Every time I get bogged down with things that seem like a challenge, I try to remind myself that life is all about perspective. And there is no time that simple philosophy is more clear to me than when I spend time with the Tarlesson family. The Tarlessons have endured a reality that most of us would shudder at the thought of. For some four years they lived in Liberian jungles and refugee camps, in a mad scramble to avoid the atrocities of civil war. Many of their family and friends succumbed to the violence. But 26 members of the extended family managed to immigrate to the United States and now grow organic vegetables on a 50 acre farm in Northern California. One day every summer since their arrival, the family treats the community to an afternoon of traditional African dance, food, and culture. The thunderous rhythm of the drums can be heard far and wide. The children’s constant laughter is infectious. And the simple sight of their happiness is a glaring example of the fact that life is all about perspective.
Shooting at the Old Sugar Mill is always a treat. The history, colors and textures of that place make it a perfect backdrop for beautiful photos. Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of mentoring a couple dozen eager photographers there. We started the day with a quick lesson about light, then moved right into one great day of making photos.
A behind the scenes look at my shoot with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson.
Location lighting is the most beautiful thing that has ever frustrated the mess out of me. But for all its hassles, the end almost always justifies the means. Pictured here is soccer standout Devlyn Jeter. The high-scoring forward has a scholarship to Portland, is in the United States Soccer Federation’s U-19 girls national pool, and is an all around great gal. We met for this photo before one of her regular games, where she was entrenched in her role as team captain and nursing an injured groin muscle at the same time. Then I show up with a truckload of gear, adding one more weight to her already heavy load. But true to form, she took it all in stride and didn’t miss a beat. After 15 minutes of shooting, I had my frame and Devlyn was on the field leading the charge.
Technical specs: (1) White Lightning X3200 monolight shot through a large Photoflex LIteDome softbox. Canon EOS 5D Mark II body equiped with a Canon EF 24-70 f2.8 lens. Manually exposed at 1/160 sec, f22, ISO 100.