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.

A Bumpy Ride but Arrived a Mile High in Denver

So we are in the Mile High city for a few days for the birth of our second grandson, Luke, but while we are here we get to take a side trip over to Colorado Springs and visit with a ministry group there. On a side note, there are an amazing number of ginormous ministry groups here in Colorado Springs, like Focus on the Family, Compassion International, Promise Keepers was at one point, and so on… amazing. We are going to get to talk about the kids in our sponsor program from Cornerstone like the girl you saw in my previous post. I’m always excited to get to talk to people when it deals with ministry and photography at the same time. It’s one thing to get to work in an area you are passionate about but it’s really fantastic when you get to combine two passions together, even if it’s just to talk about future possibilities.

So, quick photo of the day above, which is actually from yesterday. We ended up landing in Denver in horrible weather (which is rare out here). It’s also freezing out here, well, it’s not 100*F out here, but all the resort towns are expecting snow this weekend. Until next time…

The Most Colorful Macro Flower Edition of Friday Feet

I thought I would make today’s Friday Feet the most colorful set of flowers shot in this series. I spent most of the day in blasting 100*F heat cutting acres of dry grass so this was a nice break. The flowers are from the Stephens family from after their service yesterday (see previous post). They were nice enough to let everyone take home some flowers from what turned out to be one of the most beautiful displays of flowers I have ever seen at any service, and now they can live on forever on the interwebs. In fact, there were so many flowers that everyone who wanted any got to take some home and the lobby of the church was still filled with flowers when everyone left.

The shots below were macro shots taken at a 1:1 magnification ratio or greater. The orange rose with the water drops was slightly greater than 1:1 by using what is called an extension tube (basically 27mm’s of air between the lens of the camera body). I love macro photography. It has a tendency to show all kinds of details that we just don’t see through casual observation like the oil and water colors from a few weeks ago. The first show below of the two pedals is the big flower on the very top by the basket handle above. No special lighting or anything, the flowers were just that colorful. Have a good weekend everyone.

Almost Finished with an Initial Review of Uganda Photos

I have been back for almost two weeks now and it has taken me this long just to get through an initial run-through of all the images I shot in Uganda. What’s amazing to me about the images we captured is how many individual stories there are, waiting to be told, at some point down the road. I tried to go to Uganda with as few preconceived notions about I was going to be able to shoot as I could, and I’m glad I did. Not really having any idea what I would be able to capture gave me the freedom to shoot journalistically per se.

Looking back at the entire shoot in it’s complete unedited form showed me a greater story that is impossible to tell in one blog post, or even several. That’s the great thing about being part of something bigger than just an individual process, and I love that about the mission work our church is involved with in Buloba. It’s not about an individual effort but a collective group of teams over many years building countless relationships with people. Now that I have gone through the whole set of photos over the next few weeks, a little at a time, I’m going to post some short individual stories that came through to me.

A Special Uganda Soccer Friday Feet Edition :: Part 2

Here is the second edition of the Friday Feet post. It was amazing to see these guys play with no shoes, broken shoes, shoes with no laces, and everything in between, and no body seemed to care, the only thing any of them cared about was getting to play soccer. It was an amazing day, can’t wait to share more photos with everyone. Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day so I’m not sure if or when my next post will be but I and the entire team really appreciate your prayers while we move ahead over here. I know for myself I have seen God work in ways I never dreamed possible before I left Auburn, and I can’t wait to see what the next few days will be like.

First July Mission Team Uganda 11-21 Heads to Atlanta

Cornerstone has two teams headed to Uganda in July (I’m on the second trip that leaves in two weeks), and the first team left today for Atlanta and then almost 8,000 miles and two 9 hour flights to Kampala, Uganda. I love being around people who are following their faith not just with words but with actions. Our salvation is not ever tied to our works, but we are called to action not just words, and I love that about these people leaving today. Imperfect people following a perfect Savior as best they can. They were all very excited about the days ahead, and if you want to follow their trip, two of them will be blogging as they can from here and here. Please be praying for our team members as they begin to arrive and get settled into their routine. Here is who is on the mission trip in that photo above:

RJ Harris
Dan Harris
Jonathan Savage
Amy Coxwell
April Brown
Jennifer Robinson
Davis Robinson
Casey Huff
Josh Cumberland

Telecommuting Can Save Your Business Money

Some of you may or may not know that I have been looking for a good job match in a full time IT related field for about 3-4 years now (yes I said years). So far, it has been one of the most frustrating ongoing experiences I have had in business.

I have been denied a lowly $7-9/hour job to work out of my home office because I had too much experience, and have turned down a $60,000 job because it wasn’t a good match between my personality and their culture.  There is nothing easy about finding a good career match any more, and I have a lot to offer a company.  Almost 20 years of business experience, education, flexibility, a low required salary, and a willingness to travel.  See also my post Top 5 Tips to Help Your Job Search.

How I Can Save Your Business Money

What is astonishing to me, is how many potential employers will not look at the possibility of having a professional (and I mean that in every sense of the word) work out of their home office when the typical IT job really doesn’t require a physical presence in an office, or anywhere for that matter.  I understand some do, and that’s fine, but not all by any stretch.

It’s simple math.  If I can be hired to do a job in a middle-income American city for $50,000, which requires me to move, I can do the exact same job from my home office for $40,000.  That’s $10,000 a year in payroll expenses your company doesn’t have to pay.  Computer equipment they don’t have to buy, phones, office space, parking, gas, and food that doesn’t have to be purchased.  If your company has a tight budget and really needs to control expenses, why ignore this potential savings?

My Office is Better Equipped Than Most Office Buildings

How old is your office equipment? What tools are you missing to get your job done in an effective and efficient manner?

I have 4 different phone lines/numbers I can use including a landline, cellular, and VoIP.  A network of 5-6 computers (PC and MAC), laptops, desktops, mobiles devices, a reliable 6M high speed DSL line, 10 TB of data storage (yes Tera), data backups, and my office is even wired for a 20KW backup generator in case of power failure with 250 gallons of propane on site.  I am probably better equipped and better prepared than the standard office building in middle America.

With that said, I have no problem going out of city or state for the right position, it will just cost everyone more money.

What Comes Around (To Get Down, Timo Maas)

This week I had a few different conversations with potential employers, some very promising.  One of these companies was so unique in the way they required applicants to submit information I decided to go the extra mile and respond to their creativeness with creativity by making a portfolio video.  Videos like this are nothing new but I made it specifically for them for an added personal touch.

Below is the video, (with the names removed to protect the innocent of course), but if you are one of those out there looking for a job, don’t just do the exact same thing that all the other applicants do, that accomplishes nothing but allowing yourself to blend in.  Be creative, stand out, showcase your skills.  Not all employers will appreciate this approach for sure, but a company looking for a Linchpin instead of a door knob will.

See the full size version of The Portfolio Project here.

The Streak Hair Salon Photo Shoot in Auburn

Last week I did a photo shoot for a local hair salon called Streak Hair Studio.  Being that I have so much experience in cutting my own hair, the owner, Jen Slocumb decided I was the perfect candidate to do the shoot (ha).  Hair has never much been my personal strong suit but at least if I can’t have my own I can do the photography for some who are professionals in making those who have hair look good.

I don’t do many hair salon photos shoots but this one was a blast.  All the gals over at Streak were great and put up with all my requests to stand in one place without breathing or moving for over extended periods of time.  Below are just a few from the shoot, if you are one who has hair, drop by for a highlight or two, they will fix you right up.

Jen from Streak

Streak Hair Studio

Streak Hair Studio

Streak Hair Studio

Streak Hair Studio