Breaking 50k views!!

Since I’ve started experimenting with iPhone cinematography, our viewership and subscription members have grown.  I’m very thankful for all the love and support this video has been getting.  It’s now reached over 50,000 views on our YouTube channel, A&J Vlogs.  You can check it out here! I’d love to hear what y’all think!

ICONIC KC | iPHONE 7 PLUS 4K FILM

Lately I’ve been exploring filmmaking using the iPhone 7 plus and DJI Osmo Mobile. Check out my latest film, a homage to KC, the city of my childhood and young adulthood. Stay tuned! More films to come!

God’s Garden

Out of the cold north we’ve come.  Winter holds the land of Bismarck, ND in a chilly grip for seven months out of the year.  On our arrival from two plus years in Korea, we found work where January’s wind chills are often -30 degrees fahrenheit.  Ironically, it was ten months of refining fire.  A challenging geographical and work environment formed, focused, and affirmed our vocational and educational goals.  Journeys are filled with periods of fruitfulness, and desert climates.  This section of our journey for me was like a desert artistically.  One year was enough.  In May, an employer of interest invited us for a face to face interview in Nashville, TN.  After our interview, we decided on a day long lay-over in the Denver, Colorado area.  Garden of the Gods seemed like a place for fertile photographic opportunities after a year of dryness.

The Balancing Rock

The Balancing Rock

Wings of Stone

Wings of Stone

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Reaching

Reaching

Respect

Respect

It seems that our desert is breaking into fertile ground.  We were offered the job in Nashville!!  We’ll be moving there the first week of July.  I’m looking forward to the many landscapes of Tennessee!

Official Launch: Complete Badlands Gallery!

I’m excited to announce the official launch of my complete Badlands National Park gallery at www.leeephelpsphotography.com !! If you’re looking for some great photo art for you personal or professional space, I invite you to take a look here!

Any images on www.leephelpsphotography.com would make great Christmas presents!  Stay tuned for a special Christmas deal!

Upon the Devil’s Land

A dramatic title is only fitting for a dramatic natural monument.  Funny thing is, “Devil’s Tower” is actually a misinterpretation of Native American names such as “Bear’s House, Bear’s Liar, Home of the Bears, ect. (source).”  In 1875, a mistaken interpreter for Col. Dodge referred to it as “Bad Gods Tower (ibid).” Later shortened to Devils Tower (minus the apostrophe), this monolith in eastern Wyoming seems to rise out of nowhere to 5,112 ft. (1558 m) above sea level.

Devils Tower, AKA Bear’s Liar

The traditional Native American name is more fitting for their story of how the tower was formed:

“According to the Native American tribes of the Kiowa and Lakota Sioux, some girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. (Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower.) When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the star constellation the Pleiades (source).”

What scientist believe is the remains of the interior of an ancient volcano, is still considered highly sacred to modern Native Americans.  Many visitors are impacted by a sense of the spiritual when their eyes are caught by its lines that lead heavenward.

“At the top of the ridge, I caught sight of Devil’s Tower up thrust against the gray sky as if in the birth of time the core of the earth had broken through its crust and the motion of the world was begun.  There are things in nature that engender an awful quiet in the heart of man; Devil’s Tower is one of them.”

  • N. Scott Momaday – The Way to Rainy Mountain, 1969

While some are content to simply gaze heavenward, others are drawn to close contact in an attempt to reach the summit.

Climbers reaching for the summit.

Not being skilled to make the climb, the wife and I settled for hiking upon the Devil’s land via Red Beds Trail, a short three-mile hike around the base of the tower.

Red Beds Trail

Devils Tower, or Bear’s Liar…either name brings with it a sense of the spiritual, and images of chaotic dramatic beauty.  Which is fitting when one considers the story of this tower that spans millions of years.  It’s a tale that we had the privilege of witnessing in part, and an epic drama that continues to go on.