Thursday, 30 April 2009

Lord, Forgive Me, I know Not What I Say

Salt Lake City is a very religious city. It seems that just about anyone who I have a casual conversation with will ask me "are you LDS?" It even beats the other question "where are you from?" If I am honest 12 months ago I didn't even know what LDS was. Now, unfortunately, I'm not quite so ignorant and so I know that when someone asks me that question they are asking if I am with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, in other words am I a Mormon. Regretfully I always have to say no. I regret it because it usually means a conversation about the virtues of visiting the LDS Museum at Temple Square in Downtown is sure to follow my answer. As happened yesterday when I helped an old man fix his car. I didn't mind ruining a t-shirt in the process but I could have done without the well meant preaching. 

Anyway back to why I started writing this post. Due in no small part to Salt Lake being a Mormon City you are bombarded with religious images everywhere. Which is fine. There is one in particular though that I pass a few times a week and for some reason every time I see this billboard I interpret it probably not as was originally intended. I see this and I think someone unintentionally made Jesus sound perverted. 

He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy

Ironically I don't think its situated outside an LDS Church but with thoughts like these I'm probably not cut out for the faith anyway. I also might have to keep my thoughts to myself, I don't want stoned for listening to that devil on my shoulder.

Listening to: REM - Losing My Religion. I didn't choose it, blame iTunes.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

"It's Crazy How You Two Met.."

My significant other will often come home from work and talk about the work colleague that likes to repeat "It's crazy how you two met" when talking about our relationship, when all she really wants to do is turn the conversation back around to her relationship because she still can't believe how they met. I can. They met at work. Not particularly unbelievable. Happens a lot I would think. Our situation was though I have to admit a little bit crazy.

There was one day I was bored and looking online for a cheap lens for my camera. I didn't find any. So I was about to click the x of the browser when something inside told me it would be a laugh to look at the adverts in the personals. I don't always listen to the devil that likes to sit on my left shoulder and whisper nonsenical advice, but this time I did. And I did laugh. Some of those adverts are rather pathetic.

A relatively sane looking one was one titled, if I remember correctly (it was a while ago now - so you can excuse me if I got the details wrong on this), Latina Looking For A Guide. The advert itself was unremarkable (sorry) really except for the fact that within the advert the word English was placed in front of guide when the advert itself was posted in a Scottish City. For some reason I thought I would be funny by replying and rewriting the advert for her and suggesting that she might get a better response because after all we Scots can be kind of funny about being called English, knowing full well that I would probably come across as an ass.

She almost didn't reply back to my message, but then did so anyway. Then I almost didn't reply to her reply, but then proceeded to do so anyway. I probably did so when I realised that she had reposted her advert by taking my advice but with the addition of adding her own sassy spin to it. Somehow one email led to another, and another, and another. Not with any expectations whatsoever. Certainly not of that falling in love crap! That'd be crazy talk! I made fun of people who thought they could meet someone off the internet with those expectations. That sort of thing never works! Nutters. In fact even now we both make fun of the adverts on tv for and the other dating site I currently can't remember the name of.

Instead I gave her ideas of things to do and must visit places, with websites to look at. After a couple of emails or so I seem to remember doing something crazy and offering to be her guide when she finally made the trip. And in the meantime, we talked. A lot. We talked, and talked and talked. BT and Comcast made a lot of money from our talking. Yeah we were kind of stupid and naive about it. We were slow about finding a way of making Skype work reliably. Had we done so sooner we might have saved not inconsiderable amounts of money. Dammit!

Anyway the end result was something that was totally unexpected. I fell hard. I was smitten. I was crazy about her. So crazy I moved to America. I never wanted to live in America, what the hell happened there? I had no real ambition of ever going to America. There were many places I wanted to travel to before I died. I had a whole list of them. Maybe some day a couple of US cities too but they were way down at the bottom of the list. Those cities were probably not even on the same list. They were probably on the list of well I've visited all the other places I really wanted to see, now its time to add to it list.

I had intended to go to Morocco later on in the year. Around September. It wasn't No. 1 on my list but it was pretty high up and best of all it was one of the cheap places. I could do cheap. And it was time I had a well deserved 2 week holiday. I had done the research and just about booked the ticket when we initially started talking. I was so close to booking that ticket I could smell the food of the markets in my nostrils, and picture the sights, the people and the clothes in my head. And then some how I ended up here in October instead. Probably would have been here sooner had we not talked so much on the phone.

Sometimes even now I wake up in the morning, roll over on my bed and see this beautiful woman lying next to me and wonder how I got here. Then I get up and see a nice house (not as nice as we both want but nice enough for now), and then go for a drive in a large car in a strange country and I find myself asking how Talking Heads stole my life for their song Once In A Lifetime when I hadn't even lived the moment yet. I feel done dammit! I shouldn't be getting some sort of commission for every time that song is played on the radio or lastfm.

Now what if that advert wasn't placed or if I hadn't listened to that mischevious devil on my shoulder...what would have happened then?

Probably we'd be none the wiser and doing what we do now, laughing at those silly people who think they can find love on the internet.

Listening to: Augie March - The Night Is A Blackbird....I like.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

This Blog Needs Help!

It's been a while coming, probably about 12 months if I'm honest, but the time has come to admit that this blog has been pretty much just going through the motions. In that time I've made plenty of excuses for myself;
  • I was working nights, I was either sleeping during the day or trying to enjoy what was left of it. Blogging could wait.
  • 4 - 6 hours on the phone every day, 8 hours at work, 3 - 4 hours sleeping barely left enough time to shop, eat, and enjoy the outdoors for a bit nevermind blog.
  • 6 months preparing to leave one country for another was a bigger deal and priority.
  • A bad mixture of either having a blogging idea but no time to type it, or the time but no ideas.
  • Maybe tomorrow.
But the truth is I just lost the habit. Many a time I knew I had become a bad blogger and would contemplate deleting it but then I would think of the times I typed crap in the past and got some sort of strange fucked up enjoyment from it. Those days were bound to return at some point. Every blogger suffers from writers block from time to time. Right? 

The solution I thought was to post sporadically and eventually I'd just get some of the old mojo back. But its been a while now its just not happening. 

So folks this is you chance to share what you do when you are running short of writing inspiration. What's your secret? Is there a blogger that inspires you or do you have a game that play? Share - dammit!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Utah May Be Beautiful But Some Of The Locals Might Be Weird

It's only been a few weeks I admit and it might be a little bit hasty to draw conclusions but I'm starting to think Utahans might be a little bit weird.

First of all there is the Mormon thing I just don't get the big deal. Now I confess that I am a heathen and I generally don't understand organised religion so I am probably not the best one to judge it all, especially as I have only recently set up home in the area where it seems all the world's Mormons like to congregate. However try as I might, and I am trying, but I really don't understand the Mormon thing.

We Scots have got a reputation for being stingy with money. If we go to church we give a few coppers into a bowl to help keep the tiles on the roof of the building. In comparison Mormons are crazy. Good Mormons give 10% of their income to the church. Doesn't matter how much the Mormon earns 10% is the figure for the tithings. If the Mormon isn't willing or able to pay this price off the good list they go. When I heard this fact I almost died of shock and somechileanwoman had to give me the kiss of life, or maybe I was just being greedy at the time. I can't quite remember which, its all a blur but I do know that I was a little confused as to why anybody would want to be a good Mormon. It wasn't very appealing to me that was for sure.

However each to their own. There are a lot of Mormons in Utah and many of them seem very happy with it and so they should be. But it still confuses me as to why any time I am downtown and passing the LDS Temple that I see quite so many young people getting married. Many of whom can't be much older than 19. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against marriage, I'm actually in the midst of planning to get married in around 18 months time. But I'm 31 years of age. I've lived enough of a life to know this is what I want. To me 19 (and younger) is just too young.

It could just be that Mormons are more romantic than me.

However not only am I an ignorant heathen, I'm also a cynical one so I half suspect the Elders of the LDS church are just very good at convincing the young Mormons that marriage is a wonderful thing - especially if their folks can't afford to send them off to another part of the world on a mission. It's a wonderful thing for the church if there is an opportunity to double up on its tithings, all the better if they breed and make new tithing paying Mormons. I told you I was cynical.

I really can't help but think these kids can't be making this decision solely by themselves when I then go to Liberty Park and see some of the local population dressed up in strange clothes and fighting one another in said clothes with wooden and plastic swords. I'm sorry Utah, it's just wrong.

Really this guy looks like a jester. And he is, its hilarious. Or maybe its just me.
And this guy looks like he stole his cloak from Gandolf, although the cap may once have belonged to a baseball player. Maybe it was an Ebay special - 'buy the cloak get a free cap!'Don't even ask me where this guy got his outfit from I have no idea but the guy in blue in front of him seems as confused as me.

Now contrary to the opinion of some, I do not always think that Scotland is better than Utah. In Scotland there may be no real problem with guns, hence the reason why the bike police in Scotland do not feel the need to cycle around with a gun on their hip, but Glasgow - Scotland does have a problem in certain areas with knife culture. In some parts, teenagers, mostly boys, do run around with real knifes, some of them the lengths of small swords and have real fights with each other. The upside, if there is an upside, is that the fighters usually consist of the very stupid so if there are any casualties in any of the battles it helps to reduce the likelihood that they will breed and have more stupid children therefore the rest of the population remains relatively safe from harm.

But really, these Mormons have big families I just don't think the world has enough strange costumes to cope with the influx wooden sword fighters.

Anyway, enough about Mormons and their weird hobbits, I mean habits. I sometimes worry on occasion that I act too much like a hippy. Especially when I creep myself out when I hear myself saying things like 'you know what state the Earth would be in if 5 billion of us bought plastic cups', but after spending some of Saturday in Liberty Park at the Earth Fest I just don't see myself going the whole hog and becoming a full time hippy.

At the Earth Fest there was just far too many hippy type people dressed up like this guy above. I may not be any sort of fashionista but I do know that I don't look good with a Technicolour Dreamcoat type of outfit. So I shall be limiting my hippy ways in future.
Some of the crowd may have been dressed a little strange but the music wasn't bad though. I do like a little bit of reggae. I am starting however to notice that Utah crowds aren't exactly the dancing type. I have to admit I'm not exactly a big dancer myself but come on! The music was free, it was cold, it was wet, it should have been a good enough excuse to huddle together and jump up and down or move from side to side a bit. Not in Utah.

Thats two Utah events in 3 weeks where music has been played and neither audience has really got it going, but they will dress up like extras from Lord Of The Rings and fight with wooden or plastic swords in a public park. I'd blame the Mormon religion but I can't think of a good enough reason at this time.You have to hand it to the crowd though, cold and wet as it may have been there were a few souls braving the elements. Some with Hawaiian shirts with nothing but a cup of coffee to keep warm.
Others with wet weather gear but equally trying to get into the spirit of the gathering with wacky flavoured snow drinks.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Every so often I see something in Utah that I would never have seen in Scotland like

Bike police that carry guns

People unashamedly showing off their new nose complete with support strapping

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Not every photograph I take gets the result that I intended but I usually know what I've done wrong if it doesn't. If the picture was taken outdoors sometimes it may be the case that the sun is brighter than I realised. Or It might be duller than I realised and I just haven't adjusted as I should have. Sometimes its just a case of being lazy I may have forgotten to check and adjust the settings as necessary from one picture to another. But in most cases I recognise the mistake afterwards, learn the lesson through experience and just delete the picture. The joys of digital.

Today however I took a picture that just looks downright weird and I have no idea what happened and so cannot explain it.My initial thought was that something was on the lens and I hadn't cleaned it properly, but then it wasn't on the next shot. And I don't think it can't be a sunspot because the mark is off the centre and shape is just kind of odd. So answers in a postcard please.

Anyway here are some more detail shots in keeping with the earlier pictures taken yesterday.

Not a great shot either, but was the best shot I could get at the time with all the passing cyclists scaring this little guy behind the rocks every couple of seconds.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Long before I was a photographer I was a garden designer so its perhaps no surprise that Spring the season where everything in nature begins anew is also the season I turn into an old hippy. I get excited over the details, the different shades of green, the new born sheep in the fields, buds opening and the tree blossom. The fascination and delight started when I was young, it seems I'm too old to change now.

It might have taken a couple of weeks longer for the trees to blossom and start to turn green compared to my homeland but damn it feels just as good to see Winter on the retreat.
Not all of the pictures above are pin sharp, due to the lightest of breezes, but I still like 'em. Maybe I'm just easily satisfied.

And anyway it sure feels good to go for a walk with the woman on such a gorgeous day.

2 Posts in one day - when did that last happen?

Listening to: The Eels - Goddamn Right It's A Beautiful Day

Damn That Muffin Was Nice!

This is what it looked like in the mountains around Salt Lake City just 8 days ago.

Today it's 22 degrees Celsius, which would be a pleasant summers day in Scotland. It's gorgeous. By Wednesday, the temperature in these parts is going to be around the level where the humidity in the air in Scotland would start making working outside uncomfortable without ample levels of Irn Bru refreshments. It is not as humid in Utah but I can't help thinking that come the Summer I will be wishing that the 7 kids we had over did this weekend took pity on me by doing their job properly and finished me off. 
In the meantime though I am going to enjoy this Spring and treat it like the chocolate muffin I just ate. 

Monday, 13 April 2009

The Long Good Friday

It's probably not advisable to have just 45 minutes sleep before spending the next 14 hours photographing an important public event that is to include Mayor's, Senator's and NFL stars. But somechileanwoman apparently doesn't stop talking when she is excited. It's just as well I love that woman or I could have been a grouch and very bad company all day. 

Anyway here are some sneak peeks of some of the photographs I have been busy editing all weekend from the SALT (Stand A Little Taller) Fundraising event that took place in Salt Lake City on Friday.

The Mayor
The Senator
Chris Kemoeatu (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Maake Kemoeatu (Carolina Panthers)

Monday, 6 April 2009

Got To Love Chancers

If you have read my last post you will aware that I have just moved from Scotland to Utah. As a result of this move I am currently looking for work, in an ideal situation I would like to start up my own photography business so although I have been looking online at any job adverts that I thought I might be able to do I have been especially keeping my eye out for any photography work so that I can build my reputation in the area.  Which led me to clicking on this advert today
Photogragher (Salt Lake city, UT)
Hello everyone I am looking for a photographer for a Premium Street Wear Clothing Company Shoot, We will be using exotic and luxury cars in the shoot, also good looking models, Men and women. 

Location-Mountains, Outside Atmosphere, Cabin, Lake,etc 
Overlooking the fact that the person who posted the advert couldn't spellcheck photographer in the headline or give the city in Salt Lake City a capital it seemed like a good interesting job, that was until I read on a little further.
I am looking for a photographer that would like to (TFCD) Trade for CD, It will build up your portfolio, and your resume. 

If interested please contact me ASAP, The photo shoot will be May 25, 2009 
The shoot could be a two day event, subject to change. 

Thank you 
Hope to here from you soon... 

Compensation: (Trade for cd) TFCD

Apparently this 'premium' clothing company is willing to shell out for luxury cars and models but expects to get the photography work for free. Two days may not sound like a lot of work but a conservative estimate of one days shooting for that type of event would be around 800 photos. So if you were to double that for the two day shoot anybody contemplating applying for this wonderful resume enhancing opportunity would have about 2 weeks worth of work just editing a job that they had done for free.
Don't get me wrong photographers will often work for free when they are starting out and will work with new bands that need shots for their Myspace page or inexperienced models for portfolio purposes but a typical shoot would be around 25 or so images and maybe take around an hour to complete. But this joker wants the equivalent work of two wedding shoots which conservatively would cost around $1600 but wants full rights of the images for free. Nice! The sad thing is I suspect that some poor sod will actually be naive enough to apply and be taken for a ride.

Now as it happens I am going to do some photography work for free this coming Friday but all for a good cause and perhaps as a result I might even be able to get a few contacts from it. Unlike the advertisement shown above.