Ok, I’m talking more about the blurred background image than I am the actual subject of this photograph. As I said, I love the glow of a candle. I think we humans have something deep within us from long ago when our only light source at night was that of fire. With all the electricity that surrounds us, we seem to still be drawn at times, to the simple candle.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Ok, I’m talking more about the blurred background image than I am the actual subject of this photograph. As I said, I love the glow of a candle. I think we humans have something deep within us from long ago when our only light source at night was that of fire. With all the electricity that surrounds us, we seem to still be drawn at times, to the simple candle.
Monday, December 25, 2006
I can remember the anticipation I had as a child leading up to Christmas morning. My family’s tradition growing up, was to open one small present on Christmas Eve, an “appetizer” if you will, to hold everyone over until the main course in the morning. Once morning came, my eyes would “Pop” open. I would see dim light coming in from the windows, making me to know that “Christmas Morning” could now begin! I remember one year, just sitting out in the quiet of the living room, waiting for everyone else to wake up and join me. I gazed at all the presents, not believing that the moment had finally come!
I think one of the things that made receiving presents at Christmas time so magical as a child, was the fact that you were receiving something you could not obtain yourself. As we become adults and get jobs, most of what we would like to have, we eventually buy ourselves. Once in a while though, we still receive something that maybe we couldn’t have gotten too easily on our own.
Receiving presents of any kind is still fun though. I think as adults, It’s more about the meaning behind presents. The fact that you have people who care about you and they took the time and money to buy you something, means a lot. That’s where some of the magic lies for us adults at Christmas time.
It seems 2007 has snuck up on me before I was even ready, well, actually I think I am ready for a new year. Each year I try to think of something to help encourage me about that year. I’m liking 2007, because “7 is God’s perfect number”.
One of my favorite rolls of wrapping paper that I bought this year has the words “Believe” and “Wish Big” printed on it. These messages encourage me to keep after my dreams.
So, I encourage you as I encourage myself for this coming year of 2007, “Believe” and “Wish Big”! Don’t give up on your dreams in life.
Friday, December 22, 2006
During the last weekend of November, I went to the store "Old Navy" with one of my friends. While there, I spotted this great, three roll set of Christmas gift wrap. Each roll featured a different pattern of robots, I immediately thought of my younger cousins when I saw it. So, I bought the set. While wrapping a few presents on Thursday night, I decided to use the robots for some other people as well. I call this pattern “Attack of the Clones”. I like how the grouping of the robots make up the shape of a snow flake.
I may not be able to post anything in the next couple of days, so, I just want to wish everyone who visits my Blog a Very Merry Christmas! I appreciate your visits, comments and input, thank you so much! Your always welcome here.
I hope everyone has a great time with family and friends and remembers the reason for this season, Jesus Christ coming into our world.
I also hope you all find that special something under the tree on Christmas morning.
Monday, December 11, 2006
This is a post that I have been looking forward to doing for some time. So, here it is. I have compiled a list of my favorite Christmas songs. Because of that “vast array”, I have grouped them into specific categories. I’m sure I’m leaving some out, but these are the highlights.
When Love Came Down - Performed by Point of Grace. Just a beautiful modern Christmas song. I remember hearing them perform this live one year. These ladies are “good”.
Season of Love - Performed by Jaci Velasquez.
Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day - Avalon‘s version is best. “How many people are crying, People are dying...How many people are asking for love?”
This Gift - Performed by 98 degrees. Just a great Christmas love song.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - NSYNC
Do You Hear What I Hear (1962) - “The child, the child, Sleeping in the night, He will bring us goodness and light”
Let it Snow (1945) - “The fire is slowly dying and my dear, we're still goodbying!”
We Three Kings (1857) - I’ve always loved the telling of these three men of earthly power, coming to honor the son of God when he first entered into the world. The chorus to the song has beautiful lyrics and melody.
Angels We Have Heard On High (1862) - The “Gloria” part is just fun to sing.
Now for the Christmas Songs that Annoy Me:
Rockin Around the Christmas Tree - Rockin’s good and I like Christmas tree’s too, but this song oozes with Cheese.
Feliz Navidad - The original recording just annoys me. I think it’s the vocal delivery. I do however enjoy Jaci Velasquez’s version because I love her.
O Christmas Tree - I like Christmas tree’s, but this song does nothing for me.
So this is Christmas - By John Lennon. It’s just depressing.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I saw this CD of Michael Bublé and thought it would be cool to incorporate it into a photograph. I don’t have any Bublé stuff yet, but I do think he sings romantic tunes. I like the simple yet truthful lyrics in many of those big band style songs that he covers. Songs like “Fly Me to the Moon”. “Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars, let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars…In other words…hold my hand…In other words…darling kiss me!”
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
As we looked for good backdrops and locations down town, I started noticing cool “worn” looking paint jobs on doors and such. I mentioned to Stefanie how it’s amazing what you see when you really look. The weathered materials we found lining the walls down an ally way, provided interesting backdrops for portraiture.
For the image above, we used a side door to some shop that was painted a deep blue. I told Stef this would be a great “profile pic” if she had a Blog. She agreed, but said she was too busy to have one.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
As the wind began blowing my subjects hair early in the shoot, I asked the family if they had brought any hats. One of the girls spoke up about a cowboy hat they had in their van, it would do. So, each of the two girls took turns wearing it, keeping the disheveled hair issue down to a minimum.
This image was taken towards the end of the shoot as the 11:00am sun began to shine brightly. I used fill flash to lighten up where the hat shaded her eyes. We had overcast skies for half of the shoot that morning, which I liked because of not having to deal with harsh shadows. I always prefer shooting in early morning or early evening for this reason.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Last Friday was the opening night of this year's Classic. I didn’t get over there until around 7:00pm when most of my shooting light was almost gone for the day. I thought I would at least check out what cars were already on display, but I didn’t expect to capture much.
It wasn’t long until I came upon this yellow Ford GT. In between people surrounding it for photos and such, and as the light was bidding farewell, I grabbed this image. I set my camera on “shutter priority” mode and adjusted it to the lowest setting I knew that I could still handhold it on for a steady image. The built in “Vibration Reduction” of my Nikon allowed me to handhold the camera with a ¼ of a second shutter speed and still capture a relatively sharp image.
My viewing monitor flips out and pivots up or down which allows me to capture the creative angles many of you have been wondering about.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
This weekend was the Lake Mirror Classic here in Lakeland. Me and my friend Ebenezer attended on Saturday, to drool over all the amazing autos that would be on display in the closed off streets and around the lake.
We first met up for breakfast at Denny’s around 9:00am to seize the day with a good meal. We then ventured down town to the show of dream machines. Since a lot of streets were closed and so many people were in attendance for this, it was a challenge to find a place to park. No matter what, we knew we’d be doing a lot of walking. After driving around for a few minutes with Ebenezer following behind me, we finally found an empty parking lot a few blocks from the event.
It was now time to begin our quest to behold the beauties of transportation. Soon we we’re gazing upon a Saleen S7 and talking to a few owners of Dodge Vipers. They bragged of how the car would handle at 170. We later gawked at a yellow Ford GT racing car and admired a new Bentley Continental GT. It was very hot outside that day, so we were soon looking for some ice cold aqua! We found some and downed them in no time! Later, we looked at some Ferrari’s. Eb referred to the rear engine on one that you could view through glass as a “sleeping beast”.
By this time, the sun was directly over head. Not only did it feel like it was melting me, but even worse, it did not lend to good photographs. One of the redeeming qualities though, is that with this much sun, you can set the aperture to it’s smallest setting and obtain long depths of field (lots of things in focus). In cases like this, getting a sharp image, is not going to be one of your problems. Some of the challenges I did have though, was getting too much glare or catching people’s reflections in the paint finishes. That’s one of the reasons I like shooting “personality” shots of vehicles at shows, because of how difficult it is to get a complete view of the car without showing other people in the shot.
As we were getting ready to leave the lake area, I spotted this vintage Porsche racing car. It’s almost paint less body with the number 32 on the hood stuck out to me. For some reason, it’s one of my favorite images I captured that day. My younger cousin Bradley saw this image and said it looked like a type of shark.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
That’s what I’ve always called this shot. Ebenezer looks like a magician who’s reaching out to turn you into a rabbit. I could see the poster headline now. “Come be Dazzled and Amazed at Sites You Have Never Beheld!”
Eb has become one of my good friends over the past year and a half. He’s a fellow Bachelor, so often times we’ll grab a bite to eat together, sometimes taco bell, sometimes Pizza, sometimes who knows what else. Yes, we are definitely Bachelors as you can tell by our wonderful cuisine. We also usually take in a cool DVD. Of course this is all when he’s not spending time with his girl, Alexis.
...On a side note, check out a fun interview I did for "Luce" of the "HomeSchoolNerd" Blog.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
I took this photo of my friend Patricia about three years ago. A lot has changed for her since then. She is now a wife to my friend Jonathan and a Mom to a very cute little baby boy named Josiah.
Patricia’s nick name from college was “Petrie” (pronounced peetrie). Named after the little pterodactyl from “The Land Before Time” animated movie series. Patricia played basketball for Southeastern University and because of her petite size, she acquired the nick name.
For this photo, I was standing on a bench and had Patricia sit in the grass behind it.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
From age 15 to 19, my best friend was Todd. We shared a lot of the growing pains of becoming men. We mainly shared laughter, which I often thought of as the foundation of our friendship, that and God. Me and Todd were always laughing at inside jokes or creating new ones.
I’m glad I had a friend like that to help get me through those, sometimes tough and awkward, teen years. Since then, life has taken us in different directions. I was blessed though to be the Best Man in his wedding in November of 2004. I got the call and flew up to Pennsylvania to be a part of his historical day. He now has two children, a boy and a girl.
One thing about it, Since our teens, Todd has become difficult to get in touch with. That’s why the title of this post is not only appropriate for the image, but also for him.
I captured this image in the middle of 1998. We were at my parents house. Back then, they had not built a deck yet, it was just one big drop off the back of their house. I seen Todd sitting down there with that hat on and saw “an image”. This is one of the early glimpses of my “eye” for photography.
A photo that I took a few years later reminds me of this image. It’s one of my friend Patricia that I took during a game of chess. Because of the positioning of her head, you can not see her face. I link the two images because they are both of people who have been good friends to me in my life. The image does not completely reveal their identity, but I know who they are.
I could tell you so many stories involving Todd. I’m glad he’s been a part of my history.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
This image was captured during a hike I took with my close friends, David and Michele, in the Ocala National Forest here in Florida. This hike was a return visit to the Florida forest for me and Dave, but a first time experience for Michele.
The first time me and David took this six hour hike was during a very humid time of year. I remember Dave telling me to bring lots of water to drink and some snacks to eat. So, I brought a few fruit bars and a couple bottles of water. When we began our adventure early in the morning, the day was fresh and exciting as we trudged through the sandy terrain. Once in a while we would come upon a Banana Spider’s web draped across the walking path. Sometimes you wouldn’t know it was there until it was right in front of you. Weirdly, that was pretty much the only wildlife we saw in this particular forest.
By late morning, we found a hilly area off the beaten path that we decided to explore. I remember waiting quietly up on a hill with David as horse back riders passed by unaware of our presence. For a moment we imagined what it must have been like to be Native Americans getting ready to ambush passing by settlers. Of course there was no “ambushing” going on this day.
On the other side of this hill was a steep drop off and then another series of hilly terrain. Me and Dave took turns sliding down and jumping across to the adjacent embankment. Even though I’d been drinking lots of water and eating a few of the fruit bars that I had brought along, I had been sweating all morning and was beginning to lack proper amounts of sugar and salt in my body. Unbeknownst to me, dehydration was coming upon me. Pretty soon I began to feel noshes. The rest of the hike became a major challenge to me. David let me have some Gatorade, which I should have brought instead of water. He also gave me an energy bar, which I should have brought instead of those fruit bars. I finally made it out of there, and the challenge only added to the adventure and memories of that day.
The next time we went, it wasn’t any where near as hot. This hike was more pleasant and Michele came along with us.
The image above is of a cross that David wears all the time. I like this image because it shows an object that normally doesn’t get to be viewed in such detail. I also like how David just happened to be wearing red that day which can represent the blood that Christ shed on the cross for you and me.
Check out David’s illustration Blog, “Cartoon Ninja”!
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
During a visit with my parents in Pennsylvania during 2005, me and my step Dad whom I call Dad, went for a walk one evening. He was taking a plastic chair to place in a tree stand that he uses for deer hunting. I had taken my camera hoping to capture something cool. As we walked through the woods up on a ridge, we stumbled upon a deer skull that was a remnant from one of the deer my Dad had harvested the year before. As the sun was beginning to set, I seized the opportunity to capture this unique image.
I never really had a person to call “Dad” growing up, because of my parents marriage dissipating before I was one year old. I never lacked anything though, because my Grandparents helped my Mom raise me. I had a very good childhood as a result. My Mom finally found my Dad when I was 15 years old and they have been married for 12 years now. As I’ve aged into adulthood, I’ve seen how my Dad has taken good care of my Mom and this makes me glad. They both have been through divorce and I’m very happy they have each other.
Recently I was listening to some people complain about marriage. As I listened to these jaded individuals, I had to think of how there are plusses and minuses to everything in life. There are many things in life that are wonderful, but also have their own challenges just the same. There are challenges to being single and as I’ve observed in others lives, there are challenges to being married.
Another thought that came to my mind as I listened to these individual’s discontentment, was that no matter what circumstances we live in, we need Christ to truly bring life to it. It is through Him that anything is truly good. We could have anything in this world, but if we don’t have Christ, we won’t have true life or joy. This is why I can be happy in my singleness and it’s also why I will have an amazing marriage some day! It’s through my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Check out my Dad’s Blog, he’s the one and only "Salty".
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Classic car hood ornaments intrigue me. They were such works of art that celebrated the automobile and the driving experience. While at the 2005 Lake Mirror Classic, I stumbled upon this lovely lady on the hood of a 1955 Nash. I don’t think I had ever seen a Nash before or at least one of this year. I actually didn’t even get the name of the car that day. I wanted to find out what make it was for this post, so I googled classic car hood ornaments. One of the sites that came up had one of these ladies within their front page graphics, “Bingo”.
I thought it was cool how this young maiden of chrome is posed in a very relaxed way as though lounging in a pool or just effortlessly gliding through the air. I also like how her pony tail is blowing in the wind. I’m sure she could tell a lot of stories... that is if chrome hood ornaments could talk!
I know I’ve been posting a lot of car photography lately, but that’s where my inspiration seems to be right now. I have to go with where my inspiration is.
Monday, September 25, 2006
At Old Town’s Saturday Night Cruise, you can look, but you can’t touch the beautiful automobiles that are on display there. I remember leaning over the side of a late 50’s model corvette, trying to capture the very cool gauge panel of this racing machine. As I was contorting, as to not “touch” the car, I felt the door to the convertible begin to open below me. I immediately thought that the owner wanted into his prize possession, and said to him, “Oh, I’m sorry”. He replied to me, “Why don’t you just get in, you look like your going to break your back trying to get that shot!”
So, feeling very privileged, I gladly stepped into the cockpit of this vintage racing machine and captured the image you see above.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
The hood ornament of a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain gleams as the rays from a Saturday afternoon sun shines through it. I had arrived at Old Town a little earlier than normal that Saturday and was able to utilize the bright sun on this classic automobile.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
About two years ago I was sitting in the apartment of my friends, Jonathan and Patricia. As I sat there on the floor just chilling, Jonathan brought out one of his pets and placed it on the floor between us. It was his young Ball Python named Kaa. I had never handled a snake before, but that night I would. Jonathan assured me that he was friendly, and Patricia suggested that I put it on my shoulders. So, I said ok. I remember it feeling almost like a massage as the snake moved just behind my neck. For the next hour as we all watched TV, I held Kaa as he moved through my hands. I couldn’t believe I was actually handling a snake and that this one was actually friendly!
A year later as Jonathan was preparing to go to Afghanistan, they wanted to know if I would keep Kaa for the 18 months that Jonathan would be gone. Patricia already had a dog, two cats, a gerbil and fish to take care of. One less animal would be fine with her, plus she’s not wild about having to feed Kaa mice every so often.
So, for over a year, I’ve had a room mate, a three foot long Ball Python. Because snakes metabolisms are very slow, he doesn’t need to eat that often. Two mice every two weeks or more seemed to be just right for him. As you can imagine, the people at the pet store got to know me a little. I always tried not to get attached to the mice when I brought them home. I like all animals, but for Kaa to live, he needed mice.
To quote Answers.com, “Ball Pythons are commonly owned snakes due to their personalities.” Kaa has never bit me, his first reaction is to jerk away from what startles him or coil into a ball, thus the name “Ball” Python.
It’s been fun, but it’s time to give my little friend back to Jonathan this weekend. People have asked me if I would get a snake of my own. I wouldn’t mind having my own Ball Python, but the truth is, girls normally don’t like snakes and if I had to choose between a snake or a girl…sorry Kaa.
P.S. Since posting this, something happened that changed some of the facts stated in my story. Please see my second response comment posted on September 21.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Mark is one of the friends in my “inner circle”. I have a lot of people that I know and consider friends, but I have a smaller group of friends that really know who I am. These are the people that I can share my heart with. People that encourage me and are concerned about me. People that know were I’ve come from and can see where I’m headed.
This is off on a slight tangent, but still on my inner circle. I’ve been walking through life with most of this group for almost six years, but towards the end of last year, I came to know how good of friends I have. One week I was going through something that really had me distraught. That Wednesday night we had Bible study at David and Michele’s house. They could tell I wasn’t myself as I didn‘t want anything to munch on and more so than that, I‘m sure they could see it on my face. I did have some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had that night though! I mentioned that fact and Michele said she made it from scratch. When I was getting ready to leave, Michele asked me if I was ok and if I needed to talk. At first I nonchalantly said, “oh, I don’t even know if I want to talk about it”, trying to hide how I was really feeling and the fact that I really did need to talk about it. She said, “You can, we’re family”. So, I bared my soul with my close family of friends and they gave me Godly counsel that encouraged me and lifted my spirit.
That’s what I mean in my profile when I say “I've especially realized over the last year that they really are there for me when I need it.” And there has been a few more times this year when they have been there for me again and again. God has truly blessed me to have these people to walk through life with. Everything I believe deep down, they share with me. The things I’m hoping for, they hope with me. When I celebrate, they celebrate with me.
The image above is from a photo session I did with Mark and his horse Banner a few years ago. Mark was prepping Banner for some obedience training as I focused on them. I saw Mark give an interesting look over his shades at something and “click”, I had captured one of my favorite images of Mark and Banner together.
Monday, September 11, 2006
As I readied to pour milk into a cereal bowl a week ago, something within this simple action, triggered a memory. The expiration date on the milk jug read “Sep 11”. At that moment, I thought of how that particular date is now forever a reminder of the horror that took place in our nation that day as we were attacked.
I’ll never forget how my coworkers and I sat in disbelief as we heard news of a plane that flew into a building and then a second. We later heard news of “fires at the Pentagon”, news that wasn’t completely telling of what had actually happened there. America was under attack as we sat in our then windowless office. It almost took on a “Bomb Shelter” feel as we listened to the horrors that unfolded on the radio.
After hearing of death all morning, I remember telling my friend David of how I was just happy to be alive. I remember my girlfriend at the time, calling me up at work and asking me if I was alright. We’re in Florida, but with so much tragedy happening that morning, no one knew if they were completely safe!
I remember just sitting with the TV off that night, looking at photo albums with my girlfriend, just trying to take our minds off of the tragedies that had taken place that day. I had a worship CD that I had just bought, playing as well, it was a much needed listen and mental redirection.
I remember flying commercial airlines just four days after 9/11. I was scheduled to meet my family up north for vacation. My flight had already been moved ahead one day because of a hurricane that came through that Friday. A hurricane that probably got the least amount of attention that one has had in years before or since.
I remember the flight attendees being mostly male and paying close attention to everyone that boarded that plane. I also remember laying my head back against the head rest and thanking God for protecting us as we touched down at our destination.
I, like the rest of America will always remember the day that our freedom and every good thing we stand for was attacked.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Here’s one of my favorite images I’ve captured at Old Town‘s Saturday Night Cruise. I like getting shots that not many people think to get as they pass by these classic cars. Many just see the car as a whole, but for me, certain design characteristics jump out. Maybe it’s a fender, a head light, a hood ornament or an emblem. I love taking these design aspects and turning them into works of art. In this particular image, I wanted to give the feeling that this airplane was going to take to the skies and fly right off the hood of this classic Ford.
The “Cruise” is the largest “weekly” car show in America with an average turn out of 325 classic automobiles per Saturday night! The parking and admission is free and the inspiration is bountiful.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I was almost home last night when something caught my eye on the side of the road. There, glowing in the darkness, was a massive pile of construction barrels with their yellow lights still shining. Barrels that once took up residence on my street as it was being widened, now huddled together in abandonment, 30 feet from the road. I took a double take as I passed by on the opposite side of the street, it was such a unique site.
As I pulled into my apartment complex just a block down from the scads of glowing barrels, I knew I had to go back there and photograph this peculiar image. So, I ran to my apartment, grabbed my camera and tripod, then headed back to the site on foot. As I drew near to the pile, I stepped off the side walk onto bare ground. I noticed as I walked that it was really more sand than anything as is most of our “dirt” down here in Florida. It brought back memories of being a kid actually, because it smelled like a sand box in this area.
It was now just me and the mound of lighted barrels, off duty from the stretch of road that had just been completed! A few dogs that lived near by through some trees sensed my presence and began to bark occasionally. Once in a while, a car would go by, they were probably wondering what in the world I was doing, or maybe just thought I was with the construction company, who knows?
Since I was using a tripod for a long exposure, I set the ISO on my camera at 50 to prevent as much “digital noise” as possible. One thing that annoys me, is digital noise, the equivalent to “film grain”. For normal shooting, I usually use an ISO of 200. I then set the camera’s shooting settings to “aperture priority”, this would give me an automatic reading of how many seconds the camera wanted for proper exposure. It said “8” seconds first with a wide aperture. So, I tried 8, but ended up shooting most of the images at 4 seconds like the one above.
I guess the construction crew wanted the batteries of the lights drained by morning? Whatever the reason, it created a photo opportunity for me!
Friday, September 01, 2006
One of the many lakes in the city I live in is Lake Mirror. It is accompanied by Hollis Garden which is home to many beautiful flowers and is a venue for many weddings. As I went down there tonight in hopes of finding some good subjects to photograph I noticed a lot of people gathering at Hollis. It wasn’t long until I saw a sign right in front of me that read “Wedding in Progress, Please be Courteous”.
Since I couldn’t explore Hollis because of the ceremony, I decided to walk around Lake Mirror to see what I would find. As I walked, nothing really seemed to present itself. I spotted a cool turtle in the water, but he was a little too far out, the lighting was a little too dim and he vanished beneath the surface before I could get any type of shot. As I headed back from whence I came, feeling a little disappointed and ready to give up for the evening, the sky began to look amazing. It was then my shot presented itself! I took advantage of the moment and began to shoot different compositions, making sure I captured this beautiful scene.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Like a Pied Piper, a Hot Rod seems to lure people unto it. Isn’t it really the child inside of us that loves a cool looking ride? As I observed this young boy walking up to this beautiful machine, I wanted to capture the relationship between a cool car and a child. For it’s as a child that the love and appreciation for a great looking automobile begins. This rod seems to have it’s own unique personality as it sits there under the close observation and admiration of all who pass by it. “Come look at me” it beckons, and the boy responds.
I took this image almost two years ago during one of my Saturday night ventures into “Old Town” in Kissimmee Florida. I usually shoot a lot of up close “personality” shots of the classic cars, images that exclude the many people who view these vehicles every Saturday night. I had to capture this moment in more of an “environment” shot.
You can view more of my photos from Old Town in my June Archives under the “Auto Art” post. www.chadoneil.blogspot.com/2006/06/auto-art.html
Friday, August 25, 2006
You never know what each day holds. I read a quote recently by a famous photographer named Minor White who said “What will I be given today?” I think that’s a pretty universal statement about life. I remember stopping in a store at the Mall during one of my frequent trips to the food court for lunch. Me and my coworkers jokingly refer to it as our company’s cafeteria because it’s only two miles from our business and many of us go there a lot for lunch. Anyway, I had stopped in a store on impulse before we headed back to the office and found a cool clock that I had no idea that I would be buying that day. You can see a photo of this clock on my first post in the archives. Even though it was just a simple purchase of a small clock, I remember thinking how you never know what each day will bring.
The same can be said for photo shoots, you never know what image will come to you. Sometimes I find myself thinking “what can I photograph, I need to get a cool new image for my Blog” or whatever. I then think of how if I want to get some cool new images, I need to go on a shoot somewhere and let the images “come to me”. Another pic on my first post (check it out if you haven’t!), the one of the construction wheel, was another image that “came to me”, I wasn’t expecting to create “that image” that day, I couldn’t have predicted it. The same goes for the little guy on the flower above. I was photographing some flowers in a local public garden when this little bee happened to be on some flowers.
You never know what image your going to capture nor what each day holds for you.
“What will I be given today?”
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
They say that if there is a body of fresh water here in Florida, there is a good chance that it is inhabited by the giant carnivorous reptiles known as alligators. There’s a park with a lake near where I live that is home to many “water birds” and of course alligators. At this park, you commonly see Great Egrets and Blue Herons stalking the shore line ever so stealthily to catch some dinner, but you won’t always see an alligator. The gators are more active in the evening and thus the park closes at sun down.
On one particular evening, as I was walking up to a foot bridge that crosses a small inlet of water, something caught my eye. A young alligator, probably around a foot in length, was peeking through the water near the bank on the “swamp side” of the bridge. I could not resist this moment. So, I “cautiously” moved down to the bank, trying to make sure there wasn’t any “BIG” gators around and trying not to scare the little guy away. I got within about five feet of him and zoomed in as close as I could with my camera. I just had time to take two shots when “plop”, he submerged beneath the murky water and was gone!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Here’s another image I captured while visiting my parents in Pennsylvania. I was wondering around trying to create something interesting one evening and saw this water faucet in my parents garden. Since the sun was beginning to lower in the sky, I thought it would be cool to capture a silhouette of the lone object. I had to shoot from a low angle and through the fence to showcase the faucet without including any distracting elements.
When I look at this image I think of a song that I’ve been listening to recently. “Fill My Cup” by Paul Colman. Paul is an Australian who was formerly of the “Paul Colman Trio” later went “solo” and is now playing guitar for one of my favorite bands “Newsboys” who are made up of a few “Aussies” as well.
The song just talks about Christ filling our empty hearts up with His “running water” of life. Some of the lyrics go “Fill my cup to the top, with running water, call me out and show me how”. There‘s so many times I need God to do that in me, that's why I relate so much to this song.
Paul Colman originally performed this song when he was with his “trio” of musicians. Follow this link to see a cool video of him doing a solo “acoustic” version of “Fill My Cup”. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zgyky56A4c
Youtube.com is so cool by the way, if you've never explored it by searching for whatever, give it a try!
Monday, August 14, 2006
One of my favorite things to do is take a walk in the subdivision that my grandparents live in while listening to some of my favorite music. I get into my own little world as I walk among the beautiful houses with the occasional palm tree in view or the aroma of food on a grill that someone is about to enjoy for dinner. Surprisingly, the neighborhood is usually quiet in the evenings with few people outside. I’ll see a sign of life once in a while, but for the most part, I have the place to myself.
It’s an environment that I can go and get lost in the music and the beautiful Florida scenery that surrounds me. As I listen and let the lyrics and music envelope my consciousness I daydream about my life. Sometimes ways to pray about something will come to me because of a lyric in a song, or just because I’m a little more introspective during that time. I just feel good to be alive as I walk on the winding sidewalks that I’ve come to know so well over the years. Something within me is stirred with hope as I look at the glowing orange sky of a sunset behind the silhouette of a palm tree. While observing such scenes, I’ve thought at times of how God is the original artist, designer, and painter. He had created all colors before any man figured out what combinations would produce them. These amazing colors were in the sky and in nature from the beginning.
One of the musical artists that have been a good walking companion to me is Watermark, especially their “All Things New” disc. I have all five of their albums, but this one, their second album, is my favorite. So many of the tracks on that disc speak to my heart and Christy Nockels’ voice is that of an angel‘s. Their music with it’s great percussion and acoustic sound woven with lyrics that are beautifully intertwined with God’s word, make a great sound track for my walks.
You can visit Watermark’s website at www.watermark-online.com
Saturday, August 12, 2006
This is another one of my favorite images from a shoot that I did with my friends David and Michele in 2002. Listing their names together like that reminds me of a thought I’ve been having recently of how married couples are usually referred to together. You know, like “Bob and Mary are such cool people” or “wouldn’t Joe and Kendra like that movie too?” It’s just something that I’ve thought about recently, how united a married couple really is that each person is forever referred to with the other. I guess it’s yet another way that the two really do become one.
The image above was taken with a 35mm Yashica camera from the early 1980’s. The camera belongs to my grandfather, but has served as a learning tool for me in the past before I went digital. Around the time of this shoot the old camera was beginning to show signs of needing repair. One of those signs was a black streak that would show up on random prints. I had it repaired and found that the steaks were coming from rubber seals inside the camera that were deteriorating from age and turning to goop.
One of the those annoying streaks originally showed up on this picture. I was able to remove it though in Photoshop and restore the image! Among other edits, I added color to Michele’s sweater.
The idea behind the shot was to show two different moods. David is blurred in the background with a crazy expression on his face, while Michele is in deep thought in the foreground with her cup of coffee.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I rent a lot of DVD’s. I have the “Blockbuster Movie Pass” and am usually down there renting two at a time whenever I can. I like movies that have Adventure, Romance, Suspense, Drama, Comedy and especially ones that have everything I just mentioned.
I don’t really “buy” a lot of DVD’s though. I usually only want to “own” a movie if it really moves me or if it’s a “Classic” or “Modern Day Classic”. If I just have to share a film with people I know or people I’m going to know in the future, I usually buy it. It has to be "Widescreen" too, especially if it's an old movie. I like being able to see everything the director intended me to when he framed up the shot and not just what was "formatted to fit my TV". It's kind of special having a widescreen of a classic that was usually only viewed "square" on TV. Not to mention, TV's are all becoming widescreen more and more.
I remember my Mom and Grandma watching old movies when I was a kid. I also used to watch “Nick at Night” which reran old shows. One of my favorites was “Hitchcock Presents”, the black and white half hour show that would feature short tales by the master of suspense. I think I like old films because they’re usually “clean” yet still really cool. All the stuff you love without the stuff you don’t!
There are still great movies today though! Just view my “Favorite Movies” list in my profile and your see some of mine. “The Count of Monte Cristo”, Superb film with everything I love. “Napoleon Dynamite”, it’s weird I know, but I just love it! Anyone else who agrees with me knows what I’m talking about, “Gosh!” And yes, that is two copies you see up there. Once the special two disc set with never before seen features came out, I had to buy that one too! "It's Incredible!" I can pretty much quote any line from that movie.
I enjoy good cinematography because it’s similar to photography. A nice frame on screen usually makes a good “still”. Creative camera angles in films give me ideas for photos. I remember reading advice from a photographer in a magazine, who said to pay attention to how film makers make use of the horizontal “landscape” frame to compose each shot.
"Now imagine yourself floating weightless in the middle of the ocean surrounded by sea horses."
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Anyway, Willard has a herd of wild deer that he feeds every evening. He’s befriended many herds over the last 10 years or more. One evening he took me to see his latest herd, mainly made up of does (female deer). He picked me up at my parents house and we drove over a ridge and down past the farm that he and my step Dad grew up on. We then had to cross a creek that was barely crossable with his sport utility vehicle. There’s a more dry entrance to the destination, but this was a short cut. It wasn’t long until we were entering the sacred place in which Willard communes with the creatures of the wild.
I could tell these deer knew him because of how calmly they remained as we drove into the field, normally they would have been running for their lives. As Willard got out of the vehicle and prepared the buckets of feed, I gingerly got out knowing that the deer were not going to be sure of me. They kept their distance from me as I watched one trot right up to Willard and his bucket of feed. He was also throwing feed into the field and the deer dined on their friend’s hand outs of kindness.
Willard then set up his “rig”, a Canon Professional Digital SLR with a Gigantic lens. There was a shutter release cable attached that was taped to the handle of the tripod. You could keep your hand on the tripod handle and shoot with with the same hand. As me and Willard talked about photography and what inspired each of us to pursue it, I was taking a few shots with his Canon. The above image is one of my favorites that I captured that evening. One of Willard’s woodland friends wondering who in the world I am.
Monday, July 31, 2006
I really like spicy food. A good tasting hot pepper is like a thrill ride for your mouth! It’s taste is something that demands your attention! Your going to react in one way or another, you might even cry, but not tears of sadness or pain, (well, if hot enough, maybe pain) but just because hot peppers some how cause your tear ducts to fill up and thus your nose to run.
Some of my favorite hot peppers are Jalapenos and Greek peppers because they're Hot yet still have an enjoyable taste to them! They just keep me going back for more, one more BANG to my taste buds! One more ride down the roller coaster track! Please keep your hands inside the car...
Hot peppers also aid in helping out a food that might otherwise be bland or boring. If I’m not particularly excited about a certain dish that is laid before me, I’ll add some hot peppers or seeds of hot peppers, and presto, it’s now a more enjoyable dish! "Especially Delicious".
Just because I add hot stuff to something doesn't mean that I don’t already like the food though. Take Sonny’s BBQ for example, that’s some great smoked meat on some great garlic toast, but add “Smokin” and “Sizzilin Sweet” BBQ Sauce to it, and you’ve got the perfect lunch! Now that’s “Man food”.
Above is a jar that is residing in my fridge right now.
I think my mouth is starting to water, I'm actually kind of thirsty right now.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
As the Sun began to go down last Friday night, there was a nice warm glow coming through my dining room window. I took that opportunity to create some images using one of the two blue colored glass pitchers I scored at a yard sale a couple Saturdays ago.
I don’t normally stop at yard sales, but when I was leaving my grandparents house on a Saturday afternoon recently, I spotted from the road, some cool blue colored glass objects that looked to be a part of a yard sale that was about to close. So I circled around and stopped. Upon closer observation, the blue glass was that of two pitchers, one short and stalking the other a little taller with a ribbed texture all over. I was debating which one to buy, both were only $5.00 each. The lady told me she had originally gotten them at an auction and couldn’t believe no one had bought them that day. She said she hated to get rid of them, but she had switched to more of a “red glass” décor.
My first thought was to use the one I would choose to hold ice cold water in my refrigerator. I asked them which one held the most water, so an old tall man, whom I think was her husband filled one up with hose water. I then poured it into the other, finding out that they both held about the same. I decided to buy both. Not wanting to waste perfectly good water, I asked them if they had some plants that needed watering and they said sure. So, I poured the refreshing liquid on a few plants that were parched in the Florida sun.
Once I got my new found treasures home, I seen what I had already thought. The plastic pitcher I’m currently using to refrigerate water holds a fair amount more than the ones I just salvaged from the garage sale. So, I decided to place both of them on top of the fridge as a pair where they could be shown off. I just think they’re cool.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Above is another image I captured at my parents house during one of my visits in 2005. It’s the handle on their kitchen sink. I like how the round chrome ball reflects almost a 360 degree reflection of all that’s around it. If you look closely you can see the window, the ceiling, the fridge, the sink and then it all repeats again. You can also see my arms resting on the sink to get the shot.
I can remember one Sunday afternoon when I was about 18 years old. I was doing Sunday lunch dishes at that very sink as my parents laid down for a nap. While I was alone in the quiet looking out through the window at the beautiful country, I began to sing softly the chorus “I Love You Lord”. If you don’t know the lyrics, they go: “I love you Lord and I lift my voice, to worship you, oh my soul, rejoice, take joy my King, in what you hear, let it be a sweet, sweet sound, in your ear.” It’s was just kind of a unique moment I had with God.
In recent times when I’ve sung that song in church, I think about how almost 10 years have passed since that day at the sink and here I am still singing that song to God. A lot of life has passed since my teens, but Jesus is still my Christ, my Lord, my God, my Savior, my Father. I have not always been faithful to Him or have pursued Him like I should, BUT, He has always been faithful to me and has always pursued me and His Grace has always been enough to cover me. That’s what I’ve learned over the course of my life thus far.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
I fell in love with sneakers when I was young boy. Every time my Mom or Gram would take me to a department store I would always want to go to the Sneaker section and check out all the sweet shoes. Back then my Mom would usually only buy me the “store brand”, like JC Penny’s “USA Olympics”, but that made the Nikes and other name brands all the more spectacular for me to drool over! There were a few times my Mom would buy me a name brand if it was on sale. You can imagine how thrilled I was at those times!
I mainly wear running style shoes now because of how comfortable they are for just chillin, but Basketball shoes are my first love. I remember going “Back to School Shopping” with my Mom before my 6th grade year. We went to a store called “Montgomery Ward” and they had Converse “Magic Johnson’s” on a good enough sale that my Mom was willing to buy them for me! It was the last pair he came out with before he retired in 1991. They were sweet shoes, I remember my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Witter commenting at least twice about how cool they were. Later that year I became a Jordan fan. I remember finding a red “Jumpman” shoelace clip (the Jumpman is the iconic Nike “Air Jordan” logo of Mike doing a stretch style dunk) on a seat at a McDonalds that some kid must have left behind. That was as close to owning a pair of Jordans that I was going to get back then! So, I proudly put it on the front lace of my “Magic Johnsons”. It was kind of the “Classic Confrontation” shoe as one of my friends called it. Jordan vs. Magic, like the 1991 NBA Finals!
Since I only had one clip, I had to choose which foot to place it on. So, I chose the left, because that’s my “lift off” foot when I do “lay-ups” in Basketball. See, there was even a method to my madness.
Now that I’m an adult, I can buy whatever sneaker I want to! I’ve purchased two pairs now of “Air Jordan” shoes over the last couple years and both are kept as near “Mint” as possible. My latest pair came with Jumpman shoelace clips! This time they're blue and I have the the whole pair. As a "throw back" to my youth, I wear them on the front lace of both shoes.
I took the image above last night, this was a shot I've been conceptualizing recently.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Here’s a vase that I photographed while visiting my parents last year. I enjoy bright colored glass and how light shines through it. Bright green is one of my favorite colors, it shows up a lot in my design work. So, when I seen this vase, I had to create an image with it.
The list of my favorite colors would probably go something like this:
1. Shades of Blue
2. Shades of Green
3. Bright Orange
Monday, July 17, 2006
One thing I’ve noticed about Brad lately is how much of a “good heart” he has. A few months ago our family had gathered for a Sunday dinner. I was talking about DVD renting with my Aunt and Uncle when Bradley picked up on the fact that I go to Block Buster. He said that since he and his family went to a different store, I could have the gift card to Block Buster that he was carrying around in his wallet. So, he pulled it out and gave it to me. I was very impressed with his generosity.
I Believe God is going to continue to use Brad and his kindness in the future.
Above is another example of how I like using shadows. Brad usually gives me a goofy smile when I try to photograph him, that time I was able to make him look like a model.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I captured this image of my cousin Brianna about 2 years ago. I just asked her to look out the window and there was an image. She was kind of in a solemn calm mood at the time, which is rare, because she is usually full of energy and sound! While her older siblings Bradley and Brittany look similar, Brianna has a slightly different look about her. I’ve seen pictures of my Grandma as a little girl and I definitely see resemblances to Brianna. I’ve told my Gram that Brianna is kind of her “Mini-Me”.
One time me and Brianna were using the computer together when she said, “your like my Dad”. I was a little perplexed at this, seeing that she already has a loving father. So, I asked her why and she said because I love and care for her and help her. Comparing me to her Dad is probably the nicest thing a child has ever said to me thus far in my life.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Anyway, me and one of my classmates would go each Wednesday and play. I can’t remember if I went in 8th grade or not. A few years down the road though, I taught my younger cousins, Bradley and Brittany how to play when they were both under 10 years old. I was always amazed and proud that they learned so easily at such a young age.
In 2002, I found out that one of my friends, Patricia, knew how to play Chess. So, we would play once in a while and Patricia would usually beat me! I think I got her at least three times but can only really remember two of those victories in which I went “Back to Back”! I was proud of myself that I could actually do that since she won about 80 percent of the time:(
I captured the above image during one of me and Patricia’s battles on a Sunday afternoon near the end of 2002. The Chess board that you see, I had gotten for Christmas at least 12 year ago. I like how every time I look at this image, Patricia is still contemplating her next move. Her pony tail sticking up in the air is what inspired me to take the shot. I just saw a “photograph”.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Near the end of 2003, the company I work for had one of their yearly trade shows in beautiful San Francisco. We arrived on a Thursday and wouldn’t fly out until early Monday morning (and I do mean, early).
That Sunday was a “free day” in which we all could roam the city and see the sites. The group I ended up exploring with consisted of two "direct co-workers" with the remaining three being “extended co-workers”. One of my biggest thrills that day was seeing the Golden Gate Bridge up close and in person. Touching that bridge was like meeting a celebrity and shaking their hand, it’s just so “iconic”.
As I was taking photos of the sites and of my friends, I decided to pose for a few myself. When we reached the first support beam structure on Golden Gate, I leaned up against it and directed my friend David on how to photograph me. As I posed like a celebrity would for a magazine shoot, a girl that was jogging by, stopped as to not get in the shot. Before I saw her, I heard her say to me, “Oh, come on, you can pose better than that!” A quick glance revealed that she had dark hair and was dressed in running clothes, I never seen her eyes because of the sunglasses she was wearing. Before I could even think, one of my “extended co-workers”, Tim Pate, said to her “Don’t you know who this is?” She replied “Should I?” But unfortunately the fun stops there, because all I said was “No”. So, she continued on her run over the Golden Gate Bridge.
I guess I just wasn’t ready for the fast thinking of Tim Pate! If that would ever happen again, I would have more fun with it. Anyway, Tim Pate became my friend that day and that story became better each time it was told for a while. I can remember our first day back at work that following Tuesday. Most of us that hung out that past Sunday went to the Mall food court for lunch to reminisce about our trip. We laughed so hard as we told stories of the happenings from our tour of San Francisco. Most of the laughing was because Tim had us rolling!
The image at the top is one I took of the Golden Gate’s support beams. I wanted to capture a uniuqe view of the bridge.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
At one point, I had stepped outside to see if there were any photographic opportunities when one of the little girls peeked out through the glass. I had actually missed the shot the first time, but since she was wanting to ham it up for the camera, she reenacted her pose for me with great authenticity, and I got it! I love how you can see her nose pressed up against the window and how much energy there is in her eyes.
That day I shot a lot of “photojournalistic” images. Holly later told me in a “Thank You” note, that I captured things no one else thought of. I enjoy taking photos of things that are sometimes overlooked, but have image value in the long run.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
This is your pilot speaking, I hope your enjoying your flight with us today… Ok, it seems like I’ve created a theme of commercial airline flying this week. So, I thought I would cap it off with one more shot from my flight in April.
One of the cool things about flying Air Tran is that they offer XM satellite radio! which means you have access to many different kinds of music to pass the time of your flight. I love being able to listen to my favorite modern Christian music as I fly. The LCD display shows the channel (or genre) and artist whose playing at the time. I had been wanting to get a cool shot of the display when I seen Jaci Velasquez’s name appear, Perfect!
You see, I’ve a had a celebrity crush on Jaci ever since she came onto the Christian music scene in 1995 when she was 15. I just seem to be drawn to dark haired women like Jaci Velasquez or Catherine Zeta Jones. Of course I like blondes too, a few celebrity examples: Naomi Watts, Kirsten Dunst and Scarlet Johansen.
Anyway, funny story; I’ve been able to see Jaci in concert about 3 times. The first being in 1998, when she was about 19 (I‘m just a few months older than her), she opened for 4HIM. After the concert I bought a black and white photo of Jaci to get autographed. As I stood in line, the guys of 4HIM were actually working their way back the line signing peoples stuff! I didn’t care about that though, I was waiting for Jaci! Anyway, as I got closer to Jaci’s table that she was sitting at, I remember that most of the other people in line were little girls and their moms. When I finally got to Jaci, I gave her the photo to sign. I think she asked me if I had a good time and smiled as she signed the photo. I think I actually spoke and said yes, but for the rest of that small moment in time, I was just like…uh…duh…….
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
It really is amazing that we can actually fly in giant machines through the sky. It's mind boggling when you stop and think about that. I'm glad I live in this time. There's always bad things in this world, but I still think it's an exciting time to be alive!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
One of the girls I used to work with at a grocery store actually reminded me of Reese and Alicia, I think more so Reese. Her name was Sam, she was fun to work with;)
Monday, June 26, 2006
I took this self portrait when I was 8. This was from one of the first “photo shoots” I can remember going on. I had just gotten a “micro 110” camera at Burger King. I don't see the Creepy King serving those up on his commercials these days. The camera was only about two and half inches long. The end of the 110 film cartridge actually stuck out the side of the camera! It had a little red shutter button that I thought was cool. The view finder was a pop-up square piece of plastic, well, the whole camera was pretty much plastic.
Anyway, I remember taking this camera outside that evening and wandering around my grandparents Big yard. I was amazed that I “had the power” to capture whatever image I wanted to. I was shooting shrubs, trees, etc. Then I turned the camera on myself and pressed that cool little red shutter button. I love having this picture, because it shows an interest in photography that I had even at 8 years old. This was taken long before I would know anything about shutter speeds, aperture or film speeds, I was just capturing images.
I found the image of this Micro 110 on the internet. It’s almost identical to the one I took this self portrait with. If you look closely at the diagram on the box, you can see the film cartridge sticking out of the end of the camera.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Another thing that inspires me as a photographer are shadows. I think it’s because they create something unique on their own, something that at times will only be visible for a moment. On numerous occasions I’ve spotted shadows that I just had to photograph.
In 2004 I went to Chicago for a Mac design seminar. While there I explored the city looking for cool photographic opportunities. As I walked through an underpass I saw a 10 speed bicycle that was locked up in a cage. I noticed how it had a great mirrored shadow coming off of it on the ground. At first I kept on walking, but then I knew I’d better turn around and take that shot! So, I did.
I seen this duck on Chicago’s Navy Pier. It was in the evening and the duck was casting an elongated almost bowling pin like shadow. The table photo was taken down in Boca at the same resort I took the shots of the limes. If you look closely you can see a lime in the glass on the table, but the shadow on the ground is the star of this photograph.