Topaz Photo AI: Preserving Precious Memories for a Special Celebration

Caption: This photo above ran through Topaz Photo AI, and it 1) denoise, 2) enlarged by 2x, 3) Facial AI & 4) Sharpened

This was before I used Topaz Photo AI


As we journey through life, we gather cherished moments captured in photographs. These visual mementos become a window into our past, allowing us to relive and share memories with loved ones. As technology advances, so does our ability to enhance and restore these memories. Preserving and presenting those old photographs can be a significant undertaking in preparation for a momentous occasion like a 65th wedding anniversary. Fortunately, Topaz Photo AI is revolutionizing the restoration process, using Artificial Intelligence to breathe new life into faded and damaged pictures.

Rescuing Vintage Photographs:

Old photographs have a unique charm but often suffer from wear and tear over time. Faded colors, creases, and small sizes can obscure the beauty of these precious memories. One of the remarkable features of Topaz Photo AI is its ability to upscale images without compromising quality. By employing sophisticated AI algorithms, the software analyzes and intelligently adds missing details, effectively increasing the size of the images while maintaining clarity and sharpness.

Banishing Grain and Noise:

In addition to size issues, many older photographs are plagued with grain and noise, which can obscure important details and diminish their visual appeal. Topaz Photo AI’s noise reduction capabilities come to the rescue. The advanced AI-based denoising technology enables the software to distinguish between unwanted noise and actual image content, resulting in cleaner, more refined pictures.

Enhancing Image Sharpness:

Shakiness, low-quality lenses, and other factors might cause old photos to appear blurry or lacking in detail. Topaz Photo AI addresses this issue with its intelligent sharpening tools. The AI analyzes the image, identifies edges and patterns, and applies selective sharpening to highlight important details, giving your photographs a new sense of clarity and focus.

Face Recovery: A Special Touch for Family History:

Preserving old photographs often involves restoring the faces of those who have shaped our lives. Faces hold significant emotional value, and keeping them in their best form is crucial. With Face Recovery, a groundbreaking feature of Topaz Photo AI, the software can recognize faces and restore them to their natural and vibrant appearance. The AI works to retain facial features, expressions, and nuances, allowing your parents’ 65th wedding anniversary slide show to capture the essence of your family history truly.

Crafting an Unforgettable Slide Show:

Once you’ve revived and improved your old photographs with Topaz Photo AI, creating a memorable slide show is time. Enter FotoMagico, a powerful slide show creation tool. Combining the enhanced images with FotoMagico’s versatile features, like timing adjustments and smooth transitions, allows you to weave a seamless and emotionally engaging narrative of your parents’ journey together.


As we celebrate life’s milestones and special moments, preserving and sharing the memories that have shaped us becomes more essential than ever. Topaz Photo AI’s remarkable capabilities in upscaling, noise reduction, sharpening, and Face Recovery offer an invaluable toolset for transforming aged photographs into visual masterpieces. By integrating these restored images into a captivating slide show with FotoMagico, you can create a heartfelt tribute to your parents’ enduring love, ensuring their 65th wedding anniversary is a celebration to be cherished for generations to come.

Preserving Precious Moments: Capturing Memories Before They Fade

Caption: This is Chelle, our daughter’s Spring Dance Concert at Columbus State University

In life’s journey, we all go through various phases that shape who we are. As we grow up, our interests and passions evolve, leaving behind cherished memories that eventually become part of our personal history. It’s fascinating how these moments, however fleeting, hold a special place in our hearts.

This is my older sister and I with my grandparents when they visited us while we were living at Kennedy Home, part of the Baptist Children’s Homes in Kinston, North Carolina.

When reminiscing about my childhood, I recall a time when I only wanted to be a real-life GI Joe. Looking back, I can still see myself in those army clothes through a few old photographs. Another memory that stands out is riding my beloved banana seat 3-speed bicycle with a sissy bar, a feeling of freedom that I wish I had more pictures to relive today. And then there was my passion for chess; being part of a chess club was a defining moment for me, even if there was just one snapshot of me playing the game.

We put many of our family photos on the tables during the reception at the Kistler House, Morganton, NC, on August 3, 2008, for my parent’s David and Bonita Leary’s 50th wedding anniversary. We will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary on August 6, 2023.

We all share this tendency to immerse ourselves in various pursuits, discovering what truly resonates with us. Though not all hobbies and interests stick with us throughout life, they undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on our journey.

Recently, my friend John Payne, a talented photographer based in Morganton, North Carolina, specializes in capturing the essence of high school seniors, creating beautiful portraits that capture the spirit of this pivotal phase. Interestingly, some of her younger dance mates desired similar photos after photographing a young dancer. John wisely responded that while the girls may still be dancing, their interests could change as they grow older.

Spring Dance Concert Columbus State University

This simple statement struck a chord with me. Why postpone capturing these precious moments, especially for our children? As parents, we all know the bittersweet feeling of an empty nest when our children leave home to embark on their adventures. During such moments, we often find ourselves wishing for more photos and memorabilia to surround us, reminding us of the joyous times when our children were still living under our roof.

Keiki Hula Dancers practice year-round to perfect their moves and routine. We did some promotional photos of them at sunset on the beach in Kona, Hawaii.

I am reminded of my mentor and friend, Don Rutledge, who faced the challenges of dementia. As his memory faded, he found solace in revisiting the memories I had captured for him through my thesis. Those pictures and stories provided a lifeline to a life well-lived, bringing moments of clarity and comfort to him during his harrowing journey.

Chelle, our daughter’s dress rehearsal for her first dance recital. She is just five years old in this photo.

Therefore, I encourage everyone to seize the present and capture these priceless moments with loved ones while they are still vibrant and fresh. Embrace the beauty of photography to preserve these memories beyond digital confines. Although Facebook and Instagram offer a convenient way to share snapshots of our lives, let’s not forget the joy of having tangible prints displayed around our homes. Consider creating coffee table books, natural treasures that can be shared with family and friends, sparking conversations and evoking heartfelt emotions.

Let us cherish the memories that shape us, for they are the threads of life’s rich tapestry woven with love, laughter, and the magic of fleeting moments.

Navigating Anxiety: Coping Strategies and Finding Support

Caption: A Pre-K class trip to Alpharetta Children’s Dentistry. They are trying to dispel the fears of children going to the dentist. The hygienist uses a frog puppet as the patient to teach the students how to take care of their teeth.

Introduction: Understanding Anxiety as a Normal Human Emotion

Anxiety and fear are natural human emotions that protect us from potential dangers. However, stress can escalate to excessive and irrational levels for some individuals, becoming an ongoing distress that interferes with their daily lives. In this blog post, I want to share my experiences with anxiety triggers and how I have learned to cope with them. By opening up about our struggles, we find relief and create a sense of connection and support with others who might be going through similar challenges.

Writing It Down: The Power of Processing Anxiety

When anxiety overwhelms us, one of the best ways to deal with it healthily is by writing down our thoughts and emotions. Bottling up stress can have detrimental effects on both our mental and physical well-being. Expressing our feelings on paper can be cathartic and serves as a way to process our fears and worries, helping us gain a clearer perspective on the situation.

Helping Others and Finding Purpose

A valuable lesson I have learned over the years is that helping others can offer a sense of purpose and also aid in managing anxiety. By reaching out and supporting those around us, we not only alleviate their burdens but also experience a boost in our well-being. Engaging in acts of kindness and empathy can be a powerful countermeasure against anxiety’s grip.

Unraveling the Triggers: White Coat Syndrome and Business-related Anxiety

One of the triggers that significantly impacts my anxiety is white coat syndrome, commonly known as white coat hypertension. This condition refers to elevated blood pressure readings in a doctor’s office due to anxiety. The fear of not having enough work can also trigger anxiety as a business owner. Recognizing these triggers allows us to address them and seek appropriate support proactively.

Everyday Anxiety and Stressful Life Events

Anxiety can stem from various sources, including everyday stressors and significant life events. Personal relationships, financial stability, and world events beyond our control can all contribute to heightened anxiety levels. Understanding that anxiety serves as a message from our bodies to address essential aspects of our lives can help us confront and manage these challenges more effectively.

Coping with the Wisdom of Experience

Age can bring the advantage of experience and past victories over anxiety-triggering events. Reflecting on our ability to overcome challenges in the past can instill confidence in our ability to cope with current struggles. We can remind ourselves that we have survived and emerged stronger from similar situations.

Staying Present and Focused: Dealing with Uncertainty

An effective coping exercise is to focus on the present rather than getting overwhelmed by uncertainty about the future. Taking one step at a time and addressing each challenge individually can reduce anxiety and prevent us from catastrophizing situations.

Learning from Others: Seeking Support and Sharing Coping Strategies

Opening up to close friends and confidants can provide much-needed relief. Vocalizing our anxieties allows us to hear them differently and often provides valuable insights. Additionally, seeking advice from friends about coping with stress can offer new perspectives and helpful coping strategies.

The Power of Rest and Self-Care

A good night’s sleep is essential for our mental and emotional well-being. Rest and self-care allow our minds to rejuvenate, enabling us to approach anxiety triggers with a more precise and calmer mindset.

Conclusion: Embracing the Journey of Anxiety Together

Anxiety is a universal human experience; we face different triggers and challenges. Sharing our struggles and coping strategies can create a supportive community where understanding and empathy prevail. Remember, seeking help and leaning on others during difficult times is okay. Together, we can navigate anxiety and find strength in self-discovery and growth.

The Smart Approach: 5 Compelling Reasons to Capture Your Family Portraits During Summer

The holiday season is often synonymous with family portraits for holiday cards, but why follow the crowd when there’s a better way? Picture this: summer vibes, beautiful tans, relaxed schedules, and much less stress. Capturing your family portraits during summer can be a smart move, and here are five reasons why:

1. Things Are a Lot Less Hectic

When fall arrives, chaos tends to follow. School commitments, sports activities, and the impending holiday rush can overwhelm parents. However, the summer season offers a blissful respite from the frenzy. You can enjoy a more relaxed pace with longer days, sunny weather, and fewer significant holidays (barring July 4th and Father’s Day). It’s the perfect time to capture those precious family moments without feeling rushed or pressured.

School of Photography group photo in Kona, Hawaii.

2. Schedules Are a Lot More Open

While summer may see some families traveling, the weeks they’re not on the road often translate into more open weekends. Interestingly, many families put off scheduling holiday portraits until the last minute, leading to a rush in November and December. By opting for a summer session, you’ll avoid the holiday crowds and have a more comprehensive selection of available dates. You can secure a prime weekend slot and beat the rush.

3. Everyone Is Tanned

There’s something undeniably appealing about a healthy summer glow. Fake tanning may be popular, but why bother when you and your family can naturally achieve that radiant tan just by spending time outdoors? Summer offers the perfect opportunity to soak up the sun’s rays, giving your portraits a warm and sun-kissed vibe. After a vacation or a few beach days, you’ll be photo-ready with a natural and stunning tan.


4. Everyone Is Well-Rested

During the school year, the early morning hustle to get kids ready for school can leave everyone feeling a bit sleep-deprived. However, summer often means a more leisurely start to the day. With camps starting a bit later in the morning, parents and kids can catch up on much-needed rest. A well-rested family translates into happy and refreshed faces for your family portraits.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

5. Enjoy Stress-Free Fall

One of the best feelings in the world is heading into fall without a mile-long to-do list. The autumn months can get incredibly busy, with multiple holidays packed closely together. By taking care of your family portraits in the summer, you’ll tick off an essential task well in advance. This gives you more time to focus on other family obligations and enjoy the holiday season fully.

Bonus Reason: Less Sickness Going Around!

As the cold and flu season extends its stay year after year, it can be frustrating to reschedule photo sessions due to unexpected illnesses. Thankfully, summer brings a reprieve from the peak sickness periods. While rescheduling is never a hassle, choosing a summer session reduces the chances of last-minute changes and ensures smooth planning.

In conclusion, capturing family portraits during the summer can be a game-changer. With a more relaxed atmosphere, open schedules, and sun-kissed glow, your photos will radiate the season’s joy. Say goodbye to holiday stress and embrace a new, innovative approach to family portraits. If you’re considering a summer session, don’t wait until the last moment; reach out to us at stanley@stanleyleary to reserve the best date for your family. Let’s create timeless memories together, celebrating the love and happiness that summer brings!

Saddle Up and Capture the Spirit: Tips for Photographing a Rodeo on National Cowboy Day

Howdy, rodeo enthusiasts and photography lovers! Today is a special day for all the cowboys and cowgirls as we celebrate National Cowboy Day. What better way to honor the spirit of the Wild West than by capturing the excitement and energy of a rodeo through your camera’s lens? Rodeos are a captivating spectacle, filled with thrilling moments and displays of true grit and determination. So, if you’re planning to head to a rodeo event with your camera, here are some essential tips to help you capture those unforgettable moments:

Team roping, also known as heading and heeling, is a rodeo event that features a steer (typically a Corriente) and two mounted riders—the Cobb County Classic Rodeo @ Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta.

1. Gear up for Action: Shooting a rodeo requires specific gear considerations. Ideally, a DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses offers versatility to adapt to different shooting conditions. A telephoto lens with a focal length of around 70-200mm or 100-400mm is recommended to get close-up shots of the action while maintaining a safe distance. A wide-angle lens can also come in handy for capturing the overall atmosphere and crowd.

Cowgirl Barrel Racing at the 27th Annual Pana’Ewa Stampede Rodeo in Hilo, Hawaii.

2. Study the Scene: Before you start shooting, take a moment to observe the arena layout and understand the various events that will take place. Familiarize yourself with the patterns of the participants, so you can anticipate the moments when the action will be most intense. Be mindful of your surroundings and the potential hazards, as rodeos can be fast-paced and unpredictable.

Bull Riding is the wildest 8 seconds in all sports and the most dangerous event in rodeo. A cowboy must stay on the bull for 8 seconds for the ride to count. Then they get a score considering the bull they are riding—the Cobb County Classic Rodeo @ Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta.

3. Shoot in Burst Mode: Rodeo events happen quickly; missing that perfect shot is too easy. Set your camera to burst mode to increase your chances of capturing those split-second moments. This mode allows you to take multiple photos rapidly, increasing the likelihood of getting a sharp and well-timed image.

Bronc riding–The Cobb County Classic Rodeo @ Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta.

4. Focus on Emotions: A successful rodeo photograph not only freezes the action but also captures the emotions of the participants and spectators. Look for those intense expressions of determination, excitement, and even fear as they add depth and storytelling to your images.

Hawaii High School State Finals at the Parker Ranch on The Big Island

5. Use a Fast Shutter Speed: Rodeo events involve fast and dynamic movements, so using a fast shutter speed is crucial to freeze the action. Aim for a shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second or faster to ensure sharp images and avoid motion blur.

The Big Island Bull-riding during the Rodeo Hawaii High School State Finals

6. Pay Attention to Lighting: Rodeos are often held in open-air arenas, meaning lighting conditions vary throughout the day. If shooting during the day, take advantage of natural sunlight, but be mindful of harsh shadows. During evening events, you may need to bump up your ISO to maintain a fast shutter speed while controlling noise.

Team Roping A header and a heeler mounted on horses make up the team. The title is tasked with roping the head of the steer around the horns, neck, or one horn and the nose. Once he does that, he wraps the rope around his saddle horn and maneuvers his horse to turn the steer to the left. The heeler then ropes both of the steer’s hind legs. This is the only rodeo event where men and women compete in single-gender or mixed-gender teams. 2020 Pana’Ewa Stampede Rodeo

7. Focus and Composition: Keep an eye on your focus points, ensuring they are set on the most critical part of the action, such as the rider’s face or the horse’s eye. Use the rule of thirds to compose your shots and give them a more visually appealing balance.

Dumy Roping, 2020 Pana’Ewa Stampede Rodeo [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1100, 1/4000, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 250)]

8. Capture the Details: Rodeos are rich in details that contribute to the authenticity of the experience. Don’t forget to zoom in and capture the intricacies of cowboy hats, boots, lassos, and other rodeo equipment. These close-up shots can make for captivating and memorable images.

Rodeo Parker Ranch, Waimea, Hawai’i Island Around the Island Trip

9. Respect the Participants: Remember that rodeo events involve real people and animals, and it’s essential to photograph them with respect. Avoid using intrusive flashes that might spook the animals or distract the competitors. Be mindful of your position and avoid obstructing the view of other spectators.

Rodeo Hawaii High School State Finals, The Parker Ranch, The Big Island

10. Tell a Story: Lastly, strive to tell a compelling story through your photographs. Aim to create a visual narrative showcasing the rodeo participants’ challenges, triumphs, and camaraderie. A well-curated collection of images that tells a story will truly bring the spirit of the rodeo to life.

With these tips in your saddlebag, you’re all set to capture the essence of National Cowboy Day at a rodeo event. So grab your camera, embrace the rugged charm of the Wild West, and immortalize the thrilling moments of these modern-day cowboys and cowgirls as they honor the traditions of the past. Happy shooting!

Vacation Photography Tips for Capturing Unforgettable Moments!

Summer is here, and many of us are excitedly planning our long-awaited vacations! One essential part of any trip is capturing those precious memories through photographs. However, it’s all too common to return home with vacation pictures that lack the magic we experienced during the trip. Fear not! We have some valuable tips to help elevate your vacation photography game and make your photos stand out.

1. Use Your Flash Wisely When using your camera’s flash, it’s crucial to be strategic. While it’s often necessary indoors to illuminate your subjects, using the flash outside can be beneficial too. It helps fill in shadows on faces when the sunlight is too harsh or creates unflattering shadows under hats or sunglasses. On the flip side, please avoid using the flash in dimly lit interiors as it can make your photos look unnatural and may even wash out your subjects.

Our vacation to Universal Orlando and specifically to see the new Harry Potter area and ride the train between the parks

2. Mind the Backlighting Backlighting can create a beautiful and ethereal effect, but it can also lead to your subjects’ faces being obscured by shadows. To avoid this, position yourself and your subjects so that the primary light source is not directly behind them. If the light is too strong, consider using a reflector or your camera’s fill-flash to balance the exposure.

Earl’s Court Underground Station in London

3. Pay Attention to Background Composition When visiting a stunning location, it’s easy to get carried away focusing solely on your subjects. However, take a moment to survey the surroundings and compose the background. Look for unique elements that complement your subjects and add depth to your images. By thoughtfully incorporating the environment, you can create captivating photos that tell a story about your vacation destination.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden WD25 7LR

4. Embrace Different Perspectives To avoid having your vacation photos blend in with others, experiment with various angles and perspectives. Mix up your shots with wide, medium, and close-up photographs. Wide images are excellent for capturing the overall scenery, while medium and close-up shots help you highlight specific details and emotions.

Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello located in Charlottesville, Virginia.

5. Bend, Low, and High! One simple trick to add dynamism to your photos is to vary your camera’s height. Bend your knees and get low to the ground to capture unique angles most people overlook. This perspective is beneficial for photographing kids, pets, or exciting patterns on the floor. Conversely, try holding your camera above your head to capture shots from a higher vantage point. This perspective can be great for capturing crowd scenes or aerial photos of landscapes.

Kensington Palace

Remember, the key to exceptional vacation photography is to capture the essence of the moment, the emotions, and the unique aspects of the places you visit. So, while enjoying your summer adventures, don’t forget to document those special memories through your lens!

Happy clicking, and have a fantastic summer full of unforgettable experiences!

Embracing the Familiar: Wisdom and Innovation in Photography, Video, and Audio


In the fast-paced world of technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of “everything new.” Photography, video, and audio equipment each year become more advanced, promising groundbreaking capabilities. However, for those with years of experience in these fields, we understand that not everything touted as “brand new” is novel. Many technological advancements build upon the foundations of our past experiences, reminding us that wisdom and expertise are timeless.

Building on Familiar Foundations

As seasoned photographers and videographers, we remember the days of working in darkrooms, manipulating film, and developing prints to perfection. When Adobe released Lightroom, it was undoubtedly revolutionary but built upon the knowledge and understanding of traditional darkroom techniques. The digital darkroom brought familiar concepts like exposure, contrast, and color balance into the digital age, making it easier for us to adapt and embrace the new technology.

ESPN studios in Charlotte, NC

The Evolution of Video Editing

Video editing software is another area where “everything new” borrows from the past. Terms like “bin,” “A-Roll,” and “B-Roll” are remnants of the analog editing days, where physical bins held reels of film or tape clips. Today, even though we use bins, the terminology remains, serving as a nod to our editing room heritage. This continuity ensures that veteran editors can transition seamlessly into the digital era while harnessing their past knowledge.

Practical Effects vs. CGI

The advent of computer-generated imagery (CGI) brought forth a new frontier in the movie industry. Suddenly, filmmakers could create fantastical worlds and creatures beyond the limits of practical effects. However, seasoned professionals recognized that beneficial results still held value even with CGI’s capabilities. Beneficial effects allow actors to interact with their surroundings more naturally, creating more realistic scenes and enhancing the overall cinematic experience.

Embracing the “Different”

In today’s world, innovation is often associated with doing something “different.” New media specialists entering the industry may bring fresh perspectives and approaches unencumbered by the limitations of traditional methods. Sometimes, their work truly breaks new ground and captivates audiences in unforeseen ways. Yet, they may also unknowingly replicate previously explored ideas simply because they lack the historical context.

On the other hand, seasoned professionals understand the industry’s history and the “tried-and-true” techniques. Doing something “different” is a conscious decision driven by expertise and the desire to push boundaries creatively. Their knowledge of the craft allows them to recognize true innovation and avoid unwittingly duplicating past ideas.

Stanley taking pictures in classroom Storyteller’s Abroad planning trip in Lima, Peru. Photo by Jeff Raymond

The Wisdom of Experience

The takeaway from all this is that technology while ever-evolving, is not the sole determinant of success in photography, video, and audio production. Clients seek out seasoned professionals for their ability to wield cutting-edge tools and the wisdom they bring. The deep understanding of the art form, the mastery of techniques, and the ability to adapt and embrace change make them indispensable.

Stanley taught storytelling to the ABWE missionaries working in Lima, Peru. Photo by Jeff Raymond

In Conclusion

In the dynamic world of photography, video, and audio, the confluence of experience and innovation drives the industry forward. The best content emerges when seasoned professionals’ wisdom merges with new media specialists’ fresh perspectives. Understanding the past enables us to build upon it, crafting a future that honors tradition while embracing the “different.” Ultimately, clients seek the individual’s skill, expertise, and creativity, proving that true brilliance lies in blending the familiar with the new.

The Power of Good Captions and Keywords: Unveiling the Stories Behind the Lens

As technology has evolved, photography has become integral to how we communicate and tell stories. A single photograph can speak volumes, capturing the essence of a moment frozen in time. But without the proper context, even the most compelling images can leave the audience unanswered questions. This is where the importance of good captions and keywords for photos comes into play.

In 2005, I embarked on a significant journey to West Africa, visiting the countries of Burkina Faso and Ghana to document missionary work. Armed with my camera, I captured images that would later become precious memories of the people, places, and experiences I encountered. At the time, my client required me to create captions for each photo, and 18 years later, I found myself looking back at these images with a profound appreciation for those captions.

A good photo caption serves as a bridge between the visual content and the audience. For photojournalists, it is not merely a descriptive text but a powerful storytelling tool. The most effective captions capture the essence of the moment, the emotions, and the significance of the image. They answer the fundamental questions of journalism, the “5 Ws”: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

When the viewer can identify the people in the photo, understand their actions, and grasp the context and purpose of the moment captured, a more profound connection is established. A well-written caption transforms a mere photograph into a compelling narrative, urging the audience to engage and empathize with the subjects.

As technology advanced, I discovered the value of keywords. While my client didn’t initially require them, I realized that adding keywords would enhance the discoverability and organization of my photo collection. With the help of software like Photo Mechanic Plus, I meticulously categorized my photos with relevant keywords, making it easier to find and utilize them in the future.

Moreover, advancements in camera technology have brought exciting features that aid in gathering crucial information alongside photos. Nikon’s incorporation of GPS in their top-of-the-line cameras, such as the Nikon Z9, has been a game-changer. With GPS, I can accurately record each image’s location, providing a geographical context that can be immensely valuable for various purposes.

Another handy tool I sometimes use is the ability to record an audio file associated with a photo. This feature is handy when in a hurry or with tricky spellings. Nonetheless, as someone who values storytelling, I often prefer writing down details about the moment to ensure accuracy and clarity.

Photos become powerful communication agents when paired with informative captions and relevant keywords. They spark curiosity and encourage the audience to explore the stories behind the lens. Whether it’s a humanitarian mission, a cultural event, or a moment of historical significance, the combination of visuals and well-crafted text amplifies the impact of the message conveyed.

In conclusion, good captions and keywords are not merely add-ons to a photograph. They are indispensable components that elevate the significance and impact of visual storytelling. As photojournalists and photographers, we must honor the moments we capture by providing the context that allows these images to transcend time and speak to future generations. So, the next time you frame a shot, remember that the power of your photograph lies not only in the image itself but in the words that breathe life into it. Capture the 5 Ws, and watch your stories resonate with the world.

The Power of Experience: Embracing Older Workers in the Modern Workplace


In today’s rapidly evolving job market, where diversity and inclusivity are increasingly valued, companies must recognize the immense value that older workers bring. While age bias continues to prevail, the reality is that older individuals possess a wealth of experience, wisdom, and a unique perspective that can greatly contribute to an organization’s success. This blog post aims to highlight the importance of recruiting older workers. It proposes a storytelling campaign to capture their stories, showcasing how they thrive in their prime with the accumulated experience they have gained over the years.

The Changing Landscape of the Labor Force:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force will increase by 8.9 million from 2020 to 2030. Notably, the labor force of individuals aged 16 to 24 is expected to shrink, while those aged 75 and older are projected to grow by a significant 96.5 percent during the same period. As baby boomers reach retirement age, a considerable portion of the workforce will be older adults. Recognizing this demographic shift is crucial for companies building diverse and dynamic teams.

Everyone in the family of the coffee farmer helps with the business, and here the matriarch is drying Arabica coffee beans in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico.

Challenging Age Bias in the Workplace:

Age bias, often overlooked in conversations about diversity and inclusion, remains a pervasive issue. Research conducted by Deloitte revealed that over two-thirds of companies consider older age a competitive disadvantage. This bias is further supported by data from the AARP, which indicates that age-related discrimination affects two-thirds of individuals aged 45 to 74. It is high time for organizations to challenge these stereotypes and tap into the immense potential of older workers.

Jay York went on the Storytellers Abroad Workshop in Lima, Peru, to learn how to tell stories for mission organizations.

Dispelling Retirement Myths:

The retirement industry often perpetuates the myth that people over 65 should retire, focusing on leisure and relaxation. However, research suggests that premature retirees may experience negative consequences such as depression, health issues, and a loss of purpose. Many individuals in their 60s and 70s actively engage with their careers and continue to make significant contributions. Inspiring examples include Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Madonna, Jane Fonda, and countless others who defy age-related expectations and continue to excel in their respective fields.

Harnessing the Power of Stories:

To shift perceptions and celebrate the achievements of older workers, companies can launch a compelling storytelling campaign. As a storyteller, you can be pivotal in capturing and sharing their experiences through engaging text, photos, and videos. Here’s how you can contribute:

  1. Identifying Engaging Subjects: Seek out older workers within the company who have inspiring stories of personal and professional growth. Look for individuals who have achieved remarkable milestones, overcome challenges, or contributed significantly to the organization.
  2. Conducting Interviews: Connect with these individuals and conduct interviews to delve deeper into their journeys. Please encourage them to share how their accumulated experience and wisdom enable them to excel in ways they couldn’t earlier in their careers. Explore how their unique perspectives bring value to the company.
  3. Crafting Compelling Narratives: Transform the interviews into captivating stories highlighting older workers’ achievements, resilience, and expertise. Use vivid language and compelling anecdotes to engage readers and bring their experiences to life.
  4. Incorporating Visual Elements: Enhance the storytelling experience by incorporating relevant photographs and videos. Show older workers actively participating in their roles, collaborating with colleagues, and showcasing their skills. Visuals can significantly amplify the impact of the narratives.
  5. Sharing the Stories: Publish the stories on various platforms, including the company’s website, social media channels, and internal communications. Encourage employees to share these stories, amplifying the message of inclusivity and showcasing the value of older workers within the organization.


Embracing older workers and recognizing their unique contributions is a moral imperative and a strategic advantage for companies. By launching a storytelling campaign, you can help capture and share the stories of these experienced individuals, highlighting their valuable role in the workforce. Through compelling narratives, photographs, and videos, you can challenge age bias, inspire others, and foster a culture that values employees’ diverse talents across all age groups. Let us strive to create workplaces where the power of experience is celebrated and harnessed for collective success.

The Importance of Continuous Growth for Entrepreneurs: Learning to Thrive

Photo by: Gibbs Frazeur


In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the adage “If you are not growing, you are dying” holds, especially for entrepreneurs. Adapting, learning, and diversifying are crucial for success in any industry. We open ourselves to new opportunities, revenue streams, and a competitive edge by embracing continuous growth and expanding our skill set. In this blog, we will explore the significance of ongoing learning and personal development for entrepreneurs, using my experiences as a testament to the power of growth.

Emanuel Yameogo is the pastor in Vili Village outside Koudougou, Burkina Faso.
  1. The Power of Learning: Photography as a Foundation: I began my journey by working at a newspaper, where they developed the basics of photography. This newfound skill became the cornerstone for their subsequent growth. I expanded my revenue streams by continuously building upon their knowledge of lighting, posing, and various photography niches. This example emphasizes how learning the fundamentals in one area can lay the groundwork for future success.
  2. Embracing Technological Advancements: I recognized the importance of staying updated with emerging technologies. I harnessed the power of audiovisual tools, from simple slide projectors to sophisticated software like SoundSlides. Incorporating video production skills and storytelling techniques could cater to organizations seeking effective communication methods. Embracing new technologies can transform entrepreneurs into pioneers, offering unique services and staying ahead of the competition.
  3. Navigating Competitive Challenges: As I ventured into new revenue streams, I encountered the challenge of increased competition. Customers driven solely by price often flocked to newcomers, impacting profitability. However, I diversified my skill set, encompassing multiple types of photography, videography, teaching, and strategic communications, enabling me to maintain longevity. By being adaptable and offering a wide range of services, entrepreneurs can withstand market fluctuations and changes in customer preferences.
  4. Thriving Amidst Uncertainty: Learning During the Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed further growth. With limited business opportunities, I utilized the time to acquire new knowledge and skills. I leveraged online resources like YouTube tutorials to become FAA Part 107 certified and commercially operate drones. This proactive approach exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of seizing growth opportunities, even in challenging times.
Student Maria J. Kommeth sets the lens for the laser as Professor Jeannette Yen looks at it. This is research about microorganisms in the Biology Department. Focused on studying aquatic chemical ecology, Dr. Jeannette Yen’s lab employs graduate and undergraduate students to understand marine zooplankton interaction, behavior, morphology, ecology, and reproductive strategies. Current research topics range from studying harmful algal blooms’ effect on marine copepod behavior to understanding swimming behavior and hydrodynamics.


The journey of an entrepreneur is one of constant growth and adaptation. By recognizing the importance of continuous learning, entrepreneurs can remain relevant, seize new opportunities, and overcome competitive challenges. My experiences demonstrate that building upon existing skills, embracing emerging technologies, and proactively seeking growth during adverse circumstances can pave the way for long-term success. As an entrepreneur, remember that stagnation is the enemy, and continuous growth is the key to thriving in an ever-evolving business world.

Beth Judson, Ph.D. Student, Utilizes Rapid Prototyping Technique to Fill Her Mold with Aluminum Oxide Powder for Ceramics Project.

Mastering Drone Footage Editing: Challenges, Triumphs, and the Need for an Editor


Drone footage has become increasingly popular in capturing stunning aerial views and adding a unique video perspective. However, the process of editing drone footage can be both rewarding and challenging. This blog post will delve into my recent journey of editing drone footage using Adobe Premiere Pro, explicitly focusing on utilizing Warp Stabilizer and Speed Ramping. I will share my achievements, the hurdles I encountered, and the valuable lesson I learned about the importance of hiring an experienced editor.

Mastering Drone Footage Editing: Challenges, Triumphs, and the Need for an Editor

Drone footage presents a myriad of possibilities for creating visually captivating videos. It allows us to soar through landscapes, capture intricate details from above, and evoke a sense of awe in viewers. However, transforming raw drone footage into a polished and professional final product requires expertise in editing techniques.

Over the past two days, I embarked on a self-taught journey to master editing drone footage. Armed with Adobe Premiere Pro, I focused on harnessing the power of two essential tools: Warp Stabilizer and Speed Ramping. Little did I know the challenges that awaited me.

The first hurdle I encountered was navigating the myriad options in the Warp Stabilizer tool. After I ran it with the default settings, I had a few spots that it jumped around. I discovered the best thing was to turn on Detailed Analysis. When set to on, the next Analysis phase does extra work to find elements to track. The resulting data (stored in the project as part of the effect) is much larger and slower with this option enabled.

After experimentation, I discovered that the perspective stabilizer with a smoothness value set at 10 provided the desired results. 50 is the default setting, but after much research, most people say this needs to be lowered. Many suggest below 20, and many say as low as 1. However, it was crucial to meticulously stabilize the footage, iteratively adjusting it until I achieved the desired smoothness. The higher the number, the more it will crop for my footage.

As I delved deeper, I stumbled upon a valuable insight. I realized I could apply Speed Ramp effects to create dynamic and impactful moments in the footage by nesting the stabilized clip. This breakthrough allowed me to add an extra layer of excitement and energy to the video.

However, a significant challenge arose when dealing with drone flights that extended beyond three and a half minutes. The drone automatically splits the footage into two separate clips. Unfortunately, applying warp stabilization individually to each clip resulted in misalignment when merged. This presented a frustrating setback.

A potential workaround emerged: I discovered that I could ensure better alignment by nesting the clips before applying warp stabilization. However, this solution required exporting the nested clip, reimporting it, and using the desired Speed Ramp effects. It was a laborious process, but it ultimately yielded satisfactory results. I had to start over from scratch.

After investing significant time and effort, I feel confident in my outcome. The footage now boasts improved smoothness and dynamic speed changes, enhancing visual storytelling. However, this journey has also underscored the importance of collaboration and seeking expertise when necessary.

Recognizing the limits of my abilities, I am now convinced that there are times when hiring a professional editor is the wisest choice. James Dockery, a senior editor with ESPN and a close friend, with his vast experience and daily immersion in the world of editing, possesses the skills to add those crucial finishing touches that can elevate the footage to a whole new level.

In conclusion, editing drone footage is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Exploring tools like Warp Stabilizer and Speed Ramping opens a world of possibilities for creating captivating videos. However, it is crucial to acknowledge when an editor’s expertise is needed to perfect the final product.

Celebrating Retirement as a Freelancer: Honoring Gig Workers’ Contributions

Introduction: As a photographer covering two retirement celebrations recently, I couldn’t help but reflect on the absence of such events for freelancers like myself. It sparked an important realization: while gig workers may not have the luxury of a company throwing a retirement party, we can still create meaningful celebrations to honor our contributions. In this article, inspired by those experiences, we will explore suggestions and ideas for freelancers to commemorate their retirement and emphasize the importance of capturing photos and videos of the event.

Here are some photos from Wayne Hoover & Heyward Hoover’s Retirement Parties

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  1. Reflect on your journey: As a freelancer, take a moment to reflect on the path that led you to retirement. Consider the projects you’ve worked on, the clients you’ve served, and the lasting impact you’ve made through your work. This introspection will help you appreciate your professional journey and inspire you to create a memorable retirement celebration.
  2. Share your achievements: Invite close friends, family members, and colleagues who have been part of your freelancing career to celebrate your retirement. Please encourage them to share stories, memories, and testimonials about your contributions and positive impact on their lives and projects. These heartfelt speeches honor your achievements and serve as a special reminder of your professional legacy.
  3. Plan a gathering or event: Organize a retirement party or a small gathering to celebrate this significant milestone. Choose a venue that holds personal significance or aligns with your professional field. Ensure that you capture the essence of the event by hiring a fellow photographer or videographer to document the festivities. These visual memories will allow you to relive and share the celebration with others.
  4. Collaborate with fellow freelancers: Freelancers often form strong bonds with their peers in the industry. Consider collaborating with other gig workers who are retiring or have recently retired to organize a joint celebration. This collective event can foster a sense of camaraderie and support. Capture group photos or videos of this unique gathering to commemorate the shared experiences and friendships built throughout your careers.
  5. Create a digital tribute: In today’s digital age, a retirement celebration can extend beyond physical gatherings. Utilize social media platforms, websites, or blogs to create a digital tribute to your career as a freelancer. Share highlights, testimonials from clients and collaborators, and personal reflections. Be sure to include the photos and videos captured during your retirement celebration, allowing others to share in the joyous occasion and appreciate your contributions.
  6. Preserve the memories: As a photographer, you understand the power of visual storytelling. Ensure you capture high-quality photos and videos of your retirement event, highlighting the key moments and interactions. These visual memories will become a cherished keepsake you can revisit whenever you want to relive the celebration. Additionally, share these images with your friends, family, and clients to share the joy and gratitude felt on this crucial day.

Conclusion: While freelancers may not have the luxury of company-organized retirement parties, we have the power to create meaningful celebrations. Reflect on your journey, share your achievements, plan a gathering, collaborate with fellow freelancers, create a digital tribute, and remember to preserve the memories through photos and videos. By doing so, you can honor your contributions, inspire others in the freelance community, and leave a lasting legacy. Embrace the opportunity to celebrate your retirement with pride and gratitude and capture the moments that will forever remind you of your impact as a gig worker.