The Power of Anticipation: A Photographer’s Journey

This is one of my wife’s favorite photos I took in Garango, Burkina Faso, West Africa. She said the smile of the boy was infectious.


Throughout my years as a photographer, I’ve often been asked about my favorite place I’ve ever been or my favorite photo I’ve ever taken. It’s a question that’s plagued many photographers. I used to search for the perfect answer, often echoing the sentiment of other photographers who would say their next place or next photo is their favorite. But over time, I’ve realized that what truly inspires me is not just the destinations I’ve been to or the images I’ve captured; it’s the anticipation of what’s to come.

The Thrill of Anticipation:

There’s something magical about anticipating a new adventure, a new location, or the excitement of capturing the perfect shot. It’s this feeling of the unknown that fuels my passion for photography. The prospect of exploring new places, meeting new people, and encountering the unexpected keeps me motivated to continue creating and telling stories through my lens. It’s not just about relishing past experiences but eagerly looking forward to the next one.

The Impact of Photography:

While the thrill of anticipation is undeniably motivating, what has had the most profound impact on my life as a photographer is the way my photos touch the hearts of others. Some of my most moving experiences have been when people have shared their thoughts and feelings about an image I’ve taken, expressing how much they love it. What makes these moments even more remarkable is that, in most cases, the focus is not on me as the photographer but on the people or places captured in the frame.

Capturing Memories:

Though I may not have all the notes, emails, or comments in person, I remember those heartfelt reactions to my work. These moments have shown me that photography is not just about capturing images; it’s about freezing moments in time that resonate with people, stir emotions, and tell meaningful stories.

Photos that Touched Hearts:

In this post, I want to share some photos that people have commented on and expressed their love for. These images have left a lasting impression on others and have, in turn, enriched my journey as a photographer.

I photographed the mother and her child at Bon Berger (Good Shepherd) Baptist Church in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Therese Benfield LaValley, my cousin, thought this was one of my best photos ever. Her dad, Knolan, had taught me how to take photos.

This photo shows David Wood’s ability to meet total strangers and connect with them quickly.

This was the editor’s pick for the cover from my Burkina Faso and Ghana coverage. David Wood walked through the Senara town of Dakoro, meeting the village people.
John Toon, Manager of the Research News & Publications Office for Georgia Tech Research Institute, told me this was probably the most published photo in the history of Georgia Tech. Microneedles give painless shots. The smaller the hypodermic needle, the less it hurts when it pierces the skin. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed ways to manufacture solid and hollow metal, silicon, plastic, and glass microneedles that range in size from one millimeter to one-thousandth of a millimeter.
This was one of my family’s favorites of our daughter Chelle during our beach trip to Ocean Isle Beach one year ago.


This is another family favorite that I even sent out as a marketing piece for our daughter Chelle’s first Shirley Temple Drink in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
This is considered in the top 10 NCAA dunks of all time, and I happened to capture the expression of Engin Atsür just as Isma’il Muhammad soars over him. Sports photography has much more to do with the athlete making some super athletic move, and the photographer gets the credit for being ready for it. Georgia Tech’s #2 Isma’il Muhammad slams one early over NC State’s #14 Engin Atsür during play at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 13, 2005.
The photos I have taken over the years in our backyard of the Red-Shouldered Hawks continue to get lots of comments, especially from my neighbors.
The male red cardinal in the snow near our birdfeeders had friends asking for photocopies.
Every once in a while, you get to have a photogenic subject like I did with Jane Yandel for her senior Photos. She and her mother loved the photos from the photo shoot.

Lately, my drone photos have been getting lots of comments. I think this is because they are from a different perspective that most people do not see in their daily lives. I love taking these photos because I love seeing things from a birdseye perspective.

While the anticipation of the next adventure and the next perfect shot will always be a driving force in my life, the impact of my photos on others truly gives meaning to my work. The ability to evoke emotions, spark memories, and connect with people through my photography is a privilege I cherish. As I continue this photographic journey, I look forward to creating more moments that resonate with people and tell stories that transcend the frame. After all, photography’s power to touch hearts and inspire makes this journey genuinely remarkable.