IMP Blog

Deepika & Prashanth with Baahu

I met with Deepika and Prashanth and their lovable American Bulldog Baahu on June 24th.  After going over a few locations for their family photo shoot they choose to go with Brick Pond Park for it's rustic wildlife visuals and unique bridge.  Deepika shared with me that they would be moving to a new location where American Bulldogs are outlawed.  They will have family watch over Baahu while they complete their time at the new location.  Deepika expressed her vision for these photos and what they will mean for her and her husband Prashanth.  My job that day was to create a memorable photo session that will carry them both through this hard separation from their family member Baahu.  Although my dog Tobey is not very cooperative when it comes to taking photos, Baahu was a complete trooper!  He was very cooperative, considering how hot and humid it was that day in the Georgia sun.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from their photo session!

Andre & Lashonda's Wedding Story

When I first met Lashonda back in Mid-April she informed me that her wedding would be just weeks after our initial meeting.  She would be taking on the daunting task of planning her big day in just a short period of time.  Originally, she was to have her wedding in North Augusta, SC in a rented mansion with an amazing hilltop view of the local town.  Unfortunately, the weeks leading up to her big day it rained a great deal.  Because her wedding would be outdoor/indoor utilizing all the facets of the mansion; Lashonda decided to change the venue a week before her wedding due to the poor condition of the grounds.  What Lashonda was able to pull off next is a testament to her character......a "can-do" character that will undoubtedly serve her and her husband Andre for a lifetime.  Lashonda was able to change her wedding ceremony and reception location to the historic Augusta Museum Downtown.  

Lashonda and Andre's wedding day was full of friends and family who cared deeply about them.  For a wedding that was planned in such a short period of time I can say without a doubt it was a great success and showcase of the love these two souls have for each other.  I will end this with a scripture that was on a medallion tied to Lashonda's bouquet.  Psalms 93:4 "More than the sounds of many waters, Than the mighty breakers of the sea, The LORD on high is mighty."

Here are just a few photos of Andre & Lashonda's wedding day

Barbados Anniversary Trip

I finally got around to editing our photos from the trip to Barbados back in October 2017.  I had taken more video this time around and the photos were left on the back burner until now.  This was our first time in Barbados and our second time at a Sandals Resort.  Sandals runs a tight ship and we can't recommend them enough if you're looking for a quality vacation with none of the stress, just show up and enjoy.  During our time in Barbados we did two excursions.  Our first was a trip to a local school where my wife Julianna got to read to a group of children.  The children were mesmerized by us being there; with my camera in hand I became immediately popular with children begging me for portraits with their friends!  It was truly a humbling experience and we got to see some of the donations the school receives at work.  They had a very nice computer room with games and books where the children can learn and relax with air conditioning!  Our second excursion was a private trip around the island.  Our driver took us anywhere we wanted to go.  We mapped out our spots of interest the night before, however, our driver was very knowledgeable and helped us get the most of our tour.  We visited many sites around and in particular a cave where Billy Ocean and Rihanna shot music videos.  We got to see the only working windmill in the Caribbean, just a breathtaking site.  We loved our trip to Barbados so much we are going again in 2018.  Below are some of the photos from our trip and I have also linked the video I created with the footage I captured along the way.

The Christmas family

Seasons greetings everyone!

When Destiny reached out to me inquiring if I would be interested capturing her family photos for her Christmas card/Family portraits I was thrilled at the opportunity.  Because I am still a newb in the C.S.R.A and have a lot to learn in terms of scouting interesting locations for photoshoots; I am always looking to try new places.  I had heard of Brickpond Park by many photographers in the area who go there for sessions with their clients.  I personally have never been there.  So the day before my session with Destiny and her kids I decided to scout the area.  When I got there I was a bit thrown off.  While it was a very picturesque, it did have have a warning marker throughout.  A marker that really doesn't go unnoticed.  Beware of Alligators!!!  Do not attempt to feed or harass if encountering one.  *Gulp*

As I walked through the area getting ideas for the session, I kept my eyes on the water......just in case.  Toward the end of my scouting throughout the park I decided to head on back.  As I walked back across one of the many ponds I peered out into the distance and notice something still and staring at me.  It was an alligator alright!  About 7-8 feet.  I noticed a stray dog in the area just moving along the edge of the pond.  The alligator didn't seem to be interested.  It just stayed there minding its own business.  After all that, I still felt that it was safe enough to have the photos taken there.  Worse case scenario I could just beat it with my gigantic Canon 70-200 lens ;-p

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On the day of the photo session, Destiny bought her very photogenic kids Pierre, Carter and the newest edition to the family baby Salih!  Pierre was very helpful throughout the session helping me and his mother out with anything we needed to capture the best photos we possibly could.  Carter is just full of personality and kept us laughing throughout.  Baby Salih did what most newborns do.....sleep hahaha.  However, she did wake up from time to time just to give me a look. All in all, I believe I captured some of my best photos that day and it will definitely have a home in the IMP portfolio body of work.  I would like to thank Destiny for supporting and trusting me with photographing her family.  I look forward to photographing her family again in the near future!

 

Neighborhood Halloween Block Party!

It's truly been a unique experience owning our very first home in a completely new neighborhood.  Over the past 2 years and counting I have seen it grow and change rapidly right before my eyes.  One of the things that my HOA (Home Owners Association) has been trying to accomplish is to build a stronger community.  Sure, living in GA people are polite and say hi, good morning etc.  They'll even wave at you as you drive your car into the neighborhood.  Good luck finding that in the northeast lol.  However, only a few of us in the neighborhood have gotten to know one another.  We usually meet for the dreadful HOA meetings once in awhile; where we are there to argue for or against changes and establish rules.  So when it was announced that the subdivision would throw a Halloween block party, I knew it would be a great opportunity for all of us here to finally meet up and get to know one another and just enjoy each other's company.  It was a complete success and it can only get better from here on out.  I decided to lend my photography to capture a few photos of the event.  I am really looking forward to future events like these to get to know my neighbors better and build a strong community.

Rob & Chelsee Arthur Wedding Story

Rob & Chelsee married on September 24th at the Court Street Livery in Washington, GA.  The town had a wonderful historic and rustic feel to it.  The day was absolutely beautiful too.  Here in GA, the weather can be extremely hot and humid.  But on their wedding day the weather couldn't be more perfect!  Throughout my time getting to know Rob and Chelsee, I have come to see a beautiful and caring couple who supported and trusted me with capturing the start of their marriage.  I hope to continue to be in the lives of Rob and Chelsee in the future and wish them years of happiness.  I want to close with Chelsee's wish for the start of their new lives together: "When you need a helping hand, you will always have mine.  Because from this day forward, you do not walk alone.  My arms will be your shelter, my heart will be your home and you will have my love forever and always."

 

India Day!

Hello everyone!  Back in Mid-August I was hired to photograph the India Day event at the Augusta Maxwell Theater.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not only a professional photographer but also an IT professional.  I have found these fields both share a central truth; the learning never ends!  Just when you think you've mastered one area of photography, you quickly realize there is another to learn.  I think that is what keeps me going.  I am not sure I could do something that couldn't provide change or growth.  

 

Capturing the performances for India Day would be an event the like of which I had never done before.  I couldn't use flash and the auditorium lighting would be dim and constantly shifting for the various performances.  I planned for this event in detail: ...what will my camera settings look like the day of the event? ...how will I know which parts of the performances will be the most relevant? ...how many photos do I need to capture?  Much like shooting a wedding, it's great to have a plan but nothing can fully prepare you for a new experience.  You simply have to be focused and locked in; like a musical instrument, you must know your camera inside out.  

 

I made many mistakes and learned a great deal with this event.  One takeaway from India Day that will help me going forward is shot selection.  I took way too many photos (almost a movie of each performance!) and the client only needed a few of each set.  Both dance and sports photography require anticipating key moments and working for clarity in difficult shooting conditions.  Clearly communicating with clients about what outcomes they desire from the photography will provide the ability to meet their expectations.  Tying back into what I love about photography, focusing on improvement keeps what I capture fresh and responsive.  The client was extremely happy with my photos and will be hiring me again to capture another event in the coming weeks.  

 

Without further ado, here are some of the photos....

Raiya's Birthday Party

When Sukhi & Gurpreet reached out to me on capturing their daughter Raiya's 2nd birthday; I knew it would be my toughest challenge yet.  Not backing down to any challenges thrown my way, I said yes.  Sukhi & Gurpreet decorated the house like a living safari; I was floored at the attention to detail they put in to make this birthday extra special for Raiya.  Sukhi, told me she wanted my images to tell the story of Raiya's 2nd birthday so that one day when she is older she can see what they had done for her.  Here is Raiya's birthday story..........

Kevin & Natalie's Wedding!

Kevin and Natalie were married on July 2nd at the beautiful Lakeside Manor in Gibbsboro, NJ.  As hot as it was outside that day, nothing could be hotter than Kevin & Natalie on their wedding day!  One can't help but instantly feel the strong connection Kevin & Natalie have for each other.  The term "Soulmates" often gets thrown around too often.  Kevin & Natalie are most undeniably soulmates and I have no doubt that whatever punches life swings at them in the years to come, they'll swing back harder.   Here is their wedding story........

 

Art In The Park 2017

This year I was re-invited back to photograph Art in The Park 2017 for the Columbia County Arts Counsil here in Augusta, GA.  Sadly, the festivities were cut short by a massive thunderstorm that followed shortly after the morning performances had finished.  Photographing Art in The Park is completely volunteer work and is my way of giving back to the community.  I was just informed today that an official rain-date has been announced for Oct 14th and again, I have been asked to photograph the event.  In the meantime, have a look at some of the photos from the performances that day!

Rob & Chelsee

Hello all!

Just a few weeks ago I got meet the sweetest couple and captured their engagement session.  Rob & Chelsee are getting married in September and I am honored to be capturing it.  Here are a few fun facts about Rob & Chelsee.  Chelsee's favorite show right now is Heartland and Quantico; Rob really loves Hawaii Five-O.  Their favorite date night is a night at home cooking comfort food and making a dessert together.  Followed by relaxing on the sofa with their dog watching Disney classics.  That sounds like my kind of night!  When asked if a movie or show of their love story were made; what channel or platform would it air on?  She said it would be a Netflix Original Series showcasing them being their silly selves in their lab with their soon to be mini-horse St. Bernard.  Let me add that to my watchlist! ;-)

Here are some of the photos from their engagement session!

Art in The Park 2016

Hello ya'll!  I guess I should start saying "Ya'll" now that I have been living in the South for almost 2 years.....maybe not? hahaha.  I am still a Northern City boy at heart, always will be!

So almost a year ago I volunteered my photography services for a yearly event called "Art in The Park".  It is hosted by the amazing people over at the Columbia County Arts Counsel.  Why am I blogging about this now? Well, I never got a chance to and I took so many photos that day that I found it so hard to pick which I would ever show.  But, as I type this we are getting hit with a massive storm and for some reason I found it fitting to blog about it.  So I bunkered down and chose which photos I would share with you all.  

The good news, I have been asked to volunteer again for "Art in The Park" 2017!  Like most photographers out there; we love getting paid to do what we love.  However, I must admit there is nothing better than volunteering!  I can't wait to capture this years event and hopefully I don't take a full year to blog about it!  As my favorite NFL Insiders at ESPN would say "C'mon MAAAAAAN!"

2nd Year Anniversary Vegas Trip!

Hello there!  It has been a very long time since my last blog post.  I had been meaning to blog about my 2 year anniversary to my beautiful wife Julianna.  I am finally getting to it whew!  We spent a week in Las Vegas and funny enough we didn't do any clubbing; how do you go to Vegas and not go dancing? Well, that was us.  However, we did go on a fantastic helicopter ride out to the Grand Canyon that was just breathtaking.  It's moments like these that one sees the true wonder of God's creation.  I hope you enjoy taking a peek at the photos I captured during our trip.  I promise to blog more often as I have some new exciting projects I am working on that I would love to let you all know about.  For now though, here are the photos.

Kevin & Natalie's Engagement!

While in NJ visiting family I had the opportunity to perform an engagement session for my lovely cousin Natalie and her hulk of a fiancé Kevin.  Natalie and Kevin are getting married in July 2017 and have chosen me to photograph their special day!  I couldn't be more excited about this and can't wait to celebrate with these two lovebirds.  The photos were taken in Flemington, NJ and the Jersey shore.  Here are the photos.....

Purnank and Arpita's Baby Shower!

Welcome to the Ghandi baby shower!  I had such a blast photographing this event.  Purnank and Arpita are an incredibly nice couple who really made me feel part of the family.  The event was at the lovely Julian Smith Casino in Augusta, GA.  The beautiful light that came in from both sides of the floor from the open windows is a photographers delight.  Without further ado, here are some of the photos of that day.

Cyber School Graduation Photo Story

Three months ago I get a call from a Soldier who says he has a special request for a group photo.  That this group photo will be historic because it’s the first of its kind.  Was my interest piqued?  You bet

I began to ask the Soldier more details about this photo he envisioned.  It turns out this shot would be no easy task.  I didn’t quite understand until I scheduled time to see exactly what he was talking about.  He told me to meet him at Signal Tower located in Fort Gordon, GA.  I’ve heard about Signal Tower many times and I had imagined security would be as tight as it goes. 

Upon my arrival, I checked myself into the lobby where I waited to be escorted inside.  Within a few minutes I was greeted by the Soldier and building security.  I was escorted to the 10th floor and shown the balcony.  “Here is where the shot needs to take place” the Soldier said.  What I saw was no more than 5-7 feet from the balcony rails to a wall of windows.  I immediately got nervous, as you can imagine. “How many students will be in the shot?” I asked.  His reply….21 Sir. 

I began taking test shots with my iPhone, which is equivalent to a 35mm lens, or so that’s what I've read.  I knew from the start that I would need to use my 24mm lens, but would that even be enough?  It had to be this location, no other you see.  The Soldier’s mind was made up and this is where it had to be -- no ifs, ands or buts.  Suddenly, the security guard who had followed us all the way up had a fantastic idea that I wished I had thought of myself!  Only windows separated the balcony where the shot had to take place and the elevator waiting area.  The security guard suggested I setup and take the photo from inside the windows looking out toward the balcony.  I thought at first, this might work.  The Soldier said he would even try to lift the window up on the day of the shoot.  But I knew I could not count on that so I started to think about how would I take the shot through the window and defeat reflection?  When I got home that day the solution of how to defeat reflection popped into my head like a bullet.  I could use a polarizer!

 

The morning of the shoot

 The night before the group shot, I did a thorough check of all my equipment and of course a prayer that all things would go well!  I had to be at the Signal Tower at 6:30am to take the photo by 7:00am.  Timing was everything because the sun would start to peek through the balcony and cast sunlight on the students' faces.  When I got to the security desk I saw all 21 cyber students waiting on me.  We marched ourselves to the 10th floor.  I bought along two soft boxes to which I attached my 600 ex-rt flashes.  What I didn’t account for was wind.  I didn’t bring any sand bags or weights to hold those soft boxes down.  I was now praying the wind outside would not cause them to fall down.  As I began setting up outside I saw the students could not raise the window as it was locked by a bar holding it down.  Luckily, I had thought to bring some good ol' Windex and microfiber cloths.  I actually had the nerve to ask a First Sergeant to clean the window!  As he cleaned the window he said he would be putting this in his new job description with the Army -- I chuckled.  So, as I feared at this point, the soft boxes were falling with the little wind that was coming through.  The 1SG and captain escorting the students to the balcony were kind enough to be my assistants to hold the soft boxes -- how awesome is that!  The students were all in position for me to take the shot and the sun was not waiting on me.  It would be just a matter of minutes before that sun would make its presence known.  Now, I knew from talking with the Soldier who hired me to do this that getting some of the background in the shot was preferred.  So I knew I had to use the soft boxes to cast light on their faces but underexpose my shot to get the background.  I of course shot RAW like I always do.  I knew I would be able to get back more detail this way, especially if I were to underexpose the shots.

I had my MacBook Pro tethered to my camera, so that I could see how the shots were panning out.  I wanted to make sure the images were tack sharp.  I felt as though I had my shot, but I wouldn’t be 100% certain until I could work on the photo in Adobe Lightroom.  To my shock, the students who did see some of the photos from my laptop LOVED what they saw.  I mean, I couldn’t believe it because the shots were definitely underexposed.  But, I’ll admit it took my nerves down a few notches.  I got home and began work on the photos immediately.  This had the highest priority since it needed to get its way onto a plaque that will eventually be on display at the Army Cyber School.  The final product -- the shot you see above -- was the most challenging post-processed job I have ever done.  If I only showed you the original shot I am sure your jaws would drop.  But I won’t show that image!  Hahaha.  Just take my word for it!

I couldn’t be more proud of an image that I took.  Everything I have been working for in terms of my art, my photography has led me to this point.  I am honored to have taken a photo that has lasting importance for a noble organization.  I finally get a small glimpse into what great photographers like Neil Leifer felt when capturing a historic photo that transcends time.  

As for what the photo on the plaque looks like?  Take a look for yourself!

New Lens Today Sigma 35mm 1.4

After doing significant research for weeks, I decided to own the Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART lens.  Why this lens though?  I really wanted a multi-faceted prime lens (besides my landscape-focused 24-70 Canon 2.8 zoom lens).  A 35mm lens closely achieves the perspective of a human eye.  That's why the majority of Hollywood films are shot on 35mm film.  I currently own a 50mm 1.4 ART lens and it is absolutely amazing for portraits!  But it's not a lens I can take with me for street photography or landscape photography.

I will be shooting with this lens in the coming weeks and I will update you all on my final thoughts.  But for now, enjoy a picture I took today of my dog Tobey!