Perhaps this is an odd post after being gone for so long from this blog; but I could not resist. You probably don’t know his name and to be honest, I didn’t either two years ago. You may not even know where he is buried; But you will know his “boss” and the duties that he performed.
While I may be a commercial photographer, I love history, particularly history about the founding of the United States. When I heard about the original GW and his bodyguard I could not resist looking into it more. When my family and I visited Block Island (Rhode island, near Martha’s Vineyard) this summer, I took the kids and went for an adventure trying to fine Enoch. No one knew exactly where he was buried, but after a while, my oldest found him. And to our surprise found that his family is still living on the island.
Perhaps not the most exciting thing to do on vacation, but every once in a while, a little side adventure never hurts. In fact, I think it adds to the memories that are created.
Really! Making sausage……yep, I said it. It began the night before at about 7pm. I called a friend, who I have also done done some work for, he asked what I was doing Sunday morning at 7am. I looked at the phone and wanted to say “Really”? But I held off and said, “nothing”.
He asked if I would come down to one of his restaurants and capture some of his friends making home made sausage. Who could say no to that. I had no idea what was involved in making sausages, but who cares. I knew it would all work out. Hopefully!
The following morning, 5:40am came way too fast. I gathered what I thought I might need plus two of my boys to tag along and have some fun with me. Below are some of my favorites images from that morning. Enjoy how sausage is made….
I was on a flight this week from Atlanta to Boston with my family to go to Block Island for a nice relaxing break. As we were taking our seats on the plane, the Captain came on the speaker and informed us that on board the plane were the remains of a Private First Class who was killed in Afganistan. He asked us to keep him and his family in our prayers as we made the journey to Boston.
Once we landed the flight attendant asked everyone to remain seated so that the military escort could deplane. Never, ever, in all of my years and hundreds (if not thousands) of flights that I have ever taken have I ever witnessed this: No one moved. Not one person rushed to get their bags; No one complained about missing their connection, no one got up. It was silent. Once the escort rose to gather his belongings, only then did people feel that they could show their appreciation for the soldier who was bringing the PFC home. All at once, people clapped in gratitude for the service that he was performing.
As we left the plane and entered into the airport a few minutes later, I looked outside and that is when I stopped in my tracks. Next to plane was a military honor guard, along with fireman, state police and airport workers. All standing in formation, all standing at the ready to honor this young man as he was brought off the plane. Almost the entire plane was looking out the window, most had tears in their eyes (as did I) as we watched this scene. My camera was in my bag, in my hand. I looked down and thought about it. Should I take it out? Should I capture the scene? In the end, I chose not to. I decided instead to put my arms around my own children, to hug them and tell them that I loved them.
Did I miss what was sure to be a moving image? Maybe. Did I fail as a photographer? I don’t think so. I knew that it was more important for my children that I be be there for them so that they could understand the importance of what was happening in front of them and for them to honor this young man who had made the greatest sacrifice of all.
As we got on the ferry a few hours later to head over to Block Island, all I could think about as I looked into the fog was this young man, his family, and the loss we as a nation suffered.
As a PS: If you have never seen the HBO movie with Kevin Bacon called Taking Chance, I encourage you to see it. It may be one of the top 10 movies I have ever seen. It is the story of a fallen Marine and his escort. I don’t know if anyone could sit through that movie and not end up with tears streaming down your face. The honor that is given to each fallen solider is not only moving but amazing and makes you proud to be an American.
I had seen this scene 100′s of times. Same chairs, same lights, same everything. But for whatever reason it struck me that night. The airport was almost empty and I was the first person down to the baggage area. While I was waiting for my luggage to arrive, it just hit me: Patterns, lights, shadows, just wow. I quickly grabbed my camera and shot off a few bracketed shots (Thank you Jay Masell). I was somewhat worried that TSA would have a fit so I went into my best stealth mode possible.
I think that many of us that do wedding photography are always looking for those little moments that are not part of the ceremony. Those moments that capture what really the mood of the day and the story behind it all. Yesterday I had the chance to work with two wonderful people who gave me a lot of those chances. I always feel amazed at what I get to see as part of my “job”.
Before the guest arrived, before almost anyone was there, the bride walked her 83 year old father from Poland down the asile, talking to him telling him what was going to happen. In my opinion, you don’t need to see their faces to know what they are sharing.
Sometimes helping out a photographer can be fun, sometimes it involves picking up dog poo; Other times it can be just crazy.
This is one of those crazy times. 2 days ago, we did a shoot with some wonderful folks that are rebranding their company. I have always said that I have great clients, but I also have great assistants that help me make it all come together. Nat is one of those people. Not only is he awesome, but he knows what he is doing and is really my 2nd eye. He is not shy about pointing out things to help make the shot perfect; And that is always a good thing for me
So what does it look like to be an assistant?: This is some what you do get to do…..
As a PS, these are unedited. As you will see, some clean up needs to be done on the white seamless. But, more than anything, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Nat! Go Nat!
Thanks Nat. You do Rock!
I was coming home the other day via Delta Airlines from New Orleans and as is the case during the spring, there was a line of thunder storms forcing us to delay our take off. The pilot pulled us out onto the side of the runway and shut the engines off. He shared with us what was going on and said that we would be sitting here for about 30 minutes. But he added, if anyone wants to come up front and take some pictures to come on up.
Well, I just happened to have my handy D3 with me and pulled it out and went up front. These two pilots were great; They let me sit in the captain’s chair and shoot away. I knew I only had a few minutes, but I took full advantage of it until the Captain told me that I needed to let him sit down. I doubt I will ever get that chance again; but those 4 minutes were fantastic! I don’t know their names, but I am guessing one of them flew for the Navy!
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to fly to Helena Montana and spend two days with the wildlife artist Josh Elliott. While I am still working on the images from that 2 day shoot, I wanted to share some of the fun that we had.
It was about 7 degrees outside; and yes, that is cold. I shared with Josh, that I needed to hire an assistant to help with the lighting for the outdoor portion of our shoot. He told me not to worry about it as his friend, TJ Lynde and fellow artist, could help. While I didn’t know TJ, I figured that this would be fun and why not. Boy was I right. It was more fun then I ever could have imagined.
As we were heading out to the outer limites of town (which is not very far I must say), Josh pulled into the corner gas station and came out 5 minutes later with a 12 pack of cold brewskis. I just laughed. While I enjoy a good beer, it is certainly not a good idea for me to try and work, shoot and drink all at the same time. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t do it.
Thanks TJ for your help. Not only was it awesome, you were awesome. I hope we get to do it again soon!
Whenever I am doing a light set up, I will grab some nearby unsuspecting person and ask them to stand where my client is going to stand. 9 times out of 10, if I am shooting at home, this is one of my kids. Most of the time they grin and bear it and put up with me. I play with the lights, change my settings and off we go.
Last night as I was working on a set up, I grabbed my 14 year old and asked him to stand “there”. I got the same look as always do, but he obliged. And as normal, the light were too hot, this was wrong, that was wrong etc. After 3 or 4 minutes I got it to where I wanted it to be and off I went.
When I got to my Mac this AM and was downloading my images, I saw the shots of Jimmy and started to look at them. Sometimes I glace at them, many times, I just move on; but this time, I kept going back to my first shot; the “its too hot shot”. I put aside my “work” and started to play with his image a bit. After I was done with it (about 4 more minutes later), I decided to print it to see what it would look like. Normally, I will crop the image to whatever size I am printing. This time, I was lazy and didn’t do that. I told my little machine, please just size it to fit. But just as I was about to hit the “size it to fit” button, I saw the below crop. My software didn’t know where to crop, it didn’t know what I wanted. It just said, this is how it is going to fit if you don’t do anything.
I didn’t plan for any of this; it just happened. And that maybe is the best way to learn. Just let things naturally happen.