Photography Journal

The Moving Wall

I first encountered the Moving Wall when it rolled through Salina, Kansas is 2002 or 2003.A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the piece had a profound effect on me. My father was served in Vietnam. He was there for one tour between 1965-66 with the United...

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Adapt and Overcome

The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. For more than a year I have been fortunate enough to photograph my local Flathead County Sheriff's Department S.W.A.T. Team. I photographed them training, and a few times, surprisingly, I have...

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Combining loves…

I love being a photographer. I love it. I love it every day. I love those moments when I capture something special. Something beautiful. Something thought provoking. Something creative. I love the way photography invites me to see the world more dramatically. To...

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12:44 a.m. text messages are awesome!

It's 12:44 a.m. It has been an outrageously long day. The dancers are in town for the workshop. There are three more days of classes and dances to be prepared for. Life is outrageously good, but overwhelmingly busy. Then your phone starts beeping. This isn't my normal...

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Authentically Montana

I am still in love with being a photographer. That was brought home to me this week as I had the chance to make photos I have dreamed of real. In 2009, when I found out I got the job and was going to be moving to Montana, I had no idea what I was in for. I was born in...

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Back from a long break…

Wow. It's been September since I posted anything. That makes me feel rather guilty. It isn't that haven't been doing anything. I have. Tons of stuff. So much so, I wonder how I managed not to get buried under it all. What I haven't been doing is sharing it on my blog....

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Portrait Photography

Once upon a time, long ago, and far away, my mother came to visit me. It was 2002 and I was the photographer for Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. In 2001 my father had died and even though I had been a serious photographer for a few years, I had never gotten...

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Sunrise is always worth it.

On Saturday night I wrapped up my last photo shoot around 8:30 p.m. As I walked down the halls of the Whitefish Performing Arts Center I crossed paths with a friend who wished me a restful Sunday. I had to smile at this because I had no shot at a restful day ahead of...

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Sound Effects

For some time now I have been taking photos of the local pipe and drum band the Montana Highlanders. Last year they gave me a list of all their events for this year and almost immediately I zeroed in on one that I really wanted to photograph — sunrise...

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OMG!

Lately it seems I am doing a lot of training photos. The fire department. The SWAT and SRT teams. The Sheriff's Posse. Gunman at hospital scenario. Gunman at school scenario. I am not complaining about this. Personally I love it and I love the photos that are coming...

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Fire and Water

If you know my personal photography at all you have to have noticed my obsession with water reflections.I spent three years on a series of these and even though the project is completed it is a subject I return to again and again. It is my own personal leitmotif. The...

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Simply Stunning

I love scenic photography from out in the wild in spaces that feel almost untouched by man. Here in Montana I have plenty of opportunities to photograph such vistas and I cherish them. But I also love when art and architecture combine and add to the landscapes. I love...

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Excited and Terrified

Some weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to submit images for a multimedia slideshow that would run in conjunction with performances by the Glacier Symphony and Chorale. I put it off and put it off, but finally I sat down to pull the images together and get them to...

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Gratitude

Tonight I am feeling so much better that I just have to take a moment to stop and send out a word of gratitude to my friends and family who have been calling me, praying for me, worrying about me, offering to take care of me, and encouraging me through these last two...

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Comfort Food

Thank God it is Friday. I don't know why but this has been an especially long week and I am soooooooooooo very much looking forward to my weekend. It's snowing outside right now. Which I do not love. But I remain hopeful about my Monday morning plans for sunrise. This...

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Final Photos of Jesus

Last night I got to watch my friend Sunti do the last bit of work on one of his sculptures of Jesus. I posted some of these photos back in December http://brendaahearn.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/capturing-christ/ . The plan was for me to get to do formal studio shots...

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On Jewelry and Memory

February is never an easy time of year for me. Both of my parents died in this month. They died two years apart, but as the years have passed their deaths have merged together into what feels like a single event and February is when I must face it. Nine years ago...

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Chicken and Crab Paella by Miss Cathi and an apology…

I owe an apology to a friend of mine. Not just a simple "I'm sorry." I owe a public apology to Miss Cathi. Not because I did anything so terribly wrong, but because I thought she was mistaken, in fact, I was sure of it. So sure of it, that I challenged a genuine...

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Brenda’s Perfect Oatmeal

Ok, so time for the New Year's Resolutions. One of mine is to post more recipes on my blog. I started this last year. My Foodie Fridays, but I haven't made time this kind of thing since that first post. So today, I have decided to start the year with one of my...

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The Perfect Start to a Brand New Year!

One of my favorite parts of 2011 has been the time I have spent working on learning to swing dance. I am still a beginner, but already I love the music because it makes me smile. I love the people. And I LOVE the dancing. I love all of it. I come a way from a dance...

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Ethics is Everything

When I was a college student I loved my media ethics class. It was media ethics that lead me to minor in Philosophy, a choice I'm still glad I made. Looking at the laws that constrain verses the laws that empower. Looking at various situations where journalists have...

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Capturing Christ

Long ago when I was in college I remember an art teacher who explained to me that one of the requirements of "good" sculpture is that it must be interesting from every angle. Because it is a three dimensional piece of art it is meant to be looked at from all sides....

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Finally Free from a Past Failure

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I was 26, and a new photographer working at my first newspaper job back in Kansas, my work presented me with a story that I didn't know how to tell. This was my first full time newspaper. I had worked on my college newspaper...

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“Oh, the cleverness of me!”

One of my favorite lines from Peter Pan is near the beginning. Wendy carefully sews Peter's shadow back on, and Peter, who is notoriously forgetful, ignores her contribution and celebrates his success by shouting "Oh, the cleverness of me!" This line has become the...

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What I’ve gained, and what I’ve lost.

With the advent of the winter cold we seem to be covering a lot of fires lately. These assignments are always a challenge to me. On the one hand there are some stunning photos to be made. Twice last week I was sent out to photograph the aftermath of devastating fires....

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Cuteness vs. Logic

I've lived in Montana long enough to know that bears are no joke. They are big, powerful, fast,  and when you are in the presence of one of these there is no avoiding the knowledge that you are not the top of the food chain any more. Today I got to photograph five...

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Photo-Quote Collages

Long before I became interested in photography I was a quote collector. I love to read. I love to gather words well spoken. I love to write them down over and over, memorize them if I can. I've done this for as long as I can remember. For almost as many years as I...

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Sunrise is always worth the risk.

It's only mid-afternoon, but already it feels as if today has been a very long day. I know that this is to be expected when I go to sleep at 10 p.m. and set my first alarm for 2 a.m. in the morning. Why the strange hours? Why else? Sunrise. Sunrise is always worth the...

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Remembering Kansas

I've been living in Montana for almost two years now. And still I am constantly reminding myself not to take this place for granted. Pay attention. Look around. Get outside and into the wild. Photograph EVERYTHING! I am not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, in...

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Eavesdropping and its consequences…

For those of you who know me even a little, you know I hate to be late. I literally can't stand it. I will go way out of my way and even arrive half an hour or more early rather than being even one minute late. In part this behavior is based on the fact that I think...

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Connections and the very cool things that come my way…

Connections. That's how I got my latest story. And it's a good story... Last week a friend of mine from choir, Miss Nancy, emailed me that she had two guests staying with her. A former student of hers and a friend of a friend. This friend of a friend turned out to be...

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A Tom Dorsey Photo

Long ago and far away I lived in Kansas and where I worked for the Salina Journal. It was my first full-time newspaper gig and in many ways a proving ground of sorts. I got there in 2002 and left at the end of 2003. It seems like a lifetime ago. While at the Journal I...

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Just a little bit over-prepared

Yesterday was fun day. It was "Media Day" up in Glacier, and that's me — a proud member of the big, bad, liberal media. : )The media was invited to join members of the Park Service and the USGS for a guided tour of Going-To-The-Sun road above Avalanche Creek....

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Adventures in Night Photography

Life in Montana has been a string of new experiences for me. It's one of the things I've enjoyed most about living here. There are constantly new opportunities for me to step outside the familiar and either learn something new about the world, or better still, learn...

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The Work is the Reward

I know it's been a while since I updated my blog, but really I have a good reason. I have been working for several months to document the creation of a sculpture of the Buddha by Bigfork artist Sunti Pichetchaiyakul. I posted the first version of this video some time...

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Pushing 40

Today I am thirty six years old. It's a little strange to take this number in. When I was child I remember a sign my mother had up in her kitchen. It read, "Life begins at 40" and at the time 40 seemed like an impossible age to reach. It doesn't seem so unreachable...

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First Trek of the Year

I'm feeling a little bit guilty. I live in photographer heaven, a place I am constantly in awe of, and yet I've let two and a half months go by before I finally got around to going up to Glacier. I have plenty of excuses if I want them. Glacier is mostly snowbound at...

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Idiot Photographer Dies

Over my years as a photographer I have developed the habit of writing my own headlines. Invariably my headlines begin with the words "Idiot Photographer Dies..." The idiot photographer that we are contemplating in these headlines is, of course, me. "Idiot Photographer...

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Exploring a New Arena

I am not great at embracing new technology. I am a professional photographer working in the digital age but I cling to my traditional ways of doing things even as I slowly move further and further into the new possibilities that digital offers. This has been...

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In Memoriam

There is nothing like the slow light of dawn. Sunsets happen fast. There is this one moment of perfect light and then it's all rapidly leeching away. Dawn is the reverse. You begin in the deep blue undertones where the difference between detail and absolute black is...

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White on White

Last week I came across a new word. "Flocking." I was doing the photos to go with a business story on a local Christmas tree provider. One of the images was of an employee flocking a tree: this is the process of applying fake snow to the branches and needles....

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Happy Birthday to the United States Marines

This is one of those days when I will invariably think of my father. Sergeant Michael James Ahearn of the United States Marine Corps. I don't know a lot of the details of my father's military career. He served one tour in Vietnam between 1965 and 66. Reached the rank...

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Four Views of the Mission Mountains

Don't leave home without your camera. This is, of course, photography rule number 1. This rule assumes that you've got your bag together, film, batteries, all the essentials. But when you are walking out the door, even if it's just to run an errand, you take your...

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Serendipity and the Life of a Newspaper Photographer

People are constantly asking me what it's like being a newspaper photographer. What kinds of things do you photograph? What is your favorite kind of assignment? What's the coolest thing you've ever shot? Where do stories come from? For most of these the answers are...

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The Other Side of the Lens

I have been a professional photographer for nearly 12 years now. In all that time I have seldom been on the other side of the lens. Every once in a while I have done a self-portrait — just for fun. I remember having a toy Nikon that could flip around in an odd way and...

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A Childhood Love Revisited

When I was a little girl I loved horses. Specifically I loved unicorns, but since there weren't a whole lot of those roaming around the deserts of Saudi Arabia I settled for loving horses. Their beauty and grace. Their freedom. The exhilaration I always feel when I...

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My First Montana Wedding

Unpredictable. That's a good word for weather at this time of year. You could have anything from a bright and sun-shiny day to snow when it comes to living in northwest Montana. My friends Jesse and Kevin were married on Saturday the 18th, a day when the weather...

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My Favorite Cathedral

There are churches that I love spread across the many places I have lived and/or traveled to. When I was in college I used to drive to Indiana to visit the Saint Meinrad Archabbey: the archabbey of the Swiss-American Congregation of the Benedictine Order. The church...

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Return to Swan Lake

There are days when I wake up so ready for what lies ahead, so anxious for what is waiting for me that I find myself awake far too early. Today my assignment involved going out on a boat on the Swan Lake (about 35 miles from Kalispell). Swan Lake is beautiful. The...

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Away too long…

Ok, I know I've been away for a while. But it's summer in Montana. This place is literally paradise at this time of year and honestly who wants to spend time sitting in front of a computer when the world outside is sunny, big blue skies with 80 degrees and no...

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From both sides…

It was certainly and interesting weekend here in the Flathead. Summer is here and with these precious days of light and warmth there are more events going on than any one person could attend. This weekend I found myself experiencing two extremes of one sport....

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Glacier

The most awe-inspiring mountains I have ever seen are the ones that reside here. Glacier National Park is celebrating its centennial this year. I love Glacier. I love it. I went there for New Year's Day. Again for my birthday. And now that the road to Logan Pass is...

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The Time Traveler’s Wife

I have just finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The copy that I have is miserably worn out: whole sections have become detached from the spine, the cover is ragged and torn, pages are dog-eared and bent and throughout the paper has become...

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In memory of friends gone too soon.

This has been one of the most difficult weeks I have ever experienced at a newspaper. Two staff members, two of our friends have died. But we didn't know that in the beginning. So it has been a week of wondering, and searching, and hoping and praying. Until Wednesday...

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A Great Gray

As a photographer I have found that many of the best photographs are those that you happen to notice while on your way to shoot something else. On Monday I was heading in to Kalispell to photograph Memorial Day and on my way I passed the largest owl I have ever seen....

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With respect

There are many people who believe that the saddest piece of music ever written is the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. That piece of music is absolutely on of my favorites, but for me the saddest music will always be the sound a solo bugle playing Taps. Nine years...

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Excessive Peacockery

I'm sure that somewhere it is written that it is in poor taste to mock a peacock, but really, when you see them shake their tail feathers, laughter is the only logical response. On Saturday while visiting friends in Oregon I went to the Maryhill Museum and was treated...

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Finally…

Since moving here I have seen members of my wolf pack four times. I have heard them out crying in the night countless times but I have never been able to capture one on film. Until this morning. Behind the house is a hill that leads up into a vast forest. The wolf...

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Not finished yet…

I had hoped to have a collection of the best of my cherry blossoms to post tonight, but it was a spectacular day here in Northwest Montana and I couldn't bear to stay locked indoors and working on my computer. So, soon...I promise. But in the mean time, this is one of...

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Cherry Blossoms Festival?

Without reservation one of my favorite times of year in Washington D.C. was always the weeks when the cherry blossoms came into bloom and the city became overrun with photographers. After three years with those blossoms the flowers have come to be the heart of Spring...

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What I shall miss…

I have decided to move south. I had planned on enjoying the summer out here in rural Olney, but I have been offered a room I cannot turn down. The rent is cheaper and it is within walking distance of work. As much as I enjoy the scenery around me out here, this choice...

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Snow. Seriously?

It snowed again yesterday. Snow. In May. Am I kidding? Nope. Welcome to Montana. For the past two days it's been bitingly cold and we've had snow flurries. On Wednesday I actually woke up to heavy cloud cover and blanket of that fluffy, sticky, damp snow that makes...

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A New Obsession

I'm completely obsessed. That's usually the way it goes with me. I find something I enjoy and then it becomes more than a passing interest, it becomes a consuming point of fascination. The latest obsession in my life...Swing dancing. It started simply enough with a...

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La Valse

Once, years ago now, I came across a sculpture that literally captivated me. The name of the piece is La Valse (which is French for The Waltz). Although I found it at the Musee Rodin in Paris, this particular piece that I so love was not done by Auguste Rodin. It was...

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National

National. My first photo went national. It was a week ago and I am still in shock. And still just as happy as a kid on Christmas morning. Here's the story: on Tuesday of last week I photographed a group of third graders from Elrod Elementary carrying 300 paper bags...

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Stillness and Swan Lake

I have always loved things made from wood. I think I inherited this from my father. It's something that I remember about him distinctly. I remember his hands, I remember his eyes, and I remember the way he admired and took extra time to look at things made from wood....

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Wildlife Safari

In the five months that I have lived in Montana I have come to quickly realize that I am living in the midst of my very own wildlife safari. Saturday is the perfect example of this. I had an early morning photo shoot at Swan Lake — I'll write about that tomorrow —...

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A Black and White World

I love black and white photography. I love the way it forces a person to concentrate on composition. Colors are beautiful, but they can be a distraction. Test it yourself sometime. Take a photo that you think is good. A colorful sunset, balloons at a fair, a field...

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Recklessness…

This is a story about my jeep. I have loved Jeep Wranglers since I was old enough to care about vehicles. And, after purchasing one, I now know absolutely that I have chosen my obsession well. There is a lot to love about Jeeps. Jeep Wranglers wave at each other....

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Unexpected gifts

There is a poem that I love called Evening. It was written by my favorite poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. The translation I first read, and consequently love the most, is by Stephen Mitchell from the collection of Rilke's selected poetry and prose Ahead of All Parting....

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A Long Hoped For Moment

Last Friday was good day. Sometimes it seems that everything just comes together so perfectly that all I can do is accept with gratitude that life is gift. It had a been a longish week, but at 3 o'clock in the afternoon I was not tired, I was joyful. This was the...

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