|Posted on July 19, 2011 at 8:12 PM||comments (0)|
When it comes to taking risks, I routinely stay on the side of caution. Yeah, there are times you just gotta let loose, but we can't just jump off a bridge or (if you're completely crazy) a plane all the time, right? Well, sometimes even the thrill seeker in me needs to come out and this time the urge took me to new heights.
A few weeks ago, I traveled to New Florence, Missouri with my brother and a couple of his coworkers. We arrived at Eco Zipline Tours late in the afternoon and were ready to fly through the forest. According to the companies website, this tour business claims to be Mid-Missouri’s largest, longest, highest, fastest and most exciting zipline canopy tour. I guess if you are seeking adventure, the best is the only option.
As you can tell from the video, ziplining isn't that bad. Yes, the first jump is a little nerve-racking, but once you jump off one platform you can't stop yourself from doing it again. Come to think of it, there seems to be something therapeutic about taking that leap.
We decided the beginners course was sufficient enough for that day. Next on the list? Night time ziplining, complete with a head lamp and a vibrant sunset.
|Posted on April 30, 2011 at 3:48 PM||comments (0)|
Nothing says the end of the year like an influx of people wanting their photos taken. Since I've been doing a lot of portrait photography lately, I thought it would a good idea to fill you in on what I think makes a great portrait photo pop.
The objective to these kinds of photos is pretty self-explanatory. Try and get the whole subject in the frame. Whether it's capturing the person's outfit, their shoes or just their face, get it all in.
Good lighting is key. If you can't make your own light, try and find a time in the day when the sun is not directly shining down on the subject. Also, try shooting during the early morning or late afternoons to get a warmer glow. A cloudy day is perfect. Great lighting enhances the features of your subject and adds various degrees of depth and shadow.
Make sure the background of your image is neutral. The focus should be on the subject, not an object in the background. Keep your depth of field relatively short and allow the background to fade away.
Don't be afraid to move around. Shooting a subject head-on is what we're used to. Grab a stool when you go out and take photos from that perspective. The beauty of digital photography is that you can experiment with how many angles you want.
I enjoy portrait photography for a variety of reasons. These images are most likely going to be shared with family and friends. They're going to be kept in scrapbooks and family photos albums for years and they highlight someone's life at the exact moment.
|Posted on April 22, 2011 at 11:48 AM||comments (0)|
I think it's only fitting to write a blog entry about macro photography on Earth day. This technique brings out the beauty of the world around us and lets us zoom in to every detail.
I went on a retreat last weekend. We were walking through the woods and noticed a tree full of these beautiful white flowers. The light was pouring in so perfectly and the white peddles were dancing in the sunlight. To any photographer, this scene would be too beautiful, too perfect, to ignore. The elements that make macro photography so effective, like lighting and depth of field, were evident that day.
When you get so close to an object, you want everything around the main image to fade away. To do this, you have to master depth of field and make sure what you want highlighted is in perfect focus. A clear image comes with great lighting. The photo above has a mix of both warm and intense lighting. In order to see all the details, in this case the pollen on the flower, you need to have adequate lighting to illuminate those features.
I love Earth Day because it reminds me of the beauty we live our lives around each day. But it seems like that beauty is on a timetable. We have an obligation to keep the beauty alive and take action against destruction. As an ammeter nature photographer, I know that if we continue to treat our Earth poorly, pictures like the one above will become harder to capture.
|Posted on April 5, 2011 at 8:53 PM||comments (0)|
Broken. Shattered. Injustice. Welcome to St. Louis! These aren’t the words many expect to find in a travel brochure, yet these words describe the reality, the unreported truth of a divided city.
I spent my Spring Break volunteering in St. Louis for an organization called Citylights. The organization hammers in the importance of bringing back justice to the poorest neighborhoods in St. Louis. Through a variety of work projects, Citylights hopes to “mend cultural and ethnic divisions” through reconciliation, love and servanthood.
I have lived in St. Louis for about 17 years. During this week though, I felt like I was learning about the city as if I was stepping off a plane for the first time. I knew St. Louis was divided physically (St. Louis City and St. Louis County) and racially, but I never knew the extent of that divide. According to Business Insider, St. Louis is the #6 most segregated city in the United States.
On our first day, we drove throughout St. Louis learning about its history and the decline from the glory days of the 1904 World’s Fair. We visited the St. Louis Basilica, Soulard Market and drove past several abandoned buildings and factories near the riverfront and throughout St. Louis’ northside. One particular abandoned factory, the former site of Carter Carburetor, impacted me the most during that tour.
The factory shut its doors in 1984 leaving toxic waste and other pollutants to seep into the ground and across the street. The Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club is one building that is across the street. The EPA is working towards demolishing the plant, costing the federal government an estimated $27 million.
But this site and many other areas around St. Louis have been slow to gain any significant progress. The white population has escaped westward leaving the aftermath (crime and abandon buildings) to the predominately poor African American population. The spotlight on these neighbourhoods has been dimmed.
Leaders of Citylights and their associated churches, most notably New City Fellowship, are trying to combat this exodus and return to the city. They bring with them education, opportunity, diversity and most importantly hope.
The glimpse of hope is small, but it has the potential to grow into something amazing. We can change St. Louis and repair the shattered glass. It won’t happen over night and money won’t fix the problem. But knowledge is the first step into getting through the door. Now, we just need to keep moving forward.
|Posted on September 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on May 2, 2010 at 11:40 PM||comments (0)|
This weekend I escaped the stress and worries of the end of the semester and traveled with RUF for the core group spring retreat. We headed to Gerald, Missouri. The town is tucked away from the busy highways and shopping centers, away from the street lights, away from the ordinary. I escaped into peace and was able to find peace this weekend in nature.
In between planning for RUF's fall semester, we were able to wind down, relax, and breathe. But I am not one to take naps very often, so I've figured out a new way to recharge and that's photography. Yes, taking photos is a form of art, but it's also a way a gateway into the environment.
The first photo is my most favorite photo out of the three because I captured the flower perfectly. The focus really brings out the flower and the colors add depth and texture. But what really makes this photo bloom is the lighting.
The second photo is interesting. It's almost like I shot that flower inside a studio. The saturation of the color really make this photo beautiful.
The third flower has an element that I have been trying to perfect for a while. I have been trying to capture rain drops on tree branches or leaves. I think this photo capture a couple of rain drops nicely.
Overall, these three photos demonstrate the escape that I found this weekend. As I enter one of the busiest and hectic weeks of the semester, I will look back at these photos and remember the feeling of peace. May these photos bring you comfort as well.
|Posted on January 18, 2010 at 4:00 PM||comments (2)|
|Posted on October 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM||comments (0)|
So these past couple of days have been gloomy and overall hectic, so I thought I’d go back into the archives and choose a picture with a much happier feeling.
What I found were pictures from a photo adventure my friend and I went on. We took off one afternoon towards downtown St. Louis to one of the cities oldest but peaceful parks, Tower Grove Park. When we got there, birthday parties seemed to be scattered everywhere a picnic bench happened to be or a nearby grill. The park smelled like the Fourth of July, burgers on the grill and the radio blasting as loud as the car stereo could go. There were people walking their dogs and we even saw a couple taking wedding photos by a pond.
Even with all the commotion, my friend and I were still able to find peace underneath the large oak trees and vibrant flower beds. I found a bee flying around one of these flower bushes and took as many photos as possible. The one above is the best one.
While the days move into the colder months and the sun seems to make its presence even more rarely, I look to the past for warmth. Part of me is sad that those days are gone and over, but the more optimistic side, the one that always looks to the positive signs of life, reminds me that summer will be here once again, filled with even more bumble bees, dog walkers and birthday celebrations.
|Posted on September 23, 2009 at 4:33 PM||comments (0)|
Here is another flower photo that I shot while visiting the Missouri Botanical Gardens this summer. The place if full of exotic flowers, interesting gardens, sculptures and creative exhibits. This photo was shot inside a large greenhouse in the middle of the gardens. The lighting was hard to adjust since the room inside was light but dark at the same time…if that makes any sense. I walked pass this flower noticing that it was the only bud that had bloomed into a flower and took the picture. I particularly enjoy the colors that I was able to capturing.
When I take pictures of nature, whether that be flowers or rivers, I look for things that connect the world outside with the human element. By creating a link between nature and human nature, I hopefully can create a larger awareness of Earth’s breathtaking beauty.
|Posted on September 22, 2009 at 8:24 PM||comments (0)|
I took this photo this summer on one of my many photo adventures. My town in St. Louis, Missouri has a butterfly house that hosts tons of insects not just inside but outside as well. It was here that I found these buzzing insects.
Bees are hard to take pictures of, let me just get that out there. They are constantly on the go and never stay in one spot, leaving the photographer (aka me) predicting their next move. I found a flower that had some potential of being a landing zone and focused on it for a couple of seconds. A bee came in for a landing and I quickly took the picture getting what you see above.
It’s all about patience when taking these kinds of pictures. The subject might be fast in motion, but it all depends on your timing and how you’re prepared before the action occurs. Just imagine if photographers knew the future, we’d have amazing photos of split-secound images capturing the very core moment of an action. But in reality, it’s all about being prepared and well…having some extra luck on your side.