Category Archives: event

Nashville Fireworks Psychedelic Dreamtime

Those of you who live in Nashville know that in the last several years the city has really stepped up its game in the fireworks department. The show is not to be missed if you can make it down. If, however, the thought of the crowd or the traffic keeps you at home, here’s a little peek at what went down.

I went with an idea in mind to video the entire show in bokeh, the product of a happy accident the night before at a fireworks show in Hendersonville, TN. Watching a fireworks show that has been recorded is always disappointing. I can’t really feel the show and I always know the colors just aren’t as vibrant as when I’m there.

This is my attempt to capture the dreamy feeling I always get when watching this sort of thing. I’ve watched this several times and I love how calming it is. Just like Monday night during the show, I can push out all the noise from my mind for a bit and just enjoy the light. I’m very happy with the result even with the limitation of my field of view that night.

If you were there this is a different look at what you’ve already seen. If you weren’t there, well, enjoy.

Growing Pains in Music City

A protester at Thursday’s rally yells at construction workers.

     Last Thursday a group of local union labor workers gathered to protest outside the construction site of the new downtown convention center. They are upset over the amount of contracts that have been awarded to out of state construction firms. These firms have shipped in workers from other states, angering local unions who point out the large number of unemployed in Davidson County. 
     The protesters marched from the Metro courthouse to the construction site of the almost 600 million dollar convention center. Once they reached the site, local police were forced to shut down a section of Franklin Street between 5th and 4th to accommodate the large crowd. The protesters marched around, some of them banging on 5 gallon paint buckets and all of them chanting, “Local jobs for local people!”.


     Meet Aja. She’s a make-up artist, a hair stylist and part of a large team of individuals that came together in late September to hold a practice Help-Portrait event. She was reluctant to get in front of the camera at first, but I’m glad she did. I’m not above begging to get a great shot.

     What is Help-Portrait? Help-Portrait is a global movement of photographers using their time, gear and expertise to give back to those in need. The basic premise is finding someone in need, giving them some pampering, taking their portrait and then giving it to them. All at no charge.

     I first heard of Help-Portrait earlier this year. My friend Barry had been talking about this event where photographers get together to serve their community by offering portrait services to those in need. The idea sounded nice but I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t think about it very much further than that. He would mention it again a couple months later and I would agree that it sounded like a good idea and then I would forget about it.

     One day he sent me an email that had a link to the official Help-Portrait website. I decided to have a look and see what this whole thing was about. I watched a three and a half minute video of organizers and participants talking about what they were doing and how it affected them. I swear I tried my hardest not to cry but it didn’t work. It was just too moving and I knew right then that I wanted to be a part of this thing.

     Barry and I talked and we decided to do sort of a dry run, a practice test to see what kind of issues we’d run into logistically. We set a date of September 24th and got busy. There was a lot of planning involved to make this little event happen, but there was also an abundance of help from some amazing people. It was incredible to watch everyone working together to pull this off. Everything went smoother than could have been imagined.

     The best part of the whole day was seeing the look on peoples faces when they saw their photograph on the back of the camera. These huge Cheshire Cat grins would grow so big they couldn’t hide them. That was the real payoff, the reason we were there. To make someone smile, to help them feel better about themselves, to try and share a little hope with others.

     It was an emotional day. You see, ever since I found my passion in using a camera, I have been amazed at the level of joy it gives me. It provides me with a form of expression that I don’t find anywhere else. When I found my home behind the lens, I felt a sense of place and immediately knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life taking photographs. It has benefitted all other aspects of my life.

     My focus has been on how I could use my camera to make my life better. I left that day with the new understanding that the passion I have for photography is expressed in it’s truest form when I use it to better the life of others.

     There’s a subtle osmosis that occurs when you honestly try and spread a bit of hope to someone who needs it. Just in putting forth the effort, you gain a little yourself.

     Help-Portrait day is December 4th, 2010. If you’d like to be involved, check out the official Help-Portrait website. You don’t have to be a photographer. You don’t have to know how to use Photoshop. You just have to be there.