Lessons From the Road to Josiah Anthony



    Yesterday we welcomed our newest family member, Josiah Anthony to the family.  He is a wonderful little boy, and the family gallery moments are full of rich loving emotion.  People viewing these photos would think we live in a wonderful version of wonderful TVLand where all is right in the world.  In reality though, the photos reflect a grace filled moment resulting from a gutwrenching year of enrichment leading to it.

    Over the last year as a family we faced many challenges.  Our adventures extended not far from the house.  Daddy led only minimalist excursions, Momma struggled with health issue after issue, kids got sick, we faced challenges at school, in discipline, and we all lost our marbles from a problem or issue more than once.  NONE of those moments were the type of Rockwell images I relish to build in either my personal or photographic life.  I certainly never captured those moments outside of own cranium. 

    Friends can't come over, Daddy is at work, and Momma is too sick to drive?  Hope for tomorrow and play with your siblings.  Tired of groundhog Saturdays with no adventure...shut up and finish a job you had not finished in the house.  Tired of having to do more and more chores, lacking Mom's presence in your life because she is perineally sick, or the thought you now have bigger bills to pay?  Pray on why your giving into vices, and hit confession to seek forgiveness. 

   In the valleys of life we always have a choice to help ourselves go lower, hold the course or begin to climb to the ridgeline again.  I know the only way we reached this glorious moment yesterday though, was because of our collective responses to those low points.  We only occasionally failed to stay at or gain altitude, and never went into a terminal decent.  The key to our family response was our collective final decision always kept hope alive through acts of faith and charity.  We also paid up lots of pennace to each other for our internal transgressions.

   We had a moment in some glorious graces, and now we are back to reality.  A huge tree fell in the yard, feedings every three hours around the clock, littles now need to re-establish the household order, health needs restoration, there will be more chores to do, and needs to meet.  The reward though will be more lessons leading us to greater heights of love, and good photographic moments.

  So off to work we go! 










Premium or Regular?

Premium or Regular? I received a blessing from God today...I went out to fellowship and take photos with the His Light Workshop Crew.

If you have a few minutes I suggest you take a look at the work of Bill Fortney ( http://billfortney.com/) and Jim Begley (http://www.wowphotoshdr.com/).

What you will find are stunning images of life.  You will not find subjects created for shock value or pure sex appeal.  You find written word and art which lifts you upwards...toward an appreciation for God and all his wonders. Bill is fond of saying he loves texture in his photos.  I also think he is very good at helping you appreciate the textures God adds to your life.  Jim makes High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos which knock your socks off in content, technical excellence and message.  When you talk to him, you can see feel his love of God coming out in the same manner of an HDR photograph where something we think is too dark for perception reveals itself and the composition makes sense so the message takes root in your heart and mind in equal parts.  How do these men do this?  By actively listening to you, and letting God work through them in a very humble manner.

See if you come to a His Light Workshop, you better be ready for God to speak through its many members.  You need to understand that when you join the crew, they will care about you more as a person than as a photographer.  The funny thing is when they do this, they offer more of themselves to you as teachers than most others ever will if they did the reverse.

I saw many examples today of agape love in HDR.  People freely giving of themselves to care for others,  offering a prayer for others in need, and providing an environment for people to engage in the sharing at a level their personalities and life texture permits.  It is not loud, it is not outlandish...it is quiet and subtle..it is the sound of the Holy Spirit working his way through people bringing Christ where needed for their sustainment.

So why the title?  Well we all have many choices in life for everything we do.  In choosing friends and services I think we also have a choice...we can chose Premium or Regular friends.  A regular friend will be with us as we travel through life, but when a challenge arrives they'll just walk on their own trying to help you with a man's knowledge.  A premium friend with walk with you, and when the time comes not be afraid to invoke God in the discussion of how you shall overcome life's challenges using his revealed laws of nature and scripture.

The men and women of His Light...they are Premium.


PS X-E1 with the 35mm Prime





New York, New York

20140129-222649.jpg I took a five mile stroll through New York today with a friend after work. I last visited this megalopolis 18 or so years ago...and it still overwhelms me. As I walked through town, I could see layer after layer of potential images...and knew I'd missed a whole lot of them in the process of examining the ones I found.

This little silver dinner was just at the top of Little Italy, well I think, my geography is still a little off. I find it amazing that amid the towering masses of steel and concrete a little one story dinner like this can still exist. I guess that is the life parallel for today...amidst the towering giants of photography out there, my little site and its images may still find a place for someone to appreciate them!

Oh...I did make it through Adorama without spending any money today. I touched the Fujifilm X-E2, a nice update to my current camera. I still think I really need to save up a bit for the newly announced X-T1 since it may achieve some of my goals of replacing my DSLR for the occasional sports and action gig I do. I found the Olympus OMD-1 a very solid, lightening fast focusing camera. I could be happy with its output...but I am torn because the Fujifilm's output is still better overall just because of sensor size and refinements. I also put my hands on the Pentax K-3. A nice update to the K-5...and one I could enjoy if the Pentax lenses actually had more powerful and speedy motors for sports and action. One thing Fuji, Olympus and Nikon need to do is listen to a Pentax shutter. There is nothing so sweet as the shutter noise you DO NOT HEAR!

I do miss my DSLR at times with its speedy handling. However I also know I have much better portability right now with my current kit. So as with all tools it remains a give and take affair.

-ehw P.S.X-E1 with 18-55mm lens. Processed slightly in Google/Nik Snapseed.

Pretty Kitty

A portrait of Friendly the cat. Here is a rarity for me...portraits of a cat.  Yes, you read right, I photographed a cat.  Yes the animal I am very allergic to.  The animal that looks at me and says, "I can take you."  The animal that is ripping up my popup trailer cover.  I photographed a cat!

This cat is called Friendly by my trusting, adoring, cat petting, and often drawing wife and children.  She is a neighborhood cat.  My kiddos go out an pet the cat, the 22 month old chases the cat with glee.  She and her buddy Shiloh own my yard and keep it free from snakes and other pests (for the most part).

How did I come across this?  Well I was playing with my camera working on a tree across the street with its fall colors and late afternoon sun.  Then Friendly waltzed up into the yard and starting being coy.  She even wanted me to to pet her!  Obviously she needs glasses and a smell test.  I look nothing like my six year old or my red headed wife.

Seeing that she wanted to play, and pose and goof off I took the opportunity to get some photographs of a new type of subject for me.

What I learned was that working in the contrasting light, on a subject with such a glossy coat is not in the easy to do category.  Next time I'll stop down up the aperture a bit as well.  I threw out a number of photos because my depth of field was too small.  The portrait up top is a good example of the eyes being perfect, and the rest good.  The others...well not so much.  The final photo was a fun one of the cat on the prowl.  Just as with any photo or portrait I found myself taking some time to touch up parts of the photo to make the cat look like a winner.


PS: Fujifilm X-E1 with 18-55

Friendly goes looking for fun

Happy Times

Blast from the past! Here is a simple little shot from a four years ago...whoa you mean old photos still hold relevance?  Photos taken with old technology like a Pentax K200D 10mp CCD can still "work?"

Well...yes they can...I know people who could shoot with a pinhole camera and put my efforts to shame.  A good photograph is less about technical excellence than it is about soul...in my humble opinion.

So many iconic photographs come from a spit second decision, snapped on instinct guided settings not perfectly applied logic.

Not much different than life..always comes back to that life thing...

People we trust the most are those that we know who will do right when under duress and short timelines.  We know that their soul contains excellent guide rails, and we can trust their instinct more than our indecision.

So I'm going to get back to the good book tonight and try to strengthen my guide rails...so maybe you will trust me to do right when my next time of trials begin.


PS This is a Pentax K200D shot with a Tamron 18-250 ultrazoom.  Good kit if I say so myself.  K200D is still my back up, although now I don't know how I ever got by with only one whiz wheel (control wheel) and not two!

Looking Back

Looking Back... Looking back over our lives I think we sometimes realize we went too quickly past the best moments.  Thankfully my little passion of photography lets me remember them in ways I could not appreciate in the heat of the moment.  Sometimes I think it even lets me experience the moments more deeply.

A friend recently wrote about needing to remember to take time and pray.  I could not agree more.  For some of you effective prayer might come from reciting a rosary, others pure meditation on a devotional, or for some it could be a spontaneous outpouring of music.  It is in any of the forms of prayer that we can appreciate God's works, experience his calming power, or petition him to give us strength to overcome our weaknesses.  Use that prayer to focus your efforts at coming into communion with his will, so that your works can then match his guiding hand.

I'm trying myself to follow the sage advice of my friend...just like the struggle to capture a wonderful frame...it is never easy...each time is never the same...but each frame's unique moment can open a window of reflection as you look back that can change your future positively forever.


PS Techies...this is Mr K-5 screaming at F4, 1/8000 and ISO6400.  He's not FF, but he's one good dude...edited in Aperture with a Dusted Warm preset and minor tweeks...

Liberty is not free!

Remember their Sacrifice On this Memorial Day remember the fallen who gave so much to let us be free, and pray for them to be enjoying the sweet embrace of Christ in heaven.

As we pray for them, grab a the Federalist Papers and read what the founders understood liberty to be.  Learn what histories they read, and why the rejected so many notions we see advanced today...as if they are new and improved ideas!

Meditate on why they said on more than one occasion that our nation cannot survive without God's natural law as its moral guide.

When you do these things you will honor those who sacrificed all..and understand why cannot forget liberty is not free..it comes with the acceptance of consequence and the grows with charitas (selfless gift).That is the wonder of liberty.  When abused and made selfish; liberty becomes destructive to family, self and country.  When liberty becomes a cherished gift and our actions towards one another are selfless giving; liberty grows healthy families, communities and country.


Emotion in the Motion

Motion! Emotion! Putting dance into a still photo almost sounds sinful.  Dance is the art of moving one's body, and that of others to create visually pleasing sights though motion.  So it definitely sounds nuts to capture the soul of dance in a single frame.

This capture is one of the better ones from the night.  Beautiful motion frozen with just a tinge of motion in the dresses, hands and feet.  Then I caught some excellent emotion in the dancers faces conveying joy in the act of dancing.  It was that emotion that really set this photo apart from a similar one take a few seconds later.

To achieve this I had to be careful with the shutter speed and experiment...the variable of course is also that the speed of dancer motion which of course varies greatly in any one routine.  Since this shoot occurred only with available light, and no flash, the experimentation was critical to know my gear's capability and the type of scene I could reasonably expect to capture with some quality.

So experiment...be thoughtful and look for the emotion in the motion to sculpt a wonderful photo.



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 43...one 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...


The Way of His Cross

The way of his cross It was all done to save each of us...the pain...the suffering...the perfect sacrifice of God's only son as ransom for our lives.

Through the suffering he delivered his last sermon.  He demonstrated his love for us while he lived out the ancient prophecies.

Now we have a long night to contemplate the way of the cross...and if we will begin accepting its calling to change our lives.


Prayers for Jack Please!

Jack and Family Pryer Request I'd like to ask a great favor from everyone who sees this blog over the weekend.  It involves prayers for a very good man and his wife.

We honored WWII veteran Jack at our little Cub Scout Veteran's Day ceremony back in November.  He's 90 now, but in this photo you see 17 year old Jack in the US Navy at the end of World War II on his Destroyer Escort.  A very little tin can that floated all over the Atlantic Ocean protecting troopships and the merchant marine from submarine attacks.

Jack sits right behind us at church every week with his lovely wife Ann....and he got charmed by my toddler every week for the past year until about five weeks ago.

Concerned that I had not seen him or his wife, I found his number an called this week to make sure everything was ok.  Unfortunately Jack fell, and was in the hospital for 11 days.  Now he is in a rehab facility trying to get out and home.

His wife is exhausted, but she shared with me that she could tell people like myself were praying for them when they were not at church.  She felt the prayers were what was giving her the strength to keep up her care for Jack in the long days since his fall.

To help with get some extra prayer support please say a prayer and "like" this page.  On Easter Monday I would like to give Jack and Ann a simple present.  A long list of people who are praying to God for their continued strength as they continue their loving example as a married couple working through the challenges of life.

Thank You for a even a moment of prayer for this good family to help them keep living out their faith.


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!