Serious Intent

Serious Intent A quick post for today.  I love photojournalism.  In this genre I find that the key to a photo to to capture the story and emotion in one frame.

It is a great challenge to have!

If you want to see some great photojournalism check my friend Fran Ruchalski out!  He is a great artist and photojournalist!  Here is his webpage!  Fran Ruchalski

Well this is my son at the closing concert of an orchestra one day intensive.  He was intense as they played their patriotic songs and those of God's glorious nature!

The shot was as captured in camera.  One advantage of my Fujifilm camera is that the film simulation modes have some easy customization features.  As a result putting a curve into the photo, and then using EV compensation eyeballed through the Electronic Viewfinder shortens my time in post on most family shots...and many jobs.


P.S. Fujifilm X-E1 with 50-200

Life Changing Day

My big girl turns 12! Life can change in a moment.  One of those moments is when you become a father. Twelve years ago I first laid my eyes on my lovely daughter Julia Rose, and my whole life changed.  The first night she was born, I told her everything she needed to know for all of her years as we walked the floor of the ward.  She put her little hand into my shirt collar and rubbed my neck gently. Four weeks later at her baptism I became overwhelmed at the feeling of responsibility as I professed before God and family that this child was in my care.

She has had me wrapped around her pinky since then, but never abused that privilege!  Last night she had a small party with family and three close friends.  It was wonderful to see them play in the yard, make up stories filled with honor, and then hear the cards written by her friends with words of fellowship based in Christ's example.

God blessed us then, and continues to bless us now.  But watching the candles burn I could not help but think back to that first hospital cuddle, the first night of walking her to sleep, the first smiles and connecting touch...what a memory..what a wonderful life...


PS Here is one of our first digital photos of my girl two weeks old!  Taken with an HP610..lit by Pentax glass!

Me and my girl!

Photog Delight

Watches, Trinkets and More! Took a walk through Scenic Roswell, Georgia today with my wife and stopped by a very interesting store called Bilthouse.  It was very well designed, well from a photographers frame of mind.  The light was fantastic in there as well...

One of the displays held watches and trinkets galore.  So while my wife bought a gift for her parents (babysitting at home and giving us some date time), I just had to start photographing these little trinkets until I got one I liked!

Downtown Roswell is like this, lots of fancy little boutique stores.  So over time don't be surprised if you see some more captures downtown!



Dance It is that time of year to enjoy the wonders of dance in my house!

My daughter's dance company just put on their annual production, and it was quite nice.  Since our family moved last year before her recital in Virginia, its been two years since I was able to see her really perform.  One trick she learned this year from her teachers was to have confidence and smile while dancing.  It really made her start to glow up on stage, and display the fun she has performing.

I learned a lot this year while shooting dance.  After shooting several years at my daughter's old studio I discovered the different challenges that come from choreography styles.  In the old studio I could easily predict when a worthy frame was coming because I knew the style.  They also used a smaller stage, so formations were tighter.  Here the stage is larger, and the staff uses it.  So it looks just as nice, but as a photographer I needed more zoom than I had to get the proper elements for a good frame.  If you are going to shoot dance I will always recommend you attend a rehearsal or multiple shows before you have to get the captures you want to keep.  This way you can know your subject, lighting and the choreographers style before the big dance.  It just makes your subject and you look so much better in the end product.

That brings me to another point, lens choices for a concert or dance.  I recently sold my 50-135 f2.8 zoom.  On a crop it is a 75-203 zoom with a depth of field around 4-5.6.  For this show it would be perfect.    Since I had not replaced it yet, I was stuck with my excellent 60-250 F4, a 16-50 F2.8 and a set of primes.  The F4 would not give me enough light to capture at the proper speed to blend motion and frozen faces I like.  The 16-50 would not get me close enough this year.  Some of my best photos in previous years came from my 50-135 and my was not there and the other would not get me close enough this year because of my location choice.  So I shot with....a 100mm F2.8 macro!  Great lens, but I was really out of my mind shooting dance with it.

A few more lessons to post this week...


When I'm a Big Girl

When I am a big girl! "Daddy when I'm a big girl..I'll play with them!"

I can only imagine what she is thinking, but I know I'm right.

I enjoy taking the advice of Scott Bourne who said shoot like a five year twist is that I am looking at life like a one year old.


Music through the looking Glass

Music through the looking Glass Last night we attended the Joyful Noise Spring Orchestral Concert.  Joyful Noise is a music organization serving the musical education needs of over 300 home and charter school students in bands, orchestral, vocal, guitar and marching band. The ministry is supported gracefully by Sandy Springs Baptist Church, and is a Christ focused music organization.

While walking the halls with my one year old before the concert I was able to capture this photo.  I am fascinated by the play of glass on my image.  In this case the children of the beginning band were tuning up in the cry room, and the glass captured the reflection of the busy sanctuary where people were waiting, music stands awaited a musician.  Our children's teacher was helping another child with the tuning of their violin...and I tried to capture that whole story in the frame.

I hope you like it!

For you techies....F6.3 to get some depth in the photo, 1/50 sec @ ISO 1600.  I used a 35mm Macro so 1/50 was the slowest I could go to prevent shake on a Pentax K-5 APSC sensor. Post processed in OnOne Perfect Suite.


Fun Work!

Store Fun I had a chance to have some fun today while doing a quick job for a friend.

My friend's wife runs probably the most awesome seconds store I've ever seen, and they needed some photos made up for their new website.

So after taking photos of the store i got some environmental shots, and this cool red animal just stuck itself out at me wanting its photo taken.  It was also saying. "Take me home to Kevin."  I was able to satisfy the photo craving without adding to the extensive at home stuffie collection.

I'm still not sold on Lightroom as the be all, end all of photo organizing.  It certainly has a lot of rough edges left, and need for speed improvements in other areas where Aperture still shines (yep that Aperture).  It does however have one killer tool everyone should try....CLARITY.  It helps with sharpening and contrast.  It is just awesome.

So that is what I'd like to share tonight...try clarity!

PS:  If you need seconds for children in Roswell go to Ladybugs and Lizards in historic Roswell!


Bel Air Glamor

Glamour Glow Special One of the effects of HDR photography is also to bring out textures and color in a very realistic way.

I took this photo and had some fun with it in HDR Efex Pro 2, then ran it through Color Efex 4.  Sharpened to taste and called it a day.

RC Conception pointed out to us on the second night that the purpose of HDR is to get a good product to finish in post processing.  He found many people shot, process and don't finish.

It would be like writing the first acts of a play, and then walking away from the final act.

I called this Bel Air Glamor because the Glamor Glow filter seems to be all the rage in many a circle today, and I wanted to try it out for myself.

If you want to see some really extraordinary HDR check out both RC Conception's website and Jim Begley's.  Both are true master artists with this technique.

Check them out at and



Buick at Peace

Buick spends its final days in peace... A lovely day to shoot in Northern Georgia..Day Two of His Light's Old Car City HDR Workshop.

Check out to see what it is all about...It is heaven sent for photos and the soul.

More class now!


Day One at Old Car City

Desoto puts a twinkle in my eye on Day one of Old Car City... Heading back into the evening class...put wanted to post something from this morning.  Six miles of trails and seventy years of cars to photograph!  I only covered two small yards so far, and they are full of fun shapes and images just crying to be photographed.  I am of course the only Pentax shooter here!  So my stuff does not get borrowed much for some reason.

Getting ready for critiques tonight and learning from what I've done and failed to do...

More tomorrow!



A little 3rd Grade ingenuity You need to keep your smarts up when you want the trains to run on time!

This is what you get when you want to make sure you don't cut through the wires with busy trains running over them.

Kalen wanted a few photos for his grand parents, and of course I wanted one to see if I could make something interesting out of a simple floorplan shot.

This was my fun shot...for the geeks I desaturated most color except for yellow and red. Then I threw a Kodachrome filter on it in Perfect Effects...and the camera was a simple Olympus ZX-1 point and shoot.


Do you capture or create?

Do you capture or create photos? When you say, "Lets go out and take a photo!" do you usually record a scene or create a scene?

This is important for us to all examine if we want to improve our photography.  Why?  Well if you are a creator you might miss the elements in front of you in your haste to make your creation.  If you are a recorder you may forget that you can enhance the scene with a new element added by you.

What got me thinking of this was this photo.  I was walking by the grotto at church, when I saw all these elements (frame, ground light, sunlight, perspective and golden rule potential) create a possible composition in the morning light.  I then asked myself..but could I build this photo myself?

So this is setting me on a little path of needed enlightenment.  Now I have to not only look at scenes for what they are, but evaluate what they could be if I develop my creativity as well as my recording skills.

So what are you?  And what does that say about what you need to develop to meet your full potential?


Five Year Old Saves Christmas

20121224-151139.jpg My five year old saved Christmas!

The last few weeks pressed me from every angle. Work, not being able to get my dream moving, the evil at Newtown and in my own town..All felt like a bone crushing weight on me. Even my picture taking, my refuge for sanity, was falling flat. The spirit of Christmas felt as far away as the moon. I could recognize the evil was in a person's choices, not the wonder of creation.  I was just overwhelmed by the amount of darts thrown at good people of late.  I had closed myself off to the spirit of Christ's power because I was letting things other than keeping God foremost in my thoughts and family's development matter.

All this started to change when as I put my head down, my lovely wife said...make small changes and the change will come. I slept on it, and through the night the weight of everything started to feel workable. I got up and walked into the living room to watch the sun rise on the Christmas tree. It was then that my five year old came down the stairs and plopped himself right on top of me.

His first words were, "Dad we have a wonderful tree. It is magic." God was speaking through the mouth of a babe. For ten minutes we sat still, and quietly talking about favorite ornaments lest we wake up the other four souls in the house to early. Then he said, "Dad we need to take some pictures of our tree." That was all I needed. Out came the tripod, the light for my first light painting attempts, and photographic direction from my five year old. My soul was alive, and responding to the cuing from God to live and enjoy Christmas in the present.

Every year I look at the Christmas tree form a new perspective. This year I took it from my five year old. Christ does bring grace if we let him. I pray that you and yours can do the same.


PS These photos are from perspective of my five year old...his height I hope conveying some of the awe we felt as kids before the Christmas tree.


Palm Tree Christmas

Decorations of South Georgia Being born in Hawaii...I should be use to this site...but I was three when I left so I'm not!

Palm trees are fun to look at.  To my mind it is like peeling back an onion that is 60 feet tall!

The moral of the story is that anything can help bring out the Christmas spirit!


What is your travel camera?

20121206-192225.jpgI am traveling right now with my Pentax kit and my Olympus P&S. After listening to all the camera podcasts during my drive I had to wonder what some of my friends were using when they travel. (St Mary's first church, one of the oldest in Georgia. Pentax K-5, Sigma 17-50 F2.8 EX OS) [polldaddy poll=6749711]


[slideshow] Dance poses a photographer great challenges, especially if shot during a performance.

You have to choose action, pose or some of both.  You have to search for the decisive moment, and catch it in rhythm.  You often have to watch out for rapidly changing lights and exposure.

I love the challenge.  I love the excitement of trying to get "the shot."  After a year off from the recital circuit because of the move down south, I can't wait to see my little lady back up there though my lens.

After watching her practice a few times in the last few months I've been amazed.  She improved her dedication to learning dance, and now observes things about her movements she did not in September.  She is ready to join the "big girls" in her mind, and that means growing up in body and mind.

It also poses a lesson for me to follow as a photographer and as a Dad.  I cannot reduce my attention to detail because I am comfortable with my skills and gear, but to increase attention to detail in all things.  I have to pay better attention to my children, to my wife and the environment we live in.  I also have to continue to mature and grow in faith to be the best role model I can.  I'll never be perfect, but if I put in the same type of discipline to my faith life I will be calmer and more effective for them in all things.

I cannot take for granted that I am seeing more details in the viewfinder than I did a few months ago myself.  I must focus harder, an conceive my photographic vision earlier.  I must remember the fundamentals faster, and recognize them as they appear in the scene before me.

A lifetime of learning lays before not just before my girl, but each of us as well.



Joy of Creation

Six months ago my family my wife an I intended to take some of the reduced cost of living in Georgia and devote it to music lessons for the children.  Little did we know we'd get a bonus, a complete homeschooling orchestra!  But wait there is one more deal!  A children's choir at church!!

The joy I've watched as my children learn to play and sing goes from my 11-year old through each of the four children down to the baby.  Big sis plays cello for the baby during girl's time.  Kalen is getting serious by asking questions, and in the last few weeks gained a basic understanding of "perfect practice makes perfect."  My youngest son is singing and liking percussion instruments at the introduction class for kindergartners.  Kalen wanted to sing as well, so he joined the children's choir and is growing into the role very well.

The thing I really enjoyed was not just music returning to the home, but the creation of music in the home.

It did get me thinking about what is so special about God.  God created everything including the laws of physics that give us music.  Yet with each new generation born there is no symphony with their name on it until that generation creates it.

Seeing and hearing my children strive and struggle to create music reminded me of our journey towards faith and communion with God.  Each of us struggle with wrong notes, missed codas, taking a note outside of the designated pitch, good days and bad.  Over time, and with great self discipline, we can create professional performances even on our worst days that will inspire.

I am looking forward to seeing their results at a beginning orchestra concert this Friday, after just three short months of work.  On Sunday I will get to see Kalen sing in front of the church, moving out of the family pew on his own spiritual journey as well.

The pride I have must be an fraction of the joy God feels when we create a life and acts moving us towards his plan.

It gives new meaning to the Prodigal Son, and the stories of the sinners turned saints, when you see and hear this creation with your own eyes and ears.  It also reminds me how much further and harder I have to practice my faith to be a good man in God's plan.



PS I hope you like the photo.  I tried to make it as "timeless" as possible.