Pastor Boaz Omugah from Chemelil, Kenya

 By David Morefield

As many of you may know, I have been to Kenya a couple of times with my church on mission trips. During my first trip in 2009, I met Pastor Boaz Omugah from Chemelil, Kenya. He is a very special man and I am glad to be able to call Pastor Boaz my friend and brother.

Chemelil is located about 30 minutes outside of Kisumu, Kenya near Lake Victoria. When I first arrived in Chemelil, I was asked to take a look at a little boy named Collins. Collins had gotten his thumb stuck in the sprocket of a bicycle chain a few weeks before we arrived and his thumb and hand were badly infected. This was not something that a little Neosporin and a Band-aid would cure. I gave Collins an injection of Zylocaine and then cleaned his wound with the supplies that I had on hand. We then took Collins to the Kisumu General Hospital where eventually my team was able to get the boy help.

I got to see Collins again while visiting Pastor Boaz in 2010. To this day, Collins and I stay in contact through people like Pastor Boaz and his son Benard. That is entirely another story; what I want to write about is that a church brought Pastor Boaz to the United States this week in order for him to attend a conference with other ministers. During his trip, I was able to meet up with him and I took some video so that he could share what it is that he does in Chemelil, Kenya.

Pastor Boaz has 46 children in the home; most people would call them orphans, but Pastor Boaz and his wife Helen care for these kids as their own. Aside from raising 46 children in his home, Pastor Boaz runs a church, a school and teaches in Kisumu at a Bible college. In addition to those responsibilities, Pastor Boaz stays busy helping his community when issues arise. The local police call on Pastor Boaz to take in troubled teens on a somewhat regular basis. The man is just amazing and has a real heart for the Lord.

Another reason that I wanted to take a moment and write about Pastor Boaz is that he has been asking me for the last eight years to try to get some people who are trained in Agriculture, to volunteer and come to Chemelil to teach him and the people of his community how to become self-sustainable. Pastor Boaz would like to learn modern techniques of farming so that they no longer have to buy food and can feed themselves. Food and clean water are a challenge for his community, especially during the dry season.

Pastor Boaz is also looking for people to come and teach at his school with whatever skill you may be able to bring to his community. When I went back in 2010, I had promised Pastor Boaz that I would teach a computer class when I returned. I was really surprised when they asked me to teach basic networking 101. As Kenya is beginning to make major leaps forward in technology, those who can do even the most basic work can get good jobs (something that is very hard to do when you come from a tiny village).

If you or someone you know would like to go to Chemelil and help Pastor Boaz realize his vision for sustainability, then please either contact him directly via the information in the video or you can contact me and I will pass the message. Lord willing, I will return to Kenya in the future to help with the effort as well.

7 Tips How to Photograph Fireworks


Freedom over Texas

 By David Morefield

The 4th of July is just around the corner and if you are like me, you are looking forward to watching the fireworks with your family and having a good time. But, if you are reading this article, you are also looking for tips how to photograph fireworks.

1. Use the Fireworks as your Flash

Keep in mind that when shooting fireworks, you will be in the dark and then the fireworks are going to be a brilliant source of light, much like a flash. As Fireworks explode into the air, they will often light up the surrounding area, so you will want to make sure that your frame is not so tight that you miss the surrounding scene. I have made the mistake of just having a great picture of fireworks, with nothing else in the picture… It was time wasted and I would not recommend it. Find something of interest to be in the background or foreground to add an element of depth and interest.

2. You really need a Tripod and Remote Shutter Release

When doing any kind of timed exposure, you really should use a tripod for stability, otherwise your images will not be crisp and in focus. Triggering the shutter with a remote shutter release is a great way to reduce camera shake as well. If there is wind, you may consider hanging a sandbag or camera bag from the center of your tripod.

3. Time your shots with the fireworks show

Professional fireworks shows should have a rhythm that they will follow, many times this is set to music. While this is important, what you want to be looking for is the streak of sparks headed for the skies. Once you see that a mortar has fired, open your shutter. Once the mortar explodes, give it a second or two before closing your shutter, this will capture some of the great streaks and bursts of light.

4. Shoot in Manual Mode

If you are not comfortable shooting in manual mode, then it is time to break out of your comfort zone. If your camera has a timed exposure setting, I would experiment at night with an aperture of about f/8 and ISO of 100 to start and then find out how long you need to have the shutter open for a decent exposure at your location. You will be able to do this just a couple of minutes before the fireworks show start. Keep in mind that even though the sun goes down, the lighting will most likely get a little darker between sundown and the start of the fireworks. Be ready by the time the fireworks start.

5. Scout the area prior to the fireworks display.

There is nothing worse than figuring out that you don’t have a good vantage point for the fireworks and then you miss the best part of the show. Make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time to get to your location and find the best vantage point. Many times, fireworks displays are going to draw lots of people, most of which could care less that you are trying to get pictures. Claim your territory and try to eliminate people standing directly in front of you by using parking garages, bodies of water, etc…

6. Take pictures during sunset before the sun sets

One of the best ways to make sure that you have the right focus and have your shot framed correctly is to shoot the scene in daylight. I prefer to shoot buildings as the sun is setting because many times, you have enough light to see the building’s colors and you also have the lights of the building. This is useful later in post processing if you want to do some blending of the exposures.

7. The start of the fireworks show is usually the best time for photographs

If you think that you should save the best for last, then you probably haven’t shot many fireworks shows. As the show continues, the smoke in the air will likely gather into small clouds that can affect your shot. Try to get as many shots at the beginning of the fireworks show in order to make sure that you get some nice clean shots without a bunch of smoke hanging around.

I hope that you have found this tutorial helpful on how to photograph fireworks. As we celebrate our Independence Day on the this 4th of July, please remember to thank those who have served our Country.

Panama City Beach Florida



By David Morefield

This past week, my family and I went to Panama City Beach, Florida. I have great memories of Panama City Beach as a kid, so I not only get to relive those memories, but make new ones whenever I go back.

The first morning that we were in Florida, my family and I went to Wright Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida where my cousin Jeremy Gates is the pastor. After church, we went to lunch and caught up on the past twenty years. I had not seen my cousin since I was in High School, so it was great to get to spend some time with him and meet his wife and daughter.

Tuesday afternoon, we rented a pontoon boat from Adventures at Sea and took it to Shell Island. If you have never gone to Shell Island, then I would highly recommend checking it out while you are in Panama City Beach. Shell Island is located across the bay from Tyndell Air Force Base and is not inhabited. Basically, you find a place to anchor your boat and then walk through the island to the other side where you can have a beach all to yourself. While snorkeling in the bay, we found starfish and countless sand dollars; which was a whole lot of fun. I even had a puffer fish follow me around for a while.

Wednesday morning, I woke up early and drove down the Russell-Fields Pier otherwise know as the City Pier. It was a cloudy morning and there were some ominous clouds in the sky, but thunderstorms come and go quickly in Panama City beach, so I figured I would get to the pier and see how the weather was. As I got out of my truck lightning struck the water about 500 meters past the pier, so I quickly aborted the photo shoot that morning. I ended up going to Thomas Donuts to pickup up breakfast and returned to the beach house as a hero.

The weather was more favorable the next morning, so I went back out to the pier around 5am. I love to shoot early in the morning and the light was perfect. The clouds in the sky reflect the colors of the sunrise and I just love the colors that can be captured at that time of morning.

The Russell-Fields Pier is a 1,500 foot long pier that provides not only some great fishing, but some fantastic views of the Panama City Beach coastline. I ended up staying out at the pier for a couple hours watching all of the activity. In retrospect, I was glad that I did not go to the pier earlier in the week. I observed Black Tip Sharks swimming within 30 feet of the shoreline and it’s probably best that I was blissfully ignorant of this earlier in the week while at the beach. I think sharks are cool as long as they are behind glass, but swimming in open water with them is not my idea of fun.

At the end of the week, we all felt recharged and had a great time. The beach house that we stayed in was great for a family week at the beach and was actually cheaper than staying in a hotel. If you are headed to Panama City Beach, Florida and you are looking for a recommendation of where to stay, look no further. The beach house that we stayed in not only had a great kitchen, but it even had an icemaker in the wet bar. This meant that I did not have to run out for ice everyday before walking out the backdoor to the beach, which was awesome. Here is the link to the Beachfront Oasis.

An Open Letter from a Veteran Regarding the Challenges faced by the VA

My friend, George Turek, is a true American patriot and former Naval aviator. George ran a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal called “An Open Letter from a Veteran” where he addresses his solutions  for immediate measures that he thinks would serve our Country’s veterans. I strongly agree with George’s letter and with his permission, I am posting the full text of the letter for you to read. If you agree with this article, I would ask that you do three things – Write your Congressman, Share it to your Social Media Pages and also Follow George on Twitter and Facebook.

GCT Letter

The following was written By George Turek

An Open Letter from a Veteran to:

Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator John McCain

Congressman Kevin Brady

Senator Dean Heller

Senator Richard Burr

Congressman Jeff Miller

Senator Bob Casey

Senator Jerry Moran

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Harry Reid

Congressman John Culberson

Senator Jon Tester

Senator Martin Heinrich

Senator David Vitter


Two serious problems presently confront the VA:

Problem # 1: Veterans are waiting too long to receive treatment appointments at VA Hospitals.

Problem # 2: Veterans are waiting too long to receive Compensation and Pension (“C&P”) benefits. There continues to be a significant backlog of Medical Disability Examinations (“MDEs”) which are crucial to the C&P process.

Both of these problems can, at least partially if not fully, be resolved simply.

Approximately 2,000,000 C&P MDEs are conducted each year on Veterans as part of the C&P benefits process. Some 1,600,000 of these MDEs are conducted in VA hospitals by VA medical providers. The remaining 400,000 MDEs are referred to outside private contractors. The VA has been outsourcing “overflow” MDEs since 1998. The outsourcing of MDEs has proven to be a huge success, for both our Veterans and the VA.

The VA medical providers who perform the 1,600,000 MDEs at VA hospitals are the same medical providers responsible for providing treatment to Veterans at VA hospitals. MDEs are extremely time consuming and take valuable time away from VA medical providers, time which they could be using to provide medical treatment to Veterans. Annually, the time these medical providers spend performing MDEs easily totals in the millions of hours.

Solution: Outsource all Compensation & Pension Medical Disability Examinations.

By outsourcing all C&P MDEs to private contractors, VA medical providers would be able to devote 100% of their valuable time to providing much needed medical treatment to Veterans. Outsourcing of MDEs has been extremely successful, and private contractors have the necessary staff and trained and experienced medical providers to quickly reduce the huge backlog of these cases. Outsourcing all MDEs would solve both problems: it would reduce the long wait time for our Veterans to receive appointments for medical treatment at VA hospitals by allowing VA medical providers to focus exclusively on providing medical treatment to our Veterans and it would facilitate the timely delivery of C&P benefits to our Veterans by significantly reducing the backlog of MDE cases.

The legislation being discussed by Senators Sanders and McCain is commendable and a step in the right direction, but would do little to immediately address either problem. Building 26 new medical facilities in 18 states will take years, which is time we cannot afford given the critical nature of these problems. Spending another $500 million to hire and train more medical providers would also be a lengthy process. Although well intended, the proposed legislation does not provide the services our Veterans need today. Our Veterans deserve timely medical treatment and benefits right now, without delay.

The solution outlined above provides an immediate win-win for both our Veterans and the VA. Let’s not delay any further in providing our Veterans timely access to the medical treatment and benefits they so justly deserve. Thank you for listening.


Screenshot 2014-06-10 12.04.54


Follow George on Facebook

Follow George on Twitter



Navy SEAL Foundation fundraiser Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping

Navy SEAL Lt. Jason Redman signing his book "The Trident: the Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader"


By David Morefield

For the past three years, I have had the honor of being able to contribute to the Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping benefitting the Navy SEAL Foundation. The Navy SEAL Foundation’s mission is to provide immediate and ongoing support to the Naval Special Warfare Community and their families. The amount of sacrifice that these families make for our Country is truly humbling. Danny Dietz was a Navy SEAL that was killed on 28 June 2005 during Operation Red Wings.

On this Memorial Day, I want to take a moment and tell you about a special man that I have had the privilege to get to know – his name is Lt. Jason Redman.

Lt. Redman has served his Country as a leader in the Navy SEALs and although he has retired from the Navy, continues to lead by example with his undying tenacity. Most people know that a Navy SEAL has to be able to “Embrace the Suck” and continue the mission no matter what happens; the mindset of these warriors is what truly sets them apart.

Lt. Redman was on a mission in Iraq in 2007 when he was shot multiple times with machine gun fire. One of the rounds entered at the jawline and came out of his nose, blowing off much of his right cheek and leaving his eyeball unsupported; he also lost much of his left arm. When telling me the story, Lt. Redman said, “Yeah, a hit like that can kind of take the wind out of your sails.” Despite his injuries, Lt. Redman said a little prayer and then got up to go home to his family.

While in the hospital recovering from his wounds, Lt. Redman gained the attention of the world by posting a sign on his door stating that he loved his Country and anyone feeling sorry for him should not enter the room. The sign became a symbol of the warrior spirit and has inspired many other wounded warriors. President George W. Bush invited Lt. Redman to the Oval Office in order to autograph the sign that he had posted on his door.

Getting to know Lt. Redman, I can tell you that he is much more than a Navy SEAL; he is a loving father, husband and a man of great faith.

While fighting his battles with his injuries, Lt. Redman started an organization that provides clothing to wounded veterans called Wounded Wear. Wounded Wear’s mission to is “Helps warriors rediscover the hero within.” Lt. Redman explained that after having half of his face blown off, he then had to deal with the “World of Stares” when he went into the public. Recognizing that many other wounded veterans were having a hard time dealing with this kind of attention, Lt. Redman was motivated to help other veterans. Some of the other needs that Lt. Redman saw were that clothes did not always fit the prosthetics that other veterans were wearing and that they needed specialized clothing to accommodate their needs if they didn’t want to wear sweatpants the rest of their lives.

I would encourage everyone to order a copy of Lt. Redman’s book “The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader” in order to hear this epic story. Lt. Redman takes an honest and unfiltered look into his own life and continues to lead.

Click Below to Order “The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader”

Looking Back on Pictures of Israel

HDR shot of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem Israel


By David Morefield

This past week, I have had pictures of Israel on my mind. Last year, I went to Israel with my mom and my brother on a trip by Collette Tours. Israel is one of the most beautiful places on the earth and even now, I am awestruck by the pictures of Israel that I took while I was there.

While celebrating Easter this year at church, I was able to close my eyes an picture the events leading up the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This puts the story into the geographical context, which helps me visualize what happened.

I am truly blessed that I was able to travel and take pictures of Israel. I hope one day that I can return and see more of Israel, but last year’s trip will always be special because I got to share it with my mother and my brother. We went to the Sea of Galilee, Tel Meggido, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Caesarea, the Dead Sea, Jericho and saw much more. Looking back on my pictures from Israel, I am filled with all kinds of great memories of the experiences that we share together. It was the trip of a lifetime.

It is difficult for me to say what is my favorite out of my collection of pictures of Israel, but the Dome of the Rock has got to be one of them. Of course, I also love the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.

Please visit My Facebook Page and let me know which of my My Israel Pictures is your favorite.

WordCamp Austin 2014

Pennybacker Bridge Austin Texas during WordCamp Austin 2014


By David Morefield

WordCamp Austin 2014 was Awesome!!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to WordCamp Austin 2014 aka #WCATX. Aside from having a lot of fun, I got to engage with a small segment of the WordPress blogging community and hear from experts in their respective fields. I met a lot of really awesome people and had a great time.For those who have not heard of WordCamp Austin 2014, it is a gathering of the WordPress community where users, designers, developers and hosts can all come together to share information. They hold WordCamps all around the world and this was my first time to WordCamp.
Of course, I also managed to slip out and take some pictures during this wonderful weekend. My pal Tim Stanley and I went to the 360 Lookout over looking Pennybacker Bridge the Friday night that we arrived and climbed a treacherous trail to the top. Sure, the trail is not that bad for most, but when you are climbing a trail with loose rocks carrying thousands of dollars of camera equipment, that kind of changes the dynamic.
During the weekend at WordCamp Austin 2014, I got to hear from experts like Tony Tovar , Yusuf Chowdhury and many other web design experts. In the coming weeks, you may even notice some changes to my website as well. I met webmasters from around the great State of Texas as well as some who had travelled from other states.
The atmosphere was one of community and collaboration; despite just meeting many of these people, I felt as if I had known them for a very long time. I got some great insights on where to go with my own webpage as well as some that I manage.
I look forward to what the future may bring as I put the knowledge and skills gained at WordCamp Austin 2014 into action. Next, WordCamp Dallas 2014!!

New Orleans Photoshoot


Louisiana State Museum in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

Louisiana State Museum in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

 By David Morefield

I recently organized a trip to New Orleans with a couple of a friends. Aside from just having a good time, we also got some great shots in and around the city. My friends Jeremy Mancuso and Tim Stanley rode along with me and we were joined by Andy Crawford once we arrived in New Orleans. The four of us worked non-stop to go around the city and capture as much as we could in the short weekend that we had.

Of course, being in New Orleans, we had to go to the French Quarter and shoot. I like to shoot at night in order to get the deep shadows and the patterns of lights that are cast by gas lamps and neon lights. TIme, Andy, Jeremy and I headed out to the French Quarter at about 4am one morning and walked around while capturing some the beauty of the architecture in the French Quarter. Along the way, we met some interesting people. We found it curious that the most common question that we were asked is, “What are y’all doing?” I would think that four guys walking through the city streets at night carrying cameras, tripods, lenses, extra batteries and other equipment would lend to being a clue that we were photographers, but apparently, we were still asked. When asked “Say man, what are you doing?” Tim responded, “Playing Baseball!” That became our joke for the rest of the weekend.

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

After walking the French Quarter for a few hours, we decided to go to Cafe DuMonde and have some beignets and coffee; afterall, you can’t go to New  Orleans without stopping at Cafe DuMonde, right?

From Cafe Du Monde, we left to go to Fort Pike and meet with the manager in order to gain access to Fort Macomb. One of the many treats on this visit was that the State of Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant had permitted access to Fort Macomb, a 19th Century fort located near New Orleans. Fort Macomb was built after the British tried to take New Orleans in 1814. Constructed of Brick, the fort guards one of the many waterways that would allow ships in Lake Ponchartrain. Fort Macomb was used by the Confederacy during the War of Northern Aggression and fell to the Union in 1861. In 1867, the barracks caught fire and the fort was abandoned. Today, the fort is off limits to the public. A want to extend special thanks to Fort Macomb, the Louisiana Office of State Parks, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and the State of Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Allowing us to shoot at Fort Macomb was quite a treat and we got some great shots.

The Inner Hallways of Fort Macomb

At The Inner Hallways of Fort Macomb


At Fort Macomb, we were greeted by Arthur Schick who took us into Fort Macomb. Arthur walked around and told us some of the history about the Fort as well as gave us an education on the local area. Arthur was a great host and at the end of our photoshoot, we asked him where we should go to lunch. Arthur recommended that we go to Rocky and Carlos in Chalmette, Louisiana. I had no idea that when I ordered the Veal and some Macaroni and Cheese, that I would receive enough food to satisfy a platoon of Marines, oh but it was so good. Upon finishing our lunch, we had to seek shelter and sleep it off. We went back tot he hotel and took a nap before going back out to get shots of the skyline of New Orleans. 

We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying each other’s company and cruising all over the city to get as many shots as we could. Along the way, Tim Jeremy and I got to get to know Andy and I hope that we find a time to go shoot together again. It was great fun.

For a complete look at the shots that I was able to get in New Orleans, check out My Gallery Page.

8 Tips for Urban Landscape Photography at Night

Going Home in Tel Aviv by David Morefield


By David Morefield

1. Use a Tripod

In order to capture the true essence of a city when shooting Urban Landscape Photography, I prefer to shoot at night.  At night, you can capture the lights and the shadows of the city and get a sense for the movement of the nightlife. I like to catch the movement of the lights with as little people in the frame as possible. Utilizing a tripod, you will be able to keep your shutter open much longer and still have crisp clear pictures – this is especially helpful when you are shooting in the dark.

2. Shoot early in the morning starting around 3am

I like to shoot during the early morning hours. This usually minimizes the amount of pedestrian traffic that I would have to otherwise work around. Of course, if you are looking for people to be in the shot, you could always go earlier. I find that usually by 3am, most people have made it to where they are going for the night, so I have the streets almost to myself so I can concentrate getting shots of the architectural aspects as well at the lights of the city.

3. Take a Friend

I have always found it to be a whole lot more fun to drag someone out with me when I shoot at 3am. There is a certain wisdom to travelling in groups at night, especially when you are toting around thousands of dollars of photography equipment. The best part is, after catching the sunrise, you and your friend can then go to breakfast.

One of my fondest memories of shooting early in the morning was with three of my pals in New Orleans. Around 4am, this drunk guy who was rather loud approached my friend and said, “Hey, what are you guys dong?” My buddy quickly responded, “We’re playing Baseball.” We are still laughing about that. So by all means, go out and enjoy with friends. It won’t matter that you are shooting the same locations, you will end up with something different, I guarantee it.

4. Be Creative with the location where you shoot

Tel Aviv at Night by David MorefieldDon’t be afraid to get creative with the location from which you shoot. For instance, I was visiting Israel and the view from our hotel pool was amazing. I climbed into the planter box and set up my tripod – I got some great pictures and some interesting looks from other guests at the hotel.

Every time someone comments on the picture that I took, I like to tell them I was standing on one leg, in the planter box of my hotel on the pool deck. You’d never know that I was that I holding back a bunch of palm fronds out of the way of the camera. If you see and opportunity for a good shot, take it!

5. Use a Remote Shutter Release

Aside from the using a tripod at night as previously mentioned, I suggest using a remote shutter release. When shooting Urban Landscape Photography, you want to minimize movement of your camera by all means necessary, so a remote shutter release allows you to fire your shutter without even touching the camera. This is definitely the optimal solution. If you do not have a remote shutter release, then you can always use the 2 second shutter timer in order to fire the camera and then let go.

6. Shoot with Manual Settings for complete control

You may have a great camera that is very intuitive to use, but when it comes to shooting Urban Landscape Photography at night, I would suggest shooting with manual settings.  Shooting on Manual will assure that you have complete control over the scene that you capture and allows you to make fine adjustments along the way.

7. Use Live View to fine Tune your Focus

I see many photographers look though the viewfinder to fine tune their focus and if that works for your, then great. Personally, I prefer to utilize the Live View on the back of my camera and then digitally zoom into a particular subject in order to fine tune my focus. Generally, I will use something with straight lines such as a window or a corner of a building. Once I am focused to where the corner is a well defined straight line, I know that I am good to go.

8. What ISO should you shoot?

When shooting Urban Landscape Photography at Night, I try to shoot at 100 iso as much as possible. This usually will give me the cleanest image. Of course, shooting at 100 iso in the dark means that I have to increase my shutter speed to allow more time for light to get to the sensor and get my exposure. If you are shooting from a tripod, this is not an issue.  When shooting urban landscape photography at night, I will generally start with an aperture somewhere between f6 and f8, depending on the depth of my subject. That ought to be a good place to start.


How To Make Pictures Like A Fly On The Wall by Frank Casella

When Men Put God First by Frank Casella

By Frank J. Casella

Most of my life as a photographer has been to document public figures: statesmen, celebrities, professional athletes, and leaders of the world religions. This is important work because what your camera is doing is telling the story of history in the making in ways that words cannot.  It takes a tight-lipped and trustworthy person who has excellent relationship skills, yet is unnoticed and doesn’t get in the way of the moment — a fly on the wall. You have to remain humble and not let the “power” faze you. They will pick up on it, and this will show in your pictures.

Many of my pictures from over the years have become fine art photography. There is an interest in street photography as fine art, which are pictures that illustrate a society or a culture. Though I try to tell a stronger story with my pictures and go deeper to transform a person with simple life moments that make a positive and lasting impression.

Most of you will not be in the position to photograph public people in private moments, but you may be in situations that call for you to be like a fly on the wall. The key to photographing people in this way is the element of waiting.  I’ve mostly learned ( how to do ) this because I was born in an Italian Catholic family so my camera has found its way into photographing in churches. People here are deeply personal, reverent and holy, and its important to be sensitive yet understand that a click of the shutter in the right moment will tell a great story in the next decade or century. When I start walking around a church with my camera people will usually watch me, but then after some time I start to fall into the background and they forget I’m there. I then have their trust, and, it is at this moment their heart and Soul comes to life … An outward expression of their inner beliefs.

Back when I shot more film, my workhorse camera was the Nikon F3HP. It was important for my lenses to have a lot of glass ( I mostly used the 85mm f/1.4 ), which means they need to be really bright with a very wide aperture. Now that digital sensors see a lot more light this is a bit easier, but the rules are still the same to prevent motion and un-focussed pictures. You really need to be one with your camera and feel the light as your camera sees it. Sometimes I will be propped discreetly in a corner with my eye on a moment, and to capture it I’ll need to hold the camera at waist level.  I may only get one shot so it will have to be right. You learn this by practicing it and making all the mistakes so that you know what not to do in the ‘real’ moment.

My present workhorse digital camera is the Pentax K-10D.  It has a CCD sensor and rendering engine that collects the image as analog then converts it to digital. The results are images that look like film to me. This is how I want my images to look and feel, because I usually don’t post process any more than a slight tweak. I do most of the work ( composition, lighting, and exposure, etc.) in-camera through the viewfinder.

One of the great documentary photographers, Edward Steichen, whom I studied as a student at Columbia College Chicago, has said “ Photography is a major force in explaining man to man”. It is these words that really have made a lasting impression on every time I click the shutter. Humanity needs images that are examples of hope and goodness.  Art is not a luxury, and my mission is to put a ‘smile’ on the walls of humanity.

Growing up as a Catholic it was impressed on me that many of the Catholic Saints were born with shortcomings and how they are recognized by the Church, through icons and illustrations, for transforming their shortcomings into virtues or goodness. Likewise, all of us possess goodness, and we need ‘fly on the wall’ examples in photography, and in art, to help each other make it though life.

About Frank J. Casella

Frank CasellaI am Frank J. Casella, a Catholic man, husband and father, and an award winning photographer living in the Greater Chicago Area (USA). I have spent my lifetime perfecting how to make great photography, to put my audience where my subject is [ Pictures People Listen To ].

I was born and raised in a Family-Owned Business, photographed the Chicago ministry of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, and was mentored by John H. White, Pulitzer Prize photographer.

Since 1988, my business specializes in producing and selling Fine Art Photography for personal and enterprise, as well as visual storytelling and print solutions for Catholic Organizations and Family-Owned Businesses.

My greatest reward, though, is when my artwork transforms a person from good intentions into right-action ~ simple life moments that make a positive and lasting impression.