Father’s Day

17 06 2014

2005_0203Image0076Being that this past Sunday was Father’s Day, I wanted to take a moment and tell you about one of the most influential men in my life.

My dad was raised in what you might call the back country of western Colorado. He grew up with five siblings and had quite an adventurous childhood from what I have been told. After high school he joined the U.S. Army and was quickly sent to Vietnam during the War.

I have been reading through letters my dad wrote while he was serving his country, letters he wrote back to his family. Somehow, these letters have made it all the way to England with me where I am reading back through them. I don’t know exactly why I’m fascinated with these handwritten notes other than I am a big fan of history and they provide a glimpse into this part of his life.

My dad was one of the most sacrificial men I have ever known. His desire to love and serve his family were a blessing beyond anything describable. The investment he made into my life and my brother’s is immeasurable. Not a day goes by that I do not reflect on some memory of my life and see how he has influenced me. Often I recognize some of the crazy things I must have put my parents through growing up, and yet he was always there with love (even in discipline).

He was a wonderful example of Christ to me and our family and for that I am eternally grateful.

He was one of my biggest heroes. Through his life and death I witnessed a man who served God with all his heart, loved his wife more than himself, and sacrificed so much for his family. He was a man of integrity and by his life I am continually challenged.

Last October marked the 8th anniversary of his battle with cancer, a battle he did not win. I have learned a lot over the last 8 years. I have seen God’s faithfulness through all of the challenges I have faced and I know that as I continue on this journey, his faithfulness will abound.

I remember the first time I realized my wife will never meet this man who has influence me in so many ways; my future children will never know their grandfather. These thoughts do make me sad because of the man who my father was. I am so proud to be his son and I dream of one day being half the man he was.

Picture 396It is kinda crazy to think that I am a photojournalist living in the UK. I studied Molecular Biology in university and didn’t even get a real camera until my dad passed away. That first camera–the source of one of my dad’s hobbies–opened up a world of creativity to my soul and I have never looked back or thought I should be doing something different.

In more ways than I could ever imagine, I am the man I am today because of my dad.





Reflecting

5 05 2014

reflectionIts always interesting to think back in life to where you were at a given time and compare it to where you are now. Sometimes this comparison is good, others we would prefer to forget.

In 2000, I had the opportunity to visit London for the first time. I remember walking around the city, taking in the sites, dreaming what it must be like to live there. Now, 14 years later, I find myself walking around London, taking in the sites, and reminding myself that I do live here.

Photography is very similar. As photographers, I think there is value in reflecting back on the past (this really applies to any area of life). Think back for a second to your first foray into the craft of photography. What did your pictures look like? How was your composition? Exposure? Did you understand ISO? Aperture? Shutter Speed?

Maybe you like me thought putting your camera in “P” mode stood for professional.

But reality is that over time and energy invested, we grow. We move from one point to another. We develop our craft as we work through it. Then, one day, we find ourselves wandering through our image gallery reflecting back on the past.

It is healthy, just as in life, to look back over where you have come from photographically. It is encouraging to look back and see that you are making progress.

Not quite where you want to be? Great. None of us are. Rather, we are a community of people working through this craft together. There are a lot of great resources out there to teach you for free and I would venture to say that most of the photographers with dedicated blogs to teaching would love to help you learn in whatever way they can.

Here’s to the future! Here’s to the unknown! Where will you be in another 14 years?





A New Adventure

30 04 2014
St. Paul's Cathedral

Where history meets modernity, St. Paul’s Cathedral with the Millennial Bridge

I like to think of life as a series of adventures, some are longer or more interesting than others, but adventures they all are none the less. I guess in some ways I’m an adventure junky or something.

4 years ago I moved back to the U.S. after living in Russia for a few years. After getting married and a Masters degree, my wife and I find ourselves on the biggest adventure we’ve ever been on. When we moved back to the states, we new it was not a long term move. We knew we’d be moving back and it was just a matter of time. We now find ourselves living and working in London, England as international photojournalist. Pretty exciting stuff.

I now find myself wanting to get back into the habit of writing out my thoughts and sharing them. This is quite a challenge as so often I feel like my mind is moving from one thing to the next rather quickly, but it is a challenge I am accepting and working to fulfill. So here’s to another adventure together!!!





What lies ahead…

15 11 2013

Road(This post was originally written at the end of October and is just now being posted)

Life is full of transitions, they seem to come at us from all directions. As unavoidable as they are, we never seem to get used to them. It is as if we are driving on a road and there is a hill that prevents us from seeing what is ahead. My wife and I have been wondering what was just out of view for several years, but now are at the top of the hill, seeing what is there beyond and making the preparations to move forward.

I’m not much of an emotional person, so I find transitions interesting. Many times I process things by focusing on the adventure; other times just quietly reflecting on the changes.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a pier, fishing. It’s 2am and today was my last day of work. My wife and I find ourselves in the middle of one of the biggest transitions of our lives. Two years ago we began on a path that is now coming to fruition. We are moving back overseas to work in international photojournalism.

We have loved our time in North Carolina. We have made friends here that will always be apart of our lives, but we knew from the beginning that this was not a permanent home. We are now seeing the end of this chapter.

As I mentioned, today was my last day of work as we are transitioning away from this area and I have to admit, it feels kinda weird. It feels weird to think that Monday morning I won’t have to get up and go to work, rather I will have to begin boxing up everything I own in preparation for moving. Boxing up your life is difficult. Memories are hard to pack. That is why I’m sitting on a pier in the middle if the night with this group of guys, one last opportunity to spend with them making memories. Despite having a fishing pole and a line in the water, I’m not here to fish, I’m here to talk and be with friends.

God has allowed us to be a part of a great church here and this group of guys has meant so much to me over the last few years and I can’t think of a better place to be right now.





Getting back out there

22 07 2013

Moscow State UniversityCreativity is both natural and honed as it ebbs and flows with our daily lives.

I have spent the last 3 years of my life working on a master’s degree which has pulled most of my time (and almost all of my mental faculties) away from photography and creative media. To say that this has been a challenge is an understatement at best. Many times I have said to my wife, “I hate that the one thing I want to do most (photography) is the one thing I can’t do at all.” It is difficult to be pulled in directions that take you away from your passions, very difficult.

To make things worse, because creativity is one of those things that must be honed, the less you are doing something with it, the harder it seems to just do it. I have seen this in my life when I’ll be given the opportunity to do something with photography or design and end up simply sitting on it for a long time–simply because I don’t know how to even get started.

I look back over projects I’ve worked on in the past and wonder how I was able to accomplish those things. Further, I’m sitting on the cusp of moving back overseas and delving back into a full time creative media role.

It is at these times that I remind myself that I can hone back in the skills I have set aside over the past years. I can pick up my camera, challenge myself with projects, learn new techniques, remember old ones. Retrain my eyes to see the world around me, start writing and story telling again. There is so much opportunity ahead and I am excited to be getting back out there.

These are the moments when I realize the opportunities all around me. There is a whole world out there.

We cannot always be dreaming of what we’d like to do only to convince ourselves that we’ll never accomplish it. Rather, we must get out and do it…





Airports

30 03 2012

20120330-143044.jpg

I find that airports are gateways to adventure. I love to travel, this is good given my career path.

I have been pretty lo-key over the past two years as I am working on my Masters degree but every once in a while I get to sneak some travel.

I am currently on my way, with a group of 17 other like minded friends, to Kiev, Ukraine. We will be spending about 10 days meeting new friends, sharing with them some of the things I am passionate about, and ultimately, being a light to a world of darkness.

I am super excited about this adventure and can’t wait to see what is in store.





120 to 1: the evolution

16 08 2011

Richland Creek Community ChurchWith the advent of digital photography, the argument has often come up that a person tends to put less work into a single image because there is no relative cost factor every time you press the shutter. Maybe, but I would like to argue the other aspect of it and say that the advent of digital photography has allowed the craft to reach new levels of quality and creativity.

I recently was asked to take a few shots of a church building for a design piece. I needed only a handful of shots, they needed only one. I got up early to get the morning sunrise coming across the building. In the course of roughly 30-40 min I snapped off about 120 shots of the building. It may seem a bit excessive, but for me it was a constantly changing scene, and I was constantly seeing something different between where I was standing and where the light was shining. Because I was working with natural light I had an ever changing scene.

What did I get with my 120 images? Yes, a lot of work to dig through in post, but the reality was that I didn’t have to do that much, I either liked the shot or I didn’t. But what I noticed was that as the light changed and as I hit different angles and locations on the building, I liked my shots more. The first several shots I took weren’t that great, the lighting was a bit too muted and the building just didn’t pop like I needed it too. As the shots rolled on, I started to realize the angles I wanted, I got the light where I wanted it, and all things came together.

If I were shooting film and had 24 frames to shoot, it would have been much more difficult. I would not have realized I didn’t like the play between my angles and the light. I would have fired off my 24 or 48 frames, packed up and gone home. With digital, I can rattle off the shots and figure out what I need to do to get the shot I really want.

The argument always seems to go to someplace like Ansel Adams and the amazing things he did with film, but I would argue that the creativity of photography has come a long way since Adams was amazing the world. Please understand, I’m a fan of film work. I have two film cameras, one medium format and one 35mm. There is a certain aspect to film that isn’t the same as digital. I love the natural grain and imperfections of film, but digital photography has made the world of photography a better place and brought creativity to a whole new level, and I am excited to see where we will continue to progress.








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