Each time Sara talked about the shoot she wanted to do, it got more elaborate, eventually including makeup and costumes somewhere in the woods. Then one Saturday afternoon in November, when we were both stressed out about other things and in need of a break, we decided to scrap the plans and just go shoot. We didn’t even know where we were going when we started driving.
Over the weekend I attended my first Rivercane Rendezvous in Georgia. My friend David, whom I met while he was living in a wigwam in Virginia, told me about the week-long event several years ago but other obligations had always prevented me from going. He is a regular at several similar gatherings in the region and I was eager to not only see him again but also to get my hands dirty practicing some of the ancient skills that are central to these groups. Classes, taught by unlikely experts of all ages, range from bow and arrow-making to fire-starting and birdwatching
As I do, I had my camera over my shoulder but I was intentionally not treating this as an assignment. I wanted to be an active, engaged member of the group to experience the things that brought this community together. They call themselves a family, and, as this was the 30th annual rendezvous, many of these people have literally known each other their entire lives. Although I only spent one full day in the camp, I felt immediately embraced by the community of conscientious, positive, free-spirited people from around the country. As I stopped by various lessons in progress, I inevitably I found myself in some special situations where I was able to make some photos; many, many more scenes ended up as mental snapshots. I thought, if only my school days had been more like this, where every class has a clear purpose, a tangible outcome, a passionate teacher and a warm breeze. (Class sizes were generally limited to 10, as well.)
It’s always inspiring and humbling to learn about something you never knew existed, which happened frequently throughout my short stay. To me, any experience that offers a new perspective has value, especially one that does so in such a constructive and respectful way. If you are curious to learn more, there are earthskills gatherings around the country and they are always looking for new participants.
These guys will be performing at the second annual Garagefest in Lynchburg.
I spent two days and two nights at the inaugural Lockn’ Music Festival. There was no shortage of interesting things to photograph with 25,000 people camping, listening to music and opening their minds in the rolling hills of Central Virginia. Artists included Further, Black Crowes, Punch Brothers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Zac Brown Band, Trey Anastasio Band and others. And all was groovy.
The 28th annual Batteau Festival is underway as participants float, paddle and pole their way from Lynchburg to Richmond on the James River. It is something I have wanted to participate in as well as photograph but until today hadn’t been able to do either. Today, the boats hit the half-way point, marked by a festival in the town of Scottsville, where they where they will spend the night.
For an upcoming story on music venues in Lynchburg, I was tapped to photograph the Sevendust concert a couple weeks ago. I literally did not know any of their music, or the music of the two opening bands, Avatar and Lacuna Coil, but I figured live music is a good assignment no matter who it is. With hit singles such as “Enemy,” “Bitch,” “Denial,” and “Unraveling” you get the idea what I was in for. I elbowed my way through the crowd for a few shots, careful to protect my gear from moshers, crowdsurfers and raised beers. Then I got a few from the edge of the stage and finally up on the VIP balcony. My ears were ringing the next day but it was a fun gig, definitely not my typical Saturday night in the Burg.
Selection of photos from Colombia, during a week-long trip I recently took with my parents. Our long-distance friend, Diego Mendoza, was marrying Angelica Bonilla in Bogotá and they invited us to attend. We took the opportunity to spend a few extra days visiting Armenia and Salento, also hiking a day in the Cocora Valley. The food was wonderful, the weather cooperated when it really mattered, and the people we met were all very patient and helpful.
I took all of these with an iPhone or Canon G10, a refreshing departure from the 5-lb Nikon and bag that I haul around for work. I wanted to both test the range of those cameras as well as force myself to experiment with a different shooting style.
It seems like everyone has a parachute shot but me, so it was exciting to finally cross that off my bucket list today! From the “Day in the Park” festival in Lynchburg.
Missed this one in May: Jefferson Forest High School put on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and they had some amazing custom wigs made to top off the costumes. I went to photograph their first try-ons.
On Sunday I literally happened upon the annual Monacan Nation Powwow in Elon, Va. In the back of my mind I knew it was happening this weekend but I never quite got around to planning a trip to see it. So when I saw huge signs advertising the powwow I immediately pulled in. Unfortunately, I was informed that there were only a couple dances left so if I was going to make some photos I would have to act fast. Enter Scott Strazzante and the iPhone. Let me explain. Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante has been pioneering iPhone street photography where he shoots from the hip and is able to capture very close-range candid shots of people on the street without disturbing them. I decided to try my hand at his technique. Although I would have loved more time to experiment, I was pretty happy to come away with the following photos, all shot from the hip with my iPhone except the second. This photo, of Lipan Apache descendant Robert Soto, I took after a brief but informative conversation with Soto about his elaborate outfit.