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Dance poses a photographer great challenges, especially if shot during a performance.

You have to choose action, pose or some of both.  You have to search for the decisive moment, and catch it in rhythm.  You often have to watch out for rapidly changing lights and exposure.

I love the challenge.  I love the excitement of trying to get “the shot.”  After a year off from the recital circuit because of the move down south, I can’t wait to see my little lady back up there though my lens.

After watching her practice a few times in the last few months I’ve been amazed.  She improved her dedication to learning dance, and now observes things about her movements she did not in September.  She is ready to join the “big girls” in her mind, and that means growing up in body and mind.

It also poses a lesson for me to follow as a photographer and as a Dad.  I cannot reduce my attention to detail because I am comfortable with my skills and gear, but to increase attention to detail in all things.  I have to pay better attention to my children, to my wife and the environment we live in.  I also have to continue to mature and grow in faith to be the best role model I can.  I’ll never be perfect, but if I put in the same type of discipline to my faith life I will be calmer and more effective for them in all things.

I cannot take for granted that I am seeing more details in the viewfinder than I did a few months ago myself.  I must focus harder, an conceive my photographic vision earlier.  I must remember the fundamentals faster, and recognize them as they appear in the scene before me.

A lifetime of learning lays before not just before my girl, but each of us as well.



Final 2012 Veteran’s Day Tribute

I am always emotional on Veteran’s Day.  This year even more so since I was not with my brother Knights of Columbus in Virginia executing a Flag Retirement.  In the past we hosted over 120-140 people.  We’d provide flags to veterans, police and fire flown around the world at memorials and cemeteries.  As I am now living in Georgia, I could not be a part of that great event this year..

Tonight my Cub Scout Den held a Veteran’s Appreciation Ceremony for John ‘Jack’ Dehaven.  We sang him songs, I gave him restored photos of him in WWII, listened to his stories and made it as special as possible for him.  He sits behind my family at church, and is the most gentle guy you could meet.  I laughed when I realized how he crossed paths with my grandmother in the Boston USO, and my Mom’s family in the Leigh Valley of Pennsylvania (He is from Allentown).  It really is a small world.

I’ve made it a habit to review my old photo collection and some old books every Veteran’s Day.  I was taken back by the power of photography to be 12 watching my Dad at Camp Zama, Japan, a 17 yr old cadet at West Point, 23 yr old LT again in Germany, 25 yr old Executive Officer in Bosnia, 28 yr old Commander in Kosovo…and the memories of the men and women I grew up with came back as a tidal wave.  I love my life now with four children and a good job, but those days really helped me become the man I am today.  They made me dream, gave me drive to succeed, care for people and a life full of experiences to take with me on my next set of journeys.  I was blessed to serve, but never called to serve like my brother or recently retired Bradley crewmate SSG Thornburg of Phoenix City, Alabama.  They gave so much more than ever asked of me, and I am humbled when I tally up the days away from “normal” life they racked up over the course of their careers.  My commanders don’t know how much I learned from them…I served under some pretty darn good men.

So here are some of the photos I shared tonight.  They are a fraction of the photos I reviewed.  A fraction of the memories and family history of service…a fraction of what is needed to keep us free.  Even though some may not be in uniform…know they served with honor and distinction.

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Perfect Suite 7

The family did some yard work yesterday and the Little Red Wagon was calling me to make a portrait.  I liked the rich fall light, and it just suckered me in.

I am testing the Perfect Suite 7 for editing.  It is a very powerful set of utilities, in a convenient package for round tripping in and out of Lightroom and Aperture.  The “unique” thing about Perfect Suite is that it is layers for the rest of us.  Photoshop is extremely powerful, as it is pixel level editing.  The terminology of Photoshop is that of digits, and not necessarily traditional photography. Some of us out here in the real world have trouble with the multiple languages required to think Photoshop vs Photography.  Perfect Suite is a lot more photo centric, and for me personally easier to grasp. For others who are new to editing maybe it does not matter as much, but it does for me.

I used Suite 6, and I am finding a number of the new Suite 7 tools are easier to access and work with and visualize how they will make their effects.  Another thing those on a budget will appreciate is the loyalty program.  Perfect Suite updated everything at one time, and you just pay once for all the updated tools for the year.  I love Nik, but the incremental update policy means I am still spending more to updating the suite costs more than the initial purchase.

On average I can save a lot of time by using Perfect Suite when I need heavy editing.  I can do here in under two minutes what it would take ten or more in Aperture or Lightroom.  When editing my big assignments, this is a big deal.

It does have a 30 day free trial, so you can try it out for yourself.  Their information on the website explains everything in detail. Perfect Suite 7 Website


God Bless our Veteran’s

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God Bless our Veteran’s of past and present.  May this generation raise up a new and valiant set of defenders who will keep our honor bright.

A special thanks to those I served with across the world.  And another thanks to my immediate family who served:  Dad, my brother Karl, Sister Sonja, DjaDja, Great Auntie Josephine, Great Uncle Walter, Uncle Joe, My Father-in-law, Great Grand Dad (in-law), and of course the lovely Army nurse I stole from the ranks at Ft Benning…my wife.