Monday, December 14

Help-Portrait Has Come and Gone – For Now Anyway!

Wow, what an amazing day at Help-Portrait in Orlando this weekend! I spent almost eleven hours there and would not trade one hour of them...not even one minute of them. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I have to admit, I spent the 40 minutes or so, on the drive home, crying like a baby. Hey, it was my one good cry of the year...okay! I was crying just reflecting on the day's events, the wonderful people I met, and the new friends I made.

I can't believe how much everyone touched me, that includes the other photographers and volunteers AND the people whose portraits we shot at the Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando. It was exciting to meet with and interact with so many amazing people today. I think the people who we had the opportunity to shoot today touched me far more than I did them. If I only touched them half as much, I think it was a good day.

Friday, December 4

A Journey Through Christmas 2009

Earlier this week, I visited Volusia County Baptist Church's "Journey Through Christmas" program. The pageant was very well done, and surprisingly professional. With real live animals, lighting and, often times, very believable acting, the "Journey" took you through the scenes of Jesus' life. Shooting was difficult as they explicitly said no flash photography at the beginning of the program. I had hoped to be able to get more shots, but the shooting conditions were less then ideal. Luckily I had brought my Nikkor 35mm 1.8 lens to the event, which I haven't had much chance to work with. Though I lost the ability to zoom in on certain scenes, I was able to at least capture some scenes with low light, which would have been impossible with my slower lenses. Below are my favorites of the night. View other shots from the event by clicking here.

Nativity Scene
Nativity Scene
Jesus Speaking
The Cross of Jesus
At the Foot of the Cross
Angel at Jesus' Tomb

Wednesday, November 25

2009 Volusia County Fair

After many weeks of procrastinating, I finally have my shots from the 2009 Volusia County Fair ready for posting! As usual, the Fair was great fun, and I finally got to practice some night shooting with my new prime lens. I must say, shooting at night is still a challenge for me. There is so much more to take into consideration, that I don't really think about when shooting during the day. I tried to capture the "Spirit of the Fair," with all the beautiful lights, action and fun that it had. I hope I did it justice! View all the shots from the gallery by clicking here.

2009 Volusia County Fair
Fair Ride
Ferris Wheel
Viper Ride at Fair
Goat at County Fair
Man at County Fair Woodworking

Monday, November 23

18 Days and Counting...

Well only 18 days to go until the big day! I am so excited about Help-Portrait and the work we are going to be doing on the 12th of December with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. I am excited to be a part of giving back to those less fortunate this holiday season. I am excited for the connections I will make and the people I pray I am able to touch on that day. I am excited to be able to meet some of the top photographers in the area and work side by side with them in making this event happen. Did I mention...I AM EXCITED!

If anyone is interested in being a part of this, we can still use all the volunteers we can get.  Hop on over to the Help-Portrait Orlando web site and sign up to be a part of this great event. We can use people of all skills and levels in the areas of photography, post processing, makeup artists, hairstylists. Even if you don't have a skill in that area, we can use you as assistants to help others in the areas above, coordinators on event day, and greeters to help make everyone comfortable and at ease! Whatever you have to offer, you will be useful.

If you haven't heard about Help-Portrait, be sure to check out this says it all:

Sunday, November 22

Nature Photography at Bicentennial Youth Park in Deland

I enjoyed an informative Nature Photography Workshop yesterday at Bicentennial Youth Park, in Deland, just east of the Volusia County Fairgrounds. I have driven past this park many times and never even realized it was there! It's like a hidden "jewel of nature" in the middle of Volusia County. The park, which is owned by the Volusia County School District, is not open to the public, but is instead used as an educational center for schools and groups. It was nice to be able to visit there and shoot pictures during today's workshop. I want to give a big thank you to photographer Scott Helfrich and Bonnie Cary, who is with Land Acquisition and Management, with the County of Volusia, for hosting the event Be sure to stop by Scott's website and have a look at his wonderful nature photography. Be sure to check all of the pictures in my gallery for the event by clicking here or watch the slideshow.

View Slideshow Video of Nature Shoot
Park Benches
I seemed to be drawn to the multitude of park benches scattered along the trails.
This is about as close as we get to Autumn in Florida.
I love shots of these. It's not my first!
Purple Flower
This pretty little thing was the hit of the day. Seems like all
the workshop photographers got a shot of it!

Saturday, November 14

2009 Deltona Days...Fun Time for All!

The 2009 Deltona Days Festival was great fun. Lots of entertainment, things for the kiddies to do, and vendors to keep you talking and busy. The weather was gorgeous and I enjoyed talking to and meeting new people. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to practice my people shooting skills, which the event lent itself to wonderfully. But, my favorite model of the day was "Simon," even though he isn't a "person." Simon is a Golden Retriever, owned by one of the vendors at the event, and he was a beauty. He was also just about the friendliest dog I have ever met! Be sure to check out his pics. To view some of the event shots you can do so by clicking here.

Children Playing at 2009 Deltona Days
There was plenty of fun things for the kids to do!
Starlight Promenaders from Debary, Florida
The Starlight Promenaders from Debary, FL kept the crowd entertained.
Kids Dancing at the Festival
The kids and teenagers did their own dancing during downtime...and they were really good!
Simon the Golden Retriever
And this is Simon! He was my FAVORITE "model" of the entire day. Look at that pose he struck. Isn't he precious?And he was super friendly too. I wanted to take him home. Be sure to check out a few more pics of him in my gallery for the event.
Clint from Aluminum Service Professionals
Had a chance to meet and speak with a very nice young man, named Clint. Here's a plug for your company, my friend...visit him over at Aluminum Service Professionals in Debary, if you need screen rooms, pool enclosures, etc. done.

Monday, November 2

2009 ButterflyFest in Gainesville Offered Lots of "Shooting" Opportunities

So, I really had a blast at the 2009 ButterflyFest in Gainesville last weekend. Needless to say, when you go to a "Butterfly Festival" you can't help but get some great shots. As those who know me well know, I love shooting pictures of butterflies, so I was psyched!

Well, over 650 plus photographs later, I was a bit overwhelmed when I sat down to make my picks from the bunch and process the photos. I really hadn't expected to take anywhere near that many in two days! Over half of them were just butterfly pictures alone! Whew!

After careful consideration, I decided to break them down into two different galleries and got to work on just the pictures from the "festival" part of the event. I will go ahead and work on the butterfly pics (although there are some in the event gallery), as time permits and break them down in a seperate gallery portfolio, just for all my pretty butterflies. To view some of the event shots from last weekend you can do so by clicking here.

Facepainting at the ButterflyFest
The little kids really loved getting their very own "wings" and faces painted at the 2009 ButterflyFest in Gainesville, Florida.
I must admit, I have never seen a butterfly that looked quite like this one. Lime green spots! It was a beauty!
Fruit Bat Flying Fox
Okay, I am sure there aren't many people that like bats...and I'm one of them...but, I have to admit this little creature stole my heart. When I think of bats, I certainly don't think of something that looks like this! He had a face like a dog! These are actually fruit bats, also called "flying foxes," because of their features, and are not at all like the standard bats we have in Florida. I was absolutely mesmerized with this little fellow (thought I have to admit he didn't smell very nice, they say it was his mating season and they put off that awful smell during that time). But, he was cute...for a bat!
Baby Alligator
It wasn't all about butterflies...this baby alligator was a big hit with the children, who were allowed to hold it. The little girls thought it was great!
Black Indigo Snake

And, this black indigo snake was a hit with children of all ages. His handler stood there ALL day long, both days, never alone...everyone wanted to play with the snake, who is very old for a snake like this. I even touched it and I am not a snake person either!

The Florida Museum of Natural History is a hidden, kid-friendly education center on the University of Florida (UF) campus. With more than 9 million specimens, the museum's McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity contains one of the world's largest collections of butterflies and moths. Scientists in the museum's labs work to save imperiled butterflies from extinction, define unknown species and understand butterfly and moth genetic history and relationships. In the Butterfly Rainforest Rearing Lab, visitors can view panels with text, pictures and objects explaining butterfly science. 

Tuesday, October 27

I Think I've Found My Workflow

Okay, after months of studying and demoing my options, I think I have finally found the best workflow for my post production on my photographs. This is a flow that works well for me, although I can't speak for others. Many swear by Aperture and Adobe Lightroom for post production, and I did find them to be very neat tools to work with.

I demoed both and found that I leaned more towards Aperture, if I had to choose between the two. There was something about Lightroom that just felt a little "off" to me. Not quite sure what it was, but I was just not comfortable with it. I'm sure with time and familiarity it would have become a better fit.

Sunday, October 18

Deltona Reopens Library Along with New Environmental Center and Amphitheater

I recently shot the grand re-opening of the Deltona Regional Library and the new Lyonia Environmental Center and Deltona Amphitheater. All I can say is, "Wow!" I was very impressed with the work that had been done after the over year long closure of the library to local residents.

The new facility boasts that it is a "green" environmentally responsible facility. The $11 million dollar expansion doubled the library's size to 50,000 square feet, and added the 4,000 square foot Lyonia Environmental Center, and a 1,000 seat Deltona Amphitheater. The new facility is beautiful, with lots of native Florida plants and flowers that attract an abundance of wildlife. It has nature trails that allow you to scheduled a guided tour through the Environmental Center, or do a self guided hike, with your choice of length of trail (there are several).

I must admit, as a Deltona resident, I wasn't initially thrilled with the closure and million dollar expansion, but I was very impressed with the final results. I think it will bring many years of enjoyment to the residents of the city and was an effort that ended well. I quite enjoyed my day of shooting the events, people, and even, most of all, all of the beautiful plants and flowers that attracted the bees and butterflies, which are two of my favorite things to shoot! ome of my favorite shots from the day are below. View all the shots from the gallery by clicking here.

Florida Owl
My favorite subject of the day was this adorable little owl, presented by the West Volusia Audubon Society. I actually think he LIKED getting his picture taken! He was just so darn cute!
Kemper Dance Studio Performs
Entertainment in the Deltona Amphitheater presented by the Kemper Dance Studio Students.
Flower with Honey Bee
The flower gardens that have planted were amazing, attracting all kinds of flying wildlife, like this honey bee.
Flower Gardens at Deltona Regional Library
Beautiful flower gardens and plants surround the new Deltona Amphitheater grounds. The choice of plants and flowers seems to have been made on purpose for attracting bees and butterflies!
Nature Trails at Lyonia Environmental Center
They have great nature trails for guided or self-guided walks and hikes through natural Florida habitats. There is a choice of several different length hikes that you can choose to do.

Thursday, October 15

Major Hard Disk Failure Makes My Day...Not!

I decided it was about time for me to go ahead and get Snow Leopard installed on my Mac. I have been running Tiger 10.4 for years and never bothered to upgrade, because, quite frankly, it ran like a dream. But, with more and more programs only running on Leopard now, I felt it was time to make that leap.

Installation on my MacBook laptop went great. Smooth as silk. So I figured it would do the same on my main computer, a 20 inch iMac. Hmmm. Guess what? Nope! In the process of installing the new operating system it killed my hard drive! I'm not sure what went wrong, but of course, wouldn't you know it, I did the cardinal sin of not backing up before I began the install. Wow.

Monday, October 12

I Shot My Son!

So, I had a chance to shoot my youngest son's photos a few weekend's ago. I can't tell you how long I have been waiting to do that! My son is in the entertainment industry, so I knew his photos would be fun to do. And, they indeed proved to be! I am hoping I get a chance to shoot him again soon, if he will let me. View his complete gallery.

Jon Photo #1


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