Monday, June 29, 2009

Brotherly Love

BrotherlyLove

Three boys from the City of Refuge Children's Home stop for Uncle Dan on their way to school.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

O'Hare International Airport - Chicago

Ohare_Intl

I love to travel. Let's start with that. Maybe I should say that I love my travel destinations.

I must admit, however, I'm not crazy about the whole airport experience. For me it's usually pure chaos -- rush to the airport, wait in line, show passport, bolt to the security check, stand in line, show passport, take shoes off, put shoes on, have carry-on bags searched because some of my equipment resembles bomb-making components, rush to gate, gate change, show passport, weather delay, mechanical delay, crew delay...all with twenty-five pounds of camera gear over each shoulder. Whew. No, Miss Gate Agent, I don't want to give up my seat for a travel voucher. Get me the hell heck home.

:-)

Photo above: O'Hare Intl. Airport, underground corridor between B & C concourses. Nikon D3, 17-35 mm f2.8 (at 17mm), 1/4 second @ f8, Gitzo Traveler carbon fiber tripod, RRS ball head.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hotel Sofitel Chicago

Sofitel

Hours after my 2:00 a.m. return from Jamaica, I was back on the road -- this time to Chicago for an assignment. This is a photo of the upper floors of the hotel I stayed in. You're looking at the upper third of the building. The building is difficult to describe, so I've attached a picture from the Hotel Sofitel website (below) that puts my abstract image into a more understandable perspective. From one view, the top of the building is wider than the base (as shown below). Yet from the view I shot it, the top is increasingly narrow. I thought is was an amazing design.

I was lying flat on my back when I shot this (complete with slacks, shirt and tie). I'm sure people thought I was a whack job. As you know by now, I embrace my inner lunatic.

This was shot with a 70-200 racked out to 200mm. I also used a tungsten white balance to give it a blue hue.

2993v00

Next: More photos from the City of Refuge Children's Home. I've been so busy that I have not had a chance to work with the more than 1500 images I captured in Jamaica. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

1000 Words

I've just come to the realization that the shoes a person wears can reveal a good deal of their story. At least some of their story anyway. Think about it - work boots, dress shoes, running shoes, etc. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know the story behind the child wearing these shoes. Maybe I'm overdoing the shoe thing lately, but I think I've hit on something here.

This will be my last post from the City of Refuge for this journey. I'll be leaving the mountain in the morning. It makes me sad to leave. Once again, the children have taught me so much. I will miss them deeply. They are constantly in my heart now. I already can't wait to come back.

I also miss my wife and son terribly and I cannot wait to see them tomorrow evening.

Goodbye for now.
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Angel Eyes


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Coffee Worker


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Fastfood Drive-thru

This is how chicken is prepared in the Blue Mountains - the old fashioned way. It starts with a live chicken. There are no KFCs, no drive-thru service, no pre-packaged conveniences. I'm going to spare you the visual details, but I have once again been reminded how cushy my life is.

I also cannot help but notice how thin the people are here. They are very active, because they need to be. They don't go to the gym. There is no gym. The land and their lifestyle is their gym. There is nothing flat about about this land. You are either walking up or you are walking down.

I wish I had more time to write. My posts will be brief this week. I'll catch up when I return.

Be well.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From My Window Seat

As usual, I'm sure I drove my seat-mates nuts during my trip to Jamaica yesterday. When I have a camera in my hands, I am the equivalent of a 4-year-old on sugar and caffeine - with an equivalent attention span. Oh, well. I am embracing my inner child.

This was one view out my window yesterday. I saw many spectacular scenes during the entire duration of my flight. The scene above happens to be in Cuban air space. After I shot this, the clouds and haze cleared and I had some terrific views of Cuba, complete with her magnificent coral reefs and pristine beaches.

Yesterday was such a productive "window seat" day, that I've decided to create an iBook from some of my travels: From My Window Seat. I always view a plane trip as a tremendous photo op.  To be flying through the air in a chair at 500 mph with a view of the heavens is an incomparable opportunity.

As I write this, I am at 4000' in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica at the City of Refuge Children's Home. In the coming days I hope to show you some images from this special place. Having said that, internet connectivity is terrible here, there are rolling electrical "brown outs", and many other 3rd world inconveniences. Today is a good day -- we have water and electricity. Yesterday we didn't. Time will tell.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

The City of Refuge

BlueMountains

Tomorrow at this time I'll be at cloud level - 4500' high in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. My next post will be from one of my favorite places on the planet - The City of Refuge Children's Home. Stay tuned.....

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shoes

Shoes

After being opinionated for a couple posts, it's time for me to take a chill pill and post something nondescript and tame. Unless we have some shoe haters out there. (-:

I'm not sure what attracted my eyes to this sign. I guess I've always gotten a kick out of neon...and I love simple design. In a sea of visual pollution, I guess this seemed like an island.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Road We're On

God sign

This a billboard in our area. There are folks around here that get all "up in arms" about signs like this. They're the same people that get worked up about nativity scenes at Christmas.

As I understand it, these billboards are paid for by a private organization. This is "speech" people. And the last time I checked we have freedom of speech in the USA.

I'm thinkin' that if we can signs advertising "Bulletfest", we can have a sign like the one above.

I'm just sayin'.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brown Pelican

BrownPelican

This rascal is the bird version of a cargo plane. It's hard to tell from this photo, but this guy had a 7-foot wingspan. He was flying back and forth along the beach for what seemed like an hour. When he saw a fish to his liking, he would dive bomb it. And he made a splash like a bowling ball falling from 40 feet into the water. I've never seen anything like it.

My ability to capture this image was all about the equipment. Well, mostly about the equipment. I once heard a great sports photographer say that great sports photography is 33% equipment, 33% skill, and 33% luck. In my case, this was 80% equipment, 15% luck, and 5% skill. This shot would not have happened for me if I didn't have a modern-day DSLR with the ability to follow focus on a moving object. Also: Image stabilized 70-200mm f2.8 lens.

Trunk Bay. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Very Rare Occurrence

Group

I almost never shoot weddings. ALMOST never. The fear of screwing up at a big event like a wedding, totally stresses me out.

A dear friend of mine asked me to shoot her daughter's wedding a while back...and I couldn't say no. I've been told I am the official photographer for their family. Heck, I'm not even the official photographer for my own family. They're such an easy-going family, even if I HAD screwed up, they would have laughed it off. That took a lot of pressure off of me.

I shot this while standing on the roof of a motor home. That got a smile out of them, eh?.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Hot Fun in the Summertime

HotFun

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know I love hot air balloons. A friend of mine owns one of the balloons pictured here. When the winds are right (less than 7 mph) he is likely to go up about a mile from our house. If you ever have the opportunity to be a passenger, I highly recommend it. It is a magnificent adventure -- like none other. The scene above took place over the recent Memorial Day weekend.

The photo below is a scene I captured from a hot air balloon. We were nearly 1000 feet above the balloons pictured here.

Hot Air

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sigh.....

_DSC3818

Bulletfest? Really?

Step right up people, get your bullets. We don't have enough senseless killings, hold ups, carjackings and suicides as it is. Let's promote putting more bullets in the hands of people with single-digit IQs.

I know. I know. I'm overreacting. I am actually NOT anti-gun. I've hunted before (years ago) and I have friends and family are are very responsible gun owners. Guns don't kill people, people do, right?

I live in a town where the murder total is alarmingly high. I'm thinking making bullets more affordable and available may not be the best course of action. I realize I am over-reacting and maybe even missing an attempt at dark humor with this sign.

It just doesn't feel right to me. I'm just sayin.

Names blurred out to protect the guilty innocent.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Giant and a Dwarf

Confidence

As I was finishing my run this morning, I was walking back to the house and my eyes were magnetically attracted to this little scene - a miniature tree growing from a giant tree...with a bird's nest! Even if it's a random ball of leaves and is NOT a birds nest, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it :-) Since I shot this with a 400mm lens, I'll never get close enough to know for sure...(unless I see the bird). In any case, I thought it was a fun conundrum. I love scenes and images that I cannot quite figure out.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

House Mom

HouseMom

There is a story behind each of these pairs of eyes. It's a harsh story. The birth parents of these boys are no where to be found. Even if they could be found, they would not be fit to parent.

Thankfully, this story gets better.

This house mom loves these boys more than you can imagine. They may as well be her sons by birth, because that's how she loves them. In my book, she's a saint. God bless her.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Counting Down the Days

Rojel

I am counting down the days until I begin another journey to one of my favorite places on the planet - the City of Refuge Children's Home. The City of refuge is an orphanage in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. It is currently home to nearly 70 children - babies to 13-year-olds.

I vividly remember my first trip. It was a trip to visit my wife's brother and his wife (the founders and directors of the home). In my mind, that trip had "vacation" written all over it. Jamaica, mon! Their purpose and mission was was not even on my radar. As it turns out, it was not a vacation, but an awakening.

Like many things in my life, I didn't think I wanted to go there.......until I went there. That trip changed my life. And it solidified my belief that my life was not being directed by me.

The little guy pictured above is the "purple eraser" guy that many of you commented on. I suspect he is counting down the days, too.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

A 17-year Winning Streak

Kay
Kay and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary this past weekend.

Happy Anniversary, Kay. Thanks for 17 great years.


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