National Monument review and why we need to speak out

My National Parks personal project is kind of a new aspect of my work, that has been on pause as of late, it has given me the time to reflect on my photographic adventure. Along the way I have visited places like John Muir rock in Kings Canyon, and the Snake River overlook where Ansel Adams took his great image The Tetons and the Snake river. I spent a day trying to find the best place to shoot a shot that looked as close as possible and then had to come back when the light was right two days later to get this shot.

These places stir a reverence to times when the National Park Service was in its infancy and many of the parks we now know and love were not even conceived then. The Parks establishment took the dedication of men like Muir, Adams who became park advocates and countless others such as John D Rockefeller who bought land and donated which became part of Grand Tetons. They spoke out and convinced the presidents and politicians that these lands were sacred and should be kept undisturbed.

After 4 months on the road 24 National parks and countless national forests and monuments I found each has their own story of people who fought long and hard to protect each one. In March during my journey I saw the news of the executive order from our 45th president in which it would allow the sale of National Forests, monument and even park lands to be determined by a congressional committee. So with one quick whip of the pen he put in to motion the unraveling years of work by conservationists, scientists from many fields, philanthropists and artists. These lands not only hold beauty and wonder but many are Native American sites that have been there for hundreds and some thousands of years. Why would we sell these lands? All I can answer is greed. The push for oil in our country now knows no bounds oil rigs surround the park I visit most often Theodore Roosevelt National park.

Now many would say wow what a great image but this image is disappointing to me, as the yellow light in the background is not northern lights, a sunrise or even close city lights. The lights are from oil flares in the distance. People wonder why darkness in a park is even necessary well like humans animals have biological clocks and this intrusive light affects their normal routine. Not only are the rigs flares having an impact but this photo in the south unit shows just how close the rigs are to the park in some places.

On a trip to Glacier I swung into Theodore and got some great photos (in a future post), I stopped along the road and walked in about 100 yards to get this shot of  a rainbow which was rare this year as it was a big drought year. It was an ok shot but did not lend itself to any wide-angle composition as this rig and others would have been in the frame. I was so disappointed that just down and left of this beautiful scene was an oil rig.

The fence  is the park boundary and the rig is basically right next to it with another on the hill in the background. Now I can only hope this company is operating under strict EPA rules however the watershed protections have also been drastically reduced so they can put things like this closer to our parks and rivers. Not good, and especially if you look at enlarged section of this photo.
That is standing water next to oil holding tank and rig, granted this was after a rain of about an inch but it makes me wonder how safe it is next to a national park? Murphy’s law of what can go wrong probably will. So this president wants to loosen restrictions on watersheds and rewrite boundaries for parks and monuments that were made for a reason by past presidents.
The review board set up by Donald Trump results have not yet been fully released Ryan Zinke the department of interior has said that Bears Ears National, Grand Escalante, and Cascade-Siskiyou all are going to be affected. It is not a coincidence that each of these monuments all have resources that companies want. Fates of other parks have yet to be determined.
This landscape photo was shot in Bears Ears which contains uranium an extremely toxic ore to mine with radioactive waste that needs to be contained, Cascade Siskiyou holds many trees the logging industry is after, and Grand Escalante contains rich coal reserves. This administrations erosion of environmental water shed policies, border review have shown that they are not in this for the American public. If the money gained from these resources actually would do any good like providing healthcare, education for our youth, paying down our national debt some would argue it is a fair trade. I however do not believe this to be true they are merely looking to line the pockets of big business; and rob the American public of lands that for historical or conservation reasons have been set aside to be protected from mining, drilling and logging. Regardless of who put them there they deserve to be preserved and protected for the wildlife as well as for people to visit. The reasons these parks are large is because they are large tracts of land with no services and they are adjacent to many national parks or monuments. They serve as safe avenue for animal migration, and keeping the areas next to parks undeveloped and wild. In the case of Bears Ears there are many Native petroglyphs and ruins throughout the area. We should not have to see oil rigs next to a boundary of a park or worry about the water not being safe due to mining and drilling in national park watersheds. Let us also not forget that many of these lands were originally Native American reservation lands given by treaties which were broken, so now the government wants to break an agreement with the American public.
We love our Public Lands for many reasons hiking, camping, photography and in some forests and grasslands hunting and fishing and they need to be protected for the uses they were intended. Pristine wilderness is something that takes decades to bounce back from logging and mining should never be sacrificed we are moving towards a greener society and before we get there fully lets not sacrifice the places we have left for a quick buck. Do not let your voice go unheard speak out to your state representatives!

Six month photographic journey into the National Park System.

For two months I have stared at a blank screen some how waiting for the words to miraculously appear from a journey which some would call a futile effort, yet others would say it was the time of my life, but for me I think it will be the first of many adventures that cannot be summarized in a mere blog post. The range of emotions ran the gamut from the calmness and serenity of the sun setting in the desert, to sheer and utter terror on a four mile hike out through Chiracahua Canyon in the dark seeing large close-set eyes following me.

As the country was being divided by the media, and a President who sought to unravel works of former administrations of protecting places for our enjoyment and the conservation of ecosystems that support diverse life. I was envisioning fulfillment a dream that had built in my soul since I saw the works of Ansel Adams the amazing photographer, and advocate for the National Parks.

There I was with my 40th birthday soon staring me in the face and little I had planned to carry out by 40 actually finished. Which I suppose is what most of the people feel when they hit 40 since most of their great things in life probably weren’t planned at all. I read Kerouac’s On The Road many years ago and it rang so true in certain parts. The excitement of the open road the dotted lines flying by, the T in the road with an arrow in either direction that you just ask yourself for the answer, or when it comes down to it a flip of the coin. So I started to set the plan in motion to rid myself of the chains I had wrapped myself in by society telling me I needed the newest things, a nice apartment, a great paying job, and a hefty savings to enjoy my life when I retire. As I begin to rid myself of things and wants or expectations of what my life should be, I found a greater understanding of what makes my life fulfilling to me.

So this is the first post of many about my travel, and the places I have seen, and hopefully my skills as a landscape photographer can get you some enjoyment and a feeling that our National Parks, National Monuments, and national forests/grasslands need to be protected. You may say wait a minute these places are Federally protected. Well there are many things that threaten these places as well as our environment in general. I ask you to join me here and to keep checking back as I post experiences and photos over the last 6 months. A journey through our great American shrines to the beauty that brought our immigrant ancestors to this land and shaped generations of conservationists, artists and scientists to ask questions and fight to save them. These are the places we think of when we try to explain the beauty of our country to others.
landscape, national parks, Grand Tetons National park, Oxbow Bend
This is Oxbow Bend in the Grand Tetons National Park. When we visit serene places like this we can take in the view and gain perspective of trivial problems and hit the emotional reset button. In our lives we have been conditioned to distance ourselves from nature so we can be closer to Modern conveniences, cell coverage, shopping, restaurants, a comfortable bed and wifi. The understanding I have gained in my travels, that although these things are nice they distance us further from our natural place on this earth and the connection we have with it. This is the first to come of many so stay tuned you can follow me on twitter, fb, linked in just click link on top right.

High School Senior Photography for 2018 Grads

I will be back in North Dakota for the summer after being away for twenty years. I can’t wait to starting shooting High School Senior Portraits here in North Dakota and the upper midwest. Growing up here I loved the the wide open landscapes that are sweeping and vast. I would love to travel to rural towns and simplify my clients lives by coming to them and make Great Senior photography available to many who live far from towns. My style of photography allows me to show up and scout for an hour or so and come up with amazing senior portraits in any location.

Senior Portrait, senior pictures, senior photographer, Bismarck, ND

Senior Portrait, senior pictures, senior photographer, Bismarck, ND

Senior Portrait, senior pictures, senior photographer, Bismarck, ND

So if you love your small town, farm, or favorite spot I can make something happen anywhere. Sessions are $400 for a two hour session and sunset times fill in fast so schedule soon! There are some travel charges if more than 60 miles from Bismarck 58504 zip, 50 cents a mile over 60 miles, or if you have a friend or friends that would like to do theirs on the same day I will wave the travel fee. I provide you with a usb drive or dropbox sharing if you prefer, of your final edits and a release, Then you can get them printed where you want to.
So Contact me today! Please leave info where you want the shoot done and if you have any questions in the comment section.








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Wedding day first look planning

As a wedding photographer, I want every one of my weddings to produce great images that everyone loves and will let them remember it forever. Your wedding does not have to be grand in size, venue or dollar amount to be special. Whatever your wedding budget is there is a goal that all couples seem to have, and sometimes overlook the one that should be the most important. For you to have a great time spending your wedding day together!
I have found those who choose to have a first look before their ceremony or are willing to put a solid block of time between the ceremony and reception for a staged one seem to get a lot out of it. I try to set up at least fifteen or twenty minutes to photograph a first look and some of bride and groom formals. In the last wedding I shot it paid off with great results. Morgan and Mitch had a great country wedding and they set aside a good block of time for a first look in which they had a special spot picked out. There was a clearing with some old trucks parked in the backwoods where they would sneak out to meet each other in high school. So we got Morgan ready and had Mitch meet her where they had so many times before, it was a great spot because it had meaning and will remind of that forever, as a bonus it fit right in to their country theme.

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

After this short session, they had time to chat and relax together, while I shot what was going on. They had no trouble feeling relaxed in front the camera for the rest of the day. So when you are planning your wedding day don’t think of first look as just time for photographs think of it as part of your day to be enjoyed and a way to feel at ease in front of the camera. And if you are close to some place special between you two, feel free to tell me and if time permits I am always open to suggestions. Just make sure you can add in the time to make it happen, most photographers should be happy to assist with any photo related scheduling questions well in advance of your wedding day.
If your interested in having me photograph your wedding I do have some 2015 dates still available click this link http://www.joelgeistphoto.com/contact/
Feel free tell me about your first look stories in the comments section. (you can click “comments” on the top the article if you are in the blog roll instead of post page.)

Beautiful Country wedding in Mercer, North Dakota with Morgan + Mitch

I traveled to Mercer, North Dakota for a wedding two weeks ago. It was a such a pleasure to photograph a great couple. This country wedding was blessed with great weather, a setting that was very special to them, and a lot of friends and family who helped make this day so very special. Morgan + Mitch were high school sweethearts and the backyard where I photographed their first look was the same place where they used to sneak out and meet each other years ago. Here are some highlights from this great country wedding filled with good times.

country wedding, travel wedding photographer, DC Baltimore Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel wedding photographer, DC Baltimore Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC Baltimore Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel wedding photographer, DC Baltimore Maryland

country wedding, travel wedding photographer, DC Baltimore Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland

country wedding, travel, wedding photographer, DC, Baltimore, Maryland
Congratulations! I wish the best for Morgan + Mitch and I was honored to share in this special day to remembered!








Feel free to leave comments below, tell me what you think.

Senior Photography Portrait Session

So it is time for Seniors of the class of 2014 to head into their final year of high school. I have a lot of fun photographing senior portraits. I photograph them on location to fit a seniors personality, because no two are exactly alike. Their senior photos should not be either.

I had the opportunity to shoot a session with Drake from Milford Massachusetts before my upcoming move to Baltimore Maryland. Drake is involved with wrestling, track, student council and is looking at architecture as his major. It was a great shoot and I was very pleased with his portraits. I had their proofing session and was very pleased that Drake and his family had a tough time choosing.

Senior Photography, portrait photographer, baltimore, maryland, dc

Senior Photography, portrait photographer, baltimore, maryland, dc

Senior Photography, portrait photographer, baltimore, maryland, dc

Senior Photography, portrait photographer, baltimore, maryland, dc

Senior Photography, portrait photographer, baltimore, maryland, dc

My thanks to Drake a really a great young man, best of luck in all you do!

Massachusetts FoamFest 2013

Every once in a while it is very refreshing to photograph a really fun event where people don’t take themselves very seriously and are just out to have some fun. I was contacted to help shoot this event as a sports photographer but it turned out that the photo booth got backed up and I ended up shooting groups for much of the two days.
It was a weekend about having fun groups of friends and families descended on Haverhill, Massachusetts at Kimball Farms where they set up a fun 5k and obstacle course. I was stationed at the finish line and had to pop back and forth photographing team and family groups. It was a long day but it was great having people, not worried about how they look in the photo and nearly all of them had fun poses that showed they had a great day. The finish line turned into a mud pit late in the day and many ended the 5k race with a foamy mud bath.

Here is a slice of last weekend at the New England Foam Fest.

Senior Portrait Summer Special for Class of 2014

Class Of 2014 are you looking for great Senior portraits that showcase your style and personality? I am offering a Summer Senior Portrait Special* through 9/1/13.

How Much? Only $89– Your session will include a 1 hour location portrait shoot, 1 print each 8×10, 5×7, and 4×6. Prints can be from any poses you choose. Includes 25 mile travel from Milford, MA 01757.

Extra prints, files and upgraded packages are available for purchase at reasonable prices. Referral programs and back to back best friends sessions are available as well. If you have any questions please click here http://www.joelgeistphoto.com/contact/. Schedule your senior portrait session before 9/1/13 to get this great rate!

Senior Portrait, Photographer, Boston, Milford

*The details-Any senior portrait sessions scheduled after 9/1/13 will be at regular rates. Any shoots rescheduled due to weather or will be honored at Summer Special rate.

Boston photo shoot

Recently I shot with Marcus in Boston. It was a great portrait session on a beautiful day in Boston. I loved the contrasts and backgrounds that were available for this shoot in the golden hours, which is just before sunset. It is my favorite time to photograph for a portrait session.
boston-photographer-fashion-senior-photography

boston-photographer-fashion-senior-photography

boston-photographer-fashion-senior-photography

boston-photographer-fashion-senior-photography

boston-photographer-fashion-senior-photography

A special wedding in Rome, New York with Julie + Jeremy

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Julie and Jeremy’s wedding in Rome, New York. I have known Julie and Jeremy for a couple of years, they both live in Florida. Julie was originally from Rome and wanted her wedding in Rome where most of her family and friends were from. It is clear to see their love for each other and Rome was a great choice as the friends and family around them made this day very special.

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Boston Wedding Travel Photographer

Thanks to all who helped through out this great day. I wish nothing but the best for Julie and Jeremy. Congratulations!