Stepping Back

This past weekend found me camping and photographing a concert in the swamp; The 1st Annual The Everglades Roots Festival with headlining band Grass is Dead. It was a weekend for stepping back to a simpler life for a few days, to unwind and prepare for a busy rest of the month and Trail Lakes Campground is the perfect spot. Sunday found me back to civilization with the iconic The Moody Blues.  Their music takes me back to my teen years in the seventies and a time I often wish I could return.

Not only did I photograph them on stage, but also was hired to shoot their meet & greet!  I really do GET to do this!  I am really blessed, to be able to photograph the bands I grew up with and love.

This weekend I will be out with a local radio station and enjoying many bacon influenced dishes. bring on 94.5 The Arrow’s Bacon Jam!

Please enjoy a few of my photos from this weekend.

A New Year……So it Begins

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This year started out wonderfully!  I camped over the holiday and it was perfect weather for it too. I had a photo shoot which my son Tommy Owen assisted me; a repeat family I had taken portraits for a couple of years ago.  Getting to work with my son is the best!

It was a great time of renewing and refreshing from the busy holiday season, and I got out and photographed some nature.  Being out in the Big Cypress and the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk this gives my mind a break and my eyes as they seem to always either be on my phone or my computer when at home.  I tried to disconnect as much as possible, just to free myself.  Please enjoy the slideshow.

Happy 2018!

Another Year……Memories

Most of the time I enjoy looking back on my year.  However, this year I slacked, a lot, and I have to make some changes.  I just didn’t get out as much as I normally do.  Even during camping season it seemed it was always interrupted with something I “had” to do.  I wasn’t as intentional as I had been the past few years.  I didn’t create good content for my Facebook page and actually neglected it.  I had something happen that set me off into the “not good enough” thought process, which in turn caused me to  purge a lot of unneeded stress in my social media life. But I would go out and take photos and think, “these are not good, what am I doing trying to create good photos when I can’t do it?”  I really had to shake that mindset; I am my own worst critic.

Life was  disrupted with a move in the middle part of the year and it was during a very stressful time.  I’m still trying to adjust. Then, in September we were hit by one of the largest hurricane’s in recent history. Irma totally upset my world, but I came out a whole lot better than many of my friends did and I can tell you I am most grateful for that blessing.  Yet, the stress was still there and even guilt that so many lost so much and I didn’t.  I can’t explain why it was that way, but it was; again I am so grateful to not have had any damage.

Sometimes life gives you those old lemons and it’s not always easy to make the lemonade.  In fact, I have thrown a lot of lemons away because I just could not bring myself to make them work.  Ever feel like that?

I’m looking forward to a clean start with 2018, I won’t make promises I can’t keep, but I will put a lot more effort into making it an incredible year personally and professionally.

Here’s a look back on what I did accomplish photographically:

 

 

Camping & Superheroes

 

I really have been negligent with my blog.  I can only attribute it to pure laziness.  I must get out of that mindset and really buckle down.  I tell myself it’s because I don’t have any content, which really isn’t true, I have the content, I’m just lazy.

So here goes a new post, and hopefully this will spurn me into doing more writing and shooting.

This past weekend I took a much needed break and went camping.  I got to hang out with my youngest son Tommy and we tried some night photography work, but the clouds wouldn’t cooperate so I really didn’t get much.  We hung out with a giant snake and I took photos of Tom and he of me.

I also scheduled a portrait photo shoot with one of my favorite little girls.  I really don’t take portraits of children often, because they wear me out, mentally & physically, but this little lady is so very special.  I have had the privilege of taking photographs of her since she was about six months old and have every 6 months to a year since.  She is on the cusp of turning four (December) and honestly you would think as a toddler, she would be all over the place, however around the age of two, I had her complete attention.  I alway allow her to dictate when our session is finished (and she has), but she has always given me one hundred percent.  I have asked her to pose a certain way and have shown her and she does it…..without question.  This weekend was different.  I still showed her what I was wanting, but I took it a step further and asked her how she wanted to pose; what I got was just incredible.  This child micro-moves like a model.  She also uses her eyes, and I just love that about her.  Here are a few of her photographs showing her sass and Superhero self!

If you like what you see feel free to visit my Facebook page and give it a like!  and follow me on my Social Media sites.

In the Blink of an Eye

We all have seen the images of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it has created in the Houston Texas area.  The massive flooding, the ruined homes and lives.  We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t want to try and help as we watched the graphic images of families being rescued, a toddler hanging on to her deceased mother and the boat loads of family pets.  The problem with Harvey is he stayed well past his welcome if there is such a thing as a hurricane being welcomed.  But as Harvey was churning away in the Gulf and over Texas, a lady was chasing close behind him full of fury;  Hurricane Irma is now the largest hurricane to ever hit the United States.  Barreling down as a category 5 Irma hit the Caribbean Islands with a force never seen before in a storm and once she was done with her deluge of violence in the Islands she set her sights upon the Florida Keys, with complete devastation.

Reaching a span of over 400 miles in diameter, and packing winds at one point of over 180mph with gusts of 200mph Irma continued  her drive to South Florida.  Hitting  The 10,000 Islands in full force.  One of the islands hit was a little fishing village called Everglades City.  I know about this town, because I used to live and work in this place.  It’s full of lovely people who are hard working and generous.

These are some of the images taken during the storm, during the 8 plus foot storm surge. I didn’t take these images, they were provided by a friend. The little church is one I and my children had attended when we lived there, the homes belong to friends; Heartbreaking.

Photo Credit: Brenda Johnson who stayed during the storm in a safe house and took the city flooding images.

Photo Credit: Pastor Lynette Morris who stayed and took the Image of her church after Hurricane Irma passed through.

Ladies, these are incredible.

Where was I during this?  Well first of all I live in a mobile home and I had to evacuate to a friends house 40 miles north.  Once my kitty and I arrived and got settled she received notification that once again we would have to evacuate.  We packed up her two dogs and once again my cat and drove to Columbus Georgia.  After two days we headed back with a crowded interstate and gas running low everywhere, we finally made it home at 1am on Tuesday morning.  After a partial nights sleep I packed up my kitty once more and headed home, grateful for friends and for a place to be safe.

What many didn’t realize is how afraid I truly was.  You see I put on a good face, but deep inside I was afraid that I may not have a home to return to.  I know I had friends praying for me, and this helped me to process the fear and not allow it to manifest.  As this storm was churning and affecting the entire state of Florida the troops were already being assembled.  National Guard was deployed, thousands of power company trucks, including some from Texas and all across North America were heading into Florida even before the storm hit.

Once I arrived home after finding out my place didn’t have any damage, in fact you can’t even tell it went through a devastating storm, I did a walk around and found that my lovely little park suffered so much damage and a few homes were destroyed beyond repair.

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Four homes down from me.

I was one of the really fortunate ones…..my electric was on within an hour of returning home, and I returned to work on Wednesday to help with cleanup.  I waited for family and friends to check in to keep me abreast of how they were doing and that they were safe.  It’s been an emotional two weeks, I am not sure I will ever be the same; I hope I am more compassionate and less impatient, that I have a lot more gratitude and thankful for what I have, yet understand it’s all temporary.  I hope I see that God was the guide in my life who protected me and reminded me if I rely on him, I don’t need to fear.

I pray for my friends in the Everglades who lost everything, yet they are standing strong and helping each other and I know they will rebuild and become stronger than ever.  I pray for those who have damage to their homes and still don’t have any electricity and have young children.  I pray for those who are struggling just to get by.

Hurricane Irma – Everglades City

If you are so inclined:

Church of God GoFundMe

Artistry Vs. Controversy

I recently photographed Ted Nugent.  I know, I know his name rings controversy with many who don’t like his politics or his passion for hunting and guns and those who think he leans too far to the right for their taste.   This is not for me to decide, we each have our own beliefs which might be just as biased in the opposite direction, he’s entitled to his beliefs just like every other American.  Regardless, he’s a self-taught artist who has has a successful career in music and continues to literally rock the stage and has done so for many years.  I’m not interested in anyone’s opinion on his politics or beliefs, my job is to capture the artist and his artistry, it’s what I do.

Not many artists begin their set with the Star Spangled Banner….Ted did and the room stood in respect, it was a great Patriotic entrance.

You can see in his face, he truly loves his craft.  Please enjoy the photos

 

 

Moving Forward…

 

I feel as if I’ve been MIA for way too long.  I have not written much since the end of April, because life took me for a loop for a while.  I’ve been stressed and really haven’t felt much like writing, always had good intentions then as soon as I would get home, my brain kicked off and I shut down.  I’m not sure what I am going through, but it’s definitely a funk of some sort.  I have been trying to figure out the reasons for it and have come up with several plausible excuses.  Moving; this was a big one, moving for me, being alone is extremely stressful.  I did have some wonderful help from friends and my youngest son on the big move day, but still I did a lot of loads by myself.  I think in the beginning of the move I really didn’t have a place to live, and had a lot going on in the photography part of my life and it sent me over the edge of being confused and stressed.  The next element to lead up to this funk is that I’ve not had enough down time, and I don’t mean just weekends at home, I mean true down time with being out of doors camping and spending time with my son.  My schedule this past season was so busy I didn’t have time to really release myself to the outdoors.  I miss it, I miss spending time with family, and I think that has a huge play in my current feelings.  And third, I just have no motivation, my creativity has decreased and I think it all relates back to reason one & two.  I am tired……really tired, the kind of tired that all you want to do is to stay in bed and sleep kind of tired, but I make myself get up, get dressed and go out.  Last night was the first time in quite some time I did photography for me, for my own pleasure and although I totally enjoy going out with my shutterbug friends, I felt as if I was detached and not really into what I was doing; this needs to change.  I took some beautiful shots which I will include as a slideshow at the end of this writing.

I need to get myself back to being excited and wanting to go out and shoot beyond my concerts, which I still find so enjoyable and exciting! I have the possibility of four of them in the next couple of weeks with one of them getting me away and in a hotel for a night….this will be good, because I can then take myself to visit someplace new the morning after.  I will not only be photographing three of my top bands, I will also be attending the concert as fan.

My energy definitely goes up when it comes to concerts; I love the excitement of being in the pit and challenging myself to get those near perfect shots, I also need to get out into nature and stop coming up with excuses on why I can’t or won’t.  I need to be behind the lens……..

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