Why Photography Is Important To Me

Why Photography Is Important To Me
The photo above was taken within a couple of days after my daughter Arabella was born in October 2008. That baby graduated from preschool this week.Why Photography Is Important To Me

It was about this time of year in 2011 that I became interested in photography. I wanted to know how a photographer made an image that was so powerful it grabbed and you and made you stare at it for several seconds. Next thing I knew I was researching cameras and photography. I settled on a Nikon D3100. How I taught myself is a topic for another post, however.

Why Photography Is Important To Me

One of the first images I shot with my Nikon D3100

I graduated from the University of Texas 20 years ago and later this summer I will (hopefully) be attending my 25-year high school reunion. I’ve been working with children and teens since college, but it wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized how quickly time passes. You always think you can do something tomorrow but it comes more quickly than expected and suddenly tomorrow is yesterday.

Why Photography Is Important To Me

Why Photography Is Important To Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography is my personal time machine. All I have to do is go back through my photos to take me back to a specific period in my life. A photograph allows me to recall what I was doing and how I was feeling when that photograph was captured.  That’s the feeling I want my daughter to experience as she grows older.

I’ve shot hundred of photos of Arabella in the 3 years since I purchased a camera–so many that she will often roll her eyes when she sees the camera looking at her.  Yet, I know that I’m instilling in her a love for photography and all that it means to her dad.

Why Photography Is Important To Me

 

Comment below and tell me why photography became important to you.

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Kickstart Navasota

Kickstart Navasota

Master Mendez

A few weeks ago while photographing another event, I had the opportunity to meet Master Mendez of Kickstart Navasota and he invited me to shoot some images at the 2014 Kickstart State Championship tournament which was being held in Bryan, Texas. I spent several hours at that event and captured hundreds of images of junior high and high school students from all over Texas competing in various events. I was hooked!

It was athletics and dance and sport all combined into one. Yet, it had none of the trash talking and show boating that come with most sports. These kids showed discipline and respect to each other despite punching, kicking, and at times, incapacitating each other. The commitment and determination to their sport was impressive!

Kickstart Navasota

Brazos Valley Elite

Kickstart Navasota

Brazos Valley Elite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, when Master Mendez invited me to the belt ceremony which was held this past Thursday, I knew I had to be there. Once again I got to see the newly crowned state champion Brazos Elite team, as well as a few dozen other Navasota students, who may one day join that team. The highlight of the night was seeing Miss Morgan Smith and Mr. Arturo Villasenor become the first black belts of the program in Navasota.

Kickstart Navasota

Morgan Smith, first degree black belt

Kickstart Navasota

Arturo Villasenor, first degree blackbelt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
If you have kids in Navasota Jr. High, Davila Middle School, or any other school that participates in Kickstart Kids, I’d encourage you to look into the program. You will probably like what you see.

 

Kickstart Navasota

Teammates and best friends

Seanna & Matt, A Prom Photo Session: They’re Your Memories

Seanna & Matt, A Prom Photo Session:  They're Your Memories

Saturday, May 10, 2014, was prom night for Bryan High School and I was booked for a photo session for Seanna and her date Matt.

Prior to heading to the session, I researched some posing ideas on Pinterest but I remained open to what Seanna and her mother Jeanette wanted. While giving some directions to Seanna and Matt on where to stand and where to look I made sure to give them and Jeanette some input on the shoot. As the photographer, I know I’m supposed to be the “creative one,” but I also know that the photographer isn’t always right. Jeanette encouraged Seanna to let me know what kind of photos she wanted because “they’re your memories.”

 

Seanna & Matt, A Prom Photo Session:  They're Your Memories

That piece of advice reminded me how important these photos were and motivated me to do my best.  Not that I wouldn’t have anyway, but it’s nice to know that a client is looking for something to treasure forever and not just a few snapshots.

Jeanette and I have been coworkers for more years than I can remember and I have known Seanna since she was a pre-teen. As you can see, she has grown into a beautiful young woman. Fortunately for me, she has one more prom in her future and I’d be honored to be involved in that one, too.  (Hint, hint, Jeanette!)

 

Seanna & Matt, A Prom Photo Session:  They're Your Memories

Cortney & Dillon — A Navasota Photo Session

Cortney at River Haven, Navasota     Dillon at River Haven, Navasota, TexasThis past Saturday, I photographed these two Navasota High School juniors in the River Haven area of Navasota. I’ve had the pleasure of capturing photos of Cortney during football season as she is the on Diamonettes dance team. I thought she would be the perfect model to help me expand my portfolio. As everyone knows, I do sports photography, but I would like to do portraits, too. And, since Cortney has been dating Dillon for several months, I thought it would be a great idea for him to come along, too, to get photos of a male model. We spent about an hour taking individual photos and photos as a couple. I don’t know how Cortney is with her friends but she was quite shy in front of the camera at first but opened up and showed me the sassiness I’ve seen from her on social media. Cortney at River Haven in Navasota, Texas Dillon, on the other hand, was a natural. He did great and needed little direction to pose or show any particular expression. Cortney and Dillon After leaving the photo session, I couldn’t wait to get home and start editing the photos because I was pretty sure I got some good ones. After a few photos were released on my Facebook page, Cortney’s Instagram, and Dillon’s Twitter, I got some inquiries for photo sessions, so it appears my marketing plan was working. Cortney_and Dillon-150 If you’re interested in booking a photo session, contact me by completing the form below.  As an added incentive I’m offering a $25 print credit when you sign up for my email list.

 

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What I Learned Shooting My First Wedding

This past weekend I had the opportunity to shoot my first wedding. It was for a relative so the pay wasn’t “wedding photographer” pay but it gave me some experience without all the pressure. Of course, I wanted to do a good job because I would have to see the bride at family functions in the future. Now that the even is over, the photos have been processed, and the bride is pleased with the results, I can look back at what I’ve learned.

 

1. Wedding Photography Is Hard Work

This wedding ceremony, which was about 15 minutes long, took place in a very small rural church in Grapeland, Texas (population 1500). As the only photographer, I had to capture images from the front of the church as the wedding party entered the church, from both sides of the church, and from the back as the bride and groom kissed and exited the church. The reception was held at a private residence and included the usual dinner, dance, cake cutting–and a lot of standing. By the end of the night I was definitely physically exhausted. Mentally, I was relieved that I had made it through the night while capturing what I believed were some good shots. As I went to sleep, I was grateful I wasn’t having to worry about aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc. anymore.

 

2. Equipment Can Make A Big Difference

I’m shooting only a Nikon D3100 with the 18-55 mm kit lens, a 55-300 mm zoom, and a 35mm/f1.8–not quite a “professional” gear set-up. On a few occasions, I was wishing I had some lenses with different focal lengths, especially in the church where I found myself too close to use the zoom but not able to get close enough with the kit lens. Of course, a second camera would have been a solution to this problem. During the outdoors reception, a wider aperture and/or a better sensor would have helped due to the low lighting. In short, better equipment would have helped lessen the stress of the exposure calculations I had to make on the fly.

 

3. Know How the Ceremony Will Take Place

Speaking of “on the fly,” a lot of my positioning was done very quickly and with little chance to plan ahead as I rarely knew where to be to get the best shot. I’ve been to several weddings and had a general idea of what to expect, but everything seemed to move much quicker than when watching with the rest of the attendees from the pews.

 

4. Wedding Photography Is Rewarding

To put it simply, I had a great time! I got to capture moments that happen for a brief few seconds and then are gone–the bride entering the church, the groom kissing the bride, the bride’s mother almost setting herself on fire with sparklers–unless they are saved in photos for a family to cherish forever.  This is definitely something I would do again. Below are some of photos from Christy and Russell’s big day. Image     Image   Image   Image Image

Pictures on Mantles

And long after this life’s over
Love will shine on
In pictures on mantles
Eternal candles
Sparks that rekindle yesterday

These are a few lyrics from Trace Adkins’s song “Pictures on Mantles.”  The came to mind this weekend as the family laid Uncle Daniel Lumbreraz to rest after a 10-month-battle with cancer.  Below is a photo that I created on Mother’s Day 2012.  As most people know, cancer is a disease that will ravage a body.  The photo is the way I prefer to remember Daniel.  We’ll miss him but we’ll definitely not forget him.

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An Open Letter to the Navasota Rattlers and Their Fans

On a cold and rainy Friday night in Corsicana the 2013 season came to an unexpected end and so did the first step in what I hope is a long photographic journey for me.  It was a total 180 degree turn from watching those practices in 100 degree heat back in August.  Back then I started coming out to practices to get my own practice in shooting fast-paced action in low-light settings.  As the season progressed and I got to visit other stadiums, I definitely learned to appreciate what Navasota has at Rattler Stadium in terms of lighting.

I want to thank Coach Lee Fedora and his staff for pretty much allowing me free reign around practice and games.  Thanks also to Mr. Key and Coach Kyle Stewart for some nice words on the sidelines.  I hope I wasn’t in the way too much, with the exception of that one run out of the tunnel when I got a little too close to the action.  I told that kid he hit like a girl but he really did ring my bell.  I just didn’t notice it until the next day.

I also want to thank the Navasota Cheerleaders and the Diamonettes.  Once I discovered how popular Instagram and Twitter was with high school kids, business really began to pick up.  A special thanks to Tyler Leonberg who really gave me some free advertisement among the students.

Thanks to the parents who pulled out the credit cards to buy photos.  It is an ego boost and very encouraging when you think I do a good enough job photographing your sons and daughters that you actually give me money!

Thanks to Courtney Finke, my Friday night photo buddy.  Looking at your photos, I was reminded that it’s not all about capturing the action and that there are photo opportunities away from the ball.  I can’t wait to see what you’re photographing in a few years.  

And, finally, thanks to the 2013 Rattlers.  You guys are some tremendous athletes and capturing what you do on the football field has been awesome.  It was great to see all the tweets of my links and collages and avatars that were made from my photos.  I hope that when you are long gone from high school, you can look back at all the photos and remember what Friday nights were like in Navasota.

OK, so who wants some basketball photos?