Tag Archives | photography

Photo of the Week: “Waiting for His World to Change”

Waiting in Jail in Uganda

My photo of the week again from the archive on my recent trip.  I took this photo and liked it, but once the color was corrected, it’s power really came through.  This was another boy we met in the prison in northern Uganda.  They just sit and wait all day.  The look on his face captured the pain of waiting, wondering what’s next, and wishing you were back home in school.  The light is from the doorway and I particularly like the way it illuminated its outline on the back wall.  The lighting is what makes the photo.  After our work, the boy has his case dismissed and went home.  I shot the photo with my ultra-wide angle lens.


Photo of the Week: “Boys Behind Bars”

Boys behind bars.jpg

I am starting a new blog series, “Photo of the Week,” where I will share a photo from my archive and tell the backstory.  Some may be recent photos and others may be old photos that I’ve rediscovered through new post-production techniques.  Simultaneously, I’ve changed my photography workflow, so I’m going back to revisit and re-master favorites from the archive.  Photos will come from a diverse range of themes, but predominantly a thread I plan to curate, “Images of Justice.”   I’m not a ‘photographer’–those are professionals.  I’m just a lawyer using a camera to tell a story.

“Boy Behind Bars” was shot at a tiny, rural prison in Uganda.  After our juvenile justice work concluded, I went back out for a final visit and brought my camera along.  It’s often too chaotic to shoot when we have 10-15 people visiting out there.  On this trip, it was only three of us, so it was calm and I could capture routine moments of the day.  I spent some time talking to these boys in the jail–many were accused of pretty serious crimes and I was locked in the cell with them for awhile.  We had a good chat and they agreed to let me take their photo.  I wanted a photo of them through the bars with the lock and I got exactly that.  I like the colors and I like the asymmetry of their positions: looking between bars, looking around bars, hands up, hands down, shirt on, shirt off.  Yet, their current conditions are the same.  Both boys were acquitted and/or released after our work.



My Favorite Photos from 2012 Thailand Trip

These photos were taken on the Pepperdine University School of Law Spring Break Service trip to Northern Thailand.  We spent 10 days along the Thai-Burma border visiting refugee camps and working with various humanitarian organizations.  Read my story on the experience of staying the night in Mae La Refugee Camp.


Visiting the buddhist temple at Doi Suthep.


Refugee Camp Fence Crossing

Crossing the barbwire boundary into Mae La Refugee Camp.


Receiving a tour of Mae La Refugee Camp.


Mae La Houses

Mae La is nearly identical to a Karen village in the jungle.



Listening to harmonies of Care Villa–a home for amputees of landmine injuries.



Negeen and Amy making two new friends.


Steps to the Prayer House

Steps up to the Prayer House overlooking Mae La Refugee Camp.


Girl with Beads

I see you too.



Grant bellowing out Battle Hymn of the Republic at devotional service in Mae La.



Riding elephants.


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My Five Favorite Photos of the Year

2011 was a fun year for photography.  Between new camera equipment and trips to Thailand, Uganda, Rwanda, Peru, and Tahiti, there was plentiful ground for photos.


Today, I looked back through my archive of the year to revisit what I had taken.  I wanted to select what I felt were my five most iconic of the year.  It was much harder than I expected–the first three were the only completely obvious choices to me.

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Astonishing Night Photography from Tahiti (the Brilliant Milky Way)

The Milkyway like I've Never Seen It Before

Look at the Milky Way!  I have never seen this Milk Way like this before.  This photo was taken on the island of Moorea in French Polynesians.  Far out into the Pacific Ocean with little air and light pollution, the stars are amazing.  The Milky Way was astonishing, but when I photographed it on a long exposure, it showed up in brilliant hues of blue and purple.  I always thought that due to our atmosphere, the stars could only be photography in color from outer space.  Apparently not.  I took this photo on a bridge that had a small light and provided just enough light to illuminate the palm tree, which I think gives the sky some perspective and color contrast.  (Click the photo to see a larger image.)

Overwater Huts

French Polynesia is famous for its overwater bungalows.  I love the way this bungalow glowed at night, lighting up the water below.  Note the stars and skyline.  (Click on the photo to see it closer.)

Lagoon and the Stars

The lagoon near our room.


Another perspective on the lagoon at night.  The water was incredibly still.

Looking up the Milkyway

Lisa and I taking in the Milky Way.


Stunning Minnesota at Night: A Photo Essay

The Lake at Night

I had to share these photos that I took late last night.  Yesterday evening, around 9 a.m. there were hundreds of fireflies dancing in the park acrsoss the street.  I have never seen anything like it.  I tried to photograph them, but struggled to get the right shot.   About 1 a.m., I was climbing into bed and decided I wanted one last chance at capturing the fireflies with a long exposure.  I threw some clothes on and walked across the street.  Unfortunately, the fireflies had mostly gone to sleep already too.  Rather than give up, I decided I’d go and give the lake a shot.  It did not disappoint.

The photo above was taken at 1 a.m., believe it or not.  It was a bright moon and I used a long exposure.  The yellow streaks are firefly trails–the from the few fireflies still up.  And, if you look closely, you can see the stars in the deep blue high in the photograph.  This was taken on Lake Okabena in Worthington, Minnesota.


This is the park across the street where the fireflies were dancing.  I took this photo around 9 p.m. and it was the only photo I could get.  Unfortunately, this photo doesn’t do the fireflies justice.  They were everywhere.  The yellow streaks are the firefly trails.  I count six fireflies in the single photo.  I’m going to try for a better photo again tonight.

The Dock at Night

Finally, here is our dock on Lake Okabena at night.  This photo is quintessential Minnesota.


Onward to Gulu: A Four-Year Photo Essay

Today we started the long, rather arduous drive to Gulu in Northern Uganda.  Gulu was the epicenter of the civil war that involved the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), spanning quite a few years until the mid-2000s when the Ugandan government finally pushed the LRA into the Southern Sudan and the DRC. 

Beautiful people

Gulu appears almost post-apocalyptic.  There’s little infrastructure and less city planning.  You can see the effects of the war, which devastated the region.  Dr. Tippens aptly likened it to the scenes of the movie, District 9.  Tonight’s tone was accented by rolling blackouts that delayed our dinner—and most everything else.

This afternoon, we drove north from Gulu on a very bumpy road, red dirt road, out to the Restore Leadership Academy.  We learned that the road—not an easy drive—is the main interstate across Africa!  It goes from Cape Town to Cairo.  Now, THAT would be a road trip!  It’s amazing that a major road like this (and semi trucks regularly passed us) can remain unpaved.  You know that you’re in the middle of nowhere when you can mistake the major highway for a dirt back road.

I realized this evening that this is my fourth trip to Gulu.  I didn’t think I had been here that many times, but apparently I’ve made the trek each time I’ve been to Uganda.  To give you a way to visualize Gulu and the surrounding areas, I combined four years of photos I’ve taken here into the following slideshow (note: not all photos are color corrected).

Tomorrow we are off to Murchison Falls National Park.  Hopefully I’ll update from there!  And, just as I was finishing the final touches to hit send – another rolling blackout!  …And then another… 


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