Grand Award winner of the Shutterfest 2018 image competition – Reality Reimagined

THAT MOMENT WHEN WORDS ARE SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH
 
I recently had the privilege of being a teacher at the Shutterfest 2018 photography conference and it was such an amazing experience. I was so thankful and inspired to be a part of such a wonderful team and community; truly memories that will last a lifetime. I was able to share so much that is meaningful to me and I saw the light of imagination and creativity come alive in the folks that I was fortunate enough to teach.
 
But I simply was not prepared for the news from yesterday.
 
I entered eight pieces of artwork into the image competition for Shutterfest, submitting to the new category of Creative: Illustrative. I am so proud to share that I won not only first and second place in my category, but I received the distinct honor of being the grand award winner of the entire competition!
 
I have been in awe and just so very thankful for this achievement and honor. There are some truly beautiful images and amazing moments captured in the other categories and I just can’t seem to find the adequate words to share my feelings on being recognized among those amazing artists.  To see these fantastic images, visit the winners gallery at http://shutterfest.com/image-competition-winners-gallery/
 
I had the chance to talk to Sal Cincotta on the phone last night and to thank him for all of his support and guidance for all of these years; man, you are the best! Alissa and his team are truly some of the best and most talented I know and I am forever in their debt.
 
I can’t even begin to describe all of the feels of telling my wife Bethany Troop Byrd on the phone what had happened and hearing the joy in her voice. I love you with all that I have within me; you are my Captain.
 
Dave Mason sponsored me to be an instructor this year at Shutterfest and has given me so much wisdom and guidance that I will never be able to repay him for his kindness and generosity. If you haven’t visited with McKenna Pro Labs then stop reading my blabbing right now and go see their amazing artistry!
 
Bri Robynn Rambo – WE DID IT! I got the chance to work with her recently in Arizona and it was a blast. She is such an amazingly talented photographer and creates imagery that inspires me to continue to evolve as an artist. Her work in front of the camera is second-to-none. Thank you for sharing in this experience with me and for creating some great art!
 
Last night I was with a great group of friends, doing what I love and photographing their new cosplays. I had no idea I had won and my phone started going off like crazy. To share with them was a blast – Jeff Jackson, Jenn Jackson, Jaime Hoskins and Mike Hoskins, thank you for being there with me in this moment and for your friendship.
 
When I got home, however, I had one of the best moments I could have ever have asked for. I got to sit down with my mother and father and share with them what I had achieved. Leaving them behind in Iowa as I started my new journey in Arizona has been a hard experience and to be able to show them what it means to me, to do this work, has truly been the greatest gift I could have ever received.
 
My friend Sasha taught me a valuable lesson, before she left this world. She taught me that time is precious and must be spent wisely. Do not waste a moment of your life in the company of fear. Listen to it from time to time as there is wisdom to be learned from fear, but never let it dictate your life.
 
A quote I heard long ago has been with me every day of my life. “The life that we dream and the life that we live, is only separated by fear.”
 
Model: Bri Robynn Rambo
HMUA: Lauren Edmondson

Photography and Photoshop Art: Reality Reimagined

 
#art #awards #competition #shutterfest2018 #composite #wacom #adobe #photoshop #grateful
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One year ago

The very first image that I took in Arizona, is the image of Heather Renee Nance with the whip, standing with the other members of the Agents of Lust. That was in early January of 2017.

I had never been to a shoot like this and no one knew who I was. My hope was to be able to find a few adventurous souls that would want to collaborate on an idea. I shot with two groups that day and felt like I had no business being in such a place where I had really, no idea what was going on.

One year later I found myself standing in the same junkyard, at a similar event and this time I got waves and shouts of “hey there!” from people who knew me and the work that I could do. I got a big bear hug from the man himself, James Sasser and once again had the chance to tell a story with images, featuring Heather. This shoot was a wonderful reminder to me on how much can change, in a relative short amount of time.

I have made some truly great connections and friendships over the past year in Arizona and I am so excited to continue this journey.

See you all, out there!

Models: Heather Renee Nance​, Rance Granthrax Jorgensen​ and Britni Nance​
Location: Reed’s Junkyard
Organized by: James Sasser​
Photography and Photoshop art: Reality Reimagined

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I want to be Darth Vader when I grow up

I had planned on releasing this series of art centered on Darth Vader, to celebrate the release of a video game. However since that game is absolutely terrible, I am now celebrating the forthcoming film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi!
 
When I was a kid the characters that were the focus of my art, imagination and obsession for toys were folks like Superman, Captain Kirk and so forth. You know – good guys.
 
Except for one other obsession: The Dark Lord of the Sith.
 
Much to my parents chagrin, I would memorize and recite the lines of Darth Vader from the film (rather than Luke Skywalker) while playing with my latest treasure from the folks at Kenner.
 
Luke was cool, certainly, but Vader was who I wanted to be.
 
When I started my training in theatre and learned of the great tragic heroes of literature, I immediately felt a sense of relief and told my parents as much. In my view tragic heroes can be admired more than the protagonist of a story, due to their complex depth.
 
At the end of the day, Superman is going to fight for truth, justice and be an all-around nice guy. Darth Vader is a bit more complex. At the end of the day, Vader may just give you a verbal warning about your failure, rather than choke you to death. Then a few moments later, he’ll plead to his long lost son to form a union that will over throw tyranny and bring “order” to the galaxy. When that doesn’t work? He’ll just glance once more over his shoulder, then walk off the bridge to go hang in his room.
 
If there was ever a dream character to play in film, it would be Darth Vader. I am thankful that the Mouse-Powers-That-Be have brought this beloved character back to the screen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and I sincerely hope they do it again and again, with future stories in a galaxy, far, far away.
 
As always, my tragic hero thanks to Trey Moore for his willingness to suit up and stand for a long time, while I mess with the lights for an eternity 🙂
 
Cosplayer: Trey Moore
Photography and Photoshop Art: Reality Reimagined
 

#starwars #darthvader #cosplay #art #photoshop #wacom

Darth Vader

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Dragon Con 2015 Adventures: Miss Sinister Cosplay as a SITH!

Star Wars HYPE!

I shot this image at an annual comic book convention held in Atlanta called Dragon Con 2015. This year they had over 72,000 attendees, a record breaking year for them and it was also my first time being there.

I did my research before entering into this nerd-photographer-gauntlet and spoke with some of the most seasoned Convention photographers out there. The challenge communicated to me was space and lack of equipment as the hotels where the cosplayers congregate do not allow you to use any light stands or equipment that can cause traffic congestion.

That made sense to me when I stood in a sky tunnel connecting to hotels with about five hundred bodies, shoulder to shoulder and I’m pretty sure the tunnel could only accommodate 100 comfortably.

This fantastic cosplayer, Miss Sinister Cosplay​ had a ring of photographers and speedlites firing away at her and she was posing with two other Stormtroopers (not featured in this composite) to the joy of a huge gathering of folks. She was kind enough to engage with other cosplayers that came up to her for a quick shot and she even had a mock battle with a younger boy cosplaying a Jedi. Needless to say I think he had weekend making moment and also probably had his first real crush 🙂

I shot this without a flash as camera mounted wasn’t doing anyone any justice. But a bit of love from the Raw Converter and a few stock images later – the Sith scene is born and barely holding my need to see Star Wars at bay.

Hope you like!

Sith-has-the-High-Ground-branded

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The Needs of the Many – Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

Spock in a blue Sciences uniform is not my guy.

Captain Spock is – particularly when he became Captain of the Federation Starship, Enterprise.  Mr-Spock-star-trek-the-movies-13224880-580-873Now granted, the Enterprise had been reduced to being a 23rd century school room for eager cadets to explore those strange new worlds, but they had one of the BEST teachers Starfleet could offer.  They had the pointed ear keeper of logic himself.

But more than that.  They had the man that knew how to balance Captain Kirk.

See I grew up being Captain Kirk in my mind.  And not the Kirk in the gold Command uniform of the 60’s series, but the Kirk that was an Admiral (whatever that meant, at the time) and was still the emotional man that was the leader.  He could smile, he could laugh – he could rub his chin in suspicion before ordering a yellow alert and he could slide down a vertical ladder using nothing but his fear that his best friend was about to die before his eyes.  But as I watched my hero, Admiral Kirk, hold his hand to a pane of glass and cry out in loss, “no.” I knew that I couldn’t just be Kirk if I was to survive this life.  I had to be something more than just my emotions.

And that was when I realized that I was also, Captain Spock.

Screenshot - 1_28_2013 , 1_49_56 AM

After all, Captain Spock was willing to be a teacher, rather than be the thrill seeker the Admiral was addicted to being.  Captain Spock was willing to be the “its okay; you can be large and in charge Tiberius, – I’ll just hang and balance you out, as usual.”

 

And when it came time, Captain Spock was willing to die for the many, because their needs out weighed the needs of the few.  Or the one.
If you understand nothing of what I’m talking about, then I highly encourage you to watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  It’ll change your life.

I quickly understood, more than ever, that I was Admiral Kirk – in life.  And equally I understood that if I were to be a better man, I was going to have to be Captain Spock, too.

I learned what it was to be a hero, from my friend, Admiral Kirk.

I learned what it was to be a friend and to begin to know peace, from my friend Captain Spock.

 

LeonardNimoy-WIDE

Dear Mr. Nimoy,

I know that you are not Captain Spock.  You are just an artist that played a character to the greatest of your talent for many years.  You also reached well beyond that particular role, to expand your horizons as an artist.  As I left my acting future behind me to embrace a new future of photography, I always took solace in the fact that you sir, were a brilliant actor and photographer, all at the same time.  You weren’t too bad a singer – that Bilbo Baggins song just wouldn’t be the same.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times – but you taught me logic.  More importantly, you taught me how to use logic, to find peace in my heart and my soul.  For that, I will always be eternally grateful.

All I have left, sir, is the final words that you left us with – in your real life: ” A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.”

And for the life that you wore like a Captain’s uniform, the final words that you taught me: “May you live long and prosper.”

At the very least, I hope you find the afterlife, “fascinating.”

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