The Mr. Man party

Seems like just a couple weeks ago I was posting pics from Reid's 1st birthday party.  As cliched as it sounds, it really is amazing how fast time goes by when you have kids.  Tris did a great job putting the "mr. man" party together, I just had to take some pics.  



This shot of Melinda is incredible.... I can say this because I didn't take it.  Sasha (the girl in the tie) took my camera and snapped away.  It's entirely possible she's never touched a dSLR before.  Hats off!

Happy Birthday Reid.  You're awesome.



Minnie Laura Chapman

I received news on Monday morning that my grandmother had gone on to be with the Lord after 94 years.  It wasn't a shock, we had been expecting this news any day but I still found myself very emotional.  She was a mother to me and my brother and sister.  My dad had called me a couple weeks ago just to inform me that she may not be with us much longer and if I wanted to see her one last time, I should probably make that happen.  So I did.  I drove down and spent about 30 minutes with her, hugged her and told her I loved her for the last time.  It's a heck of a thing to tell someone that has meant the world to you that you love them for, what you know is, the last time.

My dad was a single father, raising 3 kids, and working a job that required him to be out of town 3-4 nights a week.  And at an age where every other grand parent was spoiling their grandkids and relaxing with other 70-somethings, she spent those years watching after us bratty kids.  She was every bit as influential and important to me as my mom and dad were.  She led us to the Lord and she taught us how to live for Him.  My mom and dad did a great job, I think, but there's no way I'd be who I am today without my Grandma.

Dad asked if I would say something at her service.  Assuming I'm just one of the many speaking, I agreed.  The night before I find, much to my surprise, that other than the pastor, I'm the only one speaking.  Now, she's lived 94 years.  5 kids, 13 grandkids, 21 great grandkids, 7 US wars, 17 presidents, the Great Depression... She's seen all of her brothers and sisters go, friends and other loved ones as well... She's lived in the same town all her life... She knew every single person in Colquitt, GA (at least I'm convinced she did.)  Now, that's not even beginning to scratch the surface of the lives she touched, or the character she displayed.  Minnie Laura Chapman was amazing.  So let me ask you, would you like to take on the responsibility to speak at her funeral service?  I didn't think so.  Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck.  There's no need to go into all that I said.  After all, if you're reading this, you probably didn't know her.  But other than crying like a baby in front of a packed house at First Baptist, Colquitt, GA, I think I made her proud.

I'm thankful to God that he allowed me to have her in my life for 30 years.  I'm sure He couldn't wait to have her home.

So this is Christmas....

Christmas card

I love Christmas.  It's just the best.  The weather, the music, the lights... I love everything about it.  Tomorrow I'm going to attempt something new.  New for me at least.  I'll be setting up for 7 family portrait sessions in one afternoon.  I'm extremely pumped and slightly nervous at the same time.  There's an anxiety that falls over me every time I'm hired to shoot families weddings babies cupcakes just about anything.  I just want it to be nothing short of great every time.  I don't think it's a lack of confidence as much as it's wanting everyone to be absolutely pleased with what I'm doing.  So I guess tomorrow is that feeling times 7.  It'll be great though, and I'll be sure and post about the day on here very soon.  Wish me luck!

Oh, and enjoy the snowman.  Tris has these little "things" around the house for Christmas.... add them to the list of things I love about Christmas.

A not so brief update

I've been allowing way too much time between posts lately.  Reason being too much to do at work and I'm very bad at multi tasking, so blogging just fell by the way side.  Now that deadlines have been met at work, I'm determined to keep my blogging more frequent.  For now I will leave you with a brief update on life, sprinkled with a few random thoughts.

1)  It's been such an insane year at work.  We finished up our last tour ever, or at least until the higher ups decide to do it again.  Tour was always a fun time for me, probably because that's how I was initiated into Student Life.  Most people at work began their journy through camp, but not me, it was the John Newton/Voddie/Jason Wallis tour .  (We didn't actually have John Newton at that tour, but we did have a guy dressed up like him.)  I hated to see tour go away, but dropping it only opens the door for us to do (a) Camp better and (b) everything else better.  If the past 5 months were any indication of what work will be like in a post-SLtour world, we'll be making a lot of great videos in very little time with few people, but it'll be fun.  I hope.

2) I'm not a fan of numbered lists being passed off as legitimate blog posts, but here I am... no better than the rest of you suckers.

3)  I really can't stand the band Sugarland.  I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I just can't stand them.  For those who know me well, also know that I can enjoy just about any kind of music.  I don't discriminate.  I will listen to Black Sabbath, Miles Davis, Imogan Heap, Sigur Ros, The Beastie Boys, and Underoath in the same sitting.  I'll listen to just about anything, and all I ask is that it has integrity.  For instance, if it's pop music, just be good pop music, don't try to reinvent the wheel, but also don't try and insult my intelligence (Nickleback).  I'm not going to try and compare everyone to the Beatles, that's not the point.  Everyone should have their place in music.  Also, stop making weird music just to be weird.  I have a friend, Blake, and although he doesn't know it, he only likes weird music.  The weirder the better.  I think somehow it makes him feel better about his musical tastes... kind of like saying to the rest of the world "don't even bother listening to this, you just wouldn't understand."  Oh, we all get it.  Sorry Blake.  Anyways, back to Sugarland.  I hate them.  Some of my Georgia friends might remember Jennifer Nettles.  She's the lead singer of Sugarland, but she also used to be a really awesome singer-songwriter in the Jennifer Nettles Band.  She also didn't have near as strong a southern drawl as she does now.  I swear to God I think I'll die if I hear "Down on the county line" again.  Sugarland epitomizes what I'm talking about with integrity in music, or the lack thereof.

4)  I recently had 2 separate instances where Alabama football fans said "Roll Tide" to me, while I was sporting an Atlanta Braves hat.  Now I'm not sure what was more upsetting, the fact that these guys were just so freaking pumped and excited to say "Roll Tide" to someone, ANYONE... or that they don't even know their teams logo.  The absolute worst thing about living here in Birmingham, at least for myself, is the obsession with college football.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE college football as much as the next red blooded southern male, its just exhausting.  Year round, its the same thing... the recruiting of high schoolers, some dead guy sporting a really bad hat, and hating everyone else.  They all greet each other in the same manor, "Roll Tide", kind of like a marine saying "Simper Fi" to a fellow marine, or to say "I love you brother".  I think they think its endearing, but I just find it annoying.  I'm a UGA fan by the way, which should discredit me to "tide" fans, accompanied by the phrase "Spoken like a true bulldog fan, he just doesn't understand how deep it goes here in Tide Country."  I promise everyone agrees with me.

(Don't be mad at me Zack, you're still my bro)

5) Family life has been awesome!  Reid is about four and a half months old now and completely awesome.  The annoying unpleasant stuff is out of the way, stuff like his neck isn't made of jello anymore, he sleeps like a champ now, he goes longer between feedings, his smiles aren't just for gas now, they're actual smiles.  Be encouraged friends with new babies, it gets a lot better and really quick.  He's now onto new things like, screaming at the top of his lungs just to hear it reverberate in the room, blowing spit bubbles, being awesome, jumping in his Johnny Jump Up (i think that's what it's called.)  He owns me, and I think he knows it.  One of our favorite things to do is to sit together and watch a Braves game on TV.  I'm sure its just the contrast and vivid colors on the television, but Reid can't stop watching the games.   So now I've convinced myself he's a born baseball nut (please, for my sake, don't tell me how stupid this thought is, just let me go on believing it.)   It's also been so fun to watch Tris be a mom.  She's a natural.  Apparently it can be fairly easy for a woman to be a crazy mom, Lord knows there are plenty of them out there, but Tris has done a great job of balancing an insane workload at her job as well as being fully devoted to her family.  So far, so good... no crazy from Tris.  She also makes all of Reid's baby food, and still finds time to fill in at catcher during our softball tournament (no hits, but one of the most important put outs of the night.)  She's something else.  I'm in love with my family.

6)  I've been giving a lot of thought to the purpose of my blog.  I set out to make a professional blog where I would showcase and discuss my photography.  Although I do have posts coming soon showcasing a lot of shooting I've been doing, I think limiting myself in my blog has actually prevented me from pushing myself in photography.  It makes sense to me anyways.   I need to stop worrying about what to blog about and just shoot more.  So let us hope I'll stay motivated and there will be some fun posts coming.  If not, then I'll be forced to do one of those 365 blogs.  You know, the ones where you take a picture everyday of the year and post it.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

7) Tris and I have been blessed with the best friends on earth.  The community we have here in Birmingham is something that I don't think happens very often, and we don't take it lightly.

8 ) Finally, I'm going to leave you with some videos we've produced this year.  My work with videos is a part of my professional life I hardly ever talk about.  I just never comes up in conversation.  It is, however, how I make a living.  Plus, I'm rather proud of the work we do.  For those of you who don't know, I'm responsible for all the audio in our videos.  Writing original music happens to be my favorite thing to do in my job.

*many props should be given to Jason Poole, our motion graphics guy.  He makes a lot of things happen in our videos we just can't understand.  He also happens to be what sets us apart from other production companies around here.  Way to go Jason!

This "Live Love" Compassion video may have my favorite song I've written in a while.

LIVE LOVE with COMPASSION from Student Life on Vimeo.

Ok, that's it.  This has officially gone on WAY too long.  Posts with photos coming soon.

Reid Chapman

My apologies for the delay in writing this blog, but it's been kind of a crazy week.

Last week Tris and I took the last round of pregnancy pictures.  I think this one was my favorite:


I had this plan to write a blog post with this picture and have it ready to post before we went to the hospital.  Last Wednesday night Tris woke me up with one of her hourly trips to the bathroom and I just couldn't go back to sleep.  I starting thinking about what I was going to write for the blog.  One possible topic could be our story.  I've been thinking a lot about mine and Tris' story lately.  How we met, when I knew I was in love with her, when I knew I wanted to ask her to be my bride, all that sort of stuff.  Its a strange feeling to connect the dots from the moment I saw her for the first time to now, watching our baby move around in her belly.  I hadn't quite flushed the whole thing out because at 2:35 in the morning, she said out loud "my water broke."  Just like the movies!  That was just the thing they said wouldn't happen in all of our books and our birthing classes.  Everyone says, "it's not like they portray it in the movies", but it was.  And like a whirlwind, we had a baby in about 8 hours.  I won't go into all the details of labor and whatnot, but man it was crazy.



*NOTE - The girl flailing her arms about is half of our best friends, the Etheredges.  This is Brandi doing the Macarena for (or telling a story to) Tris.  Tris and I have been blessed with the best friends on earth.  The Etheredges are the most selfless people I've ever known, and they've always been there when we needed them.  They mean the world to us.

Here is the first picture taken of Reid Chapman:


Actually it was probably the 3rd, but this was the first "good" one of Reid.

We went super traditional with this baby in that we didn't find out the sex, we wanted to keep it a surprise.  It drove us nuts the whole 9 months but it was really fun in the hospital.  Tris was convinced it was going to be a girl, and so was my mother-in-law (and i guess everyone else).  Call me crazy, but doesn't it defeat the purpose of having it be a surprise if you go ahead and resign yourself to it being one or the other?  I really didn't care if it was going to be a boy or a girl.  I really wanted a son, for a lot of the same reasons Bill Cosby also wanted a son... but I also knew I'd be a great dad to a little girl.  (although those little girls grow into teenage girls, and I want NOTHING to do with raising a teenage girl.)  So you can imagine my joy when I saw his.... well... that it was a boy.  Tris' reaction was "what!?!"  It was awesome.

I don't know how to put the feeling of being a father into words.  Nothing seems to suffice.  When I've been asked this week, I answer with the generic "awesome", "surreal", "crazy", "wonderful", "amazing", but I don't really know how to put it into words.  When people told me "it'll change your life", they weren't kidding.  It sounds way too generic, but it's true.

Now this is not an easy thing.  Reid hasn't learned to be considerate of his parents sleep patterns yet and for some weird reason he likes to pretend his neck is made of jello.  He also thinks its HILARIOUS to pee (and poo) on us.  Once he starts talking back to us, we're going to have a chat about that.

Thanks so much for everyone's thoughts, prayers, and advice.  We truly do have the best core group of friends anyone could ever ask for.  Now just keep praying Reid learns to sleep when he's supposed to and that his parents do their best to not mess him up.  Here's a few more pics from Reids first few days.  I apologize for all the sleeping pictures (that's what he seems to do best right now.)  I promise there will be many more to come of him not sleeping.




It's about time

I figured it was just a matter of time before I jumped on the "blogging bandwagon".  Apparently it's a big deal and tons of people are doing it.  So here I go.

This blog is going to be primarily about photography.  I may stray occasionally and talk on more important matters, such as family, politics, baseball, etc... but mostly I want this to be a place to showcase my journey through photos.

This first post will be brief due to the fact I need to leave for the airport in just a few minutes.  I'm heading Nairobi, Kenya with Compassion International.  (If you choose to follow this blog, you will read a lot about Compassion.)   While there, we will be visiting some of the worst slums in the world, as well as meeting some of the most incredible people in the world.  But for the next 18 hours, I'll just be on the freaking plane.  Stay tuned...