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The Nursery; 364 Days In

The Nursery; 364 Days In

With the completion of the Burke propeller base Tulip chair two days ago, I have now, finally, completed Carroll’s nursery – and not a day too soon. Literally. He turns one tomorrow. Months ago I told myself I would get his room completed and shared on my blog before he turns one. Good thing it was a sunny morning for photos.

My wife and I worked really hard in designing this room and it has held up quite nice as our newborn has turned into a toddler, very soon to be a walker. We took great care into designing every single detail with thought and pride. We knew we didn’t want this room to look like other nurseries, and we despise the look of what’s available at the big box baby stores. The solution: build it ourselves. Of the seven pieces of furniture in his room, five of them were built, rebuilt, or repurposed almost from scratch by me, with upholstery assistance from my mother. The remaining items were sourced out and the accent pieces hand made or picked by fellow artists and siblings.

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Table 177

Table 177

I got called out last night, by a stranger, and she was right: “So, you’re a photographer. I did some research and looked at your web page. You need to start blogging again.”

I need to start blogging again. It’s been too long.

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Last night was Grand Valley State University’s annual Enrichment Dinner. It’s a fancy-pantsy well-to-do black tie event held at DeVos Place Convention Center, featuring a nice intimate crowd of around 1000-1500 beautiful people, celebrating 50+ years of the school’s rich history. This was only the second year my wife and I have been invited – which was caused by the creation of the GVSU Track & Field/Cross Country Alumni Board of which I am a member of.  The event is fantastic, and best of all, free of charge. When my wife and I went last year, we had no idea what to expect. It was assigned seating at 10-top tables. Last year we arrived knowing one person at the table but left with seven new friends. That was what we were excited for this year, and it did not disappoint.

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My Garden Grows: The First 90

My Garden Grows: The First 90

You’re three months old today. Three. Do you believe that? Your mother and I have somehow managed to not pull our hair out, stay calm, and make you into a happy, smiley, loving little monster boy. These last three months have been the most difficult, trying, patience-searching, amazing, beautiful, loving three months that neither your mother or I have ever experienced. I’m sure your mother will agree: being your father (mother) is by far the greatest thing we’ve ever accomplished and ever will. Nothing can compare, not even our wedding day. Even when you’re being fussy and all I want to do is set you down, I walk past that mirror outside your bedroom and we make eye contact, you smile at me, all my frustrations melt away. You have a special effect on me.

From the moment I told the nurse your name in the delivery room, until this morning, we’ve been having fun and trying to make your adventure as exciting (and safe) as possible. You’re such a strong boy and you’re growing so fast, we constantly want to try new things with you. Mostly your mother tells me not yet, and I say “If it’s not working I’ll stop.” It usually works. I’ve yet to toss you more than two inches in the air, but really looking forward to launching you like 30 feet or something like that. We’ll make sure mommy is not around.

–lots of pictures–

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My Garden Grows: the birth, part II

My Garden Grows: the birth, part II

Hopefully you’ll never have to be the “new kid” in class. Every single set of eyes in the room watches every single thing you do, scanning you up and down as you breath. When you walk into that room, they’ll make you feel as though you were the biggest freak at the freak show. I had the good fortune to experience that twice as a child; first in second grade as I joined Hinkle Creek Elementary in Noblesville Indiana, and again a few years later mid year in fifth grade at Williamston Elementary, outside Lansing. Those moments, as I learned yesterday, were preparing me for what I experienced as I walked through that door. I flash back. It may as well have been Miss Winkleman or Miss Campbell who walked me through that door.

I’m not sure what I was expecting to see when I walked in there, but it definitely was not what I saw. I stomped dead in my tracks. Had I not had booties on, my shoes would have squeaked. It was straight out of a creepy movie. I let out a soft nervous chuckle. No one else did.

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My Garden Grows: the birth, part I

My Garden Grows: the birth, part I

I got a phone call from your mother yesterday morning at 8:23 (a Thursday). Actually, it was your mother, but it wasn’t your mother’s phone. Through sleepy eyes, better judgement told me to answer it even thought I didn’t recognize the number.

“Hey, it’s me. Now, don’t panic, but….”

I panicked. How does one not panic when you’re awoken by a phone call from your wife who’s sitting in an office bathroom, stuck in a stall, using a co-workers cell phone, explaining to you that her water broke and continues to drain, even though she’s only in week 35 of a pregnancy which we were told a pretty sure thing would probably go to 41 weeks? I cursed.

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The Quarry, babymoon?

The Quarry, babymoon?

So I don’t really care for the term “babymoon” but the term seems to be getting used quite a bit and it makes sense – so we did our “babymoon” at The Quarry. The concept is that the couple about to have their baby takes one last weekend away, alone, and enjoys their last hurrah as a child free couple PRIOR to baby arrival. I just don’t quite think the term is a perfect pairing with the event if you consider a honeymoon happens AFTER the wedding. But I digress…

The wife and I did the babymoon thing this last weekend. Surprisingly, it was her decision to go back up north and have a quiet camping weekend. We weren’t planning on doing anything fancy, but when she said she wanted to go north, I wasn’t going to say no to a chance to camp. At 32.5 weeks pregnant, I was pretty surprised by her request. Who am I to say no to a preggo?

We had a great time up there as usual. There was a short rain storm as we set up camp and another one over the first night, and we had to break out the inflatable mattress on night two as the built in mattress wasn’t quite doing the trick for her. But other than that everything was flawless.

Guess what? I made photos! Surprised? No? I didn’t think so. Here are a few of the highlights from the weekend. Not surprisingly, most of the images ended up being of Sarah.

Her focus on the weekend was sitting in the sun, napping in the sun, and swimming in the sun. Mission accomplished.

A few seconds later….

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The Quarry: another weekend, another update

The Quarry: another weekend, another update

This last weekend, my wife and I went back up to The Quarry for a quiet weekend by ourselves – one of the very last before baby comes. I wanted to get a good last chunk of rocks mined and Sarah wanted to get a good chunk of beach time in. Both were accomplished.

I’ll get photos up in another post coming soon from the weekend, but first I wanted to dedicate a post to just rocks. Wow. That sounds lame as hell. Ha! But either way, as an update to the post I put up last week dedicated to the beach, here is what I accomplished this weekend:

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The Quarry: defined

The Quarry: defined

So the wife and I have nicknamed our little slice of heaven on Lake Huron in the UP, “The Quarry.” It’s about an acre of land and we are currently buying it from my grandfather. For some reason, in 1993, he decided to buy the land, and never did a thing to it. Nothing. It remained vacant and unused – for 10 years – until I “discovered” it. For fourth of July, 2003, just before my 23rd birthday, I camped on that land for the first time and started a journey which has become an obsession ever since: moving rocks. making mining a beach, by hand and pry bar. It’s a slow process, but in nine years some serious progress has been made, most of which has been completed in the last 16 months (six weekends). To borrow a line from Ron Burgundy:“I’m a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That’s what kind of man I am.”

My wife first came up with the name, The Quarry, last summer. One OCD afternoon of rock moving, she said it was like we were in a rock quarry mining all these rocks out of here. It stuck.

The following images are from the process, starting in July 2003. The first image is a scanned photograph. This was probably one of the very last rolls of film I put through my Canon Elan 7E before I was introduced to the Canon 10D and had my world rocked.

July 4, 2003 | Just a foot path that doesn’t even make it to the water.

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Vintage Coleman Lanterns: Update

Vintage Coleman Lanterns: Update

So my collection of vintage Coleman lanterns continues to grow. I should probably slow it down a bit. I’m up to seven, plus a heater.

This photo has various lettered Model 220’s, one Model 228 (with reflector), and one Model 200A (the red guy). From the original lantern post, we’ve not gained any additional decades, but more from the 60s and 70s.

I thought this was a pretty special find. The left is a 1965 catalytic heater model 511A complete with snuffer, unused! I had never seen one yet heard of one when I stumbled onto it at an estate sale. The price was set to where I couldn’t refuse it regardless of what it was. It’s a pretty neat contraption. I tried to light it the other day but didn’t have enough fuel to get a good siphon on it so I’ll keep you posted. The little lantern in this photo is a model 200. Rare. Not a 200A which was produced forever starting in mid 1951, this a model 200, dated October 1950, making it my oldest. It was only produced from about July ’50 – June ’51. The base (fount) is made out of brass and plated with nickel. They soon realized this was expensive to produce and the 200A replaced it. It was produced with a steel, painted fount. I haven’t gotten this 200 working yet, having issues in the pump. But again, at the price I got it for and how pretty it is, I couldn’t refuse.

I love how every lantern could probably tell a great story of what it’s seen. I currently have five of my seven stashed in the UP, working on the next batch of stories. The 200, the 200A, and the heater need some work before they can continue their stories.

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Garage Sale!

Garage Sale!

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Held a garage sale the last two days and included some framed prints. I met a lot people and had some great conversations. Many or you said you looked forward to looking at my work online. For all you new visitors, welcome! Take a look around, ask questions if you wish!

I know you all loved my classy sign, so I decided to post a picture of it for posterity sake, ha!

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Vintage Coleman Lanterns

Vintage Coleman Lanterns

My latest ridiculous hobby: collecting vintage Coleman lanterns. It all started a year ago when my father in law found the one on the right, with a carry case, for $8. I loved it and used it a lot up in the U.P.

Over the weekend a friend and I were camping and I decided then and there that I was going to start collecting them – I’ve purchased the two on the left since then. I’ve decided I’m going to attempt to get one from every decade of the 20th century. Three decades down.

From left to right: 1957, 220E with original globe – 1969, 220F with original globe – 1978, 220J with replacement globe. And they all work great.

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Moonrise Over Passage

Moonrise Over Passage

Moonrise Over Passage was created on 04 | 05 | 2012 8:00:39 PM EST, 3 miles west of the DeTour Passage in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

You should be outside.

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18 weeks and still having fun

18 weeks and still having fun

A bit of a mockery statement towards what is deemed “sexy/fashionable” vs. the standardized “this is my preggo progress” image.

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My Garden Grows

My Garden Grows

01 | 03 | 2012 – Tuesday

Today we found out for sure you were on your way. On Saturday morning your mother peed on one of those sticks because she was a whopping two days late. It came out with two lines: preggo. Holy shit that was fast (don’t talk like me; do as I say, not as I do). She came into my office, cool calm and collected, and just handed it to me. My reaction surprised me: I didn’t react. I think it surprised your mother as well. “Well, good.” I said.

“That’s it?”

“Well, it’s what we’ve been planning. It’s not like it’s a surprise. It’s supposed to happen that way. Your last month on birth control was September and at the end of November there was a good chance it was out of your system.”

“I just didn’t think it was going to happen this fast” She said.

“Yeah, I know. You thought it would take a year. Remember what I…..

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Wolverine Furniture? Wolverine Upholstery? *updated 10/8/14*

Wolverine Furniture? Wolverine Upholstery? *updated 10/8/14*

Have you ever heard of Wolverine Furniture or Wolverine Upholstery? Yeah, neither have I.

Back during the 2011 holiday season, I was able to pick up this beautiful mid-century couch for a steal of a deal from Nueve. They are a mid-century specialty dealer located inside Lost & Found – a fantastic antique market focusing on mid-century goods with a little bit of other eras mixed in as well. Located in an old furniture factory, in a city formerly known as the “Furniture Capital of the World,” it is a perfect place to find what you need.

I was able to get the couch at a steal because the maker was unknown – the tag was illegible. With a little background, one quickly learns that some amazing furniture makers have come from this city. Brand & designer goes a long way in this town – which means treasures could be everywhere. Because the maker was not identified, Nueve gave it a great price and my wife and I gobbled it up.

The design is beautiful. The fabric is fantastic. The size is perfect. But it’s been eating at me that I can’t read the tag. Until today. I was able to make it out – but I have no idea what it means as I’m not a furniture historian nor am I able to find anything online. And now it’s eating at me again. I need your help. Can you direct me to the right place, person, company, specialist that might be able to tell me a little about this couch?

See photos below for details. The is couch 81 inches wide. The tag is under the left cushion, slightly to the left of couch center. The tag measures 3.5 inches by 1.5 inches. With a little trick lighting and the perfect angle, the word “Wolverine” in fancy lettering can clearly be read (I’m pretty proud of uncovering that). The style of the logo looks older than mid-century, but the couch is clearly from the 1950s-1960s. Can you help me identify what I have?

Okay historians, get to work and help me out! Let me know if you have questions!

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2012 Web Page Additions

2012 Web Page Additions

I have recently added many new features to my already new web page and I’m inviting you to join my subscription list*You’re not on it already, and I promise to not SPAM you! Newsletters are a new feature here and I don’t foresee them being sent more often than once a month, if that. But I need you – to add yourself to that list – because I don’t want to come into your inbox uninvited!! Click here to subscribe and we can make it all official! I’m looking forward to sharing new features, images, and stories with you as the year continues. But if you’re not on the list, I can’t share it with you.

*As a thank you for joining the subscription list, I will email you a 25% off coupon good for any one print. Once you place your order, I’ll send you another coupon for 15% off your next ENTIRE order!

In addition to the easy subscription process, other great 2012 new features include:

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Life on High: Inspired

Life on High: Inspired

With the winter 2012 catalog launched last week, I have begun my foray into the “fashion world” by contributing design work to LoH Inspired and their latest clothing line. A new year brings a new layout to their page with new features being added daily, a new catalog, and fresh new designs. I was asked to submit a few designs and I was fortunate enough to have three selected. I’m super excited to be a part and to help celebrate the ethos of what LoH represents:

  • Vision: A world-view driven by a respect for life and a celebration of the differences amongst us. A world where the individual is free to express themselves and free to expand upon their passions in life.
  • Purpose: LoH Inspired Clothing is the result of an ever growing appreciation and respect for those that have dedicated themselves to pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible while maintaining a grounded sense of the respect for the life around us. We are here as part of an action based culture of athletes, artists, and musicians focused on expanding our possibilities and inspiring others to reach their true potential.
  • Goal: As a company, we want to provide the resources and support needed to foster individual and group sponsorships as well as teaming up with local and national organizations that are dedicated to bringing support, resources, and assistance to those in need.

[keep reading to see my contribution]

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Right-Clicking & Copyright Infringement

Right-Clicking & Copyright Infringement

It’s the crux of every serious photographer I know. It is a serious issue that gets over looked and it has happened to every photographer I have ever known. It IS copyright infringement. Everyone of them has an opinion on it one way or another. I stand firm on my opinion and I will do what I have to protect my integrity. A few months ago I had a situation arise with a good friend who did this, and made it his profile picture on facebook. I over-reacted. He was a very close life long friend and I treated him like a dirty thief, was very rude, and damn near caused irreparable damage to our friendship. Thanks to my lovely wife playing mediator, our friendship is unharmed.

Recently I photographed an event that caused a high amount of traffic to my web page. The next day I found a contact had posted an image to facebook from the event. I sent a nicer email to this person than I did my friend, and it was seamlessly rectified right away. Yesterday, it happened a third time; and another smooth transaction rectified the situation. But these are only two people from the event who happen to be my contacts. The damage is done at this point.

This morning I awoke to a caring email from the contact that did this a few days ago. A fellow creative herself (sculptor), she wanted to apologize profusely for stepping on my toes and took the time to do a little research for me. I am grateful for her email as it caused me to do more searching and actually find a solution to cover the majority of the problem ((it’s like birth control. Nothing is 100%) embarrassed to admit ….

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Review: The Sleeping Bear, feature film

Review: The Sleeping Bear, feature film

How did I end up here? Where am I? I am standing on a stage, facing a crowd somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 people. I’m standing in the dark, and no one is looking at me. Some of the crowd has on tuxedos, most are in suits or cocktail dresses, and everyone is waiting patiently, looking beautiful. I am at the City Opera House in Traverse City, Michigan and we’re waiting for the independent feature film premier of The Sleeping Bear; an idea spawned in the mind of Richard Cameron White in 2007, which has come to fruition three days shy of 2012. White is speaking to the audience stage left. (keep reading)

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The Firebox

The Firebox

I had my first fire of the season tonight. “Wait, what?” you say. “I thought you were some kind of campfire junky?” It was my first fire of the season, in the fireplace. As the above thought is accurate, I just don’t burn enough wood at home – for several reasons; my firebox is just huge and in order to make it look proportional or have any kind of heat I need to burn a lot of wood – my supply of firewood is low and whatever variety I stole from my parent’s place doesn’t burn very well (I think it’s cherry) – and I don’t like the mechanics of the fire-grate.

So I tried to fix all that tonight. I started by removing the fire-grate. If I’m going to have this big firebox than I’m at least going to enjoy staring at it. I opened the screen as far as I could, jammed my head, one arm, and a screwdriver inside and found the bolts – that thing is gone. And now it’s a wide open expanse that’s beautiful to look at. I’ve been wanting to do that for quite some time now. I’ve always felt I wasn’t utilizing the fireplace in a smart way as far as aesthetics go. The grate was dated and the fireplace needed to breath. (Years ago I painted the hearth deep orange in an effort to liven it up and it did. But it’s time to do it again and bring it up to the next step. I have a plan for the finished product but it will take a little time; a photo of that will come eventually.)

The pile of wood I stole from my folks place has been dwindling the last few years and I have just a enough for two small or one large fire. I made a large fire to utilize that whole box and get rid of that wood. It was nice. But now I have no wood. I have a few sources, but it’s not the same as just having a fire on a whim.

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There’s something about fire that always mesmerizes me; makes me think, zone out and get lost. It was no different tonight. My wife was …. (keep reading)

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Old Mission Kite Boarding

Old Mission Kite Boarding

I was just going through some files from the end of the summer and came across these images – I forgot about them! Nothing too fancy though-

This is from Labor Day weekend and the beautiful weather we had. sheesh. This dude was cruising along in a pretty serious wind storm we were having – getting some pretty sick air too, not really shown here. He looked flat against the water when he was way up there.

Photographed looking southwest down West Bay from Old Mission Peninsula, about three miles south of the lighthouse.

Have a great weekend –

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Final Harvest: a look back at the season

Final Harvest: a look back at the season

Well, I decided to do a complete harvest of everything remaining in my garden today – other than the brussels sprouts. I had boat loads, actually three large pot loads, of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness hanging out. I’ve been really diligent about getting the garden covered the last few weeks and actually had not even removed the cover the last three days. It was time to call it a season. We just weren’t going to get the warmth to get the tomatoes ripe. The season was over. It was time to pull them before I lost them for good.

I started by grabbing my largest pot to collect them as I knew I had several out there still. Quickly I realized I would need….

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De Tour, The Quarry: Late October

De Tour, The Quarry: Late October

This last Wednesday I decided to take a quick solo road trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and do one last camping trip before the weather up there got colder than I was able to handle. I was prepared for it, it was cold, but I was prepared. From midnight to six am the temp dropped almost 10 degrees to get me into the high 20s. I surprisingly did okay with that. Had I had a better pillow I think I would been able to sleep through the night.

The sites were beautiful all the way up and all….

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her escape. my escape.

her escape. my escape.

It’s supposed to get down to 34 degrees tonight with the wind chill factor (ps, when I was a kid, I always thought they were talking about the “windshield factory” and never understood why it was colder there) but my garden should do fine still. It’s been raining for two days and it will remain drizzly all night. The rain is actually preventing the cold from doing any damage. If it was dry, the frost would hit and kill em’ all. But, now I don’t even need to cover. We’re good to go – I have too many tomatoes and peppers out there yet to enjoy. I had two ‘maters for breakfast today.

I’m thinking about going up to the UP one more time before the season becomes too over bearingly cold; even if it’s just one night. The nights have been right around freezing. With a proper fire and some warm clothes, maybe a tottie, I should be just fine. I’ve since had my rainfly repaired as well and it should be able to handle the rain. I’ll just breathe real hard to keep it warm in there. After last spring’s adventure up there, I should be able to swing a night of 33 degrees and rain no problem.

That piece of land is probably the best place I have for freeing my thought processes. Whenever I get in a funk and need to get away, that place provides me with everything I need. After 48 hours alone there I am recharged and ready to get back to society and dive back into the world in front of me. I feel I am approaching …

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Framing Examples

Framing Examples

With the post I made the other day, I felt it appropriate to share different framing examples I’ve worked with and used in the past on my finished pieces. Through all the example photos below, you’ll notice a wide array of styling and matting techniques that I’ve employed – though all are of a traditional fashion. Though I have my favorites, I make sure that the finished piece works for the environment that becomes it’s final home.

Forgive me for some of the image qualities below as some were with cell phones and others were quickly shot in passing. Let me know if you have any questions!

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Commissioned Art Works

Commissioned Art Works

[141/365] cuore di bue by patrick j garrett

A few years ago I made this photo, here on the right-hand side of the screen, and posted it on my flickr account. The subject matter happened to be just a tomato – a special tomato though. It was my very fist tomato from seed, in my own garden, in my own backyard. I was pretty pleased. I think homegrown veggies are beautiful and I have been known to photograph almost every vegetable that’s ever come out of my garden. But, this image still remains my favorite. It was the start of a new era in my eating prowess. It was at this point when my red meat intake decreased drastically and switched away from beef and onto venison.

Okay, so now to get to the point of this post. This simple tomato image was the inspiration to my latest commissioned piece – of which was delivered to the client today. I wanted to share it with you and express how grateful I am to be able to work with individuals like that and …

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Leica M9 Rangefinder: a first-time-use photo stroll

Leica M9 Rangefinder: a first-time-use photo stroll

A couple of days ago I had the privilege of using a Leica M9 rangefinder. A good friend of mine was gracious enough to allow me to borrow it for the afternoon. Him and I have been chatting for a while about photography and where it can and can’t go (by it I mean me). He is obviously a Leica shooter and I am not – this is a place that I have wanted to explore and test my skill and patience. I have been stuck in a world of photographer that has really allowed myself to disassociate with what I am physically doing and “letting” my camera do all the work (even shooting manual!). I have been very interested in…..

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Peninsula Market: The Presentation

Peninsula Market: The Presentation

Please forgive the cell phone pics – but here is my section up at the Peninsula Market that I mentioned in my previous post. I got everything all set up on Thursday evening, and so far as of Monday I had sold one print. A good start for a new location! Yeah!

I am very happy with how the presentation turned out. I have my own wall space nestled between two windows that fits my framed pieces perfectly, and each has it’s own light directed at it from track lighting above. The prints below are spread out nicely in a way that is casual enough to let patrons pick up and hold the work while still remaining in a professional package. Over-all it is a very approachable environment. I am pleased.

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Peninsula Market

Peninsula Market

Old Mission Peninsula is calling my name for the Holiday weekend. I’m heading up a day early as I’ve been asked to display and sell prints at The Peninsula Market! Starting tonight I will have 17 different limited edition prints available – two of which are framed.

I’m pretty pumped about this. I’m also excited to share my work with a whole new market of people. If you should happen to find yourself up on the peninsula, stop by the market and check it out. If you have any questions, please ask me! Other limited edition print sizes are available – and I truly believe that one of my pieces is not complete until it’s framed and hanging on your wall. I’d love to be the one to do that for you.

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I’m Published.

I’m Published.

Through a few random chance events, I will now be contributing to the blog on Musket Creek. I just had my first few articles published. Check it out!!

http://www.musketcreek.com/blog/deer-camp-unwritten/

http://www.musketcreek.com/blog/allen-fly-fishing/

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Out in the Woods II

Out in the Woods II

From my favorite poet,
an excerpt from the poem “An American Prayer”
Do you know the warm progress under the stars?
Do you know we exist?
Have you forgotten the keys to the kingdom?
Have you been born yet and are you alive?
-Jim Morrison

I lay awake listening. I lie there and tell myself, “don’t forget this. Write this down in your head now – then get it on paper later. Remember it this way so you can make the comparison later on. Good, now fall asleep – hear it, listen to it.”

I’m lying by myself in my tent – at the edge of ….

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Out in the Woods

Out in the Woods

It’s been an interesting August. Well, more specifically, it’s been an interesting two weeks. I’ve been far removed from the city and closer to the other half of my lifestyle that I don’t get to enjoy the way in which I want to. Additionally, I did it all without my camera (though it was in the car at all times). The same way in which from time to time I will quit something for a short period of time, such as coffee, alcohol, television, meat, food, I’ll ‘quit’ the need to photograph everything. It really forces me to burn the scene into my brain and remember all the little things. No need to go back and rely on a photograph to tell me about it. It keeps me inline.

On the fifth of August I loaded up my camp gear and headed for the Manistee River in a section that runs through the little town of Brethren, Michigan, the childhood home of James Earl Jones, current population estimated around 1000. I was up that……

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Stretched Canvas Prints

Stretched Canvas Prints

Today I delivered this stretched canvas print to a client. But before I did, I took it to my friend’s studio and did a reading room mock-up on his repurposed palette-wall. I loved the way the print looked on the stretched canvas and I’ve always loved that wall. I felt I needed to show a few photos of how this image looked completed in this format. I absolutely love it! Tell me what you think!!

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New Business Cards!

New Business Cards!

What do you think?

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Meyer May House – Frank Lloyd Wright

Meyer May House – Frank Lloyd Wright

Just a quick post here – Today I finally was able to get over to the Meyer May house. Downtown Grand Rapids, within the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood, lies a gem from Frank Lloyd Wright. Over the last several years I have gained an appreciation for different types of architecture and study everything I walk by. A few months ago I studied the Meyer May house online and have been trying to find the time to get over there for quite some time.

The home was commissioned by a Grand Rapids clothier and completed in 1909. Through several decades and several owners, many modifications …

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Fresh Apricot Sorbet

Fresh Apricot Sorbet

An outstanding treat on a 91 degree sunny Sunday afternoon. Taken from Cooking by Hand, by Paul Bertolli, I varied up his fresh strawberry sorbet recipe. It’s one of the simplest recipes ever but that is what makes it so spectacular.

  • Buy a bag of fresh apricots
  • Halve and pit them
  • Lay them cut-side up on a cookie sheet and throw it in the freezer until frozen solid
  • Put in the food processor with 5 table spoons of sugar and run on pulse until broken up
  • Once evenly broken up add a 1/2 cup of water slowly while running/pulsing
  • Run/pulse until a smooth puree
  • Return to freezer for a few hours or until firm enough to scoop.
  • Eat
  • Drool

It doesn’t get much better than that.

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A weekend of discovery: Fourth of July in DeTour, The Quarry

A weekend of discovery: Fourth of July in DeTour, The Quarry

Over the holiday weekend, Sarah, the dog, and I decided to change pace a little bit and spend our time up north in DeTour Village in the Upper Peninsula versus our usual Old Mission Peninsula visits. I knew I was going to be game with no issues, but I commend my wife on giving up the cushy cottage for that of a tent, in a weather-risky part of the state. But the weather forecast…

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A quick four

A quick four

I love that lady. She’s pretty good to me.

(ps, an excellent beverage as well)

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Real Women Tri & Leadout Racing: Grattan Raceway 06|01|11

Real Women Tri & Leadout Racing: Grattan Raceway 06|01|11

Continuing my coverage of two local bicycling teams, I covered Real Women Tri & Leadout Racing two weeks ago at Grattan Raceway. Grattan, a multifunctional, multi-motorsport racing complex, is about 30 minutes Northeast of Grand Rapids, MI. Wednesday evenings in the summer are reserved for bicycles. The concept is pretty simple but….

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The After of the Before: Repurposed

The After of the Before: Repurposed

So, remember when I rebuilt my deck last month and it turned out super awesome? It’s still super awesome but it left me with a crap load of old decking to deal with. I don’t have a truck and I can’t burn it so it was just piling up in my garage. It would cost me $37 to take it to the dump, not to mention borrowing someone’s truck and gas money to drive it the 50 mile round trip. There had to be a better solution; god knows why my first thought was to attach all of it to the interior walls of my unfinished garage and make a neat rustic wall with horizontal slats – it could be a really neat background for photos?!? Salvaged wood and repurposed materials are “all the rage” right now. No, but seriously – it’s the right thing to do as opposed to sticking it in a land fill. Repurposed items can be done really well if you take your time. I’ve been studying so much about what our future in design is and what we can do in steps – what can I do in steps. Where must I take that first step to do something on my own to show that I don’t only have a brain to think about these things, I have the physical ability to complete the task as well.

Then it hit me. Build a table. My friend Brant, my wife, and I love the concept of communal dining and have talked about it often. A proper table was yet to exist. If I was willing to de-nail, cut, fit, and attach all those boards to a garage wall, then surely I have the patience to step it up a little further and build a table – and depending on supplies, benches to boot. It will be rustic and classic, weather ready, and able to travel. Character: pre-installed! This will be a fantastic project: not your ordinary DIY, but building for a purpose and a use. And meanwhile, I’ll document the hell out of it!

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Time for a cook out!

Time for a cook out!

Back at the beginning of May, I finally started something that I had been meaning to do for years: refinish my deck. Last night, thanks to the help of a few good friends, Scott and Brant, I was able to get about 95% of it completed. A small amount of railing and refinish a step and she’s good to go! Check out the progress photos!

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Becky & Charlie continued: the tradition

Becky & Charlie continued: the tradition

I forgot to mention this in Becky & Charlie’s wedding post from a few weeks ago. I was just looking at a few files from my phone and came across this. That Superman Pinata has traveled quite a distance on several hoods now. As each family member gets married, he gets strapped on for the ride. Just a quick silly little video, but enjoy:

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Tour De Frankenmuth 2011 | Team Coverage: Real Women Tri & Leadout Racing

Tour De Frankenmuth 2011 | Team Coverage: Real Women Tri & Leadout Racing

We traveled over to the east side of the state yesterday so the wife could compete in the Tour De Frankenmuth 2011 Road Race. It was a cold wet day but it was still fun. Sarah is part of the women’s team Real Women Tri and their brother company is Leadout Racing – I attempted to document both teams, though admittedly I focused on my wife’s race more. And I completely missed the finish for the men’s races. Sorry about that.

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It’s Live!

It’s Live!

And today I let everyone know this place exists. Welcome, thanks for stopping by. Take a look around and let me know what you think. I’ve been working on this simple clean webpage for a while with the help of a pretty cool cat; we replaced patgarrettphoto.com which went nowhere. I welcome critiques and criticism.

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Road Trip

Road Trip

Last week my father and I decided to take a road trip up to the UP and visit my grandfather’s water lot that I discussed here and here. It took us a little time to get there but it was really nice to spend time with him, just the two of us. We decided that we probably haven’t spent that much time alone together in since the 90s, and even then didn’t come up with an exact.

On Tuesday morning I headed over to Williamston, grabbed the old man and headed to Flint to see his old man. Grandpa has offered to let me use his old camper if I can get it in working order so we stopped at his place to get the keys. From there dad and I headed north and got to Mackinaw City around 6 pm and called it a day. You ever been there during the off season? Yeah, didn’t think so. Not very many people have. That place was a ghost town, no one on the streets and none of the shops were open. There was only about 3 places open to eat out of the normal 30….

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Late Night Thoughts

Late Night Thoughts

I was up too late last night and my eyes started to get bleary as I worked.

“I should go to bed, there’s no reason for me to be awake.”

As I lay there just about to doze, the storm kicked up again. I normally love the sound of thunderstorms as I sleep and this time it was no different. My wife sleeps next to me and breathes heavy as she normally does, oblivious to the storm. The dog, in normal thunderstorm fashion, awakes from his slumber and slides under the bed for his sanctuary from the storm.

That first crack of thunder woke me back up; I was excited for one of the first storms of Spring. Flashes of lightening kept showing me things on my walls and casting shadows across the room. Unfortunately, I was now wide awake. I thought about getting up and finishing what I was working on but decided to just enjoy the sounds from outside. The winter months had loosened the downspout outside my window and had created a rhythmic sound as the rain falling on the roof reached it’s entry. Thunderstorms are great.

Earlier that day I had been downtown. An earlier storm was passing through at that point as well, though it lacked the punch of tonight’s thunder and lightening. It was a quiet day, not many people were out. We have reached …

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From the Garden

From the Garden

A few peppers I grew this summer and have since let dry out. From time to time I’ll throw them in a coffee bean grinder and put them ….

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Holland on a weekday afternoon

Holland on a weekday afternoon


I find myself in a café downtown Holland (MI) on a Wednesday afternoon, sitting at a window seat watching the world go by while enjoying a cappuccino and a bagel. I’m not at work and I’m waiting for a photo assignment to start at 6 pm. It’s an absolutely beautiful day out; the sun is shining and it’s about 55° and people are everywhere – I came out to the coast early to get this year’s first glimpse of the big lake and to take in all that is beautiful. There have been very few jacket sightings and I’ve even seen t-shirts and shorts. I’m looking forward to the changing season.

So as of last week I find myself unemployed, well, at least no longer employed with the bank I was with. The writing was on the wall with that job; I was searching for something else and only showing up to get my job done and to go home. This is unfair to the company and unfair to myself. Neither one of us was helping each, only hurting. It was obvious that I was not supposed to be a banker and that role was something that was clearly not a right fit. I was brought into that position based on my personality and my ability to make clients feel comfortable; I was not brought in because of my excellent operational skills for behind the scenes paperwork – which is all I did for the nine months I was in that role. I was a papers pusher. I was told we would be a great team and compliment each other very well. With my personality, “you’ll pick up the operations end no problem and you’ll go far”

That didn’t happen…

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Review: retroCamera

Review: retroCamera

I’m not an iPhone’r. I’m an Android’r. Actually, I was really late to the tech bandwagon, only getting a smart phone this last fall. I can remember about two years ago sitting on my couch with a friend while she made fun of me because I was trying to text the word ‘the’ or something lame like that and was struggling. She then reprogrammed my phone so it would do predictive writing – and that was the beginning of my descent of being hooked on being “connected.”

Meanwhile, I have a cell phone that has a 5 megapixel sensor in it. I am a “professional” photographer that operated successfully with a Canon 20D from 2005 to May 2010, which was an 8 megapixel body, before I upgraded to the 7D. I know it’s a completely different type of sensor, but I was printing 48″ prints on that 20D. A phone that is 5mp?!? That’s nuts. I’ve come a long way in the two last years.

Lately I’ve been noticing all the things that the iPhone’s camera can do with all of it’s retro and trendy settings. They’re all over …

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On Order: 28mm prime

On Order: 28mm prime

I know it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I’m working on that, I really am – I’m getting close to “publishing” this blog and making it my primary web page. Once I’m live, I’ll use it – I swear! I’ve enlisted the help from a few good friends and they’re doing me a lot of favors to make it happen. I had no idea how complicated it was to make a simple, clean web page.

In the meantime, I just ordered this lens and I’m pretty excited about it – 28mm f/1.8. I should get it this Friday so I’ll have all weekend to have some fun with it. Within the last 9 months I’ve fallen head over heels with shooting prime lenses. In fact, I sold my 28-75mm zoom lens as I felt like I was cheating when I used it. Last May I purchased the 50mm f/1.4 and I’m not sure I’ve taken it off the body more than a few times. The nifty 50 is a fantastic lens but does have its limits indoors and in confined spaces; the 1.6x crop factor really makes its presence known indoors. The 28mm, will not. For that I am excited. Oh, and I think B & H is the best, most trustworthy place on the interweb for photography gear. Not to mention they’re …

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Apple Baskets

Apple Baskets

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The Wheel

The Wheel

Well, it looks like I fell off my pact to add to this regularly. I’ve been doing some updating and back-end changes and what not so the posting has not been very good. Sorry about that.

I wanted to give an update on something real quick that I’ve been working on; a pottery room, well, a modified laundry room.

Much of the the latter half of my teens was spent on a potters wheel. When I was around 17 I got one of my own so I didn’t need to be at the school all the time. I originally went to college for ceramics (lasted about 90 days before I switched to photography) but life happened. Somewhere along the lines I acquired a kiln as well but it needs repair to be functional.

For years I’ve been talking about getting back into it and for years I’ve done nothing. Last winter I attended a few pottery shows for the first time in about 10 years and boy did it leave me thirsty. Over the summer I pulled all my gear out long term storage (parent’s place) and brought my wheel, large kiln, a table, and all the tools and stuck them in a corner of my garage. I consider this adventure to be a cold weather deal.

Well, over the last few nights I’ve been rearranging the washer and dryer, moving a clothes rod and a few shelving units, and discovered I have plenty of room for everything (minus the kiln for the time being – I’ve had friends offer me use of their kiln until further notice). Tonight, I dragged everything out of the garage (sans kiln) and brought it to it’s new home. That was about 10 pm and …

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To the future: something to build upon

To the future: something to build upon

So much has been going through my head as of late.

This last month has re-sparked so many dreams interrupted. I’m not sure if they are were awakened, as that would imply they are not a dream but reality. So, then maybe that’s it. They are re-sparked realities, not dreams. I will not just sit and watch them go by but I will act on them, be proactive, not reactive.

To start, I have once again began to search for an old …

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Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory


On an early September morning, the sunrise sleeps in just a little bit longer.

This morning is different than yesterday’s; this morning brings a loud silence that cuts directly into the morning steam rising from the waters as the crisp air is now cooler than the water temperatures. Hundreds of bodies wait for their cue, standing at the edge, trying not to shiver too hard. As the official lets them go, several in the pack start to hop with impatience before they can reach the water. They want to break the silence.

Like an oil slick, the pack elongates and thins out; in the golden morning light the bodies form a single element. The oil slick looks to be boiling and is spreading through a major portion of the water surface.

Slowly, as the slick starts the approach back, the silence is replaced with soft grunts, gasps and splashing as the pack gets tired. Looking low over the water, the only visual interrupting the repetition of reaching arms, is an occasional head looking for direction – but all they immediately see is feet in front and shoulders to the side. They decide to just go.

This chaos is a beautifully orchestrated mess.

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Her eye

Her eye

This has been a very intense few weeks. Life as a creative and life as a corporate schmuck really stepped up there game. ArtPrize is in town and is running into it’s third week. Yesterday my wife and I had to schedule our calendar to actually come home for the day.

My day job is proving tougher than I ever imagined – the learning curve in the new department is proving a tough challenge; plus I’m so far from the actual rewarding portion of the work that I’m subconsciously letting myself learn it slowly. I’ve been ‘talked to’ on more than one occasion. Not threatened, just encouraged. Encouragement is good, it has helped immensely – it has also made me step up my game and get more done each day.

For now I am only going to summarize my personal experiences with ArtPrize so far. I touched on it a bit on my photo blog, but I have had a completely different experience than I did for ArtPrize 2009. The restaurant vs. open space concept has proven to be more rewarding towards the open space. Where they each have there place, getting 100 new faces in front of the work every few minutes vs. 55 new faces every hour is a measure that is clearly an advantage. Also being able to speak directly to the people instead of interrupting meals constantly has proven very rewarding. I’m still proud of last year’s work and frankly think it would have held up just fine in this year’s venue – but am happy with my laid back approach. I will post another entry that is dedicated …

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The Break

The Break

… and asked her if she wouldn’t mind. She was a little confused and didn’t understand what my “vision” was. All she saw was people in an alley. I saw more…

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(part II) I’m not saying they’re wrong,

(part II) I’m not saying they’re wrong,

because they’re not. It’s their right to handle this however the hell they want. If they agree on it, I guess that’s what matters. I can hope and dream and do the best I can to influence – but they have the right and will do whatever they want in regard to how this land is handled. I’m just venting and wishing is all…. Ever since that time in 2003 (I was just shy of 23 years old – how does a 22 year-old contemplate the future of a “retirement plot” when he’s still not done with college?) I have dreamed of having a very tiny little cottage on that land and spending chilly fall nights in it with a little fire going, writing a novel, and perfecting my photo skills on the surrounding land. Ever since that first weekend, I have been madly in love with that spot and everything about Detour. It is often in my dreams.

On the other hand, I am incredibly spoiled. In 2005, just before my 25th birthday, I closed on a house and met my future wife all in the same week. THAT was a great week. The spoiled part? The wife’s family has a quaint little summer cottage on Old Mission Peninsula …

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(part I) the lake

(part I) the lake

So, I’ve spent the last several days researching the value of a lot of land that my grandfather owns. It’s in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in the southeast corner in Detour Township and sits on 100 feet of Lake Huron. He has owned it since 1993 and has never done any improvements to it. It’s near-raw land with thick white pine forest; it has a clearing on it just wide enough to turn a vehicle around and pop a tent on a little over half acre parcel. No one ever goes there, except me.

I learned of the lot in 2003 and instantly knew it’s potential as an amazing way to reach the Michigander’s “American Dream” of owning a piece of the great lakes. In the seven years I have been going, I have gone maybe a dozen times? In that time I am the only one that has been there, other than in passing. From time to time I would do some improvements, like make a path or build a fire pit, and the family would go by to see what I did. But largely, no one goes. This piece of land means so much to me, it is so close to me. It is where I first learned the beauty of the outdoors and to be by myself. I have sat around that fire multiple nights and just written in journals, and reflected about my past and my future. That lot found itself rooted inside me. From that time in 2003, I knew that someday I would own that land.

My family does not want the land. This is not good, as I have no say …

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Whoa, that took too long

Whoa, that took too long

Wow, just went 9 months without adding to this blog. That’s a good start eh? I wonder why I haven’t gotten any traffic. We’ll see how that goes going forward.

It’s been an interesting 2010 so far. –
I had a major move up in my day job so that’s made life much easier. I now have all my Saturday’s free and out-the-door by 5 pm usually. I can handle that.
-I upgraded from the Canon 20D to the Canon 7D and it has been a godsend so far.
-I pulled all my pottery equipment out of storage and have it in the garage (baby steps)
-I’ve been all over this state shooting randomness in the woods and watching my wife compete in triathlons.
-I’ll be photographing a military wedding in Boston in 2 weeks.
-I’m prepping to show one piece in ArtPrize 2010 which starts at the end of September.

There’s more, but I don’t want to bore you. I really should spend more time here. I have a lot on my mind all the time, I just need to get it out. And be brave enough to let the world know they can read it.

I’ll be back before another 9 months, I promise. I need to be, I need a new outlet.

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please feel free to comment…

please feel free to comment…

Sometimes I get on Flickr and study other people’s work for hours – looking for inspiration and technique. A lot of the time it’s just snooping though. But man some of the work out there is incredible, but most importantly there is so much of it. How do people stand out? It sems like every corner of the world has it’s own group of people that are kicking ass and creating the most amazing and beautiful work – and these are just the photographers using Flickr? I know many that do NOT use it!

Currently, I do use it. I almost need it – it keeps me active and constantly trying to come up with new material. My wife has been incredibly supportive – and photogenic. She is very willing to try new styles and looks with me; I think we do a pretty good job with the room and lighting that we have available to us. On Saturday night we had a session of some amazing black and white lingerie portraits. They were sexy as hell and a lot of fun to create, the end result created many photos which I had to sensor! By sensor I mean I did not make them public for all of Flickr to see, only certain people. After all, she’s not just a model, she’s my wife and our families follow my work. This can be frustrating and encouraging at the same time. It’s nice to have the family support but at the same time if I want to experiment with something a little racy I cannot get feedback from the world, but a small section.

Moving on, I posted a handfull yesterday, public and private. And exactly what I suspected would happen has…

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