category: Behind the Scenes




South Carolina News Photographers: Judging Day

I had a great time Sunday helping judge the South Carolina News Photographers Association Pictures of the Year (SCNPA) contest at The State newspaper in Columbia, SC.

Fellow judges Stacy Pearsall, Michael Holahan and I reviewed some fantastic photojournalism. Congratulations to Photographer of the Year Gerry Melendez of The State and to all of the winners.

Having entered hundreds of photography contests over the years, I knew how important they can be to the photographers and we worked hard to come to a consensus on what we thought was the most outstanding work. The single category competition is open judging so photographers and students can listen to the critiques and use them to improve their work.

It was great catching up with some old friends and meeting some new ones.

Stacy and her husband, Andy Dunaway, have done some amazing work as military photographers. Stacy, who is one of only two women to win the National Press Photographer Association's Military Photographer of the Year competition, is now the owner/director of the Charleston Center for Photography. The center is a great resource for professionals and photo hobbyists and is offering some terrific workshops.

Michael is a talented photographer working on the staff of The Augusta Chronicle. His resume includes many awards including an honorable mention as photographer of the year in smaller markets in the NPPA's Best of Photojournalism contest.

Congratulations also to my friend Travis Bell for winning first place in the Sports Action category. Like me, Travis started in newspapers before leaving to do wedding photojournalism. He still does a great deal of sports photography for the University of South Carolina and Clemson University. Myrtle Beach photographer Randall Hill, who did an amazing job helping me at a wedding on the Grand Strand, took home numerous awards for his fine work.

Thanks to the folks from SCNPA for inviting me. Look here to see all the winners.

Some of the winners in the SCNPA contest

Some of the winners in the SCNPA contest

I look over some of the entries with fellow judge Michal Holahan. Photo by Stacy Pearsall

I look over some of the entries with fellow judge Michael Holahan. Photo by Stacy Pearsall

SCNPA vice president Rich Glickstein, left, looks on as judges Stacy Pearsall, Michael Holahan and me select the Best of Show. Photo by Andy Dunaway.

SCNPA vice president Rich Glickstein, left, looks on as judges Stacy Pearsall, Michael Holahan and me select the Best of Show. Photo by Andy Dunaway.





Charlotte Wedding Photography: Collaboration For Liz and Michael

I had the great pleasure of helping document Liz and Michael's wedding Saturday with three other photographers.

Liz is a talented young photographer who works with two of my friends. She photographs and shoots Super 8 movies with Richard Israel and works as studio manager for Kristin Vining. So we teamed up to collaborate on coverage and also got help from another friend, Rodney Slate,  a Greensboro area photographer who runs Autumn Song Photography. Richard also shoots film and he used a variety of film formats including 35mm, medium format and even broke out his Speed Graphic to shoot 4X5 portraits.

It was so nice to see the love and faith displayed by both families and everyone was so easy to work with. Michael's father is the minister at CrossWay Community Church and he performed the service.

Each photographer has their own distinct style and it was fun to see how we all approached photographing the day. While we all draw from different genres at times, Richard is know for his incredible fine art sensibility, Kristin has a fun, fashion-oriented approach and Rodney is more of a quiet observer. And I utilize a very documentary, photojournalistic style in my photography. Richard, who was the main photographer on the shoot,  plans to create a website of the coverage to demonstrate each photographer's style.

It was great fun working and sharing with these talented photographers and we couldn't have had better subject matter.

Congratulations Liz and Michael - I think you are going to have one spectacular wedding album!

Liz and Michael

Liz and Michael

CrossWay Community Church

CrossWay Community Church

Michael gets an assist getting ready

Michael gets an assist getting ready

Flower girl on the run

Flower girl on the run

Liz helps keep the flower girls warm while pictures are taken

Liz helps keep the flower girls warm while pictures are taken

Some pictures before the ceremony

Some pictures before the ceremony

Not everyone wanted to smile for the photos

Not everyone wanted to smile for the photos

Family member photo op

Family member photo op

Michael watches his bride approach the alter

Michael watches his bride approach the altar

Liz, also a talented photographer, created the decorations

Liz created the decorations

During the ceremony

During the ceremony

A song of praise

A song of praise

A quiet moment during the service

A quiet moment during the service

A happy bride

A happy bride

Leaving the service

Leaving the service

A big kiss for the newly married couple

A big kiss for the newly married couple

Liz turns the tables on the photographers as Michael and her mother look on

Liz turns the tables on the photographers as Michael and her mother look on

Michael's father, the minister CrossWay who performed the service, rests on Richard's Speed Graphic

Michael's father rests on Richard's Speed Graphic

Liz's brother and his girlfriend try to stay warm during the group photo session

Liz's brother and his girlfriend try to stay warm during the group photo session

Getting warmed up for the family photos

Getting warmed up for the family photos

Richard shoots a variety of film formats and broke out the 4X5 Speed Graphic for some potraits

Richard shoots a variety of film formats and broke out the 4X5 Speed Graphic for some of the portraits

Kristin gets Liz and some of the bridesmaids laughing during the photo shoot

Kristin gets Liz and some of the bridesmaids laughing during the photo shoot

Liz and Michael cuddle up as they get ready for their portraits

Liz and Michael

Staying warm during the shoot

Staying warm during the shoot

A quick kiss

A quick kiss

They are both very comfortable in front of the camera

They are both very comfortable in front of the camera

Getting ready to leave the church

Getting ready to leave the church

Balloon sendoff

Balloon sendoff

The team: myself, Kristin Vining, Richard Israel and Rodney Slate

The team: myself, Kristin Vining, Richard Israel and Rodney Slate





Charlotte Through Our Eyes Photography Project

I've been working with a talented and inspiring group of Charlotte area photographers and graphic artists on "Charlotte Through Our Eyes," which gives youngsters whose families are facing difficult financial struggles a chance to learn and express themselves through photography.

The brainchild of David Johnson, founder of the non-profit Silent Images, the program is bringing together the creative energy of several local visual artists. Johnson quit his teaching job in Charlotte to travel the globe documenting persecuted and oppressed people. He uses his work to raise awareness and money for indigenous people, sending any profit from his work back to the people he has documented.

Helping coordinate the project is Elizabeth Marx, another photographer with a passion for helping the oppressed through her work with her Almond Leaf Studios. Richard Sharpe, an architect who decided to shift his focus to his love of photography, was documenting some of yesterday's session.

The youngsters and their mentors spend part of each session in different areas of Charlotte with the kids taking digital images that will later be used in an exhibit at the Levine Museum in Charlotte.

I showed some of my images and talked to the youngsters about photojournalism and documentary photography. Thanks to Richard Sharpe for the photo.

I showed some of my images and talked to the youngsters about photojournalism and documentary photography. Thanks to Richard Sharpe for the photo.





Quail Hollow Championship - Golf Course Photography

My father passed along a passion for the game of golf. Not any great skill mind you, but an appreciation of the game, its traditions and the beauty of its venues.
I've covered several major golf tournaments and photographed some of the best courses in the country.
Once again this year I'll be photographing for the Quail Hollow Championship.
As part of that coverage I try to get out in early April to get photos of the beautiful Quail Hollow layout.
Quail Hollow has a great deal of water which comes into play on several of the holes on the back nine. Given the right weather conditions, an eerie mist rises from the water.
You have to arrive at first light to get the best conditions. I figured the cold temperatures Tuesday night would be ideal. It may have been too cold for the mist, but I did get some nice light as a reward for my early arrival.
I'm looking forward to working with Quail's awesome tournament staff again this year.
April and May are going to be very busy months so make sure to check back soon for some engagement photos and more wedding images.
Water, here surrounding the 14th green, is a big part of Quail Hollow's challenge, and its beauty.

Water, here surrounding the 14th green, is a big part of Quail Hollow's challenge, and its beauty.

Early morning light paints a golden hue on a tree beside the 16th green at Quail Hollow

Early morning light paints a golden hue on a tree beside the 16th green at Quail Hollow

Pretty light illuminates the pin on the 17th green

Pretty light illuminates the pin on the 17th green

The imposing 17th hole at Quail Hollow requires a precise tee shot or you'll be taking a swim

The imposing 17th hole at Quail Hollow requires a precise tee shot or you'll be taking a swim





Change of Pace: Behind the Scenes at Joe Gibbs Racing

It's always fun to look behind the scenes, and I got an interesting opportunity to work with the advertising agency MadGENIUS Inc. this week documenting work they are doing with the new NASCAR Cup Series Farm Bureau Insurance race team at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls while coaching the Washington Redskins and three Cup Series championships with his race teams, is an incredibly accomplished and inspirational leader. He is also a man of great faith and he leads by example.
I always appreciate working with pros and they were plentiful on this shoot - the Gibbs people, the MadGENIUS group, the film crew from Eyevox Film & Video Production and the Farm Bureau Insurance executives.
It will be fun following the Farm Bureau Insurance car's progress as it makes its first foray into the Cup Series this season.
NASCAR race team owner and former NFL Coach Joe Gibbs, left, chats with Farm Bureau Insurance executives Tommy Doolittle, center, and Buddy Trosclair prior to filiming a commercial this week

With MadGENIUS creative dirctor Eric Hughes, left, looking on, NASCAR race team owner and former NFL Coach Joe Gibbs chats with Farm Bureau Insurance executives Tommy Doolittle, center, and Buddy Trosclair prior to filming a commercial this week

Jeff Tanner, left, of Eyevox Film & Video Production, gets the camera ready as Eric Hughes, creative director for MadGenius Inc., prepares to interview Gibbs in his office

Jeff Tanner, left, of Eyevox Film & Video Production, gets the camera ready as Eric Hughes, creative director for MadGenius Inc., prepares to interview Gibbs in his office

Gibbs, sporting one of his three Super Bowl rings, studies a script for a radio spot

Gibbs, sporting one of his three Super Bowl rings, studies a script for a radio spot

Gibbs on screen during filming

Gibbs on screen during filming

Gibbs makes his way through the Huntersville shop of his race team

Gibbs makes his way through his Huntersville race team's shop

The crew films in the race shop

The crew films in the race shop

Gibbs talks with members of one of his race teams

Gibbs talks with members of one of his race teams

Makeup artist Crystal touches up the shiny dome of jackman Nate Boens as they prepare for filming

Makeup artist Crystal touches up the shiny dome of jackman Nate Boens as they prepare for filming

Tanner is a study in concentration during filming

Tanner is a study in concentration during filming

Gibbs directs traffic during the shoot

Gibbs directs traffic during the shoot

Gibbs jokes with Farm Bureau execs Trosclair and Doolittle

Gibbs jokes with Farm Bureau execs Trosclair and Doolittle

Gibbs, whose teams has won 3 Cup Series chamionships, is filmed walking through his shop

Gibbs, whose teams has won three Cup Series championships, is filmed walking through his shop