Makayla Massey Senior Photo Shoot for 2013

Makayla Massey Senior Photo Shoot

I so rarely do senior photo shoots, but somehow I ended up doing two within two weeks of each other this summer. This is the first one with Makayla who is entering her senior year next week. Even though I don’t get to do many of these shoots, I love the personal attention and time you get to spend with the parents and the student. It is nice to get to know people a little better than just the normal setting. On this occasion, Deborah and Cindy (Makayla’s mom), got to walk out into the deep thick grass of the pasture in 100*F weather while we did the shoot. Thank goodness you can’t tell that everyone except Makayla is sweating to death. Makayla did super, hope she has a wonderful senior year this year.

Below are a few of my favorites from the shoot that evening. You can see a few more over on my Flickr site as well.

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross :: Photos

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Last night was our Good Friday service, one that contained a combination of worship and examining confession at the foot of the cross. It’s hard to put into words what that means, and Brian said it best when he told everyone that the cross speaks for itself, and it does. There really aren’t words that are sufficient enough to describe the power of the cross and what Christ did on that day. So, in keeping with words aren’t needed, I’ll let the photos here speak for themselves as well, which is one of the reasons I love photography as much as I do.

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

A Night of Communion, Prayer, Meditation, and Confession :: Photos

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and Confession

Last night was the Cornerstone Church Maundy Thursday gathering, a time spent in prayer, communion, Christian meditation, and confession. This night was much different than last year, in many ways much more simple. This year a big part of looking forward to tonight, Good Friday, was to look at our own sin, and practice confession as it is called for in James 5.16, and many other places in Scripture. There weren’t really any good places to hide, but in a dimly lit worship area the boards were filled with people following the command to confess before each other, and before God. Confession in our culture has been almost completely removed at this point, so much so, I commented last night that we don’t even know how to do this any more.

For many of us, I’m sure it was the first time we had been given the opportunity to participate in confession in this manner, and it lasted until 1am on Friday morning. Below are some images I took around the room (before the congregation was brought in, no I didn’t not go around taking photos of people’s confessions). Tonight we all come back together again to observe the meaning of Good Friday. [On a side note, the image of Jon playing the guitar below in black and white is my Project 365 (P365.me :2012 gallery) image for Day 129].

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and Confession

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and Confession

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and Confession

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and Confession

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and Confession

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and Confession

A Photographic Look at the Faces of Uganda :: Part 2

This is part two of a post I did last week (part 1) on the faces of Uganda. This set of images was a quick project related to the kids at African Renewal Ministries (ARM), which is the ministry group in charge of the sponsor child program we work with at Cornerstone Church. This is a pretty amazing program for the kids in Uganda and ARM coordinates the sponsorship of over 7,000 children in Uganda right now, along with being a bridge for churches and other non-profit organizations among other things. They are an amazing group, but you can really see the difference they make when you actually go over to Uganda and meet the children in the program in person and see that it really does make a difference to them.

To me, they are in the business of producing fruit… something we all should have on our to-do list as Christians, if I can say that and not make it sound like a checklist. They, and the people who work with them are producing the fruit, described in John 15, for future generations in Uganda. Something not just talked about in John but all over scripture, and to me that’s exciting. Our October mission team leaves in about a week and I can’t wait to get back to see those kids again. Just saying that feels a little weird since I’m not really one for searching out kid-friendly whatever but there is just something about the joy those kids have about life that is contagious, except perhaps when they get caught in the rain, but who likes that.

A Photographic Look at the Faces of Uganda :: Part 1

Today I finally had a chance to process some more photos from the shoot in Uganda. These were specifically pulled out for the kids, and there were way too many to put into one single post so I broke this up into two pieces. I’m not sure what preconceived stereotypes you have in your head when you think about the phrase “Uganda kid photos”, but what I had in mind was the late night 2am TV commercials guilting you into sending money. That just wasn’t what I saw when I was there, and below is a very small sampling of what I encountered while I was there in August. There is no sugar coating their hardships, and they do exist, but as you are surrounded by people who have basically nothing, according to our western standards, you find they are happy, smiling, laughing, and overall excited to see you.

It was quite inspiring to be around people who seemed to genuinely happy in spite of the adversity they face. There are so many things we (I include me in this) complain about every day that I think some days we just flat out lose our joy for life. Perspective helps, but that too fades with time. Ultimately I pray God will at least change my heart for the things He cares about, like the people in these photos. Only about 10 more days before I head back to Uganda with a completely different group of people, a completely different mission and schedule, but I’m pretty sure all of us have a soft spot in our heart for these smiling faces. In some respects this upcoming trip will be emotionally harder as we are scheduled to be in two different children’s prisons in the middle of the week. I know God will be moving with us and the kids while we are there, but I know the entire team would appreciate your prayers as we get closer to leaving.

Keep an eye out for part two of this post with the remaining five or so photos from this particular batch. Have a great weekend.

The Four Fillmer Boys as We Welcome Luke into the World

Well one down and one to go. Today we welcomed baby Luke into the world today at 10:07am in Longmont Colorado. Luke weighed in at 8 pounds and measured 21 inches and seemed to be totally at peace with his own existence within a few minutes, hardly even cried except when various nurses jolted him here and there. The photo above, today’s photo of the day, is the first ever shot of the four Fillmer boys, and also the four people who contributed and helped the very least in bringing baby Luke into the world today. It would be really cool to add the other two Fillmer boys (Larry and Les) to this photo some day, but one is in Germany right now and the other in Alabama.

I think I took about 1200 photos of the baby and all the various participants and visitors from today’s glorious event. There were many great shots of mom and baby but those will come later. Deborah and I were so happy today to be witness to the birth of our second grandson (and we were told our last), can’t wait to share a few more photos down the road so to speak. Next up is my sister who should deliver within a week or so, hopefully she will wait until we get back to Alabama so we can get the first photos of our newest niece.

Friday Night Auburn Lights Photo at Jordan-Hare Stadium :: Friday Feet

It’s the Friday night before the first Auburn football game and it’s become sort of a tradition with Deborah and I to walk around downtown and eat dinner while we watch all the “out of towners” stroll in. Last year it was Hamilton’s on Magnolia, this year it ended up being a very crowded Mellow Mushroom. It’s always interesting to see our quiet southern town turn into a crazy madhouse, but that’s fall, and that’s what makes Auburn such a unique town. It also makes for some great photographic opportunities. At this point I’m not sure how many times I have shot Jordan-Hare Stadium (one of my favorites came right off my iPhone), but it always seems to have another look, another angle, or different colors that I haven’t found or seen before. What’s even better are the countless shots of Jordan-Hare on Flickr and other places that seems to find even more looks to this great stadium.

If you are in Auburn take a walk down to the stadium and see the new black and white banners that went up in the off season, they look great and once again they changed the face of Jordan-Hare. So here is hoping Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers have another fantastic season down here on the the plains.

Amsterdam Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens :: AMS-EBB

This is a continuation of my series, airports and a 50mm lens. Since I was in Europe this time I didn’t really get quite a much material as I normally do in a place like Atlanta. For one thing, once I get outside the United States shooting [photos] in an airport isn’t quite the same. The laws are different all over the world. I know what I can and can’t shoot in the U.S., and I can stand my ground in most cases in my own country. Not so much once I get outside the U.S., so this series changes a bit, to err on the side of caution.

Europe is usually ok about photographers as long as you aren’t obnoxious and you don’t look too suspicious but Entebbe is another story. I didn’t take hardly anything once we landed over there but on my next trip I know on the way back home there are a few things I would like to capture. I’ll see. In October I may be as tired as I was when we left in August, but EBB right now is about one single shot.

Here is a quick shoot of Amsterdam. There was a lot I didn’t get since our connection was so short, but next time I have a 5 hour connection so I should be able to improve upon this shoot. If you are wondering what’s the point… well, I actually consider this street photography, something I have really come to love over the years. Trying to capture a mood, or an expression, without someone standing in front of you going “smile” isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it’s just more genuine. To me it shows a more realistic view of life. Everything in this (and all my 50mm airport series) is shot with one single focal length lens (obviously a 50mm), and to me, it tells a totally different story than the post from Atlanta 8 hours earlier told.

Atlanta Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens :: ATL-AMS

I have this random series I have done on my blog for years called “airport in 50mm” that looks photographically at a particular airport with just a 50mm lens. I did this for this last trip except for the airport in Entebbe where I wasn’t sure if I would get shot by the guy holding the M-16 for taking a photo but I was pretty sure they would confiscate my camera and or SD card so I skipped that one, maybe when I go back. I always find it fascinating that you can take photos of the same place but capture a totally different perspective each time, but they always are because every day brings to live a new perspective (see the last Atlanta post). This was the first stop along an extremely long set of flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam to Entebbe. Each image was taken with a 50mm prime lens.

Southern Drought No News Wants to Cover :: Friday Feet

We have been in this drought for some time now, it seems like years, because it has been. For about the last 5 years or so we just have not had any steady rain at all. The best evidence of the drought, at least on our property, is our pond. This is basically a 2 acre pond that is rain fed. From the feet shot you can see it is dry as the Arizona desert. From the shot of the pond area, almost the entire view of the photo should be under water, in fact I am basically standing where the water should be. Anyway, I know it’s not the most photographic Friday Feet but it’s what this summer is turning out to be like on our side of the world. We could really use an active hurricane season where we get some nice slow moving weak storms over and over again. I know the fish shot is kind of gross so I left you with my moms yellow flowers blooming like mad in this 100* weather.

Coming up soon, some uber cute shots of my nephews in their Chick-fil-a cow costume for their annual photo contest. It was quite something to shoot people in cow costumes in 100* weather. Have a good weekend.