Monthly Archives: October 2007

Experience YT Christian Academy Through Video & Photo

This is a special overview of Youth Transitions Christian Academy (YTCA) in Durham, NC.


The Mission of Y. T. Christian Academy is to develop the talent and leadership potential of youth through academic, social, physical and life skill experiences. We will seek to provide opportunities that enhance the growth of our youth so that they are forever striving for excellence in self and the community.

YTCA was created from the collaborative efforts of Mrs. Shondah Allen (Founder and Director)

and Mr. Darius Grissom ( Director of Instruction)


These two are supported by a staff of dedicated teachers that love teaching children integrated with Word of God.



Rev. Shirrell McNeill of Butterfly Wings Restorative Ministry featured YTCA on her “Friends of Restoration” TV show. She conducts an interview with Mrs. Allen and Mr. Grissom. We invite you to watch the show and learn more about this growing Academy. To view the video click on the triangle below.

The youth at the school are smart, driven and full of energy. You can tell by their faces that they are in an environment in which they can enjoy their learning experience.ytthurdsay083.jpg

During a TaeKwon-Do session . . .



One of the goals at YTCA is to expose children to several scientific disciplines.

In the picture below you see a student designing a circuit board.




For more information on YTCA please visit their website

A Complicated Conversation

Every now and then each and everyone of us would like to talk to a person that understands everything from our point of view. Earlier this week I had a chat with Me, Myself & I to figure out what would be the best way to create a unified paradox. As you can probably imagine, the conversation was all one sided but with subtle twists. Eventually all the details were worked out. Before the meeting came to an end I was able to grab this photo.


The Watkins Children In Classic Black and White

For a long time I’ve wanted classic black and white pictures of my children to display in my living room. It is very interesting that although I take many pictures I didn’t seem to “make” the time to take carefully planned portraits of my babies. I finally got off my rusty dusty and started to create portraits that will be cherished for generations to come.

I’m not knocking color portraits but there is something timeless about having a black and white image. They seem to stand the test of time and can take on the characteristic of being “Fine Art” in the home.

First I will start with my first born – Brent. He is one of the coolest kids that a person could ask to have. He’s soft spoken and very well mannered. He does a great job of helping me to look over his younger siblings. He loves playing the piano and doing magic tricks. Rumor has it that he has his own website on youtube and goes by the name of pianomagician.


My 2nd child is Courtney. The Lord allowed us to spend 7 precious weeks with her. She was a bundle of joy and just as sweet as can be. The Lord called her home to be with Him at the tender age of seven weeks old.


My 3rd child is Mr. Christian. He is a fun loving and mischievious kid. He is super smart and loves to solve puzzles. I call him “The Thinker” in the family because he can figure out things that seem to stump his older brother. All I can say is that with Christian in the house there is always a certain level of excitement. He’s head strong and has the brains to back it up. If the truth be told, he is just the way I was when I was younger. People used to call me “ca-nivan” which is a spin on the word conniving.


My 4th child is Aleah. You’ve all heard that God is in the restoring business and that is because HE is. The Lord saw fit to bless me with another baby girl when He created Aleah. When she was a baby she had the fattest cheeks and I used to call her “Baby Biscuits”. She is also my shadow… kind of reminds me of those animals on TV that physically cling to their parents.


I treasure each day that I have with my babies and I know that tomorrow is never promised. If you have children then love them up as much as you can and enjoy each day with them.

With the exception of Courtney’s picture all of these were taken in the comfort of my living room usually at odd times of the day

Piano Recital #2 Brent & Marquise

This week has been filled with many things to do and the time is going by in a blur.  One of the highlights of this week was the Durham School Of The Arts “Chamber Music Recital” held on October 16, 2007. 

There were many talented young people eager to share their music with us. However, the only two that I captured were Brent and his buddy Marquise Haddock.  One of these days I’m going to figure out how to take video and photo but being only one person that can get tricky.  My son Brent is the one with the afro.

Take some time to sit back and enjoy the video of Brent and Marquise doing what they love… which is performing for the crowd.


Matthew 19:4-5 “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”

I had the privilege of photographing Rev. Joe McNeill and his wife Rev. Shirrell McNeill. They not only love each other but they dig each other and it is a beautiful thing to behold. Have you ever seen two teenagers in love? The McNeill’s laugh, play, whisper things in each other’s ear and have fun together. They share a love that only God can give and sustain.

The shot below was not actually suppossed to go in the line up becaue it was a candid inbetween type of shot (which is why Rev. Shirrell is not lit with light) . In the background you can see Rev. Shirrell whispering words of love into his ear. If you look at the expression on Rev. Joe’s face then you can see the playfulness and zest that these two have for each other.


Here is another beautiful moment caught in time.


Last but not least a few portraits were captured of them as individuals…

Rev. Joe McNeill


Rev. Shirrell McNeill


Rev. Shirrell McNeill heads up the Butterfly Wings Ministry. God is using her to teach others how accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Savior leads to re-birth, regeneration and rejoicing.

Take some time to visit her website:

Sophisticated and Classy

It is not an average day occurrence for me to have the ability to photograph two elegant women.

Pictured here from left to right are Ms. Ann and Ms. Alida. Ms. Alida is the proud grandmother of my children and she helps me to keep them in line. We love her dearly and I could never ask for a better Mother In Law. If you ever look up the definition of two peas in a pod you will see their picture. Ms. Ann and Ms. Alida are always out doing something.

One of the things I enjoyed about capturing them is that they were fun, easy going and had a lot to bring to the table. They are humble, smart, have a zest for life and are very photogenic. Their husbands are blessed to have them as spouses by their sides.


One of the goals of this session was to create a portrait for Ms. Alida’s husband. The photo below is stunning and will be treasured for generations to come.


When it was time for Ms. Ann to take her turn in front of the camera I knew that it would also be another successful session. She just seemed to have a soothing calm that radiated from her and the photograph below proves that she is a sophisticated lady.


Once the semi-formal photographs were out of the way then we decided to take a few light hearted photos. This was another easy shoot… we just grabbed a chair and Ms. Alida came up with the poses herself which ended up making my job that much easier.



They exhibit the true meaning of friendship and they support each other through good and bad times. I’m looking forward to the next time that I can capture these two buddies again.

Commercial: Church Musician’s Handbook

The book below was written by Minister of Music Roland Perry for all musicians that play in the church.


The African-American Church Musician’s Compensation & Salary Handbook will help both parties reach a mutually satisfying agreement.

To view the commercial click on the video below.

Visit the website below to learn more.

Script Writer: Dana Satterwhite
Voice Over: Antonio Davis
Art Director/Video Editor: Ivan Watkins