“Begin and Never Cease”

This morning was like most when I wake up, it was a struggle. But I had caught up on some sleep over the weekend finally and was actually motivated to get out of bed. While fixing some oatmeal I caved and put on some Christmas music. It was cold inside, I felt peaceful and it just seemed appropriate.

Now this wasn’t Mariah Carey or Nat King Cole. Love ’em, not yet tho. I put on what has become my favorite Christmas album, with only four tracks. “The Oh Hellos’ Family Christmas” has amazing acoustic instrumentation with a perfect blend of vocals to compliment it. It’s set up in four movements that create the four tracks. Each one has it’s parts that makes me love them, but my favorite is “Mvmt II, Begin and Never Cease” (also commonly known as “While Shepard’s Watched Their Flocks by Night.”)

This is classic that really isn’t heard all that much in the contemporary church any more. About four minutes into the song it transitions into “Come Let Us Adore Him” and they just start laying into the percussion and jammin’! This part always gives me chills. Something in music has always connected and moved me. As I felt that swell in emotion it comes back to “Begin and Never Cease” with the whole band getting louder and more full with

“All glory be to God on high,

And to the Earth be peace,

Good will henceforth from God to man,

Begin and never cease,

Begin and never cease.”

Ugghhhhhhhh, yes. Amazing. Moves me every time. These lyrics are timeless. It got me thinking, what does it mean to begin and never cease? Is it referring to acts of good works? God’s good will towards man?

For me it resonates with call to serve the Lord and never cease. Or maybe it’s His love coming down in the form of Jesus that begins a new era of love and life from God to us. It’s just begun and will never cease henceforth. Either way it’s an encouragement that I needed to hear.

Hear it for yourself and let me know what you think. Listen to all of the movements as well!

“Begin and Never Cease”


Raleigh Finally Figured Out Fireworks

This year for Independence Day fireworks, I went with a group of friends just south of downtown Raleigh. No one wanted to deal with the crazy traffic so we went with a non-traditional spot.

We parked on the shoulder off the highway not a half mile south of downtown and set up in the grassy area in the middle of the exit ramp!

Since the revitalization of downtown Raleigh, they have moved the fireworks from the fairgrounds (flat and viewable from miles around) to downtown on Fayetteville Street. Love the idea. Have people downtown, get dinner, drinks and then hang out on the street to live music as the fireworks go off.

However there was a maximum height limitation on the fireworks. So unless you were on Fayetteville Street, the fireworks were blocked by the buildings.

In order to solve this problem and make the fireworks more visible, they shot off fireworks on Fayetteville Street, and just outside the “skyscrapers” by Red Hat Amphitheater at a greater height.

The view from south of downtown that illustrates the firework setup this year.

The view from south of downtown that illustrates the firework setup this year.

Perfect! Worked out just great and opened up viewership to so many other people from many other angles. Well done City of Raleigh!

Here are some of my favorite shots from that night. I was on a tripod with my D600 and a remote release and exposures ranged from four to ten seconds. See the full gallery here and buy some prints!

Fireworks in downtown Raleigh.

Fireworks in downtown Raleigh.

Fireworks in downtown Raleigh this year.

Fireworks in downtown Raleigh this year.

Being in on the Secret

I love my job.

I love taking pictures, but luckily my job is more than that. It’s relationships, it’s people and capturing a portion of their life.

What I find really cool about it, is that often times I am brought into an intimate part of my clients’ lives. And more specifically, I am one of the firsts to be a part of that experience and I get to capture it!

Weddings clearly come to mind, whether it’s a father seeing his daughter for the first time in her wedding dress, or the couple praying together before the ceremony, or even the first one to high-five the bride and groom after they walk back up the aisle!

Sean and Caroline pray together before their wedding ceremony.

Sean and Caroline pray together before their wedding ceremony.

Recently I had the opportunity to photograph a proposal (another post to come on that soon) and was one of three people to know about it! Not only that, but once he had proposed and pointed me out to his fiancée, I was the first one to congratulate them and give them a HUGE hug.

Jordan proposes to Kristen in downtown Raleigh and reveals where I am.

Jordan proposes to Kristen in downtown Raleigh and reveals where I am.

Not to say this is a power complex or makes me cool because I know something you don’t, but rather it’s incredibly humbling and makes it that much more of an honor to serve my clients in such an intimate way.

There’s something about that moment, once the surprise is revealed, that connects all the people present. And there I am, jumping in to capture it, and very much connected to the group because of your invitation.

So thank you in advance, to all those future friends who will be inviting me in to capture the surprises in their lives and all those involved.

Thanks for letting me in on the secret!