Lighting Workshop with POSE Athens

One of the things I promised myself I would do this year was to get out and get more involved, especially in the photography community. I joined a Facebook group for a local photography guild about a year ago and had already resolved to attend January's meeting to become an official dues-paying, event-attending member. At the end of that meeting, I started chatting with fellow photographer, David. He and a colleague (Craig) had recently started another photography group called POSE (Photographers of the Southeast). They were hosting their inaugural meet up and a strobe lighting workshop at the end of the month and, not buying my lame excuse of "I don't shoot people", he encouraged me to come anyways. Studio photography and strobe lighting wasn't something I'd had an opportunity to try before, so I figured, "Why not?" and made plans to attend. Even if it wasn't something I thought wanted to really get into, it would be fun to try something new and completely out of my comfort zone. At the very least, it would give me another chance to get to know and learn something from other photographers. 

On the day of the workshop, I walked into the studio and instantly realized just how out of my comfort zone I truly was. What David and Craig had put together for everyone was amazing. There was a handful of other photographers there along with make up artists and several models. Not really knowing what expect when I arrived, it was a little overwhelming for someone who hadn't stepped into a photography studio since the Olan Mills days of yore. Thankfully, I was quickly spotted by David who explained how everything worked. There were six different lighting stations set up, each with a remote trigger and a card with recommended camera settings to use. "Just grab a model, pop the remote into your hot shoe and go!", he said as I gave him my best deer-in-headlights look. After observing everything that was going on for a few moments, I realized that I wasn't going to learn anything by just standing around, watching everyone else; as nervous as I was, I needed to just jump in.  

Thankfully, everyone was warm, welcoming, and willing to help. I have almost zero experience when it comes to directing and posing, but all of the models I had a chance to work with were amazing and knew just what to do with very little guidance from me. When I struggled with getting the exposure right on some of my images, the other photographers were quick to jump in and give me some great suggestions on which settings to try differently. The entire workshop was a collaborative effort— models helping models helping photographers helping photographers helping models. It was amazing to see so many people working together and having a great time doing it.  

The one thing that blew me away every time, was how each lighting set up produced a certain type of result. Every time I moved to a different station, I would go into minor shock after seeing the first few images on the back of my camera, trying to figure out "...HOW did it DO that?!". I think my favorite set up was the beauty dish with Lauren (first and last image in this post) and Courtland (second to last image), simply because it somehow made everything in the background completely disappear. What the photos don't show is that this station was set up in the middle of the room and directly behind the model is a wall of props and a desk of computers and everyone's camera gear lying about and a table of pizza and people standing and walking just a few feet behind them... 😳 Seriously, I had spent half the day trying not to walk behind anyone while that station was in use and it was totally unnecessary.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted but so happy I made the decision to go to the workshop even though it was so totally different from the type of photography I usually stick to (thanks again for the push, David!). I learned so much and made a few new friends in the process. And even though it's been a few weeks and I've looked at my photos over and over again, it's still hard to believe I captured the type of images I never thought I'd have the ability or opportunity to. 

I hope you've enjoyed them, and if you're in the Athens area and would like to get involved in a photography group or two, be sure to join the Athens Photography Guild group and/or like POSE Athens on Facebook! Have a wonderful week and weekend!

xo, Steve

Upcoming | Oahu, Hawaii

As I announced in my last post, in just a few short weeks (eek!), we will be on our way to the beautiful island of Oahu! Hawaii has always been at the top of our "Someday..." dream travel list, but we didn't realistically think we'd get there until much later down the road. And then, our youngest nephew started high school this fall and, along with the rest of the marching band, was invited to perform in a holiday parade IN HAWAII. And when the opportunity came along to turn his good fortune into a dream family vacation, IN HAWAII, we didn't hesitate to join in. So this year, instead of turkey and stuffing and football on Thanksgiving, we'll be eating ham and pineapple and dancing the hula! 

North Shore sunset, Oahu 2001

We're leaving for the island a few days following our 8th wedding anniversary, which makes this trip feel just a bit more special. We'll be joined by the rest of the fam the week after and even though we are super excited for all the fun family activities, it'll also be really nice to have some time on our own to celebrate. I've actually been to Oahu (and Maui) before— my family vacationed there the summer after I graduated high school— but this will be B's biggest trip yet. And for a guy who isn't a big fan of air travel? Well, getting there and back should be interesting! I've assured him the flight will pass quickly, and that once we arrive in Honolulu, he'll quickly see that it was 100% worth the 9+ mildly uncomfortable hours in the air. 

When I visited before, there were five os us traveling together— me, my mom, my sister, and grandparents— and since we were splitting our time between two islands, we took the more "touristy" route to see as many of the sights as possible. While I definitely don't want B to miss out on any must-see points of interest, I'm looking forward to staying put in one location for our entire 13-day stay so we can take our time and explore the lesser-known areas as well. We're especially excited to hit up a few of the many scenic hiking trails Oahu has to offer. 

Here's the part where I ask for your help! If you've recently been to or live in Oahu, I'd love to hear your suggestions! Do's and don'ts, must see's and must-eat's that might not be in my Lonely Planet guide, tips for hiking the island, transportation (we're not renting a car every day since we can get just about anywhere on TheBus), or how to help a grown man quickly conquer his fear of flying without drinking alltheliquor at 7AM? And if you have any insight on great activities and tips for handicap-accessible visitors, I would be extremely grateful for those, as my father-in-law will be joining us on this trip— how awesome is that?!

Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom kindly sent my way! Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

xo, Steve    

Catching Up

Hihihi! I'm alive, I'm alive. I've just been avoiding the blog and most of the internet for the last... four months or whatever. I mean, I've been out there. Scrolling. Lurking Looking. Telling myself I should probably "like" something, comment on something, POST something, buuuuuut... just not really caring enough about being present on the internets to actually do it. Such is life as an introvert without a dimmer switch, I suppose.

I'm slowly coming back around though, so I wanted to quickly share what's been going on lately, as well as a few things we have coming up. Four to six months of life in a single blog post? Why not! I'll try to be as brief and to-the-point as possible, then later, a few of the bigger things will probably get their own long-winded, Steve-style post.

Contributor post on Atlanta Trails. Earlier this year, I was contacted by the founder/editor of one of my favorite outdoor websites, Atlanta Trails, about a freelance writer/photographer opportunity. A few months and many miles later, my first post— a guide to the hiking and running trails at The State Botanical Garden of Georgia— was officially published. You can find the post HERE, and if you're in the area, I highly recommend a visit, especially this time of year with all the changing colors of fall.

Photo of the Month. In June, I posted this photo on Instagram using a few hashtags, as I usually do. A short time later, I received a message from Visit Oconee, our county's visitor center account, saying they had selected my photo for their Photo of the Month contest! ...which I hadn't even realized I had entered into by including their hashtag. I was very excited and honored, nonetheless, and now my photo is featured on their social media accounts and a print is hanging in our local Visitor's Center.  

Senior Photoshoot at the beach. In August, my not-so-much-of-a-baby-anymore baby cousin, Kailyn, asked if I would take her senior photos at the beach while we were all visiting in Florida. I haven't done a lot of portrait photography, but I thought it was so sweet of her to ask and told her we'd give it a shot, with no guarantee that I wouldn't totally screw it up. After an adventurous afternoon of rushing to the beach, out-running thunderstorms, and fighting wind so strong it almost knocked my camera out of my hand multiple times, I was so excited to see that not only had I NOT totally screwed it up, but her photos turned out immensely better than I had hoped. Which I take very little to no credit for. I mean, LOOK AT HER. Is she not the most adorably gorgeous, photogenic high school senior you have ever seen?! I can't wait to share more of her photos with you, but that will have to wait a bit because she's keeping some under wraps to give as gifts and I don't want to spoil her surprise.

Oahu Vacation. In just a few short weeks, we're heading to Hawaii! This will be the biggest trip B and I have taken in our 12+ years together, and for him, the farthest he's traveled (which should be interesting for a dude who doesn't like to fly). A few days after our arrival, we'll be joined by the rest of his family, including his parents which is exceptionally exciting. We'll spend Thanksgiving on the island then on Friday, enjoy a performance by our youngest nephew and the rest of the Morgan County High School band who were invited to play in the Waikiki Holiday Parade. (Did you get to go to Hawaii your freshman year of high school? I certainly did not!) 

The beginnings of our very long, future driveway! 

We're Building a House! Eventually. The building probably won't start until next Summer-ish, but after many months of looking for either a house with acreage or land to build on, we ended up with a beautiful piece of property very close to B's family. I can't wait to share more details about it, and of course, document the building process here on the blog (and if you have Snapchat, be sure to find me over there @histeeeve for more updates in real-time.) Hopefully after this week, we'll finally have access from the main road so we can actually drive onto the property instead of parking in the ditch and hiking up through the overgrown grass, briars, and Lord-knows-whatever-else. 

So, I think we're all caught up now! And I even managed to make it through without talking about the weather once! (It's been hot. SO HOT.) I hope you've had a wonderful summer and, as I'm just realizing it's the last weekend in October, have a fun, safe, and Happy Halloween!

xo, Steve