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More Joy Welcomed in N.Y. Times Pictures of the Day

photo by K.B. Medford

photo by K.B. Medford

The N.Y. Times Pictures of the Day are a dependable source of inspiration for photographers.  They trend with the news which is currently resplendent with grief and pain from locations like the Ukraine, Iraq, and Ferguson, Missouri.

The images have become repetitive with bombed out buildings, makeshift coffins carried by wailing families, and of soldiers being beaten or beating.

I was particularly proud of my wife who captured this moment during the  baptism of  the son of a close cousin at The Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cameron, S.C.

Lutherans believe that baptism is a gift of salvation which can be fulfilled by committed good families and communities.

Let’s pray for more joyful images (and  supportive) communities like this …

Pre-Dawn Arrivals: Lake Logan Triathlon

The lights in the sky are projected by the Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton, NC (ten miles away). The swim part of the race starts at 7:00 a.m. Athletes begin arriving at 4:30 a.m. Sunrise is at 6:30 a.m. Exposure at f/3.5, 24 mm, ISO 200 for 30 seconds

During the first weekend of August 2014, over 900 athletes arrived before the sun came up at the Lake Logan Episcopal Center in Western North Carolina to be cheered by family and friends.  This event has grown substantially, particularly this year with the addition of the Lake Logan Half.  In this event, contestants swim 1.2 miles (1.9m),  bike 52 miles (90 km), run 13.1 miles (21.1 km).

The event is owned and managed by  Glory Hound Events with production and promotion assistance by Setup Events.

The promo-documentary for the event can be found here.

Greg Duff of Glory Hound Events

Greg Duff of Glory Hound Events interviewed for live-broadcast by WLOS-TV

Lake Logan 2014 Triathlon

Athlete crossing the West Fork of the Pigeon River Bridge on her way to registration.

No, I am not a winner … but you (an aspiring photographer) could be

Lens Culture Emerging Talents

I am not a winner, but an aspiring photographer who is trying to improve their game will be by spending time on this site.

Lensculture and their judges, in announcing their winners – age 18 to 69 – explain in detail why they identified these photographer artists as “emerging talent”- what a bonus!

Reviewing their comments and the portfolios and websites of theses photographers is like eating candy out of a barrel in a candy store – validated inspiration one can always come back to.

Bookmark this incredible site as I have.  It will be there until next year this time – ready to help you become a bigger winner with your art form!

Story Behind the Image: “Drive By Shooting”

Going Home

“Drive By Shooting”

Story behind the Image:  Let me say that when this image was first published, one of my dear friends voluntarily suggested a caption that hit the mark and demonstrated his knowledge of how  images like this might be produced.  I was “okay” with it as I knew that my deceased parents would be, too.  They knew Tim.

When Mother was transported by Wells Funeral Home  to be interred, they traveled down Interstate 26 from Waynesville to the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery – the home church cemetery for the the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cameron, S.C. where she grew up.  My wife and I did not intentionally accompany the hearse but we frequently leap-frogged with the long black Cadillac down the interstate.  It took a little time for Dan Pottinger ( of Wells), who helped us with our family arrangements, to become comfortable with my humor and penchant for creativity.  Whenever the hearse would pass us on the interstate, my wife (K.B.)  and I would say, “There goes Mom!”

The imagery was powerful and I told Dan after the graveside service that we needed to re-create the scene.  This was a request he had never had before, and his reaction was very doubtful.  In honesty he asked,  “do we do the drive-down and graveside ceremony over again?”

Hearse Composite 2So with several months thinking about it and looking at locations, the best choice ended up being the basement garage of the funeral home. Hearse Composite The relational distances could be set up — side to side and front to back, and I had the equipment to re-create the lighting.  The road scene is from Old State Road near the Cemetery.  The scene in the rear view mirror is the flipped image of Old State Road.   The informality of the occasion and our friendship made the production successful.  I learned many things, for one, that funeral directors do not have to go to car-washing school to become credentialled.

In the re-creation, I asked Dan to remove his dark jacket, roll the window down, and rest his white-sleeved arm on the car window ledge.  He whimpered a little, “It is against company policy”.   I looked at him, but then he grinned.

It was as Mother would have wanted it.

“One More!” … at the ‘Ultimate Runner’ competition

Ultimate Runner 2014

Race official, Perry Macheras, informs competition runner, Heather Hugosson, that she has one more lap to run in The Mile component of her race.

The Ultimate Runner which is unlike any other running competition in the United States as we know it was the brainchild of Sandy Wetherhold who 28 years ago devised a competition in which runners competed for time in five events: one mile, 400 meters, 800 meters, and 5K cross country. The race is age-graded.

The Ultimate Runner is produced as one of the annual signature events of Winston-Salem’s Twin City Track Club founded almost at the same year of the original event.

A significant event and image from my life …

Going Home

Going home to Mt. Lebanon, the church cemetery of the Resurrection Lutheran Church

My mother was the only patient in the ICU of Haywood County Regional Medical Center on Wednesday evening, May 9, 2012.  The Unit was eerily quiet, absent of the usual beeping cadence of  monitors, and that of my mother’s – her monitor and I.V.’s disconnected a few hours before.  The sole light burning was the one over the nurses station which cast a diffuse fluorescent glow through their observation window into her private room.  My mother’s  life was slipping away as her still warm hand lay in mine.  She communicated to me the best that she could as I expected she might, “Please take me home!”

I knew what that meant, as she had repeated this phrase several times over to her friends when her mom passed away 25 years earlier in 1987.  “I am bringing her home,” she would tell them.

“Home” for her was Cameron, S.C. – a small town at the headwaters of  the Four Hole Swamp.  I often visited there as a child,  spending more than just a few days with Grandmother Houck, “Aunt Vera”, as was the local naming convention.  Cameron was and still is a comfortable town filled with comfortable people.  Cousins I played with then are  running the family farm now.  The experience of visiting them is like stepping back into an earlier life.

A few things have changed – farming, for one; the century farm is even more amplified in it’s character with bigger machines and fewer laborers;  the century family is bigger than life with everyone-at-the table meals; and the family bible from 1883 is prominently located as a premonition of all good things to come – even me!

This experience has become the basis of my multimedia graduation project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.  Over the next few months, there will be several “rough-cut” screenings, as I massage the story and the technicals.  If you have not been invited, please ask to be as it is a story worth sharing.

The still photographs will become part of a book and an exhibit, entitled “Coming Home to Cotton”.

World’s leading early career photographers and their websites ….

Look3  One of the most prestigious photography festivals in the world ( the Look3 Photography Festival in Charlottesville, VA) has identified their early career leading photographers, and their websites.  What a treat to peruse on a rainy day when you might be seeking some inspiration!

 
Mark Abramson, USA  |  Alex Arbuckle, USA  |   Evgenia Arbugaeva, Russia  |  Rosanna Bach, USA  | Trent Davis Bailey, USA  |  Andy Bardon, USA   |  Ian Bates, USA  |   Endia Beal, USA  |  Olivia Bee, USA |  Anna Beeke, USA   |  Justin Black, USA  |  Jarrett Christian, USA  |  Lara Ciarabellini, Italy  |  Sonia Louise Davis, USA  |  Ousman Diallo, USA  |  Peter DiCampo, USA  |  Ronan Donovan, USA  |  John Edmonds, USA  |  Mohammed Elshamy, Egypt  |  Ismail Ferdous, Bangladesh  |  Annie Flanagan, USA  |  Ivan Forde, USA  | Kate Fowler, USA  |  Trevor Frost, USA  |  Glenna Gordon, USA  |  Lauren Grabelle, USA  |  Nathaniel Grann, USA |  Bertie Gregory, UK |  Adrienne Grunwald, USA  |  Abbas Hajimohammadi Saniabadi, Iran |  Cynthia Henebry, USA  |  Janna Ireland, USA  |  Ciril Jazbec, Slovenia  |  Shannon Jensen, USA  | Louise Johns, USA  |  Natalie Keyssar, USA   |  Stacy Kranitz, USA  |  Eric Kruszewski, USA  |  Zun Lee, Canada  |  Dan Leung Yu Chung, Hong Kong  |  Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, USA  |  Yuyang Liu, China  |  Olivia Locher, USA  |  Maddie McGarvey, USA  |  Eric Medsker, USA  |  Philip Montgomery, USA  |  Charles Mostoller, USA  | Loubna Mrie, Syria  |  Annalisa Natali Murri, Italy | Jake Naughton, USA  |  Elyor Nematov, Kyrgyzstan | Eva O’Leary, USA  | Dina Oganova, Georgia  |  Novella Oliana, Italy  |  Katie Orlinsky, USA  |  Evan Matthew Ortiz, USA  |  Cheryl-Samantha Owen, Tanzania  |  Pete Pin, USA  |  Tayarisha Poe, USA  |  Alex Potter, USA  |  Agnieszka Rayss, Poland  |  Stephen Reiss, USA  |  Andrew Renneisen, USA  |  Anastasia Rudenko, Russia  |  Manuela Marin Salcedo, USA  |  Shahria Sharmin, Bangladesh  |  Robbie Shone, Austria  |  Pedro Silveira, Brazil  |  Mark Strandquist, USA  |  Ilona Szwarc, USA  |  Edwin J. Torres, USA |  Sumeja Tulic, Bosnia & Herezegovnia  | James Tylor, Australia  |  Alex Welsh, USA  |  Yeong-Ung Yang, USA.

Twelve faces of pain from the 2014 Winston-Salem Cycling Classic

The purpose of this small documentary project was to capture the facial expressions of a sample group of riders as reflected in their level of physical exertion.  We chose twelve, but one we photographed has a countenance that is complacent and poised — see if you can find her.

Athletes drew from the depths of their physical prowess (and cycling skills) to place and win, or even to finish.

Congratulations to all the competitive athletes who traveled from all over the world to ride in the 2014 Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.

Winston-Salem (NC) shooting location: corner of Cherry and Seventh Streets.  This location was chosen because of a turn at the end of a long 1/4 mile gentle descent (maximum speeds attained here) before negotiating a less-than-90 degree turn going into a moderate uphill.

Technical:
Camera 1:  Nikon 300S with Nikon AF VR 80-400mm lens. f/5.6 at 400mm.  ISO=1600  Profoto 7b Powerpack with Profoto 7b Flash Head with B-3 balanced for exposure, radio triggered with Pocket Wizzard Plus-II
Camera 2:  Nikon 600 with Nikon AF-S 80-400mm lens.  f/4.5  at 400 mm.  ISO=1600.  Two Nikon SB-910 speed lights remotely triggered by with Pocket Wizzard AC 3 Zone Controller and Flex TT5 wireless platform.

Documentary photographers: Houck and K.B. Medford

Cinemagraph … Winston-Salem Light Project “Artery”

Comp-Strollway_4-copy

A favorite project of ours in Winston-Salem is soon to end – 2014′s Winston-Salem Light Project – named “The Artery.”

The scene (literally in front of our home on Factory Row) is the Winston-Salem Strollway where industrious and innovative faculty (Norman Coates and others) and students from the UNC School of the Arts have converted the existing city light fixtures into a half-mile of visual dessert  from dusk to dawn.

“Artery” was constructed of 48 custom-made LED lighting fixtures that attach to the existing lamp posts along the Winston-Salem Strollway. Each of the fixtures totaled over seven hundred feet of LEDs, and 10,878 individual LED chips. The units are controlled by a microprocessor which “sees” the area underneath it by means of an infrared sensor. When movement is detected, the microprocessor slowly brightens the unit and changes the color for a period of time creating waves of movement.

K.B Medford uses the Strollway as a route for her bike training at night.

 

“Chimney Swifts” wins Cape Fear New Music Festival Competition

Cape Fear Eastern Music Festival

Cape Fear New Music Festival

Our image “Chimney Swifts” won the Cape Fear New Music Festival competition at Methodist University where the photographer was challenged to produce select great images which matched musical movements composed by the festival’s guest artists.  This year’s festival, now in it’s second year, was to focus on the interaction between the visual arts and music.   Burk Uzzle, a Life Magazine and Magnum photographer and native of North Carolina judged the entries.  Two other of our images, “Birding at Bonner Bridge” and “Overloaded Circuits”, were runner-ups in the competition.  I am pleased to say that the grand prize award went to Bryce Lankard, a mentor and instructor friend of mine at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.  Way to go, Bryce!