2019 Week Nine

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) as the Utah Jazz host the Milwaukee Bucks, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City on Saturday March 2, 2019.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) as the Utah Jazz host the Milwaukee Bucks, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City on Saturday March 2, 2019.

Assignment: Utah Jazz v Milwaukee Bucks

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45), drenched on the court during a post-game interview as the Utah Jazz host the Milwaukee Bucks, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City on Saturday March 2, 2019.

Assignment: Press Conference on Vapes

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, speaks at a news conference on the current status of House Bill 252, Electronic Cigarette and Other Nicotine Product Amendments. Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019 in Salt Lake City.

Assignment: Planned Parenthood Rally

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and supporters gathered in a silent protest in the Utah State Capitol Rotunda Friday March 1, 2019, while a 12-foot birdhouse art installation broadcast statements from Utah constituents.

Assignment: Utah Jazz v New Orleans Pelicans

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dunks as the Utah Jazz host the New Orleans Pelicans, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City on Monday March 4, 2019.

Thinking about how using the Leica has made my vision health more creative… Manual focus has been a good thing. Rephrase – Manual focus with the 21mm has been no problem at all. Manual focus with the 50/1.1 is challenging and I’m not using that lens enough to master the physical aspect of focusing on moving subjects.

The 35 Summicron hasn’t been seeing a lot of use, but focus-wise muscle memory is good. Not to where I was before, where I could dial in focus without looking, but not to a point that I’m missing moments.

The missing moments happens after I’ve focused, dialed in exposure, and am watching the scene ready to fire. The figure is in perfect pose, the dog’s head is distinctly looking left, or the drop of water on the icicle swells as it begins to fall. I trip the shutter and there’s a fatal pause as the moment passes, then the shutter clicks. The resulting shot is maybe 1/8th of a second late.

So the slow process of composing and focusing increases the creativity dramatically. But the fatal flaw of the slow operation results in FAIL. To be fair To put the blame where it belongs, it only happens with the Visoflex, which is needed for the 21 (and also the 50 at f1.1).

Too many words.

The rangefinder view is something I grew to love, but I’ve clearly moved on to great EVFs, which give me an exact version of the final image in the viewfinder. I set my EVFs to monochrome, which brings a crisp emphasis on line, shape, and pattern.

Tracking through the past five or so years of my work, or even further back, there is a pattern of rebelling against the equipment required by the job of a newspaper photographer available to a newspaper budget.

When we went with the Nikon D1H and its 1.5x crop sensor, I felt like I was staring at everything through a straw. In reaction, I began to expand the frame by shooting huge composite images made of dozens or even hundreds of frames.

Then it was the EOS 1-D Mark II and an array of lenses that weighed more than anything I’d ever carried around. The reaction to that was to move to a series of small cameras that were clunky and unnatural, though lightweight.

At this point, after nearly a year back with the Leica M, I’ve turned on the smaller, low quality cameras. I don’t use them anymore. And I’m being drawn toward glass of the highest quality.

Maybe there are two years left in my career. I ask myself, Why take a photo with anything but the finest lenses in the world?

2019 Week Eight

Olivia Morgan on the ropes course at the National Ability Center in Park City, Tuesday June 20, 2017. With help from the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, GovernorÕs Office of Economic Development and Intermountain Healthcare, the National Ability Center has expanded its ropes course.

Assignment: Opiod Press Conference

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kelly Howard, who lost her son Billy Perkins, 26, in the opioid epidemic, at a news conference in Salt Lake City on Wednesday Feb. 20, 2019 where Intermountain Healthcare announced a reduction of 3.8 million opioid pills prescribed in 2018.

Looking back the week was weak photo-wise, bookended by a press conference and a February football game.

Assignment: Stallions v Hotshots

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Arizona’s Jhurell Pressley (26) is brought down by a herd of stallions as the Salt Lake Stallions host the Arizona Hotshots, Alliance of American Football in Salt Lake City on Saturday Feb. 23, 2019.

UNPA Contest Results

Had a good showing in the UNPA contest this year. Seven awards…

1st Place, Feature Photo
3rd Place, Feature Photo
1st Place, Arts & Entertainment
2nd Place, Sports Action
Honorable Mention, Sports Action

2nd Place, Photo Essay – FLDS Evictions

2nd Place, Photographer of the Year

Peace to those who allowed me to document their lives in these photographs. I hope I was able to honor your joy, your sacrifice, your loss, whatever it was at the moment we stood together under the sun.

2019 Week Seven

Corona Arch , Saturday Feb. 16, 2019.
Corona Arch

Ideas Projects

Been wondering what to do about UNPA – it’s time to put out a call for entries and yet we’re still waiting on some results from last year.

One morning this week I had an idea for one of my vacant domains, where instead of a contest I could have all the photographer friends send in their favorite photo or project they did in 2018 and make a beautiful site showcasing each photographer and their work. It could be a monthly update, grow and grow, on and on…

I got so psyched up about the idea that I was going to call a photo editor across the way and pitch the idea, to ensure that the photographers working for them could participate without any issues.

Within a couple of hours the mind slowed down and the idea was thrown on the stack of ideas that are going not to be done. I still love it, though. Fifteen years ago we could have done it.

All week I’ve planned to resign from UNPA. I have a draft email from last year ready to go. Nineteen years of volunteer work on that project is something to be proud of. Someone else can take up the reins.

Then again, the industry is so much diff than it was. The community connection… I’m not sensing it.

Then again.

The week covered a lot of miles. More photos than text.

Utah Capitol
Rocky Ridge
La Sal Mountains
Bowtie Arch
Grandstaff Canyon

2019 Week Six

The banality of the First World

Idiots at Work

You can laugh because no one gets hurt in a YouTube video.

Assignment: Encircle LGBTQ center opens in SLC to combat youth suicide

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Encircle: LGBTQ+ Family and Youth Resource Center opens its second location, in Salt Lake City on Friday February 8, 2019.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Stephenie Larsen is the founder of Encircle.

Assignment: Utah Jazz v San Antonio Spurs

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) goes for the steal but San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) holds onto the ball as the Utah Jazz host the San Antonio Spurs, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City on Saturday Feb. 9, 2019.

Jazz won…

2019 Week Five

Utah Capitol rotunda in Salt Lake City on Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019.
Utah Capitol rotunda

Write your own joke: To get a press media pass from the Utah Legislature you’re required to take Workplace Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention Training.

Someone tells me the training is supposed to stop lobbyists from going after the interns. Of course, the benevolence and lack of judgment toward others as taught in the training isn’t always apparent in Utah lawmakers’ proposed legislation.

Assignment: State of the State

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A full House Chamber stands and applauds families who lost loved ones in law enforcement, military and public service as Governor Gary Herbert delivers his State of the State address at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2019.

Ran into someone who used to be a XXXXXXX. There was no need to talk about details, we both know the math and how it probably works out on a chalkboard for the next two years.

Woke up in the night and thought over and over about the situation. Finally got bored with it and went back to the book I’m reading, On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin. No matter how bad your problems are, reading about Saddam hanging people over a fire until their legs slowly burned up…

Not really.

Assignment: Utah v Oregon

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Oregon Ducks forward Kenny Wooten (14) flies over Utah Utes center Jayce Johnson (34) as the Utah Utes host the Oregon Ducks, NCAA basketball in Salt Lake City on Thursday Jan. 31, 2019.

Waiting for the Governor to speak and a guy comes up, Is that a real Leica?

We go on to have a great conversation racing through the past forty years of photography – shooting sheet film, Hasselblads, photographing bombs exploding and missile engine tests with high speed cameras on the proving ground.

It’s the kind of thing that happens when you carry a Leica.

Photographing birdwatchers. Is that a Leica?

Shawn’s dog Bella

We lost Shawn this week. At 35. Just a boy. He had a loving family who gave him a fitting sendoff. I’ll always remember photographing him and Scott in a fountain thirty years ago.

Assignment: Utah v Oregon State

2019 Week Four

trees, snow, sunrise, Tuesday Jan. 22, 2019.
Snow at sunrise, Westminster College.

Images > words this week.

A few from a new ongoing series taken with the Leica and 21.

Finished the week off by installing Pi-Hole. Everything looks so clean now. After two hours, 756 queries blocked, 23.9% of traffic. Brilliant.

Assignment: Selection of New Salt Lake County Mayor

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Stone Fonua speaks as members of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party’s central committee gather to choose a new county mayor from a field of four candidates at Corner Canyon High School in Draper on Saturday Jan. 26, 2019.

Posting the most interesting, not the most popular.

2019 Week Three

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Upset community members attend a meeting over worry that a ban on big trucks on Legacy Parkway is about to expire, unless the Legislature extends it. Residents raise their hand in support of not raising the speed limit on the Parkway during the meeting at Foxboro Elementary School in North Salt Lake on Wednesday Jan. 16, 2019.

The Leica and 21mm continue to give me unique angles…

Assignment: Mitt Romney meets with Weber County Commissioners

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Senator Mitt Romney meets with Weber County Comissioners in Ogden to discuss the ongoing government shutdown on Friday Jan. 18, 2019.

Assignment: Women’s March

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The 2019 Women’s March on Utah at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday Jan. 19, 2019.

Lunar Eclipse

2019 Week Two

clouds, sunset, lds temple, cedar city, Thursday Jan. 10, 2019.

Assignment: Vigil for fallen officer

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Family members listen to Officer Alex Felsing speak at a candlelight vigil in Provo on Wednesday Jan. 9, 2019 for Officer Joseph Shinners, killed Sunday morning while trying to arrest a fugitive.


For thirty years I kept things pure. Now I have done the unthinkable: I have mounted a non-Leica lens onto a Leica M. I will never speak of it again.

Yeah, we’ve all done horrible things but that was really bad.

I have a 21mm again. The distortion is nearly non-existent. I am blown away, as I expected to be.

Driving South

Santaquin, Utah
Cedar City, Utah

Assignment: Cedar High Redmen

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Mohey Tawa, the Cedar High drill team, performs at halftime of a basketball game vs. Canyon View.
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
A water tank above Cedar City with the Redmen mascot of Cedar High School. The school is considering a change in the name of its mascot, The Redmen, Friday Jan. 11, 2019.

The Long Drive Home

Zion National Park
Red Canyon

Day Off

After working all week and being out of town for three days there is finally a day to spend together. We’re together on the couch when the phone rings – Possible active shooter at a shopping mall. You need to go.

I’m trying to cup the phone so she doesn’t hear. That’s what you do these days, try to hide the news you’re hearing, seeing, and reading so that all the everything-awful doesn’t get to her.

The week began with the vigil for the fallen officer, where I stood next to his family and listened to their loss. And now I’m supposed to drive toward what could be a mass killing. I grab my kit and start the car. It’s only fifteen minutes away this time.

Assignment: Shooting at the mall

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
People evacuate with their hands aloft after a shooting at the Fashion Place Mall in Murray on Sunday Jan. 13, 2019.

Luckily it wasn’t a massacre.

2019 Week One

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) University of Utah gymnast Karl Lee, Wednesday Jan. 2, 2019.

Assignment: Gymnast Kari Lee

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) University of Utah gymnast Kari Lee, Wednesday Jan. 2, 2019.

I find myself momentarily monumentally bored with the SLR camera.

In its place I have taken to using rangefinder cameras. This move opens up my vision while at the same time causing me to miss moments, at least until I re-tune my rangefinder skills to their previous levels.

It’s a tradeoff I’m making in order to be more creative, and I want to see exactly what I’m getting.

The cool kids will tell you that equipment isn’t important, that gear talk is lame. As if equipment choices don’t have a huge impact in your work. Each item you equip drives you down a specific creative road, and yet we’re not supposed to do gear talk.

I will tell you that the sameness of old gear puts you in a rut. And I can say from experience that once you lose confidence in a piece of equipment – a lens that after banging around for a while now seems soft, a camera that seems off – you will rarely be able to restore confidence in that piece of gear.

The ultra-fast 50mm with EVF on the Leica M is a dream. Things look good. Old People who hate having their picture taken look good. It’s a fresh look.

The look comes at a cost. Shooting at f 1.1 comes with a razor thin margin of focus -> manually focusing is challenging and slow, requiring the subject to remain as still as possible. And the EVF puts me into live view with its many delays. With this setup there is no deliberate catching of moments, it’s strictly up to cruel fate.

But there are successes.

In this new world the SLR remains on my shoulder for telephoto work, and also, to reassure people that I’m a real photographer. The big lens is part of the costume.


Assignment: National Guard Deployment

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Captain Tyler Boyle embraces his daughters Avery, right, and Alexis in Draper on Wednesday Jan. 2, 2019. Tyler is one of eighteen Utah National Guard soldiers who are deploying to Fort Meade, Maryland, for 400 days to conduct cyber protection operations.