Monday, August 8, 2011

Where the Path Leads - The Shore is Just The Beginning

I took this photo on a recent trip to California and didn't see it for what it was till I had time to think due to a photoshoot being postponed today.  Initially when I saw the shot I was intrigued by the path but didn't understand that it  led to a shore.  As your eyes follow the path to the shore, you will see that there are places where the path is clear and others that aren't revealed, but as you can see all ends well at the shore.

The path appears to be broken in a few places and I akin that to people in our lives and our walk.  There are people we want to nudge off the path, not necessarily to their peril but off our personal walk.  There are others that were part of our walk that we want to re-join us again and we hope they are waiting for us at some point on our journey where our walk becomes clearer.  

Whatever the path, there is beauty....  Whatever the path, there are cliffs....  Whatever the path there is a shore that we're all trying to get to....  Some "will" alone, some "will" pick up others along the way and some "will" nudge others off their path.  The journey in this life to our shore is not easy but deep like the journey to the shore below.  It's not without its' rewards and sometimes the greatest reward is making it to the shore but that's where the life really begins right.......

Here's to the journey along the path to our shore and that's where the fun begins.....

Just stopped by to share this with you guys....


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Could it be I stayed away too long...

Remember that "cut" above from Michael Jackson "MJ"?  For me, if I'm not shooting, listening to music and/or singing, I am dying a slow death...... I know this might sound strange but I have been watching myself for a while and have come to this conclusion. Now the fun begins...

I once tried to do all three (shooting, listening to music and singing) while doing a wedding scouting shoot in a Japanese garden in Spokane Washington. Well I got a lot of crooked pictures but it was all good because I was in a zone doing the three things in life that sustain me. Anyway, that's what the crop tool is for right?

I am at that point in my life's journey where I am getting a lot of insight about myself, my work, my relationships, etc... from God, my friends and family and I need and appreciate every bit  of it because I know it's all in love. 

When I started this blog it was about pictures and insightfullness. Then against my better judgement I made it about "just" pictures then I stopped blogging for a bit, started back up again then stopped blogging altogether. Well I'm not ready to start blogging again but when I do, I will be back to my "Art"; Sharing LOVE with others through photography....

The death of my dear Mother towards the end of last year is still very painful to my core.  I shared a lot of my pain on Facebook and I'm not use to being that transparent but for some reason I needed to be honest with myself about how I was feeling.  The pain is still very much present like it was yesterday and it reminded me how little time we have here and to make some necessary but long overdue changes in my life. Not shooting anymore WAS on the table.  I believe God took my desire away for a while to help me grieve and not use photography to mask my pain.  Changes continue even as I blog this but God's grace is sufficient to see me through.....  Sweetest name I know...

I expect to be back at blogging at some point and I will let God decide when the time is right and what it looks like.  My work continues though and can be seen on my fanpage on Facebook. I have a few projects in flight that I am pretty excited about.  The first project traverses the Globe from here at home and is called "Same Sun".  "Same Sun" is a journey through several cultures of Asia, Africa and here in the United States and examines differences that would appear to divide but actually brings awareness to how much we are all alike. The project will culminate into 4 books, the last of which will be titled "Black is Beautiful, Black is Power".  The name was revealed to me a few weeks ago and I expect the other three names will come when it's time.  If you are interested in learning more and participating in the project, you can contact me through the Blog.....

Not sure when you'll see me out here again but I appreciate the support you guys have always given me.  Please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers.  See you when I see you.....


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Same Sun - China

I have begun work on a project that has really/truly been a blessing to me only 3-4 weeks into it.  It reminds me that no matter the rivers that divide us, the past generational cultural  relationships, we are "all the same". We breath the same air, cry the same tears, laugh with the same joy and look up at the "Same Sun" above.  

Stay Tuned for more...


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Half Saree Ceremony

Last April, I was afforded the opportunity to shoot a Half Saree ceremony for a young Indian youth here in town.  I was "all in" having never done one of these and with my continued "love affair" with the Indian culture.  As expected the pageantry of colors was amazing as was the beauty of the women and charisma/character of the men. I was engulfed in all of this and really enjoyed how welcome they made this 6'3" black man who pretty much towered over everyone.

I had a tremendous time and was working on getting a few of these pics to one of the women who attended the event and it dawned on me that I never posted any of the pictures.  Enjoy the colors and beauty.  Also, please click on the link above to get more information on the ceremony.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Man of Steel

I had the opportunity to meet Delvar during the first practice for the Macy's Fashion show.  As soon as I met this brotha I thought, gotta get him in the "port" right away.  Well that didn't happen for a bit as practice and work kept me pretty busy but we finally got a quick shoot in after the show was over.  Delvar had done runway modeling in the past but as you can tell, his skills extend beyond the runway.  I gave him some direction but he didn't need much and we got a lot of great images in a short period of time.

We found an alley where I was able to control most of the light and used a small Westcott softbox to illuminate him and knock down some of the surrounding ambient light.  I am learning more how to better control the light "in camera" in my photographs so I don't have to fight with Photoshop and Lightroom later. Hopefully I will get a chance to get Delvar in the studio next...


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tatjana - From Russia with Love

By the time this gets posted, Reagan's blog "Not a Bad Shot" will be live.  Reagan was one of the first people I've ever shot where I couldn't take a bad shot and while that still rings true, here comes Tatjana. I didn't know she was from Russia till we began our conversation and started sharing our stories.  I truly believe that this is not a meeting of chance but speaks to my ministry of meeting and experiencing people from other cultures with experiences different from those of my own. 

Tatjana and I are going to hook up this month for a fashion shoot of sorts and are currently collaborating on what this looks like.  Whatever we come up with I promise you will be very fashionable, striking and beautiful.  I will be launching a new joint website with Tommie Chadwick (makeup and hairstylist) for my fashion work which is moving along and maturing very nicely.  I pray you keep coming back for more beautiful images and updates my other projects.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wedding Fashion - A New Beginning

I told you I was back!  LOL.

I did my first wedding fashion shoot with the lovely Kunjal who came all the way from Chicago to shoot with me.  I got the opportunity to meet and shoot her newly (3 weeks) engaged brother (Kunal) and soon to be sister-in-law (Vaishali).  They were a joy to get to know, shoot and possibly be hired for the engagement and wedding in 2012.  For now, here are a few preview shots from the fashion shoot with Kunjal; as lovely as she wants to be...


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Singing Dragon - 42nd St. Times Square

My uncle and I had our final dinner of my trip at the Cafe Noir restaurant down the street from his job. On the subway ride back to his house, he got off a stop ahead of me at 34th street to catch the Long Island Expressway train home. I continued on to 42nd St Port Authority headed for Time Square to get some night shots for my portfolio. As I got off the train and headed up the stairs towards ground I was trying to figure out if I should go right/left to my destination. As I reached the top of the stairs I heard what sounded like a concert coming down in the subway that I didn't hear when I got of at my stop. The sound halted me in my tracks as I debated going back down in the tunnel to see what was really going on. As I walked down the stairs, there was a crowd of people applauding someone but I was earnestly looking for the band and the "who". Well the E train was pulling seconds later and some of the crowd jumped on the train but a few faithful souls like myself stayed for more; but who the heck was singing??? 

As I looked around, I saw this older African American man, probably in his 60s, holding what appeared to be a Walkman CD player (his band) seated next to a cart with speakers that amplified his accompanying music. Well I wasn't 100% sure that is was him because there was no microphone and he was just kinda sitting there looking happy and content.

Then what happened next blew me away as he hit the play button on the CD player and started crooning the crowd. This man had a POWERFUL voice which needed no microphone as he lit up the subway tunnels. His only competition which wasn't ever a fair fight was the train as it swept to a stop on either wide of him during his redemptions of songs sung my famous artist if his time.

As must have states there listening to him for 15-20 minutes as he sung and spoke of his music, famous people he sung with in front of his well earned bag of money from the crowd from donations and CD sales. I gave my donation to the cause as I listening, smiled and took pictures of this subway wonder. Now I wasn't going to leave this story by just referring to him as a "subway" wonder as it wouldn't have done his life or musical works justice. Right before I took off for Time Square, I complimented him again on his music and asked for his name. He told me that he is known as the "Singing Dragon". Well the "Singing Dragon" at age 69 had some footwork to go along with that voice. I figured this was my chance to get away or else I would have been there all night seduced by a "Dragon" as so many of us were that evening; a nice treat to end my last full day in Manhattan.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Skyline of Love - Lauren an Matt

While in New York visiting family a few months ago, I was taking the bus from Queens into New Jersey to visit my grandmother. As we exited the tunnel into New Jersey around 8:00pm, my breath was taken away by this beautiful view of the New York skyline from across the river. If it weren't for my suitcase and camera bag, I would have jumped off the bus, started shooting and figured out how to get to my grandmothers house later. Well good sense prevailed and I stayed on the bus but was trying to figure out how to get the shot.

The very next day, my Aunt and I decided to go back into the city and I thought, here's my chance.  I took a later subway ride and bus back into New Jersey and got off the bus to take my shots; only problem was that I got to my location too early and had to wait for nightfall. So I decided to stroll around this park across the bay from the skyline which is where I first saw Lauren and thought, WOW!!!  I would love to photograph her.  Then a few steps later as I walked around I ran Matt and thought, these two must be together and I would love the opportunity to photograph this couple.  As I got closer a car pulled up with two photographers and I quickly figured out what was happening and I thought, "'I've got some time on my hands so I will watch this engagement shoot till my light it right"; all of us photographers LOVE to watch!!!  LOL...

After "watching" for a bit, I started to engage the photographers and offered some "head nods" when I saw things that I liked.  One of the photogs was having trouble controlling the background light with her flash, I provided some suggestions which helped her get the background light under control and I was her new BFF.  After watching for their shoot for another 5-10 minutes, the two photogs invited me to shoot with them after clearing it with the couple, "Lauren and Matt" who were doing engagement photo's for their 2011 wedding.  So here's my little confession or excuse for the quality below.  When going into New York for the day, I left my backup batter for my main camera and my main flash as I didn't plan on shooting people that day.  So I shot this with my Canon 30D at very high ISOs with no flash so I had to wait till almost dusk in order to pull in the New York skyline while getting Lauren and Matt exposed properly.

I really enjoyed myself with this couple and in meeting some photog brother-in and sister-in.  Did I mention how much I LOVE and MISS the East Coast which will always be home for me.


Donna Lesli and her second shooter in "action"!!!