This was our set up in 2010 when Terry Schwartz and brotherjoe first came down to Oaxaca for Summer Camp. We brought 2 compact HP Printers to print 4×6 portraits of the kids at camp. Since then we have been down to Oaxaca for Summer Camp 3 of the last 4 years and we have learned a lot about how much gear we need to bring. We definitely used to bring too much back then.
This year, with 2 Summer Camps back to back, it’s been a busy week and half. We now leave one of the printers in Oaxaca, so we don’t have to bring it down with us anymore.
The kids are just as cute as they were in 2010! And the blessings are just as huge. Amazingly, there are still kids who have never had their photo taken! That’s why we come to Oaxaca.
Tonight brotherjoe heads off to new territory for Mission Focused….Guadalajara!
We have never photographed on mission there, so it’s gonna be exciting!!
Adios Oaxaca! Cya soon.
Wednesday was a full day. Getting all my gear in order and trying to realx before traveling off to Oaxaca. Went to class. We all got blessed by hearing Cyndy share a little bit about how she became a follower of Christ and what God was doing in her life. How she is excited that she can now use her love for photography and her love for short term missions as the same time, to serve Christ with her gifts.
After sharing some of our photos in class…it was time to head south, so I thought.
Cyndy and Danie took me to the Greyhound station so I could catch the shuttle to the Tijuana airport. When we got to the Broadway location somebody moved the station and didn’t tell me. I should have known this wasn’t gonna be an “easy” trip to Oaxaca.
When we got to the new Greyhound location, 1313 National Ave in the East Village area, Cyndy and Danie got all geeked up and had to go and take photos of the address, since the class homework for this week was to take photos of “13.”
I said my “good-byes” and went to get my ticket to the Tijuana airport. Time comes and I get on the wrong bus, the bus to L.A. After sitting on the bus for a few minutes, something just didn’t feel right. So I ask and they tell me I’m on the bus to L.A. I get off, go to the bathroom, and when I get out…my bus to the Tijuana airport is leaving without me! Ugh. The next shuttle didn’t leave till 1130pm, which would have gotten me in to the airport at 1215am, cutting it close.
Me sitting on the wrong bus…not realizing this fact yet!
That’s when I meet Johnny and Raul. They both work for Greyhound and had just gotten off work. They live in Tijuana and asked if I wanted a ride to the border to catch my bus. I paused to think for what seemed like an hour…praying and working out worst case scenarios in my head. What if they kill me, kidnap me or kick me out the car with all my stuff in Tijuana…I said “sure.”
We jump in the car, start flying down the freeway and along the way we pass the bus. I ask if they are gonna drop me off at the bus terminal in San Ysidro, they said they would drop me off on the other side of the border where the busses cross. At this point I have no choice but to go along for the ride.
The whole drive south I’m praying and looking start to share that I’m a child of the Most High King, on a mission from God to go to Oaxaca. Which opened me up to the question of what will I be doing in Oaxaca? Again, I start to think…do I tell them I’m a photographer and open myself up to be a target?
Why am I thinking these things? Johnny and Raul seem like nice guys, despite the fact that Johnny has an Oakland Raiders helmet hanging from his mirror! That’s when I just had to laugh and go along for the ride!
I believe God provided a way for me to go to Oaxaca so I could photograph the work He is doing through Adventure in Life in Mexico. I belive the enemy is at work trying to discourage, distract, and destroy the plans of God as followers of Christ step out in faith to minister for His sake.
Needless to say I was able to catch my bus and make my way to the Tijuana airport. I wish that was the end of this stories adventures…nope!
After getting to the airport and getting my visa, I go through the first of many checkpoints in the airport. They stop me because I have 3 laptop computers with me. “Why do you have the laptops?”
Dan and Jack, part of the Jesus Geeks Team, working at the Chick-Fil-A office in Mira Mesa
I explain that they were donated, thanks to Jack Costner and the Jesus Geeks, for missionaries in Oaxaca. I’m told you are allowed to bring 1 computer with you, and if I want to bring the extra computers I have to pay taxes, even if they are being donated. They didn’t care who was gonna get them. So I paid the taxes.
Almost on the plane…I’m sitting at the gate waiting for the plane to board, when the Volaris agents started walking around checking carry-on bags and asking folks to check them at the gate. Of course that is not gonna happen! It doesn’t matter that my carry-on roller and backpack weigh twice as much as my checked bag. The gal says something to me in Spanish, I don’t know a lot of Spanish but I gathered that she wanted me to go and check my bag. Nope. So for the next 20 minutes as they’re walking around taking bags I’m trying to lay low and hide my roller. I wish I had it on video, kinda funny. Thankfully I made it on the plane with both my bags.
My trusty Think Tank Airport International roller
On a side note, if your a photographer…Think Tank Photo have the best gear for your gear! I’m “rolling” with the Airport International ver. 1 and Shapeshifter backpack.
Now it’s 10pm in Oaxaca and I’m ready! Praise God!
MISSION focused is going to Israel with K House in May 2012
If you’ve never been to Israel and have always wanted to go…this is the time. Like many of you, i have friends who have been to Israel…and the stories you hear make you want to go and experience the Land for yourself!
Unlike many of the trips to Israel…this is gonna be a sloooow trip!
This tour is a time to do just that and is geared towards those who want in-depth Bible teaching and also a photographer’s dream…time to NOT rush through the Land but rather to ponder through the Land, either through personal time of reflection or through the lens of your camera…or both!
We are going with Pastor Dan Stolebarger & K House, who will be leading and teaching us about the Land. This is a dream tour for photographers and those who want to visit Israel at a more contemplative pace.
space is limited…if you’re interested please email us…
while im still recovering from the cayman trip, i am anxious to get out there to shoot more. looking forward to mexico in july with adventures in life. more on that later. one of the blogs i check out from time to time is scott kelbys photoshop insider blog, you can visit it HERE.
he linked a great article from the folks at national geographic on travel and photography…well worth sharing. there are some really great, basic insights, that i wish i had known prior to going to the cayman islands and jamaica…but better late than never i suppose. you can check out the article Right Here.
yes, this is your camera staring at you saying “lets go shoot…”
the mythical tree of creativity, in my neighbors front yard. i wish i would have known that sooner. many moons ago, i had this sticker that said “mediocrity sucks.” it was an ad campaign for the distributor of italian cycling gear, back in early 90’s, i dont remember now who it was. i guess the ad campaign didnt work too well after all. i do recall the idea was dont use inferior(mediocre) gear, use theirs. “mediocrity sucks” has been something ive held on to ever since, with obvious implications to our life with God. i do think that as followers of Christ, we (i) often settle for mediocrity, saying “its good enough.”
david du chemin says that in the life of a photographer, we often settle for good enough, the so-called low hung fruit on the tree of creativity. he is speaking specifically about shooting in exotic and picturesque locations. in these locations, its hard to not take beautiful pictures. thats easy! taking powerful, compelling images of the mundane or the “ugly” parts of jamaica, where toursits dont go…that takes hard work, sweat, and patience.
the GOOD is the enemy of the BEST!
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent
Philippians 1: 9-10
in the greek, paul is saying the “knowledge and all discernment” is an understanding of what is good vs what is excellent. he assumes we know the right thing to do (choosing between right and wrong), God wants us to understand that the choices we make are often decisions between what is good and what is best. God wants us to choose the BEST! this is what paul is praying. that we would see what is good and excellent, and that we would choose the excellent, the best.
a pastor friend of mine shared with me and a group of brothers who met with him weekly, a perfect example from his life of what paul is encouraging us to do. he had just finished eating dinner with the family and was looking forward to spending some time with God reading the Word. as he sat in his easy chair he began reading…his kids finished clearing the table, and his wife began washing the dishes from dinner. at that moment, God told him to put the Word down, and go help your wife do the dishes. he was speaking honestly with us that evening, and he struggled with this request for a bit. his mindset was, what better thing is there than chilling and reading God’s Word? nothing! but God said, right then and there, the best place for him was next to his wife, helping with the dishes….setting an example for his son and daughter, living out what he had been teaching them. after finishing the dishes and thanking his wife again for the delicious meal she had cooked, he went back to the Word.
at that moment, a choice between helping his wife and reading the Word, one was clearly better than the other. he chose the best.
photographers and christians often take the easy route, we grab the low hung fruit cause its convenient and within reach. but like the tree with the fruit way up high, where its hard to reach and takes an extra amount of effort to get to. the rewards are much bigger, the fruit is tastier and sweeter.
in preparation for the caymans, the task is to not duplicate the photography we did in jamaica. but to look for what God has for us NOW!
as people who love Jesus, we stretch ourselves as photographers, reaching for the high hung fruit on the tree of creativity…because of this, we will inevitably fall at times. but the rewards and blessings involved with stepping out in faith, to reach higher and further than we have dared to in the past is far greater than merely settling for just good enough.
i had the pleasure of spending some time today with kimberly, a senior at the rock academy, for their “shadow” work day. she is interested in journalism and photography, so she got stuck with hanging out with me after not hearing back from national geographic and getty images. i said a bunch of silly stuff, pretending to know something about photography, i think i fooled her. but i did get to share something that i feel was worth sharing…at catalyst last week, andy stanley closed this years gathering with a quote from howard hendricks (a professor at dallas theological seminary).
if there is anything that has kept me on track all these (50+) years of ministry…its sticking to this principle: many things will detract us from our goals, but the secret to concentration is elimination
i was reminded of this quote after reading nicoles blog from wilderness. as we allow God to work in our lives, His process of sanctification (making us more like Jesus) isnt always easy or fun. but as we eliminate the mediocre, the distractions, and focus on the best… it will only make us stronger and more focused on the race thats before us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
free photo class tonite, april 28th, 7pm in jrhi room at the rock, 3rd floor.
all are welcome, with or without a camera. this is a time to share about our shared passion for photography, and hopefully encourage yall to get out and start taking more pics of this beautiful world God has created.
its good to slow down, enjoy some nice coffee and a coronet w nutella. and think about stuff
the kind of stuff ive been thinking about recently and have pondered several times in the past is that “mediocrity sucks!”
this loquat tree by home is full of fruit, and if you look closely, all the low hung fruit are just about all gone. david talks about location-travel photography, like in the caymans, in exotic locations is fun and easy to get beautiful colorful pics. he calls that the “low hung fruit” on the tree of creativity.
for some photographers, thats enough.
but often, the “best” fruit is the stuff thats hard to reach, that takes effort and skill to get to, and sometimes an element of danger and uncertainty. come tonite and lets have fun talking about photography.
as miles ahead prepares for the do something world event in the cayman islands, the event in the philippines is just around the corner…i was reminded of this fact in oaxaca, mexico. the hotel i stayed at the first day i got there was flying the philippine flag out front. yes. the philippine flag deep in the heart of mexico.
the do something world event in manila, the capital of the philippines, is tentatively scheduled for feb of 2011. thats less than a year away!! if you cant make it to the cayman islands in may…maybe you can come to the philippines and be blessed there. its not to early to be thinking, planning and praying about serving Jesus in the philippine islands…
for more info about miles ahead, the cayman islands or philippine islands events, please go HERE
march 20th, 2010 swallows day parade, san juan capistrano
we are goin for a train ride up to san juan capistrano, for the 52nd annual swallows day parade. we will be leaving san diego from the santa fe depot in dtown san diego bright and early, the parade starts at 11am, rain or shine. from the amtrak stop, its just a short walk to the mission and parade route.
if your interested in having some fun with us…drop us an email. stay tuned, we will have more info soon firstname.lastname@example.org
check out the info from the official swallows day parade site….
The 2010 Swallows Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 20th. The Fiesta de la Golondrinas celebrates the legend of the return of the swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission on St. Joseph’s, March 19th. This event is the reason behind all the festivities.
The Parade takes place in down-town San Juan Capistrano. The Swallows Day Parade is the nation’s largest non-motorized parade. It is completly organized and presented by the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association. Arrive early; most street closures are in effect by 10.00 a.m. The parade begins promptly at 11 am.
took this pic on the way to americo and normas this morning…fun with rain
this morning was long and fun day of hanging out with the other folks on the mission, traveling around and seeing the sights of oaxaca. will be loading pics from today when i get back to sd. i will be sorting out pics as well, trying to put together a visual timeline of the work that was done this week…
im tired, its past 11pm in oaxaca, and im on the plane early in the am to san diego, via tijuana.
stay tuned for some awesome pics of monte alban! never heard of it, google it!!
**mo pics from friday**
when we were in tlacolua thursday, we did some work in the church adventures in life help build several years ago. God willing, they would like to finish the 2nd story which will house pastors who will be teaching classes below. pastors from around oaxaca and surrounding cities could come and receive training in Gods Word, in theology, and Biblical interpretation…to name a few.
wandering inside the church, i saw what looked like a Bible. it was El Nuevo Testamento en el zapoteco de San Juan Guelavia y en espanol. the New Testament in zapotecan. what you see above in John 3:16 in zapotecan. i was told that there are still more dialects of zapotecan that dont have Gods Word translated yet…hopefully soon.
sustainable agriculture is one way of helping the oaxacans, and the plan is to teach them how to grow sweet corn, corn for tortillas, tomatoes, and peppers that they can harvest and sell in the market. teaching them to use small parcels of land to grow for harvest and live off of will help make life more productive for them. its easy to give them money and make ourselves feel better. but if we can teach them ways to be self sufficient and self sustaining, thats much bettah.
so i have this cool polaroid pogo printer, that has proven to be gold. and it only cost $100, cheaper if its on sale or at walmart, but generally thats what ive seen them selling for. i shared the following pic yesterday of the little zapotecan girl holding the pogo printer
in the corner you can see my camera thats linked to the pogo printer, and her picture coming out as she stares at this thing shes never seen before. as i shared yesterday, this little printer established some sort of trust between us, where she let me take more pics of her. so much so that she brought her older sister over to get her pic taken as well.
wandering in town today, i saw the 2 of them and they both smiled and waved “hi” to me. as i waved backed, again it made me grateful that i brought the printer with me. and i have to give credit to david du chemin for sharing about this little magic printer on his blog.
this evening, as i was posting pics from the day, i started to think about the pic above… and after dinner, we gathered and shared about our day.
one of the questions dave asked was for us to think about “the haves” and “have nots” in terms of missions. short term mission trips arent cheap, and depending on where your going, you may spend several thousands $$ on airfare & travel before you even pay for the “missions” part of it. as americans on short term missions, we are the “haves.” would the money we pay to be part of something like oaxaca, or miles ahead “do something” cayman island event, be put to better use if we just write a check to further the ministry here in oaxaca or in the cayman islands…
the answer is yes. but as dave said, that check is never written.
which brings me to the question of to pogo or not to pogo? the bigger picture is this. as i was taking the picture of the young girl. shes holding the printer, im holding my 40d, and im taking her picture with my 5d. add that up, along with the lenses. well you can do the math, if not google it. did that young girl have any idea or even care about what camera i had or how much it cost? probably not. could i use “less expensive” gear? yes.
bottom line as i think about it, i have made a decision to use my gear to honor God as much as possible. by helping adventures in life document the work they are doing in oaxaca, and hopefully others will see and want to donate to their work in oaxaca and in mexico. is there a need in mexico? certainly. is there a need in san diego? yes. everything we do must be centered on Christ and our motivation must be to glory Him in everything we do. whether it be in the states, jamaica, or oaxaca. do it whole heartedly, for His kingdom.
pogo for Jesus!
this kid blew by me, running the whole time, not a care in the world. it made me think that the little kid wasnt sad that he didnt have the latest nintendo ds, or that his ipod was old…he was joyful
Psalm 95: 1-2
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
jolene, kelly, ann, becca, and erin.
the oaxaca week of ministry is usually “for men only.” but God has blessed this trip with a strong group of women who have stepped up to minister and serve in towns surrounding oaxaca. jolene is a doctor, kelly is an nurse, and with the help of ann, erin, and adventures in life staffer becca, they are able to serve as Christ would, and provide valuable medical help to those who may not ordinarily get it.
pastor steve and denny…
norma and brian, whos checkin out whats for lunch
peekin out the window of the truck…
brian and jerry…heads up
we need more cement bigboy
mom and daughter walking away from market
2 teenage gals, hangin out with friends, in the center of san baltazar…just like teens back in usa
around the corner from where we are working, is an old school wood fired adobe brick oven, i was invited in to take a look and get some pics
stra-te-gery meeting inside iglesia bautista ebenezer
getting forms ready for future sidewalk
2nd adobe, before work began
pastor steve and rick, cutting rebar
shawn and bigboy lowering the floor in the adobe
they must have spent 3 hours digging out that post. they struggled to get it out, but it wasnt until they attached the cross bar, to give them extra leverage…were they then able to finish the job
dave hard at work, or is that hardly workin…
diggin in the adobe….
rick, getting power to the bathrooms
doug and pastor steve, putting up 4×4 cross beams
laying down fresh cement
wiring the support beams in place
monday was our first full day of work…the men went to san baltazar, to do some construction at one of the churches pastor americo teaches at. the church building was built several years ago by previous adventures in life mens ministry weeks. san baltazar is about 45 minutes from mitla, where most of us are staying. we met up and prayed inside the church, and discussed the plan for the construction work.
we were to build a walkway between connection 2 adobe bldgs and the main church. lower the floor in the smaller of the 2 adobe bldgs, and put a roof over it. build a patio covering over the cement slab next to the church, and wire the bathrooms with power so there will be light.
loading of pics at pastor americo’s home takes some time, so im only gonna post 5 pics this morning… first is of the team of men, pictured w pastor americo and norma, doing the contruction work this week.
next 3 are of a young zapotecan girl, who spoke zapotecan. her mom was inside the adobe helping norma make lunch for the men, when she poked her head out the door to see what the men were doing outside. i took the 1st pic, then she seemed to get spooked and went inside. thats when i got my polaroid pogo printer out and printed this 1st pic for her. i printed it and gave it to her. once she saw what i was doing, she let me take a few more pics, and even tried to smile for me. i printed the 2nd pic for her, and as i let her hold the printer i took the 3rd pic. she warmed up to me, and norma told me her mom wants to get her pic taken and printed too.
i know the power of photography to break down walls, and have seen it before firsthand. but using the pogo printer, allowed me to better reach the little zapotecan gal who probably has never seen a picture of herself before. she later came back w her older sister. i could tell she didnt know what to tell her sister exactly, but she had the pic i took of her and her sister wanted one too… im here in oaxaca to work, to help document what dave & adventures in life are doing in mexico.
this last pic is a simple yet powerful reminder of why we are here. to build on what Christ has already done for all of us, and share that Good News with those who may not know Him yet. if i can help pastor americo to minister to the native zapotecans, and help future groups of men that come to oaxaca to build and minister and come along side pastor americo, but taking a few pics. im blessed all the more. im already blessed, and its just the first day of real shooting…cant wait to see what God does next.
first full day in oaxaca. we gathered for breakfast at 1 of the hotels, then it was off to mitla for church. we walked to where the bus to mitla picked folks up…nothing like a brisk hike in the morning to get the blood pumping…
iglesia bautista in mitla, for sunday services
big boy up front, introducing everyone from the adventures in life group
pastor americo, pastor of iglesia bautista, introducing pastor jesus who preached on sunday
prayer & worhsip in mitla…not much different than in san diego.
lunch! chicken barbacoa, mighty good! we ate lunch with the families after service.
dave miller, executive director of ail, brian and pastors americo and jesus
on bus to tlacolula, standing room only
in the tlacolula market, valentines gifts for those who forgot
zapotecan women in their traditional clothing, checkin out the papayas in the market
i love the colors…and i took this pic because i took the same pic in a market in italy a few years back
a few of us relaxin after bargain hunting in the market
the team, all together, in prayer for the upcoming week of ministry
sunday nite, we all gathered for dinner at pastor americos and normas house, and with everyone there it was a chance to talk more about the week of ministry and then pray. praise God, im excited for what God is gonna do…
my long day that started friday nite in downtown san diego is almost done. its about 1045pm in oaxaca casa arnel is fairly quiet…i had a nice nap in a hammock this afternoon, up on the balcony. and then it was off to the races. we took a cab to the center of town and have been walking since. we did take a cab back to the hotel tonite and my feet are barking. the center of town was full of activity, there was some sort of celebration goin on with tons of folks walkin around downtown, along with lots of folks hugging and kissin on each other. they celebrate valentines in mexico as well. these are a few of the pics i took today…enjoy.
in oaxaca now. i survived the trip into tj and flying out of the airport wasnt so bad. certainly an experience. i took the volaris airline shuttle from dtown san diego, changed buses in tj, and after getting over the border and a few different checkpoints in the airport, i was ready to wait……
my thinktank airport international...gotta love it
bus change in san ysidro
watching folks go by in tj airport
having arrived at the airport gate 3 hours before my 145am flight, i had some time to kill. so i found a place i could grab a drink, plug in my computer and get some editing done, and wasted the time away.
somewhere over mexico
dave miller, head cheese with adventures in life and sean, self proclaimed “redneck” from eastern oregon, picked me up at the oaxaca international airport (or should that be landing strip) and took me to casa arnel hotel, where im at now. this place is really cool.
casa arnel hotel, oaxaca mexico
i like the colors….
im pretty tired from the flight over, but i think im gonna go walk around and see what i see…Praise God!
im getting ready to go to oaxaca mexico, flying out of tijuana airport around 1 am or so…im gonna be documenting the work of adventures in life. adventures is a short term missions organization thats been serving in mexico for over 15 years. dont know if i will have internet access, so if you dont hear from me…thats why. i get back to san diego on the 20th.
if you want to learn more about adventures in life, please feel free to visit their website HERE
san diego is a great place to live. its dec 15th, and im outside a coffee shop wearing pants and short-sleeve shirt, and totally comfy. the sunset is looking pretty sweet, too bad im in mission valley, too far from the beach. the sunset is all red and glowing, probably from the fire sunday nite at the porn joint offices on rosecrans.anyway, someone recently mentioned not wanting to take touristy pics…. which made me think. hmmm
what is a tourist and what kind of pics does he or she take? i guess the bigger picture, pun intended, is what is a “professional” photographer?
last time i went to the philippines to visit my peeps, i would frequently wander around town taking pics, much like a tourist. technically i was a toursit, according to my passport, in the philippines. and i was taking pics for my own personal enjoyment… traditional definitions for a “professional” shooter meant you got paid for what you do or take pics of. so i guess i technically was an amateur.
others have written about the subject of what is a professional and what is not, and im not adding anything new to the discussion. but my momma says “stupid is what stupid shoots,” or shomething like that. there are plenty of tourist who create great, powerful pictures that any professional would love to take credit for. and there a “pro” shooters who havnt a creative bone in their body, but know how to take pics that sell and make money.
this is a touristy pic i took at the coffe shop
the most important thing to me is am i taking pics that say something? am i being challenged creatively, and am i growing as a photographer. theres so much to learn and folks to learn from, both “professionals” and non “professionals.”
as a person of faith, sold out for Jesus…am i taking pics that show Him off, that bring Glory to Him, that point to the creator and His Spirit at work in this world today?!! thats what matters to me. so id rather be a tourist than an unimaginitive “professional” photographer. as david duchemin says, “gear is good. vision is better.”
pics from italy. by pete giordano
Venice, early in the morning
Arno River, Florence