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Zoo Miami

My first big outing for the new year was with my photo group, and we traveled to Zoo Miami (formerly known as Miami Metro Zoo).  The weather was perfect, however this zoo is quite expansive and we did a lot of walking through each of animal enclosure areas.  Here are a few of the photos I was able to take during the day.  I used a Canon 70-300mm f4 – f5.6 lens to hold down on the weight of my equipment.

Holiday Wedding

On December 30, 2016 My son Tommy and I photographed a wedding at one of the prettiest venues here in our Fort Myers area, The White Orchid.

This venue consists of a beautiful old Florida style home, with a courtyard full of native plants and flowers a beautiful fountain, and an expansive lawn which reaches to the Caloosahatchee River and a dock perfect for formal photos.

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Due to unforeseen circumstances the wedding party was unable to utilize the beautiful building, however the owner of the venue set up a tent and it was impeccably decorated, and the DJs up-lighting added to the ambiance of the day.

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Photo take by Tommy Owen

 

Our couple were from the cold north and enjoyed the comfort of a Florida winter day. However as the sun dipped into the horizon, so did the temperature, but the wedding party didn’t allow the cold to keep their party from heating up.

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As the formal photos were winding down, the sun was just beginning it’s show of magnificent colors.

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Photo take by Tommy Owen

 

This was the perfect ending to a perfect wedding and we wish Kaylynne & Ryan all the best for their future.

Fast Start for the New Year

My New year started with a bang and it really has kept sparking ever since.  Upon looking at my calendar I really don’t come up for air until May.  However, I enjoy staying active and busy and I’m truly blessed to consider myself a working photographer.  I have worked hard to get here, and I am confident only wonderful things will be coming my way this year.  Here’s to an incredible 2017

2016 A Year In Review

Happy New Year!  It’s always exciting to begin a new year, that change of numbers is simply filled with excitement of what the next twelve months may bring.

I began this blog in late 2013 and wasn’t really sure where it would take me, for this next year I have titled the blog to fit more with who I am and what I am all about; Life, Love & Passion Through the Lens.  I’m so excited for this next year, not only to grow my blog and my photography business, but to amp up my personal growth. Many new things will be happening with the addition of some marketing influences in internet radio and a new marketing video will be produced in the next couple of months.  Exciting times are coming!

I have made mistakes and learned from them.  My proficiency in using the editing software I own is increasing, and I am growing as a photographer. I have increased my wedding photography presence.  I am shooting more concerts and I was able to photograph a local production of an original play.  I even had a photo photo bombed by a Clydesdale!  Enjoy!

2016 has been one of the best years, I’ve ever had, and I know my momentum will only increase and I will continue to learn and grow.

I want to share a few of the highlights from this past year……….enjoy & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Time Off

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took some much needed time off. After a full summer and a busy start to our concert season along with weddings, portraits and other work, I was ready to unplug and get back to nature.

My go to place as I’ve posted in the past is in the Everglades.  I love to camp and I took four full days to step out of the digital world and relax.  I did do some posting to Facebook, but instead of worrying about my status, I took camera in hand and stepped out into the swamp.

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Because of the cooler temperatures (great for camping), the alligators were in abundance along the road of Jane’s Scenic Drive in the Fakahatchee Strand, and on the trails my son and I walked, (check out his website: Phloridaphoto.us He even decided to get a bit more up close and personal with a gator lying on the path we were walking.

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I stopped and photographed him, photographing the alligator.  I just could not bring myself to be that close to something that large with huge teeth.  As my son walked past him, Mr. Gator lifted his head and rumbled that deep throaty sound as a warning to let him know he may be a bit too close.   I had the same experience as I hung out the car door to get a rather large alligator hanging out on the road we were driving.

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We also went out two nights in a row to capture the Milky Way, however during the hours we were there, the sky have cloud cover in the general vicinity.  We did capture the sky at night and this photograph shows Miami glowing in the distance as the International Space Station does a fly over (I have an app on my phone called Sky Guide that allows me to track this).

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Overall it was a wonderful relaxing long weekend, with friends, family and my camera.

Be The Change

I am going to go a bit off topic on this blog from what I normally post.  First of all it is my blog so I can get more personal from time to time and today is that time.

I want to address those who are “devastated” by the choice American made for President of the United States.  First he is not the ideal choice….the ideal choice was eliminated early on.  Next I will address what real devastation is.

Real devastation is waking up and finding out your father has passed away, and you are nine months pregnant.  Real devastation is finding out your child has cancer and won’t live to see his/her teen years or even his/her first birthday.  Real devastation is finding out you have cancer and you’re not sure if you can overcome it.  Real devastation is a parent burying their child who has died tragically.  Real devastation is coming back from battle and being treated like a third class citizen; maybe missing limbs and your dignity and dealing with the horrors you experienced in your tenure overseas.  Real devastation is seeing your fellow man being treated as less than human, no matter who they voted for.  Real devastation is experiencing the horrors of a tornado, flood, hurricane or earthquake and have nothing left of your existence that you worked so hard to build.  Real devastation is waking up wondering how you are going to feed your children because you have to pay the rent and you don’t have anything left for food.  Real devastation is finding out someone you love has taken their life. Real devastation is being homeless and not knowing if you will be alive in the morning because of your circumstances.  Real devastation is not having water to drink, try going a day with out any beverage that requires clean water to make.

Wake up…….

If you are upset over how things are going then volunteer.  There are plenty of opportunities for you to help those who need it.  Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, organizations to help those with cancer, nursing homes where people have no family to spend time with or who care about them, volunteer with habitat for humanity and help build someone a home, donate to worthy gofundme causes, pet shelters where animals could use a little love. If you don’t like the political climate then volunteer for your party of choice. There is a whole plethora of other organizations who could use someone ready to make a change in lives.

I have experienced many of the real devastations life has to offer and I am still here, the sun came up and yes they affected me and still affects me, but they have not made me bitter,  instead have allowed me to understand, care and love deeper.

We are the change, not a man in an office.  Love and cherish the people around you.  Feed a homeless person, give them YOUR coat if it’s cold out. Have integrity, show people what it means to be passionate about a cause, but do it in love; be the change.

Perfectionism at it’s Best (Worst)

Ever make a mistake? Yes, me too and when I do they are normally doozies! I consider myself a perfectionist.  I was the kid who would not erase, but start over on a paper, it always took me longer because of this.  I still carry that bit of perfectionism into my life today and in doing so it imparts undue stress which is something I try to avoid.

When it comes to photography, I rarely have to edit, not that my photos are perfect, far from it many times, but I try to get my settings right in camera to avoid having to spend time in front of a computer to edit.  Last week that completely changed and I had an extremely humbling experience.

The story begins when I was asked by the lead singer of a headlining band to take their final bow shot at the end of the evening.  I knew it would be difficult because the lighting at these shows are less than stellar.  I accepted the challenge convinced I’d be able to give them something great.  Throughout the show I really fought with my settings and the non existent or highly saturated stage lighting, but I still thought “I can do this” because there is one thing I rarely do is question my skills.  Finally the moment came I climbed the steps up to the stage to position myself behind the drum kit and on my way I kept thinking, “I should have grabbed my flash”,  I really didn’t want to use flash because the idea was to capture the crowd behind the band.  I shot off the first few frames and thought my settings were adequate, however I had nothing to focus on as the stage lights were completely off except for this glaring green light bouncing off the cymbals. Still no realizing what was happening I continued to shoot as both bands took a final bow and my job was done.

On the way home the lead singer sent me a text message telling me how he couldn’t wait to see the photos.  I felt the same way, until I downloaded them into Lightroom. My stomach dropped, every single photo was dark; except for the green lights reflecting from the cymbals on the drum kit.  What was I going to do?  I completely broke down; THESE were the MOST important shots of the night and I had completely failed.  I began to question myself, my abilities and my judgement.  For three days I tried to work on the photos and just could not get anything usable.  I was devastated, I had ruined the photos.

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Before

 

On the fourth day once again I received a text message from the lead singer asking when I would be sending the photos over, I told him they would be done later that night; again I broke down, but something at that moment hit me.  I could and would salvage the photo!

I needed to believe in myself and my abilities and understand I could solve the problem (with a lot of prayer and pleading to God).  Finally it came to me what to do and three hours later, the band had their photo.

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After

 

 

Here is what I didn’t realize at the time: The green lights were reflecting from the cymbals back to the sensor on my camera, so when I thought I was exposing for the faces, I exposing for the cymbals. I should have stepped forward instead of staying behind the drums and finally I should have used my flash and deal with the crowd in post processing.

Here is what I learned about myself: Always go with your gut! No matter what, do what your instincts tell you to do.  I should have used my flash.  Next I learned that I need to not stress over this, just breathe and work until a solution is evident.  And finally I learned I am human, and I make mistakes and I need to learn from them.  However, the biggest take away from this is that God has given me the gift of creativity and I need to rely on him and not on myself no matter how impossible the situation seems.  Thanks for following me, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!