Category Archives: Derrick

Valley Lodge is Closed

Since a few people have been asking, I am making a formal announcement.



THERE IS NO CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA AKA BENNETT-FEST THIS YEAR!


The reasons are multiple and complicated, but it is probably your fault. If you search your heart, you know it to be true.

So there will be NO:

– Baby Got Rack Award Winning Barbecue
– Hardcore Firetub Action
– Bubbles
– Sidewalk Chalk
– Golden Retriever
– Master’s Playlist
– Cornhole
– Tent
– Stimulating Conversation
– Catching up with old friends
– No photos like the ones below







2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

Better luck in 2018. I have the idea for that year’s invite. I just need to find some volunteers and some costumes.

Selfie Project – February

This is a good time to check back in with the SELFIE PROJECT. These are some of my favorite images from February:


Selfie Project - February 2
February 2

Selfie Project - February 5
February 5

Selfie Project - February 6
February 6

Selfie Project - February 7
February 7
Selfie Project - February 11
February 11

Selfie Project - February 13
February 13

Selfie Project - February 17
February 17

Selfie Project - February 18
February 18

Selfie Project - February 19
February 19

Selfie Project - February 21
February 21

Selfie Project - February 24
February 24

Selfie Project - February 25
February 25

Selfie Project - February 26
February 26

Selfie Project - February 27
February 27

Selfie Project - February 28
February 28

So far I’m 74 days in and this beard is looking good!

Don’t forget that you can follow the daily SELFIE PROJECT postings by following me on Instagram. @christopherdbennett

Post No. 2500

This blog has hit a milestone. This is the 2500th post since I started “An Artist’s Notebook” on August 9, 2006. A lot of different things have went through these pages over the last 10+ years, but I hope I’ve stayed true to the original vision I laid down in that very first post:

So here is the first journal entry. I felt like having as pretentious sounding name as possible for my journal. I have a few goals about this journal. My main goal is just to actually write in it. My second goal is to be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings. I have another journal on another website, but it is really just a collection of sarcastic statements and cheap jabs at open faced sandwiches. This journal is meant to be about what my achievements and failures are in the world of art. What projects I am working on and what I have accomplished and what I have failed to accomplish. What I am photographing and what I am thinking about entering in photo contests. What I am thinking about. It might not always make sense. It might just be things I need to write down because they strike me as poignant or inspirational. This is in a small way an online “idea box”.

I do also have a goal of producing something that makes me worthy of having a pretentious sounding journal title like: “An Artist’s Notebook”.

It is strange to think that one of the things that I was originally committed to was the TRUTH. For many years the “motto” of this blog was “Art is a lie that reveals the truth.” Now we live in a post-truth society. Truth has had a hard time. If Justin Timberlake can bring sexy back. I can bring truth back.

I hope in these last 10+ years I’ve stayed pretentious enough for the title “An Artist’s Notebook”. I’m sure some of you will argue that I have. Those of you that like to push the “elitist” lie.

The first JOURNAL ENTRY would go on to tell a story about Photo Contests:

So last night, I attended the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Reception with Sara. I figured that the two pictures that I had accepted for display would be a picture of Jay entitled “Portrait of a Self Portrait” and a picture of a bullfrog entitled “Kentucky Appetizer”. I didn’t have any real strong images to enter into the contest this year, but I felt that I had some that were good enough to display, but probably not good enough for ribbons. I was correct. Those were the two pictures selected for display. They did not receive ribbons.

So now I turn my attention to the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I wasn’t going to enter this contest because I have been frustrated in the past by the way it is ran. The pictures are never displayed on the day that they are supposed to be displayed. Instead, they might be displayed as late as 48 hours. The second thing about this contest that sticks in my craw is that they don’t put the names of the photographers or of the image up anywhere. Basically, there are a bunch of pictures up and who knows who took them.

I don’t complain because I seek the fame and fortune that comes with having your picture displayed at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I complain because I would like to know who took some of the other pictures. Sadly, 1 town west the now defunct Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest was ran a million times better.

Jay talked me into entering this year’s contest. I told him that I didn’t like having to put any emotional investment into this contest, when it was so poorly ran.

He said it wouldn’t require any emotional investment. I could just put the pictures I made for the Ogden Fun Days Contest into the Pufferbilly Contest and whatever happens happened.

For better or worse, I’m just not wired in such a manner. There are very few things in my life I can just say “what happens, happens.” Photography certainly isn’t one of them.

He did convince me it was a waste not to enter one of the few contests around here just because it was so poorly ran. So, I am entering. I need to come up with 6 entries by August 31. That is the limit and I do not want to do anything less than the limit. I don’t want to mail it in.

So I started a sentence with the word “so”. How very lazy of me. Hopefully I’ve improved in that vein over the years.

It is interesting that I’ve now semi-retired from Photo Contests. I haven’t entered the Pufferbilly Days Contest in years because it is so terribly, dreadfully run. Last year I didn’t enter the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon for the first time in probably 15 years. I just didn’t have the fire in my belly for it. The Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest folded after 1 year.

I may come out of retirement this year. Even though the Pufferbilly Days Contest, is so terribly, dreadfully, awfully run.

Maybe you are wondering what KENTUCKY APPETIZER looked like. Something like this:



Kentucky Appetizer

That picture of Jay? Use your imagination.

In 2500 posts, this blog has went through 3 different platforms. There have been 2,166 comments left. That makes me kind of sad. But I’m sure I’ve received some feedback via email. I’m hoping.

The most popular post category is:

Flowers – 362 Posts

The people to be referenced in posts the most often:

1. Jesse – 283 Posts
2. Teresa – 244 Posts
3. Shannon – 231 Posts
3. Jay – 231 Posts
5. Derrick – 220 Posts

Thanks to everybody that has given this blog a modicum of success through 2500 posts. Here is to the next 2500!

Selfie Project of 2017

So I tried and failed at a Selfie Project in 2016. I’m trying again in 2017. Last year I took the pictures with Blue Boy. Who you may remember is my Canon point & shoot.

This year I’m going to take the pictures with the front facing camera on my Google Pixel. I feel this will enhance the chance of this project working because I always have my phone on my person. That way I don’t have to constantly remember another camera. Therefore I’m taking these pictures with the worst camera I own. Unless you count my pinhole camera and if you were thinking, “Yeah, but what about your pinhole camera?” I say to you, “I’m impressed that you remember that I own a pinhole camera! Well done!”

That being said, the Google Pixel camera is easily the best phone camera I’ve ever owned. Partially because it is made my Sony (shout out to Sony!) and partially because of a myriad of features that are included with the camera. I will one day soon publish a review of the camera, and you’ll know what I mean.

Another thing I should point out is that the rear facing camera on a phone is always way better than the front facing camera. But I’m using the front facing camera for ease of use. Even though it tops out about 4 megapixels. But I don’t have time to teach you about the megapixel lie. That is a subject for another time.

And this time, is the time to share the first ten pictures from the Selfie Project (circa 2017):


Selfie Project - December 31, 2016
Day 0

Selfie Project - January 1
Day 1

Selfie Project - January 2
Day 2

Selfie Project - January 3
Day 3

Selfie Project - January 4
Day 4

Selfie Project - January 5
Day 5

Selfie Project - January 6
Day 6

Selfie Project - January 7
Day 7

Selfie Project - January 8
Day 8

Selfie Project - January 9
Day 9

Part of the purpose of this project is to document my magnificent beard growth. I recently joined the Dollar Beard Club, like beard connoisseur Andrew Bardole. I’ve been enjoying their wonderful beard shampoo, beard oil, and beard cream. It makes me smell like a lumberjack that just got out of a hot spring bath in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. So… pretty amazing.

Although I’ll probably check in on this project from time to time on the blog known as An Artist’s Notebook (that is this blog silly), I don’t know that it will be a regular occurrence. However, these photos will be published on Instagram on the daily. Not only can you check out the progress of the scruff, you can check out Selfie Project Superfan Elizabeth’s daily critique of my smile. So everybody wins!

If you’ve forgotten, my Instagram handle is @christopherdbennett

Be warned, if you hang with me now and again, you might get thrown into the Selfie Project Mix. I’m hoping to even get my picture taken with noted Selfie queens like Alisa and Alexis and Elainie. Fingers crossed and you’ve been warned!

To a Great 2017!

Pretend like I published this on January 1, just like I meant to do.

It is that day at Photography 139 Headquarters where we take down our old Photography 139 Calendar and put it in the trunk with many of the other remnants of our past.




We like to think that 2016 was a successful year for Photography 139 and I’d like to thank everybody that was responsible for making it appear so.

So to my list of email blog subscribers…

Jay Janson
Jason Baier
Shannon Bardole
Scott Degeneffe
Corey Faust
Susanna Funk
Jill Gorshe
Jesse Howard
Sara Lockner
Teresa Kahler
Nader Parsaei
Becky Perkovich
Bernice Verhoorn
Suzie Brannen
Eric Hiatt
Kim Barker
Cousin Amy
Russell Kennerly
Tim Tuck
Tim Tucker’s Lady Friend
Michelle Haupt
Geri Derner
Micky Augustin
Angie DeWaard
Mike Vest
DaeHee Yoon
Monica Henning
Sarah Karber
Carla Stensland
Laura Miller
Joseph Lynch
Jorge Rios
Anders Runestad
Laura Miller
Michael Houlihan
Dawn Krause
Joe Duff
Derrick Gorshe
Dustin Jackson
Bethany Miller
Logan Kahler
Elizabeth Nordeen
Nicole Nickens
Corinna
Jeff Daniel
Stephanie Kim
Bob Person
Melissa Degeneffe
Willy MacAlpine
Janice Peterson
Jessica Potts
Steve Junck
Shawn Lockner
Brooke Milligan
Cathie Raley
Paul Golden
Linda Toot
Jodie Bennett
Dan Pottratz
Alisa Baker
Cassandra Chadwick

Thanks for a great 2016! Of course, I’ll try to do better in 2017. Hopefully our little family will continue to grow in the new year!