Bison vs. Cobbers


This gentleman was taken aback by the bluntness of the question of whether or not he exceeded the age of 40.  

A former Concordia Cobber by trade, Paul Wraalstad now works for NDSU as the Director of Operations in the Memorial Union.

After working for Concordia for over 10 years as the Director of Student Programming, this Norwegian decided to grow hooves and loose the husk with the new challenges that would come from trading campuses.

ProfileWhen asked what his favorite thing about working at NDSU, his response, “seeing all the great events put on by students.”

He said that events are a large enhancement to the college experience, and that the Memorial Union functions very differently then Concordia’s did in that way.

Some of his responsibilities at NDSU include making sure everything is prepared and ready for events. He makes sure the set up of tables, chairs and podiums are exactly the way they need to be.

One of his favorite events to tailor for is the Fashion and Design FABO event, because he enjoys seeing the students work.

Wraalstad said he did not always know he was going to be a Director for event set up, when he started in college he wanted to be a music teacher, but shortly switched to psychology.

What he currently does wasn’t  “ever on the list of things that came up on my career profile,” he said. But he enjoys the fact that he aides in helping students understand how great the programs at NDSU are.

He said that NDSU is a really cool place for the students if they take advantage of it.

Paul Wraalstad is 43 years of age, and has not lost any of his zeal for making students college experience stand out.

If It Sparks Action, Then Success Has Occured

If this next picture makes you feel hungry, my job as an artist has been accomplished!

The goal behind any work of art should be to incur action or persuade emotion through the use of senses! If the image below starts to make you hungry, then I feel I have shown a compelling enough image to successfully accomplish my goal!

If you have experienced any pains of hunger because of this photo, I am glad you are a normal human being. If not you may be a robot…

In all seriousness the reason art is impacting is because it can effect the five senses in one way or another. It can be persuasive in the way it recalls memories attached to the image. The only reason this is tantalizing is because you have tasted or seen all elements of this picture, the fries, the philly cheese steak! it is all memory recall that causes the salivating. But because it makes you feel something, it is an excellent piece of art!

Look Again

The mind is a powerful thing. It can render before the computer can, it will create before something can be published or printed. All of that can be done in just a blink of an eye. Have you ever thought how blessed we are to be able to mimic creation, through creative endeavors?

The Ever Creative God is the father of true beauty! God created us with intelligence and preferences. We were given life to worship the creator by reflecting the beauty he has sewn into our hearts outwardly. We truly establish just how grand a scale of things He had implemented through our rendition of worship and creativity.

There is so much beauty to be had if we just look around and see. Next time you think something is not beautiful; look again because the ultimate artist may have created that essence as perfect as it needs to be!

Sometimes we cast things aside with out seeing the true beauty. And in all honesty this is as convicting for me as I hope it is for you. I say that to truly change the way we look at at things. If we can see the beauty in the creation from the King, then we can worship with all our heart.

So I implore you, before you give up on something, before you give in on quitting… look again!


In photography timing can be everything! For instance the end goal of the series taken below was to capture the ammo casing ejecting from the .22 Cal. rifle.

All photos were images of a rifle being shot at a rifle range.

three part photoBecause I knew the objective I had, and I realized I would have to capture the action in the moment I was prepared to be in the right place at the right time.

I used a prime lens for this shoot. Canon’s 85mm prime with a max aperture of f/ 1.8 to be exact,  I had the camera shooting in full manual with an aperture of f/ 3.5 and a shutter speed of 1/1250 of a second. the camera was set to burst fire and the slapping of the mirror begun its onslaught.

I set myself up in the right spot, waiting for the action to take place. When I saw that his muscles tense up showing that he was going to shoot, I started my bout of button mashing (holding down the shutter button). At the end I was very impressed with the results.

The last part is being creative with what you get, and I feel this next photo captures that exotic feeling of this beautiful gun perfectly! I feel that this photo goes back to the thought of Legacy. If you are curious about that article, click the link to be directed back to that segment on Legacy.

What should be taken away from this small article:

  • Know your angle and objective.
  • know your camera.
  • Be ready for the shoot when you see the action gearing up to happen.
  • Allow your creativity to flow afterwards turning what is static into dynamic!
  • Give God thanks for the value he places in beauty and creativity!

“The reason something has not been captured or expressed just means you need to get out there and do it! True innovation starts with a desire to change something insignificant into something extravagant!”


Rim Lighting

Rim lighting is the strategic placement of luminescence behind the subject in order to make that subject embroidered from the background. It pops because it helps to define the outline of the subject. In the photo below, the purple lighting creeps up over the shoulder and around the arm, as well as on the cheek. That is all considered rim lighting!

The lighting from behind really exaggerates that there is a definitive line separating the subject from the background. It helps to make the subject stand out!

You can see again that the lighting falls on the left side from “intelligent” projectors (lights that can change color and design, but work like standard cans). The lighting falls onto the forearms and helps add color to catch the eye.

On the last photo with rim lighting you can see how the purple light encompasses the entirety of his head, giving him that true rim light look! It separates him from the background!

In all honesty it is in the eye of the beholder on whether standard lighting makes for better rim lighting or not. I felt that the purple helped to exemplar my point.

Rim lighting should be used as a practical tool for adding just that little bit of extra detail to the end product of any photoshoot.



Engagement Photos

With engagement photos, or photos for invitations to a wedding; you have to be fun, quirky and interesting. More often then not the biggest push is for creativity. This can come from the people taking the photo, or the people on the other end of the glass!

Either way as the consultant, you need to be attentive to the clientele and their needs and wants. Be respectful because this event is a precursor to an even greater event. Just because it is not the wedding photo shoot does not mean any less immaculate of a job can be accepted. The engagement photo shoot will more then likely earn the wedding photo shoot, either now or in the future.

In the world of event photography, rapport cannot overstate its importance. As a starving photographer, you need all the “street cred” you can get. The more credible you are as a photographer, the easier and more natural the photographs will turn out. In all circumstances the goal is to make the couple act as natural as possible. If the two subjects are tense because they are uncomfortable; it will show. Keeping the subjects relaxed and even laughing helps keep the mood light.

Be as innovative as possible, research other professional photographers and what they have done in the past for engagement shoots, and then make it your own. Tweak it in a manner that still has your dominant voice coming through the photo.

The biggest hint I can give you as a photographer would be: have fun, because if you are having fun and getting excited about the photo shoot; they will have fun and get excited about the photos as well!

In the end throw something crazy in the mix just so they will never forget you as their photographer. For myself I would ask if we could pray over the shoot beforehand, and then ask if we can pray over their marriage after hand!


If you know me… that is not even the crazy part. Just having me around for over two hours will drive you mad!

Now that is taking static service, and turning it into dynamic interactions!


Listening (The New Way, or not so New Way to Tell Stories)

Writing becomes as abstract as the innovation produced from the scribe’s heart. The idea is that anyone can take a story and share it, because we are all story tellers. If you do not like to write, then chances are you tell stories through audible rhetoric. People have been sharing lineage, heritage, cautions and fables for many a millennium through stories. Each time someone shares a story, it is divulged from their own creativity or voice.

On the other hand, no story could be shared if someone did not first listen. There is a key part of storytelling, and that part involves a receiver cognizant enough to understand the symbols being passed onto them, whether it is pictures, words or shared meanings. A teller needs a listener; otherwise there is no point to share the story.

Just as I have listened to Matthew’s story, and those that followed him, I would not have been able to share my voice in this small glimpse of history if I could not pass it on through story telling.

I am getting at the fact that in order to be able to tell a story, you must listen to the stories being told first. Through listening you need to be able to dynamically recreate the scenario. Whether it is through innovatively sharing graphics, photos, literature or audio clips, these are all ways of storytelling.

In the end a story is sacred, so do be careful how you portray it, but push the envelope in order to reach creative endeavors!

You never know what you can do with a story until you get down to the nitty-gritty and just do it. Be innovative and try telling a story in a new light, with new angles for images. Do something that has not been done by you!

In the end we are all story tellers, but we all need to be listeners too! So be a dynamic listener, don’t just tell the stories or you will never learn new stories


Matthew was a man with dark hair, and a disheveled look. His beard was unruly, but matched the character and hue of his matted hair. He breathed the same air as the people dressed up in suits and ties and scrubs walking through Skid Row. He lived in the same world, even the same country as the people trekking through, but he seemed as distant from them as humanly possible.

Matthew sat in the scorching sun, back against the corrugated garage door, with a cigarette adhered to his lips.

The smoke rose high into the cloudless sky.

His eyes were flushed with the mist of memories that could fill a reserve from past experiences. He was so calloused to this life that he hardly noticed when someone sat next to him on the course, hot cement of the sidewalks of Los Angeles.

At first he retorted with something about not having any tobacco to share. When he realized no one was asking for a smoke, he became a little friendlier.

Matthew’s eyes seemed to be heavy and look burdened, as if he had cried his last tears years ago.

He sat in a rigid manner, muscles tensed, ready to move the minute he felt he was no longer safe in the lethargy he sat in.

When he finally came around, the conversation roared to life. He talked about the dysfunctional family he had been in. As he let the words slip out, his face would become rigid and tense. His eyes would stare off into the distance to show he was trying hard not to remember the details, while he continued to divulge.

He lit up another cigarette mid-sentence. He was meticulous about where the smoke was being blown, not to bother or offend anyone around him.

He explained that his sister once said, “If you lost your family, remember that we are all God’s children and your brothers standing beside you.”

Matthew continued on saying that we need to treat everyone else like they are brothers and sisters.

The comment lingered in the air as Matthew continued to converse. After being asked; Matthew said he wanted to pray for his sobriety, and that he could go see his daughter again. He confided that he was still struggling with alcoholism, he had been for some forty years, but he wanted to clean up.

By the end of the conversation, this hardened man had let all his guards down. The same safeguard that made him look older then he actually was. It was as if a wall had been removed and the true heartbroken Matthew took the place of the man resting against the wall just minutes ago.

He asked what books of the Bible he should start with, as he enthusiastically reached into his coat pocket to pull out a New Testament. He sheepishly removed a leather-bound book with the pages falling out, the same book that was being held together by a rubber band, which he had admitted to using the pages for tobacco paper. He said that he read the page first before smoking it.

He laughed as he thumbed through the pages; not really looking for any page in specific, just staring at the content of that book with half of its pages missing. That leather-bound New Testament looked like it had been through as much distraught and calamity as Matthew himself.

He looked up and smiled. When he snapped back to reality, it seemed to almost remind him of his newly found revelation.

After being directed to John and 1 John, Matthew elatedly got up and walked away. He hopefully headed towards the direction of where he was staying to retrieve his other Bible from a desk drawer.

The next night out on skid row, Matthew was nowhere to be found. He hopefully took any means of transportation and headed straight to his family.

Matthew was not actively seeking sympathy, rather he was just relieved for someone to sit down and listen to his story.

Look for the graphic that will be tied to this story! It will be up soon.