Thursday, March 26, 2020

3 HiFi Covid Coloring Pages To Print and Relax To.

During these trying and very uncertain times of a global problem, the most unique of its kind in my lifetime, I have been spending most of my time thinking, staying active with my pup, and creating. At quick glance, this is pretty standard for me. My time is usually divided up into these three activities with varying degrees of each. However, today my thoughts are much more anxious and uneasy than they've ever been. And so are my friends' thoughts. My colleagues'. And my family's. And probably yours, too. We are all experiencing something so incredibly new that virtually no one is prepared for yet everyone can't seem to stop discussing or worrying about across every platform, digital or otherwise.

I have found that meditation is so critical at times like this to maintain a level head and stay logical so that I can process and proceed through difficult times with logic, safety, and kindness towards others. I encourage meditation to so many people I encounter because daily meditation has proven to be extremely beneficial for myself in keeping my mind sharp and calm during moments of high stress. While people all over the world have their own ideas of what meditation is and isn't, it is my belief that there are many forms of meditation that each have their own outcomes and uses. While a guided mindfulness meditation works for me at the beginning of my day in clearing my brain of the morning fog and prepare myself for the hours ahead, I often find a different sense of remaining present and calm in other meditative activities such as archery, printmaking, gardening, or simply walking through nature.

Like most people around the world, I could use a Mute button for a few hours a day--especially now. The constant bombardment of information, misinformation, jokes, memes, pleas, and everything else attached to Covid-19, are enough to drive even the most enlightened mind into a scattered frenzy. So I wanted to offer you some images from a recent series I created for use as coloring pages for you, your children, your family, your friends, your neighbors, etc. We can all benefit from putting down the phone for a few hours, grabbing whatever colors or writing utensils we have handy, and unplugging onto a physical piece of paper. We are all so hooked on our phones in this era that if they leave our eyes and hands (or wrists for you Apple Watch users) for even a few minutes, we begin to feel antsy and uneasy, wondering what we are missing or who is looking for us, often reaching back for our phone without realizing it as we scroll mundanely through yet another slew of content surrounding this thing.

I'm tired.

I am mentally exhausted and it's only been about two weeks of this being an immediate issue. I could use a fucking break. And I am sure you can too. So take these images, print them multiple times, and color the world however you see fit. Put the phone down and spread these images instead of another toilet paper meme or complaint or worry. Send your finished pieces my way via @awakeandmoving. You don't have to tag me in anything, just share them with your loved ones and pass the blank images along so that others can use them. 

These images are NOT for sale by any means to anyone, so if you see them reproduced for monetary gain other than through myself and Awake & Moving, please notify me asap.

These are for your mental peace. To bring you and your loved ones together, even if you are psychically apart. Have fun!

Casey Cake Cone. Extra sprinkles, always."

"Dana Dreamsicle. I'm juicy."

"Sam Slurpee. Sugar rush for everyone!"

Stay Creative,

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Monday, February 17, 2020

Submission Challenge 2020 Part 2: Relentless.

Submission Challenge 2020. Cedar Park/Austin, TX.

Dorian taking command. Cedar Park, TX.

Jiu jitsu has become one of my favorite subjects to photograph. There's a beauty in the art of fighting that some people just cannot appreciate. I think a lot of people misunderstand fighting. While it may mean many different things for many different people, I love fighting for the technical aspect of putting yourself in a situation where the best person will emerge victorious. This is the venue where all of the hardwork, sacrifice, and determination are all put on the line in of the most vulnerable experiences you can put yourself through. While competing can certainly be satisfying for your ego when you win, losing can also teach you things about yourself. Invaluable lessons of understanding the self.

Making jiu jitsu photos specifically brings me a sense of peace and bewilderment. To see and understand what these competitors are doing and knowing what it took to get there gives me such a huge appreciation for any fighter. I love watching the human body twist and contort and explode in the pursuit of dominance and defense. I am especially fond of watching smaller fighters take on the bigger ones (and Dorian does this EXTREMELY well). Where in the past it was once believed that the bigger fighter will always win, jiu jitsu is a direct expression of contradicting that idea--the most skilled will win, not just the bigger opponent. And at the end of the day regardless of who you are, everyone taps, everyone grows.

Jiu jitsu is art, it's science, it's love. You just have to see it and be open-minded to appreciate these parts of it.

Such an exciting fighter to watch.
Dorian was not letting up on this dude who was so much bigger than him.

Setting up a submission.
The setup...

...the tap.

Love the length in this image.

Seth and Dorian going at it.
Never a dull moment with Dorain on the mat.

An exhausted competitor falls into family after a tough match (Dark Clan Fight Lab).

Stay Creative,

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Submission Challenge 2020 Part 1: Tap!

Submission Challenge 2020. Cedar Park, TX.
Ashley of Dark Clan Fight Lab takes top postion during this year's Submission Challenge. Cedar Park, TX.

I had a fantastic time at this past weekend's competition featuring some amazing practitioners of varying skill levels. I love watching people compete in jiu jitsu because it's like a real-life chess match. Watching each player plan, strategize, and react is something truly mind-bending at times. If you're paying attention you can often see setups as they happen, catch someone's costly mistake, and overall marvel at what the human body is capable of.

This competition was different for me given that I knew a lot of the competitors this time around. I spent some time shooting from the sidelines as well as on the mat directly which was also a first for me. The biggest challenge shooting from the mat is being hyper aware of the other matches going on behind you and on both sides while attempting to capture the action. As a photographer you need to respect the other fighters and not interfere while you do your thing. Which is easier said than done! All in all, I was able to make some great images again and got to cheer on some new faces.

DCFL represent!
 Taylor (Dark Clan Fight Lab) locking in this crazy triangle.

Dark Clan is coming up!
Cody (Dark Clan Fight Lab) gets the win via armbar.

Dorian is an absolute SAVAGE. So fun to watch this kid battle fighters with 30-50 pounds over him.

Gi matches are so fun to watch.

Purp on purp!

Stay Creative,

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Catch These Hands.

Bandana from Freddie Gibbs x Madlib. Austin, TX.
Freddie Gibbs' "Bandana". Austin, TX

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib delivered my favorite record of 2019 with Bandana. This record has been receiving heavy rotation in my life ever since. This record is filled with so many great bars and this line in particular from "Soul Right" caught my attention immediately. Too often we can find ourselves holding onto past pain and trauma from people who have hurt us and it does not serve us any good to do so. This clever flip really shined on me and reminded me what you can miss by holding on to the past. So this is my reminder to let go of any grudges and pain I may be holding onto so that I may continue to receive life's blessings.

I used Freddie Gibbs prayer blanket he often shares on his Instagram Stories as inspiration for the color scheme and traditional prayer hands from Muslim religion as this is Freddie's practice in faith.

Stay Creative,

Friday, February 7, 2020

Submission Challenge 2019 Part 3: Sneaky Chess.

Submission Challenge 2019. Cedar Park, TX.
Controlling the gi. Cedar Park, TX.

Jiu jitsu is a fun martial art to watch and while no gi competitions are a bit more technical for me, gi fights are way sneakier. And that excites me! It is so much more crafty with the gi when you weave your limbs through and make subtle adjustments to your opponents garb, slowly gaining position and control, often times without them knowing. I love making photos in competitions because the extra folds in the fabric make for such interesting shapes. It brings an entirely new dynamic to the image. Although the premises are similar, there is a much different approach when competing with a gi. A different mindset needs to take place to find success. Overall, this day was so packed with so many fights I came home with a ton of great shots. Enjoy!

The tap!
The tap out! 

Collar Control to Major Tom.
Control the collar.

Getting tangled.

Stay Creative,

Monday, February 3, 2020

Submission Challenge 2019 Part 2: Grace In Chaos.

Submission Challenge 2019. Cedar Park, TX.
WAR! Cedar Park, TX.

Some of my favorite images this day looked so much doper in black & white. While I tend to capture both action and grace separately when photographing jiu jitsu, sometimes I hit both simultaneously and it makes me really happy. These events are getting increasingly more interesting every time I photograph one. There are so many details that are easily missed to my naked eye that I get to capture with my lens. While shooting these events, I will take a break from the action to capture images that focus more on shape and form. I like to make images like this to highlight the artistic grace that comes with this sport because so many people look past it. It puzzles me how people tend to boo grappling in MMA fights. Usually it is because they lack an understanding of what is happening so they cannot appreciate it. Hopefully images like this can help encourage those minds that there is more happening than they initially think. Jiu jitsu is an amazing art and I am happy to be diving deeper into these waters.

Dark Clan's Victoria holding on.
 Victoria (Dark Clan Fight Lab) working side control.

Victoria of Dark Clan Fight Lab w/Derrick Garza.

Rear naked sinking in.

Getting coach's advice.

Lock up.

10th Planet represent!
 Mary Angela (10th Planet Austin) is a fucking BEAST.

About to fuse!

Mary with the escape.

Picture me rollin'.

Flexibility is key!

Stay Creative,