Loveland Garden Tour 2014

20140628 Loveland Garden Tour-67_WEBWhat a fun time we had this morning at the Loveland Garden Tour, held to benefit the local group Loveland Youth Gardeners.

If you’re apt to feel garden envy, this may not be the tour for you; but if you enjoy gathering ideas for beautifying your own slice of heaven then this is the place to be on a gorgeous Colorado morning!

The Loveland Garden Tour is an annual event which allows folks to visit a handful of impressive private-residence gardens that have been dotted with local artists’ work. You may not be able to bottle up the gorgeous gardens and take them home, but you are welcomed to purchase any of the artist pieces you fancy. In fact, I couldn’t help myself and bought a beautiful antique brass porch light in which the glass covers have been replaced by works of art, curated and assembled by Loveland artist Olivia Lowe. When the lantern is off, you see delicate, French seed packet designs and when the lantern is on you can see comical vintage American seed packets (Mr. Cabbage Head and other hand-drawn veggie characters) superimposed underneath. I am mad about it! I’ll have to post a photo once I have it in my hot little hands.

Reykjavik: Startup Iceland event 2014

June 2

I was wide awake by 6am, too excited about my first “gig” in Iceland. Yesterday morning I had met a nice gentleman named Thubten Comerford at the laundromat who would be speaking at the Startup Iceland 2014 conference and was kind enough to arrange that I be allowed to photograph it. This trip is reaffirming the theory that being receptive to opportunities increases the chances of good things falling into your lap when you least expect it. The fact that he and I met at all is serendipitous; I had forgotten my wallet when trying to do laundry and had to walk all the way back to the flat, which made me an hour later than expected.

I slowly got dressed and cleaned up my car to pass the time until I had to leave the house at 8:20. I donned my jeans, hiking shoes and my one semi-professional-looking top I had thankfully packed. I checked and rechecked my equipment bag before walking towards the Harpa concert and event center near the harbor.

Iceland_20140602_Reykjavik_StartupIceland-13_WEBI arrived early and I waited by the front doors but didn’t see Thubten. I started to get antsy as I watched all the young professionals walk to the check-in point on the upper floor. Just before 9:00 I went ahead and followed the last stragglers up and asked at the check-in counter if Thubten had arrived yet and he had. Oops! I quickly ducked into the auditorium which was nearly full already and I eventually found him just as the event was starting. He gave me a big friendly hug and said “take lots and lots of photos! And start with this one,” as he pointed to the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who was sitting in the front row right next to us. I’ll admit it, that caught me off guard and blew my mind a little bit.

I asked Thubten if I was allowed to move around as I photographed and he said I had an all-access media pass today so to just go for it. Groovy! By the time I found a spot to unpack my bag and assemble my gear the event was underway.

I’m not sure how interested folks following a travel blog would be about the details of the Startup Iceland event, so I’ll try to keep it short. But I will just say this: I am so excited about what Iceland is doing to encourage and foster creativity, ingenuity and economic resilience. I was absolutely moved by the President’s speech about keeping the discussion open and honest about the direction of our advancements in technology. Technology is an amazing tool and we become hindered instead of empowered by it if we are wary and hesitant that someone is misusing the incredible amounts of data being transmitted daily. Here’s a quick video, I wish I’d have taken more:

The day went well, sans my inability to be calm and sane in a socializing and networking environment. During the lunch break I basically took a few photos of the food and serving line and then hid in the auditorium while everyone was out in the hall eating and talking. Iceland_20140602_Reykjavik_StartupIceland-217_WEBI finally convinced myself that I was being a damn child and that I needed to conquer my social anxiety – and besides, what’s the worst that could happen?? So I headed out to be with the other humans and saw Thubten talking to a very chic hipster gal with a punk rock haircut and big black glasses. I joined them and tried to overcome my nerves which should have been easy – the nice gal’s name was Ally and she was from Colorado Springs and had just moved to Iceland a few months ago. Awesome, we have Colorado in common! Instead of enjoying the conversation my brain completely short-circuited and I made an ass of myself by babbling, then stuttering, then mocking myself for stuttering, and completely derailing the conversation and making everyone uncomfortable. Welp, back into solitary confinement in the auditorium with you, ya goddamned nut job! 

I retreated. My confidence was pretty shaken but I was grateful I had my cameras in hand. They do tend to make me feel like I belong and give me a renewed sense of confidence. Some people have security-blankets, I have 22 pounds of glass and plastic strapped to my shoulders that I hide behind.

I was hiding in the back of the auditorium as lunch was ending when one of the other photographers came up to me and introduced himself as Roman. He was very nice and said was hired by Icelandic Air, one of the main sponsors of the event, to shoot the event for them. I met his lovely wife and learned she was from the UK and he from Croatia. He also told me about how he knows the man and wife team that built the amazing marine-themed children’s park by the harbor that I’ve photographed multiple times already. We traded cards and chatted a bit more until the conference was back in session.

Iceland_20140602_Reykjavik_StartupIceland-151_WEBThe rest of the event was wonderful, and Thubten did a great job on his talk. He’s from Portland, Oregon and drew many parallels between his beloved city and Reykjavik, and had words of encouragement about how to embrace your city’s uniqueness, and to also to be sure you bring your innovative ideas back home to grow your city’s economy instead of draining it of talent and passion by moving your startup elsewhere. This one seems important for Icelanders since it’d be so much easier to create a company in New York or London. Wise words.

I found it interesting how so many of the talks about entrepreneurship resonated so strongly with me. The statements were all things I had felt were important to live by when I quit my day job and dove headfirst into photography. Here are my favorite bits:

– From Sherwood, a capital advisor: Leverage your assets. It doesn’t matter how much or little you start with. As long as you fully utilize the assets you do you have, there’s a better chance others will notice and be encouraged to offer their time/money/expertise to see you succeed. Asset sharing will be one of the keys in rebuilding a stronger, better economy.

– From Jennifer, MakerBot President of People: Never think you can’t do something. Be scrappy. If a system is broken, leverage it to your advnatage(referring to the broken economy). Live by your motto, whatever you decide it to be so you never lose your way. i.e. the MakerBot Way  (another good motto for doing business is GyShiDo)

– From John, a journalist : If you’re taking on the challenge such as making hardware, software or art – which are all extremely challenging to begin with – you have to step up to the plate and make it happen – no one is going to hand you anything. You have to prove yourself tirelessly before people can start believing something will come of your passion, and then they will invest in you.

– From Liad, an incredible serial entrepreneur and lucky guy: luck is a matter of increasing your opportunities to get the outcome you want. Roll a dice once while hoping for a 6, and you get a 1/6 chance of getting a 6. Roll that dice 20 more times and your chances of getting at least one 6 just skyrocketed to nearly 100%.

What an unexpected and awesome experience!

Check out the full day’s gallery if you’re interested:

In The Meantime…

Recently the Loveland City Council approved a loan for $300,000 towards the new ArtSpace development project which will bring in 30 low-income artist live/work spaces next door to the Feed & Grain building on 2nd Street downtown. The project will also create a gallery and meeting space, community plaza, and will help with renovation of the Feed & Grain, repurposing and bringing an old city relic back to life again.

Until ArtSpace is able to break ground (there is still $1.5mill of fund raising to do via the community. You can help support our art community here) the decision was made to have an In The Meantime gallery where local artists can display their work and utilize the space for the time being. Here are a few of the pieces that were displayed at the launch of the gallery:

Behrens Wedding

No better way to celebrate the coming of a new year than a late December Rocky Mountain wedding! My cousin Lindsey and her now hubby Justin decided to make their way out West from Minnesota to tie the knot at Mary’s Lake Lodge in Estes Park.

The day was fast paced, fun and beautiful. Lindsey was an absolute trooper as she hiked through the snow in her gorgeous red heels while we took photos. The bridal party was one of the most entertaining groups of people I have ever had the honor of shooting, and since half of the guests were family (by the end of the night we were all family!) it was a hoot and a half shooting them too. It’s amazing how much more nervous I was shooting for family than if I was shooting for total strangers. I wouldn’t have guessed it would effect me so much.

As full of stories as the day was, the most memorable moment for me was when I drove down the mountain after a 12 hour day (exhausted, cold and pining for my bed, an hour away) I decided to pull over and take one last photo of the lodge from the bottom of the hill. The stars were gleaming, the moon was lighting up the snow, there was a beautiful herd of elk quietly crossing the field, and the lodge was lit up in holiday lights… it was gorgeous! As I pulled over on what looked like a flat, snow covered dirt shoulder my 4runner dove sideways into a 3 foot deep snow ditch and creaked up onto the two right wheels before dropping back down on all fours (barely!). I don’t think I have ever felt so hopeless and far from my bed as I did at that moment. Not to mention the hot knot of embarrassment I felt because, you see, I’ve always been the tomboy who can 4wheel like a champ and had never done something so silly…. and I had just driven into a stupid ditch and now had to go back up to the lodge to ask for help from the remaining reception guests. Though none of us were able to drive it back out since it was so dangerously close to tipping over, my dad and a few other guys were thankfully able to borrow a truck to tow my poor baby back out of the ditch.

By the next morning the folks who had stayed at the lodge said there was absolutely no sign of where I had been the night before – the wind had blown the snow flat again over my pretty little 4runner snow angel. Because of this, I’ve decided the mountain is a prankster and thought it was hilarious to build a trap right where unsuspecting tourists would think they could pull over to take photos of the lodge on the hill.

And I’m sure the mountain found my plight to be one of the best jokes ever because after all that nonsense…. I never did get that photo I pulled over for. 😉



Pastels on 5th

Pastels on 5th is an art fundraiser for the local charity, Alternatives To Violence.  These folks are amazing.  This was the 2nd annual Pastels event and they more than doubled the funds raised from last year.

I am so proud to have been included in this event.  I even got to sponsor an artist square which ended up in this article in the Reporter Herald.  A big thank-you to Sidney Kress for doing such a great job with the square!

This was one of the most challenging and absolutely fun events I’ve shot to date.  It was just shy of a 12 hour day with 80 artists in action, a mile long walk-a-thon with men in high heels, and hundreds of attendees to capture.  …it was exhausting, and I enjoyed every single minute of it!

Here are a few highlights:

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For the full day’s gallery with almost 500 images, visit us here.

Art Exhibit: Install.

My goodness, I love my art-centric town! I had the pleasure to shoot yet another superb art exhibit, Install,  held at Loveland’s Feed&Grain building this past weekend. Install was a contemporary installation exhibit. Here are some of the highlights: