Nicaragua to Date: Just a Pittsburgh photographer trying to capture the life around him.

Wow, its Wednesday already. The days fly by as we spend time in La Chureca (the city dump) and spend time as a group, worshiping, praying, and seeking God, and his purpose of this trip. As the days move on, the intensity of what we see continues to build.

Yesterday, on a path in La Chureca, Moises (Moist with an es) stopped our friend and guide Daniel and asked him to pray for him. Moises has been addicted to glue for years, and he was high when we saw him yesterday. His desire to let go of the burden of addiction was evident by his stopping us and asking for prayer, but we also know that addiction is a hard burden to let go of. As we prayed for him, he dropped to his knees, and began to weep: asking God to help him.

The story of Moises is not an uncommon one. Addiction grips La Chureca, where its residents find any way they can to numb the pain that they feel, the children are left desperately wanting to be shown love and affection. They run up and hug you, clinging to you in hopes that you will touch them, giving them a second to feel the love that they so seriously need. We met children as young as 11 years old, already addicted to glue. Their eyes, just dark holes in the sockets, nearly void of life, numbed to the world that they live in.

Some people would argue that that is the only way to go through life when hope barely seems to exist. I argue that with love, and the peace that experiencing love produces, a stronger drug than anything they could ever afford, is produced. As proof, we went to the local school and fed the kids during lunch. We played with them, sang with them, and saw joy in their eyes from love, and affection freely given. Regardless of the conditions that they have to go back to, for a while they were  totally free to be kids.

We also visited a girls home that Daniel and Jessenia started this year. We had a craft time, talked, played, and then they put on a performance for us. This home is important because the girls and one boy (Elias) are all from La Chureca. Their parents want to see them have a different life, and have allowed them to come to a place away from drugs and violence. A place where they can learn and grow as children.

As we ate and settled in for the night, we prayed as a group, and began to experience Gods presence like most of us had never felt before. Im still trying to work through what I was witness to, but you can check out our group Blog Mission 2 Nicaragua for Pastor Dougs thoughts. All I can say is I have never been in the presence of something so powerful, so clearly other-worldly.

On that note, its time for breakfast now, and Im really hungry. Enjoy some photos from the trip.

Check out some of our group blogs.

Mark:
http://leavingthemabetterplace.blogspot.com

Group: Aka Pastor Doug
http://mission2nicaragua.wordpress.com

More to come later today or tomorrow.

For the photographer minded out there. the majority of the photos are shot with a Nikon D2h in its 4megapixel glory with a Sigma 70-200 2.8. The rest are with a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 20-35 2.8. I’ll also have some film and Polaroids coming thanks to a SX-70 and the Impossible Project.

Pittsburgh Restaurant and Portrait Photography: Bistro Soul: Chef Matty

My Dad has been working with a wonderful restaurant on the North Side of Pittsburgh called Bistro To Go. After meeting with him for lunch a few times and getting to know the owner Nikkie, and wonderful staff, I was asked to come and do some work for them on a few different levels. One which includes photographing their newest venture Bistro Soul: a healthy version of southern home cooking. Right now, Bistro Soul is under construction, and I am photographing the total rebuild of the interior of the building. Once that starts, I’ll be photographing their remodel, and the finished product for the website.

Yesterday I was brought down to photograph the face of Bistro Soul and Head Chef. Meet Matty.

For you photographers out there, the indoor photos were shot with a Nikon D700, 70-200 2.8 lens, and a Nikon Sb-800 1/16 power high camera right bounced into an umbrella and fired with a pocket wizard. The space was very small so I was using the wall to camera left to bounce a little light back onto her face.

Blessings

Shooting for you- Slowing down to be better for your clients.

I cant wait for winter to come! My goggles, ski pants, boots, and snowboard, are all ready for the white stuff to come. Im so excited to get out on the slopes and start shooting some winter lifestyle, be it families playing and having fun, or kids throwing cork 9′s off of a big table top, its a new beginning, a chance to shoot what I love; a chance to take a nap, and wake up fully refreshed, with new ideas, and start rocking a new year of weddings.

I’ll also be shooting a little bit of fashion, and glamor, just to mix it up a bit. It helps me to come up with new ideas for brides and grooms, and try and keep it fresh, and fun.

I love this photo from back in September. I was out shooting a wedding downtown, and as we were walking back to the limo, I saw this guy walking up the street and I turned and grabbed this photo. I took three images, and this was my favorite.

Dont be afraid to take time to shoot for you. I was talking to a group of photographers recently, and they, like me were burned out. Because they were burned out they were unhappy, and very stressed out. Sometimes its better to just take a day to yourself, go out and shoot something that you want. If you aren’t a photographer, go do something that you love, just for you. After a day of R & R, you will come back more refreshed than you ever could have imagined a single day could do.

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