mendonphoto.com - landscape and travel photography by Aaron Beddes
My Equipment

I honestly think that equipment is one of the least important parts of photography.  Of course I want to have the best equipment possible, but I think that 75% of my pictures would be just as successful with a $500 consumer DSLR kit as with the equipment I have now.  It's that last 25% of opportunities that pushes me to get the gear I can.  I currently use the following:

Canon 5D

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8

Canon 1.4x TC

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4.0

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro

Canon Speedlite 420EX 

Bogen/Manfrotto 055-MF3 Magfiber tripod

Acratech Ultimate ball head

Misc. filters, remote, CF cards, etc.

 
About This Site

Web design is a punishment inflicted on us by computer programmers.  To prove to us how difficult their job is, they have intentionally incorporated into web programming, which should actually be very simple, every single difficulty that can be encountered in all other forms of programming.

For a year before I designed the incarnation you see here, I knew I needed something better than what I had.  I put off doing anything because designing web sites will siphon the desire to continue living right out of you.

I actually sometimes do a form of programming for my job, and I'm no stranger to web coding and programming in general.  But, I'm honestly not that good at getting the syntax perfect, and at work, I have learned to rely on good tools to help me quickly get done what I need and to find my mistakes.  Web coding tools are comparatively crude (at least the one I use - Notepad).  Web browser compliance to standards is abysmal.  In addition I have the problem that I want the following for a web site:

1.  It's flexible and easy to add content

2.  It's reliable and displays well on most (if not all) computers/browsers

3.  It looks and functions exactly how I want

It's pretty easy to get 2 out of 3 of those requirements.  For example, you could just build the site using Dreamweaver, and then you have 2 and 3.  Or, you can use a Content Management System and a template that somebody else had developed, and then you have 1 and 2.  But, the only way I know of to get all three is to use the CMS and design my own template and perhaps additional modules.  I finally got around to it and it has been even worse than I feared.  I honestly believe that very few people ever get web sites looking and working exactly how they want them on all browsers.  It's almost impossible.

This site is built on the Joomla! CMS, and I've written my own template to get the look and feel you see now.  The rotating banner images are controlled by the "Header Image" plugin, and the galleries are generated with the "Simple Image Gallery Pro" plugin.

 
About My Photography

When I was young, I really enjoyed drawing.  I was casually interested in art in general, but what I enjoyed most was making pictures myself.  After high-school, the amount of drawing that I did dwindled - mainly because I no longer had art assignments, and a drawing was usually a commitment of several hours at the least.  After my daughter was born, I happened to browse a book about photography and it really interested me.  For Christmas a few weeks later, my wife bought me a beginner's book on the subject, and I was anxious to try the techniques that were discussed.  All I had was a P&S camera, though, so my wife again came to the rescue and bought me a film SLR for my birthday 2 weeks after that.

I had a lot of fun with the film camera for a few months, but soon became frustrated over the lack of control at the processing and development side.  Setting up a lab to develop and print B&W was an option, but it seemed very inconvenient, and still wouldn't allow me to work in color.  Luckily, at that time, Digital SLR cameras were just falling into my price range (just out of it, actually), so I saved my pennies for several months and purchased the original Canon Digital Rebel.  I've never looked back.

I love digital photography.  The biggest advantage, and the main reason that I switched so quickly, is that I have complete control over my pictures from start to finish.  I don't have to abandon them to a lab technician after the capture stage.  Another huge advantage is the immediate feedback.  I can immediately check the composition and exposure on the LCD.  In addition, I can switch ISO any time I want, I don't have to worry about color correction filters, I don't worry about the cost of film and processing, and I don't have to carry around a bag full of film.  The few disadvantages that digital had when compared to film are quickly disappearing.  Resolution on the Full Frame cameras is already as good or better than most, if not all, films.  Dynamic range is already much better than slide film, and it is approaching that of color negative film.  And equipment cost (even when you don't consider the cost of film and processing) for good digital camera is rapidly fallling.

I would classify myself as a travel photographer.  That's when I take the most pictures, and that's when I enjoy it the most.  I like to travel to beautiful places, and Iike to make beautiful pictures of those places.  In the U.S., I tend to visit National Parks and other natural areas the most.  That's what I think is most aesthetic about America.  Here in Europe, I have taken more pictures of populated areas - since almost everywhere around me there are at least the signs of civilization.  Whatever the destination, if after you look at my pictures you want to visit the places that I have been, than I think I have done a good job with my photos.

 
About Me

I'm Aaron Beddes.  I was born in Utah in 1976, and I have lived most of my life there.  Besides Utah, I lived for a couple of years in Wyoming when I was very small, a couple years in Mexico after high-school, three and a half years in Belgium, and now I live in Oregon with my wife and two kids.  Living outside of the U.S., I've been able to learn to speak passable Spanish and Dutch.

I graduated from Utah State University in 2000 with a degree in Computer Engineering and I've worked as an Electrical Engineer since.  I currently do both electronic design and R&D project management for a Belgian company called Barco.  Barco is a largish company with an international presence that makes a variety of display and display-related products.  The group I am in makes LED displays that are used both in events (rock concerts, awards shows, auto-shows, ect.) and fixed installations (shopping malls, casinos, etc.).

Sometimes I set up the tripod and take some family pictures in the places I travel.  Here are a few of those.

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