To honor our troops on September 11th, Kid Rock put on a HUGE show at Fort Jackson. He invited Blackberry Smoke to share the stage for the event, and I was lucky enough to tag along and document the day’s happenings… which included a boot camp of sorts and tour of the base for the bandUpon our arrival we were all given U.S. Army hats. Here, Brit is proudly displaying his, before getting suited up for repellingPaul and Charlie were all ready to go… and were having a laugh at the others getting all tied inDrill Sargeant Ferguson gave them a quick lesson on how to lean back and let your ‘guide hand’ stop you in the event of trouble. Here he is demonstrating how you can hold all your weight with one hand. This tower had an incline to it to prepare them for the next round of repelling actionAfter the demonstration, it was time to scale the tower. rnRichard went firstThen CharlieNext up was BritThen PaulAnd finally, BrandonNext up was the 45-foot tower. No incline here, and much more intimidating. This gentleman set the tone for not to do things. You can see about half-way down, his decent goes awry, and he slams hard enough to make a shock-wave. Luckily, the material he fell on is finely shredded tires – which was surprisingly softThis soldier was climbing down this giant rope wall. About 3/4 of the way down they would have to drop off backwards onto a giant pad filled with air. It looked scary!rnLucky for the band… there was a stairwell that led them to the top of the tower. It didn’t seem so bad from the ground – but once up top… it was VERY intimidating! Here the boys are sizing things upBrit was the brave one, and went down the wall firstRichard had some solid hangtime on his way downBrandon repelled nextThen it was Charlie’s turnAnd finally Paul’s chance at deathHere you can see Drill Sargeant Ferguson recapping what they just did through the reflection in Charlie’s glasses. Everyone agreed that by the time they got about 2/3 down the wall, it got easier… and they wanted a bit more wall to repel down before they reached the groundNext it was off to check out soliders being trained in MMA hand-to-hand combat. We got to try Army-issue ‘Gatorade’, called Victory Juice. It was REALLY goodAfter we observed the fight training… it was time for lunch! I was fascinated how the soldiers stand in line for the cafeteria. I also thought this photo was cool considering the painting on the wallIt really was an honor to be on base on September 11thThe guys enjoying Army food. I’m sure if you eat it every day… it gets old – but we all enjoyed the food. I thought it was really good!rnSo good, in fact… that I took more than I could finish. I had chicken and rice (sweet & sour-ish), cottage cheese, veggies, and a heaping of baked beans. I was STUFFEDStay tuned for more from Fort Jackson, as we get to enter a firearms simulator and do some shooting!
After rediscovering the magic of my photos from Africa, I remembered another photoset from long ago. After digging through notebooks of old CD-ROMs… I found another trove of images. This time… of my beloved BMW, EvelynFrom day 1, my love for this car was of exceeding proportions. The Jet Black gloss of the paint seemed forever deep, the smell of the black leather hypnotizing, and the rev of the motor… well… let’s just say that aspect was most arousing of allLost in my enamour for this wondrous chisel of German engineering, I used to wander the city streets of Atlanta… forever searching for the perfect environment to compliment to car’s stunning good looksArmed with a (now ‘vintage’) 35mm Nikon N2000, and a 28-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 f3.5 lens, I scoured my city for cool locales, sharing an immeasurable amount of bonding time with the car that stole my heartInspired by the UK magazine, CAR… I was drawn to the idea that the vehicle’s surroundings could speak at an equal volume to the subject itself. Unfortunately (for me, anyway)… in the advent of digital photography, this practice has become commonplaceRegardless, to me… there is something infinitely pure about these photos. No race-trim, no slammed stance, no battle-scars. These photos bring back some great memories when my car was brand-new, times seemed simpler, and my love for the automobile was the only inspiration I needed.You can view rest of this photoset on Flickr.
Back in 2006, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to go on safari in East Africa with my family. None of us had any idea what a beautiful and magical journey lay ahead for us. It would be a voyage that would forever change us allI recently came across an old disc filled with about 500 photos on it that I shot along the way. The safari company highly advised against shooting digital, since venues to charge electronics wouldn’t be readily available… so using a 35mm Nikon S90s, and a 300mm 1:4 f4, I did my best to capture Africa as we saw itI remember getting the photos back shortly after our return to the U.S. in ’06 and being amazed at what I brought back. Nearly 4 years have passed, and although this amazing trip resonates with me daily… I had honestly forgot about these photos. This time, upon viewing the photos… I wasn’t just impressed – I nearly fell out of my office chair… dumbfounded with the very same photographsAs I browsed the trove of stunning images, a warm feeling crept up my spine… and I had what might be one of the most significant epiphanies as an artist to date. An epiphany so monumental that I might not ever have another one like itOver the past 10 years, I have been very focused on my love for video (both shooting and editing). In this focus, not only did I lose sight of my love for photography… but it also managed to slip my mind that I was even any good at it. How is that even possible?!?rnSo with this warm feeling running through my body… I felt an overwhelming validation, as a photographer, and more importantly – AS AN ARTIST. I am convinced that part of being an artist is to encompass a sense of self-doubt… that what you are creating is no good – and can always be better. While the latter is definitely true, these photos made me rethink (and dismiss) that doubt… replacing it with a sense of confidenceThis photoset has totally re-vitalized my passion for photography. A passion that has been lying dormant for FAR too long. Yet one more way that this amazing trip to East Africa has changed my life. To think that the magic we encountered there is still having dramatic effects on my life four years later is astounding. It is another testament to how amazing Africa really is.I put the rest of the photographs up on Flickr. I figured since these images had been locked away in a closet for so long… their time was overdue to be shared.They mean to me and my family something more than words can truly convey. I hope you enjoy them.
After the show in Detroit, we made a mad-dash down the East coast to Coyote Joe’s in CharlotteShowtime once againThis venue had a huge dancefloor in front of the stage. It is hard to tell from the photo… but plenty of line-dancing was being hadBrandon looking patriotic behind the keysI loved the lighting at this venue. Such rich color raining down on Brit behind the drumsMore dramatic lighting pouring down on brother RichardAfter the show it was back to the bus, and southbound… home to Atlanta