“My first training session was intimidating. I didn’t want to be “that girl” who was not in prime shape, but I knew I had a ways to go to be stage ready. I pushed myself so hard on my first legs training day, it was hard to walk the rest of the week! I still train by separating my muscle groups into different days, and I tailor my cardio sessions to fit in with my day rather than forming my day around my cardio sessions. I have a lot of flexibility in my workouts now, and I really try to listen to my body.”
***DISCLAIMER*** This does not have anything to do with those who've actually suffered from police brutality. It's an unfortunate set of events, however this is my personal accord from my "Community Relations" ride along that I witnessed firsthand.
First and foremost, I'd like to thank with a sincere heart the police officers at Denver's 6th District. Specifically, officer's Peltier, Neblock, Yepishin, and Lemmons. These gentlemen really opened my eyes on the true good that properly trained police officers do in the community.
As a concerned citizen living in the Denver area, I wanted to be more involved in my community. On television all last year and until now we all saw a lot of police shootings that have not just disturbed the black community, but the world. Like any normal black man in America, I was angry. I had reservations on how the civilian police were truly when you are dealing with them one on one. Yes, I said, "civilian police" because if you forgot from reading my "About MikeCon" section, I grew up in the military service because of my Father, then I did my own tour of service as well. With that being said, I've grown accustomed to how military police work. After speaking with officer Peltier from a few months ago when I did a quick shoot of him at Cheesman Park, he asked me to do a ride along with him and check out a day and see the police officer life first hand.
On 23 October 2017, our day began at 0700 (7 a.m. for you civilians) for "Role Call". We listened to the Sergeant passing the daily updates on things to look out for, and fugitives they're looking for before we hit the streets. We went downstairs and to his vehicle, got in and I wondered, 'How the heck is anything going on this early in the morning?', so I asked officer Peltier, "Does anything really happen this early, and on a Monday"? He replied, "Not normally, but you never know. Monday's are usually slow". We pulled out of the station, and sure enough, the radio squelched, and we were off to our first call.
We arrived at our first call at a hotel, where the front desk worker told us about one of the tenants being unruly. The next call really showed me a different perspective of people. There was a homeless couple that was sleeping in front of someone's home. After spending time to explain to them that they couldn't remain there, it was explained to me that the homeless problem in Denver has been a major one and to the point that there's not much they can do except shuffle them around the city. Yes, there's shelters they can go to, however most don't go because there's bedbugs, lice, thievery and some domestic violence that goes on in there. It's so bad that there's a special "Homeless Outreach Unit" that does their best to mediate issues that arise from the homeless and others.
As the day went on we encountered other domestic issues between family and roommates, then dealt with a depressed man, living in a hostel for sex offenders, dealing with severe depression, who subsequently ended up getting locked up because he had a warrant for his arrest (failure to appear in court). Other than that, there were quite a few calls that were for the removal of homeless people. It's apparent there's a MAJOR problem, not just in Denver, but around the entire U.S. It gave me a better perspective and shifted my mindset to trying to figure out what I can do to help this and contribute to assisting these citizens. Seriously, it wasn't a race issue in my head anymore, it was a human issue. Human issues should ALWAYS be the biggest concern.
Seeing all of the homeless people made me want to engage this problem first hand and be part of the solution to help the community. This year and for all the upcoming years I personally want to be more involved in helping people have food to survive. I'm asking that we all play a part in this and help our fellow man. There can only be a resolution if we all take a stand and make a difference!!
P.S. I almost forgot to add....please someone, make some time and get those officers at the 6th district some upgrades to their building. They've been dealing with flooding, asbestos, and mold. They truly deserve better!!!
As most of my closest friends know....I LOVE winter, and when I say, "LOVE", I mean that with the deepest respect. There are many reasons I love the cold, but the biggest reason is there are no bugs! I can't stand bugs biting and stinging me, however, I must admit, I'm a sucker for amazing summer time shots.
Today's the official second day of summer and I'm already trying my best to heat things up for my clients. I do my best to ensure that my photography is as close to the image that's "Straight Out Of Camera". I keep wondering why a majority of folks rely on filters to make their work look cooler. As I stated on my "About me" section of this website, "It's ALL ABOUT THE LIGHTING!". Lighting is the essential gift to photographers everywhere. Most of us study it by the hour and everywhere we go to ensure that we fully understand it. So to all of my peers and potential clients; get out there and shoot! Give this summer your absolute best because I truly enjoy pushing my limits on my own work.
Here's an image from the set I recently did with Alex Paine who is my absolute favorite redhead and fitness model. She is the owner of "Xela's Customs" LLC and made this custom bikini for our photo shoot.
If you'd like to learn more about the settings, or lighting I used on this shot, please shoot me a message, or leave a comment.
Blog Pro tip: If you have a "Network" and you're not utilizing it properly, or overusing it, then you may want to get a new network!
1. Nobody likes to be used. As you move up in your network, bring up those who've helped get you there. Stop looking for freebies, or handouts because eventually, they're going to fall out of your network and forget about you when they get bigger. Don't burn that bridge just because you've elevated yourself.
2. Go back and pay it forward. If an opportunity comes along for one of your networked folks, go tell them about it. You may end up helping them achieve their goals.
3. Communicate!! Get over your fear of being on the phone, and talk to people. Nobody has ever been told that they communicated too many details to their clients. Me personally, I have found that my people have a better understanding of my vision and passion for their photo shoots once we talk on the phone. I don't mind texting/emailing, however, I find that my best work comes from those who make time to just talk about what they want in full detail.
4. The bridge: AGAIN...Don't burn it. You NEVER know who could be moving up and might need someone with a specific skill, look, or whatever. IF you must burn the bridge...make sure that you blow that bitch up and keep it to yourself because nobody in business likes whiners...just winners! Last but not least, don't burn a bridge just because someone else didn't get along with someone else, or if someone else says something negative about someone else. I've found that most times, it's the other person spreading a rumor, or just being insecure about competition.
5. Be patient and kind. I've found that it opens more doors than running up on someone with a snotty attitude. People are always watching and scoping out what you're doing. I was blessed to do some work and one publisher told me that they accepted my work for publishing in their magazine because they actually read my Facebook/Instagram posts. They had their normal photogs that they went to all the time and they gave me a chance...and the work was fitting as well.
Networking is great, but be prepared for rejection, and for people to give you their non-negotiable rates, or whatever. Sometimes, you might end up impressing someone so much from that first time and they'll hook you up. First impressions are lasting ones.
Well, a lot of times people show up to photo shoots all nervous and that's cool, however there's some that show up thinking that they know everything from "America's Next Top Model" and end up like this:
No matter what you do, don't do this! Of all things...have fun, and learn to take direction from your photographer. The person you hire is supposed to be the expert and is going to hopefully deliver you some amazing images!