THE PRINCESS AND THE LUMBERJACK

Hana_Mike-0003-web-seo-keywordsONE OF MY FAVORITE things is getting hired to be the wedding photographer of one of my former students.  As teachers, we want the best for our students. We enjoy watching  them grow out of those high school drama years into fine young adults.  We want to see them grow up to be happy.  The bonus for me is that I get to capture and share with friends and family those images of loveliness and happiness that occur at the wedding.

HANA AND MIKE

In addition to taking my photography class, Hana ran 4 years of track for me at Apollo High School.  Her ability as a distance runner grew year after year.  Her running abilities were crucial in helping  Apollo win our region and earn a 2nd place finish at State her junior year.

Out of my many memories of Hana’s career, the one that I remember the most is her competition with a runner from Prescott.  This girl consistently had better times than Hana all year.  Except when she raced against Hana.  Every time Hana and this young lady ran head to head, Hana won convincingly.  Those races were truly remarkable to watch.  Lots of high fives all around.

I also fondly, I think, remember how many times in those 4 years Hana came up to me and said “Coach, you spelled my name wrong…again!”

Hana completed a successful 4  year career at Apollo and went on to attend NAU, where she eventually met her future intended, Mike. They both graduated from NAU.  She now works as a K-8 art teacher and he works for the State of Arizona in the area of environmental quality.

Hana and Mike were freshmen at NAU when they were introduced to each other by mutual friends.  They became close friends before they finally decided they were the right person for each other.

Hana describes Mike as a chef, a true gentleman, and tells me that Mike is “all things outdoors, like a lumberjack.”

Mike says that Hana always has an elegant look to her.  He loves to listen to her play the guitar, and describes Hana as “a tomboy and a pretty princess all at the same time.”

Together they enjoy cooking, “artsy stuff” outdoor activities, and of course their two dogs.

On Sunday the 20th, the three of us got together to shoot their engagement session.  I first met Mike at Katie and Jason’s wedding . Hana was one of the bridesmaids. Since I was a bit busy that evening, I didn’t get a chance to do much conversing with the two of them.  I found it nice to finally sit down, talk with them, and get to know more about Hana and Mike as a couple.  It was even better to go out and shoot the session and watch Hana and Mike interact with each other as they express their affection for one another in front of my lens.

You now know a bit about the princess and the lumberjack.  Here are a few of the wonderful, lovely moments from Hana and Mike’s engagement session.

Hana_Mike-0005-web-seo-keywordsHana_Mike-0008-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0006-web-seo-keywords-2 Hana_Mike-0009-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0011-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0012-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0015-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0022-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0020-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0023-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0024-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0026-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0027-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0029-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0031-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0060-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0058-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0056-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0053-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0051-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0042-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0038-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0033-web-seo-keywords Hana_Mike-0002-web-seo-keywords

OLYMPIC DENOUMENT

The Olympics are over.  One conclusion I have come to is that I gave NBC too much control over my life.  I let my hatred of their incredibly lame coverage affect my feelings toward the Olympics.  I let them suck all the joy of the Olympics out of me.  Yet NBC is crowing about this being the most watched Olympics.  Does the term “captive audience” mean anything to NBC?  That number has everything to do with the draw of the Olympics and nothing to do with NBC.  It really didn’t matter what channel the Olympics were on, the number watching would have broken records.  That would even include CNN, whose viewership is at a 20 year low.

Final thoughts on the 2012 Olympics, in no particular order of importance.

Beating the dead horse a little bit more just to make sure:  Why did NBC decide to show a 6th grade history lesson on World War II?  The History Channel does it, and a lot better.  NBC seemed to think that the reason we watched the Olympics was because of their cute little special reports, and not to watch the competition.  What about the closing ceremony?  I know a lot of people love the Spice Girls, but showing them and cutting out The Who? Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Who?  I am seeing some Gen Xer at NBC looking at the schedule and thinking, “The Who?  If the organizers don’t know the name of the band, we can probably show our special at this time.”

Why do announcers insist on telling us what the athlete is thinking:  I remember watching on of the Fab Five sprinting down the runway to perform her last vault.  The announcer is screaming at the top of his lungs “here she comes!  She is thinking that she has to stick this so America wins the Gold!”  Mr. Announcer, how do you know that?  How do you know she isn’t thinking “I hope I don’t miss and break my freaking neck!”  Or even “I hope that boy in row three thinks I’m cute.”  The cost of the Olympic announcers could be cut in half by getting rid of all the lame-o color announcers that are hired.

My favorite “this announcer is a dummy” moment”  Watching the gold medal women’s archery match between South Korea and China.  A South Korean archer was taking aim and the announcer is breathlessly shouting (why is it always shouting?) “She’s taking too long!  She’s taking too long!  SHE’S TAKING TOO LONG!”  Zing! Swoosh! Thunk!  The arrow smacks right dead center in the bullseye.  Announcer’s lame cover-up: “well, usually when you wait that long, it means you don’t get a very good shot off.”  If you had any integrity, Mr. Announcer, you would fire yourself.

The biggest travesty of justice in these games:  In women’s fencing, South Korea and Germany were tied in a match to see who would battle for the gold.  When the fencers are tied, 1 second is put on the clock and they fence again.  In their third overtime, the clock malfunctioned.  As video later showed, 1.17 seconds went by, yet the official match clock never moved.  The South Koreans protested and the SK fencer, Shin A Lam, had to stay in the piste, bawling her eyes out while the protest went on.  If she had left, it would mean she accepted the defeat.  The protest took almost an hour.  When it was finally over, the South Korean lost.  She had to be escorted from the piste and immediately fence for the bronze medal.  She lost that match.  Later, the powers that be finally figured out that, yes indeed, the clock did malfunction and Shin A Lam should have won the match.  They proposed giving her a sportsmanship medal as a “oops, we are sorry we screwed you” consolation prize, but the South Korean declined.  I am hoping she said something like this: “감사합니다,하지만 메달을받지 않습니다 …태양이 빛나지 않는 메달을 넣어”  (translation by Google Translate.  My words, not Shin A Lam’s)

The TMI moment of Olympic coverage:  I am referring to a special report by local news dude Mark Curtis and others about the mating habits of the Olympic athletes.  I don’t care if some additional Olympic events were being held on the grass between buildings.  Nor do I need the report that half way through the Olympics, the athletes had already gone through the 150,000 condoms that London provided for them.  In the first place, make them buy their own and chalk it up to training expenses.  In the second place, let’s give the Olympics the same treatment we give Las Vegas.  What happens at the Olympics stays at the Olympics.

Nanny state moment after the Olympics:  Gabby Douglass was on the Tonight Show along with 1st Lady Michelle Obama.  Gabby admitted that to celebrate the Olympic gold by eating an Egg McMuffin.  The First Lady commented “your setting me back, Gabby.”  It depends on your political point of view on how to interpret this exchange.  The Right is saying that FLOTUS was chastising one of the darlings of the Olympics.  The Left describes it as friendly teasing by the First Lady.  Like I admonish announcers to do, I am not going to read Michelle Obama’s mind or assign a motive to what she said.  Only she knows if she was kidding or not.  I just would have liked Gabby to have said “I already have a mom, and she does a great job.  I don’t need another one, thank you.”  I also wonder what FLOTUS thinks about Gabby and her endorsement of Corn Flakes.

You have the right to your opinion but let’s keep it civil #1  Continuing with Gabby Douglass, I am sure everyone is aware that she gives all the glory to her Lord Jesus the Savior.  Someone on the left wrote in tweet how this was disturbing.  I did see any responses like that when two of the women sprints medalists said the same thing.  I do not know why this profession of faith bothers some people.

You have the right to your opinion but let’s keep it civil #2:  Cory Cogdell is an Olympic skeet shooter and an avid hunter.  She only finished 11th.  Because of her enjoyment of hunting, she received some very disturbing tweets.  Just one example:  “CoreyCogdell I hope that someone someday shoot your whole family just practicing.”

Most useless made-up press controversy:  The Brazilian women’s volleyball team apparently danced around like it was Mardi Gras in celebration of their gold medal victory over the USA team.  The press thought this was excessive celebration and started asking the American players what they thought.  Most felt it was just Brazil celebrating the way their culture always celebrates.  Note to the press: America leads the world in excessive celebration in its sports.  We even had a girl take off her uniform top after the ladies won the World Cup, and that made the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Most useless speculation at the Games, but everyone knows the answer:  I think the Dream Team should have been no more after the original Dream Team.  We made our point.  Let’s go back to the college kids.  Having said that, one of the current Teamers suggested that the 2012 team could beat the ’92 team.  Although that answer will never be known, everyone knows the 1992 team would beat the 2012’ers.  Even the people who say the 2012 team would win are just whistling through the graveyard.  The only chance the 2012 team would have is if the ’92 team let Christian Laettner play at all.  Experience always trumps youth.  The only people who disagree with that saying are part of the youth.  Here is one example of this truism.  In the mid-eighties I was working at Glendale High School.  The basketball team was second in the state that year.  In the spring there was a charity basketball game between the faculty and this basketball team.  The word on the street was that the basketball team was going to rough up the faculty and win by 30.  Early in the game, one of the faculty came down with a rebound. The best player on the varsity basketball team came over and tried to body him.  The faculty player gave him a nice elbow into the chest.  Game over.  Faculty won.

So yeah, the new guys have LeBron, but he is the only one I think could play with the ’92 team.  And just think if they had taken Shaq instead of Laettner.  But the cool thing about these arguments is that the answer will never be known.

Most useless speculation at the Games, part 2.  Who is the best athlete?  Apples and oranges.  Swimmers have the opportunity to enter eight events.  Track athletes have the chance to only enter four events.  So I don’t believe medal counts  are a good indication.  Throw Usain in a pool.  See if Phelps can run a lap.  Apples and oranges.  Does being the fastest man in the world make a person the best athlete?  I am of the opinion that the decathletes and the heptathletes are the best athletes in the world.  Yet I would still like to throw them into a swimming pool.

Most useless statistic at the Olympics:  The medal count.  This is a holdover from the Cold War.  Not necessary in this day and age.

2nd favorite Olympic moment:  Watching Georganne Moline run in the Olympics.  I have posted about her earlier.  I don’t know her personally, but my high school track team competed against her track team for four years.  I may have even congratulated her on her victory once or twice.  It’s just nice to see some one you know compete.  One of my retired teaching buddies was getting his tires changed in Flagstaff.  The kid doing his tires had run at Thunderbird High School and was the boys’ captain when Georganne was the girls’ captain.  This young man texted Georganne “good luck from the Apollo High School track coaches.”  Nice of the kid to do that.

1st and best favorite Olympic moment:  The performance of the athletes.  Not only the winners and record breakers, but every single athlete that participated in the games.  They are the best of the best that their countries have to offer.  It sounds corny as all heck-i-darn, but everyone who participates is a winner.

I will probably remember something else after I am done and have posted, but this is all I have for now.  The next Olympics is in two years.  I fully intend to be blogging about my brides and my weddings and posting pretty pictures by then.  So cue the music and extinguish the torch.  I am done.

The best photograph of the 2012 Olympics by Reuter’s photographer Luke MacGregor

In honor of the performance I did not get to see or hear Sunday night, today’s inspiration were songs performed by The Who.

“TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS”

“Mark off your calendar,” George said, “for July 23 and 24.”  It was early July when I received this phone call.  George is my best friend, my bro, bff, someone I would die for, although I would think hard about it.  I have known George since the first grade.  We went to high school together, attended Azusa Pacific College, were on the football team together and were roomies for the first year.  He got married after that first year.  I was his best man.  He was my best man at my wedding a few years later. My first official wedding photographer job is his granddaughter’s wedding in August.  George and I have stomped the earth together and shook the pillars of heaven off and on these last 50 some odd years.  He resides in Flagstaff with his family.  His work commitments and mine have kept us from getting together as often as we would like to.  So it is always good when George can get away and come down to the valley and visit.  Usually, though, his motis operandi is to let me know about a day or to in advance.  I was surprised he was giving me a good two weeks notice.  The conversation continued, “We are going on vacation, I’ll be back Saturday, rest up  little on Sunday, come down Monday and go home on Tuesday and then it’s back to work.”  I told him I would clear the decks on those two days.

About a week or so after this conversation, I was up at the crack of some ungodly hour in the morning checking websites.  On the Arizona Photographers’ Group I saw an upcoming event called “Learn from My Experience with special guest Melissa Jill.”  I looked at how many were attending there was only 2 people signed up.  I was, like, “score one for the Pooleman!”  Melissa Jill is a local professional wedding photographer ( http://www.melissajill.com/).  I have been actively research photographers’ blogs and websites in order to gain more insight and knowledge about this profession I am getting into.  Although I didn’t invent the saying, I do believe to be the best one learns from the best.  Her website and blog are impressive.  Melissa Jill also has workshops, coaching sessions, templates and blogs dedicated to helping other photographers become better at their art and business.  Her next local workshop was tentatively in January of 2013 so I had already penciled in that date.  Needless to say I was excited that before the big wedding shoot I would be able to hear Melissa Jill talk about wedding photography.  On Monday.  July 23rd.  There’s a penalty flag on the field.  Call back the touchdown.  Take the points off the board.

Of course I would have other opportunities to see George, and other opportunities to hear Melissa Jill as well.  But despite all my faults, I am loyal to those I consider friends, so I did not push the RSVP button for the MJ talk.  There was always January.

Sunday, July 22nd, I decide to call George and confirm all the details for Monday.  Basically, George said without actually saying it was “oops, I forgot I was coming down on Monday.”  They were still on the road coming back from vacation.  They had decided to take a detour to Yosemite and stayed a few days longer than they had intended.  Then George asks if I had skipped something else in order to clear the day for him coming down.  I was going to say no, but I hesitated just enough to make him say “I did, didn’t I.”  Since they were on the road we hung up quickly so he could concentrate on driving with the promise he would call me the next day.

Not only was the touchdown called back, I got sacked for a safety on the very next play.

In all honesty, this was just a SMH moment in my life.  Although rare, there have been plenty of times in my life that two events occurred at the same time.  And usually it would be a time for celebration if one of the events cancelled, but in this case, the Melissa Jill presentation was full and there was a waiting list.  I went from too many choices to a person with nothing to do on Monday night.  Karma and irony all showing up unannounced and unwanted at my doorstep.  It is fortunate that all my years of coaching taught me this, that you play until the final whistle, you never know when a break will come your way.  So I put myself on the  Melissa Jill waiting list.  I will see what tomorrow brings. Tomorrow never knows.

At about 2:30 Monday afternoon I got an email telling me that enough room had opened up so I was now on the list of attendees to the Melissa Jill event.  Clock is running out, the ball is fumbled and recovered for a touchdown.  The good guys win!  I was so happy I even decided to cut in half the time I was going to make George feel guilty for forgetting that he was coming to visit.

Hearing Melissa Jill speak was a real treat.  She rocked a lot of knowledge on Monday.  I went away with some business ideas I will be putting into practice.  What was really a hoot to me was finding out she and I went to the same university.  APU forever.  Which reminds me, I need to call Azusa to update my alumni status.

In the scheme of things, this is just a funny little story about some plans I made.  If I had to do it over again, I would have RSVP’d  the meeting and cancelled the day before.  Would have saved some of the anxiety, but then I wouldn’t have an amusing story to share, would I?  I borrowed the title for this post from John Lennon song “Tomorrow Never Knows”.   Think about it.  All we have is the now, the moment, and our memories, which are mostly confused and selective at best and those memories differ from person to person.  Just a few minutes ago, my wife was adamant that we had been to Tombstone, Az together.  I have never been to Tombstone in my life, yet she actually told me she was going to prove me wrong.  I am sure everyone has had an experience where you and another person remember a shared experience differently.

Finally we all share the possiblities of tomorrow.  We can predict, we can plan, we can prepare, but none of us knows what will happen.  Fill in your own story of what has happened to you or other people that has altered the course of their tomorrows.  The only constant about tomorrow is the unexpected.

AZUSA PACIFIC FOOTBALL 1971 SEASON.

GEORGE (far left) #53                          ME (far right) #63

“Tomorrow Never Knows” is one of my favorite Beatles tracks.  When “Mad Men”  used it on one of their shows this year I jumped out of my chair and did a fist pump.  Good choice, “Mad Men”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spjcPS4ekOA