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  • May22

    Angel Walk 2011

    On Saturday, May 21st the 2nd Annual Angel Walk took place over in Hampton Park in Charleston, SC. Questioning the predicted rapture for that day, I felt the best way to find out firsthand was to walk with Angels… OK, bad jokes aside, the Angel Walk is actually a fundraising and awareness event to fight medulloblastoma, which is the most common malignant central nervous system tumor in children.

    Angel Walk 2011

    I found out about Dawn Sechevich (pictured above on the left) and her son’s story through my neighbors who are close friends with her. Her boy, Luke James Sechevich, was diagnosed with high risk medulloblastoma on January 30, 2006 at the age of 1-ยฝ. After a long battle, Luke passed away in January of 2008. Dawn organized the Angel walk for Luke and all children who battle this disease in the hopes that they will someday find a cure. Read the full story on the Angel Walk website. Here’s a clip of her story from Lowcountry Live:

    Let’s talk about the event, which was an uplifting and fun-filled family day in the park. There were a lot of activities for the kids, great food, and performances throughout the morning. Face painting, hair spraying, caricatures, the King of Pops, and jumping cows!

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    The Djole Dance & Drum Company livened up the event with African beats and dancing:

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    The Charleston Police Pipes & Drums band stormed the event with a fantastic set of traditional bagpipe music…

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011 Angel Walk 2011

    Melinda Gay & Dawn Sechevich pose for a shot with the band:

    Angel Walk 2011

    One of the highlights of the event for me was the singing of the gospel choir that closed out the day. There really is nothing quite like a southern gospel group to make you feel like you can believe in anything.

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    Angel Walk 2011

    There were a lot of other people involved in making this event happen, especially the doctors and staff from MUSC Children’s Hospital as well as all of the sponsors who donated money and vendors who donated their services and products. Make sure to browse through the Angel Walk website and throw some support to all of the sponsors on there.

    Angel Walk 2011

    While I do have a big old set of photos on Flickr, I have an even bigger, more thorough set of pictures in my gallery with the ability to download for all of those who participated!

    Don’t forget, you can always donate some money at any time through this charity, so please help them out, and tell all of your friends to “Like” them on Facebook as well!

  • May17

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    Normally, I despise day-long outdoor festivals. Big crowds of sweaty people, oppressive heat, lousy sound, bad light, & $5 bottles of water. This year’s First Flush Festival broke most of the rules. You couldn’t ask for better weather, giant fluffy clouds peppered the sky providing not only moments of natural shade, but great light diffusion. The sound was great for an outdoor venue and since it was on the Charleston Tea Plantation, there was free sweet tea for all! There were still big crowds of sweaty people, but there was plenty of space to move and still enjoy the music.

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    Vermont’s Grace Potter & The Nocturnals headlined the event with their brand of straight-up rock n’ roll. My daughter was especially excited to see Grace Potter because of her cover of White Rabbit on Tim Burton’s Almost Alice soundtrack. She couldn’t believe that someone “famous” (by her standards) was in Charleston!

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    Outdoor stages like the one at First Flush Fest are not designed to tailor to photographers, they are meant to make a comfortable environment for the musicians. Since event photography is a lot about troubleshooting the situation to make the best image you can, I decided that most of the band shots should be close-up and tight. Even in this photo, which I tried to pull back enough to get multiple band members, shows the back of a pick-up truck in the background among the rest of the distracting stands and such.

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    Another tip is to move around. Unfortunately for me (not for the band), it was packed up in front of the stage. I did not have access to the photo area, so I was limited by the fact that I didn’t want to push my way around spectators while they were enjoying the show. I did manage to move to the side of the stage and get some less distracting shots of the band members:

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals Grace Potter & The Nocturnals Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    I realized I wasn’t going to get the perfect clean shot organically of any of the bands, so I did take one shot of the bassist and blow out the background enough to make it look like she’s in front of a white background:

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    The band was great and Grace Potter has an amazing voice (and range – she can hit notes higher than I thought humanly possible).

    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

    Music wasn’t the only attraction. The food trucks were there making me wish we arrived a bit earlier – there was a hole in the pit of my soul when I walked up to Roti Rolls only to find out they’re out of rolls! My wife had a similar experience when they were out of her favorite tacos at Taco Boy’s truck. Oh, what a world, what a world. We did manage to score some hand-made ice pops from the King of Pops:

    First Flush Festival

    The was also shopping and jump castles and hula hoops for the kids to entertain themselves with.

    First Flush Festival

    Not to mention the old fashioned fun of climbing a tree. I mean, why else would they let their branches hang so low but as to invite kids to jump up and climb?

    First Flush Festival

    I’ve been hearing about the band Leslie for years now, and I finally got a chance to see them at the FFF.

    Leslie

    If AC/DC had a bastard child while touring in the south, the tucked away little gem would sound a lot like Leslie. Loud, guitar driven southern rock. They truly impressed the crowd with their energy.

    Leslie

    Leslie

    Leslie

    They have had their band photos made in the past by the likes of Zack Arias, so I think they’ve got to have good taste ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Leslie

    Leslie

    Leslie

    They also won over my daughter by giving out free posters and stickers, and making themselves available after their set for pictures and autographs. Here’s a tip to every band out there – young kids will be loyal if you give them a solid reason to be – Treat your fans like fans!! Leslie didn’t disappoint. Check out this photo of Mac with the band:

    Leslie

    Unfortunately there’s a random dude growing out of my kid’s head. Sometimes you just have to deal with it ๐Ÿ™‚ Before I forget, you can check out all of my photos from FFF on my Flickr set (as well as last years pics if you have time). And to wrap this up, I bring you a picture of “Broadband”. This guy stopped me in the crowd and assured me that I needed to take his picture and publish it on my blog. Who am I to disagree with a guy named Broadband?

    Broadband

  • May14

    I was asked in an email today about which books I would recommend for aspiring photographers who are starting to get into photography beyond auto mode. As I began typing my response, I realized that it would make a good blog post, so here we are. Thanks Kelley!

    If I had only one book to recommend it would be LIFE Guide to Digital Photography: Everything You Need to Shoot Like the Pros by Joe McNally. This book is a Swiss Army Knife of photo information, and Joe has such an endearing personality in his writing that you will almost forget that he’s giving you valuable information. It’s an easy read and the author is pretty much the top of the food chain when it comes to his knowledge of photography. Joe’s done it all and been everywhere, and has a resume that can’t be beaten. Even if you are an experienced photographer, this book will inspire you with the examples McNally provides. I’ve already lent my copy out more than once, because it’s the easiest answer to new DSLR owners who ask, “How do I use this thing?”

    Another good “all-in-one” book that’s an easy read is Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera. Bryan has written quite a few books on photography, each one going into great detail on a particular subject. This book is almost like a greatest hits of his previous work. He goes through each aspect with enough information to give you a general understanding of the topic. If you wish to delve in deeper, you can order one of his books that focuses on that one subject. I do feel that he is quite thorough in this book and for my needs he explains everything in a way that didn’t leave me wondering if I’m not getting the full picture. Between this book and Joe’s book above, you should have enough knowledge to start using your camera as a tool that allows you to create the images you really want to create. That leads us to the most important books I can recommend…

    While learning how to use your camera is an obstacle that seems like a large mountain of technology to overcome at first, no amount of technical expertise can save a photo that lacks a clear vision. David duChemin is the pioneer of vision-based photography, and his book Within The Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision is an eye-opening look into the why of photography over the how. Anyone and everyone can snap a photo to document what is going on around them, but it’s the skilled photographer that plans out the photograph before he or she squeezes the shutter. Thinking about the photograph and using your tools to best represent the vision of it in your mind are what David preaches. Ansel Adams once said that “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept”, and duChemin has taken that idea and expanded it across a series of books, his blog, and his storefront for photography eBooks called Craft & Vision. An inexpensive way to get a lot in return without buying more gear is to check out his eBooks Ten, Chasing the Look, & Drawing The Eye.

    Finally, bouncing off of the vision of photography is a more advanced book on composition. The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman is an exhaustive look at composition in the two dimensional medium of photography. From understanding the Golden Ratio, the relationship of color, and the movement of shapes, this book will open your eyes to why some photographs work better than others. More importantly, you learn how to make more successful images because of this knowledge. Make no bones about it, there is no substitute for good design. Composition will separate an average photo from a timeless one.

    So there you have it – use the first two books to learn how to use your camera and learn the basics of photography. Use the second two to find a purpose for your photography and design your images to best convey your vision. Please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

  • May11

    Times Square

    I spent this past weekend catching up with my best friends and former schoolmates in New York. While Times Square and Grand Central Station are not my favorite places in NYC, they are the places I spent a lot of time in while working at MTV and going to school in the MetLife building before that.

    Grand Central Station

    My buddy has this amazing idea for a reality show based around a very unique guy’s life and the people around him. The backdrop is Manhattan and while I was visiting he had to capture some b-roll of some of NY’s more well known sights. I decided to tag along and shoot some stills in these locations.

    United Nations Building

    It’s hard to find a different or new way to shoot a place that literally tens of millions of people have photographed before. My attitude is to just be myself. I looked at the scene and thought of how I would like to arrange the elements from the vantage points I could reach. I also looked for moments such as this cab driver grabbing a snapshot:

    Times Square

    Taxi cabs are to NYC as gnats are to Charleston, and I shot this scene of a taxi stand next to Grand Central Station to capture the movement of them.

    Grand Central Station

    I moved behind the stand a few feet after I noticed the homeless man in the shot to the left of the stand. I wanted to get a shot of him while people walked past him. The idea was inspired this shot by David duChemin. I like the idea of the forgotten soul who’s like a fixed installment of a given NY scene.

    Grand Central Station

    I had to catch a train back to meet up with another friend and I know that the transit authority is not keen on people taking photos in the subways, but I managed to grab this shot with my iPhone while waiting for the train back to Astoria:

    Waiting for the N Train

  • May6

    Heyrocco

    Last night was the Change for Change Benefit Art Show at the Music Farm. It was the first show of this kind organized by Young & Free SC. The rock club was transformed into a DIY art gallery and was showing some of the Charleston area’s coolest underground art.

    Change For Change Benefit Art Show

    The art show focused on attracting the college-aged youth of Charleston and introducing them to what the local art scene is producing and offering a lot of it at affordable prices.

    Change For Change Benefit Art Show

    And the art wasn’t just on paper, it was in your ears and mouth as well. The Music farm exploded with the sounds of Heyrocco

    Heyrocco

    Heyrocco

    Heyrocco

    Next up, Meet The Sky took the stage:

    Meet The Sky

    Meet The Sky

    Meet The Sky

    Meet The Sky

    I also had a blast hanging out with photographer buddies Robert Donovan and Jonathan Stout, who have proven to me that the best photographers have great senses of humor. Here’s a shot of BadJon Stout getting ready to devour some meat perfection from Hello My Name Is BBQ:

    BadJon

    And Robert Donovan shows off his “Hey Ladies” pose for the camera here:

    Robert Donovan

    I’ll update this post with more info on how much $$$ was raised for Water Missions last night – It was for a really good cause and the organizers did a bang-up job on their first swing at this.

    As usual, I took a bunch of photos which you can view in a set on my Flickr Stream.

  • May3

    Change For Change*UPDATE* Photo Essay recap of the event is right here – we had a blast!

    So what are you doing on Thursday night between 7:30PM & Midnight? Why not come see some local art and photography in a cool atmosphere? What about live music by Meet the Sky and Heyrocco – maybe you’d like to hear JeffET spin some music for you as well? What was that? You don’t have a lot of cash this week? It’s free admission!! You have no excuses – bring the kids too.

    So, what is Change for Change you ask? From their press release:

    For the months of March and April, Young & Free SC is working hard to raise $25,000 for Water Missions Intl – a locally based, international organization. Weโ€™re raising the money to put in a water purification system in a community in Africa.

    To wrap up our fundraiser, weโ€™re hosting an art show at the Music Farm on Thursday, May 5th. Artists from all over, of all different genres, will be there. Artists will donate artwork to be sold at an affordable price. All proceeds from the donated art sale will go straight to Water Missions Intl.

    Here’s a video about Water Missions:

    Water Missions Promo Video – Haiti 2010 from Water Missions on Vimeo.

    I will be there showing and selling my work – if you like the stuff I do, this is your chance to purchase some of it at the cheapest prices ever!

    Here’s the list of confirmed artists:

    Jason Smith
    Patch Whisky
    Matthew Foreman
    Robert Donovan
    BadJon
    Niamh Ellen
    Proton
    Kristy Bishop
    Meta
    Joseph Nienstedt
    Tim Showers
    Leigh Wells
    Thomas Bosse
    Christina Rodino
    Justin Cammer
    Jason Alan Layne
    SHT!
    Sarah Frierson
    Christopher Murphy
    Phillip Hyman
    Joshua DelMas
    Stephanie Stein
    Vik Hart
    Adolfo Hernandez
    Trever Webster
    Jashun Fairstudios
    Jennifer Callicott

    So, I’ll see y’all there on Cinco de Mayo! I’ll be the guy with the Tequila shot in hand ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • May1

    Food Truck Rodeo

    We were sitting around eating brunch at IHOP, which lets face it – the food is barely edible, when the discussion of the Food Truck Rodeo came up. Darn it, why didn’t we think of that before we sat down to our egg substitute and Go-Gurt topped excuse for a meal? One of the vendors at the Rodeo was Happy Camper Snoballs, who the kids & I remembered from Kulture Klash 7. We could at the very least stop by the event for some sweet cold goodness as dessert!

    Food Truck Rodeo

    We couldn’t believe how many people showed up at Mixson community development in the Park Circle area of North Charleston. Parking was scarce, but the walk was well worth the treats that lay ahead. We hopped on line to grab some fruit infused snowy heaven in a Chinese take-out container.

    Food Truck Rodeo

    While on line, we saw local photog Jonathan Stout taking some video of the lines. He’s got a cool art show coming up called “The 3 Amigos Ride Again, For the First Time” with Meta Sapient & Proton Factories at Local Coffee Bar on May 13th.

    Food Truck Rodeo

    Food Truck Rodeo

    Food Truck Rodeo

    There was live music, dogs, drinking, and food – a regular party going on! Afterwards we headed over to the North Charleston Arts Festival, which by comparison was like going to a church fair (probably because religious services were letting out in the convention center at the time we arrived). There was some great photography on display by the likes of Kathy Hare and Leah Sparks (as well as a lot of others) at the Arts Festival though. I bet if they had the Food Truck Rodeo at the Convention Center, it would have been an interesting mix of people ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Food Truck Rodeo

    As usual, you can check out my Flickr Stream for all of the photos I took today. Many of the photos in this post made heavy usage of the Tonal Contrast filter effect in Nik’s Color Efex Pro because I felt like making gritty high dynamic range style photos today.