I'm mthree. Those are my initials. Always have been, and thanks to a hubby with a "M" last name; always will be.

I've been a designer for over ten years, I was an animator and a filmmaker once, I was a bride before I was a photographer, I'm a new business owner, but I've always been an artist.

You can get a glimpse of where I've been, a better look at where I am and a peek at where I'm going right here.

You gotta S -T-R-E-T-C-H your browser window to see the BIG pictures...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seniors | Nick

This was my first "senior session". I haven't really marketed to portrait clients, but when someone asks, I am game. I'm still undecided if I'm equipped to handle a full compliment of Seniors, especially when that busy season coincides with Weddings.
But, when my cousin Jenny asked if I would do her son's Senior Pictures, I was more than happy to take a crack at it. And you know what? It was a total blast! Unlike weddings, we got to spend some time on each set-up a bit. My trusty assistant Harmony worked the bounce and altered settings while I kept Nick happy and camera friendly. He did a fantastic job. He wasn't afraid of the camera one bit and there wasn't an ounce of awkwardness. And he did it all with his mom and little sister looking on - now that is confidence.

Nick is definitely a classic Midwestern guy. Cars, four wheelers, hunting, fishing, sports - all are among his loves. But it was stock car racing that really lit up his face. Nick is in this cool program that allows him to intern on a pit crew for a local stock car racer and if his guy does well, he'll be eligible for a scholarship to go to school for such an occupation. He got access to the garage (and the cars!) and we had some serious fun there.

Senior pictures have come a long way since I was a High School Senior - I'd like to think I put a little Mthree spin on them here.
Thanks Nick for a great session!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Demo Derby 2008

This post is going to feel very much like Ree over at Pioneer Woman wrote it, which I'm okay with because I love her blog and she has a great style (If you haven't checked out her blog go do so now - she is hilarious!).

Settle in for story time dear readers, this is going to be a long one. First, for those not acquainted with this time-honored tradition known as the Demolition Derby, let me fill you in. Men (and some women) buy old, large, strong cars, knock out all the glass, pull off all the trim, remove the backseats, and generally put about 50-80 hours of work into turning the once sensible vehicle into something that can withstand hundreds of crashes and dish out some fury as well. Then they paint them. Elaborately. (I myself used to spend the better part of two weeks painting Hubby's car) Then these participants wake up at the crack of dawn, tow their creations out the county fair, wait in line and sit around all day. At 3 p.m. they drive the cars onto a muddy dirt track and willfully, gleefully, blissfully smash their cars into one another. In essence, they cause and participate in hundreds of car accidents, all to the delight of a crowd of 5,000 or so.

Some Frequently asked questions:

Yes, we spend money on this.

Yes, we spend exorbinant amounts of time on this.

Yes, among our group there are whole garages and box trucks devoted to storing the various parts and tools
necessary to do this well, collections of radiators, tires, alternators and who knows what else that have been acquired and passed down over many years.

No, we do not ever win more than maybe $100 and a plastic trophy for all of this work.

Is it fun? You bet.

How long have we been doing this? 9 years.

Do you worry about Hubby's safety? Not at all.

I've pulled about a 100 shots for this post, we will see how many make it in. Let's introduce the main characters:

That is Paul on the left, Dave next to him, Hubby and then Dale on the right. Dale is a bit of a rookie, having only driven once
before. Paul, Dave and Hubby are kind of the core of the "Captain's Motorsports" team - I'm pretty sure they have all driven for the last eight years. Except for this year. Paul decided not to enter his car this year. I should pause here to say that Paul is serious about the Demo. Serious like a heartbeat. He puts more effort, money and skill into it than anyone. This year he ran short on time and decided that if he couldn't create his car the way he wanted to he didn't want to enter. So Paul was Crew Chief Supreme and while we were sad to not have him as a driver, his expertise in demo car maintenance is truly unmatched.

Hubby's car hood. Obviously sporting his main sponsor. (I painted the hood quickly this year, but didn't have time for the rest
of the car, so that fell to Hubby's cracker jack pit crew)

Mthree Studio got some prime real estate this year too.

The "Captain's Motorsports" logo and some of those who helped this year.

This is Hans. Hans is a German force of nature, and one of Hubby's right hand men at Blackjack. Hans had a car too, and he took a few liberties:

Gotta love that last one, right? There is much love between Hans and Hubby, but this is how they express it. Men.

Dave had a co-pilot this year. Crazy, abnormal things like this seem entirely logical on Demo Day.

The bigger your stacks, the bigger your....hits.

The inside of the cars doesn't get as much love as the outside.

Each Derby starts with a "driver's meeting" and I always enjoy looking at the group collected and thinking about how we really don't fit in here. For one, we don't have enough tattoos.

This is how the derby started this year- by these two cuter than cute mini King and Queen of the Fair yelling
"Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" into the microphone.

Dave's heat was first. They always split Hubby and his friends up into different heats so that they can't team up on people.
(Not that they would...)

There's Hubby and Dale watching from the roof of a friend's car on the sidelines ( the yellow one).

Dave was doing great - smashing everyone else up and keeping his car in fine form. In the interest of not posting a true marathon of pictures here we are going to gloss over Dave and Dale's heats a bit. They both won and got a spot into the finals. Woot!

See? There's the checkered flag being waved over Dale.

And now for our main event - Hubby's heats. Here he comes into the arena for his first attempt:

Isn't he cute? Everything is still so clean and pristine. It won't last long.

And the smashing begins...

See that little orange flat sticking up from Hubby's car? That flag is important - it means he is still in the contest. When you have been disqualified or your car has died, you have to pull the flag down so people know not to hit you anymore.

Things are getting a little messy now. At this point in picture taking I have been pelted with mud at least twenty times and somehow my lens has emerged unscathed. How is that you wonder? Because I knew my readers wouldn't put up with muddy, smeary photos, so my hair, face, and general appearance be darned, I kept that lens clean!

One of the refs assesses a potential fire situation.

This is "Dr. Demo". He is quite good and will be one of our villians in this story. I'm showing you him now so that you can appreciate what happens to him later in this post.

That's Hubby's cousin behind him there in the station wagon. In the Demo Derby you still have to hit family.
That is a rule.
I swear.

Remember Hans and his "Michel Killer"? - well the Killer came up a bit short.

And here is where hubby got nailed hard and smashed his head into the top of the car. You are seeing him wincing here, because even being the seasoned Demo Derby Wife that I am, I still stopped clicking long enough to feel his pain as it happened, only remembering my duty to my readers for the aftermath.

Okay, so here is where I realized there was a 'small' fire under Hubby's car. (see the smoke?) I have seen this before, it could be nothing. I saw a few flames, but again, could be nothing.

A few minutes later Hubby saw the fire too - inside the car by his feet. So he pulls his flag down and yells to a referee to pause the race.

And dives out the other side of the car, head first (the crowd loved it).

And the standby fire crew takes care of it, with Hubby looking on. (I think it is hilarious he is right there in it with them).

A sad and dejected (but safe) Hubby walks away from his car. (When your car starts on fire you have to leave it, whereas if you just "died" you get to stay in it and watch).

No sooner does Hubby get off the track then the action has begun again and he gets pelted with mud. Really, I just wanted to show you my best "flying mud shot".

And here is where Act Two begins. We'll call it "Can we fix the car for the Consolation Heat?" This shot was taken not thirty seconds after Hubby left the arena. It is one-track mindset people.

Later, back in the pits:

The whole crew assesses what might have caused the fire.

Evidence is found.

Father in Law and Paul decide the car is salvageable and work begins.

Here is where I take a multi-hour break from picture taking. I was recovering from two full wedding days and I was coming down with whatever it is I have now, so my usual zeal for documenting every second of Demo Day did go on hiatus during the less intense moments. Here is what my panel of the car looked like after that first heat though:

And we are rarin' to go for our second shot at making the finals and Act Three. Showing their support are from left, Hans, Nick, Caleb and Pete hanging out in the stands. (I can only reasonably take so many people up on stage with me, so they had to languish with the public. I do try hard not to overstep my bounds as a Superintendent.)

This is Marv. I love Marv. He is the former president of the fair. Marv gets to sit wherever he wants.

And there is Hubby, a few cars back on the right, waiting to get in for chance #2. Car fixed and ready to go, complete with a new air filter.

Remember when I said strange things seem normal on Demo Day? Observe the giant sheep on top of the car to the left of Hubby's.

That car on the left did not eat Hubby, despite how it may look.

There's that Dr. Demo again - he had to try for a second chance too.

Sadly, somewhere between this picture above and this one below, Hubby broke his steering column. (For those of you that don't know that means when he turned the steering wheel, the wheels did not also turn). And he is out. Sad, yes.

See? Even the ref's are sad.

This is Glen. I love Glen. Glen handles the sound for the Fair and is so, so nice.

There's Uncle Danny - I let him up on stage with me so he could tape the whole disaster.

There's the "Fairest of the Fair" hiding behind her mud-defensive umbrella. Ahh, the memories...

There was a heat just for trucks and vans. One of the cars that Blackjack sponsored won that heat:

Straight out of the camera people. God, I love that.

I was monentarily distracted by this cute fireman while waiting for the Final showdown to begin.
He's the one on the left. I have small weak spot for cowboys and firemen in general. Okay, well, the weak spot for Cowboys is fairly large. But the fireman one - very, very small.

And here we are, the Finals.

Here comes Dave..

And Dale...

Dale got taken out pretty quickly. But Dave kept right on pickin' em off, one by one.

Remember Dr. Demo- our villian? That is his syringe there in all the smoke. And this is also Dr. Demo, a few seconds later:

With that all taken care of (Dr. Demo was fine), we continue:

So here we are, only two cars left, and Dave is one of them. He gets stuck with the other guy, end to end.
No matter how hard they try, they can't pull apart.

And so the officials grant the win to the other guy, claiming he had the last "aggressive hit".
We of course, respectfully disagree. But, it is still second place, which is a personal best for Dave.

Sorry to end it so abruptly there, dear readers, but that is kind of how it goes. To check out last year's demo, click here.
The Demo was one of the first big posts I ever did on this blog, which means my little online journal here is just over a year old. Awwww.

We will be back to our regularly scheduled engagement shoots and weddings tomorrow.