Photo of the Week, Vol. 8

Recently I watched a promotional video for Jeremy Cowart’s ”See University,” an online seminar for photographers. In the video he speaks about how all of us are, right now, starting the “beginning of our digital family tree.” That “one day our grandchildren and their grandchildren will google us and read about our history” – or in other words reading the book we are writing.

I’m sure this has been a thought that has popped into all of our heads in some form or fashion over the past several years. Daily, we post to our devices, consume other’s posts and bury ourselves in a consistent supply of digital stories.

Last weekend I took a trip to Chicago to visit my brother and decided to use my iPhone 6+ to document the trip and scenes around me. I took several images that eventually were posted to my social media sites for the whole world to see. While these photos are nothing spectacular they do help me remember how much fun my brother and I had that weekend and the laughs Ren and I shared.

While I will remember this weekend for many years to come, simple details like the weather, the unfolding of events and dates will eventually fade and I’ll most likely have to rely on these tiny 640 px x 640 px images to help me remember these minute details that might spark another special memory we shared. Ren and I were truly adding to our digital family tree this weekend.

It’s exciting to think my ancestors might look back on these images one day and catch a glimpse of their family’s past or the “start of their digital family tree.”

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Photo of the Week, Vol. 7

Over the past two weeks I’ve been getting high school sports assignments from the Lawrence Journal World and it has been AWESOME. After spending the past four years around University athletes and teams I forgot how incredibly gifted high school athletes can be and how much emotion rides on every game and event.

Last weekend I got a call from Mike Yoder, LJW Chief Photographer, asking if I wanted to photograph the Kansas 6A State Swim Championship. Of course I took the great opportunity even though I’d never photographed an entire swim meet before. When I showed up at Topeka Hummer Sports Complex I was mesmerized by how many people were there and the incredible amounts of colors representing each school. My assignment was to photograph six different athletes from two different schools competing in eight different events.

When I got into the media room I grabbed a sheet with all the heats on it and was totally lost at what to do. After a couple minutes of trying to comprehend who was who and what was what I saw a familiar face, Chris Neal, a staff photographer at the Topeka-Capitol Journal and overall hard worker and great guy.

Chris was my savior on this day. He showed me where to shoot from, how to read what heat was when and little things like to stop down when taking a picture of the scoreboard so I had the times after each heat. It really goes ot show how little I really know and how much I cannot wait to learn.

My Photo of Week, Vol. 7 is of a Lawrence High School freshman named Stephen Johnson, one of the six athletes I was to photograph. I was in a spot that allowed me to get reaction from each athlete as they looked at the board. Johnson’s race was the 500 yard freestyle, a grueling event known for its length. The celebrations from the heat before were uneventful but Johnson’s heat was a very close finish, resulting in a jubilant celebration from Johnson (after he got the water out of his eyes). Below is a sequence and the image I picked that ran in the LJ World on Sunday.

A big thanks to Chris Neal and a big congratulations to Stephen Johnson on placing third in the State Championship as a freshman, an impressive feat!

See more of my Photos of the Week here:

1 second (10 frames) sequence:


Photo Specs:
Canon 7D II (1/250’, 2.8, 2500)
Canon 70 - 200 IS

Photo of the Week, Vol. 6

Astrophotography has always been a special interest of mine and luckily for me and other photographers my age we’re not working with film, meaning we get instant results and can play around with different concepts at essentially no cost. I started doing astrophotography a few years back in Northern Michigan or what Michiganians consider “Up North.” I never imagined another sky would be able to compare to those Up North until I visited the Flint Hills of Kansas.

The Flint Hills are incredible – wide open prairie that dips and turns as far as the eye can see. Eagles, hawks, deer, foxes, bobcats and buffalo roam the hills freely, instilling a sense of wilderness and freedom.

The Flint Hills are beautiful during the day but at night they turn magical. The skies are untouched and in many parts not a ounce of light pollution is visible.

This week’s Photo of the Week was taken right outside Cottonwood Falls and was set up around 6:30 p.m. just as the sun’s warm glow faded softly into the night. I wouldn’t take the final image for another 11 hours, waiting patiently for the precise time ( 5:33 a.m. to be exact) when the Milky Way galaxy and moon lined up with the hilly terrain.

Below are two different frames, one without light and one “painted” with light. I want to exhibit how light can change an image and hopefully in this case, make an image more appealing. Three different light sources were working together in this image. One was the moon, the other my headlight in its red “night mode,” and my car’s lights. The image took about 30 minutes to get right but after all was said and done I was happy with what I had as a final image.

See more of my Photos of the Week at

Using Format