From Denver to Auburn for a Summer Visit

Project 365 [Day 225] Fillmer Family on the Farm in Alabama
Bryan, Sara, Luke, and William Fillmer on the Tree Swing
This week our family from out in Colorado came out to see us. We had my son (Bryan) and his wife (Sara), her mother (Karen), and their two previous kids (yes, our grandkids), who are 9 months (Luke) and 6 years old (William), out from Denver to visit with us. It was a short visit, but we had enough time yesterday in the sweltering heat to do some family photography out on the tree swing. This is just a small sampling of photos, but enough to see who the joker is, and who likes sitting in the grass. We haven’t seen Luke since he was born back in September when he looked like this, and they haven’t been to the property since July, when Luke looked like this. It’s amazing to see how much he has grown since then. Tomorrow they fly back to Denver where the air is thin and dry, but Nana and Popo were very excited to get to see the grandkids again for a quick summer visit.

Photographic Week in Review of Outtakes :: Saturday Summary

I started thinking about all the photos I take during the week that never see the light of day. They could be photos on my phone or when I haul around my DSLR (which is most places right now until I find a suitable replacement for everyday stuff like the x100), but most get archived and are never seen from again. This odd collection of photos has nothing in common with the other except they all took place within the last 7 days. I’m calling this gallery a “Saturday Summary” and just including a hodge-podge of 5-10 photos from the previous week. These in this post are from July 2nd to July 9th, which included a weird set of images from stuff like the one rain we actually got in Auburn to the Cow Appreciation Day photos for Chick-fil-a my sister wanted of my nephews (which could be the cutest photo ever even if I do say so).

Call me strange but I love looking at the week in photos. It’s just a narrow frozen piece of time in the normal routine of daily life, something photographers rarely covered years ago, but something we now have the ability to document quickly, easily, and in great high quality. It may be the product of our age or culture, and it also may be just too much in general, but I would love to have seen photos of everyday life from my grandfather’s house, or great-grandfather.

Photos of the 4th of July Fireworks in Auburn

Yes, I know I’m a little late with the fireworks pics but oh well. The fireworks in Auburn were good as always, the only thing that just kills me every year is they don’t go high enough in the sky to get up over the power lines, and I have tried different locations every year. You can see from the grande finale shot above that Alabama Power just had to be front and center, otherwise, I love the shot. Each year they do this outdoor festival thing, which is more akin to thousands of people sitting around in the park waiting for the fireworks, but it is a great opportunity to shoot. It’s always a good show but hours of waiting and fighting the traffic afterwards for 10 minutes of fireworks has me thinking we might try a new show next year. Boston Pops would be cool.

A Much Needed Lazy Day 4th of July This Year

Today was a much needed day to do nothing but sit at home and read and enjoy a day off, so Ebby and I sat out on the patio and read and did much of nothing. Funny, this is pretty much what she does on a daily basis, to her there was no difference today than there was yesterday except maybe more time with me and less time with Deborah. Looking forward to the fireworks in Auburn tonight. If you are in Auburn and haven’t been yet it’s always a good show (see some shots from a previous year). Don’t think I am going to have the energy to post the fireworks photos from tonight after we get home but they will be up in the next few days. Enjoy tonight and get out and see some fireworks celebration in your area if you can.

Starting the 4th of July Holiday Weekend :: Friday Feet

This 4th of July holiday weekend seems to have snuck up on me. I didn’t realize it was the holiday weekend until about mid-week, days just seem to be flying by at such a fast pace, can’t believe we are already basically mid-summer. I tried out some test shots on Deb tonight, something she is always thrilled about. I picked up this used lens (10-12 years old by the serial number) for my Uganda trip. I decided last year that I was going to forgo the big expensive, heavy, pro, zoom lenses and opt for shooting with prime lenses (a fixed focal length lens). They are cheap, fast, and extremely sharp, when you shoot them well.

This is Nikon’s Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D classic prime that came out back in the late 1980’s (see photo below), which converts to about 30mm on my DX crop sensor. Not the best portrait focal length in the bag for a crop sensor but it worked pretty well. Not so sure about the focus, it seems like it might be off front or back a bit but it will do the job. I shot some black and white film with it too but of course I can’t see that yet. It hasn’t been easy getting use to using primes, but it has forced me to look at shooting more creatively. Somehow shooting those big fat pro zoom lenses years back made me lazy. Primes may take a bit more work but I love the end result.

Hope everyone is going to have a chance to relax and enjoy the 4th of July weekend. As hot as it was today we may not leave the air conditioned house until the fireworks go off on Monday. Have a great weekend.

I'm Going to Uganda Africa and I Would Love Your Help

It’s finally set. I’m now scheduled for two trips to Buloba Uganda in 2011, one on July 25th and the other (tentatively) on October 1st, with two great teams from Cornerstone Church. Going on a trip like this has been on my heart for many many years, but up until this point, everything I tried just didn’t seem to work. My heart wasn’t prepared to actually “go”, and consequently, the opportunities never materialized. Right now scriptures abound in my head as to why now is the “right” time but Proverbs 3:5-6 stands out. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

One of the aspects of a trip like this of course is the costs associated with travel to Uganda, and both our teams are committed to raising the funds needed to make these trips happen. For each team that means collectively raising over $30,000, and individually, it means raising more money than I have ever attempted to raise by myself in my life to date. For me, that means $6,500 for two trips plus another $1,000 minimum for expenses directly related to photography while in Uganda. This seems like an overwhelming and impossible task to me, but I know God will provide for everyone on these two trips.

I have organized the information associated with these two trips as best I can on my blog so my readers and supporters can find what they are looking for as easy as possible. This is the first official Uganda 2011 blog post, and the blow by blow will come here on my blog, but below are the two main areas where you can find information about Uganda 2011.

The July trip is already well advanced in the planning process since we leave in a little over a month so I will start posting for that trip very soon. The October trip is just getting started so information about that trip will be posted as the planning develops.

The Cost Rundown…

We are traveling as a team of 10. That said, we are responsible to one another to collectively raise approximately $35,000 per trip – our teams total needs. At a bare minimum, I am personally trying to raise $6,500 for my part for both trips ($3,250 per trip), but the added expense of photographing the trip is noted. Below is a look at the per trip costs involved:

  • $2,500 – Flight from Atlanta, GA to Kampala, Uganda, Africa
  • $500 – in country travel, housing, food, and on the ground ministry costs
  • $250 – medical costs (vaccinations)
  • $500 – costs specifically related to photography on the trip ** Please see my Uganda 2011 page for more info

I looked at the traffic on my blog over the last few years and, on average, it receives 350 unique views per day, every day. That means if every visitor gave the very minimum of $10 the entire cost would be covered in less than 2 days. Or, if you look at one single month, if just 6% of my monthly visitors gave $10 over the course of one month, the cost would be covered as well.

I ask that your support of our team starts and centers on your prayers for our time there and the advancing the Kingdom of God on a continent that desperately needs healing and restoration. That being said, I ask that you would not only pray for our travels and ministry but also consider supporting Cornerstone’s work in Uganda financially. As a staff member of Cornerstone Church please know that your gift will go toward our team needs and our Church’s mission in Buloba of “Leading People to Know and Serve Jesus”.

What Can You Do?

I believe this is the first time I have ever made a solicitation on my own blog. I do not use paid advertising, I offer my photography for free to my readers for their personal use, and I have never asked for a financial commitment from my readers… until now. I am trying to raise money for these trips between now and October, so I will be periodically posting support updates and asking for your support. Beyond that everything on my blog will remain commercial free and advertising free. Below is what I prayerfully ask you to consider.

Make an Online Donation

4th of July Fireworks Video from Auburn Alabama

Each year we usually go see the fireworks put on by the city of Auburn, and this year they were worth the wait.  I wanted to post a very quick video of the finale, in part for a friend of mine who didn’t come out to see the fireworks saying he would prefer to watch them on the computer, so here they are.  I also wanted to test the video quality of my iPhone while shooting at night, not bad video for a phone.  Too see the full 720p HD version change the resolution below or click on the video.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.

Photo of Spiderweb in Fog Shows Delicate Beauty

Spider Web in Early Morning Dew

Fog in Alabama Summer

What a busy weekend it was this past week. Being a holiday weekend with the 4th of July on a Friday it was just a little chaotic but all tranquility of a Monday has returned. I think I would have to qualify a Monday or Tuesday in January or February as the most tranquil, but this one will do.

For those of us in the south, the summer bring little rest from the heat but a rare foggy morning is one of those reprieves for July. We have been in a horrible drought for the last few years and this summer has proven to be more of the same, except a few mornings where fog blankets the grass and trees.

Our tree swing has quickly become one of my favorite places to eat breakfast and today, it wasn’t cool, but it wasn’t hot either. I took the photo of the tree swing about 5:30am right out my bed room window, and by the time I grabbed a bowl of cereal most of the fog had burned off, but still left a quiet misty pasture to look at while I ate.

The spider webs I just love early in the morning. They are transformed into some pearly design only nature can create. Now as I write this post, it is full blasting sun at what feels like 95* or higher. Guess if we didn’t have the heat the cool foggy mornings would get boring, but I don’t think so.