Black, White and Brutal

Cold and misty, we walk into the dark room. The red and deep purple glow beyond the door draws us like a glowing magnet. As we cross the threshold, a primitive scream that resonates with your soul comes blasting forth from the depths…

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite like that, but almost. Friday night, Callie and I went to see her cousin, Ryan, and his band Waking Atlantis [WA] at the Masquerade. [WA] is a metal band and this was my first show, so I decided that taking my camera would be a good idea.

Full disclosure: I had never been to a metal show before, and I really didn’t get it. I thought it would be a bunch of guys on a stage acting like morons and yelling their brains out. Well, turns out I wasn’t too far off, but it was so much more than I ever expected. The pure energy was infectious and you couldn’t help but get wrapped up in it. I had an awesome time and I am really pumped to get to another one; especially after watching Ryan transform from the generally chill kid that I eat with at family functions into a chest-pounding, head-banging metal machine. It more than exceeded my expectations.

As an added bonus, I ran into someone I know from my days in The Boro (that’s Statesboro for those not down with the lingo), Elias Pratt. I knew this kid before he could grow facial hair. It was very cool to see him and the band he was playing with, Proclaim the Fall.

Below are some of the best shots from the night:

It all started with Proclaim the Fall. These guys were awesome and very genuine.

Elias drove all the way from Statesboro to fill in on the drums for Proclaim the Fall.

Almost got the mother of all headbutts from this kid. Super intense.

Smalls is the leader of Proclaim the Fall. He reminds me of my friend Adam.

The guys from Proclaim the Fall asked Ryan (left) to join them for a final "breakdown". It was a metal rendition of Amazing Grace. I call it the Amazing Grace-Down.

This was my first experience with Ryan, the metal version.

Then it was time for the main event. [WA] took the stage and started melting faces…

The boys begin their set with a short prayer.

Then the Monster was unleashed - You really don't expect it...

The crowd was really into it...

Bryan was puttin in werk...

Killing every inch...

The growl comes from deep down in the soul.

The growl comes from the soul...

Workin it like nobody's business...

Callie really digs it.

Callie approves.

Ya dig?

The guys of [WA] played a really sick show… I can honestly say I have never been more jacked at a concert, EVER. I guess that’s why people who go to these shows come back bragging about how many times they got punched in the face that night.

If you’re interested you can check out the guys on MySpace (yeah, you heard me… This is the one scenario where Myspace still makes sense): http://www.myspace.com/wakingatlantis. They also have a Facbook fan page and a website, if those are more your speed. You can also buy their music on iTunes. Just search the band name, Waking Atlantis.

I was really impressed with the show and the band. They obviously work very hard and really have a great time performing together. If you like metal, or just like local music, you should give Waking Atlantis a try. They get it and I’m glad they let me shoot their show.

Until next time, remember to keep it Brutal…

RCW

P.S. – If you know have any bands/artists that you really love, let me know. I am always on the hunt for new music.

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Photo Post #2

This shoot took place in downtown Acworth. I think it turned out really well. Please enjoy and feel free to let me know what you think of them.

FYI: I am not above bribing a child… and I did to get some of these shots.

Passing train = Perfect distraction

All smiles...

I gotta get some boots...

This is where the bribery come into play.

Frogman...

His hands were all the rage with his mother, aunt and grandmother.

Serious models...

Last shot. Time for a sucker. He earned it.

In the end, a great shoot with great subjects. I really enjoyed it, the pictures turned out great, and my mother-in-law got a really slammin Christmas present out of it (you’re welcome). All things considered it was really painless, which is saying a lot considering the main variable was an active two year old boy, and all it cost me was a grape sucker.

I really enjoyed shooting these and I think it shows. As always, feel free to let me know what you think.

RCW

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A New Year…

Well, 2009 is in the books. It’s over and it’s never coming back. The opportunities and challenges are gone. You will never get them back, but you may have to deal with the consequences, good or bad.

Personally, 2009 was a roller coaster in every since of the word. To sum it all up in a few words: I got engaged, I bought a house and I got cancer. That’s a big year, and that’s a lot of life to go through in 12 months.

Those things are important and I acknowledge the impact they have had on who I am and who I will be, but that’s not really the purpose of this post.

A new year, to many, is a new beginning. That’s the purpose. New goals to accomplish. That’s the exciting part. That’s why people celebrate the beginning of a new year, because it’s a chance to change the things they don’t really like about themselves. They know this is the year they become the person they want to be. It’s a time to make resolutions and “really change.” A fresh start.

Well, that’s a bunch of garbage. We all go into the new year will a laundry list of things that we want to change about ourselves (ALERT: this is not original) and we fail. We fall into the same old comfortable routine and nothing changes about the way we think or the things we do. The truth is that everyday is a chance to start over, we should not wait for January 1 to start.

As I have said before, I set goals, I try not to make resolutions. My goals haven’t really changed since last year, but I have added a few. I have added financial goals, some spiritual goals, and even some more standard “New Year’s” goals. Here is a short list of my most difficult/most compelling goals for the next year:

1. Make an extra house payment this year – This may sound like a large goal. It is, but that’s the point. If it weren’t tough and didn’t involve some sort of strain, would it really be worth it? Would it teach me anything?

2. Do little things for people more often – A vague goal, to be sure, but an important one. The idea behind this one: If I am trying to make someone else’s situation better, I am making the world a better place. This helps me learn something about myself and to help someone else. There are so many people in the world who are looking for a little relief – maybe I could help out. I know, I know, how Haley Joel Osment of me.

3. Lose 10 pounds for my wedding – Man, I sound like everyone else in the country, but I am extending my fitness kick from 2009 into 2010 and trying to reach an ideal weight not only for my wedding, but also for my health. It’s important to me that I a get into better shape. To make things even more cliche, I am also going to run at least one 5K during the course of 2010.

So, there you have it. Those are my goals for 2010. They are practical, ambitious and reachable. So, what are your goals and ambitions for 2010? What are you going to do to improve your life and the lives of those around you? Feel free to leave them in the comments on the post.

Happy New Year. I hope it’s everything you think it can be.

RCW

p.s. – I have been thinking about what’s new for 2010 for the blog. Keep a look out for some of those things THIS MONTH.

p.p.s – Thanks to everyone who during the last year has asked me, “When are you going to update your blog?” It means more than you know… even if you follow the question with, “I have to have something to read on the toilet.” We all have to be good at something…

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I Feel Like a Hypocrite

I have come to a startling realization over the past week or so…

I actually like Tim Tebow.

I know, it’s a little embarrassing, but I just can’t help it. The guy is like a magnet, or a bug zapper. No matter how much I try I can’t get a way from him. TV, magazines, internet and radio. You can’t really get away from the guy. I really thought that I had already been through this with college sports, but I was wrong. It happened again, but this time I don’t really “hate to like” him, I just like him. Can’t really explain it, I just do.

By all accounts I should be disgusted and disinterested with him by now. He’s over exposed and played out, but I always find myself pulling for him, and unashamedly so. I even stick up for the guy.

Granted, his numbers aren’t the same as they have been and they aren’t as good as some other players’ in college football, but he always seems to find a way to win. Think about it, he has won two national championships in four years, a Heisman trophy and numerous other awards. That’s more than most people accomplish by the time they are 40. Bottom line: the guy’s a winner. It may not be pretty, but he just always finds a way.

But that’s not all, he’s also a great example and he WANTS to be a role model for kids. He’s the anti-Charles Barkley. He doesn’t talk a ton of trash off the field and never has a bad thing to say about a teammate or an opponent. Now I know he may talk a little trash while he’s on the field, but who doesn’t (I know I do). I can appreciate that.

What’s more, he’s a really stand up individual. His parents are missionaries in the Philipines and he performs minor surgeries on his spring break. Where does it end? Usually at this point I would be waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I just can’t make myself be cynical about Tim Tebow. Am I losing my edge?

I do, however, have one gripe with the guy. He’s a crier. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have shed a few tears about some things, but not about sports (not in the last 15 years, anyway). I understand he is a passionate/dramatic individual who is super committed to his team, his school and football, but come on. Can you really walk across the field after the game, shake the other quarterback’s hand and still feel like you can look Brandon Spikes in the face when you get back to the locker room?

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I must be going soft. However I do know one thing: America cares about Tim Tebow, and I am no exception. Don’t believe me? Take a look at your friends’ Facebook/Twitter updates, chances are there will be something about Tebow – right there sandwiched between Twilight and Tiger.

RCW

p.s. – I just thought this was funny. Enjoy.

p.p.s. – If you really hate Tebow, I bet you would feel different if he was jump-passin your team to the national championship. Especially you, UGA fans.

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Life Altering Events

Sometimes in life things happen that change the course of our lives in such a material way that we live our lives differently from that day forward. There is NO rhyme or reason for them, but they happen anyway and their impact sends a great ripple through us and those close (and sometimes those who are not that close) to us.

One of these events happened in my life last week. On Thursday, November 12, 2009 I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer.

In case something like this has never happened to you or someone close to you, it is one of those pieces of news that never comes at a convenient time – and you are NEVER prepared to receive it.

There are so many emotions that are associated with this disease, but the one that always comes to the front when I think of my diagnosis was FEAR. The crippling, disorienting fear of the whole thing was the most prevalent theme for the whole thing. However, I do have to confess that it was not necessarily fear for my life, but mostly fear of the unknown and fear for my family and my fiance. See, when I was diagnosed, it was the first time anyone around me had to deal with anything like this on such an immediate level. No family history and no warning. So, I did what every normal person would do: I obsessed. In a matter of days, I was an expert in the field of testicular cancer and had over-diagnosed and even manifested symptoms that were not presenting (It’s true what they say, ignorance is bliss). Needless to say, I was an absolute wreck.

Last Thursday, November 19th, 2009, the doctors removed the cancer and all the blood work has come back negative. The fear is subsiding as the days move on and I am starting to feel normal again, but the simple fact is that what was normal will never be normal again. Even if everything is the same as it was before, the fact will remain that cancer is now a part of my life. I will live with the reminder that life is fragile and can change without warning, but one thing is for sure: everyday is a little sweeter.

I don’t believe that God causes bad things to happen in our lives, but I do believe that he allows them so that our faith is tested (see James 1:2-4).

In short, though the process may be painful and uncertain, it is still making me a better, more complete person with a greater story to tell.

Today, when there is so much to be thankful for, I am continually reminded of all the blessings in my life. So, tell someone you love them today. Don’t be shy or timid about it, life’s too short.

RCW

p.s. – Thank you for all the Love and support that you have shown me and my family through this difficult time. We appreciate it more than you can understand.

p.p.s. – The family was featured in the Marietta Daily Journal today click here to get the full story.

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eShoot

I have made a decision… I am going to start writing about my wedding more frequently. Not only will I write about the specific plans, but I will also provide a little insight to all the fun (and sometimes a little pain) that comes with joining two young lives together.

The first place that I want to start is with my favorite part of the whole process, the photography. I know, I know – super obvious, but what do you want from me? I am who I am (and you are not the boss of me).

From day one, my loving fiance gave me “total” control of the photography. Of course, she had ultimate veto power, so I had to make sure that the photog we used was legit. So I did what any normal person would do in my position: I went to Google. Once my many searches turned up with nothing more than the same stuff over and over and over, I started getting creative. That lasted all of about 10 minutes and I remembered that Callie had given me the card of the photographers who shot or friends’, Bret and Anna’s wedding (you remember them from an earler post. If not, click here). Our Labor of Love is their name and they are the best in the business (don’t believe me? Google it.). They are featured on so many blogs, it gets stupid. Though we loved their work, our schedules, nor our budget would allow us to get EXACTLY what we wanted, so the search continued.

Then, one day, I stumbled on to this website and was super impressed. The style was fresh and the perspective was incredible. This was it. So, I got up the nerve and sent this guy, Matt Miller, an email (I always get nervous sending people who are accomplished, like Matt, emails – especially if they are so good at something that I want to be good at). Truth be told, I was a little worried that our personalitites would not jive with Matt’s unique style (I really thought we were too “whitebread” for him). Of course, he assured us that all would be fine. It was, and the rest was history – A match made in heaven.

You can see some of our shoot here:

http://www.ourblogoflove.com/matt/index.cfm?postID=4

You can check out some of Matt’s other work here, on his blog (tons of AMAZING photos):

http://www.thefivemilegrace.com/photoblog/

Callie and I are both very excited about the rest of Matt’s work (you know, the wedding) and we can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.

RCW

p.s. – If you like Matt’s work, give him a shout. You won’t be sorry.

p.p.s. – Matt, your shots from the TBS show are incredible…

This has noting to do with the eShoot, but I figured the post needed something...

This has noting to do with the shoot, but I thought the post needed something...

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2467

So, it’s been really quiet on the blog front lately. Sorry, but life has gotten very interesting over the past month, or so.

Today, the GF and I bought a HOUSE, a home, a domicile, a homestead, a habitation, an abode. A very adult thing to do.

We started thinking about buying versus renting a few months ago and we decided, given the government tax credit for first time home buyers, that now was the right time to buy (Thank you Mr. President).

It was different from anything I EVER expected. I admit, I was nervous, but the process closed without a hitch and when it was all over I realized: In one day I held and spent more money than I have made in MY LIFETIME (I am actively trying not to look at how much I owe – It is a little overwhelming). Who wouldn’t be a little nervous? That’s a TON to take all at once.

After the closing we went to the house and spent some time moving some of the GF’s stuff (nick-nacks and what not) into the house and had the families over to see and celebrate with us. So much fun and the first of many celebrations in the house.

I have trouble finding the words, so here are the photos I took (there will be more to come).

We had to. You understand. It's a big day.

We had to. You understand. It's a big day.

This is the view from the street.

This is the view from the street.

The most expensive keys I have ever purchased...

The most expensive keys I have ever purchased...

All in all, it was a great day. I took a giant leap with the woman I love and, yeah, it makes it all worth while.

Feel free to drop by any time and see us. We would love to have you.

RCW

P.S. – I would like to take the opportunity to thank both of our families who had a huge hand in making this possible. They have supported us in our decision and have really pitched in to make this happen for us. Thank you all.

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