Your camera DOES matter!

What if I told you that the equipment you choose to wield actually has a direct impact on your final result? What if I told you there are tools that fit the user better than the one fits all concept? All the haters go ahead and jump to the comments and leave your opinion there. 

If you just happen to still be reading here is why I feel this way. Ok lets keep it simple.  You want to shoot some images of insects, so to do this you either need a macro lens or extension tube right? Or if you want to take photos of the moon you will need a zoom lens. What if I told you the same is true about cameras? Do I believe we can pick up any camera and make something memorable, absolutely yes, but having the camera that works the best FOR YOU will make your hit rate much higher on average.  You wont just grab any pair of shoes off of the shelf and hope they are comfortable and fit? So why do the same thing with a camera? Something that you could very well be holding and handling for hours. Wouldn’t it make more sense if that object felt great in your hand?  I am also a firm believer in making a camera work for you but if you can have a camera that you can operate seamlessly, will this not result in more confidence in the user, and thus that confidence projected to your client?  Don’t get me wrong there is no 1 camera for all. Wedding professionals, and sports shooters have different needs thus different tools are required. 

Ok now to play my own “devils advocate”, because I have said this many times in the past, the camera is simply a tool. And in the simplest form ,means I should be able to take any camera and make it work to my vision in theory but nothing is that simple. A painter doesn’t just grab a roller and paint a Mona Lisa. I know this is a very extreme example but I am willing to bet you knew exactly what I meant the second you read that sentence.  Having said that if you have read any of the past inserts or follow me on social media you understand my fascination with all things Film. I love how simple it is, and how genuine every frame developed becomes. We can shoot and pray in the digital realm but not while shooting film if we want the best results. Shooting film is methodical, or romantic in a sense to me but would I pick up one of my film cameras to shoot sports, absolutely not.   

I am  not writing this to convince you to sell everything you own and start over, not by any means. I have came to a crossroads in my approach to my work and the equipment I use. I adore holding and shooting all things FujiFilm and have for a few years now. Even writing this I am sleepless contemplating my choices. I have considered staying with Fuji and adding a newer camera body but I am at a point where my final images aren’t meeting my vision while shooting Fuji and that hurts to say out loud.  So the past 2 weeks I have tried several cameras to see what feels right in my hand, but more importantly what produces a final image like the one playing in my mind. I have shot a Canon 5diii and coming from a Canon background I thought this might be the correct choice especially since we are adding video to our services. I shot it for a few days but came away unimpressed. Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing camera with amazing image quality but it wasn’t “RIGHT” for me. I also shot a Nikon d810 and I had never even pressed a shutter on a Nikon camera before but  I wanted to rule out all options to make sure it wasn’t just me, and not my camera being the issue. To my utter surprise, the RAW images from this camera were stunning. Not in comparison to anything else but in line with my vision for my work. Loving my Ricoh GRii files so much I even considered the new Pentax FF line but I think the only Pentax for me is my 645n and 120 film :)

The only other viable option to me and my rationale ( which can be questioned regularly lol ) was another Sony mirrorless body. I have owned the a7ii prior and did enjoy it very much but was lucky to stumble across a YouTube video comparing the new Nikon Z6 and Sony A7iii and they were gracious enough to include raw files. I was quick to download them both and edit the way I love to edit and to see how it pans out. To my surprise the Nikon files were my favorite once again. The Sony was not far behind but I found the dynamic range much more suited to my shooting style from the Nikon camera for a second time. This and the fact that I love shooting off camera flash  once again has me leaning toward a Nikon setup. So at the end of the day especially if you are new to photography and wanting to learn more, find a camera that feels right in your hand, offers the features you need ( Not always want )and you can bend to meet your artistic vision. I would love to know your opinion but more importantly I would love to hear what works best for you!

Lastly here is a link to his video mentioned above to not get lost in my thought process. VIDEO

#nikon, #d810 #d750

First Hike of 2019!

Atlas soaking up the magnitude of the waterfall.

Atlas soaking up the magnitude of the waterfall.

Today just happens to be Monday the 7th of January and that is only important because it marks the first hike of the year for us. Today is the last day of Christmas break for Atlas and Austin while Jaryn had to start back last week. Atlas and I decided to take advantage of the uncommon warm weather and our itch for adventure and put left foot over right in nature. His growing adoration for hiking and exploring excites me and I love watching him see the world for himself. We wanted to discover somewhere new to us so after a few minutes of searching, we landed on Sills Branch Falls. We packed our bags, his with waters, snacks, his GoPro, and first aid kit; mine with all things camera related and we were off. The directions we used were terrible and led us to the end of Bumpus Cove in Erwin, TN. I was quick to grab my phone and dig unit I found another site with better descriptive directions. It took us longer than we preferred but it was nice to have the morning on the road with Atlas, singing songs and asking questions. This hike is quick and easy. Only has one real climb and even it was short and sweet. You will find yourself at a fork in the trail just before this climb where you bare left, and cross a small stream and up you go. Once you top the hill, you are rewarded by a magical waterfall. The canyon walls are almost round cut out above the fall walls and feels so other-worldly. The walk is short, not even a mile in according to my Apple watch. Almost every step you take from the parking lot at the trail head ( left side of the road ) is accompanied by the melody of the stream that flows from the feet of the waterfall above.

A rare selfie with my hiking buddy. Hes growing up to quickly.

A rare selfie with my hiking buddy. Hes growing up to quickly.

We made our way pretty quickly to the top where we had our snacks that Atlas prepared. We then took some time to enjoy the spoils of our short walk among the trees. I took photos as this is what I do, and he explored our surroundings. I brought the Pentax 645n and shot the last of the pre loaded Ilford Hp5 BW film. I also finished up a roll of 35mm film in the Minolta. The only digital shots I took are below and all shot on my Ricoh GRii. I have a few on the phone as well but I rarely share those the same way.

Last shoot of 2018

#sunrise #wataugalake #later2018

Well its been a few months since I have made the time to come and write and while I want to say something poetic, like this is the year for more of this or that, I prefer to stay quite and grind. I was lucky enough that my great friend John was in town over the weekend, although not for a good reason, but we took the advantage to get together. John has grown an interest in photography which is awesome for me, because he’s one more person I can talk shop with now. He asked if I would be interested in getting up early on his last day in Johnson City and catch sunrise with him and our cameras. Long story short, Atlas and I woke at 5 am and headed out to get John. We decided to try to find a spot on Watauga Lake in Hampton. I chose this spot hoping to give us the view we needed. It was a cold start but a beautiful morning was awaking before us.

Before the break of day, we spent some time in the dark, watching the waves of the lake crash over the parking lot as water was extremely high. I was happy to find this street light to use to paint the scene before the sky was turned to fire! Sunrise is always such a peaceful and magical moment. It can be such a powerful moment if you allow it to be and surrender to what your gifted. No devices, no distractions. Only patience and acceptance. You clearly know by now that the camera’s were out but when you are not distracted by the settings and menus because you are accustom to where everything is, this allows you to be more present than ever before.

s always, I will end this with more and more photos. I also want to let everyone know that the Youtube channel is about to get an edition. A challenge to start off the new year! A huge thank you to everyone who followed along last year and to “Tater” aka John for being so supportive and just around great example to society. If your on IG check him out @thebearded_mover

Fall Break Adventures

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Life never hesitates to throw complications and we have two choices. We can roll over and hope it passes soon, or we step up and push threw. This summer has had many highs and lows but so far, this fall break with Natasha and the boys, has been one of my favorite adventures yet! We love to hike as a family, and I long to complete the entire AT someday. This love for nature, and wonder I am blessed to share with my family, so when we stated talking and planning our trip it only made sense to include a trip outside. Natasha and I have backpacked alone, and I have taken Jaryn on a one night trip as well, but Austin and Atlas had never been. More importantly we have never been all together, so it was time to change that. Upon lots of options weighed, tents borrowed ( thanks Simerly ), we had a plan. We decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from Indian Grave Gap, to Uncle Johnny’s Hostile in Erwin. Speaking of Uncle Johnny’s this is were we started our adventure. We hired them to shuttle us up to the trail head. We ended up hiking in to the shelter which was a double decker beauty and was about 4.2 miles in. The boys did incredible, considering the weather was dreary and they were toting their own bags and belongings for the trip. Once we found the shelter we quickly went to work setting up camp for dinner, and searching for dry firewood. An hour later, we have fire, and the jet boil was up and running cooking a much needed hot meal for the day. We were greeted by a Thru Hiker names Patrick, his trail name I unfortunately cant recall as of writing this, and was happy to share the space. He is headed South to Georgia from his home town in PA. Day 2 was much nicer to hike and we easily completed the 4.1 miles out and to our car. We quickly loaded up Valak and grabbed some lunch. Then our adventure continued to Hickory Nut Gap, North Carolina were we planned to visit Hickory Nut Falls, and Chimney Rock State Park. The weather was dark, and power lines were down, and after some driving around we found a place to stay for the rest of the week. The boys were quick to hit up the arcade were we played way to much air hockey per Atlas’ request. Jaryn and Austin shot pool and the pinball machine was a classic. The small town was very close to being flooded and washed away but luckily it was only a scare. We had some hick up’s but we are tough and unified so on the last day we took the boys to the Park for the views and Waterfalls. The rest you can see below. I didn’t take a camera on this trip so everything is a cell phone shot and I feel that needs to be stated. Thanks for reading

PS. Atlas even pulled a tooth on this trip as seen in the photo below, and I apologize for how random some images fell.

Boone NC with Bex Sunglasses


So as I have happily mentioned many times, I love sunglasses. It might be the only thing I truly collect. So when the opportunity presented itself to work with a new company out of Las Vegas, NV called Bex Sunglasses, I was pumped. I had worked with the newly sponsored model, Miss Olivia prior and when they asked who she preferred to use, well I was lucky enough to be that person.  After speaking with the company over the phone and introducing myself a plan was in motion. I spoke to them about their vision and how I can accommodate it but stay true to who I am and how I work. They were quick to mention I am only 1 of 3 photographers ever to work with them which I take as a compliment in itself. After talking with Olivia and Lorie ( her mom ) we had a decision to meet in Boone, NC to give them an urban look for our first outing. I mentioned it to Wes, and he was quick to agree to join us for the session. This was cool for me for a few reasons. One he has had a session with me in the past but has never really seen my work on the other side of the lens, and I was happy to have the company for the long ride over and back. We met the ladies at Mast General store and we were off.  Unfortunately, I can't share the images from the session as they haven't seen them yet but trust me when I say, I'm excited about how well it went. The Fuji Xpro2 did exactly what I needed it to as it always does.  We spent the better part of 2 hours walking around downtown trying to keep it casual, unposed, and genuine. The company also voiced branching out to the outdoors sports world ( yes please ) so we were also on alert for anything that may tie those together. Unfortunately, the climbing wall I envisioned was closed, but we had about 60 seconds inside Magic Cycle after hours to try a few shots. I admit those will not make the cut. I felt like we were imposing and rushed more than I should have to not wear out our welcome. We used any and everything we could think of or stumble upon. I have 1 more session to knock out prior to starting in on these but then its on. I guess you will have to follow us on IG @throatpunchproductions and follow them @bexsunglasses to see Olivia rocking their gear! Until then, head up and keep clicking that shutter button.
P.S. Coming soon to IG is images from another sunglass company that has reached out to us called @southernmostshades as well as some incredible spices ( for you foodies ) from @thespicebeast. 
 

Sunday Small Talk

black and white bombshell

Its currently Sunday, August 5th and I am waiting on my friend /client to show up for our session and thought I would take the time to write and catch up. I have been beyond busy in the last month or so and beyond grateful for that and August is looking to be my busiest month to date. I say that to remind anyone wanting a session, that there are only 4 months left in the calendar year. I'm saying that because I am shooting today, and every day next weekend. Next weekend I will be in Elizabethton, Grayson Highlands VA, Kingsport, and one session yet to determine location.   That is just Friday - Sunday btw. I was this busy last weekend shooting Sat, Sun, and Monday and have edited and delivered all of those except one. ( soon, very soon ) Tomorrow 3 of the 4 kids have their first day back at school and a busy week of normal life as a parent and small business owner. 
I am writing today though to also discuss some opportunities that we over at Throat Punch Productions have coming up. Last weekend, while I was busting my ass and driving all over the place so, was Wes. He represented us by driving to Nashville and shooting a video for Allen for the 2018 NPC Tennesee State Show. You should go and check that out now, right HERE. 
He also made the intro video that I recently posted to my IG. We are currently in the works to shoot for a new company out of New York called SpiceBeast, a new sunglass company called SouthernMost Shades, and my friend/ model Olivia also hooked me up to shoot her new campaign with Bex Sunglasses! It's taking some time, some sleepless nights, and lots of work but we are slowly starting to move forward. We are starting to put our stamp on the market. Keeping this one short, but remember to book your session while there is still some time to do so and see how we separate ourselves from the masses. We love collaborating, so if you are someone wanting to work with us, please let us know. We are still taking on some small business to capture their product for advertising purposes as well. What are you waiting on? This is your sign, this is us saying HEY, let's create something together. You get one shot at this life, let's live it up and remember those times!
Go check out our updated site at www.throatpunchpros.com and let us know what you like, and what you would prefer to see differently. 

All images are samples and teasers from the session I shot after writing this 2 days ago!
 

Cant let big sis have all the fun! lol

Cant let big sis have all the fun! lol

I love how much this feels like film

I love how much this feels like film

No Fluff

A sample from the session I refer to later in my ramblings. 

A sample from the session I refer to later in my ramblings. 

I want to try and write more freely and more regularly but hey, life happens.  We are currently preparing for court in the morning where we make the adoption of Austin official and we couldn't be happier about it.  I have just sat down and decided now is the best time to try and get my thoughts into print.  First thing first though. I shoot mirrorless and since switching over ( best decision ever ) I find myself shooting much less in general.  Normally because I like the system and it works exactly how I like to shoot so getting the shot I want is easier to capture. Thus leading me to shoot less for the desired result. That is what I am talking about in this article. I volunteer at our church and I am on the Photography Crew that helps capture moments and events. We recently had a team meeting and while conversing someone asked why I shoot mirrorless, and I explained like I did above and they responded, " I bet you shoot light huh?"  On an average wedding day, this person said they shoot between 2000 and 3000 images, while I shoot between 500-800.  I explained I don't have a need to exhaust my equipment, clients, and self to have multiple images of the same moments from the day. He then replied " well I prefer to shoot for the emotion and not a perfect moment", where I replied Yep me too.  I completely understand what he's saying. It's easy to see a moment and snap with proper exposure and compensation but miss a feeling.  It is easy to assume you have it and move on to something else but I do not do that. I strive for feelings in my work, not perfection. I strive for unique moments in time, not the average posed imagery. I'm in no way saying he does this and it was a great talk and I was happy to discuss it and still am.  There were no "church league softball fist fights" over the topic LOL
I love everything related to photography, and I am finding a new passion for shooting video even though it makes me want to smash my fist through my monitor every single time I try to edit one. Why is that crap so friggin hard?
Speaking of I am working, with much-needed help from Wes, on a new BTS video from my latest session now. I love shooting video while I shoot stills, and I think the video editing may need to be left to the pros.  While they are doing that I am going to keep on shooting, throwing light at people, rewinding time by shooting film, and making my clients feel like the Rock Stars they are! Thanks for reading and as always be sure and follow all of our Social media accounts. I did the legwork so just click the link below you lazy bum.  

IG @jeremy.gouge

    @wes_mckeehan 

    @Throatpunchproductions

 

Asheville, NC with Throat Punch Pros and a Throat Tattoo

City Porn

 As always every adventure starts with planning, but when Wes and I are involved, planning is an afterthought. We are currently Asheville bound to hang out, take some photos, let the video roll, and create new content. We will do this all while our contest is running over on Facebook that you should be checking out already.  We have big plans and the days we can get together and combine our efforts it truly shows whats coming. It's reassuring that we are so like-minded and hungry for more than we have. We are gonna hit up Asheville, fill our guts and hopefully find some interesting shit to shoot. Food first though. Maybe Farm Burger? Maybe The Vault on Rankin? Why cant Biscuit Head be open?? The horror. Well, we just had small heart attacks as Wes' BMW started acting like it hated us.. all is well though. Onward! For the record, we definitely had Farm Burger and it never disappoints. 
By the time you will have read this, there should have been plenty of shenanigans and nonsense and photos to prove it. The sun will be setting on us soon, but Throat Punch Pros are not afraid of what lies in the dark. We live for it! Matter of fact we spent a lot of time in the shadows and watching as the light leaked into the viewfinders of our always in hand Fuji Series cameras. 
I write about Asheville often, and since Wes is driving I was attempting to write but its time to do what I do. camera 30.

Side note, I am not specifying who took what photos below. I did edit them all but that is all you get! We just ran our first contest over on our Throat Punch Productions Facebook page HERE and have a new one coming soon. Go check us out, and follow our IG HERE. Like Comment and check out the video on Youtube.

 

Now it's 9:30 pm, we are on 26 driving into the endless rain that somehow we were lucky enough to avoid the entire time we were over the mountain. We shot video and still almost every minute we stepped foot out of the car and no regrets. Too many images never equal a bad day in my world. The rain is dancing on the 5 series windshield and my keys type in sync as the radio plays our outro headed into the dark leaving Asheville lights in the rearview. We will definitely be back soon and maybe with a plan this time, but probably now. -TPx2

Imagination Mountain and being outnumbered

home for the weekend

It is currently Tuesday and we are back from another weekend in nature. This was back to back weekends of camping with friends. The weekend before last was spent in Hot Springs, NC with Wes and his family, and this past weekend was spent in Cosby, TN at Imagination Mountain with the Terry's. We stumbled upon this campground a few years ago and Natasha and I loaded up our 2 boys at the time for the weekend. It rained most of the time then but we still had a great time. Since then our family dynamic has changed for lack of a better word. We are foster parents if you didn't know and currently are only days away from adopting Austin who is 17 and currently annoying me by playing Fortnight. Garbage game in my opinion LOL.  We also have a 10-year-old girl and I know nadda about raising a girl.
But this isn't about that.  This is about spending every second of the weekend with friends and cramming as many activities as physically possible into 3 days.  We have known Brittney forever, and Derek and their boys are more like family than friends. I could probably write an entire blog about knowing Brittany but I'll save that for another time maybe.  Between our groups, we were 4 adults vs 6 kids plus we ran into one of Atlas' best pals from school, Aiden. He was allowed to hang out with us most of the day as well. So the kids played in the creek, made friends with neighbors, terrorized the playgrounds, heated up the b-ball court, played putt putt, watched a movie, played chess, swam, had ice cream, and even visited the arcade. I'm still tired.  So tired in fact that I will stop writing and do what I do. Tell our story via imagery. Hope you enjoy and as always feel free to comment below your thoughts. All images below shot with my Fuji Xpro 2,  my xf16mm, xf 90mm, and vintage Minolta lenses. 

As always, I also took the film cameras but those will be shared another time. :)

Checking out and stepping up

As of writing this, we have been home from a much-needed camping trip to Hot Springs, NC. We were lucky enough to have Wes, Whitney, and Acston  ( no way I spelled that right lol) join us for some campsite shenanigans. We had cameras out everywhere acting a fool and just kicking back. It was just what I needed to regroup and come back swinging. We came home Sunday, and I immediately showered and got dressed for a session on the ever enchanting Carvers Gap. That session we danced among the trees and into the creeks below as the sun peeked thru the trees tops toward us. That alone would be enough to write about, but the following day I was off to another session. This time I asked my clients to join me at The Beauty Spot, and seeing as how they trust me and have never been, they agreed. I am so glad they did. The sun was still higher than I preferred but you work with what you have and that's one of my favorite parts of photography. The ever-changing light, scenery, and weather make every session special. This led to me shooting directly into the sun for the first 15 minutes which created images a little lighter than usual, but then we found our way into the shade and tall grass. We ended with silhouettes against a magnificent blue sky. Man, I LOVE MY JOB. Its currently after 11 pm on Friday the 13th, and we are mostly packed up for another adventure. I will have cameras in tow as always and phone on standby to book that next session, although squeezing them in is starting to get interesting with Fall fast approaching! I don,t need sleep though, so let's shoot! Below I will simply leave a few images from the sessions mentioned above. Follow me on Instagram HERE and our new Company HERE to see more and to catch some BTS footage too. Until the keys click for the next entry, thanks for being here.-J

The wind was working against, and also for us at times.

The wind was working against, and also for us at times.

Grayson Highlands Adventure

The clouds where heavy and everywhere all day! 

The clouds where heavy and everywhere all day! 

It's Monday morning and the beginning of July.  I have been up for over an hour, had a shower, and have my coffee made so far, so good. I'm writing this as I wait for Wes to drive up. Today is the first official shoot of Throat Punch Productions and I am excited. We are shooting a product that you will know more about soon if you follow us. If not well, your loss. As I sit here considering what and how to shoot today, I also finished pictures from a hike my family and I have been trying to do for months, Grayson Highlands, VA. I have always heard how beautiful it is, and how unique it is seeing as how its inhabited by wild ponies.  After many failed attempts to make it, last Saturday was our day. We loaded up the kids after breakfast at home, and planned our route to have lunch prior to hiking. We found a great gas station/ dinner just a few miles from the entrance to the park. We filled up on double bacon cheeseburgers, chicken salad, corn dogs and fries. FUEL. Then we were ready.  I will plan better on our next trip as we didn't get to see many ponies, other than the ones walking by the side of the road on our way out and the lighting was not ideal for the photographer inside me. Nevertheless, it was a pretty amazing day with those I adore. Jaryn almost died, because as much as I love that child, he's hella clumsy. I watched in slow motion as he bounded from one rock to the next, where he lost his footing and disappeared off the edge into the forest below. My heart sank, and I immediately yelled to him. He was quick to assure me he was fine and laughed it off. He was extremely lucky that he landed between to large rocks below his fall from about 6 feet above.  Luckily this was the worse part of the day as we collected our selves for the multiple overlooks and beautiful park that it is. We did get turned around once which led me to walk an addition 1.2 miles to collect "Valak" ( our Sequoia ) but it was a  walk I would gladly make again for my crew. We explored for over 4 hours and our Chacos where starting to leave their mark. We decided to try and drive down to the campground looking for ponies as the older boys and I opted for the additional mileage here again. I can't wait to explore there again with my motley crew, but next weekend we are off to Hot Springs, NC!  Stay tuned for those pictures next week, but below you will find the images from our last adventure! I'll post some from the Pentax 645n to my IG soon as well.

Real talk, unfiltered

Pentax sexy

Well, I am home from vacation and more motivated than ever. Not that our trip was especially relaxing, too many kids for that LOL, but because of its timing. Today I am going to write without much of a filter and just get to the brass tacks of the matter. I am currently constantly listening to a new to me podcast by Andy Frisella called MFCEO.  He has no filter and talks some hard truths and that is often what I need most. No fluff, no shit, just realness. I also get that from my friends, especially Wes. My wife rather enjoys putting me in my place too but that isn't today's topic LOL. I have been listening heavily and still have tons to check out but in a nutshell what I have taken away is this:
 Surround yourself with a strong team of friends and people who will be 100% honest with you. 
There is a massive difference in a Goal VS a dream and how to separate the two.
No one is going to walk up to you and hand you everything you want to accomplish. You have to take a step of faith ( if you're religious ) put on your big boy pants and DO THE DAMN WORK!
Most importantly so far, believe in the product you sell. In my case, myself and my vision. If you know me at all, my confidence is often my biggest hurdle. I see only the flaws and the cracks in my work. Enough of that. It ends now. I have far too many clients, friends, and people supporting me to let doubt slow me down. 
There are many more points but you gotta go give him a listen, this isn't a free pass to his insight. Quit being lazy and check him out. 

Ok, here is where it gets dicey. I am an avid follower of Christ. We are members of our church, and volunteer as often as possible. This fact often leaves me, for good reason, watching what and how I say things. It keeps me grounded, but it also makes me un-authentic at times.  Hold on. Here me out. Pastor Derek spoke Sunday about being honest. In our prayers and conversations with Christ and something clicked. I'm not honest enough. Anywhere in life probably. In my faith, opinions, and dislikes.  I often find myself being too nice for my own good or anyone else for that matter. But I am also far from perfect, and you know what, that's ok. He sees me in my failures and when I'm losing my shit during a road rage fit and love me anyway. One of my absolute favorite quotes is " I love Jesus but a cuss a little". TRUTH. I strive to be better every day but I am going to fail, but I am also going to get up way more times than I am knocked down. I don't know how to quit and refuse to even consider it anymore. Yep, that's right I have almost put the camera up too many times. I get frustrated when business is slow and when I feel like I am undervalued.  Long story short, Throat Punch Productions coming, and coming in like Ricky Bobby in his underwear, on fire. I will make no excuses or apologies for being genuine anymore. Get on board or out of our damn way. I can't wait to see what we create collectively and the friends we make along the journey.  The Facebook page is up and live and the site is in the works so follow along early and stick around for the fireworks people!

Me
“Hate it or love it the underdog’s on top
And I’m gonna shine homie until my heart stop
Go head’ envy me “
— https://genius.com/The-game-hate-it-or-love-it-lyrics

Bays Mountain Hiking

Bays Mountain Park

I'm still on vacation as this hits the site and should be relaxing in the sun or something but here I am. I don't relax well, and I never stop working. Whether that's thinking about blog topics, looking for locations, editing, learning new techniques, or approaching new people. Being a small business owner is hard. Very hard, but I still love spending time doing thing's I love and doing that with people I care about so last weekend we decided to take the kids hiking. We love overnight trips, and the kids are showing interest in joining us so we are "training" for a longer hike. We loaded them up with light packs and headed to Bays Mountain Park.  Bays Mountain is special to us, as Natasha and I were married here but love to take the kids to see the animals and hike the trails surrounding the lake.  This is exactly what we did. I'm not writing much, but here are the images from our day.  All images were taken with my Fuji Xpro2 and my Xf16mm lens. #onelensandgo

Correction, the wifi ended up being so slow that I decided to wait until I was back home to upload this post. I just got in a few hours ago from second shooting a wedding with the brilliant Katy Sergent and uploading some pictures from the beach and remembered it was time to post this. So here it is.

This is not a perfect image, but this is the spot where Natasha and I were married so this means more to me than all the perfect lighting in the world.  Amazing how things have changed Sweetpea.

This is not a perfect image, but this is the spot where Natasha and I were married so this means more to me than all the perfect lighting in the world.  Amazing how things have changed Sweetpea.

In case you notice my tee shirt and new stickers, I thought I would share that I am currently an ambassador for AwakeThe Soul. Their moto is "Stay positive, be happy and live free", and they share passion for the outdoors and adventure as well. Go check them out. 

Behind the Lens

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I find myself constantly thinking and looking for ways to improve like most of us do. in business and in life. I often find that sometimes, I do this to the point of checking out of real life sometimes as well. One of those moments was on my drive down on vacation where I am currently writing this today. 
It's a beautiful Monday morning in June, my feet are up and I hear the waves crashing on the beach below me. The boys are still sleeping as everyone else starts the day. The power and size of the ocean mesmerize me and remind me how small we truly are. As I mentioned above, on my drive to the beach over the weekend, I found myself deep in thought, contemplating new and better ways to serve my clients. I found myself daydreaming about big things coming with Wes and with Throat Punch Productions.  I try not to get ahead of myself in these moments because of some previous business failures, but this feels different. This is different.  This post isn't about that, not yet. This is about the hard stuff and what happens when cameras are put in the bag ( my Ona bag is preferred ) and we aren't editing. I am sure this is different for everyone, and I'm not going to get into my hobbies in this post. I wanna drop all the BS and talk about my family. 
Yesterday was fathers day and I was greeted with Happy Fathers Day from the kids and my wife and the sweetest letters, they each wrote to me.  I loaded the kids up and off to the flea market we went because they wanted popsockets LOL. I immediately regretted this decision. Too many kids, coupled with too many distractions, meant my anxiety was through the roof. After a ridiculously long line to get coffee and driving all over to find crushed ice for Tosh, we were finally back at the resort to play. In an ideal world, I would relax more, maybe with a cold drink all day watching the kids play but that is never what happens. This year in particular as we are now a family of 6, we find ourselves dividing and conquering more every day, but for a few laughter-filled minutes, I was hurling the kids in the air, and was greeted with "Do it again".  Then we were taking turns doing cannonballs, and can openers off the edge of the pool making tons of ruckus. Before long, Jahim was jumping in mimicking everything we did. So I made sure to make conversation with him and introduce myself and the kids. I am very grateful for how easily most of the kids make friends everywhere we go and can talk to anyone just like I do but..
I had a thought this morning when I woke, this isn't the post I had in mind on my drive in, but one I wanted to write anyway. I find myself always looking for interesting people to photograph. I have even handed a business card to a lady at a Mcds drive-thru window once because how compelled I was to work with her. ( still waiting on her, unfortunately) I am not this forward usually, and that's what today is about.  If you have ever met me, I hope I spoke, I hope the encounter was a good one, and if it wasn't then you probably suck. I am just saying. But I have this weird self-conscious feeling when approaching someone asking to photograph them.  I don't get it. I can speak to anyone I pass hiking with a smile and good wishes. I have no problem striking up a conversation with strangers on the elevator every day I'm here but this is different. WTH
I actually fell asleep thinking about this last night because yesterday there was a moment on the beach that I wish I had my camera, any camera to capture but a moment was missed. Several were actually. As I was laying on the air mattress waiting for sleep carry me away, something clicked.  To me making your photograph isn't just about capturing an image. It is not just about freezing a moment in time. Photography for me is personal. It is an intimate moment between myself and the other person or people involved. It's important to me to have meaningful relationships with clients. I have wanted to create a Thru-Hiker book for myself but I think the thought of simply stopping someone for only a moment to take an image is selfish, and that the craft deserves more. Images deserve a damn story, people. They deserve our attention. They deserve our focus. Social media makes everyone want it now, and they are moving on. No more.  I want to know who I'm taking photos of, what makes them happy, and what makes them hurt. Only in a true conversation, a true experience, can I capture what I have been chasing since picking my camera up the very first time. Realness. Brokenness. Laughter. Pain. Acceptance. Loss. Love. Respect

Don't get me wrong, I love all things street photography and candid moments, but I want more planned real emotion in imagery too.

So I'm challenging myself, maybe while I am still here at the Beach or when I get home to approach more people. Be real with them so they can be real with me. Capture images that captivate, but tell a story and believe it or not, all stories aren't fairytales with happy endings. I believe those stories long to be told just as much and maybe even more deservingly so. This isn't a normal post for me but I'm going to try and be more open and honest in at least one post a week to help myself grow as well. I also want to write once a week about something that sucks for me or that is hard for me because I think it is only fair.  I want to capture you in all stages of life, so why can't I bring you into a little of my life weekly?  I will also VLOG again soon as well.
J
#throatpunchproductions 

 

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Leonard and Sarah's Wedding

Dramatic portraits make me happy

So a few weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of capturing moments like the one above for this happy couple. You may recall the image of them we captured during the engagement session at Hungry Mother State Park on the bridge over the lake. Meeting them that day for the first time, I quickly knew we would have a great time working together. They are so in love, and they share that love for Leonard's son Jake that I also had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with. Those moments led up to the big day, and that's what I am writing about now. Before I get much further here is a short video I shot, that my good friend Wes and partner at Throat Punch Productions put together for me on the fly. Take a sec to check it out then I will meet you on the other side.

 

I hope you watched it and left some feedback. I would love to do more of them and I learned a lot from the first attempt. Stay tuned for more of that and Wes wrote more about our new venture HERE. He is a much better writer than I am. Ok, back to the newlyweds. Sarah and Leonard were married at her church in Marion, VA. It is a small church established in 1859 with a stunning wooden door and high ceilings. The church also sets at the base of several mountain ranges so it was a perfect backdrop for such an incredible day. 

The weather was moody to say the least but we were blessed to miss almost all of the rain and had the opportunity to be out side for shots like this.

I love how engaged they are with one another here.

The ceremony was lovely and the church quickly filled with friends and family of the couple. Immediately following the service, even though the pastor almost forgot to have them kiss LOL, we had a few minutes for portraits just of the new Husband and Wife before packing up and heading to the reception several miles away, also at Hungry Mother State Park. This was amazing because we wanted to remake the photo I mentioned above, and thought the weather would refuse us the opportunity but once again, fate was on our side.

From the wedding day :)

From the wedding day :)

Ok I know  I am rambling so I will leave the rest of the story to be told visually through the images from the day. Let's go!