Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Amazing Couple

Kim, Steve, Jonah

This is Kim and Steve. They are the most amazing people I know. Actually, they are the most amazing people I have EVER known. Kim and Steve have sixty "adopted" children. You read that correctly - 60 children (and 3 others by birth). My wife and I have one child and we're "leaking oil" most days.

Kim and Steve are the directors of the City of Refuge Children's Home in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. They have help managing the orphanage, of course (especially from above), but it is their vision, passion, faith and tireless effort that has paved the way to make meaningful lives for each of their 63 beloved children.

They are servants with a well-defined purpose. Seeing them in action has been a gift. I am so blessed to know them.

Family copy

Amazing. Need I say more?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

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 amazing 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.

(Re-posted by request  - D2)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bigger, Better, More...


I keep hearing that times are tough around here. Are they really? This little one would think you are rich. Her worldly possessions fit in a small suitcase. You might use a suitcase like hers (and a couple more) to go on vacation.

Here are a few facts:

  1. Eight hundred million people will not eat today. Will you?
  2. Three hundred million of those are kids.
  3. One billion people on our planet do not have clean drinking water. Do you?
  4. Every couple seconds someone dies of hunger. Tick,Tock,Tick,Tock....

Hey, I take it all for granted, too. Can't we quit that? We see thousands of marketing messages every day that tell us "buy this"..."consume that". We need bigger, better, more...AND THEN we will be happy. We may think we don't have much because we see people that have EVEN MORE. Right?

It's a slippery slope.

I have been richly blessed. If you are reading this blog, YOU have been richly blessed. What is the next step for us?

Who are we going to bless?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tweety Bird


I love these little Goldfinch. They look happy, they sing happy...they even fly happy. When they fly, they look like they're on a roller coaster (without the track or the coaster).

This may look like a straightforward shot, but it wasn't. Few things are EVER easy for me, but thankfully I love an adventure. Since Jay's gonna ask me how I got this shot, I'm going to let you "behind the curtain" so to speak. (Just kidding, Jay!)

We have a spruce tree in our backyard that the Goldfinch love to perch on. The little guy pictured above is probably twenty feet in the air. Since he wouldn't let me get close to him, I positioned a tripod in a nearby spruce tree (kind of buried it into the tree) with a camera, 300mm lens and an on-camera strobe. I focused the camera at the tip-top of the tree, with the composition you see here.

The key to making it all happen was a remote control. I cobbled up the ability to fire my camera from up to 600 feet away. So, when the tweety bird lands, I go "click" from a distance.

It's all a bit unorthodox, I suppose. I think being a commercial photographer has taught me that failure is not an option. If someone is paying me to produce, I need to somehow make it happen. Sometimes I just need to think it through and come up with a solution.

Next post: The "Cargo Plane" of birds. Any guesses?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chow Hound


Perhaps you've noticed that after I have a serious blog post I often follow up with one that's more whimsical. I think it may be my subconscious bringing me into balance.

I got eyeball to eyeball with this little Finch using a 400mm lens. He didn't seem to be bothered by me, nor was he concerned about displaying his poor table manners.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Tough Nut

DSC_0139_JeanMichelRisk_blog copy

I was a photographer for an Ontario Hockey League team for four years.  I don't think I was particularly good at it.  Shooting hockey was hard for me.  I found that trying to shoot through 3/4" plexiglass was difficult. On top of that, the plexiglass had scuffs, scratches, distortions, face prints and embedded teeth in it.  I found myself shooting the obligatory action shots and then I would experiment.  I found myself shooting from the catwalk (to eliminate the plexiglass and show a unique angle) or just trying to come up different ways of showing the personality of hockey.  I'm not sure my images were particularly useful to the team, since they were not typical.  I have since moved on...feeling somewhat dissatisfied with my performance.  The beauty of photography is that there are SO many different subjects and situations.  I love that about it.

Friday, March 13, 2009



My eyes have a magnetic attraction to graphic elements.  When my eyes focused on this scene, I didn't notice this fellow was painting this blue wall with a paint roller.  All I saw was his orange bandana contrasting with the deep sky-blue wall.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Foggy Sunrise


Before I hit the sack on foggy nights, I make sure my cameras are locked and loaded in anticipation.  I love fog....a cloud on the ground.  And I love how it can render a scene totally different than the usual reality. In this case, the fog took on the color of the sunrise.  (I also love these trees as you may have noticed.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

An Ordinary Weed


This unexciting weed stands in defiance to one of the worst Michigan winters in more than fifty years.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009



This fellow's real name and circumstances shall remain anonymous.  He is a good man.  Beyond that, I'll only say that his eyes tell his story.  I'll leave the rest to your interpretation.....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Abstract Sky

 Sky copy

I love watching severe weather roll in.  It reminds me that we live on a planet.  When I saw the sky "boiling" this day, I bolted for my camera.  When I think about capturing an image, the FIRST thing I ask myself is: How can I capture this in a way that our eyes typically DON'T see?  By doing so, I think it instantly creates more least for me.  In this case I grabbed my fisheye lens (10.5mm), got flat on my back and looked to the sky.  This is nearly a 180 degree view of what I saw.

I'm certain my neighbors think I've snapped.  I can imagine their conversations -- "Hey Mary, he's doin' it again. Now the loser thinks he sees a UFO."

What they don't know is that I take pride in being a little wacky.  It's called LIVING LIFE.