March 29, 2010

Beautiful Like a Rainbow

I made up my mind months ago, and I'd been waiting and waiting. Nothing was going to stop me. Finally, the day arrived! I was going to the Holi Festival of Colors at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, UT.

Katie, the kids and I have attended various events at the temple over the years, but we've never made it to this festival welcoming the arrival of spring. This was going to be the year, and we made it. Even though they had food and entertainment, I was there for the main event–the throwing of the colors.

Rather than explain the throwing of the colors, take a look at this video from last year.

Didn't that look like fun? Well, let me tell you–it was! In a matter of seconds, everyone is completely covered in bright colors.

Now for your listening and viewing pleasure, I've put together a slide show of some of our photos. The color throwing happened twice during the day, which was good because we couldn't all make it at the same time. Katie and Chloe went at noon, and I took the boys for the 4 p.m. throwing.

We all had a total blast and are excited for next year.

For those of you who want to attend, here are some things we've learned.
  1. Avoid the lines and buy your bags of colors in advance in the gift shop on the main floor of the temple. Two or three bags per person is good. I recommend going when the buffet is open and enjoy a great vegetarian meal. 
  2. Take a moment to skim through the Krishnas' Web site to learn about them and the festival. You will understand and enjoy the experience much more.
  3. Wear goggles or sunglasses to help keep the powder out of your eyes. I even saw some people with surgical masks.
  4. The colors show up nicely on white clothes.
  5. Have towels and sheets handy in your car to help with clean up and protect your upholstery.
  6. If you have little kids, are claustrophobic, or don't want to get too dirty, stay on the outer fringes. The middle of the crowd is crazy.
  7. With 10,000 people in attendance, parking can be a problem. The shuttle is convenient.
  8. Don't be afraid to hug a stranger when the time comes. Charu, the head devotee, said it's easy to show love to people you know and who are like you. Get out of your comfort zone and show love to strangers. That's a big part of what the festival is all about. 
  9. Don't miss a photo-op with a llama. But, store your camera in a Ziplock baggie to protect it from the powder.
  10. Afterward, have a meal at one of the local small town diners. We ate at the One Man Band. It's good to support the local economy that is so supportive of the festival.
A good excuse to get dirty colored–me with Tomas, Liam, and Liam's friend, Tanner.

I would like to give a big thanks to the Hare Krishas and all the volunteers from the community who put this event on. We had so much fun–a great way to begin the new season!

    March 24, 2010

    Photo of the Week (3/20/10)

    Wow, the time seems to really fly when I'm trying to post a photo each week.

    It turns out I'm actually posting more than one photo again. I went over to the park during one of the few times I had free or there was decent weather. I started out photographing trees, clouds and other inanimate objects, but then Tomas and his neighborhood friend, Ethan, showed up to play. When they saw what I was up to, they wanted in on the action.

    Those two should be models. They know how to work the camera. After every shot, they had an idea for a new angle, face or pose. They would have liked the photo session to go on forever, but luckily my batteries finally gave out.

    So, here are this week's photos.

    Do you know what I wish? Let me tell you. I want to join a photography club where people just get together and go on photo shoots and share ideas and techniques. I did a quick Google search and found they do exist, just not in this area. Maybe once I get better I'll think about starting one.

    March 17, 2010

    March 14, 2010

    Photo of the Week (3/13/10)

    Once again, I am posting more than one photo. If the trend continues, I'll consider changing the title to "Photos of the Week."

    I joined a Web site, Digital Photography School, that gives a lot of tips, training, and helpful advice. They also give weekly challenges. Members can submit their photos for critique and chances to win prizes. I don't feel my photography is to that point yet, but I'm willing to share them here.

    A theme for one of the challenges was "smile." Here is what I came up with. These are the grandkids on my wife's side. They're all cute shots, but photographing in natural light is much easier. I'm still fiddling with all the settings. I also think I need to start writing settings down in a notebook or something. I can never remember what I did in one photo if I want to replicate it later.

    Now, don't these cute kids put a smile on your face?

    This photo challenge also reminded me of one of my favorite internet movies. So, here's an added bonus. Enjoy!

    March 13, 2010

    Just Keep Running...Just Keep Running

    Chloe and I ran a 5K, the Rex Lee Run to benefit cancer research.

    Well, it was one of my New Year's Resolutions. And yes, I'm rethinking the wisdom of that choice.

    All smiles and goofy looks before the race

     Did you reach your goal?
    Uh... Let's just say I finished the race. I'm way off my goal of a 5K in under 30 minutes. I honestly don't know where I got that number. Are you allowed to modify resolutions?

    For this race, my mini-goal was to just keep running and not stop until the end. There were times when I definitely had the running motion going on but walkers were passing me. It still counts though.

    How do you feel?
    Sore. But, a good kind of sore. Except for my knee, that is. In the last mile, my knee gave out, and I came down pretty hard on it. But, I sprang back up and continued the race. It wasn't so pleasant, however, as I felt blood running down my shin.

    Still all smiles and goofy looks after the race

    Was it worth it?
    Most definitely. And here's why.

    First of all, I got to spend time with Chloe, and we had a fun. She beat me by a whopping 14 minutes, and I'm OK with that. Chloe wants to do more 5Ks with me in the near future, and I'm leaning towards thinking that's a good idea.

    Secondly, I ran for one of my heros–my mom. To help raise money, people could purchase cards to wear honoring a cancer fighter. I bought one with her name on it. She's actually battled cancer a couple of times—and won.

    Last names removed to protect the innocent. Or, in my case...

    Throughout the cancer ordeals, it seems my mom experienced every side effect imanginable, and then some. And, do you know what? She was always amazingly upbeat. That's how she is. She's no whiner. In fact, she's been through other difficult trials that the every day Joe would never dream of.*

    While running, there were many times I wanted to quit and just finish the race walking. But, the card I was wearing reminded me of her. She never gave up. And, I along with my family are very grateful she didn't. She is a huge blessing to our lives.

    So, here's to you, Mom. Thanks for being an inspiration to me. I love you!

    Along the race course, they had signs with
    facts about cancer research. One sign said
    there are ten million cancer survivors in the
    US today. That means: Mom, not only are
    you one in a million, you are also one in ten

    *There's a joke there. My mom's name is Jo, and she's not your average Joe.

    March 07, 2010

    Photo of the Week (3/07/10) in Utah. After a week of springlike weather, we got another snow pounding. While I'm not thrilled with the return of winter, Tomas and I decided to go up the canyon and play in the snow. I brought the camera along to see what I could come up with. We had fun, but I agree with Tomas who said, "Dad, you'll be able to get better pictures when it's spring and much prettier."

    March 02, 2010

    Photo of the Week (2/27/10)

    I made the commitment to post a photo each week to force me to learn how to use my new camera. Well, I don't know how this past week got away from me, but it was almost over, and I hadn't done anything with the camera.

    I asked the boys if they wanted to go to a nearby park. They could play, and I would see what there was to photograph. As we got out of the car, I immediately knew this wasn't such a good idea. The weather had turned, and it was unbelievably cold and windy. After only fifteen minutes, we had all had enough.

    Before my hands completely froze, I had taken about thirty shots. When I got home and looked at them on the computer, I honestly wasn't happy with most of them. I still don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to all the settings on the camera.

    I did like this photo, however. I remember a professional photographer on TV said one key to photographing children is to get in close. I used my big lense and zoomed in close on Liam. This photo seems to capture a little of what Liam is to me. Of our three children, Liam is the sensitive one. I'm not sure what it is about the photo that conveys that exactly, but I feel it.