Amelia’s Graduation Celebration

Maybe it was that night we “slumber partied” on the living room floor at Byron & Kathleen‘s house when our plans to go camping fell through? Maybe it was that week of paddling canoes through the mosquito-infested Okefenokee Swamp together? Or maybe it’s that Africa-Connection that Kathleen and I share, having both been raised as MK’s in the Heart of Darkness? Regardless, The Whites and The Smiths have become more than just friends…they are family. And thus, Byron & Kathleen’s daughter, Amelia, has been like the daughter Cami and I never had!
 
So it was with great joy that we received an invitation to Amelia‘s Graduation Celebration at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC!!! This beautiful, loving, intelligent young lady graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies (minor in Business Administration), and already has a great job working in her field with a company based in Denver, CO.
 
Another neat part of the weekend was that Amelia’s person, Kellie, also graduated in the same class. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology (minors in Psychology and Anthropology). Amelia and Kellie have known each other their entire time at Winthrop. It’s been wonderful to watch their friendship grow and their relationship blossom!
 
Amelia is an AMAZING young lady! And we can’t wait to see what incredible opportunities lay ahead for her as she begins this new chapter in her life…

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 3

The 3rd and final day of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville was a time to celebrate!

All the Advisory Team Leaders shared the progress reports and final results from their intense break-out meetings. Recognition Awards for exemplary service were handed out to deserving recipients. And final words of inspiration were shared before the conference was finally adjourned.

It was an absolute pleasure being back in person, photographing another fabulous event for the US Grains Council!

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 2

Day 2 of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville begin with some fantastic presentations. But the majority of the day was spent in break-out meetings, focusing on different sectors of the market.

That night, everyone got to blow off some steam during an off-site reception at the famous BBQ at Zen!

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 1

Day 1 of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville started off with a bang!

A very full schedule included highlight appearances from Mayor Pro Tem of Greenville, Lillian Flemming…Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO of the USGC…Ambassador Katherine Tai…Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs…Sharon Yuan, President of The Asia Group…and many more!

A casual Welcome Reception Welcome Reception was held in Noma Square that evening so everyone could de-compress from the days events.

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 0

Following two years of cancellations, postponements, virtual, and hybrid meetings, the US Grains Council was finally back to having in-person meetings!

The 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting was held at the Hyatt Regency Greenville. The Greenville downtown area has been completely revitalized over the last decade. It’s a beautiful city, with tons to offer. And this year’s conference was held right in the middle of it!

Arriving in town the day before the conference began, I was able to photograph a wonderful reception hosted by the outgoing chairman of the board, Jim Raben. It was a wonderful evening at Jack n’ Diane’s Dualing Piano Bar. Spirits were high as everyone re-connected with one another, and prepared for the 3 days of intense presentations and meetings that lay ahead.

CTAR Event – Harbour Club at Westedge

Getting to see and experience all the beautiful venues around Charleston is one of the highlights of my job!

It’s been a pleasure working with the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors for many years. Everyone is always so fun and friendly. I always enjoy photographing their programs. And Claire does an AMAZING job of organizing everything!

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing their end-of-year holiday luncheon at the new Harbour Club at Westedge. It’s a gorgeous location with an amazing view of the city skyline. The staff was wonderful to work with. And I loved all the natural light from the massive windows that wrap around the room!

I’d like to congratulate all the new inductees into their new roles for the coming year!

WP Chrysler Club Conference

It was great to be back at Belmond Charleston Place this week, photographing the WP Chrysler Club sales meeting.

The program started off with a welcome reception for all the sales leaders and their significant others. My friend Gary and I partnered up to provide couples portraits, which Gary printed and delivered on-site for the guests to take home as a memento of the evening. We also photographed head-shots for the various dealership owners. Then everyone enjoyed a beautiful cocktail hour, followed by a fabulous dinner!

The next morning I photographed the business meeting, including all the networking opportunities, the keynote speakers, and of course the award presentations to the top sales leaders.  CONGRATULATIONS to Chris & Joel for their achievements!

At the end of the day, everyone gathered for a big group photo on the famous Grand Staircase. That was the last “official” duty before everyone dispersed to partake in their various free-time activities, including golf, shopping, carriage tours, etc.  As soon as I snapped the last frame, everyone scattered like school kids on the last day of class before summer break!  😉

I’ve been slowly incorporating the new Nikon Z system into some of my shooting. Although most of these images were photographed with my trusty Nikon D5, many were captured with the Z6II, which I’m very impressed with. However, there are still a few things that have left me wondering “why did they do that?!?”. The jury is still out as to whether I will fully switch over to mirrorless.  But so far it’s been fun to play with.  So stay tuned…

Elanco Livestock Legend at Middleton Place

Earlier this week I had the priviledge of photographing the Elanco Livestock Legend event at Middleton Plantation.

It was a beautiful fall evening with clear skies and perfect temperatures. As soon as the group arrived, I was able to photograph candid portraits of the award winners with their spouses. Then with drinks in hand, they strolled the grounds with personal guides telling about the history of this amazing plantation. Arriving at the Stableyards just after sunset, a casual cocktail hour included more interesting history told by blacksmiths and potters. Then it was off to The Pavilion for good food, lively conversation, and dancing. Plus of course the various regions got to have their group photos made!

It was a lovely evening celebrating the company’s accomplishments. Many thanks to Missy at Absolutely Charleston, and Samantha at Middleton Place for making it such a successful event!

Bird Songs at Center for Birds of Prey

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of photographing an intimate event called “Bird Songs” at the Center for Birds of Prey!

This special music event has become one of Charleston’s most anticipated experiences with Nashville singer songwriters performing in the round on the Center’s beautiful campus. Held in a relaxed and comfortable setting on the, surrounded by trees in the Owl Woods, this event has sold out every year. Past performers have included Grammy nominees, chart-topping performers, and some of country music’s most promising new stars. Guests enjoy an intimate and personal musical performance as well as a well-appointed open bar and a satisfying Lowcountry supper. One attendee described it this way: “Just like Austin City Limits in the woods!”

This year’s performers included:
– Phillip Lammonds, who has penned numerous tunes for and with artists like Darius Rucker, Lee Brice, Edwin McCain, Blake Shelton, and Hootie and The Blowfish
– Aaron Raitiere, who is an amazing lyricist, performer, and visual artist from Danville, Kentucky.
– Singer / Songwriter Barrett Baber who gave millions of viewers an unforgettable introduction to a rising new artist when he appeared on Season 9 of The Voice.
– Emily Brooke, who is a country/pop artist who has opened for nationally- renowned artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Old Dominion, Ryan Hurd, Charles Kelley, Craig Campbell and Randy Houser.

It was an absolutely magical evening! I would HIGHLY recommend getting your tickets for next year as soon as they become available!!!

Horizons Unlimited – Virginia Travellers Meeting

The Horizons Unlimited Virginia 2019 event took place at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox from April 25th – April 28th. It was a record-setting event, with the largest turnout yet!

“Whether you’re a seasoned veteran with wisdom to share or a complete novice hungry for ideas and guidance, it doesn’t matter if you ride a motorcycle, a bicycle, or drive an expedition vehicle…
Horizons Unlimited meetings are for everyone who dreams of adventure along the road less travelled.

Some people value Horizons Unlimited events for what they learn from the unique line-up of presenters. Some people value the chance to discover new products and services at the trade stands. Some people value just kicking back with a beer among old friends and new.

Most people enjoy a little bit of everything, and everyone goes home fired-up for adventure with a smile on their face.”

Many thanks to Sue & Grant Johnson, for founding this amazing organization, to Steve Anderson for orchestrating the Virginia Travelers Meeting, to Steve’s merry band of organizers, including Linda Pearce, Jim Truesdell, Robert Stransky, Sharon Truesdell, Charlie Pearce, Lloyd Messner, and Annette Stout, to all the fabulous presenters including keynote speaker Sam Manicom, to Tom Asher for the off-road training, to all the camp staff, to the many fabulous volunteers, and of course to each and every awesome attendee!!!

Here are a few photos from this fantastic weekend for you to enjoy, tag, share, and download. Thank you so much to Sue and Grand for trusting me to be the event photographer again this year!!!

US Grains Council in Costa Rica

We are blessed with the most AMAZING corporate clients!

Working with the US Grains Council over the last few years has been a real pleasure. They are always on their game, always fun to work with, and always treat me like one of their team! So when they asked if I’d be willing to to travel to Costa Rica to photograph their 12th International Marketing Conference, I did a little “happy dance” in my office!!! 🙂

This was my 3rd trip to Costa Rica. It’s such a beautiful country, with such friendly people. The 3-day conference was held at the gorgeous Costa Rica Marriott Hotel. The agenda included dynamic key-note speakers, breakout sessions full of animated discussions, intense staff planning meetings, excursions to coffee & chocolate plantations, amazing meals, the freshest coffee you’ve ever tasted, and a fantastic fiesta to cap it all off! It was such a thrill to be a part of this vibrant event!

I can’t thank everyone at the US Grains Council enough!!!

Double Your Pleasure

I used to love those Wrigley’s commercials…”Double your pleasure with double-mint gum”.  J 

At my workshops, one of the questions I get a lot is “how do you get enough power out of those little flashes for big groups”?  Well, I double (or even triple) them up.  I have a couple home-modified umbrella brackets that can hold 1, 2, or 3 flashes.  Basically, a flash like an SB-800 puts out around 50 watt-seconds of power.  So if you need more power, putting two together gives you 100ws, putting three together gives you 150.  Another reason for ganging flashes together is so that you can use a lower power setting on each, thus increasing your recycle time AND extending how long you can go before replacing batteries.

This is my 3rd year photographing the ESPN Charleston Classic.  The event is kicked off with a huge Welcome Dinner on the hanger deck of The Yorktown, a decommissioned aircraft carrier.  At the event, I have to photograph a group shot of each team.  The first year, I brought my big AlienBee studio strobes.  Well guess what I didn’t think of…wall outlets are EXTREMELY rare and hard to find on an aircraft carrier!  The last two years, I’ve made life so much easier by using my wireless lighting system; no hunting for outlets…no McGyvering several extension chords together…no taping down cables. 

I simply set up my light stands with two flashes in each, firing into a shoot-through umbrella for soft, even illumination.  Each flash is set to around ¼ power and triggered via a RadioPopper.  I’m using my D3 at iso 640, f5.6 for plenty depth of field, and 1/30 of a second for ambient light in the background.  If you’re still using studio lights on location, I recommend doubling up your flashes.  You’ll love the freedom of going wireless!