Discover Challenge: Portraits

The Challenge of the self portrait  Being a photographer and a visual artist allows me the time to observes, discern and witness the beauty and the imperfections of all the people and places around me while I try and capture the essence of the thing itself. Weather it be with a paintbrush or behind a lens, there is a great deal of scrutiny that goes into creating a portrait; and this critical eye is even more analytical when the camera is flipped around facing me.

Sometimes it hard to open up Photoshop and begin working tediously on an image of yourself, at least this is my experience. This is mostly because I don’t want an unsightly image circulating of me, but I also don’t want to change my appearance for mere aesthetics.

My biggest advice that I can offer both for myself and other photographers, is to work towards creating an image of yourself that encompasses your personality, emotions, thoughts and ideas. Create something that represents you, even if its not a physical photograph of your face or body. Self portraits mean much more than a simple mirror image of a magazine cover aimed to portray your best self. No, photographic art is much more than that, its no just something you take, its something you make.


Uptown Graffiti Finds


Today I was able to convince a few friends of mine to venture uptown with me for a photoshoot. After all, Its a shame that we live so close to the city and never truly experience it aside from the nightlife scene and museum hotspots.

The four of us parked at a fairly known location and set off across the tracks in search of an interesting urban landscape. We walked in the opposite direction of the metropolitan city, under a bridge and found what we found was what appeared to be a parking lot and demolished building, however, on the crumbling walls surrounding the bleak cracked asphalt covered with litter and broken glass, was the most impressive graffiti art.

Although the trash heaped in the corners of the lot, and empty to-go containers scattered the pavement, we found it an alluring place to capture the side of the city no one cares to really see. There was no waste management here, no city beatification projects conspiring by the benefactors of the metropolitan area. Although we found the there to be great beauty in the landscape that we found and photographed, there was also a forlorn melancholy to the area, as we watched what appeared to be the homeless population huddle under the bridges, and cross these forgotten graffitied parking lots to other destinations.

on a better note, while we were taking photos, posing, and climbing the crumbling walls of this infrastructure we met a nice man who is a native to the city and felt comfortable enough to talk with us for a little while. He told us that the best place to find graffiti was the railroad tracks a mile away, thats were he said her did his best work. He was also king enough to let me photograph him.Although we didn't get to the railroads today, it seems like a place we would have to return to next time we drive out to the city to check out more graffiti art.

There was something so enchanting about these public displays of art that are hardly ever seen by the public, almost forgotten.

Crowders Mountain Surprise Engagement


When Carson first contacted me about shooting his proposal I was thrilled. What could be more exciting than witnessing one of the most pivotal and magical moments in a woman life (and probably most stressful in a mans)? I was slightly worried however, when he told me his plan. Unfortunately  my athleticism and personal fitness was not at an all time high, and he was proposing on the top of Crowders Mountain. The day of the proposal was beautiful, it was blue skies, sunshine, and slightly chilly wind over the mountain top. It was obvious that god created the perfect day for these two. I met Carson's good friends at the bottom of the backside trail, they were assigned to bring his guitar up to the top. So we hiked up bright and early at 9:00 am and waited for the couple to arrive. After about an hour of patiently waiting and catching our breath from the accent, we got the 10 min warning notification that he and his soon to be fiancee were nearing the top of the mountain. His friends hid behind some rocks along with his guitar and I pretended to be a tourist photographer (she luckily didn't know me so I blended in.) However, after he brought his guitar out and some random girl started snapping photos of them, its safe to say she knew something was up. 


His friends and I listened as he played her the most romantic song on his guitar that he wrote specifically for her and this proposal; and he couldn't have picked a better spot to serenade her. The cliff side looked over the entire surrounding area for miles out it was mesmerizing and picture perfect. The horizon even had a beautiful distant view of the charlotte skyline where I had traveled from earlier that morning.

As anticipated he popped the question!

There were tears and laughter and so much love in this moment and I know that I am so privileged to have played a small part in it.My heart is so full from witnessing such a pure and spontaneous moment between two people. I could not have imaged anything better for my first experience photographing a proposal.

Golden Light

Photo lighting challenge of 2016

Photographers swear by the magic of the golden hour, the time right before the sun sets or after it rises, when there is this beautiful backlit glow, and stunning cast shadows over the landscape. Today I picked my little brothers up from drama club and set out on an adventure to find the golden light, though somewhat, reluctant I got them to pose for me a bit while I experimented with this creative lighting.

What makes the glow and enchanting quality of golden light so perfect for photography? It’s the softness and warmth it brings to both people and places. From the scientific stand point what we call golden light is just a phenomenon where the light from the sun is traveling through more of earths atmosphere to reach us, creating that captivating hazy softness; Likewise, blue wave lengths are scattered diffusing more red/yellow wave lengths creating a glow that is suitable for any lifestyle photography and flattering on all people. This light also adds dimensionality, in those stunning long cast shadows that entrance even the most novice photo lovers.  The light is also more direct apposed to being downcast from above to it adds a different quality, apposed to what could be created in mid day.

My favorite part of the golden hour is the beautiful flare that can be achieved during this lighting, when this sun is at a lower angle it creates the glowing rainbow spheres, from where direct light hits the lens, which is not always a desired effect but is powerful when intentional. The flare effect is a lovely and unique characteristic that takes photographs to the next level, this is why the effect is faked in so many Photoshop actions its that magical. Likewise backlit rim lighting looks incredible in this time frame, its when the foreground is darker and the subject has a bright outline from where the sun is hitting it.

There is something that I cant put my finger on, about the early morning and late afternoon light, there are plenty of scientific explanation, but I connect spiritually to the idea of the beginning and end of a day, its only natural for such important times to have the most bewitching traits.


High School Sweethearts

Getting to photograph Kayla and Foil's couples session today was treat. These two started dating their sophomore year of high school and have ben together for four years, going on five. They have made it through rival football games and long distance drives, not to mention those crazy college years. As a friend and their photographer, its easy to see the love and contentment these two share and it was a pleasure to capture it for them today. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store.