Photo Workshop

Last Sunday I attended a studio lighting workshop hosted by Photonooga in Chattanooga,TN.  The instructor was Rocke of  This was my first workshop and was definitely the first time doing any type of work with models.  I learned a lot but still have much to learn.  Here are a few images I made.


The MCPON visits Cleveland, TN

As many of you may know I am a Reservist in the U.S. Navy. That means I am basically in the Navy on a part-time basis and “play” Navy on one weekend a month and then two weeks at some point during the year. A couple of weeks ago while at “drill” we were notified that the annual Armed Forces Day Parade would be held in downtown Chattanooga, TN on May 7th, 2010 and that the Grand Marshall would be the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West.

The MCPON is the most senior enlisted person in the Navy and is a liaison for the enlisted community to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). The MCPON is also called upon to testify in front of Congress on various issues involving the enlisted naval community.

MCPON West is a previous Quartermaster (QM) in the submarine community and his accomplishments are too many to list here. For more detailed information on him you can visit either his Facebook page or his official Navy page.

Now back to the point…

During that drill weekend several of us were asked if we would like to march in the parade since the Navy needed to make a good showing for the MCPON. Reluctantly I volunteered. So on May 7th about 20 reservist met at the drill center. I’ll fast forward a bit and take you to the point where we are marching down the street and start to pass the reviewing stand where MCPON West is watching us. As we pass by he breaks his salute and starts clapping loudly, at which point cold chills went down my spine and I was instantly filled with more Navy pride than I can ever remember.

After the parade a few buddies and I walked back over towards the viewing stand and eventually got to shake the MCPON’s hand and get a picture with him. That moment was awesome. Here I was shaking hands with the senior enlisted person in the Navy and he just happens to be wearing the same submarine warfare pin that I was wearing. Like two brothers separated by three pay-grades and a lot of years.

That moment was trumped only to the event that happened the next day. I was invited to attend a submarine veteran’s meeting at my local Golden Coral and the guest speaker was MCPON West. I arrived early and sat down with his photographer, MC1 Jennifer Villalovos. We made small talk and all the while the MCPON was sitting right next to me.

Without a doubt, this past weekend was the highlight of my military career.

The other side of the tracks

Last week I was romping about up in the north end of my home town while doing some work for my dad.  I took my Nikon D300 with me as usual in hopes of finding some old barn or something interesting to take a photograph of  I normally have my camera with me at all times.  It may not be in my hands, but it’s usually close by.

I was driving through the little town of Charleston, TN when I crossed the railroad track and noticed that there were a couple of local Norfolk Southern engines sitting on the tracks.  Here are some of the iPhone pictures I took.

try {var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-11971006-1”);pageTracker._trackPageview();} catch(err) {}

AirCurve Acoustic Amplifier for iPhone

Good morning!

A few months ago while browsing in the electronics section at my local Walmart I saw this cool little iPhone dock.  I know what you’re saying, everybody and their brother has came out with an iPhone dock.  But this one is completely different. 

This little $20 piece of plastic has no electronics yet it claims to boost the audio of your iPhone do to a wave-guide design.  As your phone sits in the cradle of this dock the speaker of the phone is in direct contact with the start of the wave-guide and as sound comes from the iPhone speaker it is pumped through this little tunnel.  The sound quality is very nice and the clear plastic design is very pleasing to the eye.

This dock is made by Griffin Technology and is actually called the AirCurve Acoustic Amplifier.

Note:  It will accept a sync cable so you can charge or sync your iPhone while it is securely sitting in the AirCurve. 

Head on over to and take a look.  I highly recommend it.

try {var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-11971006-1”);pageTracker._trackPageview();} catch(err) {}


I was taking my daughter to a birthday party a few years ago when I was still stationed in Charleston, SC.  On a whim, I stopped by the Navy Exchange and purchased a Sony Cybershot digital camera.  I have a hard time remembering some things but I remember this event pretty clearly.  The first digital photos I took were at that party which was at the bowling alley on base.  Little did I know that the purchase of that camera would spark an interest that would be almost as strong as my love of amateur radio.

Soon after I bought my camera, Emilie went on a school field trip to the Aquarium in downtown Charleston.  While I was there I took a picture of the Cooper River Bridge.  It connects Charleston to Mt. Pleasant.  The picture wasn’t very good by today’s standards though, but I still love it.

I started reading photography tutorials that I would print from the internet and read them while I was at work in my down time.  I started learning about shutter speeds and F-stops and white balance and all the other technical things that are involved in photography.  I’m still reading too.

My photographic style has become that of capturing human expression.  I love capturing those moments in life that people don’t expect.  Taking the picture of the little boy in the crowd who is yawning or doing something he shouldn’t be doing is much more appealing to me than posing a bunch of people and taking portrait style pictures.

About a year ago I came across this guy named Joe McNally while surfing the internet.  Joe is a famous photog who is a master of lighting and off camera flash.  While watching a video of him giving a talk about his first published book “The Moment It Clicks” Joe is telling of a time when he was on assignment with one of the major magazines to take pictures of the Pope.  He is so far away from the Pope that there is noway to get a good photo and while Joe is getting frustrated with his dilemma there is a one armed man behind him taking pictures with a small camera with a fixed lens.  Joe goes on to say that the most important piece of gear in your camera bag is your attitude.

More to come…

iPhone picture of the week

The first snow of the season occurred a few days ago.  Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy it.  I was fulfilling my obligations with the U.S. Navy Reserves.  My daughter however, was able to go out and have some fun.  I am an amateur radio operator and my daughter is well aware of this fact.  So much so that she decided to make a snowman ham radio operator.  She named him Hammie.  My dad took this picture with his cell phone.

iPhone picture of the week

This picture was taken with my handy iPhone 3G.  My girlfriend and I had just dropped my daughter off at a birthday part and had decided to take a short walk to the eatery just up the road.  As we were walking I noticed the sign out front.  Now, I have eaten at this place many times but have never really noticed the sign.
I edited the picture in the Chase Jarvis iPhone app called Best Camera.  Chase’s inspiration has helped me start to see the creative side of myself and I have started taking a lot more pictures.
As a note this restaurant is located just south of Charleston, TN on North Lee Hwy (U.S. Hwy 11).

Bradley County’s First Sheriff honored

Bradley County’s first Sheriff, Sheriff Carter was honored in a 3pm memorial service at Forthill Cemetary in Cleveland,TN. Sheriff Carter’s grave was recently rediscovered by a local historian and teacher Mrs. Debbie Moore. Mrs. Moore approached the local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 59 and requested that they raise funds to place a new grave stone on the grave. Mrs. Moore also requested that the marker indicate that this was the grave of Bradley County’s first Sheriff. After Mrs. Moore layed out the history and the facts and proved that this was infact Sheriff Carter’s grave the Lodge voted to assist Mrs. Moore in her endevours.

In attendence was Mrs. Moore, FOP Lodge President Jim Hodgson, FOP member Chip Bryant, FOP member Rusty Bryant, County Commisioner Louie Alford, County Commisioner Ed Elkins, local Cub Scouts and a distant relative of Sheriff Carter.

Sheriff Carter was appointed to his position in 1836 and died that same year. It is still unclear how Sheriff Carter passed.

Mrs. Debbie Moore shares the history of what Sheriff Carter.

FOP President Jim Hodgson dedicates the new grave stone that was placed upon Sheriff Carter’s grave.

 Mrs. Moore demonstrates how to “chalk” a grave stone to bring out the writing so that it is more visible. She explains that years of exposure to the elements can cause grave stones to become hard to read and “chalking” helps to bring out the writing.

FOP Memeber Chip Bryant places a wreath on Sheriff Carter’s grave.

Posted by Picasa

iPhone Pictures

     A few weeks ago Chase Jarvis introduced a new iPhone app called bestcam.  It came from the book he just release call “The best camera is the one you have”.  I haven’t bought the book yet but I did down load and install the free app on my iPhone.  This new app and Chases inspiration has really inspired me to start taking more pictures with my iPhone.  So here are a few of my pictures. 

This is Annie.  I took her, her son and my daughter to a river maze in Polk County Tennessee.   We had a great time despite the cold and wet conditions.

I go to a local Baptist Church called Westwood.  This is the painting on one of the walls.  The photo was edited with the bestcam app.

A late night trip to the local Krispy Kreme doughnut shop yielded this picture.  Annie and I were sitting at our table and this was the view.  Beautiful if I do say so myself.

 This one was taken as I was driving.  I used a self timer app to take a few pictures as I was driving so it was done with minimal attention given to my phone.  It was edited with the bestcam app.

I was just about to get into my truck when I noticed a large shadow of myself and thought it might make an interesting picture.