Trombone Shorty closing out the waterfront blues festival in Portland, OR 2019
Father’s Day is coming up and I am offering a mini session special to capture dads, granddads, uncles and father figures on June 2nd and 3rd at Peninsula and Laurelhurst Parks. If you haven’t had a professional portraits taken in a while, this is your chance to take advantage of this opportunity. Families will receive an 8×10 and 2 5×7 prints with their session. There will be an opportunity to purchase digital files and additional prints.
To reserve your slot, click here to confirm your session.
Every few months Instagram releases new features for their Instagram stories. The latest feature is to create highlights that can be featured on your profile. These are curated stories that can be saved since stories disappear after 24 hours. While scrolling through the stories, I came across a story that had a link to their youtube channel on create custom covers for Instagram Highlights. The tutorial showed you how to do it on your mobile device but they had annotations on how to do it in Photoshop. If you don’t have access to photoshop and want to create the covers on your mobile device, check out the tutorial here and here. If you do have photoshop, continue reading below.
Open up Photoshop
Mobile Tab: Photoshop comes with many presets for numerous mobile devices. I have a iPhone 6 Plus. That is the preset I chose. And make sure Artboards is checked.
Next you’ll want to search for graphics for your custom covers. You’ll want to make sure they are PNG’s with a transparent background. You can get some free icons from this site here. Once you found the PNG you like, right click and save to either your desktop or folder for all of your graphics. Now place your graphic in the document.
From here you can change the background color of either the PNG or the background to reflect your branding colors. In my libraries, I have my branded colors saved for easy access.
Once you are done editing the PNG, flatten the image. There are two ways to export to your mobile device. For iPhone users, you can AirDrop the image directly from Photoshop.
For Android users go to file, export, Artboards to files. Select the destination and name the file. Make sure “Artboard content” is checked and click “Run”. Then email the file to yourself and save to your camera roll.
Creating the Cover in Instagram
Open up your Instagram account and select the camera icon on the top left. Swipe up and you’ll see the PNG you saved ready to post to your Instagram story. I know it will be weird to have these in your stories but it’s necessary to have them for your covers.
The following screen shots will be step by step instructions on how to create a highlight, name the highlight and changing the cover photo.
Go to your profile and hit the + icon to create a new highlight. Then scroll through your archived stories and select the stories you want added to the highlight. Select next and name your highlight. Then hit add.
Now your highlight is on your profile but the cover is from the story. Long press the highlight until you see the prompt “Delete Highlight and Edit Highlight”.
From here you can edit the cover. Select “Edit Cover”.
Now you can go to your archived stories and select the graphic you saved for the cover.
Hit done. And now you have your custom cover for your Instagram Highlight. If you want to resize the graphic, long press the highlight and select edit highlight, edit cover and adjust the size of your graphic.
After adjusting the size of your graphic, hit done twice and now you have a custom cover for your Instagram Story Highlights. Repeat these steps for each category you want to highlight. When done, it will look like my profile below.
Sharon_pdx profile with Branded coversIf you have other tips, feel free to post them in the comments below.
My website has been pretty dormant the last few months. I had many intentions on keeping it updated with the #Blacklovepdx series. But I got busy and neglected my site. But it’s a new year and I am so excited that I am starting the new year with a new Canon 5D Mark IV camera and lens. This wouldn’t have happened without the help the the MESO program which helps small businesses gain access to capital to buy assets.
I decided to go with the Canon 5D Mark IV full frame camera. I watched every youtube tutorial I could before purchasing. And let me tell you, some of them had me questioning my judgement and jumping on the mirrorless bandwagon. Many complained about the outdated video codecs, large video file size, the 4 K crop, lack of flip out screen and it had less megapixels as their counterparts. Those are legit gripes but at the end of the day, the camera is a tool to get the job done. Most of 2017 I was shooting with a borrowed Canon sl1 and t2i with either a rented 24-105, 24-70 or 135 mm lens. Most people thought it was the greatest they have ever seen. *shrugs*. Clients hire you for the end results and could care less about what camera you are using.
I decided to stick with the Canon brand because my first camera was a 60D. And it served me well until it died a year ago. I am familiar with the menu system which I think is much user friendly than Nikon. The image quality is great and one of the biggest advantages that Canon has is the color science. Skin tones look amazing with any Canon camera you use. Plus Canon has an excellent line of lens for a variety of needs. Now that I have the 25-105mm f/4 ii lens, I still need a dedicated portrait lens. I really love the 135mmL lens for outdoor portraits. I rented the 85mmL 1.2 and I didn’t like it. I know it’s a favorite among portrait photographers but it was too heavy and bulky for my liking. In November, I was able to take home the Sigma 85 1.4 Art Lens. And whoah, even on a t2i, the images were super sharp. And the reviews on youtube, B&H and Adorama are all positive. But then Canon has their own 85mm 1.4 but it’s $400 more than the Sigma version. I am going to rent both and see how I like them before I make a decision.
I have only had the camera one week and so far I’ve done one time lapse and a short photo walk in NW Portland.
I’m looking forward to learning my new camera this year. I have two volunteers who agreed to my muses for ideas I want to flush out. I want to do more fashion and street fashion photography. But living in Oregon, we are at the mercy of the weather and we won’t have consistent decent weather until at least May. That also hampers my #blacklovepdx project too since most of my shoots are done on location.
I’m looking forward to challenging myself, learning new techniques and maybe put more effort into my youtube channel. 🙂
Thanks for reading,
Self Portraits aren’t easy. They are hard if you don’t have all the tools you need.
For the last few years, I have done a mini photo shoot to commemorate my birthday. Ever since I have turned 40, I am a little more comfortable in front of the camera. My cousin took my photos when I turned 41 and my mentor took my photos last year. Another photographer told me via Instagram that she could do them but she ended up not being available on my birthday. So I had no choice but to take my own portraits for my birthday. It was after I posted them on facebook that a few people told me they could of taken them for me.
For my self portrait set up, I used my Canon 60D which is on it’s last leg, 24-70 lens, a remote, a Yungnuo speedlight with magbounce attached. Without having a monitor, it was quite tricky trying to find the correct spot to stand. I am sure the people walking by were wondering what the heck I was doing. Out of all the shots I took, only 5 came out decent enoughto post to social media. Sigh.
If I were to do this again, I would definitely take my laptop and table then have my camera tethered into Lightroom so I can see what I am doing. Or upgrade to a camera that can wirelessly send images to my ipad.
Below you can see a random selection of the images that didn’t make it.
Happy Birthday to me.
Meet Arnie and Stephania. They have been together a short while but the love they have for each other is evident by the smiles on their faces. Check out their story on how they met and why love is love.
The BlackLovePDX project is up and running. The weather in Portland these last few months has been pretty crappy for taking portraits outdoors. I wasn’t able to start shooting couples until last month.
Meet David and Krystal Ngene. They met in undergrad at Northwestern University where they were both scholarship collegiate athletes. From there, the love blossomed and were married a few years later. The Ngene’s have been residing in Portland for the last three years where David works a footwear designer for Nike and Krystal is the new Executive Director for the Kukatonon Children’s African Dance Troupe.
David and Krystal have 1 son and enjoy giving back to their community and breaking down stereotypes.
Check out their video to tell us why Black Love Rocks.
Black Love PDX: Sharing Your Love Story will be a photo and video series featuring couples in the Portland metro area. I’m recruiting all couples to participate in the project. Married, engaged and life partners are welcome.
The set up: Each couple will choose the place where would like the session to take place. It could be at their home, favorite restaurant, coffee shop or park (weather permitting). The photo session will last 10-15 minutes. I will interview the couple about how they met, how long did they date before getting married, funniest story to date etc. I will edit a short story featuring the couple and edit the photos that will be presented in an online gallery. I will create a photo collage that shares their story on social media. There is no cost to participate in the project, but each couple will have the option to purchase the high resolution images for personal use. My cousin Shannon Sanders will be providing the music for the video stories.
The goal is to photograph 50-100 couples by September of 2017. I’m looking forward to meeting, photographing and sharing all of the love stories next year.
If you are interested, please contact me at email@example.com
Since the unexpected death of Prince in mid April, many artists have included some of Prince’s songs in their set lists. The best I have seen so far has been Anthony Hamilton and his background vocalists performing “Adore” and of course D’Angelo performing “Sometimes it snows in April” on The Tonight Show. His performance was moving, emotional and touching. I almost shed a tear myself. Of course we know there was a lot of controversy regarding Madonna wanting to pay tribute to Prince. And like many thought, it was awful. Dragging Stevie Wonder on stage with her couldn’t rescue that dreadful performance.
My friend Farnell decided to put a tribute show together but with a karaoke twist at the Doug Fir Lounge with his band The Othership Connection. Now granted, I can’t sing but I was willing to put myself out there and sing “Take Me With You”, the duet with Prince and Apollonia from the movie Purple Rain. I even photoshopped a photo of myself with Prince. But when I saw the set list, “Take Me With You” wasn’t on it. Bummer.
Farnell asked me to take photos and shoot some video of the show. The crowd was great, band was great and some brave souls got on stage to sing a couple songs. Then I heard them start the song “I would die 4 u”. I got the courage to get on stage behind a mic and perform the song with Arietta and Reva. Now granted I wasn’t really singing and wasn’t sure if that mic was on. But it was super fun being on stage and connecting with the audience with the hand movements from the movie. And someone caught some of the performance on video. I returned to the stage during “Pop Life”. That is my all time favorite Prince song.
The rest of the photos can be seen here.
I am looking forward to the BET Awards and what they have in store for the Prince Tribute. Billboard tried and failed and that petty tweet BET sent afterwards was classic. I know it has to include the original members of The Time, Sheila E, Larry Graham, The Revolution, NPG and Chaka for it to be complete. Lots of pressure on them to come correct.
Still hard to believe Prince is gone. But Prince left a huge legacy of great music and many memories of great performances. That will never die.
I Wish You Love was the appropriate theme for Portland’s 5th Our Family Dinner held at Oba Restaurant. Although it was rainy and gloomy outside, the love expressed between family members made up for the dreary weather.
It was great to see new faces at this dinner along with new hosts. The previous hosts Keith and Garren passed the torch and Krystal, Bart, Luc, Karen, Ola and Alicia kept the tradition going without a hitch. We had 80 family members, some new, some familiar come together for fellowship, drinks and dinner. Everyone was greeted with a hug as they arrived at the restaurant to show this event is about love, building community and lasting friendships.
It’s traditional to recognize family members for their many accomplishments since the last dinner. At the time of purchasing your ticket, you have the opportunity to submit your accomplishment to be announced at the dinner. After the few announcements and accomplishments were made, Krystal opened up the floor for other family members to share their accomplishments. It truly turned into one big rally with applause after rowdy applause. Celebrating your birthday during Our Family Dinner is always a bonus as one of our newest family members found out. When Krystal announced it was her birthday, The sheer shock and surprise on her face was priceless. As the people of black twitter says “It’s lit!”. The energy was off the chain at Oba Restaurant.
This year is the first time I recorded video at the request of the new hosts. Check out the short video I put together.
Hopefully the video will encourage you to come to the next Our Family Dinner in August. Or find out when the next dinner will be hosted in your city. To find out more information visit Our Family Dinner’s website. You can follow them on Twitter, Instagram and like their page on Facebook.
To view the rest of the photos, click the link here. Sharing is caring!
The 2016 Nike Sneakerball is in the books and this one didn’t disappoint. Word must of gotten out that this was the party to be at. When I arrived at the venue, there were people waiting outside in the rain to get in. Many guests waited in line for more than an hour to get in the doors. I saw one brotha who had plastic bags over his shoes so he wouldn’t mess up his Oregon Ducks shoes. That’s dedication. I just wore a pair of old busted Nike’s until I was finished setting up.
This year the African drumming group Baramakono lead by Hakim Muhammad performed three pieces in front of an captive audience.
I was at the front entrance photographing guests as they arrived at the venue. And Antonio Harris provided onsite printing for the guests also.
Every year a member of the Black Employees & Friends Network is honored as Person of the Year. This year, Thomas was given that honor for his work and dedication the past year.
Every year there is a Nike Sneakerball King and Queen crowned for having the best sneakers at the ball. Three fellas and three ladies were chosen to participate and the winner was chosen by round of applause from the audience.
This year DJ Clark Kent rocked the crowd on the 1’s and 2’s. On a side note, there was this guy trying to get me to put in a song request to the DJ. I think he was low-key mad I didn’t do it. But later found out, he wasn’t taking request. Saved me the embarrassment of asking.
I wanted to get a decent photo of me in front of the step and repeat. Keith, who is at least 6’4″ or taller was there to take my photo. Um, this is what I got. Didn’t get my shoes in the frame. 🙁 Hahahahaaa
And if you missed last year’s sneakerball, check out the blog post.
Proceeds from the Sneakerball and sales of Nike’s BHM products support Nike’s Ever Higher Fund. To find out more information, visit their site.
Special shout out to the planning committee for an excellent job this year. And thank you for having me capture your event. Look forward to next year.
Meet Art Williams, husband, father and coach who is also a Tampa Bay Bucs fan living in Portland, OR. I made an exception for Art since this series was supposed to highlight native Portlanders who are fans of various NFL teams across the country. But since he is good friend, I decided to write a blog post on him. Plus there aren’t many Bucs fans here in Portland. Being an Tampa Bay Bucs fan isn’t always easy nor fun. They’ve had some terrible seasons. But the fact they did win a super bowl does give them a little leverage. Now they have the number one draft pick in Jameis Winston, the future of the franchise looks bright.
Art became a Tampa Bay Bucs fan to spite his family because they were all Miami Dolphins fans living in the Daytona Beach area. Now isn’t it ironic that the mascot of his high school was the Buccaneers too? 🙂 Art excelled in football, basketball and track. Mainland’s most notable alumni is Vince Carter.
It was football that brought Art to the west coast. After a stint playing football and a local college in Santa Barbara, Art transferred to Portland State and was a standout wide receiver in the late 90’s. It was at Portland State that he met our mutual friend Jerome who was also a receiver. I’ll share more about Jerome in a later blog post.
Currently Art is the co-owner of Champions Barbershop in the heart of NE Portland. As we’ve seen in movies and commercials, there’s a lot of trash talk that goes on in barbershops and Champions is no different. I’ve been in there plenty of times and the most arguments center around Kobe, LeBron, best rapper and what ever current event is happening at the time. Art has represent the Tampa Bay Bucs through the good and bad times amongst the Cowboy, 49ers, Steelers and Chiefs (yes Chiefs) fans in the shop.
Currently, Art is a receivers coach at West Linn High School and the offensive coordinator for the JV team. I’m sure Art he gets a few side eyes from his players about his favorite football team. Check out Art’s story on why he is a fan of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
If you are living in Portland and also a fan of the Bucs, stop by Champions Barbershop and show some love to a fellow Tampa Bay Bucs Fan.
It’s early in the 2015 NFL season. On Sunday mornings fans watch football in front of their big screen tv’s with friends and family, congregate in local sports bars or if you’re like me, check the scores via my phone while in church for the early games. 😉 The one thing we can’t do in Portland is tailgate and attend an actual NFL game because we don’t have an NFL team. There have been many articles about why the city of Portland doesn’t have a team. Various reasons are location (close proximity to Seattle which will take away from Seahawks fan base), population (Oregon is 30th in population and most of the residents live within the I-5 corridor), lack of corporate sponsors located in the city etc etc. But that doesn’t keep locals from getting their hopes up in landing an NFL franchise here in the City.
Despite those barriers, Portland does have hard core fans of teams like the 49ers, Raiders, Cowboys. I actually have family members who are Rams fans. That stems from my uncle taking them to games in LA when they were younger. Personally I didn’t know any Seahawks fans growing up. In the 80’s and 90’s, they were horrible. The laughing stock of the AFC West. Now you see 12 flags showing up in Portland. I suspect these are recent bandwagon fans. I sure didn’t see these flags 20 years ago.
How does a Portland native become a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs??? Yes, there are actual fans of the Chiefs in the City of Roses. How Sway?? Kansas City is almost 1800 miles away?
Meet Jamaal Lane, co owner of Champions Barbershop. I met Jamaal a few years ago when I was writing a story for sports blog. And from there I’ve developed a friendship with him and the other barbers in the shop. While shooting videos for the blog, I found out that Jamaal was a fan of the Chiefs. I always thought it was odd. How does a brotha who grew up in NE Portland become a Chiefs fan?? I know he receives a lot of flak from the rest of the barbers because of it. But as a fan, you have to be ride or die through the good and bad seasons.
Recently I stopped by the shop to interview Jamaal to find out his story of becoming a Chiefs fan. If there are other Kansas City Chiefs fans in the Portland area, stop by Champions Barbershop and let Jamaal know he’s not alone with his allegience to the Chiefs.
Check back each week as I profile Portland natives and their stories about their favorite team. If you want to be featured, please feel free to contact me.
The most anticipated show of the summer finally came as D’Angelo and his new band The Vanguard blew the roof off the Crystal Ballroom. It’s been 15 years since D’Angelo performed in Portland. It was 2000 and he was touring promoting the album Voodoo. I was at that show at the Schnitzer with my friend Jacquie. We ended up in the front row after we saw two empty seats as the show was starting. Who buys front row tickets and don’t show up??? By the 3rd song, fans rushed the stage and I was low key crushed up against the stage. But it was cool. D’Angelo shook my hand. It was worth having sore stomach mucscles the next day. 🙂 His band at the time was the Soultronics which included ?uestlove on drums, Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Spanky Chalmers on guitar, Pino Palladino on bass, James Poysner on keys and Anthony Hamilton on background vocals. And they were bumpin too.
Fast forward 15 years and D’Angelo is touring with his new band “The Vanguard” in support of his latest cd “Black Messiah”. Pino is the only member of the Soultronics that is a member of The Vanguard. But he is not the only vet in the band. Other heavy hitters include Jesse Johnson on guitar, Chris “Daddy” Dave on drums, Isaiah Sharkey on guitar, Kenneth Whalum on sax, Keyon Harrold on trumpet, Joi Gillium on vocals (who recently replaced Kendra Foster), Rodrick Cliche on keys and Jermaine Holmes on vocals. And let me tell you The Vanguard bumps too! Good Lord! I am torn on which band I like better. 🙁
When it was announced that D’Angelo would be performing at the Crystal Ballroom, I knew it was a show that I couldn’t miss. I bought my ticket during the pre-sale. I scheduled my whole morning around buying my ticket at 10 am. Prior to the announcement of the Portland and Seattle show, I’ve seen videos on instagram and youtube. It’s one thing to watch a concert online but it’s nothing like being there live.
A week before the show, I found out I would get a press pass to shoot the show. I had to keep a lid on it but I was so excited. To be able to photograph your favorite artist is a photographer’s dream. I had watched plenty of videos studying the show and checking other photos from the tour just to get an idea of what kind of photos other photographers were taking of them. And looked at photos from the Crystal Ballroom to get an idea what the stage lighting is like. It has been a while since I’ve been to a show at that venue. Believe it was Robert Randolph in 2010.
It was so good to see a lot of friends and family come out and support live music. I really don’t think people knew what they were in for, especially if they didn’t attend the Voodoo tour. Reading comments on instagram, fans were amazed and blown away by the musicianship and stage presence of the band. I can’t believe people actually left before the show ended. D’Angelo performed two encores ending with an extended version of “Untitled. How does it feel?”. Shame on them.
The highlight for me was seeing Jesse Johnson play live and meeting him after the show. I told him the story of how my mom wouldn’t let me attend a Vanity 6, The Time and Prince show when I was 9 with my older cousin. He just laughed and didn’t understand why. I get it, but I am still a little salty about that. 🙂 But to see him perform with one of my favorite artists makes up for just a tad bit.
My cousin and my friends got some shots of me taking photos at the show. 🙂
Here are some images from the concert. And to see to high resolution images, click here.
Check out D’Angelo’s remaining show dates here.
At the beginning of the summer, it looked like we weren’t going to have a lot of concerts (local or national) here in Portland. Most of my musician friends were on the road. But then the shows started appearing quickly for the month of August. Here is a quick run down on each show coming up this month.
- Groove Theory Mix Show is a fundraiser for Austism Speaks which will showcase a host of musicians and local artists performing a variety of classic and new music for the crowd. Tickets can be purchased here.
- Mike Phillips needs no introduction but whenever he is in town, be sure not to miss him. His shows are soulful, enegergetic and fun. Tickets to his show can be purchased here.
- D’Angelo & The Vanguard. Technically this show is sold out but in the last few days there has been tickets that became available. But D’Angelo returns to the Rose City after a 15 year absence to promote his latest cd “Black Messiah” at the Crystal Ballroom. This is the hottest ticket in town.
- Liv Warfield-fresh off her “Never Giving Up” European Tour, Liv will grace the stage at the Doug Fir for an exciting show.
- Janelle Monae-This is a free show but you have to sign up at http://tour.wondaland.com and if you are chosen to attend the show, you will find out time and location.
- BeSpeak Love Album Release show: This concert is a showcase of all the talented musicians and singers who collaborated for the project. The show will feature Ronnie Wright, Jarrod Lawson, Saeeda Wright, Tamara Stephens and many more. Tickets to this event can be purchased here. And you can download the BeSpeak Love cd on Itunes and other digital outlets.
- Anita Baker Tribute Night with Saeeda Wright, Tamara Stephens and Jau’Neva. If you love Anita Baker, then this is the show to check out. Tickets to this event can be purchased here.
As you can see there are many live music events to attend during the month of August and early September here in Portland. I am going to be a fan and sit back and enjoy each show. 🙂
It’s that time again, Our Family Dinner here in the city of Roses. This time the dinner was held at Portland Prime with the theme “When somebody loves you back”. A classic song by the late great Teddy Pendergrass.
This time around the crowd was smaller and intimate but there were several new faces which is always a good thing. There were a few ladies who drove down from Seattle to attend the dinner. But they had attended a family Dinner in another city. It was nice to have them come join us.
If this is your first time hearing about the family dinners, you can check out their site to find out when a dinner will be hosted in your city. It’s great for people who are new to town and want to meet new professionals. I met one of my Instagram followers. How cool is that. 🙂
To see the rest of the photos from Portland’s Family Dinner, click here. And there are links to view past Portland Dinners.
Yesterday I turned 41. Taking a while to get used to the fact that I am in my 40’s now. Eek. But I am embracing it slowly but surely. And I hear the 40’s are your best decade. I can take comfort in the fact that I don’t look my age.
I didn’t make any big plans for my birthday. No party, no cake, no dinner at a fancy restaurant. What I decided to do was do a mini photo shoot. A few months ago, I ordered a t-shirt from Zo!, keyboardist from The Foreign Exchange. I told him I would do a mini shoot. In order to do that, everything had to be right, hair, make up, etc. I was going to do it when I got my hair braided. But that didn’t pan out. I ended up cutting my hair and decided to do the shoot for my birthday. Normally for my birthday, I always treat myself to a manicure and pedicure, eyebrow threading (or wax) and get my hair done. I asked Sia if she could do my make up and asked my cousin to take my photos.
Let me tell you, Sia hooked me up! She had me looking like a movie star. My only concern was that the forecast was 96 degrees and I was praying my make up would stay on and my lashes didn’t fall off.
We ended up at Tanner Springs Park. I’ve shot a few sessions here. But it was 3 and the sun was high and there was hardly any shade. I like the steel beam wall they have there because of the color and texture. We were able to get a few shots in by the wall. I changed clothes (thank goodness my cousin has tinted windows) and we found a small court yard between some condos across from the park.
I came home to edit the photos to post on social media. (working on my birthday, imagine that). I tagged Zo in a post and said the photos were dope. If you want to order your own t-shirt, you can order them here. I am going to get the gray v-neck and maybe the red v-neck.
Here are a few from the mini shoot.
This past Sunday, award winning singer, songwriter and producer Shannon Sanders released a video for his song “That Old Man” dedicated to his grandfather. I had the honor of editing the video for him. I asked him in mid May if he would be open to releasing the song and video since Father’s Day was coming up. It’s been 5 years since we have collaborated on a video. The first being “Daddy’s Little Girl” which was written for his daughter. I knew that the song existed because he performed a rough version during an event here in Portland. And he’s played a rough version for a couple years ago.
Once he agreed to it, I emailed some of my friends and family to ask them if they would like to submit a photo for the video. One of the main reasons I wanted this project to happen is to counter some of the recent attacks on black fatherhood (father’s day cards to single mothers, Angel Soft tissue’s ad). Despite what the media portrays, there has been and still are great father’s in the black community. I wanted to showcase that via this video. There are a lot of butt hurt people out there who use social media to bash their fathers or children’s father on Father’s Day for their shortcomings. Surprisingly, my Facebook feed was mostly positive. Different from year’s past.
The last month has been crazy busy for Shannon, between traveling for show appearances with India.Arie and Laura Reed, he is now the president of the Nashville NARAS chapter, he has a lot of obligations to fulfill. On top of his other responsibilities, I am grateful he found the time to record, mix and record video footage for the video. Via Facetime, phone calls, texts and emails, we were able to put together the tribute video for Father’s Day.
Check it out here,
The response has been great and the people who supplied photos for me were happy to see their loved one in the video. Because I knew the personal stories of the people who supplied photos, I was able to strategically place them based on the lyrics.
Although Father’s Day has been, you don’t have to wait until next year to let your father, grandfather, step father or “old man” know how much you love them.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been doing more video editing than taking photos lately. Yesterday I decided to change that. After a super busy weekend, I sent a text to my photography mentor and asked if he was going to take photos that day. We decided to go to Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge and take photographs. The waterfalls in the Gorge area attract a lot of visitors and it was pretty packed yesterday. We hiked Horsetail Falls Trail which takes you to the upper falls of Ponytail Falls. We didn’t take a tripod so the waterfall shots don’t have the silky water look. On another note, do not wear Nike Free sneakers when hiking this trail. There are a lot of sharp and rugged rocks on the trail. I felt like I was walking barefoot. 🙁 Great for walking, not so much for hiking.
Next we went over to the Vista House and the other view point west of that. We went over to the Eastbank Esplanade to take some photos of the Willamette River and the bridges. We finally ended up at the new bridge Tilikum Crossing that will be opening later this year. To my surprise there were a lot of photographers with their camera and tripods photographing the bridge too. And there was a guy out with a super fancy drone taking aerial shots of the bridge.
It was nice to get out and take photos just for the heck of it and sharpen the skills. I edited these the MCP Actions Mini Quick clicks in Adobe Lightroom.
Over the last few years I have photographed some of Portland’s musicians and have built some solid friendships. One of those happen to be with Trumpetor Farnell Newton. I first saw Farnell performing at Jazz on the Mississippi back in 2009. I used to see his name on flyers on Facebook but never saw him in person.
Since then Farnell has joined both Jill Scott and Bootsy Collins’ band, performed on the Soul Train Awards, traveled to Europe with Jarrod Lawson, performed with Liv Warfield, booked many shows at Jimmy Maks while helping out local musicians and taking of a wife and 5 children.
Last year Farnell asked me to take some photos for an upcoming project “Ready to Roll”. He found a nice old school car and I took some photos of his family too. Some of the photos were used on the website for the horn company he is endorsed by.
One thing about creative people, we are always changing our mind. The first version of the cd cover was a visual passport but he ended up using the photos I took of him last year for the front cover and inside artwork. ☺️ which is cool because now my photos will be seen all over the world. And this is my first cd cover.
Last week, Farnell and I hung out for a half day to shoot footage for the second single “You Gotta Move”. I hung out with his family, went to Stumptown coffee, the waterfront and ended up at Solae’s Lounge on 18th & Alberta. It used to be Joe’s Place”. Lots of friends came out to show their support. Here is the final video for “You Gotta Move”.
And you can download Farnell’s cd “Ready to Roll” on iTunes and other digital outlets.
Saeeda Wright. Remember that name. The people of Portland has known of her talent for the last few years but within the next month the country and beyond will know who this power house vocalist will be. Having already traveled with Liv Warfield the last year performing on Jimmy Fallon, Essencefest and other venues, Saeeda will be joining Prince for his upcomng “Hit & Run” tour along with Portland native Ashley Seamster. A good look for the city of Roses.
But before leaving for rehearsals, Stumptown Records presented Saeeda’s “For the Love of Music”. Opening for her were Eddie Wright, Ericka Warren, and Michal Angela performing a song a piece to warm up the crowd. Saeeda arrived and was joined by Alonzo Chadwick. She graced the stage singing covers and original songs ranging from funk, jazz, r&b and soul. The crowd was rocking, swaying, dancing and singing along with her. Later on horn player Max Ribner accompanied Saeeda to perform a few songs from his cd. Saeeda was backed by a killer band featuring drummer Brian Foxworth, Errick Lewis on bass, Zack Poelwijk on keys and Alex Milsted on keys and guitar. And Shawtina Scott kept everyone in stitches as hostess of the evening.
It was a great turnout at Jimmy Maks and it was great to see people supporting our local artists and soul music.
The rest of the photos can be seen here.
As someone who has spent many years behind the camera, for my 40th birthday I decided to treat myself to a photo shoot. I contacted Andrew Clifton shortly after my birthday to give me a quote to do a session. He told me he had sessions on the west coast for September and December. September was too soon, so December it was. I booked the shoot in October for a shoot in San Francisco in December. Unfortunately I had to cancel the session and I was devastated. He told me not to worry, he is moving out west and we could book for 2015. A few weeks later, he gave me a date for February. I bought some dresses in early December but since my shoot was going to take place in southern California, I decided to go with lighter colors and shorter sleeves. I searched all over the internet for dresses and because it was still technically winter, there was still a lot of dark colors in the stores. But I was able to find a peach colored dress at a boutique in NW Portland. Leading up to the shoot, Andrew was great to work with, I told him I wanted fun, flirty and classy. We discussed what colors I would wear, I sent him photos of the dresses I tried on at the boutique to get his opinion.
I took Amtrak down to southern California as told in this blog post. Because of inclement weather on the east coast, we pushed my shoot back two days just in case Andrew got stuck in the midwest. I had a couple days to hang out before the photo session.
Day of the session: I don’t know why but I was SUPER nervous. This was my first professional shoot. I was nervous about how my hair would turn out, how my make up would look. I’ll admit I have some control issues, lol. I wanted this day to be perfect. 🙂
When I showed up at the location of the shoot, I was a little uneasy. It was in the Toy District in downtown LA. Not exactly the safest place but once Andrew came down to get me and got inside I felt a little better. I was introduced to Tiffany who would be doing my make up. The day before Andrew asked me to send him a few head shots. I am so not a selfie person but I sent him a few photos to send to the make up artist. I explained to her that since I was wearing three totally different colors, a nude smokey eye would be cool. A guy named Alexander who is from Seattle came to do my hair. I told him I wanted soft curls with a little body. He started on my hair and before you know it I looked like a grown woman. 🙂
One of the reasons I hired Andrew was because he has a unique way of capturing black women from size 2-22. All the portraits are sexy and classy of ordinary everyday women. I have heard way too many times from people who want photos that they are waiting to lose weight before they book a session. One thing I have learned from Andrew’s work is that he encourages women to embrace their curves. We’re so used to seeing women heavily photoshopped, enhanced body parts that we start comparing ourselves to them and not appreciate our own bodies. I’m not against photo shop. I will remove blemishes, whiten teeth and do a little skin smoothing on my clients. But I tell clients, I am not a magician. I will not transform you into someone you are not.
Back to the shoot. My first outfit was the peach dress that I got from Sloan in NW Portland. Since this was my first shirt, I had no clue how to pose. Andrew would give me directions and I would follow them to a t but I was listening to him instead of moving naturally on my own. But he just kept clicking until we vibed and got the shots he wanted.
Next was the gray dress I got from Banana Republic and we went on the the rooftop.
After the rooftop, I put on the last dress I got from Sloan and we shot inside the apartment. He decided to play some D’Angelo and I got into a groove. He just kept shooting as I danced to “Really Love” which is one of my favorites off the Black Messiah CD.
I am happy with how the photos the turned out. There were some I wasn’t fond of but that was because I didn’t like my facial expression. Nothing to do with the photographer. 🙂 We are our worse critics and I am trying my best not to over analyze each photo.
I am hoping my 40 and Fabulous photo shoot will encourage people to go ahead and get portraits done now and not wait until they lose so much weight or whatever excuse they come up with to avoid getting in front of a camera. 🙂
I believe in a few years people will regret having their whole lives on their camera rolls. Lord forbid you lose your phone and lose your photos. Or never bothered to back up your photos. Selfies are cool (I don’t take them because I don’t like how they look), but it’s nothing like having a great photographer capture you that will last for ever. 🙂
Fly sneakers and dress to impress for a good cause is what the Annual Nike Sneaker Ball is all about. This year was no different. The event was held at Castaway in Northwest Portland. And the theme was “The Power of One” with a color scheme of Black and White.
I didn’t see the official flyer for the sneaker ball and I had no idea guests were asked to wear black and white. I had a dress picked out a few weeks before. I took photos as the black carpet at guests entered the venue. It wasn’t until I took about 10 photos that it dawned on me that everyone was wearing black and white. :-(. I show up in a red dress! But I wasn’t the only one in a red dress, I don’t feel so bad. 🙂
During the event, there is a 6th Man of the Year award and this year it was given to Chabre Vickers who is Vice President of Brand Experience at Big Brother Big Sister. Every year, the BEN (Black Employees Network) honors their person of the year. This year’s honoree is Les Green. He was presented with a tribute video with interviews from close family, friends and co-workers. Later on a Sneaker Ball King and Queen was crowned via applause from the audience.
Next it was back to the dance floor where 9th Wonder and DJ Cuzzin B were on the 1’s and 2’s. I tried to get a little two step in while taking photos. 🙂 But I was roaming between the black carpet and the actual event.
This year’s event was a huge success and this year it was held on a Thursday night. I missed the season finale of How to Get Away With Murder, it’s cool though. I had fun.
See you next year.
Appreciate the team for allowing me to capture their event again this year. Much appreciated.
Last summer, I turned 40 and I decided that I wanted to treat myself to a “40 and Fabulous” photo shoot. I spend a lot of time behind the camera and I realized that when visitors come to my site, they have no idea what I look like. I was in a dire need for a professional head shot. I contacted Andrew Thomas Clifton via Facebook inquiring his prices for such shoot. I met Andrew in 2008 when then Senator Barack Obama was campaigning for the presidency. I was shooting footage for Portland Community Media and he was shooting photos. After the speech was over, he helped me carry my equipment, exchanged info. The rest they say is history. Through social media, we’ve stayed in contact and his career has boomed since then traveling across the country photographing weddings, engagements, portraits, etc. One thing I like about Andrew’s portraits is that he is able to capture women in a way that is sexy, sophisticated and classy. Since Drew travels a lot, he was only going to be on the west coast twice before 2014 was over. I booked the shoot in October for December in San Francisco. Well, when you are a contractor, there are plenty of times when your money doesn’t come on time. This was the worst time for a client to pay you late. I was devastated, I had bought my airline ticket, picked my outfits. He was very understanding when I told him I couldn’t make the December date. He told me not to worry, we will book for 2015 and it will be epic.
A few weeks later I received the new date for the photo shoot-February 16th. I wanted to reuse the ticket I bought for the December shoot but with the weather on the east coast disrupting many flights, I decided to go ahead and take Amtrak down to LA. My schedule was free for the week and I could take my time. I decided to leave both my camera and laptop at home which is a first!!! But I am glad I didn’t take it, less for me to carry. I decided to only use my Iphone 6 to take photos.
I almost missed my train. For some reason I thought the train left at 2:55. I get to the station only to find out it left at 2:25. Whoops. I dashed through Union Station and was able to get on the train and get a seat on time. I was lucky because we did leave a passenger in Portland. Whoops. Felt bad for him.
The Coastal Starlight is the most scenic route on Amtrak. The 2 hour ride down the California coast is so worth the 30 hour trip. Here are a few photos I took with my iphone 6 plus on the way to Los Angeles.
The shoot-my purpose for going to California in the first place. I was anxious about the whole shoot. I was worried about what my hair and make up would look like. Twice last week, I was accused of having “control” issues. LOL. Apparently I do. 🙂 But it was weird being in front of the camera. Got a little easier once we got the the 3rd outfit and he put on D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”. I started grooving and I was in my element. Here’s a iphone photo Andrew took during the shoot on the rooftop.
Now it’s time to go home. Again, my train was scheduled to depart at 10:10 in the morning, I didn’t get to LA’s Union Station until 9:55. I had to get off the purple Metro Line, go up the stairs, walk through the terminal and walk down to the last car. I still got a window seat 🙂
There’s a saying that says the best camera is the one you have on you. The iphone 6 plus served me well on this trip. 🙂
Good people, good food, great venue, laughs and great conversation is what Our Family Dinners are all about. This past Saturday was no different. Cerulean Skies Winery hosted the third Family Dinner in Portland’s Pearl District. It was great seeing new faces and familiar faces at the dinner. This was the first dinner where the founder Lawrence was not in attendance, But our local hosts Keith and Garren did an outstanding job in his absence. We also had 3 additional hosts to make everyone feel welcome.
It’s a tradition for family members to take a group photo at the end of the dinner. Imagine my horror when I saw them bringing this huge ladder for me to climb to get the photo. I’m low key scared of heights. The lengths photographers to go through to get shots! LOL Everyone made sure I was safe. Check out the rest of the photos from the event here. Photos from the previous two dinners can be seen here from August 2014 and January 2014
The Family Dinners are held twice a year in over 20 cities. Check their site to see when a dinner will be in your city. They are a great opportunity to meet new people and build lasting relationships.
Portland, save the date. The next dinner is scheduled for August 1st.
2X Grammy and Emmy Award winner Shannon Sanders will make his Brooklyn debut this Saturday December 6th at the BAM Cafe. Shannon has been the musical director for India.Arie for the last 13 years while writing and producing hits for Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Heather Headley, Anthony David, Johnny Lang, Laura Reed and many more. You can follow Shannon on twitter @_SHANNONSANDERS to see where he will be performing soon.
Check out more performances at the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) Cafe at their website here.
A few weeks ago I was scrolling my twitter feed and saw some I follow RT a photo of a jar of Manuka Honey with a reply from someone who goes by the handle @heyfranhey saying the honey was best used as a facial cleanser.
Earlier this year I started using coconut oil to wash my face. For someone who has battled oily skin for years, using oil to cleanse my face seemed absurd. But sure enough, after doing some research I soon learned that several oils are great at combatting oily skin. And let me tell you, it seemed like I’ve used every facial cleanser known from Noxema, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, St Ives etc. trying to battle acne and the ugly dark scars they leave behind. As I have gotten older (I joined the 40/40 club this past July :-D), my acne isn’t what it was in my teens and twenties. Thank goodness. The hardest habit to break was picking at my face. White heads were gross and I didn’t want any parts of them.
But the results were dark scars that took forever to fade. And on my skin complexion (or any complexion), they just weren’t cool.
Using the coconut oil to cleanse my face has been pretty cool. My face is moisturized and I didn’t need to add any additional moisturizer prior to applying foundation. But again the scars from the few pimples I received took forever to fade away. I did as much research as I could about using Manuka Honey as a facial cleanser. There wasn’t much but what I did find out the benefits of using Manuka honey on the skin here. While running errands one weekend, I decided to go by Whole Foods to see if they had any in stock. I’m impatient and i didn’t want to order it online. From the research, Manuka Honey has an activity rating and 12+ is ideal when treating skin infections and acne. I ended up purchasing this jar for a $23.99. It is pricey but it will last a while and I used it to sweeten my tea. 😉
That day I had a huge hormonal zit on my cheek. I used it as a spot treatment first. Sure enough the zit went down considerably overnight. Winner!!!!! I have been using it just about everyday for about 3 weeks and the scar is just about gone. I damp my skin lightly with water so the honey is easier to spread on my face. It doesn’t look like Sue Bee honey, that’s for sure. I leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse off in the shower or with a warm wet wash cloth.
I tweeted this photo to @heyfranhey and she retweeted. One of her followers replied saying the Manuka Honey healed her psoriasis. I posted this photo on Facebook and some of my friends were willing to try it. Not sure if they bought it or not. But I am convinced that the Manuka Honey is the truth and will be part of my face cleansing regimen from now on.
What cooler way to launch a new network with a hot song from Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Earlier this year ESPN reached out to RRFB about a song that was on their album “Lickety Split” called “Take The Party” and featured Trombone Shorty. Here’s the original version of the song. http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Take+The+Party+feat+Trombone+Shorty/5dibOq?src=5
Of course the lyrics had to be re-written to include the names of the SEC schools and edited per ESPN’s requirements. Take the Party was finished by the time I visited Nashville in May. I joined Shannon and Drew at Reed’s studio as they were editing the final mixes.
In July, ESPN filmed the opening video on the campus of Mercer University (to keep it neutral) to create a party atmosphere. Each school in the SEC was represented with a member of their band. Gives it that authentic college feel. I think they captured the essence of the SEC and their fans in the opening video. Check out the link and see for yourself.
Or you can purchase the song here on iTunes.
For the third year in a row, Trombone Shorty has performed for The Oregon Zoo’s summer concert series. And I have been to all three shows. The first was with pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph. I forgot the name of the band that opened for him last year. And this year, the group Galactic opened up with an hour set. Trombone Shorty never disappoints. Roughly 5,000 fans were on their feet the whole time, clapping, shaking their hips and stomping their feet as he directed his band Orleans Ave reminiscent of James Brown (with out the hand signals for fines!). They performed songs from all of their studio albums and included James Brown’s “Gonna Have a Funky Good Time”. Although his set was 75 minutes. It went pretty fast. I’m sure many wouldn’t have mind an extra 30 or 40 minutes added to the set. The band did come out for an encore performance of “Hurricane Season”, the only time he played the trumpet. After the show, I got a chance to meet him and thanked him for the tickets. If the Oregon Zoo invites him back next year, best believe I will be up in front swaying my hips with the rest of them.
Check out his tour dates here. You have to see one of their shows to experience true New Orleans Funk, Rock and Soul.
Rose City Horns made its Portland debut opening up for Big Sam’s Funky Nation at Mississippi Studios. Rose City Horns is lead by trumpeter Farnell Newton and joined by Kyle and Popcorn on trombone and sax respectively. They got the crowd warmed up with some grooves by James Brown, Jill Scott and The Temptations. This was my first time seeing Big Sam’s Funky Nation. I didn’t know what to expect but I was told it would be a good show and there will be lots of dancing.
Big Sam and his Funky Nation did not disappoint. Very energetic and great stage presence. Looking forward to seeing him and his band again. I did get a few steps in while taking photos. For tour dates, check out their website. For follow him on twitter and Instagram @FunkyBigSam
On a rare Tuesday night, The Jarrod Lawson Trio brought jazz and soul to Jimmy Mak’s. Guitarist Chance Hayden, drummer Tyrone Hendrix and trumpeter Farnell Newton joined Jarrod on stage and performed a string of soul favorites like “Sweet Thing”, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”, “One Mo Gin”, “A Song for You” and “My Cherie Amour”. The audience was also treated to two new original songs from Jarrod. His self titled cd is available on iTunes and you can see him at Portland Prime on Friday evenings from 7-11pm. Check out www.Jarrodlawson.com to check out future performances.
The rest of the photos from Tuesday night can be viewed here. Look out for the video soon.
It’s been six months since The Family Dinner hosted their first dinner in Portland. Since then, I’ve been looking forward to the next dinner. The summer dinner was held at Oba Restaurant in downtown Portland. 100 professionals were greeted with hugs, smiles, handshakes and laughter. After the cocktail hour, we all sat down in the private dining area for a sit down dinner. Toward the end of dinner, some of the family members were recognized for their birthdays, achievements and major life events. It is tradition that at every dinner that a group photo is taken.
The Family dinner has expanded to over 20 cities across the country. Check out www.ourfamilydinner.org to see when they are hosting a dinner in your city and invite a friend. To see the rest of the photos from Portland’s dinner, click here.
See you next time.
We’ve had a very good summer for music so far with the success of the Waterfront Blues Festival and the Cathedral Park Jazzfest. The great weather has also helped. August is here and there are some great local and national acts that will be gracing the stages of many well known venues throughout the city of Portland.
- August 5th: The Jarrod Lawson Trio featuring Chance Hayden on guitar and Tyrone Hendrix on drums will be at Jimmy Maks. Show starts at 8pm with a $6 cover charge.
- August 9th: Saxaphonist Mike Phillips will blaze the stage at Jimmy Mak’s starting at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased here for general admission and reserved seating.
- August 13th: Big Sam’s Funky Nation will be jamming at Mississippi Studios. He will be accompanied by The Rose City Horns. Tickets for his show can be purchased here.
- August 15th: Farnell Newton “Funk & Soul” along with DJ O.G. One on the 1’s and 2’s will be at Jimmy Mak’s. Guaranteed to be a good time. You can purchase your tickets here
- August 16th: All the way from New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” will make his third consecutive appearance at the Oregon Zoo Amphitheater. You will be blessed with a mixture of Funk, Soul, Rock, Gospel and the Blues. Get your tickets here and have a good time.
- August 22nd: The Blind Boys of Alabama will headline the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Fest at Esther Short Park.
- August 30th: Tamara Stephens Presents: For Your Soul featuring Saeeda Wright, Ronnie and Kimberly Monique at Jimmy Mak’s. Cover is $10.
I will be at all of these events and I hope to see old and new faces there too! Support good music!
My cousin Alonzo wanted me to surprise his wife with a photo session for her birthday. It was super hot yesterday and it’s always a challenge to find shady locations when you’re on a tight time schedule. We found a good spot underneath the Hawthorne Bridge and near the East Bank Esplanade. I decided to use off camera flash for a fill and a different look.
Although it is just the first round, it was an epic win for us Blazer fans. After being bounced in the first round in the playoffs six times in the last 14 years, last night’s win is a huge monkey off our backs. Pretty cliche but true.
If you haven’t seen it (which I am sure you have), check it out and the fan pandemonium.
Right after the shot, many fans and media brought up Brandon Roy’s shot from 2008 against the same team, same spot with less time on the clock.
A lot has happened since that loss in 2000. I am still bitter about it. I roll my eyes whenever they show those highlights on EPSN or NBATv. The Blazers cleaned house (No more Jail Blazers or Trail Gangstas), drafted both Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge in 2006, then landed the #1 draft pick in 2007 with Greg Oden. The future seemed bright for Portland right??? Wrong. No need to rehash the past but we’ve experienced plenty of setbacks due to injuries and bad coaching. Many blame Nate McMillan’s coaching style is partly to blame for the wear and tear of B-Roy’s knees. For a minute there, fans were thinking there was some type of voodoo curse. 🙁 Like the ghost of Sam Bowie was still lingering around the arena.
Fast forward to the start of the 2013-2014 season. The Blazers started off on fire! Lots of premature chatter about us going to the playoffs and winning the west. Now true Blazer fans know better, well at least I do. I wasn’t trying to set my hopes high only to be let down. March was a bad stretch for us. LaMarcus was hurt, we lost a lot of close games. Not a good time to have losing streaks especially with the playoffs around the corner. But we ended the season on a high note and ended up with the 5th seed to face the Rockets. After winning the first two games, I read lots of tweets praising LaMarcus Aldridge especially from east coast folks. Newsflash, LA has been ballin’ all season. But since we don’t get many televised games and many east coast folks don’t stay up to watch our games, LaMarcus’ play has been under the radar. That will change real soon. Granted, many fans gave LaMarcus a hard time his first couple seasons here. But he’s won over a lot of fans since then.
This week has been crazy with the Sterling/Clippers fiasco, the passing of Dr Jack Ramsey, epic first round games. Who would of thought that the Wizards would be at home chilling waiting on their 2nd round opponent?? The WIZARDS! I text my friend that the Blazers would win in 6. His reply was “We’ll see”. I didn’t have high expectations for them to win game 5. I didn’t watch the game. Kept up with the game via twitter and the ESPN app. I wasn’t too upset because many fans wanted them to close out the series at home. I didn’t watch the game last night either. I know I would have tossed the remote at the tv a few times. So I edited photos to keep my mind occupied and checked Twitter and ESPN.com on my phone every few minutes. By the beginning of the 4th quarter, my stomach was in knots. I checked the score and saw it was tied at 96 with :48 seconds left. Next time I checked, Houston was up 98-96 with a few seconds left. I sighed, rolled my eyes and put some food in the microwave. Checked my twitter app and saw the Blazers tweeted “Blazers Win!! Blazers Win!!”. I couldn’t believe it. I ran back into the living room and turned on the tv to see the Lillard replay. My hands were shaking so bad, I could barely tweet. I can’t imagine what it was like being in the arena. I had a few friends at the Moda Center for Game 4 and said the atmosphere was bananas. I don’t know what word could describe last night’s atmosphere. Epic, Pandemonium, Pure Exhiliration..insert what you want. I’m sure it’s not enough.
Last night made us forget the disappointments, injuries, trades and the ups and downs of the last 14 years. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. On to the 2nd round….At this time we don’t know who we will play (Spurs vs Mavs Game 7 is tomorrow) but I’m just excited to see how far the Blazers will go. It’s been a long time coming and glad to be here to witness it.
Took advantage of the only good day of weather we had this week to do some mini sessions at Cathedral Park. Last time I took photos of Adrienne, she was 5 months pregnant with her son. Now he’s almost 2. He loves Karate which is why he has the sticks in his hand. 🙂
It’s been almost a week since Pressgram 2.0 has been released to the App Store and I’ve had some time to publish a few photos. I’m still getting used to not seeing a newsfeed when I open the app. 😉 Here’s the post I wrote about Pressgram a few months ago.
Pressgram 2.0 is all about publishing photos now. And now there are many options where you can publish your images. I like that I can choose to post to my blog only, or just to twitter or a combination of Google+ and Facebook etc. Currently I have the jetpack plugin and it is set up to post to G+, my Facebook fan page and Twitter when I post from Pressgram. Another cool feature is that if you have multiple twitter or G+ accounts, you can publish to all of them at the same time. Oh yeah, and you’re not bound to the 1:1 square format for your photos anymore!
The app comes with the basic fundamentals like cropping and a some color filters. There are in app purchases for more advanced features like core lighting, borders, textures, refinement etc. I normally use AfterLight to edit most of my images so I won’t need the other features at this time. I did purchase the custom watermark and text treatment features. I’m hoping in a future update I can use my own graphic watermark. But having my web address on the bottom of each photo is cool too.
With the new changes, Pressgram can no longer be looked at as an “Instagram” knock off. John has created and built an app that surpassed many expectations and I suspect more will be getting the app soon. There are so many benefits that will help grow your business, brand and traffic to your blog. 🙂
Below is a photo I took last Saturday via Pressgram 2.0
If you have any comments, let me know!
I’ve posted one video to Instagram and that was via the Flipagram app. But haven’t used it in a few months. Yesterday I decided to google how to create and export videos from Final Cut Pro (I’m still using version 6, seriously need to upgrade!!). I found a blog post explaining how to add edited videos to Instagram. I had some footage of a band I shot in Oakland that I had on my drive for my test video. I followed the blog posts instructions on how to set up my sequence and what format to export. The hardest part was what to include in the 15 seconds to tell a story. Took about 20 minutes for me to get the video how I wanted it with music and titles. I exported it to an H.264 file. Since I don’t have an up to date Mac that has IMessage, I had to email myself the video from Gmail to Yahoo since the IOS app for gmail won’t allow you to save videos to your iphone’s camera roll. I opened up the Instagram App, selected the video I saved and voila, my video was on Instagram. You can view video here.
Yesterday I had a little free time and the sun was out. I took my camera and changed the video aspects to 640×420. I shot about 2 minutes of footage of my ride from Cascade Station to downtown Portland. When I exported the movie, I made sure to check “prepare for internet streaming” so there won’t be any issues playing the video in the app. You can see the video here
I am sure more high quality videos will be on Instagram soon. Let me know your workflow or post yours in the comments below!
*Edited. You can also put your video into Dropbox and save the 15 second video on to your camera roll*
There’s always have been a major hurdle to share the stories of African Americans. Here’s your chance to help out. Click the link below to help fund the documentary on Dr. T R M Howard; one of the many behind the scenes figures of the civil rights movement.
The past week has been non stop. I’m finally able to sit down and write about it.
First I receive a text from my friend Chris that Anthony Hamilton was performing on the Nike Campus. Um yeah, I’ll go with you. Of course I packed my camera just in case I could sneak in a few shots. Good thing my camera bag looks like a purse. No one would know I am carrying a camera. But once the show started, it was all good. And the band was awesome!! I saw quite a few people doing their best two step in the aisles.
Later that night, we ended up at the Blue Diamond on NE Sandy for a jam session hosted by Ben Jones and Gretchen Mitchell. The highlight was getting macked on by an older gentleman named Carlos. He even wrote his name on a napkin so I can find him on Facebook. Play on Playa
Friday was the Sneaker Ball, a charity and fundraising event for Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Left Bank Annex. Photos from the Sneaker Ball can be viewed here and here I really had a good time but my feet were killing me by the time I got home!!!
The next morning I had to photograph a workshop for Regional Arts and Cultural for their Artist Series. Started off rough, entered in the wrong address, got lost and ended up being 30 minutes late. Oops. But the coordinator was really understanding. Thank Goodness.
Later on I got to meet both Anthony Hamilton and DeShawn Shead. Funny thing is, DeShawn was at the Sneaker Ball the night before. I didn’t know who he was. Whoops. Someone mentioned Super Bowl champ, but it went in one ear and out the other.
I took a few photos of both Anthony and DeShawn. But I made sure I got in a few. Thank goodness I went to the make up counter at Nordstrom earlier to help me look presentable that day. 😀
Sunday morning I received a message from one of Anthony Hamilton’s band members asking for a peach cobbler. They were on the plane heading back to Portland for another private performance at Nike. Huh? What! Now get this, a few days earlier, Chris and I pick up the band members to take them to the Blue Note, one of them was humming Chantae Cann’s “DaDa N Da”. I asked him if he knew Chantae. He said he was talking to her at that moment. I told him to tell her that Sharon from Portland says hello. She tells him “Her brother makes a mean Peach Cobbler”. Of course my mom taught him how to make it. A friend tasted my mom’s cobbler at a wedding reception and wrote on my wall that my momma’s peach cobbler was a “MINISTRY”. Hahaha!! Now you cant ask for cobblers while you are on your way to Portland. You need to give at least a week’s notice!
Word got around that the Hamiltones would be back in town Sunday and wanted a place to play. There were lots of videos posted on Instagram and Facebook from the jam session at the Blue Note. I know people didn’t want to miss it a second time. Phone calls, text and Facebook messages were sent informing all that there would be a jam session at Reo’s Ribs. Amazing what can be put together at the last minute but many of Portland’s finest came out to jam with the Hamiltones. I’m not a musician in the least bit, but it was good to see the community come together to network and build relationships. And of course I snapped a few flicks. ;-D.
Good week and it’s always good to meet cool people in the process!
This post has nothing to do with photography lol!!! But one of the keys to a good photo is having great hair right? For those that know me, my hair is usually flat ironed, in a ponytail or up in a bun. I’ve had sew ins, twists, braids but wanted to venture out of my comfort zone. Last week my cousin posted a link on Facebook about three strand twists. I clicked and it led me to this tutorial on youtube:
And needless to say I spent the next two hours looking at different tutorials on how to do Bantu Knots, Braid Outs, Twist Outs etc. I’m normally watching tutorials on photoshop tricks, lighting tips and photography. Didn’t realize there were soooooo many hair tutorials on youtube. It’s almost like photoshop: 10 different ways to achieve one task.
I’m not fully natural. Still in the transition phase. The last time I relaxed my hair was August of 2012. Since then, I’ve been letting it grow out and getting it trimmed every 3 or 4 months. Now I have 3 textures in my hair. The crown area has a mind of its own. Lately I’ve been wanting to cut it in a short Bob and start with all natural hair. Granted I’m not really into the natural hair movement. I don’t know my hair type and quite frankly don’t care. I don’t identify myself by curl pattern so it doesn’t matter to me. I’m not even hip to all the lingo hahaha!
The last few days we’ve been stuck in the house because of the snow and ice. So I have had plenty of time to watch more tutorials on hairstyles for transitioning and natural hair. I went out to Sally’s yesterday and bought some products. I was excited to try the Bantu Knot out first. Seemed easy enough-wash, condition, blow dry, twist and secure with a bobby pin. Well um, I was ready to quit after the first knot. Who would of thought it would take an hour to do 8 knots? I mean, I watched the tutorial and I can follow directions. After much frustration, I finally finished my knots, put a satin bonnet on my head and went to sleep. And sleeping in the knots is no fun!! I got up this morning and took them down. Well, it didn’t look like the youtube tutorial that’s for sure. One, she has way more hair than I do and her hair is thicker than mine. But it wasn’t a total fail but I do know what to do differently next time. I should of taken a photo but I wasn’t thinking. My curls have fallen since I styled my hair. My hair is allergic to rain and wind and that is one of the main reasons I don’t get roller sets or roll my hair that often. Right now my hair doesn’t look like it ever had a curl in it. 🙁 Darn Oregon rain.
Tonight I plan on trying the Bantu Knot Out again but here is what I will do differently:
- Don’t blow dry my hair with the comb attachment. I believe my hair was too straight. I will let it air dry.
- I don’t have a big head, but I will section my hair another way. My hair is thinner and shorter in the front. My knots need to be the same size.
- Add more knots and sit under the dryer to set.
- Oil the twists before separating them. I didn’t put enough which caused frizziness.
- Make sure the ends are secured. One of my knots didn’t secure properly and the curl was straight.
- Practice, Practice, Practice.
If I like it tomorrow, I will post a photo. And it will definitely be before I leave the house so my curls don’t fall like they did today. If they do, then I will do the Bantu Knots in the summer when there is much less humidity here in Portland.
Hopefully tomorrow’s results will be better!!!
Products used were: Carol’s Daughter Lisa Elixer, Shea Moisture Shampoo, Deep Condition Masque and Conditioner, ORS Smooth & Hold Pudding and ORS Edge Control.
Edited: I did the Bantu Knot out again, this time adding Shea Moisture hair milk along with the ORS Pudding on damp hair. Tighter curls and less frizz. Will try the pineapple method to preserve the curls for tomorrow.
The internet is buzzing now and rightfully so! All the chatter is about Liv Warfield’s performance on Jimmy Fallon last night (or earlier this morning). This was her national TV debut as a solo artist (she currently tours with Prince as one of his background vocalist) performing her latest single “Why Do You Lie?” She did not disappoint. Joined by her NPG Hornz brethern and her band (Blackbird) consisting of Portland musicians and vocalists, they rocked, swayed and grooved the whole set. I know their twitter mentions and Facebook tags are crazy right now. I’ve gotten a chance to photograph Liv at both Nike and the Alberta Rose Theater and sometimes photos can’t capture the energy on stage. Check out her performance on Jimmy Fallon below! Liv’s will be releasing her new cd “The Unexpected” on February 18th. Make sure you go to your local record store and get your copy!
The Family Dinner arrived in Portland where 100 professionals came together for food, fun and fellowship at Quartet Restaurant. Check out the photos from the event here. To check to see the next dinner scheduled for your city, check out The Family Dinner’s website. The next dinner in Portland will be August 2nd.
Looking back at 2013, I got a chance to photograph lots of great local talent from Chris Lay, Farnell Newton and Juno What?!. I have a few friends that play with The Blind Boys of Alabama that performed at Mississippi Studios. Two highlights for me was flying down to Oakland to work with the band Legally Blynd. It was such short notice but their tour schedules only allowed them to be together for that one day. Two of the band members tour with Rihanna and the other tour with Maze & Frankie Beverly. Thankfully I was able to get the day off to shoot their EPK. And we shot it at the same studio that both Tony Toni Toni and EnVogue recorded their albums. Lots of musical history there that’s for sure.
For the last 10+ years I’ve been attending India.Arie concerts courtesy of her musical director. I’ve hung out with the band, rode on the tour bus and chilled back stage. After a four year absence, India returned and toured the country in support of her new cd Songversation. I borrowed my friend’s 70-200 lens and shot four of her shows (Seattle, Portland, Anaheim and LA). Being on the road those few short days were brutal. Lack of sleep, I bruised both of my thighs, lost 2 contact lenses, a piece of my shotgun mic fell off. But it was fun. Met her new band members and crew and got some decents shots and footage.
Looking forward to shooting more bands in 2014. 🙂
Since I don’t have any children of my own, Christmas mornings are quiet the last few years. I find myself looking at my friends’ Facebook and Instagram posts and live vicariously through them. Seeing children squeal in delight as they open their gifts never gets old. Now I have two adorable nieces and a 10 month old nephew that I get buy gifts for. My mom bought both of them princess dress up clothes complete with shoes and jewelry. The highlight of the night was when the three year old challenged me to a Ballerina Dance off. Granted, the three year old’s daily routine is to spin around like a ballerina and dress up like a princess everyday. I was already at a disadvantage. My ballerina skills are quite rusty. The two year has some skills too as seen by the photos below. Christmas 2013 started off meh but ended with a swirl and a bang.
One day I am scrolling through my Instagram feed and I saw a post by Zach Arias and how he was dumping Instagram for a new app called Pressgram. Of course there were many comments following (mainly people complaining that it was for IOS only). I respect Zack and his advice so if he endorsed it, I knew it had to be something to check out. I downloaded the app the first week. It was weird at first because I didn’t know anyone to follow besides Zack. But I got out of my shell and started following people with cool photos. 🙂 There were a few kinks to work out, mainly getting it to sync up with my site. I asked many questions via twitter and my questions were answered in a timely manner. Something I appreciated. I had to spend some time on the back end of WordPress to get Pressgram to work nicely with my theme. Trust me, I am no wordpress guru. That is when Google is your friend.
After having the app for 3 months, I must say I am glad I found it. Before September, there wasn’t much activity on my site. It was pretty dormant. Now that I am posting photos via Pressgram, I am getting more traffic than before. Having it linked to my Facebook Page and Twitter has helped too.
Really glad to be part of a community of rebels who wants to own their own content and post cool photos. Now it’s just getting others to jump on board. 🙂 I’m trying my best to be a Pressgram Evangelist and let folks know about the app. My goal is to have at least one friend sign up before the year is over.
Appreciate the Pressgram community and look forward to sharing images with them and the world!
If you decide to download the app, follow me at Sharon_pdx.
2X Grammy and Emmy winner Shannon Sanders released his long awaited video for the national man anthem “Man Up”. Be sure to follow Shannon on twitter for more updates about the Man Up Movement. Check the video and share it amongst all of your male friends, family, colleagues.
For the last two years, I’ve worked with a few local musicians here in Portland, mainly shooting concert pictures and a little video. I first met Legally Blynd when they came up here to perform at the Gemini Bar and grill. Here’s a clip from that show. Let My Guitar Play. I posted a couple videos on social media and some photos on facebook. Come to find out, they dug the videos. Next time I saw the brothers Jubu and Pikfunk were at a function at Nike with Liv Warfied. Pictures can be seen here. Fast forward a year later and I am in Oakland shooting footage for the Band’s EPK. This band is the truth. Good lyrics, excellent musicianship and all around good dudes. Honored that they would ask me to shoot their project. I am sure this will be the first of many.
Last month Portland native, Rebekah Livington founder of Change the Definition, a non profit company focused on helping improve the literacy rate in her community through the sales of handmade bracelets is featured on the October issue of Bronze Magazine. Here is the behind the scenes footage from her cover shoot. If you want to support her mission, go www.chagethedef.com.
After a 4 year hiatus, India.Arie is back with a new cd “Songversation” and a new tour. Check out the images from the first 4 shows of the tour: Songversation Tour Photos
Check out a short performance from her show in LA at Club Nokia.
There are a few photographers I follow on Instagram and I used to wonder how they would post their hi-res photos to Instram so fast and with their logo. One of them mentioned wifi. Bingo, the lightbulb went off in my head. I did a simple google search and a few reviews came up on pcmag.com and Cultofmac.com. This won’t be a full review, since those two articles go in depth about the card. I watched a few videos on youtube and read some more reviews on B&H.com and came to the conclusion, that this is a card that would suit my needs. I went to Best Buy last night and they had a few in stock. Some may bulk at the $50 price tag, but to me it is worth it for my social media workflow. I read the pros and cons (one being it doesn’t transfer RAW files). Come on now, who edits RAW files on their phone or tablet??? I think some of the negative reviews had more to do about user error than the actual card. It was a simple process, download the app, enter access code, turn on your camera, go into the menu and enable the card, take a few pics and voila, you have photos from your DSLR (or point & shoot) on your camera. Pretty darn neat for someone who shoots live concerts/performances and events. Easy way to share on a few social media sites and a good quality too. One of the gripes is that you can’t choose which photos to transfer to your phone. Once the wifi is enabled, it transfers all of the photos you captured to your phone. So it’s best to set your camera to Raw + Small jpeg or Medium depending on how much space you have available on your phone.
Before I got the card, I would format two different files in Adobe Lightroom, one formatted for facebook and one for Instagram. Export them to a folder and sync my phone to my computer. Now I can do a few simple edits in either snapseed or Camera+ for quick sharing. Not bad at all. I still have to RAW files I can process later to upload to my galleries at a later time. Looks like I will be using my camera phone less and carrying my dslr a lot more.
Here are two photos I captured earlier today using the Eye-fi Mobi.
Finally, I have my own website. Some will say it’s about time! Shout out to Jomo Greenidge at Mungai Media for all his hard work
and teaching me how to navigate this WordPress dashboard.
Take a look around-leave a comment, feedback or suggestion. 🙂