Category Archives: Laura

Roundball Oracles – Year 17

It is time once again for the greatest sporting event of year. It is that time known as March Madness. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Once again, I will be sponsoring a pool. There is no cost to enter the pool, except for pride.

The winner gets a trophy. The dead last place person gets a trophy known as The Sara*.

By winning, you get your name etched on the list of immortals:

PAST ROUNDBALL ORACLE CHAMPIONS

2021 – Micky Augustin
2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

But I said that there are 2 trophies. The 2nd trophy, The Sara, goes to the adult that finishes dead last, while trying. A person can not tank on purpose and win The Sara. The reason The Sara winner has to be an adult is that I don’t want to mock children, to their face. Does that mean I have no problem mocking children behind their back? Does it make me a bad person if I say yes? Probably a better rule would be that to “win” The Sara, you have to be at least a teenager. I have no problem mocking teenagers to their face. At least, back when there was a Youth Group.

Past “The Sara” Winners:

2021 – Rachel Gildersleeve
2019 – Russell Kennerly
2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

The Sara doesn’t have the long storied history of the championship trophy, but it will get there. I have no doubts.

These were the final standings from last year:

ROUNDBALL ORACLES – YEAR 16

1. Michael Augustin – 275 points
2. Jorge Rios – 252 points
3. Jordan Toot – 240 points
4. Corey Faust – 233 points
5. Tim Peterson – 229 points
6. Mike G – 228 points
7. Dawn Krause – 216 points
8. Joey Randazzo – 210 points
9. Elizabeth Nordeen – 204 points
10. Kio Dettman – 203 points
11. Humble Narrator – 202 points
12. Angie DeWaard – 202 points
13. Brandon Kahler – 199 points
14. Bill Wentworth – 194 points
15. Toby Sebring – 191 points
16. Carla Stensland – 188 points
17. Andree Jauhari – 187 points
18. Lowell Davis – 184 points
19. Dylan Groves – 179 points
20. Jesse Howard – 177 points
21. Derek Dohrman – 174 points
22. Joseph Duff – 170 points
23. Robert Henning – 168 points
24. Jackson Faust – 167 points
25. Sarah Karber – 151 points
26. Michelle Haupt – 143 points
27. Rachel Gildersleeve – 142 points

If you are a basketball fan, or are just interested in having fun, click on the link below to join my pool:

Roundball Oracles – Year 17

The rules are as follows:
Round 1 = 1 point + seed
Round 2 = 2 points + seed
Round 3 = 4 points + seed
Round 4 = 8 points + seed
Round 5 = 16 points + seed
Rounds 6 = 32 points + seed

The Play-in Games (AKA the First Four) don’t matter. You can wait for those games to complete before filling out your bracket. The deadline to fill out your bracket, is tip-off of the first game on Thursday. Roughly 11 AM. Yes, there are no Thursday games this year.

Under special circumstances, I will allow you to turn in a paper bracket to me. So, don’t be afraid to ask.

Yes, your child can fill out a bracket. Your dog, no.

There were 27 competitors in 2021. A 15 person drop from 2019. (There was no tournament in 2020.) Hopefully there is a slight rebound in participation this year, but it is possible I have 15 less friends than I did in 2019. It is possible I have lost even more friends since 2020. I might not be that great of a person.

*You have to be 14 years or older to win “The Sara”.

Natuation

Last Saturday I went down to Manhattan, Kansas to watch Nate graduate from Kansas State University with a degree in Food Science. He will be finding another job soon and hopefully moving closer.

Here are some pictures from the party:


Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

Nate's Graduation Party - 2021

I transported the cake from Boone. Don’t worry, I didn’t make it. Dutch Oven did. It will be fascinating to see where life takes Nate, Laura, and the kids next!

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is CANDID PORTRAIT:


WEEK 327 - CANDID PORTRAIT
CANDID PORTRAIT

CANDID PORTRAIT! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is a CANDID PORTRAIT image? A CANDID PORTRAIT image is simply an image where the person that is the subject of the photo isn’t posing for the picture. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t know their picture is getting taken, but they definitely aren’t posing for the picture. They are just being themselves. Which is why I prefer CANDID PORTRAITS a gazillion to one over formal portraits. But that is just me.

Happy photo harvesting!

Triplet + Jonah Birthday Party

A few weeks back the Triplets and Jonah had a birthday party at the KOA near Adel. I wasn’t able to make the party because it was schedule for the same time as the Iowa State-Oklahoma State football game that I was scheduled to attend. But I did have time to drive down to Adel and hang out for about 90 minutes before I had to head to Ames to witness Iowa State beat a top ten Cowboy team.

Here are some pictures from my hang time:


The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

The Triplets and Jonah Birthday Party - 2021

Having everybody meet up in kind of a central location and spend the weekend was a pretty cool idea I thought. I hope it happens again on a weekend where Iowa State doesn’t have a home game, so I can be around more than 90 minutes. It was also really cold that weekend. I mean not really cold, but it was definitely colder than you would want.

Derrick told me that KOA campsites suck and hate children, but that wasn’t my experience, in the 90 minutes I was there. I would consider staying there on a trip sometime. I didn’t know they rented cabins and tents.

It was the first time I’d seen many of these people since before the pandemic. I hope it doesn’t take so long to see them again. Although I pretty sure I’m going down to Manhattan for Nate’s graduation in about a month.

My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 2

When we left off, I had just won 1st Place in Black and White and 3rd Place in Color at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but had been completely rejected by the Iowa State Fair for the 4th year in a row.

Whatever I was selling, the judges were not buying. I was despondent, but not discouraged because I knew I had entered some great photos, but they were not what the judges were looking for that year.

2011 comes around. I decided to retire from the Boone County Fair Photo Contest and to start a new way of picking pictures for the Pufferbilly Days. I also had what was probably the peak of my photo contest career at the Iowa State Fair. I got all 4 pictures exhibited. This is extremely hard to do. Thousands of people enter the contest every year. Only 5 of us got all 4 pictures exhibited. You can do the math. It is a big deal.

These are the pictures that were exhibited:


2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - I Recommend Pleasant

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon
2nd Place Class 25

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Must Be Truth

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Drenched in Loneliness
Honorable Mention Class 13

For the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest it was the second year of letting other people select my entrants. Dawn, Derrick, Jen, Scott, Russell, and Rebecca chose my entries. Dawn’s choice got 2nd Place in Black and White:


2011 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Radiant Beams
2nd Place – Black and White

I was pretty excited for 2012. I thought I had cracked the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Code, but there is no code. Some years the judge like you. Some years they don’t. In 2012, they like one of my pictures:


2012 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Truth Perception

That year, I decided to retire from the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Then shortly after that, I decided to retire from Photo Contests altogether.

But in 2017, the itch came back. I decided to put on a Washington Wizards Jersey and come out of retirement. Hard. I decided to enter all 3 contests again. I got all Blue Ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

I got one picture selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2017 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Little Apple

I had the following people select my entries for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest: Jim Robbins (yeah that is a long story), Micky, Michelle, Amber, Laura, and Dawn. However, none of the pictures earned a ribbon.

In 2018, my Boone County Fair entries were determined by popular vote:


2018 Boone County Fair
Red

2018 Boone County Fair
Purple

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

I had two pictures selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Peep

2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Christmas Eve Morn

My Pufferbilly Days entries were also selected by popular vote that year:


2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - INRI
1st Place Photoshop

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Freedom Flight
1st Place Photojournalism

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Abandoned (Mill Creek)
3rd Place Hidden Treasures of Boone County

2019 would also be a successful year. I moved to having individuals select my Boone County Fair entrants. Shannon, Michelle, and Logan selected my entries.


2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Red

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

I had one picture selected for exhibition at the Iowa State Fair and it earned a ribbon:


2019 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Entry - Green Little Vaulter
Honorable Mention Class 18

My Pufferbilly Day entries were once again selected by popular vote:


2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Hocks
1st Place Nature

2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Drops
1st Place Photoshop

In 2020 the pandemic hit and all photo contests were cancelled. Which was sad and I think it was avoidable because in a digital age, I think they could have found a way. For example the Iowa State Fair still held its Fine Arts competition.

Which brings us to 2021. I’m currently working on my next embarrassing failure at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. However, I am not going to enter the Boone County Fair this year. There is a reason for this decision. A very good reason. However, I’m not going to share the reason until it becomes official or it falls through. Things seem to fall through quite often these days. No decision has been made on Pufferbilly Days yet, but Pufferbilly Days has been moved to early August this year. I’m not crazy about the decision, but I’ll give it a chance.

If you want to peruse all 153 Photo Contest entrants in this long weird journey, click on the link below:

Photo Contests

You can see them all from the out of focus to the award winners. The good, the bad, and the moldy jam equivalent.

Roundball Oracles – Year 16

It is time once again for the greatest sporting event of year. It is that time known as March Madness. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Once again, I will be sponsoring a pool. There is not cost to enter the pool, except for pride.

The winner gets a trophy. The dead last place person gets a trophy known as The Sara*.

By winning, you get your name etched on the list of immortals:

PAST ROUNDBALL ORACLE CHAMPIONS

2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

But I said that there are 2 trophies. The 2nd trophy, The Sara, goes to the adult that finishes dead last, while trying. A person can not tank on purpose and win The Sara. The reason The Sara winner has to be an adult is that I don’t want to mock children, to their face. Probably a better rule would be that to “win” The Sara, you have to be at least a teenager. I have no problem mocking teenagers to their face. I do it pretty much every Wednesday night at Youth Group.

Past “The Sara” Winners:

2019 – Russell Kennerly
2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

The Sara doesn’t have the long storied history of the championship trophy, but it will get there. I have no doubts.

Last year, the tournament was cancelled. This year, we will hopefully have a tournament as the world starts to look like it will “normalize” sometime this year. Here’s hoping anyways.

If you are a basketball fan, or are just interested in having fun, click on the link below to join my pool:

Roundball Oracles – Year 16

The rules are as follows:
Round 1 = 1 point + seed
Round 2 = 2 points + seed
Round 3 = 4 points + seed
Round 4 = 8 points + seed
Round 5 = 16 points + seed
Rounds 6 = 32 points + seed

The Play-in Games (AKA the First Four) don’t matter. You can wait for those games to complete before filling out your bracket. The deadline to fill out your bracket, is tip-off of the first game on Friday. Roughly 11 AM. Yes, there are no Thursday games this year.

Under special circumstances, I will allow you to turn in a paper bracket to me. So, don’t be afraid to ask.

Yes, your child can fill out a bracket. Your dog, no.

There were 42 competitors in 2019. Now, I doubt there will be as much excitement for the tournament this year, with no Iowa State. But Drake is sorta in the Tournament, so that is exciting!

*You have to be 18 years of age to win “The Sara”.

Miller Time – 2020 – Vol. 4

This is the final collection of pictures from when I went to Manhattan to take pictures of the triplets near their second birthday. Chaos! That is the only way to really describe what a photo session with 3 two year-olds with their own agenda. I should have brought a photo assistant, but that certainly isn’t the easiest thing to do in a pandemic. However, in the future, I am going to try to get Alexis to come with me for all family portrait shoots. She has a great eye for the part of portrait photography that I generally fail at. Posing people. I don’t know that she will want to go on 10 hour car rides, but I’ll figure out a way to make it worth her while.

Here are the remainder of the Miller pictures:


Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020
A picture that proves sometimes, there are no rules in photography.

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Hopefully we have another great photo session when they get ready to turn 3!

Miller Time – 2020 – Vol. 3

I need to start this post off by wishing Lowell a happy birthday. Happy birthday Lowell!


Arizona Day 3

Little League - 2009

Computer Mine Holiday Card - 2017

I hope it was as happy as you wanted it to be!

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Here is another collection of pictures from when I travelled to Manhattan to take pictures of the Millers. These are mostly post-park pictures, where I was just playing around. Which is what I do best:


Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

There is one more collection of photos from this day still in the hopper.

Miller Time – 2020 – Vol. 1

The picture for the August in the 2021 Photography 139 Calendar was taken after the derecho devastate a good chunk of Iowa. It was taken of the elevator in Luther with a fisheye lens. It was taken on August 11, 2020.


2021 Calendar - August

Here are some details on the photo:

DETAILS

CAMERA: Sony ILCE-7M2
LENS: Fisheye
EXPOSURE: 1/320
ISO: 100
LATITUDE: 41.96685
LONGITUDE: -93.82281

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Back in October, I made a daytrip to Manhattan, Kansas to take pictures of the triplets around the time of their first birthday. Although a more formal portrait was planned, candid portraits more ruled the day. 1 year olds (particularly 3 of them) don’t cooperate much for formal portraits.

Here are some of my favorites:


Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

Miller Family - 2020

When we got to the park, we ran into a group of witches. Just kidding, it was a group of women that were in the woods, dancing in a circle. They gave us bubbles though, so they were good witches… errr… women dancing in the woods in a circle.

There are definitely more pictures from this day to come.

2009-11-23

I need to start this post by wishing the happiest of birthdays to my bro Nate. Happy birthday Nate!


NATE - SYMPATHY

WEEK 198 - CANDID PORTRAIT - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT

06-22-09

Nate and Laura Engagement Pictures

Truth is, I just hope Nate gets a good nap on his birthday!

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The pictures in the folder 2009-11-23 are from a trip I made with the family to Kansas City to watch Alexis compete in a cheerleading competition.

If you niece and nephew are going to compete in a sport, they can do worse than cheerleading. The routines last maybe a couple minutes. The you can leave. It isn’t a several hour commitment. Which is key, because I love my nieces and nephews dearly. But I care nothing about other people’s nieces and nephews. I don’t want to spend hours watching them compete, just to get to watch my niece and/or nephew compete. I want to watch my niece compete. Then I want to go get some tasty barbecue.

What I’m getting at is this, never, under any circumstances, agree to go to a gymnastics meet. There are multiple events and 10,000 kids. The worst part, they all use the same music for the floor exercise. Trust me, you don’t want to hear the same 30 second clip of some horrible song 10,000 times in one day. It will make you psychotic. Just saying…


Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

Be Aggressive!

One caveat though… cheerleading moms 100% live up to the stereotype.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Be Aggressive

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Jill and her foot.