I was totally shocked and stoked to see that I was chosen to be published in the National Geographic story "Epic."


While it's not a cover photo, or even in print in the magazine, it's close to a dream I've had since I was seven years old, perusing old copies of National Geographic that laid in dusty piles in the corner of my town's library. I would flip through those heavy pages, dreaming about far off people and cultures. At that time, my dad was a photographer, developing in the darkroom, and because kids are insufferable I wanted to be the opposite of whatever my parents were at the time. I wish now I had embraced that familial destiny sooner in life!

The image chosen for "Epic" is not my best. In fact, it has been criticized in the past for looking fake, for being over-exposed, and generally not being that great. I agree (well, everything but it being fake. Opportunity + luck). It is an older photo, from several years ago, and I have grown tremendously since then, thanks to the numerous talented photojournalism friends I have surrounded myself with (and learned from), as well as all of the great workshops, especially Eddie Adams. If I was given that assignment again today, the way I shot it would have been different, but that is the gift of experience and hindsight.

Please go check out the story, and marvel at the other photos - they are amazing!

The National Geographic story "Epic" can be found here.



The Eddie Adams Workshop

Winding roads that hugged the salty shore air took me north, skirting cities lined with car dealers and exit ramps. Before long, I found myself in a steady upward climb, a light rain dusting my windshield, and the dull greens and grays of New Jersey gave way to a vivid kaleidoscope of colors. Located just south of the Catskill Mountains, Liberty, NY, had a dingy charm. Beautiful hills and even more beautiful autumn colors framed by a seemingly dilapidated community. A blip off of the interstate for weary travelers.

The sights in this area of New York were breathtaking.

I would be spending four days in the area for the Eddie Adams Workshop.

The Eddie Adams Workshop is something I have been trying to define since I came home. It’s in a barn on a farm in Jeffersonville, NY. It brings together a huge collection of industry professionals. It’s about sharing information, ideas, and a love for visual storytelling. It’s a transcendental experience.

Students converged at a Howard Johnson to get roommates assigned. I was only there for thirty seconds when I saw half my team. One of the benefits of social media is forging a connection, and Robert Caplin, our team producer, deserves massive loads of credit for the role he played in bringing us together before we even made it to the farm.

After a brief introductory message, we were off to the farm, where we were met with one of the most profoundly kind and explosive welcomes I have ever witnessed.

Aside the beauty of the Adams Farm, and the surrounding countryside, there was an abundance of information that came our way via a variety of speakers. Stanmeyer, Guttenfelder, Bello, Calvert, Fremson, Lawrence, Delay, Schatz, Betehulak, Black, Grob, Richards, Roye, Nachtwey, to name just a small few gifted presenters who shared their stories with us.

The real hands on moments happened when our team shot a high school football game. Team leader Al Bello, team editor Brad Smith, Robert Caplin, and team tech Toni Sandys came out with us and gave technical as well as professional advice while on the field. It was, by far, one of the most educational experiences in my professional history, and made me appreciate just how difficult sports photography is.

A lot of the magic that happened at Eddie Adams was in the moments between the moments. In between presentations and various speakers, when students got to interact with each other as well as industry professionals in the room, there was a creative energy that filled the farm. I think one of the longest breaks we got was an hour and a half, and people picked out spots near the pond, or in the shade of the trees, and just shared ideas and their love for what they do.


I had a variety of meaningful conversations with my teammates and team staff; however I also connected with some other folks and had amazing talks.

At the end of the Workshop, I was in a daze, and during the awards ceremony (where many talented class mates received assignments from prestigious news agencies) I was utterly stupefied to receive the very first Maj. Herman Wall Memorial Award. I am humbled and honored to be selected, and as part of the reward, I received a $1,000 grant and will have my name placed on a plaque in the barn.

Chip Maury, who is well known as a Navy photojournalist, as well as a mentor to military visual storytellers, gave me some fantastic words later that night, that not only sum up winning the award, but also the point of The Eddie Adams Workshop.

Pass it along as freely as you got it. To the world you may only be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

One of my first portrait attempts with pro lighting.

Portrait behind the scenes. 

Raising helmets after the National Anthem. 

Pre-game huddle.

 The bonfire.

 A long exposure of the beautiful night sky and the bonfire.




Making the best of TN

So I've been in Tennessee for a month now (except for today, I'm up in Dayton, Ohio!). Tennessee is an interesting state. There are some really beautiful sights. I took a trek to Buck Bald, which is the location of an old fire station at the top of a mountain near the border with North Carolina and Georgia. 

I was hoping for some quiet time with nature, but a church group showed up! It worked out pretty well, as they let me take some silhouette shots at sunset. Check em out on my Flickr Page!