

Elizabeth's first photo sitting at T3sk3y Studios

 It wasn’t all perfect.. I had the umbrellas a little too close and in reflector rather than shoot-through mode.  This gave me funky umbrella-shaped specular highlights on her eyeballs (which I edited on the above picture).

So.. anybody want family pictures taken?

A nice summer break from blogging

Yeah, it’s been a month since I’ve posted.  Blogging is (for me at least) a binge ‘n purge activity.  I go through periods of time where it’s just not the most important thing in my world.  That’s pretty much how the summer went.  Once fall comes, I’ll be back in to my normal blogging pace.  I hope.

What have I been doing while I haven’t been blogging?  We’ll.. here’s a catch-up post.

  1. The Olympics.  I’m a huge addict, so is my wife.  We have a DVR.  This is a bad combo that led to us trying very hard to watch every single broadcasted minute.  Since it’s old news now I’ll stick to general impressions.  Overall, the coverage to human interest story ratio was much better than past Olympics.  I also recall seeing at least one competition where the US wasn’t in the medals.  Both of these are big improvements.  I’m also not a big fan of the team sports, so I skipped through all the basketball / volleyball / softball matches.  I also think I prefer the Winter Olympics overall.
  2. The Tour de France.  Two multi-week sporting events back-to-back is a LOT of TV watching.  Actually, it was three since this came right on the heels of Wimbledon.  I can’t say I watched as much of this as previous years.. but it really felt like it was a real competition this year so I still enjoyed it.
  3. Restoring my Williams Whitewater pinball game.  I’ve been in the garage the past couple of weeks sanding, mending, bondoing (it’s a word now!) and painting the cabinet.  I’ll finish that up tomorrow when Bryan Kelly helps me put on the decals.
  4. LOTS of family & friend events.  This includes weddings, birthdays, baptisms, barbeques, parties, and many more.  We certainly got out this summer!
  5. I finished Half Life 2!  That’s two video games completed in one year – an unbeatable record for me.  Wow, what a game… I see why it was pretty much game of the century.

That’s it in a nutshell.. I’m sure I’ll write more on some of these topics in the near future.  Keep tuned!

View from the Arboretum

Most people go to the U of M Landscape arboretum to take pictures of the flora.  Not me!

It was their annual ice cream social last night – and we attended along with the Tufvanders and the Tjornhoms.  Somewhere around when we finished our picnic dinners, a pretty gnarly looking squall line cruised overhead causing us to duck indoors for cover.  Though it never actually rained on us – it did produce a fantastic rainbow and some cool skies at sunset.

If I were a real photographer, I would have scrambled to find the perfect landscape to frame the rainbow.  As it was, I was busy being a real father soothing a little guy that fell and bonked himself.  So, I had to settle for a ‘grab shot’ as we were loading strollers into the truck.  I’m still happy with it..

A rainbow over the Landscape Arboretum

A rainbow over the Landscape Arboretum

Four days in Iowa

So Mark.. how did YOU spend your summer vacation?

Well – I spent the end of my July the same way I’ve spent the three before it.  That would be eating pork, looking at cornfields, and biking across Iowa.  What I’m trying to say is that I just got back from RAGBRAI – the Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  It’s seven days long – but I only did the last four.  It still turned out to be about 275 miles of biking in four days – and that should be enough for anyone.

The 75-mile long pelaton

The 75-mile long pelaton

The usual zaniness of crazy costumes, beer tents, ‘stereo trailers’, and gastronomic delights was in full force.  I’d equate it to Sturgis, the State Fair, and the Tour de France all rolled into one.

I dont know who they are - but they are the kings of RAGBRAI in my book!

I don't know who they are - but they are the kings of RAGBRAI in my book!

I’ve been preparing for several months now – you can’t just hop on and ride that many miles cold.  Well, I can’t at least.  It’s a good thing I prepared, too – the route was the toughest I’ve seen.  Each day had more climbing than I did in all of RAGBRAI 2007.  To add to the fun, there were strong headwinds and rain on a couple of the days.  It made for a real grind sometimes.

Like last year, I rode with Team Balance Fitness – a local bike club that I belong to.  There were 45 in our group – almost double the size of last year.

In the end, I made it to the Mississippi River at about 11:30 AM on Saturday morning.  I dipped my wheel into the water with several thousand others, and loaded up for a long ride home.

Team Balance Fitness finishes RAGBRAI

Team Balance Fitness finishes RAGBRAI

Until next year – all of my (and all of the team’s) pictures are right here: RAGBRAI 2008

Whidbey Island pictures finally all online

I finally was able to finish putting up all of my pictures from our 4th of July trip to Whidbey Island.  It took a really long time to weed through the 500ish pictures I ended up with – even with Photoshop Lightroom.

Here’s one made possible by 6fps + 340mm:

Elbow Yolk Yuck

Elbow Yolk Yuck

Heh – egg yolk from the 4th of July egg toss caught mid-air.  Sweet.  Sorry about the mess, Beth!

Check out the rest of the pictures over at my SmugMug account: Whidbey Island 2008

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