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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What is “why”?

I recently watched a video on the TED website. If you haven’t checked that site out I highly recommend it. Here is a little bit about TED from their website.

“TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design

The video that I watched was Simon Sinek speaking about How great leaders inspire action. Check out the video if you have time. It will make you think for sure.

I started thinking about my “why” and other questions.

  1. Why am I working as a civil engineer and why would I build a photography business?
  2. How do I define success?
  3. How do I become successful?
  4. What are my priorities?
  5. What is the reason that people want to be around me and know what I know?
  6. Am I working for more stuff? Why do I need more stuff?

Talk about some vague questions but I think those questions are at the center of who we are and “why” we have the priorities that we do. If you have seen Facing the Giants these questions sound quite a bit like the turning point in the movie. If you haven’t seen it I recommend that you do.

In watching this video and other life events I am finding that unless I build my house on a good foundation the structure will fail. My “why” is because I am Christian and love Jesus. If He is not Lord of everything He is Lord of nothing. He is my central “why”.

In light of that central “why” it is important to create a strong and solid family life. My wife and kids look to me in everything I do.

“He said I've been watching you dad, ain't that cool
I'm your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
We got cowboy boots and camo pants
Yeah we're just alike, hey ain't we dad
I wanna do everything you do
So I've been watching you”

-Rodney Atkins

I must do everything I can to have a strong foundation to be an example and encourage my family. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Starting with the Christ as the why and my family right there I can now look outward from the center to the “How” and “What”.

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:21

All that to say that it is my desire that with photography I am able to strengthen family. For the next couple months our family has a few things taking up our time. We recently replaced all the plumbing in our house and we are trying to get the walls and bathrooms back to regular. I am also studying for a exam on April 8th that will help me move to the next level as a professional engineer and lastly I am starting to lead a mens Bible study. I beg your forgiveness if I am not posting regularly. Who knows this may be my escape and I might be here much more than I think.

Philippians 4:13

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

This past week has been one with many obstacles but I am strengthened through Him.

Of note was the night and next two days my wife found a leak in the plumbing. Because of the type of piping we have all of it was replaced.

Plumbing-2

Plumbing

The plumbing is solid and I am now in the process of putting all the dry wall back and adding the finishing touches.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hindsight is 20/20…if you use AL servo

So much is learned by simply doing. Getting out there and taking some risks, doing something new and stepping out of your comfort zone. That is what I did with these kiddos.

Kids Portrait-5

I took these pictures for a long time friend so there was less pressure but I was still wanting to provide some great pictures.

Kids Portrait-4

Kids Portrait-3

Kids move! They don’t stop…ever. This was my first time taking pictures of kids in this age group and the one thing I learned… use AL servo or the continuous focus mode not the single shot auto focus mode as I did.

Kids Portrait

The AL servo mode follows focus on one subject, i.e. a child. Live and learn. Next time I will be ready!

Thanks so much to the Hopkins family for coming down.

You will notice there are 2 different watermarks on the pictures. I am making the transition to a full time website and a new photography company called either Mark Valentine Photography or Kolbe Photography after St. Kolbe. The business at this time has been setup to get separate accounting and insurance. It would be nice to make a little money to support the addiction.

Lastly, all of the portraits that I have added light have been done with 1 speedlight or a reflector.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So much is learned by simply doing. Getting out there and taking some risks, doing something new and stepping out of your comfort zone. That is what I did with these kiddos.
Kids Portrait-5

Kids Portrait-4
Kids Portrait-3
Kids move! They don’t stop…ever. This was my first time taking pictures of kids in this age group and the one thing I learned… use AL servo or the continuous focus mode not the single shot auto focus mode as I did.
Kids Portrait

Lastly, all of the portraits that I have added light have been done with 1 speedlight or a reflector.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pikes Peak

It always amazes me when I drive around this town how different this peak can look.  Here are a couple of its faces.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak-3

Pikes Peak-5

Pikes Peak-6

Pikes Peak-4

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kent A. Bailey Art – Guitar Pictures

What a pleasure it was working with this outstanding artist. Kent is a magician see for yourself. He created all of these guitars himself starting from raw materials. It is always tough photographing shinny objects because they are so reflective but we were able to get some stunning shots that Kent will use on his website and around the luthier guitar community.

KAB Guitars-13

KAB Guitars-12

KAB Guitars-11

KAB Guitars-10

KAB Guitars-9

KAB Guitars-8

KAB Guitars-7

KAB Guitars-6

KAB Guitars-5

KAB Guitars-4

KAB Guitars-3

KAB Guitars-2

KAB Guitars

There are so many more pictures but you will have to check out his website for more.

Kent A. Bailey Art – Guitar Pictures

What a pleasure it was working with this outstanding artist. Kent is a magician see for yourself. He created all of these guitars himself starting from raw materials. It is always tough photographing shinny objects because they are so reflective but we were able to get some stunning shots that Kent will use on his website and around the luthier guitar community.
KAB Guitars-13
KAB Guitars-12
KAB Guitars-11
KAB Guitars-10
KAB Guitars-9
KAB Guitars-8
KAB Guitars-7
KAB Guitars-6
KAB Guitars-5
KAB Guitars-4
KAB Guitars-3
KAB Guitars-2
KAB Guitars
There are so many more pictures but you will have to check out his website for more.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One light – Self Portraits

This took me about 10 minutes to setup, take some pictures and make sure they were what I was look for.

Me-6

What a goof ball.

So here is the setup.

  1. White seamless paper background – this is a smaller roll in length because I bought it before I knew anything.
  2. A backdrop stand – this is not necessary. Until a week ago I used a piece of PCV pipe that I hung from my garage ceiling with bike hooks.
  3. An off camera flash with an umbrella or a softbox.
  4. Camera and if a self portrait a remote is helpful.

Here is the setup I used and a little of what our living room looks like. You can see the white seamless background behind me and the shoot through umbrella to the left.

Setup-1

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5 ways to make 2011 your best year ever

Tivoli Garden fireworks

Credit: Stig Nygaard

2011 is here and with it we have welcomed the return of the 365/52 projects. This is a terrific project to get the creative juices flowing but what about other ways to improve your photography and business?

1. Take the time to review the previous year. What were your greatest successes? What worked so well for you that people are still talking about it. Where are your weaknesses? What do you want to leave in 2010?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Taking the time to review yourself (good and bad) will help you to create goals for the next year. This photographer, RenĂ© Tate, has hit this one out of the park.

2. Set goals. “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”

Don’t just say that you are going to do better this year. Set a goal with a specific deadline and make it measurable. Check out the way Dave Ramsey sets his goals.

Goal!

Credit: ekkebus

3. Find your inspiration. Let’s face it, we all have times that it is tough to get out there and make the magic happen. Finding the people that inspire you and motivate you will be priceless this year. Don’t just look at photographers but motivational speakers, radio hosts, mentors, movies or anything else you can imagine. The important thing is to keep finding inspiration.

4. Take risks. I often find that when I am the most challenged and frightened that I rise to the occasion and learn the most. Step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to create something completely new. If you fail then you know one way that doesn’t work but you will have learned something new.

CLIFF JUMPING/DIVING PROHIBITED

Credit: Better than Bacon

5. Attitude. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right” – Henry Ford.

No!

Credit:BenedictFrancis

Cheers to a great 2011. May it be your best, most productive, most enjoyed year to date.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Here I come!

2010 was a great year.  My wife an I welcomed our  first child and at 8 months old he knows to smile when that camera comes out!  We are in trouble.  The year finished with some great families trusting me to take their Christmas card pictures.

2011 is going to be even bigger.  I have been told that I need to write my goals down to make them more concrete! 

  1. Take more risks and live fearlessly

Goals need to be tangible and have a deadline and that is neither but will be refined.   More on that later but for now I thought I would start this year off with stepping out of my comfort zone.  Tonight I stepped in front of the camera and took some self portraits. 

To me and living fearless!  Salude!

Lots of me