Tag Archives: Photography

Happiest Place on Earth


Last Sunday afternoon Wendy and I had the opportunity of visiting the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. We visited the McNay for the first time on our honeymoon  ten years ago. It’s come to hold a special, sentimental place in my heart. I posted to Facebook:

You can have Disneyland. Ever since Wendy and I visited the McNay on our honeymoon 10 years ago, this has been, for me, one of “the happiest places on Earth.”

The courtyard at the McNay is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I’ve ever been and I could sit there for hours, especially with Wendy. On our visit last Sunday I couldn’t help but take this photo with my iPhone. There’s nothing extraordinary about the photo and I know it can’t possibly capture the true beauty of the place. Sometimes the power of shot has nothing to do with being great photography,  rather the ability of a shot to transport us back to a powerful time or place is what makes photography great.

Warrior’s Cry

Matthew Warrior

My friend Matthew and I are putting together a workshop for men called “More Than Conquerors” next month at Westview Church in Waukee. We originally did the workshop a few years ago in Pella so we’re in the process of updating it for a new audience. The basic idea is that as a man I’m supposed to experience this sense of being a winner, a victor, and God says I’m “more than a conqueror,” but then I get totally overwhelmed by the fact that the IKEA instructions have no words. So, we dig into that dilemma with the guys.

Yesterday we shot some media for promotional material. I had Matthew (who is a rather gentle, somewhat introverted Marriage and Family Therapist) put on war paint and got him to give me his best warrior scream for this photo.

I liked the result.

Morning Star

morning star

I was up early a few weeks ago and the morning star was burning bright just above the horizon as the glow of impending morning created a gorgeous silhouette of the tree line behind our home. I grabbed my camera and snapped this shot.

Decorative Details

Scottish Decorative Messages

Sometimes photo opportunities come from paying attention to details. While in Edinburgh this past summer I began noticing that many of the old buildings contained small decorative flourishes with a message. They were often Bible verses or a moral reminder. Once I started noticing them I began to take photos of them. Themed photos can make for fascinating collages.

Wendy with a Red Halo

Wendy with the Red Halo

Some photos just happen in an unexpected moment, and this photo has become one of my favorite personal examples. Wendy’s favorite color is red. This past June while visiting Scotland’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Edinburgh, Wendy took a seat on a bench in one of the galleries to rest. I turned to look at her and realized that the artwork behind her made this gorgeous red halo. How apt. She had no idea why I lifted my camera and snapped her picture, but I loved the result.

Snow on the Oak

Snow on the Oak TreeToday is what we in the midwest refer to as “the dog days of summer.” August can be a killer when it comes to heat. One of my favorite quotes is from Garrison Keillor who said that living in the midwest is like, “spending your winters in the arctic and your summers in Death Valley.” ‘Tis true.

I thought for Photo Friday I would post a photograph I snapped with my iPhone on a whim this past February after a heavy, wet snow fall created a blanket of white across the landscape. It was a sunny, cloudless day after the storm and I loved the way the monochrome black and white of the snow on the limbs contrasted with the gorgeous blue of the sky.

If you’re feeling hot today, thought this might give you a reminder of what’s coming in just a few months ;-)


TBT: Grandpa V and the Grill

Grandpa V and the Grill

I like going through old family photos. There’s a lot to wade through and a whole host of faces and events that have little relevance to me. Every once in a while, however, you come across a random photograph that strikes your fancy. For Throwback Thursday I’d like to share with you this little gem.

I have always loved this picture of my Grandpa Vander Well which was taken when he and my grandma drove my mother from Iowa out to Idaho where my folks were moving shortly after they got married. There was a whole series of photos that chronicle their multi-day journey including the retro travel motels where they stayed.

I laugh every time I see this photo. I have no idea why Grandpa wanted a photo of the grill in the park. He certainly does not look particularly excited about it. He’s not cooking lunch. With his pens clipped in his shirt pocket he looks like he could be the state grill inspector documenting that the camp stove meets the Iowa Code for proper grill standards and maintenance.

I imagine my Grandma V sharing their photos with friends: “Oh, and here’s a picture of Herman with a grill!

In a time when taking photos and having them developed cost money, why would you invest in a photograph of you with a charred park grill? Whatever the reason, I’m glad they took it. A half century later it continues to regularly make me smile.