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Kess

Here are some shots from a shoot I did in the neighboring town a while ago that was an absolute blast! I love the cool but punchy color in most of the shots.

The extra texture from the bark on the tree give some great crunchiness to the shots:

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Over by the river:

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There was an arbor over in the main area of the park next to a gazebo…I love the white columns and the way her blue shirt really draws your eye right to her:

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Over by the waterfall:

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I couldn’t really pick my favorite between these two shots…so here are both!

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EasterFest 2008

Every easter, we usually have a big egg hunt at my in-laws’ house. This Easter, since their new home is still under construction, our friends Matt and Jen hosted it, and, as you can probably tell from the following photos, it was one of the best Easter parties to date!

Enjoy…

First…the goodies being stuffed into the eggs! It’s not as easy as you’d think to get some of those packs of candy in without having to duct tape the egg!

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We found out that John’s shirt matches the dining room paint color…

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All the kids! (Well, those of us below the age of 30.)

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Our friend Amber, who also wrote about this on her own blog, found the winning Post-It® note in an egg. Her prize was a very yummy (and very large) peanut butter-filled chocolate egg from Chocolate Madness (which also makes the best Grand Marnier truffles know to humankind. Check them out!)

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Every year we try to destroy a chocolate bunny by throwing golf balls at it. But since we still had snow(!), someone decided it would be better to suspend the bunny from the side of the barn and chuck snowballs at it. Jen felt bad for the bunny after his head got knocked off…

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And so did the other Jen:

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After we did that, Matt and Ken found a tiny firecracker and put it in the bunny’s head…

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And if you look hard, you can find the pieces of chocolate flying through the air like shrapnel:

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And the reaction from the girls after the chocolate shrapnel:

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All that was left of Professor E. Stirbunni:

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Changing gears, there were these appetizers there called Irish Potatoes (I think) that were actually fabulously delicious globs of cinnamon-covered cream cheese and other goodness. I’ll try to remember to find out exactly what’s in them!

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Back to the silliness…Egg-blowing, the most fun you can have with a raw egg and a tupperware container! You poke holes in both sides of the egg, as Jen is doing here:

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Then you blow out the goop (technical term). This would, in theory, make it easier to paint and/or decorate. We just wanted to see who could do it the fastest. Jen beat five other people.

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The snow bunny Ken made (which met the same fate as Professor E. Stirbunni):

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And our friends Amber and John, who are on their way to Italy next weekend for a few weeks (John has a conference there…I want his job!).

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Think higher, feel deeper

Elie Wiesel
Okay, okay, okay…I know this doesn’t seem as if it’s even remotely related to photography…but bear with me and see if you draw the same parallels that I did.

First of all, let me just say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for Dr. Wiesel; he has been working as a humanitarian and professor for longer than I’ve been alive. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, and has taught at Boston University for more than three decades. He came to speak on the Distinguished Speaker Series at Penn State, and I applaud the student committee for bringing such an incredible human being here to address the next generation of our country.

Of all that he spoke about, two things really lodged themselves deeply in my mind. The whole evening was spent in the asking of questions (the philosophical act, not actually asking him questions) and how sometimes the question is itself the answer. He said that there is an old Hebrew saying that effectively means “Why do we?” that can be asked about many of the tragedies that have befallen certain peoples over the course of history. While hopefully not trivializing this question, I believe it can be applied in almost any area of our lives. Certainly any of our day-to-day problems do not even begin to equal the suffering of people in other areas of the world, but we can question ourselves about our own actions and those of the people around us in order to think on why we have acted the way we did and how we can improve ourselves. That’s what all this leads to in the end, isn’t it? Self-improvement.

The other point he made that struck me as an artist was advice that he gives all of his students (that I believe he said another teacher gave him): Think higher, feel deeper.

That’s an incredible and deceptively simple phrase. To apply that to what we do, namely, making photographs, encourages us to see things from new points of view, to feel things in ways we never before knew. I encourage all of us to do just that anytime we confront any decision or situation in our lives, be it a trivial or momentous one, artistic or humanistic.

Hearing Dr. Wiesel speak was truly a wonderful experience and I hope that if you ever have the chance that you can also hear the voice of one of the most compassionate and moving people I have ever had the honor to listen to. And next time we’ll get back to some more photography!