Bo Ryan and the Badgers. Wow. What a terrific game against Kentucky. Or so I was told—Easter Vigil was scheduled right against the second semifinal game featuring Kentucky and Wisconsin. Come on people: who does this to a bunch of basketball starved Badger fans? Thankfully, the crew survived their game against Kentucky, and we finished the service with about 30 seconds left in the game, so that we streamed that last half minute to an anxious congregation who loves Jesus MORE than Wisconsin basketball. I tease about that last part.
So now, the team is on to play Duke for the championship. I believe that Wisconsin has already set a record in the modern-day tourney in that they’ve gone to the finals playing the top seed that they possibly could meet (in essence, their path has held true to the bracket with no upsets). I love this for Wisconsin and coach Ryan. These kids are mainly local talent, coached by a guy who has four national titles in his resume (Div III UW-Platteville) as well as two undefeated seasons. Coached in a way that’s much different then Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and many of the top programs work. Working hard in a system for three, four, or five years. Learning how to play defense. Learning how to handle the ball regardless of size (I could have used that in high school…). Ditto on the ability to shoot threes. With players that have a great time with one another, who crush on stenographers, and who are just great athletes and better teammates. With a hall of fame coach who will get there eventually. And hey—who looks like the mascot of the team he coaches.
On Wisconsin. Regardless of the outcome tonight, you’ve made a state (and one could argue a country) very proud. Seal the deal tonight.
Windfarm at Tehachapi
So who is this Laurence Matson guy? More about that in a bit, but he’s been one of the kindest, most generous, passionate, and interesting people that I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with in my life. Laurence was working in his barn in Vermont (apparently on an elevated area) when he suffered a fall due to a heart arrhythmia. He broke a wooden pallet with the back of his head, landing face first on a concrete floor. Now those who know him would understand that he does have a hard head—but not that hard. He sustained 21 fractures to the skull, collarbone, shoulder blade, ribs, and pelvis; as well as a 14 in wound to the head, severe concussion and hemorrhage that has damaged the language and imaging centers of the brain. Seeing that Laurence was a translator and photographer before this accident, one can understand that this has been a particularly devastating injury.
I refer everyone to a Indiegogo funding site that has details, as well as a fund set up to help Laurence recover, sell the farm (he’ll be unable to take care of it), and deal with remaining medical expenses. Please help with what you can…
So, how did I cross paths with Laurence? A long time ago, after the Sigma SD9 digital SLR had been released, I was browsing online digital photographs—and I was very much taken with the quality of Laurence’s photos. They had a purity and luminance that reminded me of better film work than what was being done with digital in the day. We started a conversation up via email—Laurence lived in Switzerland, while I was living in SE Wisconsin. Laurence was very generous with sharing experiences (good and bad), and as we shared details of our lives, we found out that we had much in common. I grew up in Rochester and was a Kodak kid—Laurence has spent time in Rochester and was very familiar with the area. I was working for Abbott Labs—Laurence had grown up as an Abbott kid, and his father had founded what became the diagnostics division of the company. His homestead was only a few miles from where I worked. Laurence bred, raised and showed dogs—my wife and daughter did the same. There were interesting symmetries in our paths. With much help from Laurence, I ended up purchasing an SD10 from Sigma—and started rediscovering my love for photography.
While Laurence and I have corresponded off and on for a decade, give or take; we’ve only met a few times in person. The first was in 2007—Laurence led a planning effort for a photo trip that corresponded with the PMA meeting in Las Vegas in March. Some of us flew in from various parts of the globe to meet in San Francisco. There we met up with some of the Foveon luminaries (Dick Merrill and his wife Seng, Dick Lyon). We visited Foveon, Google, and an excellent restaurant or two before collecting our gear and heading for a trip to Death Valley, to meet up with yet more Sigma shooters. This was a thrill for me—getting to meet smart, generous, passionate photographers (all who raised the bar for me…) and having a great time getting to know a bunch of new people. Our trip ended at PMA where we met and conversed with the Sigma staff at the show, helped to set up the ‘user gallery’ of photographs (which Laurence had arranged and printed); it was a phenomenal trip, and I have so many great memories.
We met a couple times after that. Once in Vermont for a much more solemn occasion (the memorial service for Dick Merrill), and back in Vegas in 2011 for a brief time before Rick Decker, Kendall Gelner and I headed for a 10-day trip to Arizona and Utah.
Laurence has been so generous with the photographic community in general, and the Sigma contingent in particular—I hope that all you who read this will run over and donate to his recovery fund. What follows are a selection of shots that I have of Laurence from the 2007 trip.
Zabriskie Point Sunrise
On the Road—Death Valley
Salt Creek Marsh—Death Valley
Mosaic Canyon—Death Valley
Road To Vegas
The fact that it’s taken me so long to put stuff up is pathetic. It was a busy Christmas, followed by a lot of dog showing for Jen and Grace. They topped off February in spectacular fashion: Grace took Best of Breed with Stewie, our American-bred and Australian-loving curly! Jen and Tony Eales were there to witness the win, and I’m sure many tears were shed. Links to videos are up on the front page.
For those wondering about the photography—pfft. I’m just starting to work through the St. George Island photos from August. Ugh. Life is too busy for recreation!
A new album is here. Enjoy!
Some more puppy footage. It was really nice to see the sun for a couple days. It’s gone away again…
Well, we finally got the puppies outside, and did some videos with them. They were a heck of a lot of fun. Weather was cool (20’s), but the puppies warmed up and had a lot of fun
And here’s a video from a week before.
I’ve been lazy with puppy photography, although I’ve slept downstairs with Angel for most of the last week (she gets lonely during the day). So I’m there with the puppies daily, and they are getting very cute. These puppies are monstrously huge, and a lot of fun! Without further commentary, here’s a video from last night.
(Full size video here: http://youtu.be/ZvXCks3HZ08)
Just a smattering of some of the stuff I snapped.
Wow, I’ve taken quite a bit of time off. I haven’t done a ton of photography, and what I did (August 2014 St. George Island) remains in my hard drive waiting to be processed. Life has been busy, work has been really busy.
The good news is that it’s early November, and we’ve got a batch of puppies on the ground. Four stupendously beautiful, humongous Curly Coated Retriever puppies. Angel did a fine job trying to push these monsters out, but there’s no way they were getting through a birth canal that didn’t belong to a cow. Three boys and a girl. All blacks. The biggest boy—26 oz.! We’ve never had a puppy near that size. The other boys are 23 and 21 oz (which are larger then our previous largest…). Girl hasn’t been weighed yet (she’s eating).
What ever happened to those litters of 10 where they ranged from 7.5 to 12 oz.?