Blog2014 - saraharnoff

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Spiders Be In My House

October 10, 2014

Awhile ago, I came across a freakishly big black widow spider in my bathroom in the middle of the night. It scared the bijeezus outta me, but I managed to find the courage to wake up my boyfriend so he could combat it with a broom. (Note: However sexist that may have sounded to some of you, I’m not really very afraid of spiders and probably could have dealt with it myself. But it was also a black widow–you can see the size of it–and I don’t really want to manage that.) Then a few months later, I found a giant possible hobo spider, again, in my bathroom, which we captured and photographed. We also found another very, very large brown spider on the basement wall, but it disappeared before I could get my camera out. I don’t know what it is with big-ass spiders and my house, and though they may freak me out at times, I have noticed a lack of other annoying insects buzzing about. So, as long as you’re not poisonous, spiders, I guess you can stay.

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Utah State Fair

September 26, 2014

Every year, I always vow to never go back to the state fair. Not because it’s a terrible experience or anything, but they charge $10 to get in, and, well … meh. But every year, somehow, I end up getting convinced to go and see the same things that happen at almost all state fairs. I guess I don’t actually mind that much since the state fair can be an interesting place for pictures. So take a look at mine below.

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Film Trekking with the Voigtlander Vitomatic I

September 12, 2014

Ah yiss, a new film camera to start shooting with. Well, actually, not really that new. I’ve had the Voigtlander Vitomatic I rangefinder for almost a decade but for some reason haven’t started shooting with it until now. The Vitomatic I is a 35mm rangefinder introduced in 1958, and I have to say it is a solid camera. I feel that it’s sustainable to say that if I dropped it on my foot, my foot would receive more damage than the camera. I’m debating whether or not to start shooting portraits with it, as there are some quirks I need to get used to. The focus is a little difficult and the metering takes a bit to get used to. Take a look at some experimental shots with this brick of a camera below.

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Mt. Selfie

September 5, 2014

I went to Oktoberfest at Snowbird with every intention of photographing the alphorn players at the top of Hidden Peak but due to possible lightening, the peak was closed. So I went back the next day and managed to catch the gondola heading to the top of the mountain, and also spent an exorbitant amount of money on beer and oh-so-delicious German food. But I didn’t photograph the alphorn players. Instead, I noticed something very common at the top of the mountain and decided to photograph it instead: people taking selfies. I don’t know why I was so obsessed with taking pictures of people taking pictures on their phones, but I got a few snapshots. Not all of them are selfies, but for some reason, people look so distracted when taking photos on their phones. And, no, they really aren’t the best photos in the world, but I had a great time taking them.

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Pine Nuts & Buck Berries

August 22, 2014

For how many times I’ve plugged this program, you should know exactly what it is by now, but during my travels with the Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program through Nevada, we participated in various traditional activities led by elders in the different communities we visited. The tiny community of Yomba, smack dab in the middle of the Toyabi National Forest, hosted us for two days and took us through the mountains and the valleys of the rez riding in clunky vans and the beds of pickup trucks. Pine nuts are a traditional staple food for the Shoshone, as are buck berries (or buffalo berries), and a few elders were kind enough to show the group gathering and preparation methods of these two foods. Normally, pine nuts are picked later in the fall since they are still green on the tree in August. However, due to severe drought, people have had to adapt and pick the nuts early. If they wait until normal harvesting time, the pine nuts are shriveled and dry.

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Into Nevada

August 15, 2014

A few weeks ago, I traveled with the Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program to visit several Shoshone reservations and communities in Nevada. We went off the grid and deep into Shoshone country, riding in vans over sketchy dirt roads and windy mountain passes. If you think Nevada is just sagebrush and hot desert, well, it mostly is. But it’s also beautiful.

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Lady Portraits

July 26, 2014

I usually don’t post many portrait sessions I do unless they involve adorable babies, but I can’t help sharing this one since I’m still hyped about it even though the shoot was a month ago. These two gorgeous, punk-ass ladies and I went to the Salt Lake Cemetery to get them some nice portrait shots, and though it may seem like an unconventional location, it was perfect. There are plenty of secluded knolls and grottos to shoot in if there are cemetery visitors paying their respects. And if you or your client feels uncomfortable going to a cemetery, the park right next door is good, too.

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Desert Wanderings: Capitol Reef National Park

July 11, 2014

Capitol Reef is Utah’s least-visited national park but it’s rich with history and intense desert scenery. It was the coral reef of a huge prehistoric ocean millions of years ago and has seen ages of wind and water shaping it into a geological wonder. There are Native American petroglyphs as well as historical leftovers from Mormon pioneers in the canyons and Fruita Valley. It’s a long, narrow area stretching all the way from Fish Lake National Forest to the Glen Canyon recreation area, and most people stay near the north-central part of the park where the paved highway and large campground are. However, we went south to one of the two “undeveloped” campsites, which consist of a fire grate and a pit toilet; all we needed, really. Though it was more than 30 miles south on an isolated dirt road where if you break down, ain’t nobody coming to find you, that area was wonderful. It was pure dark at night and the nearby trails were completely empty even though it was peak season when we went. Next time, we will visit the northern campsite where, I’ve heard, the road is even trickier. It may not be as glamorous as its more famous sibling parks, but Capitol Reef is still well worth a trip. See some photos below and check out a few other things via links.

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New Gowth in Macro

June 20, 2014

Finally! Those painstaking, tedious moments of care and love dedicated to cultivating little seed pods that you hope will sprout into a bountiful harvest are finally paying off! In my case, I planted a couple of berry bushes and some prickly pear cactus last year and they are finally sprouting berries and new growth. I broke out my macro to document the occasion, and can’t wait to make jam and tarts and pies and all sorts of tasty fruit things later in the summer. I hope all you gardener types receive good results as well.

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It's Pride Time

June 13, 2014 Once again, Pride Week hit downtown Salt Lake City last week at the beginning of June, bringing the LGBT community and its supporters together. Crowds were especially big due to the fact that Utah (gasp!) briefly legalized gay marriage in December, and since the repeal of the ban is currently being challenged by the state government, those who want to legalize gay marriage came out to show their support.

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The Living Traditions Festival

May 23, 2014

I haven’t ever really gone to the Living Traditions Festival held in downtown Salt Lake each year, but this year I took a gander at the food booth set-up, and bam. I was up to my neck in Basque churros and Bosnian cevapi. Then I took a wander around the many craft booths which displayed wares from American Indian art to Turkish scarves to Scottish kilts. Take a look at what some of the booths had to offer, and make sure you stop by the fest next year.

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U of U Inter-Tribal Powwow

April 25, 2014

The annual University of Utah Inter-Tribal Pow Wow was held last Saturday, with tribes from all over the West participating in the all-day dance competitions and activities. I went down to see some old friends dance and to snap some photos and, of course, eat some fry bread.

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University of Utah Book Arts - In Film!

April 18, 2014

In the fall, I spent a few days at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah photographing their unique Book Arts Program, which allows students from all disciplines to study the process of making different types of books and then actually get to make those books in-studio. The main essay I did was all digital (see: here), but I also had my trusty Canon A-1 film camera with a 50mm lens and a few rolls of Ilford HP5 black & white film. I read somewhere that under-exposing HP5 a stop or two really brings out the contrast when you compensate for exposure during development. So I did, and was impressed with the results of the contrast. However, with the studio being pretty dim plus purposefully under-exposing my shots resulted in some grain. But overall, I’m happy with how the film part of the series came out.

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The Holi Festival of Colors: Street Style

April 11, 2014

It’s time once again for the largest (that statistic always weirds me out for some reason) Holi Festival of Colors in the Western Hemisphere– held in Spanish Fork, Utah. Well, actually, it was two weeks ago, but I hadn’t been in a couple of years and decided to take a visit and see what kind of photos could be found there. I wrapped my camera in Saran wrap and grocery bags, made the trek down to Utah County and fought the wind and dust to climb up the hill which was home to the Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple. Normally, coverage of the Festival of Colors results in a lot of great photos of people having a wonderful time chanting “hare Krishna” and throwing colored cornstarch into the air. This is all well and good; I’ve gotten some of my favorite photos from covering past Holi fests (see: Holi 2011 and 2012). But this year, I decided to take a more street-photography-like approach to photographing Holi, maybe catching people a little more unaware than usual. Whether or not that worked, I still got plastered with powder and my scalp was pink for four days, but hey, it’s Holi.

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The Clean-Air Fair

April 4, 2014

Last Saturday, I attended a clean-air fair put together by businesses, artists and other like-minded organizations and individuals who are dedicated to reducing pollution in the Salt Lake Valley. They were also there to promote awareness of just how bad the air pollution is, what the causes are and ways of stopping the hazardous air in the winter. This awareness is pretty necessary because, if you didn’t know, the air in Salt Lake gets really, really, really, really bad in the winter. Like, China-level bad. And with more and more people moving to the valley, we  need to figure out how to keep everybody healthy and breathing during the eight-plus months winter hangs around here. Anyway, check out some of the photos from the event below.

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Adorable Photos of Sad Babies

March 21, 2014

My lovely identical twin nieces turned the big one year old last week, and throughout the past year, we’ve done a ton of portrait sessions (some of which are examples on this site). What normally gets produced in a portrait session are nice, enjoyable photos of smiley babies, but rarely does a photographer disclose what shots happen behind the scenes, the “outtakes,” if you will. Well, I don’t consider photos of subjects who are not smiling “outtakes” or bad photos. Sometimes they are my favorite of the bunch. So to commemorate a year of cute babies, here is a series of sad cute babies. Enjoy.

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Photography Shenanigans: Conceptual

Februrary 28, 2014

Wow, I haven’t done a Shenanigans segment in quite awhile. But last month I attended a conceptual photography workshop held by Jenna Martin Photography, which blew my photographic mind. The quantity of work and creativity that goes on in that type of conceptual photography is way beyond what my journalisticly centered skills usually focus on. Doing anything beyond curves, color balance and other darkroom basics in Photoshop is a pretty big no-no for us (see: World Press Photo controversies 2012 and 2013, and also the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer fired from the AP). Jenna Martin said she spends upward of 80 hours in Photoshop on one piece! I don’t think I’ve ever spent 80 hours on anything…

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"I'm Hungry; Eat Someting."

February 21, 2014

My great-grandmother was renowned for saying things like this. She would call us (living in Utah) from Southern California to tell us she was cold so we should put sweaters on. It was a duty for her to make sure we all had enough food, and I don’t know if she was the one that spurred my family’s obsession with the culinary or if she inherited it from generations spanning back to the Old Country. But the point is: My family loves food. Not necessarily eating food, but making sure it exists in copious amounts, but not in a wasteful way — we aren’t above eating leftovers. My latest encounter with this trait was heading to California for my dad’s surprise 60th birthday party which my sister had meticulously planned. Seriously, she had binders and spreadsheets with detailed menus and workflows. I got up at 2 a.m. to drive to California and stayed up until midnight helping prepare food. Then we got up at 6 a.m. and continued, barely finishing the set-up before go time. My sister had prepared everything from kabobs and pastas to chocolate-covered grapes and cupcakes with faces on them. Cupcakes with faces. The photos below cover only a portion of the food that was actually available. Needless to say, we had piles of leftovers to send home with the guests and my dad was sure surprised when he walked through the door. All in all, it was a success, and we’ll get to eat face cupcakes for weeks to come. To see the deets on my sister’s serious party-planning skills, visit her blog.

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The Ice Castle

January 3, 2014

Out in Midway, the annual frozen wonder from Ice Castles is now open, welcoming visitors to explore its narrows, waterfall, fountain and winter courtyard. I have to say, the ice castle was pretty cool (ha.) — maybe not $10 and a 45-minute drive cool, but if you happen to be spending the day in Park City anyway, I’d recommend a stop. There are only three castles in the entire country and the kids will love it; especially at night when the lights come on. Take a look at some ice castle photos below and see for yourself.

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