Life is good

A strong breeze blows through the neighborhood. It can’t really be called a “winter” breeze. It doesn’t bring with it any kind of chill on this 66 degree day.

The sun warms my face as I see Becca pull into the drive way. No sooner has she stopped than the door flies open and Conner explodes out the opening. His energy is palpable as he begins to describe to me the saga of the sticky candy cane clutched in his right hand. His excitement forces his words together in an almost unintelligible blur. The content of his story isn’t so important as the passion he puts into it.

And then he is gone. His arms pump hard as he runs down the street to tell the same story to his big brother.

I stand there on the side walk, watching him go.

As my son gets smaller in the distance, I realize how good life is. My family is healthy. My boys are growing. The sun melts away my stress and the breeze fills me with new energy. It may only be for a moment, but in that moment my cares are gone. The stresses of work disappear and are replaced with the love I have for my family.

I know that no matter what, life is good.

Quick Notes 11-23-08

Just a few quick notes instead of, you know, a real post.

I sit here on a Sunday afternoon. I need to clean my office and do a pile of work. I want to do none of that.

I had a blast shooting last week with Tim and Chris downtown. I put on a mini-workshop for them. I’m excited to do some more of these. You can find out more info at our new site under the “workshops” header.

Oh yeah, we have a new site. I’m sure I’ll put up a proper post at some point. But for now, it has moved to The folks at Big Folio have a really nice system. It doesn’t do everything I want, but the fact that I made that entire site in less than four hours is impressive to me. And that’s entirely because of their system.

Over the next three days I’ll finish my last issue of The Business Journal. We’ve parted ways (over what else, but money) and it’ll be bitter sweet. I’m proud of the work we put into it and I will miss it. However, it was by far my most stressful client. Life without it will allow me to focus on projects that a) pay better and b) don’t require so much travel.

Part of what I’ll be focusing on is photography. We do a lot of it but, honestly, I’d like to be doing it full time by the end of 2009. I could probably be doing it full time now but I just didn’t put the time into marketing it like I should have this past year.

Legacy is getting better and better. We’ve gained a little momentum and worship has been amazingly great. The children’s department is moving forward by leaps and bounds (without my time-restrained leadership I might add). We’ve still got a long way to go but it’s nice seeing a bunch of progress.

The holidays are coming. This week as a matter of fact. I’m not sure I’m ready for that stuff yet.

I still have yet to go see the new James Bond. Not sure when I’ll get to either. Life is tough some times.

What have you been up to?

A frightening look at my future

I grab two gallons of milk from the shelf. I shake my head as I look at them. “It didn’t used to take two gallons at a time to feed three boys,” I think.

I heft the gallons into the cart and push on to finish the shopping trip. As I near the end of the aisle a man rounds the corner. He’s dressed in a dirty baseball uniform, clearly a coach. And just as clearly shopping to feed his entire team. His basket overflows with every kind of fresh meat you can imagine. There’s enough food there to feed an army. It’s easily $500 worth. Maybe more.

I laugh as he passes by. “Feeding the whole team?” I ask.

He turns to look at me, a tired glint in his eyes. “No,” he laughs, “Just my two teenage sons.”

I stop smiling.

He jerks his head toward the next aisle. “My wife is over there with another basket that looks just like this,” he says.

I don’t say anything.

He nods at Colton. “He’ll be eating like this some day too, you know,” he says.

I snap out of my horror long enough to answer. “Yeah, and so will his two brothers.”

“You have three boys!” he exclaims. He just shakes his head and gives his basket a small shove to get it going. He stops and looks back at me. “Good luck.”

There’s no real hope in his voice.

Around downtown

I’m working on a big new project that will involve teaching some photography workshops. So today I did a little test run with two of my Twitter friends Chris and Tim.

We spent a few hours walking around downtown Austin discussing photography and shooting in a variety of locations. I did more talking than shooting, but here’s a few I ended up with.

Tim the model
Chris risking life and limb for a shot
Betsy has a beautiful logo
Photographers in the sun
A beautiful old house
Look at the detail on that rock
Low angle
Fall leaves
BMX jump
BMX art shot

Shoot the rings

Here’s another in a series of posts I do about how I work as a photographer.

Some of my favorite things to shoot at weddings are the rings. I try to take time out to make really special ring shots. If you’re not careful they can become pretty run-of-the-mill. I know the rings look pretty on the flowers. I do it a lot too. I’m just saying try something different. I always try to contrast the beautiful metal rings with wood if I can. It makes for a nice comparison.

The shots below are the same rings on the same post, all shot at different angles and with different settings. The settings are listed below each picture.

The Rings
31mm :: 1/1000 :: f/2.8 :: ISO100
On this one I wanted the sun to play a bigger role than the ring itself. I let a lot of light in.

The Rings
55mm :: 1/500 :: f/2.8 :: ISO100
I wanted the ring to be the focus here with the light still playing a big role. I zoomed in a lot so the sun wasn’t hitting the lens directly. I had to change the exposure to 1/500 to let a little more light in.

The Rings
30mm :: 1/80 :: f/13 :: ISO100
I wanted the light coming through the ring here. I just lowered my angle and also cranked down the aperture to f/13 so the sun wouldn’t completely blow the sky out. Because of that I had to change the exposure to 1/80.

The Rings
55mm :: 1/100 :: f/2.8 :: ISO100
Here I really wanted to contrast the beautiful rings with the weathered wood. I just changed the angle to the top side and moved around to the other side so my shadow covered it completely. I set it back to f/2.8 so it would have nice, shallow depth-of-field.

Jessica and Will’s wedding day preview

Last Saturday we finally had the pleasure of shooting Jessica and Will’s wedding here in Austin. It’s been a year-long journey. After meeting them in January, we started with an engagement session in March where we fought wind and rain to get some great photos. Then in July we headed to Zilker Park on a much more picturesque day. Then finally in August we finished up with Jessica’s bridal session. It’s been a fun year working with them.

As a side note, I like working with any bride that will let me hang her dress from a second-story balcony an hour before the wedding for a good shot.

Here’s a preview of some of my favorite pictures from the big day.

Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day
Jessica and Will Wedding Day

Halloween 2008

Here’s a few Halloween pictures for my Mom, who reminded me I forgot to post them. The line up this year was Colton as Iron Man, Conner as Batman and Cody as Elmo.

At the Halloween party we went to Colton won the prize for toughest, Conner won for bravest and Cody won for scariest. I call that Halloween Irony WIN.

Halloween 2008
Halloween 2008
Halloween 2008
Halloween 2008

Seth Godin’s true genius

Recently, Seth Godin’s new book, Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us, was released for free to subscribers (and for $.95 on iTunes).

I’m sure it was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, if not more. And for every Audible download he made nothing. So why give away that much money? He’s practicing what he preaches. He’s growing his tribe of people that follow him and look to him for advice and wisdom.

After listening to the book, I’m hooked. Sure he gave me a free audiobook. But now I’ll probably go back and buy some of his past books and future releases as well. That’s something I wasn’t going to do before. And I’ve subscribed to his blog for years now. I’ve found in the past I’ve skimmed over his posts probably only reading about half of them. Since listening to Tribes, I’ve read every post he’s put out there.

His true genius is in long-term brand building. Sure he didn’t earn as much as he could have off Tribes because he gave away so many copies for free. But he’s already increased his profits on future books.

Why Christians should be very excited about the election results

Statistically, a majority of Christians vote Republican. So it’s probably safe to say a majority of Christians aren’t overly happy with the results of the latest election.

I’m personally not all worked up about it and really don’t think you should be either.

All that aside, here’s something that should excite you about it. President Obama won on a campaign based on hope and change. People followed him and proudly voted for him because he offered hope and change. We are wired deep down to know that our lives are flawed. We know something is missing.

Without Christ, my life was empty of real hope and real change. The election shows people are still hungry for those things. I think looking to the government for that hope and change will ultimately lead to disappointment. No matter what President Obama does, he is a human working in a man-made system. This means at some point he’ll disappoint.

This is our chance to spread real hope and real change. Not by beating people in the head with it but by loving them. Live your life in a way that shows you are changed. Not perfect. Just changed.

I’ll say it. Seeing Obama win gave me hope. It showed that the message of hope and change Christ brings will grab people and motivate them. We just need to do our part.

An open letter to President Barack Obama

Dear President Barack Obama,

Let me start by saying I didn’t vote for you. But I do congratulate you on your victory.

I don’t agree with most of the positions you take and that probably won’t change. I will not only disagree with you, but I will argue for my side strongly. But I promise to I will try to always do so respectfully. You have won the highest office in this country, and like the presidents before you, it commands a great deal of respect.

I will pray for you and your family daily. Not that you would do things my way but that you would be able to find joy where you are. Politics can be draining and straining on a family. I pray your marriage would be stronger now than ever and that your kids would feel they are the most important thing in your life.

Whether I agree with you or not, you are my president. I pray you would be one of the great ones.

Chad Wright

And the most disgusting thing about the election

Sorry for splitting up all the posts. Just writing things as they come to me.

I have to say the most stomach-turning part of this election has been the bright light that’s been shined on our reliance on government. People in huge droves are looking towards the government to basically provide for them. What happened to the work ethic of this country? What happened to the people willing to bust their butts to make a living for their family and build a legacy? When did we become this lazy?

I don’t think it’s Obama’s or McCain’s fault. I think it’s our fault. The most disgusting thing I’ve heard in the last two years was the woman at an Obama rally saying if she supported him, he’d support her. He’d pay her mortgage and put gas in her car. Are you kidding me? And it’s coming from both sides.

This isn’t an anti-Obama post. It’s and anti-laziness post. When will we stand up and take responsibility for ourselves?

The day McCain lost

Say what you will about Obama, he ran an amazing campaign. There’s so much to learn there just from a brand perspective. Amazing work.

But, McCain lost this election on a particular day. That day was the day he accepted the nomination. The reason is he isn’t truly a conservative. The only time he ever had any real momentum was with the pick of Palin because she truly is conservative.

So on one side you have McCain who didn’t have the ability to really energize the Republican base. And on the other you have Obama who did a great job getting not only the Democrat base hyped up, but also appealed to lots of groups, like younger people, that normally don’t pay attention.

I voted for McCain but didn’t particularly care to. I don’t think he stood a chance from day one.