A Photo Day at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport


Canopy Construction at the South Terminal Passenger Drop-offCanopy Construction at the South Terminal Passenger Drop-off

Canopy Construction at the South Terminal Passenger Drop-off

Like most people in my surrounding area, I have been to this airport so many times, but most of the time it’s been rushed and hectic. I finally had a day planned to just go and do some photography in and around the airport. If you are new to this site or my photography, I have a long history, or passion for, photographically documenting “aviation” in one form or another (see my aviation portfolio over here).

Some day I’ve always planned on making a non-hurried trip to Atlanta Hartsfield to do some “street photography,” or people watching with a camera if you prefer, and to see some of the canopy construction updates, and to check out some of the great exhibits the AirportArt program is working on like the Evelyn Quinones exhibit. That day ended up being this week.

On a side note, if you are unfamiliar with street photography in general here are two good articles explaining a little about this genre of photography; What is Street Photography by Eric Kim, and What is Street Photography by James Maher, or just see Wikipedia who also hits the highlights.

In brief, it’s capturing the reality of life as it happens in candid (spontaneous) images in public places. It’s always been one of my favorite studies in photography. I have studied it for years through the work of great photographers in the field like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Susan Sontag, Vivian Maier, and so many actively producing photographers like Eric Kim, Frederik Trovatten, a ton of YouTube shooters out there. I am fascinated by how difficult it is to do well, but when it comes together it’s amazing. That said, this may not be your cup of tea, and that’s fine. I love the reality of it, the realness of it, the fact that it’s far less polished, and sometimes more unpredictable than other forms of photography.

The images below are a selection of my time in Atlanta this week. My way of shooting in public comes from a highly introverted personality that would prefer not to bother anyone, or be seen. So I generally try to blend in and be as unobtrusive as possible. Luckily, today, 99.999% of people are on their cell phones and completely oblivious to my existence, which is fine with me.

Below is a mixture of fine art type work and gritty grainy street. It all depends on the lighting and the situation at the time. I love the dad with the pacifier in his mouth… that’s reality of a busy dad. Happy Father’s Day.

The Alleyways in Auburn


Afternoon Alley SunAfternoon Alley Sun

Afternoon Alley Sun

As of late I seem to be going from one day shooting thousands of images of an event to shooting almost nothing. Shooting nothing serious for days drives me nuts. But those are the times I try to get out of my comfort zone, slow down, and tackle subjects that have no deadlines, that interest me personally, but also will advance my knowledge and experience as a photographer.

It’s quiet here in Auburn right now. The calm before the fall-sports-storm, when you can get a table at a restaurant and find a parking place. But that makes street/people subjects challenging. In my ongoing series The Streets of Auburn Project, I have added a few from the “Alleys of Auburn,” but this is just a start of that point of view, or a first initial look at the alleyways, and I didn’t make it very far that day.

Why take images of an alleyway? (Which by the way is pretty much the question I get no matter what shot I’m taking, (1) why are you taking a photo of xyz, and (2) what do you do with all those images.) Well, photographically alley’s are great for working on composition, and often have super directional light, converging lines, shadows, and unpredictability.

It’s probably not super well known outside of the locals, but Auburn has some great alleyways, and I doubt they are the most photographed areas of the town either. Several of them were updated along with College and Magnolia on Toomer’s Corner last summer. Even though it’s been about a year I hadn’t made time to see what photo opportunities they might have until a few weeks ago. I didn’t get near the time I wanted to spend down there just about an hour was all I had, but I love the shot below of the jogger, one of my favorites so far, I just couldn’t decide which frame I like better, coming or going. At 7-FPS (frames per second) he was in and out of the alley in literally less than one second, two frames was all I was able to capture.

I’m not really counting these images towards my “street photography” project since most are void of people, but I love the alley over by J&M Bookstore. The colors and lines and uniqueness of the conveyor belt make it a fun place.


Alley RunnerAlley Runner

Alley Runner


Alley RunnerAlley Runner

Alley Runner


Self Portrait in the ShadowsSelf Portrait in the Shadows

Self Portrait in the Shadows

Yes, these two below aren’t in the alleyway, but the sunset on the back country roads was beautiful that night, and I had to include a shot from one of our favorite restaurants BurgerFi, especially for those who we not-so-randomly run into on Friday nights over there, you know who you are.


BugerFi HatBugerFi Hat

BugerFi Hat


Sunset on the Country RoadsSunset on the Country Roads

Sunset on the Country Roads

An Auburn Alley or Two

Afternoon Alley Sun

The sun in the late afternoon in the alley near J&M Bookstore in Auburn

As of late I seem to be going from one day shooting thousands of images of an event to shooting almost nothing. Shooting nothing serious for days drives me nuts. But those are the times I try to get out of my comfort zone, slow down, and tackle subjects that have no deadlines, that interest me personally, but also will advance my knowledge and experience as a photographer.

It’s quiet here in Auburn right now. The calm before the fall-sports-storm, when you can get a table at a restaurant and find a parking place. But that makes street/people subjects challenging. In my ongoing series The Streets of Auburn Project, I have added a few from the “Alleys of Auburn,” but this is just a start of that point of view, or a first initial look at the alleyways, and I didn’t make it very far that day.

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Toomer’s Drugs and the Streets of Auburn


Toomer's Corner in AuburnToomer's Corner in Auburn

Toomer’s Corner in Auburn

This week I finally had a few spare minutes to get downtown to take some street shots. I’ve been wanting to practice up on my black and white technique and revisit street photography for a long time but just never made time to do it. Auburn is generally a fantastic place for street photography for several reasons; people are super friendly (almost overly so which also has it’s challenges in shooting), there is almost always something going on that makes for interesting subjects (especially during football season), and it’s a small condensed area so you can cover a lot of ground by foot quickly.

This time I purposely picked an afternoon when the streets were basically empty to try out some different compositional ideas without getting in someone’s way. Obviously it’s a little difficult to get some good contextual street photography action without anyone really being in town, but I felt a few images worked in this set. I am continually amazed at the intricacies of black and white photography and I love how complex it is after spending decades shooting only in color. Retraining the brain to think in black and white, learning to see in black and white; it’s all so much more than taking a color image and hitting the black and white button in Lightroom. It’s a whole other world out there as they say, and something I’m looking forward to learning in great detail over the next several years.


College Street PhoneCollege Street Phone

College Street Phone


Walking TalkingWalking Talking

Walking Talking


Strolling HeatStrolling Heat

Strolling Heat


Walking the DogWalking the Dog

Walking the Dog

The Streets of Auburn, Part 1

Toomer's Corner in Auburn

The famous Toomer’s Corner Drugstore in Auburn in the summer

This week I finally had a few spare minutes to get downtown to take some street shots. I’ve been wanting to practice up on my black and white technique and revisit street photography for a long time but just never made time to do it. Auburn is generally a fantastic place for street photography for several reasons; people are super friendly (almost overly so which also has it’s challenges in shooting), there is almost always something going on that makes for interesting subjects (especially during football season), and it’s a small condensed area so you can cover a lot of ground by foot quickly.

Continue reading

Don’t Include Power Lines in Your Photography


Power Line SunrisePower Line Sunrise

Power Line Sunrise

Since January I’ve spent a good bit of time reading and re-reading all of Eric Kim’s books on street photography. There is so much practical real world advise in each one of his books that they are probably the few collection of books I’ve read multiple times. While we share different philosophies on life, we both share a love of photography, and it seems, a driving desire to continue to learn and improve. One of the reasons I continued to read and follow Eric Kim’s work over the years is he has completely changed and rearranged how I think about photography.

He’s made me re-think how I view my own personal photography, what’s acceptable as a quality image and what’s not, and even what equipment is actually truly needed. All those rules I spent years learning, like “don’t include power lines in your photography” it will ruin the shot, were disseminated by Kim’s books. I think I was 10 years into photography before I actually realized it was ok to include people in the images (my main teacher and book learning early on was 100% nature photography).

When you have been doing something, like practicing photography for 25 years, you don’t often come across new ways of thinking about the art, so it’s been a super refreshing experience so far this year. The ideas below came straight out of one of his books, The Street Photography Project Manual, which I was able to read because of his vision on open source information.


Abandon Gas StationAbandon Gas Station

Abandon Gas Station

On a practical level I updated all the pages and theme design on my site to lend itself better to telling a story through photography, and I’m going to focus most of my time on this site on photography, but all the content from the past 10 plus years will remain. What I gained from Kim’s books that was always lacking in my personal walk with photography were the projects, the completed stories, the collection of images that actually completes something.

I’ve wanted to write a photography book of some kind for years. At this point I have 25 years of experience with close to 500,000 images, and practically countless stories within those images. It took a lot to get me to the point of reading Kim’s Project Manual but that’s what finally pushed me to take a serious look at working on deeper projects. And that’s what I’ve started to do here.


Rotting Door Rural Decay Structure 2.100Rotting Door Rural Decay Structure 2.100

Rotting Door Rural Decay Structure 2.100

I’ve created a section called “projects” which will contain ongoing images from a few different projects like the Faith Project, the Decay Project, the Street Project, and one I just started I’m calling My Street Project. The My Street Project is something I picked up from Kim to just shoot where you are, and while I love the classic “street photography” I don’t live anywhere near a busy street, in fact the opposite. So I’m going to spend about a year documenting the “street” I do live on, even though right now all I can see is trash and grass. But like I said, my view of what’s artistic and photographic has changed significantly.

So, if you are interested in following along with my projects, they won’t be posted here on my blog so people don’t get bombarded by images they may or may not enjoy. They will be posted on my Projects Portfolio which you can get to from the link or the main navigation at the top. A personal thanks to Eric Kim for the inspiration, and if you are looking to add a new book to your collection that probably isn’t one you might have come across before, I would highly recommend Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, a collection of 66 essays and some of the finest writing on the art and philosophy of photography.

Don’t Include Power Lines in Your Photography

Power Line Sunrise

Power lines run all over the place in rural Alabama, no such thing as underground lines.

Since January I’ve spent a good bit of time reading and re-reading all of Eric Kim’s books on street photography. There is so much practical real world advise in each one of his books that they are probably the few collection of books I’ve read multiple times. While we share different philosophies on life, we both share a love of photography, and it seems, a driving desire to continue to learn and improve. One of the reasons I continued to read and follow Eric Kim’s work over the years is he has completely changed and rearranged how I think about photography.

He’s made me re-think how I view my own personal photography, what’s acceptable as a quality image and what’s not, and even what equipment is actually truly needed. All those rules I spent years learning, like “don’t include power lines in your photography” it will ruin the shot, were disseminated by Kim’s books. I think I was 10 years into photography before I actually realized it was ok to include people in the images (my main teacher and book learning early on was 100% nature photography).

When you have been doing something, like practicing photography for 25 years, you don’t often come across new ways of thinking about the art, so it’s been a super refreshing experience so far this year. The ideas below came straight out of one of his books, The Street Photography Project Manual, which I was able to read because of his vision on open source information.

Continue reading

This was Someday Saturday Today with Pine Needles

Pine Needles in the Garden

I really hate “someday,” because usually, someday is just no-day. That usually ends up being my answer when I don’t want to do something, or can just put it off to some unknown time in the future that may or may not ever come. This is why people create bucket lists, so some day doesn’t turn into never-day. Well today, and just about every Saturday for the last 4-5 weeks, has been someday Saturday. Sometimes around 2008 Deborah and I decided we were finally going to clean out the attic, the garage, and do some of the things around the house we have been wanting to do for years. That was back in 2008.

A few weeks ago we finally got tired of putting it off, and started working on all of the above, a little at a time, each Saturday morning. We have a very small one car garage, (which the car has been been in before) and today ended up being peg-board and organization day as you can see Deborah doing below, then pine-mulch in the garden. The pine straw required picking up 15 bales of pine needles at the local feed store, which was weird since we basically live amongst a pine forest, and spreading them out in the 90 degree high humidity heat of Alabama.

I know these aren’t life changing events here, but they aren’t unimportant either. I think I read somewhere recently that there really are only a few days in everyone’s life that are super important, the rest is life, just living life. That’s what this post is about… this is just what we have been doing on Saturday mornings around here. Life isn’t always about the super high and super low points, but the events this week in Aurora Colorado just reminded me how precious life is, and how quickly it can change.

Hand Made Smocked Clothes and Gowns for Preemie or Premature Babies

Hand Made Smocked Preemie Premature Clothes

This is slightly off-topic for my blog (hence my need and reason for having a Sidenotes Category), but well worth some publicity to lovingly brag on my wife, Deborah. In case you didn’t know, Deborah is about the best seamstress I know (just check out her blog or her custom made items on the Etsy store), and her work is in the category of heirloom clothes, depending on the particular project she’s working on. She has made, and is making, everything from Easter (see Easter Order) and Christmas gowns (see here), to fun football dresses (here) babies and girls can wear to any worthy SEC game, though she doesn’t discriminate against any school. If you are looking for an incredible dress or gown, get in touch with Deborah for details.

All of this is custom made to order per each individual, and all is hand made one individual stitch at a time. The most amazing work I’ve seen come out of her sewing room lately are these preemie clothes I photographed above. While each ministry is different, specifically because God has gifted each one of us in totally unique ways, this work is over the top awesome. Deborah started making these hand-made smocked (the crinkled stuff around the chest area for the guys reading this post) preemie gowns and clothes for parents who would normally never get the honor of having something special for their own child.

You can’t tell from this photo, but these clothes are teeny-tiny. Deborah even included one for a boy, which most of the time parents never have any clothes for at all. It is just amazing to me to think that somewhere, some as of yet unknown parents, are going to be presented with one of these gowns to put on their baby, probably during a very difficult time in their own lives. For parents to be able to receive something like this (for free), of this quality, hopefully says to them, God loves you, and He loves your child as well, no matter what happens.

This set of preemie clothes was just shipped this week to a large hospital in Miami where the need far exceeded the supply. If you are at all interested in helping with this type of ministry work I am sure Deborah would be more than happy to talk to you about it. For today, it is my Photo of the Day, and quite a challenging photo to take at that.

Lent Has Brought Us To This Maundy Thursday Prayer

Maundy Thursday Chalkboard Prayer Vigil

Every year, on this day, Maundy Thursday, we come to the Lord in prayer, as Jesus did with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. On that night, Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray… because our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:36-46), and then Jesus was betrayed by one of his own inner circle friends. Every year at our church is slightly different, but each year, this evening is set aside for prayer, the Lord’s supper, and meditation on what our Lord went through on Good Friday. I love that image above from last year (see also Messages from the Heart to God in Chalk Board Prayers :: Photos) where everyone wrote their prayers in chalk as they moved through the night.

I looked back over and read some of my journal entries from that night a few years ago, and it’s amazing what that great spiritual discipline of meditation can do for the soul.  In my entry from 2009 I wrote this sentence after being there for an hour or so.

It is almost impossible to wrap your mind around what everything here tonight represents in history. I understand nothing, but I love what I don’t understand.

There are only a few more days of Lent for 2012, today being Day 44 (if you count Sunday’s), and our reading today came from the Book of Common Prayer (only $2.99 on Kindle by the way). Something I don’t get a chance to read all that often, but love its wisdom.

Almighty God, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May that be the prayer for today.