Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Few Updates

Sarah has taken Mary Kay rather serious. She's had to learn a lot more than just cosmetics (like what expenses there are before you have real profit, keeping good records of everything). While Sarah hasn't turned a profit yet (it cost a good bit to get going), she's done well with all she's had to learn. She is actually at a Mary Kay conference this weekend. She texted me how much she's pumped.

This morning I had planned on painting our master bathroom trim (everything that was going to be white). As I was putting down painters tapes (to avoid the paint getting into the grout lines) I saw a 1/4" hole in the molding beside the door to our walk-in shower. Turns out the spot was rotten. As I searched more deeply I found many more rotten spots and places where the sheet-rock was practically putty. It doesn't look good. I'm now working on some plans to attack, but I won't know what the real situation is until I get behind the wall and take a look. I'm expecting to remove at least 1'6" of the wall from the floor to take a look at what kind of project I'm working on. I'm really happy I had someone I was able to call and give me the skinny on what to do. There was good news and bad news, but at least I had some better direction about what to do.

My photography has been really fun. I've met a lot of people and had a lot of cool conversations. Craig's List has been a pretty good source for getting started, but I don't imagine it will be a good source for much longer. My guess is most people who go to Craig's List for a photography aren't expecting much quality. So I'm having to decide how to balance being an artist (and being perceived as one) with my goal to break some of my shyness and meet people I don't normally encounter.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Krystel & Danny

Krystel and Danny are brother and sister. When Krystel contacted me about a photo session she said, "I would like to have some pictures with my hero". I thought that was pretty cool!

If you would like to see more visit my fan site on FaceBook.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SurfFest 2010

For a little more than a week Ron Jon have been putting on a surfing tournament in the area. I thought I'd go by and practice some photography. The waves were not very good. A few things I learned...

1. Bring a chair, because I'm too old to stand in one place for hours.
2. Lots of people say "hey" to you when you have a lens over a foot long on your camera.
3. I need to get a hood for my telephoto lens.
4. I didn't notice until I was leaving that I forgot to put my UV filter on.
5. Watch where other photographers stand to get their shots. I'm happy to say that I must have chose the right spot for my lighting because two other photographers joined me after about 30 minutes (or maybe, the more likely case, they just wanted to be social).

One photographer I saw had to be at least twice my age out there and she was sporting the best camera out there. I would have loved to have her lens, but it'll be a long time, if ever, before I can afford $3k+ lenses. Funny enough, I got the chair idea from her. She used a short mono-pod and shot from the chair most of the time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The People Who Invest In You

Lately I've been thinking about the people who have invested in me. By "invested in me" I mean those that have either sacrificed for me, was transparent with me, showed me grace (especially when I didn't deserve it), and/or intentionally was a part of making me better than I am.

I'm sure out of everyone I've ever encountered in my life, there are many who probably think they fit into that category and well...they're not. I can think of past bosses, church people (especially those who told me "you have my support"), and even pastors who would probably read that first paragraph and think I was talking about them. The truth is, many of us have had people who we would expect and hoped to have invested in our life, but they didn't. Sometimes it's those very same people who actually hurt and scarred you.

There is something amazing about being around someone who is really investing in you. They love on you in a way that builds you up and opens your eyes to places you didn't know you were capable of. As I think about those God has sent my way, I hope I'm doing the same for others.

So what does it take. . .grace, love, and sacrifice to a depth that I still haven't reached because I haven't given all that I have to give. At least, that's the way I see it.

I know there have been too many times (I'm talking periods of my life, not moments) where I have been without grace towards others and I chose to be condemning or judgmental, even if I was right, grace was what I should have shown; where I have been without love towards others because my idea of love was self-centered, self-beneficial, and self-serving; where I would not sacrifice for others because I didn't care enough to risk myself for them.

I'm so grateful I have people who have invested in me so I can more closely understand that I'm not there yet. There is still many measures of me to strangers, to my church, to my wife...and that full measure will not be complete until I die.

How about you? Are you investing in others? Are you letting someone invest in you?

Outside With The Pups

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why Photography, Part 2

I want to add a little to what I said. There are people who also influenced my decision to enter photography as well. I don't think any of them know they influenced me.

I saw my brother in law, Nathan, connect with a lot of people through photography and because of my love for all things creative I started connecting with and admiring his work, and longing to be creative as well. At first I didn't know my expression would become photography, sometimes I'm still not sure.

I've seen, and still see, many pastors who struggle with getting out of the office and being with people. I had become such a person. I was in the community, at schools, but even that had become a circle of people that I didn't leave much.

The staff at the church where I work have been talking about the subject of connecting with people who don't normally connect with. We've been discussing how we can love on the community. My shyness has been challenged. The excuse that "this is how I'm built" was challenged here. A fellow staff member, Aaron, has had a few awesome moments I'm aware of in the community that has inspired me. None of which I would have never known about if I had not asked; he doesn't brag or boast about these things, he just does them.

I started putting things together and it started making sense and along the way a good number of people have been giving me incredible advice and steering me in the right direction. Thank you!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why Photography

It's officially launched. This is a big deal to me. Once upon a time art was huge in my life. It started when I was about 8 years old and I drew Garfield out of the comics of the Sunday newspaper. I remember handing it to my parents and them being amazed. I remember seeing the same drawing years later and it really didn't look like something an 8 year old would draw. Maybe it was the desire to repeat the affection I received over "Garfield" that got me to frequently draw or maybe it was something else, but from that day art became a part of my life.

Most of my early years it was just putting a pencil to paper. Over the next 15 years of my life, you can pretty much name it and I tried it: painting, sculpting, carving, pottery, metal working (although I didn't do much with this), water colors, photography, and so much more (I would love to try working with glass, but that's another blog post). I guess you can say there was a part of me that really wanted to be expressed creatively.

In college I was introduced to website designing. Even thought it was a lot like computer programming, I treated it like art. But I found where I was really limited. I was very competent in the programming, but I had no clue about graphic design. Two girls, Rachel and Rachel, who were both Bachelor of Fine Arts majors got me started in graphic design and taught me the basics. That was all I needed to get started.

A story that I could make a whole lot longer with all the details comes to this. . .

I'm taking what I've learned in 10+ years of seriously playing with graphic design, combining it with years of creative expression, and pouring them deeply into a tool called photography.

Here's the big part! Anyone who knows me knows that I'm shy. Yes I can act very outgoing and extroverted at times (especially if you see the craziness I pull off with my youth group), but deep inside I'm shy. I seem extroverted in unusual situations and introverted in the usual situations. I have a hard time meeting strangers and having a conversation with someone I'm not familiar with. It doesn't feel natural for me and I find that hard.

I'm a pastor. It becomes too easy as a pastor to fill my time only getting to know those who show up at the building and it can become increasingly more difficult to connect with those outside the church. My shyness makes this worse. I'm wanting to use photography to help me with my shyness and to love on people who I don't know and wouldn't normally encounter.

This past Friday I was able to experience that as I offered my photography to a couple for their wedding for free. They asked me at least 5 times how much I wanted to be paid. After seeing my portfolio they expressed they couldn't believe I would do this for them for free. That was a very nice compliment, but it also said that I was getting to love on them in an unique way. An awesome connection was made with this couple; the bride kept talking about wanting to meet my wife as if she was looking for a friend her age (they are the same age). And a lot of our conversation about the wedding, and life, was personal instead of distant and detached. I hope all of my photography encounters are like this.