Thursday, July 30, 2009

Inactivity

LonelyBicycles

This is a sad scene to me. In my mind, it's a metaphor for inactivity. I've said to many people over the years that I never feel more like a kid than when I ride a bike. I always have. And I always will. I think the bicycle is one of man's finest inventions.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Big Mud Puddle

MudPuddle

During my Habitat shoot, I couldn't help but notice this little boy doing what little boys do. He has a little battery-operated boat in his hands and he's about to launch it on its maiden voyage.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Habitat for Humanity - Day 3

ShadowPainter

Shadow Painter

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Habitat for Humanity - Day 2

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I met a great bunch of kids yesterday. They're a youth group from a local Church. These kids could have been doing many other things yesterday, but they chose Habitat for Humanity. They were pretty much all covered in paint by the end of the day, but I do believe some paint actually made it onto the shed they were painting. I love it when I see kids getting involved with meaningful activities. It gives me hope.

Bless their hearts.

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The kids (above) are signing a piece of lumber that will help form the interior of a backyard shed. Notice how the sky is getting dark over their shoulders?

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And then the rains came. Not for too long, however. (This is what a photographer does when he/she cannot shoot the primary subjects. I love shooting weather-related things)

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat_07.24

I began a week-long photo assignment today to document a Habitat for Humanity Revitalization project. New homes are not being built - existing homes are being "revitalized" -- new paint, new porches or decks, landscape clean-up, etc. It will transform an entire neighborhood, as dozens of homes are involved. The workers today were terrific. You could tell that they wanted to be there, they wanted to help and they wanted to make a difference. And so they did.

It was a great day.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Climbing Wall

RockWall

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't Do What I Did

DSC_0030_MacBridge

A chat with my friend, Carol, reminded me of the following little story that happened back in 2002. This is (yet another) story that illustrates my limited brain power.

There is a wonderful little island in Lake Huron called Mackinaw Island. It is in the Straits of Mackinaw; where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet. It is also the home of the Mackinaw Bridge (above); a 5-mile-long bridge that is similar to the Golden Gate bridge. The bridge connects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan with the Upper Peninsula.

Mackinaw Island is eight miles in circumference. The unique thing about this populated island is there are no motorized vehicles (except an ambulance and a fire truck). Everything is horse-drawn. We think it's a magnificent get-a-way that puts us in a different frame of mind whenever we go there. It put me in a different frame of mind this time, too - brain dead.

We were shopping one day in a little Birkenstock store on the island. As usual, I had a camera - actually a camera on one shoulder and a camera bag on the other. I did something I NEVER do. I set my camera down to do something. Never set your camera down if you're not in a familiar place. Never. Ever. Ya know why? Because you might forget it. You've already guessed what happens next…..

We bought a couple items and walked out. I had my camera BAG on my shoulder, so there was comfort in knowing I had my camera with me. But I didn't. I had the BAG, not the camera. And I went merrily on my way. This wasn’t just any camera. It was a Nikon D1. Nikon's first DSLR. How much was a new Nikon D1 at that time? $5000 (with no lens). Cha-ching.

What followed was a series of "ignorance is bliss" activities. We had a relaxing dinner at a local joint. Then we went back to our hotel and I leisurely proceeded to get dressed for a run around the island. One of my favorite runs on the planet is an 8-mile run around the island…along the island shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. You can't beat it. I enjoyed every second of it. Fresh air, sound of the surf, horses clip-clopping along. I'm happy as a clam...whistling a happy tune.

I finished my run and headed back to the hotel. By this time, it's been 3-hours since I left my camera in the store and I still didn't realize it. What a moron. When I set foot in our room, my wife instantly shoved me back out the door and shouted, "You need to get back to the Birkenstock store!!!!!" You left your camera there!!!!! I didn't know what hit me.

What follows is a tale of a genuinely nice person. The woman who worked in the store discovered my camera. And she remembered me. She went through her store receipts and found a Visa receipt with my name on it. By now her store had closed for the day. Then she proceeded to call hotels on the Island to find where we were staying. There are many hotels on the Island, but she found us. I hustled back to the store where she had my camera waiting for me. Whew. I insisted that she take a reward and she refused. I begged her. She refused. She wouldn't do it under any circumstances. Period.

She ended up taking a ferry back to the mainland 3-hours later than her usual departure from the island, because I am an idiot. There are SO MANY ways this story could have ended badly. Bless her heart.

And I'll never set my camera down in an unfamiliar place again. I'm not smart enough.

Bless you, nice lady, where ever you are. Our world needs more people like you.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Little Buddy

_DSC5690_Rojel

I received a note this week from a little friend. I began to type it here and then decided not to. It was too personal. I'll share two sentences with you, though, because I think we can all learn from them:

"I miss you and I hope you come back. I will keep you in my heart."

Can you even imagine what goes through the mind of a child whose birth parents are not in his life? I guess I'll leave it at that, before I start sobbing...

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Same Message, Different Day

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I'm baaa-aaack. Back to remind myself how blessed I am. I need constant reminders. It is not my nature to be content with what I have. I seem to always want more.

What's up with that? (No, it's not a "syndrome" or a "gland problem", it's probably just plain greed.)

I figure if I am open and honest with that simple truth, I'm more likely to make a meaningful change. Time will tell. I want you to hold me to it. Please. In the meantime, I'm going to try to get it though my thick skull.

The bed in the photo above belongs to a little boy...a resident of the City of Refuge Children's Home. He is one of seventy children that live at the orphanage. His bed frame is made of lumber. His Superman bed sheet is nice, but you can bet it's been handed down umpteen times by the time it's gotten to him. And every single possession he owns is in the suitcase you see tucked under his bed.

The remarkable part of this true story is that this little boy feels richly blessed. In fact, he knows he is richly blessed. He has a bed to sleep in, food to eat, brothers and sisters who love him and a house mother that adores him. And he knows Jesus...his Heavenly Father.

Now THAT, my friends, is being blessed.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

My $.02

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I crossed paths with someone last week that resurrected some unsettling thoughts I buried a while back. I've been a working photographer for a long time and if nothing else, I've seen a lot. What I saw, yet again, was one of my least favorite characteristics of "creatives" in general and photographers in particular -- an attitude of entitlement.

In my opinion, the most treasured asset of the photographer is his or her ACCESS; their ability to be at the location they want to be at, when they want (or need) to be there. Photos won't happen for you if you're not there...or allowed to be part of the action. Period.

And nothing entitles you (or me) to be there.

Not your portfolio, your good looks, your experience, your connections, your availability, your equipment, your possessions or your money. None of that.

I've worked my rear off over the years to get access to certain opportunities. Or to be allowed on an assignment that I've longed to be involved with for the sheer love of the mission. Ya know what it has boiled down to more often than not? The client came to the realization that I wasn't trying to line my pocketbook or bolster my portfolio - that it wasn't about ME. It was about THEM.

Good photographers are a dime a dozen. In my opinion, MOST great photographers are good photographers that have the following attributes:

  • a purpose
  • something meaningful to say
  • passion
  • compassion
  • a need to be useful

And if you want my $.02 about purpose, make it a purpose that is not about YOU. It will take you far.

Now that I think about it - we can substitute just about any other career choice in place of the word "photographer".

Maybe I need a nap.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

For a Friend

Bible

My friend George is on a mission. If the Spirit moves you, please join the cause. I already have. Please read his words that follow:

Over the past few years I began to learn about the need for Bible translation. I didn’t know that there were 2,000 language groups around the world who don’t have the Bible in their own language. These groups represent approximately 196 million people. I’m also a triathlete. When I learned about the great need for translation, I wanted to find a way to spread the gospel and do it through triathlons. I learned about One Verse (https://www.oneverse.org/), an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators (http://www.wycliffe.org/) at a Passion Conference. From there I found out about Team OneVerse (http://teamoneverse.wordpress.com/). It is a group of runners and triathletes who are running to help out the cause. We are all training for different races to help raise money for One Verse.


One Verse works specifically with national speakers who begin or complete the translation process for their own people group. Guided by a team of translators around the world, the Bible is steadily being translated into every language. Team OneVerse takes the preparation, determination, and energy to run a marathon & triathlons and infuses it with the ability to raise funds and awareness for this translation process.
How does it work? Right now I’m running the Ironman 70.3 Augusta in September to raise money and awareness for the cause. During my training, my goal is to raise $1500, which is over 55 verses translated into a previously un-reached language for $26 each (the average cost of translation as calculated by One Verse).

How can you help? You can sponsor me as I run the Augusta 70.3 in September. By doing this you will help spread God’s word to people who have never read the Bible in their own language. To sponsor me just click here: http://www.oneverse.org/groups/1v-gh

Thanks for all your prayers and support.
George

(Way to go, George. -D2)

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Son & Hound...moments ago

Son&Hound

When my son is 80-years-old, he'll still remember when he was 12-years-old and Luci came into his life.

Life is good.

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Nikon D3, Nikon 17-35mm f2.8, Nikon SB800 Speedlite, Pocket Wizards, "shoot-thru" umbrella.

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Sisters

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Special Plan

Akiem

Remember where you heard it first - God has a special plan for this little fellow. I've never been more sure of anything in my life. I'm not exactly sure what it will be - God only knows...but it's going to be BIG.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Blue-eyed Blonde

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I had you goin' didn't I? Not quite the blue-eyed blond you had in mind?

This is our new dog, Luci. She's a Spinone. We were introduced to the breed by one of my best friends. Their dog, Bea, is one of the most mild-mannered, gentle dogs I have ever seen. Very social and great with kids.

From Widipedia: The Spinone is a loyal, friendly and alert dog with a close lying, wiry coat. It is an ancient breed that can be traced back to approximately 500 BC. It is often used for hunting, pointing, and retrieving game (HPR), but the intelligent and strong Spinone can be used for practically anything ranging from companions to assistance dogs. The name of the breed is pronounced spee-no-neh (singular) and spee-no-nee for plural.

She'll be a big dog when she is fully-grown -- 50-60 lbs.

We still miss Olive.....but we think she would approve.

Olive

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chores

Chores copy 

 

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An Angel on Earth

Proof

Certainly this is proof that there is a God. Can I hear an AMEN out there?

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