Happy Anniversary To Me
With each passing year it becomes even more unbelievable to think about how my journey in photography all started. Every year I fall deeper in love with the art form. My appreciation for the opportunity to engage in it daily grows substantially. Being allowed to continuously learn, practice, experiment, and ultimately grow is one of the greatest experiences in my life! I’m thankful for continuous blessing.
Discovery & Saying Goodbye
On September 9th, just a few short weeks ago, the photographic community lost not one but, two of the world’s most captivating artists. Just moments after learning that legendary photographer Robert Frank had passed away I, like most others, dedicated a post on my social media accounts to express my condolences as well as appreciation. Immediately after I hit send I read a message from a fellow photographer saying that legendary Canadian photographer Fred Herzog had also passed away. It was such an unbelievable coincidence that I had to google it just to make sure that the information was accurate. Unfortunately, it was very true.
I discovered Robert Frank’s work many years ago when I felt lost as an artist, looking for a new direction for my own work. Robert Frank’s book, The Americans, is the gold standard for street and documentary photographers worldwide since it’s release in 1958-59. After viewing just a few of the photos online I knew I had to purchase the book for my personal collection. I now own a copy of The Americans, along with a few of Mr. Frank’s other books, so I fully understand the gravity of losing an artist of his magnitude. One of the lessons I learned from his work is, to be honest in the images I capture. Take photos that tell the truth regardless if it’s good or bad. Photography is not always pretty because the world is not always pretty. Stay true to yourself, your vision, and take photographs from your own heart.
I discovered Fred Herzog’s work because, I’ve always been a huge fan of all the Kodachrome film photographers. Being mostly a color photographer myself I’ve always admired the uniquely beautiful color palette that the mythical Kodachrome film was able to produce. I was always on the look out for the early adapters of color photography, so Herzog’s work struck me immediately with it’s distinctive painterly beauty. I’ve also been fascinated with the natural beauty of Canada’s landscape since I was a small child. The marriage of Mr. Herzog’s photographic style, with the charm of the 50’s Canadian street aesthetic appealed to me heavily. The way Fred routinely captured the city of Vancouver for decades was beyond inspiring. He quickly became one of my absolute favorite photographers solely based on his documentation of the Vancouver streets. I own a few of his books as well and they are some of my most prized possessions. I look to them as a constant source of inspiration and motivation.
So what is inspiration to me?
Inspiration is impossible to quantify because, it’s influence is felt long after the source is gone. Therefore, it is immeasurable and everlasting. I’d like to thank these 2 men for their endless inspiration.
Although Gordon Parks is my single greatest inspiration, I will never deny the influence that so many other great artists, such as these 2 men, have had in my pursuit of my own photographic expression. I am truly grateful for their example.
Here are a few of my favorite iPhone photos from a recent trip to Las Vegas. More to come soon…
A very late night trip to try the local Waffle House. Shot on iPhone to test the phone’s low light capabilities.
Black & white photos taken a few months ago while out and about.
A small collection of various color photos taken a few months ago while out and about.
Some color & black and white street shots from Old Town 2017.
A beautiful sunrise I was fortunate enough to capture, handheld, while out walking one morning last month.
Last month I reached an important milestone in my life. I just wanted to take some time to show myself some love and also share this moment. If you know me at all, then you know I gotta keep it real, so if that offends you please move along…
Despite the lack of support from my own family, friends, and former associates, I continue to carry on. Despite the lack of respect or credit as an influencer from the local photographic community, who by the way, will sing my praises privately, then try to disrespect me or ignore my contributions publicly, I continue to carry on. Don’t worry though, I know EXACTLY what I’ve brought to the game for the past 10 years in the city in which I live, whether they’ll ever recognize me for it or not! I’m also very aware of my influence back in my hometown for the 7 previous years as well. No I’m not on anybody’s “team” or a member of anyone’s “crew”. I don’t party or hang out, but it shouldn’t matter, because I’m an individual. I don’t die to fit in, I live to stand out! Please don’t get me wrong, I’m open to collaborations if creatively they capture my attention, or if they’re beneficial to my growth. But in the end I stand strong alone!
People often ask me for advice, but I think one of the greatest lessons you can learn from me has nothing to do with a camera at all. If there is anything you can take away from me, I’d say it’s my perseverance. Do what you love because YOU truly love it, not strictly for fame, money, or attention and you will always be successful. I do what I do for myself, but I choose to share it with the world. If you like it, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. If you’re creative and passionate, then never let anyone stop you from doing what’s true to YOUR heart! If people don’t support you, or understand your dreams and goals, it’ll be disappointing, but don’t give up! Take satisfaction in knowing that you’re doing something for YOU. Understand that it might feel as if no one cares at times, but someone out there is watching. There are people who “get” what you’re doing. It might not always be those that you were expecting. The unfortunate reality is, the people closest to us can’t always see the greatness in us! Often times they won’t support us until people from the outside start to. Eventually they’ll come around when others start to recognize your ability. It’s sad, but true.
With that out of the way, from the bottom of my heart I want to thank each and every person that has EVER shown me any love throughout any stage of my career. I will NEVER STOP creating!!! If you riding with me, stick around cuz it’s only going to get better!
Peace and love to all the positive individuals everywhere! To all the creatives, keep your fire burning and your light shining bright! Support REAL artist y’all!!! ♥️
Here’s a few portraits of my friend Jerry that were taken during the worst part of the tropical storm Irma. He is homeless, yet he told me, “Not to stress out over life’s issues”. “As long as you’re alive and healthy, you have a reason to smile and be happy”.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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!
(Please click on each photo for a higher resolution view)
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…
Stuck in traffic under the unforgiving summer sun, forced to crank up my AC, I realized something. As I ride around this city lately I’m noticing an increasing amount of construction everywhere. Access to streets and entire areas of the city are always blocked off effectively inconveniencing everyone, yet I hardly ever see any improvement once they’re FINALLY done! They also seem to perform their work on the weekdays during the absolute busiest times of the day. Here is a perfect example of what I mean. Unfortunately I’ve accumulated quite the collection of these types of photos over time, but a large amount of them are from just this year alone! I’ll certainly be happy once they finish so I can go about my way without the constant detours and alternates routes.
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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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Spending time in one of my favorite vacation spots is always an instant remedy for stress. The moment the cool air from the water hits your face you can feel it’s healing powers take over your entire body. The happy sounds of tropical music fills your ears, while the delicious aroma of fresh fruit and grilled Gulf seafood teases your sense of smell. Your next thought is always how you immediately know you never want to leave. It’s been far too long since my family and I have been on a vacation anywhere together, so this trip was definitely long overdue! It’s been a tradition of ours to go to Florida at least for a few days to relax, but our last trip was suddenly interrupted by an unfortunate emergency. It’s been well over a year since our last trip and going back we can see right away that a few things have changed. Gone are all of the wild spring-breakers of the past, replaced by a more family oriented crowd which was absolutely perfect timing! After check-in everyone races to the room to drop off their bags and head straight to the beach. Finally!!! The moment you dream of for months at a time has finally arrived, and you couldn’t be happier! Ahh…time to kick your feet up, chill, and enjoy all of the new attractions at your leisure…after all, there’s no room to worry about time here. For once time excuses itself for your enjoyment.
Never without my camera, I documented the trip as usual and I’d like to share a summary of the various sights with images organized more or less in the order in which they were taken. I hope you enjoy the photos and your weekend!
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A late night portrait of a fireman as he and his crew prepare to deal with an electrical fire. Taken in my neighborhood at around 1:30am.
The downtown River-fest is one of my favorite local events. I absolutely love food trucks and I’m happy that this city has decided to embrace the growing food truck culture. I’ll admit though, it is very overwhelming for me with all of the wonderful sights and smells everywhere! I’m always so tempted to try all of the different foods on display that I sometimes forget to photograph it. It’s also very difficult to take pictures and eat at the same time, but somehow I still manage to multitask! 😉
Here are a few color selections of the people, pets, and food from this beautiful day posted in chronological order.
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