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Monday, March 31, 2008


Sometimes a problem or even just an inconvenience is God's way of telling you to try out a different route to get to something better. While that's a bit of a theme for me lately, this past Sunday it was just plain literal. I was on my way back from one of Skye Hardwick's Soulographer photography workshops in Austin (more on that in a later post) thinking about the awesome time I had, the cool stuff I learned, and the fantastic people I met when my post-workshop reminiscing party came to a screeching halt on I-35 near Hillsboro, TX. 'Perfect' I thought to myself (probably not the actual word I was thinking). First I thought it would be no biggie... it's Sunday afternoon so surely this was only a temporary slow-down caused by a minor fender bender. Tick. Tock. Ugh, what's the hold up? Tick. Tock. What a beating... my 3 hour drive is now 30 minutes behind schedule with no relief in site, and no obligatory road trip cheetohs in the car to distract me. Wait a minute... I've got an iPhone... and it's got Google Maps (and it's just cool in general which helps a little here). I tell it to locate where I'm at on the map, and see that if I get off I-35 I can wind through some back roads and skip all this mess and get back on the highway a few miles up ahead. Genius I am for being so resourceful and for buying my rock star iPhone. Yay, Apple.

Great idea... except the side roads were littered with detours and closings because of work being done on them. Stupid, over-priced iPhone didn't point that part out. Next thing I know I'm on some rinky-dink back road to no where when God turned my pile of lemons into a big ol' bucket of lemonade.

I love old, vintage cars no matter what kinda shape they're in. They're one of the things - if not the thing - I love to photograph most when it's just me and my camera out playing around. They just have so much character and history about them... classic Americana. I was actually just thinking about them a little earlier in the drive hoping I would see some close to the highway on the way home, but had pretty much given up on it. But because of this little traffic snafu that I was annoyed about, I took another route that turned into something cooler. Sometimes we don't alway get to travel the path we thought we would, but God always knows a better way.

Here's just a little taste of my lemonade He poured me on my trip home.










And here's a couple from a truck I saw on the way down to Austin




Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dustin Cody Jackson {1986 - 2008}

The family of fallen soldier Dustin Jackson has graciously given me permission to share this slide show of Dustin's memorial service on March 22nd. We often don't know or even think about those who have sacrificed - sometimes with their lives - to protect the freedom and liberties we, myself included, sometimes take for granted. As you witness this, please keep in mind and prayer all those who have served or are choosing to serve and protect this country in the face of an enormous personal risk. I can't think of anything more honorable and courageous.

Thank you again, Dustin, for your honor and commitment. May God rest your soul and abundantly bless and strengthen your loved ones.

If the slideshow seems to be running a little sluggish, it may be because of heavy server traffic related to the slideshow, and normally in that case if you come back to it after a few minutes it should run fine.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant

I never met Dustin Jackson. I got to know him through the loving stories & memories his family shared about him yesterday. He was kind, pure of heart, astutely expressive (even when he was just 7), and always thoughtful of others above himself. Dustin, 21 and married 6 months ago to his wife Michelle, gave the ultimate sacrifice of himself in Iraq on March 12 in protecting all that we hold sacred in this country.

When I was first contacted late Thursday night by a friend of the family about photographing this service for the family (thank you, Jen, for giving Mandy my name), I was a little apprehensive because 1) I had a viewing and ordering session already scheduled for Saturday morning, and 2) I had never documented a full military funeral service (or any service for that matter), so I didn't know if I was the right person to capture these precious moments. But I thought about what this family and Dustin's wife must be going through, and the devastating loss they've already endured, and it was clear that this was the least someone could do for them. So I called Casey & Samantha and they were instantly supportive of rescheduling their appointment, and everything fell into place.


It was truly an amazing scene. The memorial and grave-side service were so heart-breaking, and at the same time so beautiful. You can't walk away from an experience like that and not be deeply impacted in how the military has such a profound sense of honor, duty and respect for their fallen service men and women.

And I was taken back by the number of people and especially Patriot Guard Riders that came out to show their respect for Dustin and stand for him since he stood for them - and all of us - by giving his life. American flags lined the streets outside the church and the pavilion in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery where the grave-side service took place. The sound of bagpipes was eerily serene, the 21 gun salute followed by the Honor Guard playing Taps on the bugle was moving, and the folding of the flag that draped the coffin and presenting it Dustin's wife, mom and dad was one of the most emotional things I've ever witnessed. A fitting memorial for an outstanding young man.

Rest peacefully, Dustin. None of us can thank you enough for your service.

Out of respect for the family, I am creating a memorial slideshow for them but will only post it here if/when they're comfortable with me doing that. Either way, thanks for respecting their wishes.

Samantha & Casey {slideshow!}

Here's the full slideshow of this crazy awesome couple from the post below. Aren't they fun?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Samantha & Casey {engaged!}

Every once in a while you're fortunate enough to meet people and feel like the world is a better place because of them. Meet Casey and Samantha.



I knew just from the first time I talked to them on the phone about a photography session to celebrate their engagement that they were going to be a lot of fun. Lemme tell ya, they are A-W-E-S-O-M-E. God has blessed them with an amazing relationship, and their self-proclaimed "love birds" moniker couldn't be more accurate. The love these two share for each other is just so real and authentic and natural. I was truly inspired by them, and as a photographer one of the many cool things about them is that they're so relaxed and playful and willing to try anything. It doesn't get any better than that.

I think it helps that Casey and Sam are both musicians, so they're used to being in front of other people. In fact, they own and run the Creative Soul School of Modern Music in Watauga, TX, so check it out if you or your kids have ever had any interest in learning how to play cool tunes; music is their passion and their life.

Here's a few sneak peek images from the amazing session we had together. Casey & Sam, you're going to love your images... you guys rocked!













Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wild at Heart {Recommended Reading}

I don't claim to be an avid reader by any stretch. Actually, that's not true. I'm not an avid book reader. Blog posts? Love 'em. Magazine articles less than 6 pages? Sign me up. Anything photography related with a couple diagrams thrown in? I'm your guy. But when it comes to books, my attitude has generally remained the same since 4th grade... the fewer the pages and the bigger the pictures, the better the odds are I'll actually finish it. And those kinda books have gotten me to where I'm at so far. Those that know me are probably thinking, 'Hmmm... yah, that explains a lot.' Well, I finally agree.

I've seen patterns in my life lately that are difficult for me to wrap my head around, and these are opportunities for growth. We all have things we struggle with, and for me personally those things have hindered where I want to go and what I want to do with my life, and I'm trying to address those things and grow beyond them. Through the grace of God, I'll get there one day.

I don't want the blog to become a soapbox or a platform for me to preach, but every once in a while I experience or see things that I think can really help people, and I want to share those things. Enter Wild at Heart by John Eldridge. This book was given to me by someone special quite a while ago, someone who knew better than I did that this book could help me. I picked it up at one time or another on several occasions but never really committed myself to reading it, always putting it off telling myself "I'll get to it some day'. We all know what happens to 'some day', and so it sat on the night stand collecting dust. A series of circumstances over the last week and a half have caused me to take a 2nd look. All I can say is I wish I'd read this book years ago. I'm only half way through it, but it's enough to know I'd recommend it to others.

Wild at Heart deals with every man's struggle to live a life that's real and meaningful and in the image that God created him to be. We as men are taught at an early age by society and even in most churches that we should strive to be "really nice guys". If you think about it, almost every image you have ever seen of Jesus (maybe with the exception of the movie The Passion of the Christ) is one of a perfectly pleasant looking man with a mild and accepting demeanor. In reality, while Christ may have been this way, he was also very much a warrior and a protector demonstrating strength and passion. This is the image of God that most men - myself included - don't live up to. In fact, we're more afraid of what we're not and we will do almost anything to protect those insecurities. Ultimately in being molded into nice guys, we become bored and boring to others. Here's just a few lines form the book that really hit home with me.

"They may be misplaced, forgotten or misdirected, but in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue."

"We are hiding, every last one of us. Well aware that we, too, are not what we were meant to be, desperately afraid of exposure, terrified of being seen for what we are and are not, we have run into the bushes. We hide in our office, in the gym, behind the newspaper or computer, behind our personality. Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a facade... an elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise."

"The truth is, [we] feel like [we're] just bluffing our way through life and someday soon [we'll] be exposed as an impostor. ...Truth be told, most of us are faking our way through life. We pick only those battles we are sure to win, only those adventures we are sure to handle, only those beauties we are sure to rescue."

"Until a man knows he's a man he will forever be trying to prove he is one, while at the same time shrink from anything that might reveal he is not. Most men live their lives haunted by the question, or crippled by the answer they've been given."

"[As a result of their unhealed emotional wounds,] so many men feel stuck – either paralyzed and unable to move, or unable to stop moving."

"Are we willing to live the level of risk God invites us to? Something inside us hesitates."

These are just a few of so many statements that I have read and felt like this guy knew me. This book deals with discovering the essence of a man's soul and what it looks like to truly live as God intended us to live. If your not a spiritual person, I'm confident you'll still find this book intriguing and inspiring and helpful.

Finally, this quote from Albert Schweitzer is so simple and powerful to me - "The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives".

I encourage you to pick up a copy today and see if you don't learn something about yourself, or ladies in your case, something about your man.

And now, back to regular scheduled programming.

Monday, March 10, 2008


It's been awhile since little Trinity has made an appearance on the blog, but she's back and more beautiful than ever. And guess who's got a birthday coming up in April? It seems unreal to me that this little bright star will be 3 soon. Seems like, well, 3 years ago I took the first of what would be many images of this sweetie growing up.

For a little fun this afternoon, we loaded up the car with tutus, boots, all the favorite stuffed animals, and lots of gold fish crackers and hit the road to head down to Deep Ellum for an urban photo session to commemorate another approaching milestone. We had a blast, and with the exception of a little Trinity tumble off a 3 foot ledge and a dead car battery, I'd say it was more than a success.

Thanks for being such a rock star, Trinity.
~ 'Uncle' Matt

Here's a few images from our party.


I love this image... looks like she's just leanin' back and kickin' it old school.











This last one cracks me up. While I was changing settings on my camera little Trinity found this bottle in the high grass and was looking down inside of it, so when I looked up, I had to capture this priceless image. Too funny. Please don't email me saying I'm promoting underage drinking. Nothing could be further from the truth - just a great impromptu moment.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Breaking News: Snow Storm Cripples Dallas

DALLAS, TX - Big D was blind-sided with a quarter inch of snow today, and city officials have contemplated shutting down the city until a plan can be put in place to deal with this blizzard. One government employee who did not wish to be identified said, "This is a difficult situation. It's a lot of snow and people don't know how to deal with it. We're doing the best we can, but some people might be forced to spend the evening at home with their families watching American Idol and Celebrity Apprentice. Unfortunately we just don't have any answers right now, but the citizens of Dallas can be assured we're working to resolve the situation as soon as possible."

Tomorrow's weather forecast for Dallas calls for temperatures in the low 50s by early afternoon.


San Frantatstic

I spent the last couple days on a mini tour of the west coast for some meetings with some top notch design firms for a project I'm working on with TI. There wasn't a whole lotta time for photo hunting, but we did have a little time one morning during our stop in San Francisco. Here's a few images to prove I was there.


Another view of the bridge.



Looking down the stairwell at the hotel.


Typical street view near downtown.


Here's the view from the glass elevator at the Westin I stayed at downtown.


Trace & Kristie {engaged!}

Last weekend before I left town for the week we were able to hook up with Trace & Kristie for a quick engagement session down in the Deep Ellum district. I used to work with Trace at TI and now he and Kristie live in Seattle since she works for a little known software company that makes something called Windows. Being a Mac guy, I'm not familiar with it, but I didn't hold it against her. I think I was subtly being sabotaged for my Apple allegiance, though, as some how my iPhone 'accidentally' ended up face down in a plate full of Mexican food at dinner afterwards. (Sorry, Kristie, it was too funny not to mention).

I love photographing friends since it's easier for me - and I think them - to feel a little more relaxed. We had a lotta fun during this session, and there's so many cool textures, colors & character in Deep Ellum... I could've photographed these guys for hours and not hit all the cool spots. Trace & Kristie are getting married in Bismark, ND on July 5th, and as serendipity would have it, we found a building with a big american flag painted on the side of it that made a perfect backdrop for a save-the-date mailer idea.

Here's a few images from the session. Congrats again, you two!