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Nate.

Nate.

 

 

6:45pm.
Sun setting on the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville.

“We are your new favorite band.”

Nate says into the microphone before banging away at his keyboard.
Nate is the lead singer for Astronomers (http://www.myspace.com/weareastronomers). Not ‘The’ Astronomers, as their Myspace page points out. Alexandra plays the bass and sings back up. Jamie jams the drum set.

The opening act was Megafauna (http://www.myspace.com/mymegafauna), an Austin act on their first tour.

I had negotiated with Gwendelin, the manager of the Tea Bazaar (http://www.teabazaar.com/) in Charlottesville, to shoot photographs of the bands and release all the photographs to them, in exchange for them paying my 5$ cover. 

So I sat up front and took a lot of photos.

dani. will.

dani. will.

 

 

Dani Neff, the lead singer of Megafauna, rocked the guitar like a pro. She sweated. Her brunette hair was thrashing around in time with the music. She is the woman, Jimi Hendrix. Will Krause, wore a white-ish tank top and rocked the bass. He was tall and skinny. He had a long, somewhat pointy goatee. Cameron (last name unsure) had a shaved head and rocked the drums. 

I found out later that night that Megafauna had formed in December. They had been traveling for 8 days and were headed to Chapel Hill, NC next.

“We are Astronomers!” (No, ‘the.’)

They rocked. Nate Boiling was the lead vocals. Load and proud. He played the keyboard and guitar too. In the middde, was Alexandra Angelich, Nate’s girlfriend and an Austin, Texas native. Nate and Alexandra had moved to Charlottesville in search of a new music scene. Austin is “supersaturated” in music according to Alexandra. Jamie, has a pony tail and a black t-shirt and he plays the drums. 

I shot more photographs and tried not to blind them with the flashes from my Nikon.

The Tea Bazaar is a cozy nook on the second floor of the Downtown Mall and as the show wound up. I was not to excited about sleeping in some woods near town. Rain all day. And more rain when the show was wrapping up.

LAAA…

Bless the hearts of Megafauna, they invited me to hang out after the show and were interested in my story. They were crashing at Astronomers house in town so I tagged along.

Their house was on the outskirts of Charlottesville, 5 big jumps from the railroad tracks. A rusty watertower overhead and lots of tall weeds and abandoned cars in between the weeds. Shiny, wooden floorboards inside. They creaked. 
The walls were hung with colorful Alexandra paintings. Music instruments and lots of cords were everywhere in the living room. It reminded me of a house the Beatles would live in. Party, Music, and People were the message of this house.

Armani came too. He was a friend, of Nate and Alexandra. A fellow musician, whom said he was related to a member of N.E.R.D. (http://www.n-e-r-d.com/), the hip hop group. He is a member of Burnt Brush Productions (http://www.myspace.com/burntbushproductions). “The hottest hip hop group in Charlottesville.” He kinda did look like the guy from N.E.R.D. or maybe Chris Tucker.

Alexandra wants to take over the world, but not be the leader, just pull the strings from behind the scenes. Nate lives and breathes music. Jamie and his girlfriend, Amy moved into the house about a year ago and aren’t planning to leave anytime soon. 

Dani is going to Law School in Austin. “That is my day job.” While Will has enjoyed the Summer of Will ’09. He lost his job in February and has just been living off the dough from his gigs. Cameron is going to school for music. 
He likes kids and wants to teach music.

I am just feeling blessed at this point.
Alexis Ziegler (http://www.realitysandwich.com/user/alexis_zeigler).
Jack, the roommate of the house and I would describe him as a “vagabonding mystic,” mentioned Alexis as a local “energy radical.” He has a place in Belmont (a part of Charlottesville) where lots of “nature kids” go. He know alot about “Peak Oil.” He is my man, I am going to try to find this man and interview him.

Pork Chops were for breakfast the next morning. Breakfast at 2pm, thanks to Alexandra’s cooking. The Pork Chops were well-seasoned and the coffee was black and hot.

I get dropped off back in Downtown Charlottesville as Dani, Will, and Cameron head to North Carolina and I am feeling sad to say goodbye to these folks, yet also awesome.

I am going to see another show at the Tea Bazaar tonight. Zee Avi. She is big I guess.
“It will be packed.” according to Gwendila.

Create our world,
ben.

“Give love and unconditional acceptance to those you encounter and notice what happens.”
-Wayne Dyer

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Mudhouse.

Charlottesville.

5-26-09.

9:22am.

 

Today, is the day of buying the domain name for the site (the http://www.domainname.com) and I have narrowed it down to 2 choices. 

 

Create Your World.  versus  Create Our World.

VOTE!!!

 

 

According to my friend, Paul Gilbert, “Change” is so 2008…, so I am losing “Change” and going with “Create”.   But I can’t decide between “your” or “our” so I have decided to Google both phrases and analyze the top 5 hits.

 

Both look promising on being able to dominate this Keyword Search.

 

“Create your world.”

 

5.  Create your World – Commercial on YouTube.  

 

I am not sure what the product is but I think it is a Dutch commercial and I like the graphics and the big blue crayon.

 

4.  Create or Conquer – Create Your Own RPG Game World.  

 

This is a site devoted to creating your own RPG Game, “immersing yourself in a role playing world, built by yourself or other players of our community.”  OR it looks like you could join another player’s world.  MALMON looks interesting, it is a small city on the edge of the Aquatea Sea, with quite a few amenities.

 

3.  Create your world – Making Dreams and Visions a Reality.  

 

“We have all been made in the image and likeness of the Creator, therefore we are creators also,”  from Nicole Andrews the CEO and Founder.  She has a passion to help individuals discover and fulfill their God-given purpose through practical means which will ultimately advance the Kingdom of God on earth.

 

2.  MAPme.com – Map Your World!  

 

Create a Map of your favorite places, travels or destinations and share the map with friends or the whole world!

 

“It’s a really powerful set of tools for travelers and map lovers, and a great way to find people who share your interests.”

– Jim Nichols, Partner, Catalyst:SF

 

AND THE NUMBER ONE HIT….

 

 

1.  Make Your Own Evil Plan – The Evil Plan Generator.  

 

“Have you ever wanted to come up with a great evil plan, but just never had the time or intelligence? Well, your prayers have been answered…”

 

I will share my Evil Plan that was generated:

 

“Your objective is simple: World Domination

Your motive is a little bit more complex: Love (Yes, it works)

 

Stage One:

To begin your plan, you must first Seduce a Wall Street Executive.  This will cause the world to sit up and take notice, stunned by your arrival.  Who is this Evil Genius?

Where did they come from?  And why do they look so good in a Supervillian Costume with Gimmicks?”

 

It goes on but I will spare you the details.

 

 

Create our World.

 

5.  Goal.com Logo Contest: Create our New Logo!  

 

“Goal.com represents the global football fan.”

“Our fans are the lifeblood of our site and our community..”

 

4.  Our World to Create – Poem: Get More Poems at Quizilla

 

 Our World to Create create by gr33nkoz

Together we have gone through a lot

Our eyes have seen many people get shot

Fighting for our rights

Following the lights

To live in freedom.

Marching down the street

Their life has not been a treat

It still isn’t that great

But soon change will occur in our fate,

People will see us as equals.

This World Is For Us To Create…

 

3.  Our Thoughts Create Our World.  

 

“Mindfulness doesn’t always have to be work; it can be fun.  I can be amused at the things I cook up in my mind.”  by Lenore Flynn

 

2.  YouTube – Creator/ Create our World.  

 

A reggae music video with the hook:

 

“As far as the eyes can see;

my people they all are free;

free as they want to be;

creating our history.”

 

#1.  TONER, TONER CARTRIDGE, LASER TONER, PRINTER TONER, SHARP TONER…

 

 

“If you have an HP, Brother, Canon, Samsung, Sharp or Konica/Minolta Printer or Copier, you know how much you can fork out in cost for toners and drums!”

“TAKE A RUSHING CHARGE AT LIFE! CREATE YOUR WORLD!”

***

Going to hang around Charlottesville today and work on the site and relax.

 

B & R Market. 6:50am.

B & R Market. 6:50am.

 

Love. 7:06am.

Love. 7:06am.

 

 

 

Please tell me what you think!

 

Create your world, Create our world,

ben. ben.

“We must maximize our full potential and create our world!”

– Nicole Andrews, CEO and Founder of Create your world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking out of Farmville at 8:24am.

Walking out of Farmville at 8:24am.

 

 

 

9:10pm.   

Charlottesville.  Virginia.

As I was walking out of Farmville, this morning at around 8 am, I was sensing bad mojo for today’s trip.  Today was tough, but I am in Charlottesville and healthy.

 

Although, it started great!  After I had hiked a few miles out of Farmville, to the intersection of Route 15 and Route 460.  I bought a cup of coffee and thumb fully extended, making good eye contact with passing cars, giving them the big smile, I had a truck stop pretty soon.  

 

But… my gut was not happy about this vehicle.  It was a rickety, old truck packed with trash in the back and two long-haired folk in the cab.  One man and one woman.  They drove by, all smiles and then pulled around to make another pass.  Now, the whole time, I am hoping they are not coming back for me.  I do NOT want to ride with this pair.  One, I think it would be pretty crammed in their cab, with all three of us and my hiking pack.  But also, they just seem a little too happy to see me.  Maybe I was wrong, but I told them that I would find another ride.

 

They drove on and I was patting myself on the back for going with my gut!  

Plus, I look at hitchhiking like dating.  

 

Don’t settle for a ride you don’t feel good about!  There are always more cars coming!

 

In 20 minutes, a Jeep Cherokee stopped with Gordon, Andrea, and Jacob inside, they were going to Bent Creek for kayaking since it is Memorial Day.  I almost jumped in the car as soon as they stopped.  It was a husband, wife, and kid pulling a trailer full of kayaks.  This is a first class “ride.” 

 

Andrea had a lot to say.  They like vacationing, especially Shee-co-teague (I don’t know how to spell it, but it is an island in the Chesapeake Bay with horses).  It is quiet and peaceful.

 

I was considering heading where they were going, almost hoping they would invite me along, just so I could hang out with them longer.  But, no luck and I really wanted to get to Charlottesville so I got off in Dillwyn and hiked another mile up to another street light to wait for another ride.

 

I am feeing great!  It is before 11am and I have gone over 20 miles and met this great family.  I was very confident that another ride would come soon.

 

But…

I was wrong.  

 

I waited.  Then moved up the road a bit.  Then waited.  Then snuck into the woods for a nap.  Back to the road.  Lots of waiting and trying not to wait in the sun.  

Eventually after 6 and a half hours of waiting, I just decided to start walking.  Scottsville was 20 miles away and although, I knew I couldn’t walk the whole way, at least I was heading in the right direction and maybe someone would pity me as I was walking in the middle of nowhere.

 

So, I walked and it was good.  

After a few miles, a young woman, named Jenny picked me up.  She worked at Charley’s Waterfront Cafe in Farmville and she was driving a Blue Mustang with a license plate that said, “Hocker.”

 

“That is my last name.”

 

She was going home to Staunton and agreed to take me to Charlottesville.  

We didn’t talk much.  My brain was zapped from the sun and the view was nice.  

 

 

An Ode to my "long lost" roommate, Jenny.

An Ode to my "long lost" roommate, Jenny.

 

 

I arrived at 7pm and bought a bushel of strawberries.  I ate the whole thing (but wished I had had water to wash them); is that bad for you??

 

Well, I’m going to find a place to hole up for the night soon.  Unfortunately, I recently formatted my hard drive so had to reload a lot of programs and my photos are not uploading.  I will try to fix this tommorrow.

 

All the best to everyone.

 

Create your world,

ben.

 

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Hellen Keller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ezzy, Ronna, and Silas under the Oak Tree.

Ezzy, Ronna, and Silas under the Oak Tree.

 

 

 

Ronna Strilaeff-Maldonado gave birth to her youngest son, Ezreal, or “Ezzy” in her bed at her small home in Farmville, Virginia.  A mid-wife helped with the birth.

 

“It changed my life,”  she said, “I can’t describe it in words.”  

She had this sparkle, or glow, or something about her as she said it.  She was holding Ezzy at the time and standing on her porch in the sun.  This was a few weeks ago, but I wanted to know more.

 

Ronna is the co-director of the Farmville division of Birth Matter’s, an organization whose mission is “to improve the culture of birth in Virginia by promoting an evidence-based model of maternity care and supporting care providers who practice mother friendly care.”  

 

I sat down to talk to Ronna a few days ago in her living room on what seemed like a typical day.  Silas, her oldest son, stood in front of me offering me his finest toys: skateboard, cowboy hat, red cape, and some others.  Ezzy ran about the room without any pants on playing with whatever toys lay about.

 

Now keep in mind, I am feeling a bit out of my league talking to Ronna, as a man and a single man at that, whose child-bearing career looks far off, but, I am interested.

 

“There are choices and there are options for women in their maternity care and the way that they give birth.”  She started.  There is also a lot of information, that is not widely accessible.

 

According to Birth Matter’s website, the United States spends more money than any other nation on maternity care.  YET, we are the 29th ranked in infant mortality (babies dying before their first birthday) and the US ranks 41st in maternal mortality (the mother dying around the time of childbirth).  What is the difference between the United States and other developed nations that is causing this?  Midwives and, not obstetricians, are used to manage birth in the other countries.

 

I like the idea of the natural birth process with no drugs, in your own bed with loved ones nearby.  I have recently read a book about aborigines, whom would go out to the “birthing spot” in the outback and hold onto a tree, while standing up and the baby would plop out into the hot, desert sand. 

 

As Silas was running off into other room with my car keys, “I got your kweeysz!!!” 

Ronna was trying to quote from a recent documentary about the maternity industry, “The Business of Being Born,” that “birth is going to change you, it is just a matter of how.”  

 

For more information, check out the Birth Matter’s website, it has a host of information or there is a monthly meeting in Farmville, that discusses birth options and information for couples.

 

Tommorrow, I will be heading out on another pre-hitchhiking trip up North towards Charlottesville.  My goal there will be to meet at least one World Changer and talk to them.   

 

Change your world,

ben.

 

“Women need to have variety of options for giving birth where they feel the safest, and that is going to be different for every woman.”   -Ronna Strilaeff-Maldonado


 

The Founders of Bear Creek Academy

The Founders of Bear Creek Academy

 

 

Entering the office of Bear Creek Academy,  a sign is posted on the wall:

 

Foundations of Personal Empowerment Program:

 

1.  Respect for Self.

2.  Respect for Others.

3.  Respect for Community.

 

I am here at Bear Creek Academy to spend a few hours talking to the kids and am going out to the local state park with them to help on their service project.  This is my first “interview” and I am wondering about my new role, not as journalist, but as “Danny” one of the kids would later say, “you are a Blogger.”

 

Yes, I am now a Blogger!

 

As Blogger, I am asking myself this question:  

 

What are these folks doing with kids that is unique and how does it change the world?

 

If you can’t read the whole thing, here is the message of Bear Creek Academy: 

 

they take the time to CONSTANTLY teach the kids about EVERYTHING  and the kids listen because they LIKE the staff here.  

 

***

 

“Please, call me Thunderbolt.” 

He was 4′ 11″, with glasses, a buzz cut, and a t-shirt with autographs on it.  This is Thunderbolt.  He is my tour guide for the morning.  He had been out throwing around the football with Mr. Paulin, the principal as I arrived at the school.  He is very talkative and loves showing me the photos of him and other students hanging on the walls.  The school is small, I wasn’t counting but only a few classrooms yet it seems like there are lots of places to go.  They have a bunch of books, enough computers, and a lot of posters on the walls with inspirational quotes on them, “Nothing worth gaining was ever gained without effort,” Theodore Roosevelt.   

 

“Jerome” (name changed) who had been at the school most of the year finished off the tour, eventually showing me a lot of photos of past Conservation Corps projects and other “club” projects the students did, like taking photos of themselves in the dark and using a flashlight to make designs in the photos.  “Jerome” was telling me short stories about the other students and staff members in the photos and I was getting the impression the school has a very “home away from home” sort-of feel.

 

Last September, Bear Creek Academy opened it’s doors in Cumberland, Virginia with less than 10 students whom are labeled as having “learning and emotional disabilities.”  Students, which are not allowed in public schools for one reason or the other.  These students that are challenging to work with.  

 

The owners are Ben Montano, Jason Paulin, Jason Lake, and Jordan Whiley and although new to owning a school, are not new to helping youngsters learn and grow.

 

66 years of working with “at-risk youth” is the tally I came up with after talking to all 6 employees, including Joan Lewis, a teacher and Erin Lake, whom to describe her as a receptionist would not encompass what she did in the few hours I was there.  (Mike Mace works at the school too and although, not technically, an employee of the school, he should be recognized for his contribution as well.) These 6 are the founder’s of the school and you can tell that everyone is VERY involved with the kids.

 

We all ate lunch together.  Roast Beef sandwiches with salad and some chips.  Everyone at the school was there, all the owners and founders, down to the newest student.  We talked with each other.

 

Bear Creek Academy has a lot of built-in extracurricular activities, like the Conservation Corps, Personal Empowerment Program, and Adventurers with Enthusiasm.  The Conservation Corps volunteers at the local state park, Bear Creek Lake, to help maintain the facilities in exchange for using the park’s beach, canoes, and other facilities.  This also allows the students to get out into the community and do their part.  The Academy also, has a Personal Empowerment Program which educates the student about character building qualities.  For example, this month is “Health” month.  Adventurers with Enthusiasm focuses on fun tasks like ropes courses to challenge the students to face their fears in a supportive environment.  The student’s are also able to earn up to 9 patches representing different milestones accomplished.  Most students had a few patches sewed onto their Conservation Corps shirts.  These forest green shirts have their last name patched on the front pocket and are clean and must be tucked in.

 

 

Bear Creek Lake State Park

Bear Creek Lake State Park

 

 

I had planned my visit because today the school goes to the local state park to volunteer some time to help the rangers maintain the facilities.

Today’s task was to clear branches that had been cut already.

 One of the students, “Danny” asked me a lot of questions.  He was good with computers and was learning how to “code” computer programs in one of his classes.  He had been at the school since September and he liked it.  The small classes, less distractions, and “more freedom” to learn different things, appealed to him.  

 

“We try to build relationships with the students.” Jason Lake, told me later after the kids had went home.  

 

At the park, although the “work” was clearing the brush, the counselor’s spent the majority of their time engaging the kids.  The counselor’s impact with the students was very apparent as we walked along the road in the park.  Filling the truck and talking about ninja moves or how to avoid having your eyes poked out by one of the 3 Stooges, the counselors were constantly complimenting the students and leading fun conversations on a wide range of topics.  At one point, a student got angry about something and went for a walk up the road with Mr. Montano.  When they returned, he hopped in the back of the truck and began grabbing branches from other students.  Good as new, it seemed.

 

 

Clearing Brush.

Clearing Brush.

 

 

With the all the brush cleared, we headed back to the school and “Jerome” told me that Bear Creek Academy helped him deal with his anger problems.  He has learned to “talk to the teacher or walk outside” when he gets angry and he likes that he “gets breaks and plays outside a lot”  at the school.

 

When we returned to the school, the kids changed and headed home for the day.  Another day down.

 

As I left the school, I got the impression I had left a family gathering.  It was obvious that Ben, Jordan, Joan, Erin, and the two Jason’s really care about the kids at the school and care about teaching them about the millions of things that teenage boys need to learn to be successful.  They took the time throughout the day to CONSTANTLY teach the kids about all aspects of life.  

 

Looking back on my education, I am very grateful to many of my teachers and professors, but I think I learned more about how to quickly memorize facts than to genuinely relate to people.  

 

Thank you Bear Creek Academy for changing the world.

 

http://www.bearcreekacademy.org/

 

Change your world,

ben.

 

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

Jordan Whiley sings "Brigadoon."

Jordan Whiley sings "Brigadoon."

 

 

Somewhere, there is a town that only shows up for one day every 100 years. This place is Brigadoon (make sure to read that with a thick Scottish accent, Breee-gaaa-doooon).

I watched and photographed my roommate Jenny in a local dress rehearsal of Brigadoon at the Waterworks Theatre in Farmville. 

A youngster watching his Mom and sister perform was sitting up front and he knew every song.
He was also giving me photography pointers, “you should take a picture of them sitting down.”

It was great watching some friends sing and dance. A bunch of people put on their best Scottish accent’s. Some local students were the audience and seemed to be enjoying the show.

 

The smooch scene with Jenny Willoughby.

The smooch scene with Jenny Willoughby.

 

 

*whisper* “they’re going to kiss soon.” The youngster said with a gleam in his eye. I took a photo of that.

The director was the crotchety old drama fella, intent on perfection. I had complimented him on the work he does in theatre and he just said, “we’ll see,” which I took as “I am putting everything into this play and it better be perfect” then he barked some orders to some folks nearby.

Go watch some local theatre if you get a chance. And if you are in Farmville on March 22, and 23 at 8pm watch the premiere of Brigadoon. And sit next to the little man with blond hair up front, he will tell you when all the good parts are.

“I know all the songs” 

Brigadoon only comes around every 100 years.

Brigadoon only comes around every 100 years.

 

 

Change your world,
ben.

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
– Oscar Wilde

June 1! 11 days away and I will be walking out of Farmville.

BUT, I was dealt a major blow last week. The couple that was looking into the paperwork to sign the lease to rent my home (I thought 95% deal done), had some “messy” problems and backed out.

Renting my home is priority numbero uno on this coming journey because there is no way I could afford to pay my mortgage and hitchhike the country. 

So back to the drawing board; putting ads in the Farmville Herald and on Craigslist and trying to maintain the positive mojo.

“Accept whatever comes your way!” This is a major value of my trip and I get to start right now. In fact, the journey is not starting on June 1, but it has already begun.

I am still going to be leaving town on June 1, I am just waiting to be blown away by something miraculous happening. A friend of mine said yesterday, “Well, at least if you don’t get anyone, you could leave at the end of the summer.” Huh, I had never thought that I would not get anyone to rent out my home.

Anyways, to refocus I had a great time at the Bear Creek Academy yesterday and will be writing an article shortly about their school. Also, by next Tuesday I will be buying the Domain Name for my website.

I decided to expand my search and really research this some. I like Change your world, but I don’t love it! Change your Universe, seems a bit wordy and lacks the “punch.” I want my title to hit you in the gut!!! As you see it on a bumper sticker and you are walking by you think, “I should do …(insert thing you have always wanted to do but have been waiting for the time to do it)… this now.” 

So here is my new list and I am going to keep brain storming more.

createyourworld.us
createyourworld.me
kreateyourworld.com
activateyourworld.net
innovateyourworld.net
createyouruniverse.com

(I like “create” that is kinda what I am going for, I wish there was a word for “totally take charge of your life and do exactly what you want and do it to better the world” is there a word for this?)

Tell me what you think. 

I am also trying to think of maybe a new spelling of a word like create (but kreate doesn’t do it).

So far createyourworld.us in my eyes.

Change your world,
ben.

“Each difficult moment has the potential to open my eyes and open my heart.” -Myla Kabat-Zinn

Check out this article, I just saw in this month’s issue of Time Magazine, “When Gen X Runs the show” 

(http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1898024_1898023_1898086,00.html)

Over 30 years ago, my Dad was going to college in southern Michigan when he dropped out to work at the local factory to make probably more than he would have, had he had his degree.

Today, he is looking at potentially losing his job a few years before he can retire. And he is one of the lucky ones, many factory worker’s have lost their jobs already.

I have been reading a lot of books, websites, blogs, and such to try to learn as much as possible about where everything is headed for the future, because it seems like our society as we know it will be changing very soon (less than 10 years). 

What is ahead for us?

I sure don’t know. But I am very interested and want to help.

Heck, I read an interesting quote last night on Buzzmachine.com, from the CEO of Google Eric Schmidt, (by the way if anyone understands our current society it’s this guy, his company controls about 70-80% of the internet traffic worldwide),

“Don’t bother to have a plan at all. All that stuff about having a plan, throw that out. It seems to be it’s all about opportunity and make your own luck…. You cannot plan innovation. You cannot plan invention. All you can do is try very hard to be at the right place and be ready….”

This is what he told the graduating class at Carnegie Mellon.

Change your world,
ben.

“the times, they are a changing.”
-Bob Dylan

World Changers,

I started taking photographs right out of college after taking a trip to the Netherlands. I took my Dad’s 35mm camera and tried to take amazing photographs to WOW! my family and friends. Well, needless to say, the cook at the restaurant I worked at thought they were boring! So, I have been taking photos for the past 6 years and after learning these easy 3 steps my photos drastically improved. 

While taking the photo:

1. Get close to the subjects! 

While taking a photos of family and friends, a lot of people will stand far away. I recommend you get as close as you can without losing subject matter: meaning not cutting off half of someone’s face or granny in back. But don’t leave a bunch of sky, if you don’t need to.

2. The Rule of Third’s

Basically, think of dividing the photograph into 9 equal parts in your mind (some viewfinders or LCD screens do this for you). It should look a little like a Tic-Tac-Toe board.

the rule of thirds

 

Position the main points of interest in the 4 red areas.

Position the main points of interest in the 4 red areas.

 Now, if you are still with me, the 4 points where the lines meet around the middle box are where you should put the main subjects of the photo. (definitely check the photos or http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds)

***Okay, so you just took a bunch of photos using the rule of thirds and you got close to Granny in all her glory. Now, make sure you have a basic photo editing software. I use iPhoto that came with my Mac but if you don’t have that, I have used Google’s Picasa (a free download at http://picasa.google.com/) as well which works well. For 98% of my photos I will use basic photo-editing software.

3. Crank up the Contrast!!!

Make the dark colors darker and the light colors lighter. This will make the photo look more dramatic. With Picasa, you have 2 ways of doing this. 

A. Let Picasa do it by choosing “AUTO CONTRAST” (I never do this). 

B. Select the “TUNING” tab, and you will see 4 bars. FILL LIGHT, HIGHLIGHTS, and SHADOWS. Don’t worry about COLOR TEMPERATURE. By moving the indicator on each bar to the right, it makes the highlights lighter or the shadow’s darker or let’s in more fill light (lighten’s the whole photograph). I usually make the shadow’s as dark as possible and the highlights as light as possible, without the photograph becoming “fake” looking.

Tell me how it goes and good luck shooting in all your world changing adventures!

Change your world,
ben.

“The photograph itself doesn’t interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.”
-Henri Cartier-Bresson

4:03pm at the Drowsy Poet Cafe in Lynchburg
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

According to Google Maps from my home in Farmville, I have traveled 51.9 miles, not including the windy around to avoid highways.
Lessons learned so far:
1. Bring a bigger water bottle.
2. Find a good hitchin’ spot and stick!
A. A good hitchin’ spot is right past a light where the car’s are going slow, NOT near a prison, & it has plenty of space to see you and have a safe spot to park.

I left my home in Farmville around 7am and walked out of town and stuck out my thumb. At around 9am, Bill picked me up. Bill is a Machine Producing Fella, who is from New Jersey and likes reading Theology. Bill is a good guy, drives a nice car, apologizes when his phone rings and he talks on it, and worked his way into Electrical Engineering not through college but by learning on the job. His advice is do what you feel like doin’ even if it seems “stupid”, because he regrets not doin’ some stuff when he had the chance.

Bill drops me off near Lynchburg near 29. I try getting a ride north on 29. Not happenin’ so I took a nap. Then I decided to try to get to Roanoke, but couldn’t find a good hitchin’ spot.
So I walked. Walked to Lynchburg and through some neighborhoods searching for the dollar movie theater and hopefully some Wi-fi.

It gave me time to think about what values I want to live by on the journey, here goes:
1. Be Courageous! If you want something ask for it. Talk to people. Don’t worry about what others think.
2. Give! Even though I will be broke give to as many folks as I can. Not necessarily money, but gifts, encouragement, smiles, and kindness.
3. Don’t give up! Push on. The trip is long.
4. Be Grateful! Life is all about perspective.

Change the world,
ben.

I am grateful to Bill!

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.”

Marcel Prous

Create your world photos.

Create your world.

September 2017
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