• Archives
  • Oct30

    Halloween Family Facebook Banner 2012

    It’s with a somber tone that we celebrate this Halloween, knowing how many kids and families have had their lives thwarted into all kinds of uncertainty due to Hurricane Sandy’s late-season wrath. I’m grateful that our country’s leadership has learned from it’s all-too-recent past mistakes in dealing with homeland disasters. The local and federal governments worked together swiftly and are handling this like we all hope they should. No politics from those involved, just action.

    Speaking of action, that ridiculous (albeit awesome) composite at the top of this post was something I put together for my personal Facebook page. These are my family’s costumes this year. I’m Heisenberg – or Walter White from Breaking Bad. My daughter is a unicorn person, and my son is Steve from the popular video game Minecraft. My wife is doing a perfect representation of one of my all-time favorite characters – Dana Scully from the X-Files. I even made her her very own FBI badge using a recent headshot I did for her:

    Amy as Dana Scully - Halloween 2012

    This evening we let the kids carve their pumpkins – they both did theirs with virtually no help from my wife and I. This is a first! I think they did a fantastic job.

    Halloween 2012

    Halloween 2012

    And the big reveal of the final lighted pumpkins:

    Halloween 2012

    I know Halloween is just a silly holiday with a twisted history, but the day we like to celebrate is one that is full of community spirit, generosity, and most importantly fun. With all that has happened yesterday to the area I grew up in, where my children were born, and where my family and friends still call home, I think a little generosity and fun is just what we all need to remember what’s important to us.

    It’s hard to believe that just a little over a week ago, My wife and I were there having a blast with our NY crew, and now they’re all dealing with this mess. Life changes swiftly, and it feels good to have the pictures that tell the stories of the good times. Here we are last Sunday with a bunch of our friends on Long Island at the diner in my home town. I’m glad that they are all safe, but sad for their struggles in the days to come.

    Williston Town House Diner

    Keep safe and save me a Baby Ruth!

  • Oct27


    I was super excited to walk into the photography/art building at the Ladson Fair Grounds this week to find that my photo above, taken for Eco Fitness in Mount Pleasant, won 1st prize in the division 1 photo contest at this year’s Coastal Carolina Fair! Two of my other photos received honorable mentions as well.

    This is one of my favorite shots I made this year, which was at the Change For Change benefit art show:


    This third entry was from the photo shoot I did last month for Stella Nova Salon & Spa. I’ll share more about that shoot in a future post.


    While I was extremely flattered to receive these awards, the big win for my family was to see my daughter take 3rd place in the division 3 contest with this photo that she made during the recent Worldwide Photowalk:

    Mac Shem Creek-2
    Photo by Mackenzie Nienstedt

    And she also received an honorable mention for this photo:

    Mac Shem Creek-1>
    Photo by Mackenzie Nienstedt

    We had prepared my daughter as best we could for a loss since this was her first time entering an art competition like this. We did the same with my son Kegan, who had entered a 3-D art sculpture through his art class at school. So when she won, it was truly a fantastic moment as a parent to see her surprise. Not only that, but Kegan received a 1st place ribbon for his piece as well!

    Photo by Amy Nienstedt

    What a fantastic day for our family! We are so proud of our kids, and it made the rest of the night a blast as we were so happy about the contests. I left my DSLR at home for this trip, opting to hang with the family instead of hanging behind the lens. I did have my iPhone and couldn’t resist snapping some shots like this sunset using iOS 6’s new panoramic photo feature (be sure to click on it to open up a larger version):

    Sunset Pano at the Fair

    My wife, who had been having one of “Those” days, turned it around completely at the fair. I love how happy she looks here:

    Amy at the Fair

    Finally, I have never had a caricature done of myself before. I was walking by the caricature booth, and this pretty young artist was looking at me with puppy dog eyes. She enticed me! Well, not really, I walked over and asked her how much. I’m sure she was thrilled to have such an easy target subject. So without further ado, here I am as a cartoon:

    Caricature from the Coastal Carolina Fair

    I think everyone needs a little bit of kitsch in their life, it makes me smile. I’ve got a lot more to share with you all, so check back soon!

  • Oct16

    Kayaks at Shem Creek

    Paddleboardering Under The Bridge

    This past weekend was the 5th annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk all around the globe. We had a couple of groups participating here in Charleston, and I opted to walk with the evening group in Mount Pleasant.

    Above are my two favorite shots that I made from the walk. I got a bunch of stuff I thought turned out well for a photowalk, as these walks are more about hanging out with other photographers and helping each other out than making a world-class photograph. I had the pleasure of hanging out with my daughter Mackenzie who was shooting with my Nikon P7000:

    Mackenzie scopes out the graffiti under the Shem Creek bridge

    She also volunteered to take the group shot, but I wanted her to be in it, so I grabbed my tripod and set the timer on my D800 to take this shot of the walkers:


    Backlit sunlight, shade, and incandescent lights? The D800 fared pretty well at dealing with this mixed bag of lighting in the shot!

    So anyway, the worst part of these photowalks is deciding which photo to submit as your favorite shot that you took on the walk. I’m torn between the two shots at the top of the post. The kayak shot is definitely more striking and grabs you first, and it has some excellent lighting as it was taken just as the sun was setting. The paddleboat shot is a bit more dynamic in my opinion. The subject is just plain awesome, I love the kid looking up at her dad while he’s paddling. I love the sidelight of the bridge trestle and the pattern that it creates. I love that the subject is framed within it. Ugggh!

    While the sunset itself wasn’t spectacular at all (no clouds = boring sunset), I did get a descent photo of it here:


    But, I’m not gonna submit that one because it doesn’t speak to me the way the other two do. So which one do you prefer? The Kayaks or the Paddlboarder?