Monthly Archives: July 2007

The 9th Birthday Celebration For Christian Watkins

On Saturday, July 28th 2007, some family and friends helped me to celebrate the 9th birthday of my youngest son Christian Lee Watkins (A.K.A My Buddy). Each day that God gives us is a blessing and I thank God for the 9 years that Christian has been on this earth.

If you know Christian at all then you’re familiar with the fact that he’s a busy body. He loves to joke, laugh, cut up with his brother BJ as well as get into trouble. Unfortunately, he inherited the mischievous gene from me… because if truth be told.. I was a LOT WORSE than he while growing up. . which is how I got the name “Ivan the Terrible” anywayyyyyyyy it was a CONSPIRACY against me…

Christian’s birthday party was held at the AMF bowling lanes in Durham, NC at 3:00 p.m. We had a blast but the downside was that we had so many children that there was no such thing as rest. As far as trying to photograph everyone… I wasn’t able to. There were so many kids running around (16 to be exact) and that made trying to photograph all of them plus the guests a daunting task. In a nutshell, it was like trying to shoot ants with a bb gun. As soon as you get them in your sites… they’re gone…… Therefore, I wasn’t able to capture everyone that attended the party.. for a while I was stuck like a deer in headlights not knowing which way to go.

Moving on to the pictures…….

I told Christian that I wanted a special picture of him turning 9 years of age because it would be my way of remembering his birthday.

We setup the lights and this is the picture that he allowed me to capture of him proudly holding his bowling pin. Note: some of the names can hardly be seen because Aleah tried to erase them. There’s nothing worse than a woman’s scorn….. I guess it starts when they are young. (yes, I know some of you are going to get me for saying that but I’m used to being GOT)


Here is a shot of his candle burning……


And of course the picture of him blowing out the flame.


If you’ve been around me for any length of time then you will find that one thing I’m serious about is trying to capture the details of whatever event I’m attending. Beauty can be found in the most common overlooked places. For example.. in a bowling alley we are used to seeing bowling balls on the racks and we pay them no attention. However, this is how they look to my eye.


The bowling game went on for 1 hour 30 minutes YES!!!! THAT WAS ONE GAME… 16 children playing ONE game. . . let me calm down… Once the game was over, everyone gathered around the birthday table and took turns signing Christian’s bowling pin.

Here is a picture of Calise signing Christian’s bowling pin. She is one of Aleah’s running buddies from church.


As you can probably imagine there was a bunch of chaos around the lanes. However, in the midst of all the children running around there were also some interesting things taking place. If you’ve every bowled then you know that one of the hardest things to knock down is a split. Keeping that in mind… Christian’s cousin, Chandler, walked up to me and said “I know how to do a split.” Once I saw her do the split I just had to capture it and therefore I present to you what I call “THE SPLIT-ER”. The original, “Normal”, photo can be found in the photo gallery.


One person that stays on Christian’s HIT list is Devin Johnson. He is Brent’s running buddy here on my street. At any point in time you may hear this…. “Christian if you don’t leave me alone I’m going to punch you …….. in your jaw……… arrrrggghhhhh (frustrated sound)!” “MR. WATKINS WOULD YOU PLEASE TELL CHRISTIAN TO LEAVE ME ALONE?!”

Well, here is a picture of Devin getting ready to pick off some pins.


And last but definitely not least here is a candid / paparazzi style shot of Christian checking out his energy drink.


Answer this question for me . . . have you ever seen a ballerina strike a pose after rolling the ball? Well if you want to see it then take a few moments and view the rest of photographs that were captured at Christian’s birthday celebration.


Melvin Dailey & His Children

I’ve been Melvin’s neighbor for about 9 years and over the time we’ve watched each other’s children grow up. Today I had the chance to help Melvin Dailey preserve some precious memories. It just so happened that his children were in the mood to take some photographs and so we took advantage of the moment and captured the portraits below. Featured from left to right are Melkwon, Melvin and Marissa.


There is one thing that can be said…. Marissa will always be Melvin’s baby girl.



Ahhhhhh, you’ve got to love it.. a little bit of sibling rivalry. Sure some people like stiff, classically posed pictures and there is a place for that. However, the most fun photographs are the ones that show the true love and joy that family members have for each other. melvinandkids-122.jpg

And of course you know that dad had to jump in and get a piece of the action as well.

Today Marissa was not only one of my subjects to photograph but she worked as my assistant as well. She helped me get the lights metered and setup. This was actually a test shot that was intended to check the exposure on the camera.

Two Cool Cats @ UNCG Summer Music Camp

So you’re probably wondering.. what could this blog be about? It is about BJ and his running buddy Marquise. On Sunday, July 8th 2007, BJ and Marquise attended the UNC of Greensboro’s Summer Music Camp.

In the photo below you see them just styling and doing their thing.


Both of them got a taste of what it is like to rely on themselves.
Not only did they have their own money but they also had their own dorm room. They were responsible for taking their showers, waking up on time, making sure they ate and went to bed at a decent time. They stayed at the camp from Sunday at 4:30 p.m. until Friday when we left around 8:30 p.m. On the first night, Sunday, BJ went through a little shell shock because he didn’t have TV therefore no video games.

He called me to say good night and he sounded a little sad. On Monday he called and said HI YALL… on the answering machine.. then hung up. And guess what.. after that we didn’t hear a THANG from BJ… not until Friday when I was in the dorm lobby waiting to pick him up. I guess the whole homesick feeling left kind of quick. Anywayyyyyyy, BJ had a great time and having his buddy Marquise with him just made it extra fun.

In this picture BJ is chilling in the lobby. We were waiting on Marquise’s parents to arrive.

Now you have to hear (read) this. How about …. when I was taking the picture of BJ and Marquise there was one kid that said.. hey dude… don’t take any more pictures… that has got to be the brightest light I’ve ever seen. As you can imagine, this didn’t sit well with me. As a child, I wouldn’t dare say that to an adult. It was a quick reminder to me that all children are not raised the same and some parenting styles are a lot more relaxed to say the least…. I politely turned around and said… I can take as many pictures of my children as I want. This is a free country and as long as I’m not trying to take a picture that includes you then this doesn’t have anything to do with you. (That was as nice as I could be considering the circumstances) The teenager apologized.. he said that he didn’t mean to offend me. So that was that.. moving on…

Below are BJ and Marquise relaxing.

There were 80 musicians in the piano camp and not everyone had the chance to play. I was quite surprised when I learned that everyone had to sing in the choir.. go figure.. it was a P I A N O camp… However, BJ and Marquise wanted to stay and sing and so I was okay with it.


After the concert, we went outside to take a few more photos. This is one that I snapped of the boys just doing their thing… which is being two cool cats…

By the way, if you haven’t seen BJ and Marquise play the watch the video below.

If you have known me for any length of time then you know that I don’t take just 4 or 5 pictures… THERE ARE MORE PHOTOS FOR YOU TO VIEW! If you want to see the entire gallery then Click Here To View All Of The UNCG Summer Music Camp Pictures

Independence Life

You’re probably wondering.. why would I choose the words Independence Life instead of Independence Day. I chose them because I’m releasing my thoughts. Each year we have cookouts, family gatherings, fireworks and other ways to celebrate our independence from Great Britain. Nothing is wrong with that but I can’t help but wonder why those of us that are Christian’s don’t celebrate Independent Life or the Free Life that we have through Jesus Christ in such a loud and easy to see way (not including what happens on Sunday mornings in some churchs because that is contained within 4 walls).

I’ve never been to a cookout, fireworks show or family event that is centered around celebrating our freedom as Christians.. Why is that?

Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Those are my thoughts for today….. my blog.

Isolated and Serene

Being isolated and serene is what I cherished the other day. There are times when it is nice to just sit alone without having to talk on the phone, without watching TV and without the slight drone of traffic passing by. I snuck away the other day to a place that helps me to recharge.

As I drove up the road my mind raced in anticipation of being Isolated and Serene. You may ask yourself.. what does that mean? Well here it is… Imagine a two lane highway where several bridges cross a peaceful lake. Imagine ripples on the water that get created as a result of fish feeding. Imagine a gentle breeze and the fresh smell of newly cut grass in the air.

I pulled off the side of the road and peered down what would be about a 1/4 of a mile walk through the forest. Lush vegetation surrounding me.. ticks on leaves hounding me… however that was no reason to stop.. I had to press forth… I had a chair in one hand.. a book in the other… and my dog leading the way.

Imagine the feeling of finally walking free of the vegetation into a more clear spot where the trees are sparse and you hear the sound of gentle waves caressing the nearby bank. No cars, no people, just God, me, my chair, my book and my dog. Yes, the trek through the brush was worth it because now my reward is right before me… it surrounds me.

I set my chair down about 1 foot from the lake edge, took off my shoes and admired God’s creation… You know that only the one and only Living God and His Son Jesus can create something so beautiful. I leaned back and just closed my eyes as the breeze from the lake engulfed me. So tranquil, so unaltered, so perfect.. those were my thoughts. I didn’t have to worry about looking out for anything because my dog had that part covered.. he was my eyes behind my back. Steadily patrolling the foliage behind me.

I took off my shoes and let my feet glide through the sand….. refreshing. Not a man made sound to contaminate my ears. . . just the gentle songs that only nature can provide. My little spot, a gentle breeze . . . . a place that my God has supplied.

I spent a few moments reading and just soaking it all up…. until…. I had been refreshed…..

Isolated and Serene