This last weekend kicked off what is shaping up to be the busiest summer of my life. On Saturday, Tory Stolen and I shot Nicole and Tyler's wedding at First Evenagelical Free Church in Sioux Falls, followed by a beautiful reception at Penny Tree Events. The day started out cloudy and raining, but by the time the reception started small parts of blue sky poked through the clouds and we got to see a bit of sun. It was truly a gorgeous day and you could feel the happiness in the air. I feel extremely lucky to be doing the work that I'm doing and I can't wait to see what the rest of this busy wedding season is gonna bring. In my opinion, Nicole and Tyler's wedding day set the bar pretty high.
Wedding season is upon us! There's finally some green starting to show. I don't want to jinx it, I'm fully aware South Dakota is capable of producing May snowstorm, but I think we're in the clear. I had a lot of fun running around with Jen, Even and their puppy, Penny. Feeling great about the busy summer ahead.
Last week, I had the privilege of photographing OTA 2014 in Sioux Falls at The Washington Pavilion. It was an action packed day filled with engaging presentations from world class speakers, interesting conversations and overwhelming enthusiasm for the creative and entrepreneurial spirits in the South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota regions. I had a few opportunities, in between making photographs, to let my camera rest for a moment and soak up some of the incredible stories and insights that came from the stage. Congrats to everyone involved on throwing an inspiring and successful event.
"Over 1,500 people have attended OTA events during the past four years, and that number continues to grow. Add to that the relationships we've developed with over 50 global leaders in technology, entrepreneurship, community building, charities, branding, marketing, social media and movements, and the impact OTA makes in this region is clear."
My band, Soulcrate Music, was getting ready to release it's 10th album: it was written, recorded, and produced. All it needed was an image to properly reflect the feeling of the title, Welcome Back From Wherever You've Been. I was really excited about tackling the task, and thought it would be cool to take the photograph myself. Over a 6-month period, I had taken a ton of photos with the intent of using one for the record cover. Some of the images were bad, some were okay, and some were pretty good - but we all agreed that none of them were “it”. The choice was coming down to the wire and we needed something soon. I was wracking my brain, searching through endless amounts of record archives and looking at classic album covers for inspiration. Still, I had nothing.
One evening, while I was sitting on my porch in my backyard, I got lucky. It was sunset with a clear sky that was a perfect gradient orange into blue. The stars weren’t out yet, but there was a bright visible dot, Jupiter, sitting just to the right of a perfect sliver of the moon. I happened to have my camera on my lap and casually started snapping shots of the view, not thinking much of it. Honestly, how many photos have been taken of the sunset? It’s nothing new or exciting right? A few minutes went by, and I snapped a few more photos. I sat back down in my chair, looking through them, when I noticed that an airplane had flown into the top right of the frame on the last picture I took. It was so simple. The moon, the planet, the plane, and the sunset all worked together in a very pleasing, simplistic way.
I didn't think too much of the photo until the next day when I had sent it to the other guys in the band. Shortly after, my brother texted me: “That’s it, that’s the one!”. We all agreed that this was the image we were looking for. It all happened when I stopped trying so hard to make it happen. It happened because I was willing to keep going; I was always ready to take the picture, and in the moment that I least expected it, I got the image we were looking for.
(The images below are all mock designs we had put together leading up to the completion of the album. )
This is the final version of the cover that ended up on the record.
The moral of the story: The more time you make yourself available to your craft, the more opportunities and luck you will have. I’m glad I picked my camera up that day and took another picture of an average sunset. This photo is very dear to me, not because it’s the best picture I've ever taken, but because of the way the photo came about. The more shots you take in life, the better your chances are going to be.