May the 4th Be With You!

cropped-the-force-999.jpgShout out to George for creating such an epic universe!

Happy Star Wars Day

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Whoaaa!

It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything new here.

So much has happened in the last 7 months, too much to cover in 1 post.  Suffice it to say, God is Good!  All the time!!

photo (3)I’ve been photographing tons of stuff, and have made it a goal for 2013 to spend more time “being creative.”  You can define it anyway you want, for me, it means photographing what I want when I want, with the goal of keeping sharp and challenging myself creativley.  Part of this process means playing with different cameras.

photo (4)One of the cameras I have been enjoying getting to know, is the Olympus Pen camera.  I’ve been exclusively using the fixed 17mm 2.8 lens, and have been having tons of fun learning how to photograph with this camera.  I will share more photos and my thoughts on the camera later…

I have learned that keeping up with social media is not easy!  Helping keep 3 FB pages and 2 FB user groups updated, twitter, instagram, 2 blogs…I don’t have the time.

For me, my priority remains God, family, friends, ministry.IMG_9991Me with my favorite kids in the whole wide world.  My nephew and nieces!

My hope is that it doesn’t take me another 7 months to post again, but no promises…in the mean time, you can keep up with what’s new on Facebook.

MISSION-focused.com   I am proud to be part of this great group of photographers in San Diego whose goal is to use photography to bless others!   Our FB page is www.facebook.com/MISSIONfocusedPhotography 

I am honored to help photograph for Adventures in Life Ministry as well.  They work in Mexico, their Vision is to make known the transforming power of the Gospel through short term missions in Mexico.  You can learn more about them at www.ailministry.org or at their FB page www.facebook.com/AdventuresInLife 

Looking at the next few months, I hope to be in Mexico with Adventures in Life in May and July, and in between, a few weddings and events to photograph in San Diego.  And of course, spending as much time as I can with family!

I love God and love that I get to photograph His creation.  Weddings, portraits and event photography is fun, but the blessing of photographing the work of God is still the best!

And the best camera in the world you can have, is the camera you have at the moment.  Not that I don’t appreciate new gear!  This is why I’ve entered the SnapKnot camera giveaway…I reckon I can’t win a new Canon 5D III if I don’t enter!

Big thanks to the SnapKnot wedding photography directory for offering this great camera giveaway!

Go and be a blessing to those around you!

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Volleyball :: Take 2

I went to my niece Abby’s volleyball game yesterday.  She is a freshman on the Vista Panthers Volleyball team.  I haven’t shot much volleyball in the last 2 years.  Abby’s big sis Miranda played 4 years of Varsity volleyball at Tri City Christian.  I lost count of how many games and photos that I have taken in that time frame.  I ended up shooting 1 more year of volleyball after she graduated, since I got to know many of the girls on the team in the 4 years Miranda was playing.It was a bit strange shooting a different team but it was exciting to watch Abby play.I started to think back when Miranda was a freshman, and I was still learning to shoot volleyball…This photo of Miranda was taken in 2006, when her team won the SD CIF Div 5 Championship.  By the end of the season, I was finally getting some photos that I liked.  I was still shooting with film!  Miranda was an outside hitter.Abby is one of 2 setters on her team.  Having watched the freshman and JV volleyball teams play, before the Varsity match, you can see all those years of Abby hanging out in the gym, watching her sister  play and hitting the ball on the sidelines has payed off.  I may be a bit biased, but having watched lots of volleyball over the years, she’s pretty good for a freshman!I’m looking forward to shooting more volleyball in the near future.  I’m glad that volleyball and softball are in different seasons.  Abby’s sister Emily is on the softball team at Vista.Abby with her sister Miranda and both sets of Grandparents!  I’m glad my favorite nephew isn’t in high school yet, he’s gonna be a stud football player and I can’t be in more than 1 place at the same time yet!  Love shooting my nieces and nephew…

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Time to Represent

As1.org

I heard an interview with Jonathan Bock on the Hugh Hewitt show last week.  Jonathan Bock is the founder and President of Grace Hill Media, who just started As1.org.

I am really excited about what As 1 is trying to do.

As a photographer, artist and more importantly, a follower of Christ.   I believe too many christians have chosen to live in their own world, separate from the world “out there” that christians love to hate.

The result is a society and culture that no longer reflects our values and morals.

This is from As1.org

As1 seeks to restore the church to its historically traditional role as a Patron of the Arts.  

Christians can engage and participate in culture without loosing their faith and morals.  We have to engage and participate if we want society to be a better world.

For centuries, Christians were vibrant Patrons of the Arts.  The Church wanted the best artists of the day to tell their stories.  In return, these artists were rewarded with generous commissions. This partnership created some of the greatest art in human history – painting, sculpture, music and architecture – that elevated culture, inspired generations and defined Christianity in a positive light.

But along the way, we walked away from our hard-earned place as a Patron of the Arts. We abandoned our involvement in the creative process. Artists somehow became an enemy, and in turn, they began to portray our faith in a negative light. As a natural result, culture moved on without us.

I want to make a difference.  I am a photographer and artist that will use my gifts to glorify Christ.  I will support artists who are trying to do the same.  

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

(Romans 1:16-17 ESV)

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La Guelaguetza 2012 :: A Snapshot of Color & Culture…

Spending 2 weeks in Oaxaca isn’t enough time to photograph the beauty that is La Guelaguetza!  There just isn’t enough time…

This year Oaxaca celebrated 80 years of the Guelaguetza.  For those who have never seen this celebration of Oaxacan life and culture, you don’t want to miss the “parade of delegations” that winds it’s way down the streets of downtown Oaxaca.

The Guelaguetza happens the last 2 weekends of of July.  The parade happens on Saturday and on Monday the delegations dance in front of a sell-out crowd in the Auditoria Guelaguetza, up on the hill side overlooking the city.

 

For those more adventurous, you might want to check out the many “mini” Guelaguetza celebrations that happen all over Oaxaca.   San Pablo Villa de Mitla and San Antonino Castillo Velasco are towns surrounding Oaxaca City, that both host Guelaguetza celebrations.  Both are free to attend and allow you to get up close to the action…

These are just a few photos of what you might see if you come to Oaxaca during the Guelaguetza.

There really isn’t anything like this in all of Mexico.  We met some folks who came south from Baja California just for the Guelaguetza weekend.  It’s a beautiful celebration of the life, culture & tradition of Oaxaca.  It’s worth coming to Oaxaca just for the Guelaguetza.  While your there, make sure you check out some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Oaxaca and sample the delicious food of Oaxaca.  There’s so much to see and experience!

If you get a chance to view the Guelaguetza celebration on the hill on one of the Monday’s…don’t pass it up!  Photos don’t give you the vibe of thousands of people cheering for their favorite delegations!

San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec  “Flor de Piña”

The Rockettes should worry about these gals!  They are definitely the stars of the Guelaguetza!

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Oaxaca :: Photos of Wahaka Mezcal

Had the chance to visit Wahaka Mezcal yesterday and shoot some really fun photos and sample some really fine Mezcal.

Wahaka Mezcal is an artisanal small batch mezcal produced by 5th generation mezcalero family in San Dionisio Ocotepec Oaxaca, who directly own and harvest many acres of cultivated and wild agave (recently USDA organic certified).  You can learn more about Wahaka Mezcal HEREWe had great access and our guide was non other than Alberto Morales (above), the main man who oversees the operation of his families business.

In the fields, where the agave grow until ready for harvest…

When ready, they cut them down and prepare them for the next step…

Workers cut the Agave into pieces, preparing them to be smoked/cooked over hot lava rocks in the ground.

The fire is prepared, and after 4 hours the agave is placed in the “pit” around the mound of hot rocks, then covered by a tarp and buried, where it will cook for several days.

The agave is then crushed, to release the magic liquid that will become Wahaka Mezcal.  After being crushed by the mill stone it will be fermented, then cooked and then stored in oak barrels on the premises.  When ready, it will be hand bottled, corked and labeled for shipment around the globe.Alberto with some of his men who help make the magic happen.Alberto, Dave, Clayton, Erick and young Alberto posing after a great Wahaka Mezcal tasting.

If your looking for something different and are tired of Tequila, don’t be afraid to try Wahaka Mezcal.  It’s done in small batches with great care that you can taste.  It won’t be like any other Mezcal you have ever tasted.

 

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Off to Oaxaca!

I’m leaving for Oaxaca, Mexico tonite to photograph for MISSION focused & Adventures in Life.

On Saturday, I will be in the streets of Oaxaca shooting this gal, or her sister or cousin!  You can keep track of all the fun at www.MISSION-focused.com.

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Are We There Yet?

For the record, the plane was fully stopped and I took this photo only when I knew it was allowed! 🙂

As I prepare to head off to Oaxaca with MISSION focused and Adventures in Life, some things came to mind…

I first found out about Henri Nouwen and his writings about 16 years ago, and since I have read many of his books…some several times over.  I have become a big fan of his work… it’s good stuff and I highly recommend you read anything from him that you can.

Some time ago I was reading one of his books and he was talking about interruptions…He shared a story of a conversation he had with a fellow professor, and how the professor wished he wouldn’t keep getting interrupted, by students, because it was keeping him from all the important work he had to do.

After that conversation, God showed Henri something that I still remember to this day…It had to do with those so called “interruptions.”  God revealed to him that those “interruptions” were part of the plan, and if he allowed it, he could be taught by those times where he was being disturbed.

It comes back to the idea of the journey that we are all on.  Yes, when we arrive at our destination, Oaxaca in my case, I will have a specific job to do and will seek to accomplish it.  But God can teach and instruct me whenever and wherever He wants, it’s up to me to see this and be receptive to Him!

I was sitting in church last night and my mind started wandering, thinking about what I still needed to do before jumping on the plane to Oaxaca…I was anxious.  Certainly excited.  The word “anticipation” came to mind.

This is what I believe God revealed to me…

I need to be ready all the time, for whatever exciting, challenging, difficult, etc…etc…etc…event that God brings my way! I couldn’t resist, gotta love Yul Brynner

So, as I prepare for Oaxaca.  I have been challenged, by God, to be ready, to have anticipation or maybe even anxious…because God can move and shake up my world, in the blink of an eye!

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
(2 Timothy 4:2 ESV)

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
(1 Peter 3:15 ESV)

Now, for the hard part…doing!

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Guelaguetza, MISSION focused & Jesus

Next week I will be heading down to Oaxaca, Mexico for 2 weeks of photographing what God is doing through the ministry of Adventures in Life.  It just so happens that this is the 80th Anniversary of the Guelaguetza.

Adventures in Life has some ministry contacts in Oaxaca that have enabled MISSION focused to have full access of this event in order to photograph.

What this means is AIL and MISSION focused are building relationships and looking to use our gifts to bless others, and hopefully, it will allow us to do more and represent Christ with folks who do not know Him yet!It’s gonna be a busy 2 weeks.  The second week we will be at a kids camp, taking portraits and photographing the week of fun.

I will be posting mostly on the MISSION focused site for the next 3 weeks.  So I would invite yall to check it out and see what God is gonna do.

Blessings

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Chichen, Chupacabra, Taco Bell & Missions

I had the opportunity 2 years ago to visit Chichen-Itza!  I wouldn’t say it was a “bucket list” thang, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to see this place in person.

I will say this, if you are planning on going, try to be there as the “doors” open.  We were one of the first folks in the place, and by the time we left, around 1pm, there must have been several thousand people roaming around the place!

My friend Dave Miller, who is Executive Director of Adventures in Life recently blogged about the Chupacabra and the importance of staying connected to those you are ministering to in the missions field.

The Taco Bell dog is no Chupacabra, and I don’t think anyone is gonna turn and run at the sight of this guy…but it was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about the dreaded Chupacabra!  If your not familiar with the Chupacabra,  feel free Google it or you can read Dave’s blog on Missions at Notes from Dave or you can go HERE.

In all seriousness, if you have ever been on a short term missions trip, or have a desire to serve Jesus, be it next door or in Timbuktu…you will benefit greatly from reading his blog post.

I have had the blessing to photograph with MISSION focused in Mexico with Adventures in Life.  So I have seen the work of AIL firsthand and can relate to his post.

If you don’t like his post, then no harm.  At least you will be aware of the difference between the Chupacabra and the Taco Bell dog.

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