The Exact Moment I Met My Wife

Do you remember the moment you met your spouse? I can pinpoint my moment down to the minute.

Most people question the validity of this story, but I can isolate the exact time and place when I knew Dana would be my wife. September 1, 2000, 8:03 a.m. CST. Tucked in the back offices of KVRR-TV in Fargo, North Dakota, I was in a cubicle that faced away from the walkway that led from the front office to the where our desks were. Dana was escorted back by our news director; I was on the computer preparing for a day of shoots in Moorhead. The news director brought Dana back to introduce her to everyone – she was a “college girl” who’s assignment was to shadow a reporter for the day (I was the photographer assigned to the project that day).

The news director said as he came around the corner, “And this is our newsroom…oh, and this is Dave, one of our photographers…” I spun around in my chair and had one of those moments that are hard to describe…the room kept spinning, even though my chair wasn’t; the space between us got smaller, even though I hadn’t moved an inch; my heart rate accelerated and my head got light – this woman, dressed in a slim cut black business suit, her brown hair cut short just below her ears, parted to the right, smiled and extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Dana…” was all I heard, for after that, it was nothing but explosions and fireworks and thunder and party favors popping off in my head.

We spent most of the day together, first documenting a Make-a-Wish story with a young boy who’s wish was to go on a shopping spree at Wal-Mart. Next, we picked up footage at a few other quick stops for other assignments. The day went fast, and I said very little to Dana – you know, because I was all business, couldn’t let emotions of the heart interfere with professional journalism.

The day passed with me holed up in an edit bay cutting together several stories for the evening news. I didn’t get a chance to spend much time with Dana after our adventures around Fargo-Moorhead during the morning, but I quickly regretted not being more proactive in engaging with her during the day. She left without even saying goodbye. I chalked it up as a false alarm, but never forgot that initial spark.

As fate would have it, my office phone rang 20 days later – September 21, 2000, 4:37 p.m. CST. “Hi, not sure if you remember me, but I’m that girl who shadowed you a few weeks back,” said the voice on the line.

“Remember you? How could I forget you?” was all I could muster. From there, my awkwardness succeeded in inviting her over for a movie that very night, which led to an innocent, well-intended late-night invitation to lay down in my bed – rejected, of course. That nevertheless led to a second date of Subway turkey sandwiches at a park that lasted 4.5 hours of amazing conversation, which led to a night out – date three – where I asked for permission to lean in for a kiss, which was granted, in my car outside of her dorm before parting ways. She needed a few more dates to be convinced, but I was already gone.

001Why am I sharing this? Because I want everyone to understand just how important proactive engagement is when you meet someone who might be your soul mate. I nearly missed my moment, yet thank my lucky starts that despite my obvious blunder in not asking my future wife for her number, the fates shined on me 14 years ago today when my office phone rang at 4:37 p.m.

We had our first date on this day 14 years ago. It was awkward, awful and I embarrassed myself by inviting Dana to lay down with me after watching something called Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It was late, I was tired – she was tired, too – but we both made the right decision. 51 weeks later, we got engaged. 53 weeks later – exactly two years to the day of that fateful movie night – she became my wife. 624 weeks to the day, here we are.

Today, I celebrate the moment I met my wife. 12 years of marriage is just a number. We’ll continue to work to make our relationship stronger, improve our skills as parents, and offer our time, talent and treasures to our community. However, through all that, the memory of that moment I met my soul mate will live within me forever. Every man who celebrates an anniversary likely defaults to the “I’m the luckiest man in the world” line. I honestly don’t feel that way. I feel like I was granted a second chance very early on in our relationship and I’m going to spend the rest of my time on earth ensuring I don’t let the good times just simply walk away without doing something about it.

I love my wife. Happy anniversary, darling.


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InspirAviation: Westward Arrival

One of my favorite airports in the US is Denver International. Walk down any main concourse and look west for a crystal clear view of the Rocky Mountains. Any later afternoon or evening flight, you might get lucky enough to catch the sun as it dips below the mountain ridge.

On a recent trip to Denver, I captured this glimpse of a storm rolling over the mountains on final approach of my Delta flight. I draw inspiration from the contrast of distance, nature and the mixture of elements. So close, yet so far away. Enjoy!

Final Approach into DIA ©

Final Approach into DIA ©

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Recent Writings ‘Round the Web

It’s been a busy past few months for us here at the Not only have we been running around getting ready for the holidays, but our work adventures have taken me to some pretty amazing places.

In October alone, I traveled to California – twice – for video shoots in Redlands and the Imperial Dunes Recreational area (2.5 hours east of San Diego in the desert), then across the country to Manhattan for a last-second client request. Additionally, I made my way down to Austin, Texas for a trade show, where a client launched a product. Then, just in the past couple of weeks, I went back to California, will be heading to North Carolina, and the Greater Chicagoland area for a few more video adventures before Christmas.

Needless to say, my writing has taken a backseat when work calls. I have been able to pen some interesting pieces for both Axiom and Videomaker Magazine. In my most recent articles for the latter, I addressed the ever-expanding 4K video market (look for that piece coming out in January/February), while another talks about POV cameras that are comparable to GoPro’s Hero3+ Black Edition (not sure when that one will hit store shelves).

Here’s a link to an article that was launched online Videomaker subscribers (print copy available in February). This one talks about mobile apps that every video producer – pro or amateur – should have on their devices. It’s thorough and extensive, so please be sure to check it out.

And while I always try to help my team at Axiom, sometimes by other duties get in the way of letting me do that. Here are a couple fun pieces I’ve turned out. This blog post is about apps you should bring with you on your holiday travels; this post offer my thoughts on the recent decision by SnapChat to pass up a 3-billion offer sheet in favor of something bigger…than…3 BILLION dollars. Yeah…

Oh, and then there was this fun little bit. Enjoy!

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CES 2014: Planning, Prepping, Pondering

It’s that time of year…one month away from the most intense, incredible 3-days the consumer electronics industry puts on. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest, most lavish trade show of any industry, with manufacturers from every corner of the globe descending on Las Vegas.

CES is welcoming, but also intimidating for the untrained attendee. Photo courtesy

Each year, I take in the show for about 18 hours and then get out of Vegas as quickly as possible. While it’s almost impossible to see every product CES has to offer, there are a few things you can do to ensure you don’t miss what you’re hoping to see:

* Just Like Santa, Make a List and Check it Often – The show website offers a great resource where you can vet exhibitors and search for your ideal targets by category. With contact info from manufacturers, you can set up meetings and learn more about a specific company, all from the comfort of your computer, phone or tablet.

* Focus On Specific Industries – CES consumes not just the Las Vegas Convention Center, but several hotels, restaurants and facilities up and down the strip. Therefore, if you’re looking for a wide range of products, you can end up doing a LOT of walking. The show tends to group similar products, industries or companies together, so if big names in CE is your thing, aim for the Central Hall. Startups? North Hall.

* Pack Plenty of Patience – CES pulls in north of 150,000 attendees every year, and they all seem to be at the show the same time I am. Getting through the crowds to see the latest gadget can take some time, so be prepared to feel like you’re in a cattle corral as you line up to see your favorite products…chances are, a few other thousand folks want to see it, too.

* Don’t Forget Comfy Shoes – My first year at CES, I logged my steps and powered my way to 2.75 miles walked around the show floor…in dress shoes. My mile-to-blister ratio was 1-to-5. Needless to say, since that first experience, I’ve always rocked comfy shoes, regardless of how fashionably absurd they seemed. If nothing else, running shoes with dress slacks are a good ice breaker when talking with a product manager!

CES isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure.  You need to be affiliated with the Consumer Electronics industry in some capacity in order to attend the show. For me, I’ve gone as both attendee and exhibitor. It’s an amazing experience where the future of technology is on display for all to see. Innovations come and go, but one thing remains constant – CES is the king of trade shows, and we are all loyal servants.

See you in Vegas, baby!

Heading to CES? Let’s connect and try to cross paths. Send me a message, or connect via Twitter – @davesniadak

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An Open Letter to the Dad of the 9-year Old Stowaway

This is an open letter to the father who’s 9-year old son made global headlines recently after he, among other things, stealthily boarded a Delta flight to Las Vegas.

Hey Dad, rough couple of days for you, eh? I feel your pain. While my 8-year son hasn’t made the kind of splash that your son has recently, he’s far from perfect, too. This is a difficult time for you, no doubt. Heck, it’s a tough time for any of us fathers to raise sons in this world. In a world where sex, drugs and violence are jammed down our throats 24/7, it can be hard to shield innocent eyes.

Coverage of your child’s adventures have spread like wildfire around the globe, and social media pundits have jumped to conclusions about your parenting abilities. From where I sit, I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I believe you when you say you need some help for your son, but that help has to start from within.

I’m curious…what was your relationship with your son like before he went on this desperate attention-seeking adventure? Were you truly “there” when you were there with your son? Saying that your son isn’t an “honor student” or that he’s had his “ups and downs” is certainly a start in acknowledging that a better path could have been laid out for him. But as fathers, we need to be the ones that are doing the foundational groundwork when it comes to setting the path for our sons.

If your son, at nine, is already getting into fights and being suspended from school, where is he learning this behavior? Are his actions a reflection of the environment he’s been exposed to? I’m not trying to place blame, rather asking you to take an introspective look at where he learned that his actions could ever be considered appropriate behavior.

I respect your request for anonymity and privacy as you sort this matter out. If I were in your shoes, I’d likely do the same. However, when the dust settles and details are sorted out, I hope you both learn from this experience. If your son’s behavior – not just recently, but in the past 6, 9, 12 months – teaches you anything, I hope it’s that you both could use some help. Not just for him, but more importantly, for you.

I LOVE that you’re working with Mad Dads of Minneapolis. This is a wonderful organization that can guide you towards better days. I’d also advise you to consider seeking the help of groups like the National Fatherhood Initiative,, and in particular, the guidance of Carey Casey and his “Championship Fathering” philosophy. Consider joining – or starting up – a local Watch D.O.G.S. group; be present in your childs’ life, beyond just being a parent.

I was given a wall hanging from my dad a few years back, which was given to him by his dad. It’s a hand-stitched picture of a dad with his kids. The words resonate in my head as I think about your situation. “Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy.” When was the last time you were your son’s Daddy? Maybe he needs a little more of that.

I pray that this situation, regardless of how challenging, scary, financially and legally burdening this has been for you, brings you and your son closer together. Change will come if you truly want it to. You’ve done the right thing in asking for help; I just hope that you find what you’re looking for.

Best regards,

Dave, the HD Hubby

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Good Dad, Bat Dad: Funny Clips Showcasing Superhero Reality

Gotta give props to Mike Johnson at Playground Dad for posting this hilarious compilation of the internet celeb, “BatDad” pointing out the obvious life lessons our kids need to know…like not sitting on rental carpet cleaners, obeying traffic laws and not picking our noses.

BatDad shows us that while parenting can be challenging, you don’t need to be a caped crusading superhero to be a good dad. Mask or no mask, I tip my high-def hat to dads getting it done all around the world, whatever way necessary, to help our kids grow up the right way. Keep on saving the world, BatDad, one Vine video at a time!

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InspirAviation: Two If By Sea

I typically reserve these posts for aviation-inspired images, but came across this shot while clearing out my laptop while on a flight…so, that counts, right?

Setting Sail, Dana Point, California. @

Setting Sail, Dana Point, California. @

Early morning fog rolling in over the harbor of Dana Point, California. Simply breathtaking introspective moment for me as I snapped this photo. I realized that in life, the seas can get rough, or the sails may not fill up, but that shouldn’t stop us from setting out on great adventures.

I hope this image inspires you to set sail today!

– Dave, the HD Hubby

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