As a photographer light is the most important element to creating images. Through photography I’ve gained a better understanding of light, and the importance of light. Light is something that we all need, the critical source for our very sight, but also a power that we all take for granted. We’re usually unconcerned with how much we appreciate having light, until it is taken away from us. We’re also unconcerned with how difficult our daily tasks would be without it, until we have to try and function without it. Such is the case with the following example.
It seems that whenever it rains near my house the power goes out. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter if it’s a heavy or light rain. I’m not sure what the technical issues are for this particular area or house? But never the less, it’s still a pain to deal with regularly! Power outages are never convenient, but they’re especially inconvenient when you’re right in the middle of preparing dinner! I was preparing dinner for my daughter and I when suddenly all of the power went out. Thankfully the food was almost done, and the oven retained enough heat to finish cooking even without the power. This was the second power outage we’ve experienced in less than 3 weeks time. In fairness, these outages tend to only last a few hours at worst, but on a hot summer night, or a cold winter night they can be brutal. The images that I’d like to share are of my daughter as she tries to enjoy her dinner despite the darkness.
These unedited photos were intended to capture some of the frustration of dealing with a lack of light while doing something important. All of the photos were lit by the flashlight from my iPhone, as well as a single candle that I found. The light that I provided my daughter was not included as a way to expose the photographs, but rather to assist her in finishing dinner. The idea of photographing her was a complete afterthought.
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My princess of color series was created to depict a more realistic and identifiable image of princesses to young women of color. The idea is to show girls of color that royalty looks just like them, as opposed to the traditional notion that we’ve been conditioned to accept throughout history. The series is meant to convey the message that you are beautiful and important just the way you are, so be proud of the skin that you’re in. Having a daughter myself, my goal is to get more people involved and have more representations from children of all different cultural backgrounds.
This first set of images feature Princess Madison.
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A beautiful sunrise I was fortunate enough to capture, handheld, while out walking one morning last month.
The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma was far reaching, extending into parts of Georgia in the form of a tropical storm. Although the damage was far less than expected in the Columbus city area, strong winds toppled large tress, and power lines. The winds also scattered debris across the city’s streets causing some roads to be blocked off. There was also some minor flooding, power outages, as well as school and work closings. On the worst day of the storm I spent most of my time out walking the streets trying to document the damage. Below are a few samples of just some of the things that I saw.
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Just thought I’d share a random urban landscape taken in downtown Columbus.
For years I’ve awakened to the soft neon glow of this particular alarm clock.
This photo gives you a personal, yet very misleading look into my life. It says a lot about my daily sleeping habits. You see, some days this is when I wake up, while on other days this is when I go to sleep. There are many causes for such a sporadic pattern of sleep, mostly work, which I’m certain other creative individuals can absolutely relate to.
Having an active mind full of ideas can keep you up all night, cause you to wake up early in the morning, or disrupt you at any moment in between. It’s this same creative surge that can fuel your passion, while also draining your spirit. Being an artist of any kind is never easy. It can be a constant battle within yourself to outwardly express what you see and feel inside. Creativity can cause you to become a habitual dreamer incapable of manifesting ideas into reality, living totally inside your own mind. Or it can cause you insomnia from constantly trying to artistically execute your thoughts in your physical life. This never ending traffic of mind games is mentally exhausting! If you’re like me, and have been battling your entire life, you already know that eventually it will catch up to you physically.
This is where I currently stand. Growing older and finding it increasingly difficult to find ways to win these internal battles. To find a steady balance. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being an artist! I love being someone who can see things that others cannot. I love having the ability to create something out of nothing. Or being able to take something that exists and provide a unique re-interpetation from my own perspective. I truly believe it is a gift from God. I just wish that this gift didn’t have to come with burden of this curse wrapped around it.
Thanking God that I’m blessed to see another day! Another year.
I remember the day you were born. That day was my very first lesson in learning how to let you go. Having to leave you at the hospital to go to work that night was hardest thing I’ve ever done. I wanted to stay with you, to hold you, look at you, let you become familiar with me. My first child. But I had to let you go…
When you finally came home, each night that I left for work I would be so sad driving away, because I didn’t want to let you go.
When we put you in daycare, it was the first time that I had to leave you alone with strangers, and everyday that I walked out of that door I had to let you go. I would stand in the window and watch you until I didn’t have any time left to give.
Your first day of school, I was so happy for you, but so nervous. When the bus came to pick you up and carry you off I cried like a baby. I stood in the street and watched as the bus became smaller and smaller, until it eventually disappeared. There was nothing I could do, I knew I had to let you go.
Since then, there have been so many moments, so many times where the only thing that I could do was stand by and let you go. It never gets any easier.
Now here we are already, senior prom! Look at you. You’re so beautiful! You look just like your mother…
Once again I have to see you off and let you go. I’m so proud, but so hurt.
I know soon you’ll go off to school, or move out on your own and I’ll have to set you free.
Eventually you’ll meet someone, fall in love, get married, and that’s when I’ll lose you. That’s when my heart will truly break…that’s when I’ll really have to let you go.
I always knew these days would come, yet I’m still not prepared.
I love you so much!!!
You will always be my baby, sometimes I wish you could stay that way.
Why do I have to let you go?…
I never want to let you go!
But I know I must…
Today’s photos are a continuation of my previous post on shooting on the street with an 85mm. Although this isn’t a lens review, I will speak on the aspects of the lens that I enjoyed. The lens that I was testing was the Zeiss 85mm. At the end of the day I chose the whitewater rafters to test the autofocus speed on fast moving subjects. The focus was accurate and fast. The image quality was also excellent. The details in these shots are amazing! I wish that I could post the photos at their full resolution so that you could see all of the fine droplets of water the way I see them on my computer. I also enjoyed the build quality, color rendition, as well as the bokeh. Purchasing this lens is an absolute no-brainer! I highly recommend this lens specifically for portrait photographers, but as you can see it is versatile enough for other applications if necessary.
(Please Click On The Photos For Larger View)
Wishing my one and only son a very Happy 16th Birthday today! I love you Prince!!!
I know it’s been a little while since my last post. I never really imagined a time when I would constantly fall behind in my blog posts. The truth is, I’ve been traveling so much more lately. I’ve been trying hard to just enjoy my life, explore, overcome my fear of flying and shoot as much as possible. In fact, I’ve been shooting so much that now I’ve become totally overloaded with images! I have so many new photos now that I spend most of my time struggling to edit, as well as organize these massive catalogues. I’m not complaining at all because, I know this means that I’m finally doing the things I’ve always wanted to do.
I wanted to share some images I made back in August. I was testing a new lens that I was considering purchasing so I decided to take it for a spin in the downtown area. Normally I would never use an 85mm focal length on the street, but I really didn’t feel like dealing with the hassle of scheduling any portrait sessions. Fortunately I chose a beautiful day to go out! The sun was shining, there was a great breeze and people were everywhere. I took my time, walked slowly, and engaged with random people as I created images in a much more relaxed fashion than I normally would. It was an awesome feeling to just slow down and think about what I wanted to capture, rather than running around frantic as I typically would.
At the end of the day I loaded the photos to my laptop, and to my surprise the lens performed brilliantly. I was very skeptical that I wouldn’t get any usable images considering the lens is so tightly cropped on the subjects. I had to stand further away than I normally would and it was a learning curve for me since I like to get closer to my subjects by moving my feet. It almost felt as though I was cheating! But needless to say, the test was a huge success. I knew that I would be making a new purchase and adding a new lens to my arsenal. Now that the 85 is in my bag I never actually use it on the street, unless my mission for the day is to specifically capture head-shots. If I accumulate enough good portraits with the 85 I will definitely post them. I just have to remember to use it more often!
For now I hope you enjoy these test images. I will probably post a follow-up set of images later this week.
(Please click on each image for larger view)
“Youth is fleeting, before life begins…innocence blows away, like whispers in the wind.”
-Robert N. Jones
Hello everyone! I just wanted to drop in and post a picture of a beautiful purple plant that I found growing in the downtown area while walking the streets. What caught my attention was how the bold colors stood out amongst the drab winter tones that surrounded it. You don’t see very many colors during the winter season where I live, so I was very happy to have stumbled upon this beauty. I’m not sure exactly what type of plant it is? But never the less, I’m glad that I had my camera with me to capture it.
The lovely fall colors help accentuate the many colors of this stylish dashiki worn by the beautiful Latrice.
Model: Latrice Hicks
Makeup: Nichele Hardge
Happy New Year to everyone!
My very first post of the new year is a beautiful southwestern sunset captured a few days ago and shot with my iPhone 6 Plus. I know that I haven’t been posting as much, but I have been doing a ton of shooting lately and I have many new exciting images to share in the coming weeks/months. Stay tuned.
I’ve been having some very trying times lately, so I wanted to post something positive and show a little love to my favorite time of year. To my surprise there has been more colors in my area than it’s been in years, making it feel much more like a real a autumn season. These colors have lasted much longer than I anticipated, but it appears that they’re rapidly disappearing. I hope to get out and capture one more round of fall colors before they’re all gone. Until then, I hope you enjoy!
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The sun rises early upon another fall morning. I am thankful to witness it’s natural glory.
-Robert N. Jones
Two months of unintentional silence?
This is the longest break I’ve ever taken in my blog’s 5 year existence. Many factors are responsible, and every creative individual goes through it. I’ll describe my absence as the photographic equivalent to what’s commonly known as “writer’s block”. One of the main reasons for my hiatus has been the writing aspect. I use to really love writing when I was a kid. I wrote stories, poems, song lyrics, anything. Now as an adult I have a love/hate relationship with it. Sometimes I want to write a book, and sometimes I don’t even want to write a sentence! Maybe a part of my reluctance stems from all of the writing we’re forced into doing now on our smart devices and social media? The struggle has been trying to find a reasonable balance. There are so many thoughts and words constantly floating around in my head on a daily basis that it becomes difficult to express them all interestingly before they fade away. Also, if I don’t write things down I tend to forget them, and new ideas will quickly replace the old ones.
Since my last post in September I’ve accumulated a large collection of images that I’d love to share, but honestly I’ve been having a hard time trying to separate and organize them into something cohesive. This type of thing can happen when you shoot more than you blog, eventually you’ll fall behind.
So here I am now looking through hard drive after hard drive, memory card after memory card, and folder after folder of thousands of images trying to make some sense of it all. I guess I have to start somewhere? I’ll let today be the first day on the road back to consistency. I’ll try to do better and prevent this from happening again. I must remind myself that this forum is another creative outlet, which is why I created this blog in the first place. Try not to stress over it too much. It’s like the positive affirmation on the shirt below says, “It’s all good in the hood!” Now carry on…
Like me, my kids have never owned a pet. The other day they heard a kitten crying from inside the sewer near our house. I went outside to see if I could locate the sound. I did my best cat impression for a few minutes and soon after the kitten emerged from underground. It was immediately clear that she was bruised, tired and hungry. I told my kids the story of how my grandmother, uncles, and I use to rescue and take care of strays when I was a child. Naturally she was very apprehensive at first, but eventually we were able to get close enough to feed her and give her milk. Shortly after she decided to show her appreciation by rubbing up against my leg and purring, which I explained is what cats tend to do for affection. My daughter thought it was one of the most adorable things she’s ever seen! She said, “Everyone loves you daddy!” “Even animals!”
Since the kitten was starting to warm up to us I decided they could keep her under the condition they’d have to care for her. I assigned my daughter the first order of business which was to give her a name. She quickly settled on “Ginger”. We all agreed on Ginger and the kitten seemed to actually respond to it. Next, we made her a bed with a warm comfy blanket inside and found a nice spot near our back door in order to monitor her. We then added a fresh bowl of milk, and some chopped turkey to ensure that she would quickly regain her strength. We planned on giving her a bath and taking her to the vet, but unfortunately the next morning she was long gone.
We’ve searched for her for the past few days, but still no luck! We all hope for the best, but like I explained to my kids, that’s how it goes sometimes with strays…My daughter seems to be the most saddened by the departure but we haven’t given up hope just yet. We’ll continue our search for Ginger, but if we can’t find her we’ll remember our very brief encounter with her. I sincerely hope someone finds her and takes good care of her. I am happy that my kids were able to at least learn a quick lesson on responsibility and what it’s like to care for a life other their own.
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A stray cat followed me home…
Part 2 of my celebrity portrait series taken at Madame Tussauds of Las Vegas.
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It’s been a little while since my last full post so I wanted to sit down and share a series of portraits I shot last year while in Las Vegas. Not only was it my first time visiting Las Vegas, but it was also my very first time visiting Madame Tussaud’s world famous exhibition. There was a long line of people waiting to get in and I was eager to finally see what all the fuss was about. Once inside I was extremely impressed with how life-like and realistic each figure was. Everyone for the most part completely resembled their real life counterpart, so it was almost like meeting the actual person. Of course everyone was taking photos, so it would have been very easy for me to simply take tourist photos with my phone like the majority of people. I wanted to do something a little different, something to make my experience more memorable. So instead I decided to dig my pro camera out of the bag, get real close, and shoot a series of head-shots. After I finished I realized that each Madame Tussaud’s location has a totally different lineup of celebrities, so I think it would be totally interesting to visit each exhibition all over the world to capture the entire collection.
I ended up shooting so many images I had to divide the photos into separate posts. Below is part #1
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I’d like to share a few photos that I captured last weekend. Due to the excessive heat I only ventured out for a little while, and the city was basically a ghost town anyway. The few people that were out were all near the water trying to cool off. I wasn’t able to shoot very much for very long before I could no longer stand the heat, but below are a couple of shots that I thought were cool. Better luck next time I guess? This is the time of year when shooting can be tricky due to the amount of heat and humidity, especially in the areas of this country that are prone to higher temperatures such as the south. You really have to pick and choose when to come outside. More often than not when the sun starts to go down, effectively giving you much less time for actual shooting. It truly makes me look forward to fall and winter! That tends to be the time of year when I shoot at a much higher volume.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys their weekend!
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Featuring Alize Muhammad