Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hot Air

Hot air balloons as I saw them from a hot air balloon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jacob

I was speaking at a Church a while back, trying to help them raise funds for a mission trip to Jamaica. I showed them photos of children from the orphanage they were about to visit. The photos included an image or two of Jacob. Many people were moved to make donations to help their fellow members. After the service, a woman confronted me and said she would not be donating because the kids were well-dressed and didn’t appear to be in need of anything…including help from her Church. She said what she had to say and before I could respond, she turned around and was gone. I would have liked to tell her that the orphanage makes a point of ensuring that the children are well clothed...that a great deal of effort is made to make the children feel as though they are not orphans.

Can you imagine how fragile their self-esteem might be? Their parents are not in the picture…they may feel abandoned. I know how hard it is to build self-esteem in a two-parent family...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Teaching

A week ago, I attended my son’s soccer tournament. As I was photographing what I thought was the action, I was distracted by the parents on the sideline. The opposing team had the loudest parents I have ever heard at any youth game...EVER. Even their clothing shouted - with slogans about winning. At times, their screaming was mean-spirited. My son is 11-years-old. This was not the World Cup finals.

I turned my attention (and camera) to the spectators. I found I couldn’t take my eyes off them because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. After I fired off a few frames, one of the loudest parents looked at me and shouted proudly, “Hey, look, now WE’RE being photographed!! They didn’t know who I was. My camera equipment is not common. I probably looked like I was working the game. I began to wonder if my camera’s presence would change their behavior. I dismissed that thought when another parent shouted for all to hear, “Hey! We’re the most obnoxious parents out here, AND I’M PROUD OF THAT!.... I fired off a few more frames. He looked around at his fellow parents for approval. They were silent. One by one, they began sitting down…slinking into their folding chairs.

One of the unexpected things I’ve learned as a parent is that I am always teaching. When I am at my best, I am teaching my son. When I am at my worst, I am teaching that, too. We do not need teaching certificates to teach children.

I’m trying to get this parenting thing right. And I need all the help I can get. I am not smart enough to think of everything on my own. Sometimes I need reminders of what not to do.

This day, I was reminded. Loud and clear.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Olive the Wonder Dog

They say cats have nine lives, but they don’t have anything on Olive. She has had more than her share of issues…but she takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. I must admit that I made this image thinking we may not have her much longer. That was a couple months ago.

Many people have asked me how I created this image. Briefly:
1. The camera was at ground level
2. Fisheye lens
3. I used an exposure technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR)
4. I had a dog full of personality and character

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ice Cream Store

During a visit to the City of Refuge, it was suggested that Kay and I take some of the boys to the ice cream store. It sounded like fun. It was a ten-minute walk down the mountain. The "ice cream store" ended up being little more than a tar-paper shack with an ice chest. I don't believe there was any electricity. The only light was light that filtered through doorways on either side of the shack. Do you remember the little plastic ice cream cups that came with a flat wooden spoon? When the boys received theirs, they were over the moon.

After thanking us profusely, the boys spontaneously grabbed one another by the hand and headed for home. They could not have been happier…nor could I.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Sky is the Limit

There are more than 12,000 homeless children in Jamaica. These six children (and many others), by the grace of God, found their way to the City of Refuge. They are learning, growing, and thriving. Make no mistake, these are bright kids. In many ways they now seem no different than your children or mine. The City of Refuge is breaking the chain of despair and is growing future leaders. They carry the colors of their country. The sky is their limit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Safe and Sound

This little guy is a resident of the City of Refuge Children's Home. The Home is located at 4500 ft of elevation in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. More than 60 children live at the orphanage. In 2002, 12,000 new cases of children needing a home were reported to the Child Developmental Agency in Jamaica. The need is great!