Come with us to Lima, Peru in January 2019

 

Storytellers Abroad workshop in the Balkans [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/240]
Come join Storytellers Abroad Missions Multimedia Workshop to Lima, Peru January 2 – 17, 2019.

Go to the website to learn more about the trip on the website.

James Dockery, Pat Davison, Jeff Raymond and Allison Basye on our trip in the Balkans. [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/120]
The teaching team is an awesome group.

  • Jeff Raymond, ABWE Director of Visual Communications
  • James Dockery, ESPN Video Editor
  • Patrick Davison, UNC School of Media/Journalism
  • Stanley Leary, Adjunct Professor UGA, Freelancer & Workshop Leader

Each person is given a story to work on during their time in the country. We have constructed the course so that each person is able to have one-on-one time with the instructors that will help coach them through their story.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS

– A working knowledge of your DSLR camera and laptop computer
– An interest in using photo storytelling in missions

If you are a working professional, this course is designed to apply your skills and experience in a missions context, and to expand your tool kit into new disciplines and to new heights. You will discover how to use your experience for Kingdom work.

If you are a student, this course is designed to fulfill internship requirements of most photography, journalism, digital media, design or missions majors. It may also qualify for course credit at your institution. Contact us to discuss the details.

The workshop fee includes all travel expenses from Harrisburg, PA (airfare, baggage, taxes, ground transportation, travel insurance), meals, housing, workshop tuition, supplies, use of equipment and software, and group activities.

Participants are responsible for their expenses to Harrisburg, PA, and any necessary immunizations, passport or visa costs (varies depending on destination).

CONTACT

Storytellers@abwe.org | 717.909.2302

I think this is a great workshop because your leaders are working in the industry and have been teaching for years the art of storytelling.

I have been to many workshops myself through the years. The majority of the leaders have been outstanding in the industry, but very few have been outstanding teachers. We all want to create tomorrow’s storytellers and want all of the students to succeed.

Pat Davison and James Dockery are working one-on-one to help each of the workshop participants polish their stories during the editing process. [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/4, 1/100]
Here is one of the past stories done by a workshop participant Stacey Schuett in Togo, West Africa.

Go here to see some of the past stories produced during the workshop: https://vimeo.com/storytellersabroad.

Mother nature continues to destroy lives on Hawaii

Paradise Helicopter Tour
Kīlauea is a currently active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi. Fissure 8 continues to erupt lava into the perched channel leading northeastward from the vent. Lava levels in the upper channel between Fissure 8 and Pohoiki Rd. are low this morning but are expected to rise after the next collapse/explosive vent at Kīlauea summit. The channelized ʻaʻā flow west of Kapoho Crater continues to be the main ocean entry at the southern edge of the flow front this morning. Despite no visible surface connection to the Fissure 8 channel, lava continues to ooze out at several points on the 6 km (3.7 mi) wide flow front into the ocean. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 1250, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
The massive destruction of the Kilauea volcano over the past few months hasn’t been what we expect from Mother nature.

We don’t expect our homes to be destroyed with no hope of rebuilding.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 1800, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
In this photo you can see the home in the path of the destruction. This looks more like a scene from the 1958 science-fiction-horror film The Blob.

While I was enjoying my tourist helicopter ride to see the power of the volcano I wasn’t thinking about the lives being destroyed by nature.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
I was in the sky with other tourists on numerous helicopters flying over the volcano being entertained.

The University of Nations in Kona, Hawaii. [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm ƒ/4, ISO 250, ƒ/16, 1/100]
The reason I was in Hawaii was to teach photography at The University of Nations which is part of Youth with a Mission. The campus is now in the process of seeing how they can help some of the families displaced by the volcano.

I was listening to the founder Loren Cunningham as he talked about the plight of the those who have lost their homes to the volcano.

I had been teaching on storytelling and knew that when you tell a good story it actually affects the audiences physical body.

In a good chase scene you can feel your heart racing. When the main character is hiding and close to being found you may have your palms sweating.

The same gut wrenching feeling I get when bills are coming due and the cash flow is getting tight is how I felt when Loren Cunningham pointed out that these people had not just lost a home, but were having to still pay on their mortgages. They were now paying for something that they couldn’t rebuild on or resell.

This is a different kind of natural disaster than fires, tornados or hurricanes I have experienced in the past. Those disasters volunteers organized to help clean up and rebuild the destructed areas. They helped to restore people’s lives.

The closest disaster that has some similarities was Katrina where many could not go back and rebuild.

Fissure 8 continues to erupt lava into the perched channel leading northeastward from the vent. Lava levels in the upper channel between Fissure 8 and Pohoiki Rd. are low this morning but are expected to rise after the next collapse/explosive vent at Kīlauea summit. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 800, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
As you watch the updates on the volcano, please keep in mind all those who have lost their homes and are now in financial crisis.

The lava striking the sea is gorgeous — and can be deadly
     Lava spilling off the southeastern edge of the island of Hawaii is producing a noxious haze where it hits the seawater. Made out of hydrochloric acid, steam, and shards of volcanic glass, the gas is hazardous to anyone who breathes it.
     Laze forms when lava reaching temperatures of around 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit strikes seawater. The heat boils seawater dry — not just boiling away the water, but also heating salt molecules the boiled water leaves behind, like magnesium chloride. “The magnesium chloride is pretty reactive,” says volcanologist Simon Carn at Michigan Technological University. “It reacts with the water — the steam in the air.” That makes hydrochloric acid, which probably sounds familiar because it’s the acid in your stomach that melts the food you eat into a soupy pulp. That stuff isn’t good to get in your lungs.
[Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 1000, ƒ/8, 1/2000]

Shooting Kilauea Volcano from Helicopter

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 1250, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
What a thrill it was to get the chance to go up in helicopter and see the lava flowing at the Kīlauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Dorie and Chelle gave me this present for father’s day.

While I had been in helicopters many times clients paid for the experience. This time it was out of our pockets. I had wanted to do this for years.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
I have been coming the The Big Island of Hawaii at the invitation of my good friend Dennis Fahringer. I have been teaching photography to his School of Photography students with the University of Nations which is part of Youth with a Missions.

Now for 12 years I have been coming driving to the Volcano hoping for good photos. I have made some pretty good photos through the years. Here is one from February this year before they closed the Volcano National park due to the recent activity.

This is the Halema‘uma‘u Crater inside of Hawaii Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii [Fuji X-E3, 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/6]
Really the best way to see the volcano is from the air.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 250, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
This is an untouched photo right out of the camera. Just converted from Nikon NEF to a JPEG.

By shooting RAW you can then work with the photo in Lightroom just like we did in the film days in the Darkroom.

Paradise Helicopter Tour
Kīlauea is a currently active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi. Fissure 8 continues to erupt lava into the perched channel leading northeastward from the vent. Lava levels in the upper channel between Fissure 8 and Pohoiki Rd. are low this morning but are expected to rise after the next collapse/explosive vent at Kīlauea summit. The channelized ʻaʻā flow west of Kapoho Crater continues to be the main ocean entry at the southern edge of the flow front this morning. Despite no visible surface connection to the Fissure 8 channel, lava continues to ooze out at several points on the 6 km (3.7 mi) wide flow front into the ocean. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 250, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
The number one tool that helps you when shooting from a helicopter is the Dehaze Slider.

There is a lot of haze created by the atmosphere and over the volcano with VOG you need to use this tool or the haze just clouds the photos literally.

Rainbow Falls from the air in Hilo, Hawaii. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 4000, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
Just compare this photo of Rainbow falls that I processed to the unprocessed photo.

Now here are two short videos I shot while up as well. I processed these in Final Cut Pro X and also corrected the footage for better contrast and color.

Kīlauea Volcano from Stanley Leary on Vimeo.

Kīlauea Volcano Fissure 8 from Stanley Leary on Vimeo.

Hope these tips help you see why shooting RAW and using Lightroom can make a HUGE difference in your photos.

Go to your archives and re-edit old photos with updated Lightroom

First Day of school for Chelle at the new house. First time to ride the bus to school. Starting middle school today at Elkins Pointe on August 23, 2010. [Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.3, 1/160]
Your old photos can look even better today due to the advances in technology. I went back to this photo of my daughter’s first day of school ten years ago to re-edit the photo in the latest version of Adobe Lightroom.

Original Edit in 2010.

Now you may like the earlier edit, but there are more possibilities with a few changes in Lightroom. First of all they did a major overhaul of the main engine in the software and then adding new tools like Dehaze.

Today you can pick a color profile and use Dehaze that were not options in 2010.

Another control that was implemented since 2010 was Lens Correction improving all lenses by correcting for their imperfections.

[Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 200, ƒ/3.5, 1/125]
Back in 2010 I didn’t even try to edit this photo. With the dehaze control I was able to bring down the background much easier than doing this in 2010 would have required.

TIPS

Shoot RAW – you have more information to work with before exporting a JPEG in Lightroom
Folder for RAW and separate folder for JPEG – I ingest and put all my RAW files into a folder and then when I finish editing and export I put those in a separate folder JPEG
Archive all photos – Keep the RAW images and your JPEG images. You can later return to these photos and discover some gems due to the software improvements in the future.

Flash can improve your outside and inside photos

The Cows at Roswell Town Center are celebrating on Cow Appreciation Day 2018 in Roswell, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/3200 – Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
With today’s cameras you can shoot most anything without a flash. You know this from using your smartphone. What you might not know is that professional photographers don’t use flash because there isn’t enough light, but rather to compliment the light.

Using flash outside and inside is about knowing why you need the flash and how it can improve the photograph. These photos are from my job yesterday.

I enjoy Cow Appreciation Day each year. This year I went to five different Chick-fil-A restaurants in Metro Atlanta getting photos of customers dressed up as cows.

Chick-fil-A, known for its iconic “Eat Mor Chikin®” Cows, celebrated the 13th annual Cow Appreciation Day on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. On that day, Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide offered a free entrée to any customer who visited a restaurant dressed as a cow.

Customers dressed up as cows for Cow Appreciation Day. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/50 – Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
I have learned over the years using off camera flash improves so many of the photos and especially outside. This one of the customers inside without the flash the visors would have made their faces much darker. The flash helped open up their faces.

Dorie Griggs, my wife, was my photo assistant for the day. She helped with carrying my light and keeping people from bumping into it as well as people blocking the flash.

One more super important role she filled was helping me get the all important Model Release.

A model release form is a legal document between you, the photographer and the person or the person who owns the property you’re photographing). It is the written form of their permission allowing you to publish their image on your website, blog, and marketing materials.

You need permission to publish the photo for commercial purposes.

The Cows at Roswell Town Center are celebrating on Cow Appreciation Day 2018 in Roswell, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/2500 – Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
When I did the photo at the top I first shot this photo of the cows jumping. Well I didn’t expect the cow to jump with the feet that wide and I cut off the feet.

My wife made a video of me taking this photo where you can see the off camera flash Godox V860IIN that I am triggering with the Godox X1NT. Watch here and you can see both photos being made.

These flashes let me shoot at any shutter speed. This let me freeze the cows in the air. Just remember that one of the best times to use flash is outside in bright sunlight.

Customers dressed up as cows for Cow Appreciation Day. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/50 – Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
Now shooting inside the flash will not over power the available light when set on TTL. The flash just fills in and gives that wonderful catch light in the eyes that makes them sparkle.

NO FLASH [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/30]
Zoomed in view

Just so you can see how the flash just adds a little without greatly changing the photo this first photo of the lady with the cows is without flash. Then look at the one with flash.

WITH FLASH [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/30 – Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
Zoomed in view

The biggest difference is that the shadows and blacks in the one with flash have more detail.

Customers dressed up as cows for Cow Appreciation Day. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/200 – Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]

What you do isn’t as important as who you are to be successful in business

Family Vacation to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

Dorie, my wife, knew when making plans for our children when they were young that there was a time limit. It was about 2 hours and then it was as if we hit a wall.

We like being at a fair: there are rides, games, entertaining acts, and tons of food. It’s exciting at first, then it becomes overwhelming, and finally it makes you sick (and you hate it!).

When you’re sick of something it shows in your attitude and performance most of the time. Just like our kids would be at places like Disney World.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Often we hit the wall in our careers just as we did when we were young. It isn’t fun for us any more. If you are a freelancer you can feel that you are just not in step with your client as you once were.

I have discovered this happens with every client that I hit a wall at some point. It is the same feeling that happened with our kids on an outing.

Nikon D5 Video Gear

I think what happens is we have become too focused on what we do in our jobs and less on the people that we work with in doing those jobs. This can happen to you if you are extroverted or introverted.

Too much focus can be a problem: It drains your brain of energy, makes you care less about people, and prevents you from seeing what is happening around you. When you become more focused on say a product that you are producing in a job rather than realizing you are working with other people and they need to enjoy the process and not just the end result.

I came to this conclusion when over the years I find that I must rekindle a working relationship. In the past I would work on my portfolio or some new skill to talk to my client. I was thinking the client needed to see my skills are valuable.

While working on some materials this latest round of rekindling relationships I realized that no matter what I did it was going to look like I was going to do some “Explaining” to the people in the meetings I was setting up.

This approach can be very condescending to others. It actually undermines the relationship that you are trying to nurture.

Thinking about his it really hit me – I had not worked enough on the relationship with my clients.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2800, ƒ/4, 1/100

In your work have you been measuring using your skills in our work as well as developing relationships?

Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We spend a lot of time at work; there is nothing worse than someone who cannot get along with others. It’s so important and involves being helpful, understanding the unwritten rules, being respectful, reliable and competent.

Here is a simple way to start this conversation, “We’ve been doing business together for almost a year. I’d like to take you to lunch to get to know you a little better.”

The single most important thing you can do at a business meal is to listen. You want to hear what the other person cares about, what their interests are, what makes him or her tick. They need to know you care about them as people and not just the money they give you to pay your bills.

One time we were at Disney and we ran into my daughter’s friend from home. While normally our daughter would be ready for a break from the theme park this “Relationship” gave a burst of energy to go through not just our daughter but the entire family.

Theme parks can be like your product in business. At a certain point this really isn’t going to keep your client enthused. Remember friendships do keep your help energize business relationships as well.

 

4th of July Fireworks with a sense of place

The City of Roswell Fireworks for the 4th of July celebration in Roswell, GA. [Nikon D5, Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/11, 9.1 sec]
The key for fireworks is the foreground. The context helps give a sense of place.

When I started shooting the July of 4th fireworks this year in Roswell, GA the location was slightly different than years past. I wasn’t sure exactly where they would be in the sky. I had a general idea, but when they started I had a few problems.

[Nikon D5, Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/11, 6 sec]
As the sun was setting then all the street lights in the parking lot we were in started to come on. When I first started shooting this is what I was getting. The street light was creatine a flair and wasn’t very interesting. The street lights were distracting.

[Nikon D5, Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/11, 8 sec]
By using a tree in the parking lot to help with the street light it also blocked some of the lower flying fireworks.

[Nikon D5, Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/11, 14 sec]
I picked up the tripod and went closer to the shops and pointed the camera towards the high school where the fireworks were being launched. It gave me the best photos of the fireworks and making the street lights no longer a problem, but you only see a couple in the lower left.

[Nikon D5, Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/11, 10.5 sec]
I determined that the best place was to shoot the fireworks really wide with 14-24mm lens. This let me show all the community that turned out for the fireworks and helped to tell the story.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4, ISO 100, ƒ/11, 5 sec]
Earlier in the fireworks performance I shot this with my Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4 at 58mm. Fireworks look great, but this could be anywhere in the world. The wider shot helped me to show you what it looked like where I was in Roswell, Georgia.

Carry a couple different lenses so you can change your approach if necessary. Be willing to move to get a different perspective. Most of all take lots of photos. Only a few will be the keepers that you want.

Technical

ISO:                        100
Aperture:             ƒ/11
Shutter Speed:  5 seconds to 14 seconds [using Bulb]
White Balance: Fluorescent to match the Street Lights

I used a tripod and a cable release. I would start taking photo and stop after 2 to 4 fireworks would go off.

Spot on Color

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/200 – Soft boxes with Alienbees B1600s

Getting a well exposed and color correct photo will bring the most out of any subject.

When your photo is well exposed you will see all the gradations on a gray scale. When you have your digital camera set to the proper white balance under flash you get the most dynamic range possible.

 

The color space of flash is dead center in the color wheel. Other lights like Tungsten, Fluorescent, Mercury Vapor, LED and others are skewed off center of the color wheel. While you can color correct these images by adding or subtracting colors to try and slide them back to the center your color is never as good as under pure flash.

I shot this photo outside in the shaded side of my house. I color corrected using “Custom White Balance”.

ExpoDisc

Using the ExpoDisc I put this over the front of the lens and did a incident light reading and custom white balance.

I do this when shooting in studio because soft boxes often have a slight color cast that I can correct.

I cannot stress enough that the one thing that really separates the very top photographers from the rest technically is normally white balance.

Hawaii High School Rodeo State Finals [Nikon D5, 28-300mm, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Color’s pop when your exposure and color balance are on target.