Entering the ‘Mac World’

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On Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, I did it. I finally did it.

After years of thinking, fearing, and rethinking, I walked through these doors and entered into the ‘Mac World.’

I was so nervous and you would have thought I was buying a new house or a new car.

One thing for sure, the customer service in the Twelve Oaks Apple store is awesome. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I arrived at the store. I thought there was some kind of workshop going on because there were so many people in there. They were all sitting at designated tables and Apple representatives were right there with them.

So, I walked in. The first person to greet me was this long gray-haired, long bearded man named Karl, who greeted me. Actually they all did, Karl was the first to extend his hand and invited me into his space. He knew I had never been in an Apple store, just by the look on mine and his face.

I was ready for him because over the past few days before going into the store, I had already done my research and knew exactly what I was there to buy. There was no room for him to try to “up-sale” me on anything.

So, I’m watching the whole operation throughout the store and they all were like Karl – helpful. It was a site that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. These folks really knew there stuff and the customers seemed to really be enjoying themselves. This place reminded me of one big “social cafe’ minus the coffee or beer.

After I told Karl what I wanted, he began punching information in his hand-held device. In  a matter of moments, another representative was placing my brand new, in the box, computer on the table. I looked at Karl and he looked at me, without me saying a word, he said “yes, Tina, that is your new computer and would you like for us to help you set it up and show you how to use it or would you prefer to take it home and do it yourself.” I immediately told him, I would like to do everything before I leave.

We walked over to another table and I paid him for my new computer. After I paid for my computer, he took me over to the “personal set-up” table. Then another representative immediately picked up where he left off, her name was Laura. She too, was nice and very helpful. She also new this was my first time in an Apple store. She was awesome. There was another lady at the table who also was having her first Apple experience. She was about my age or a few years older and we both gave each other a big “high-five” and listened closely to Laura as she went ‘back and forth’ between both of our needs. Laura was nice. I really liked when she could tell I was nervous and she would just smile and say to me “no worries” to all of my questions.

Laura got called to handle another customer and then there was Alexander, who took her place. He worked out all the details of getting my emails and other ‘Apps’ set up. We talked about graphics, photos and a whole lot more.

I am a firm believer in ‘timing is everything’ and this was my time to enter into the Mac world.

Now, it’s time to buy all the much needed software. Guess, I’ll get the most out of my educational discount…lol…:-)

Photographing a President

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Never in a million years would I imagine that I would be photographing the President of the United States of America. Not just once, but as of Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, four times – three airport arrivals and one event; and in less than a year’s time.

The first chance I got to photograph President Barack Obama, the 44th President, was in 2012. He arrived at metro airport on January 26, the night before his speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on January 27.

This is how it happened

My good friend Samara Joseph sent me an email and said, “You know the President is coming to Ann Arbor and you need to find out how you can be there.” All I could say was OK. I hung the phone up and immediately began making phone calls. I had no idea who to call, so I started out doing a Google search for media relations in Ann Arbor. I got a number and luckily for me, the person didn’t really know who I should speak to, but gave me a number of a guy named Adam. She said to give him a call because she thinks he is handling the President’s visit. I did just that, I called Adam and explained to him that I was a reporter for a Dearborn newspaper called the Forum and Link. I asked him what I had to do to get a media pass to cover the President. He asked me for my email address and he said he would send me some information. I got the email and responded and followed the instructions in the email. Before you know it, I had a media credential to photograph President Barack Obama’s visit to U of M.

The email confirmation gave me specific details about the President’s arrival time and location for media to check in. I couldn’t believe it; I was actually going to be there, at the airport ready to photograph President Obama getting off Air Force 1.  

At the time, I didn’t think my van would make it to Ann Arbor, so I rented one for the trip. I made my reservation within the time-frame of the airport arrival. Finally, on the night of Jan. 26, I didn’t exactly know where the location was, so I asked David to take me and pick me up. I told him that I had rented a car and needed him to get me to National Car rental after the President’s arrival; I made the reservation as late as I could. David did just that, he took me to the media check-in location and told me he would be back to get me, all I had to do was call him and he would be right there.

So, there I was, sitting in this holding room with other media people –Fox 2, Detroit News, Free Press, WWJ, and many more. Nervous as hell, and thanking God the whole time, this guy from the Free Press sat next to me. We talked, his name is Jarrad. He was cool and had only been in Detroit a few months. He was originally from St. Louis and got the job at the Free Press a few months before the day we met. He was asking me about Detroit and I was asking him about St. Louis. We exchanged business cards. He explained to me what to expect on this type of photo shoot and told me not to be nervous. He re-assured me that I was a professional and would not have been selected to be there if I wasn’t.

The time came when we were called to be searched; the dog came through sniffed our equipment and then we were put on a bus ready to be taken to our destination. It was cold, dark and raining. Thankfully, I listened to David and stopped to get a Ziploc bag to protect my camera from the elements. It was the strangest feeling ever. I had no clue where we were going, I knew we were around the airport, but that was it. We finally arrived, the bus stopped, the door opened and one by one each media person began filing out. Jarrad stayed with me and made sure I was ok. We walked together and then it was every photographer for themselves. All the guys on the media truck were cool and they all knew I had never covered a President before. They just gave me a few encouragements and then it was time to go to work.

We stood on that truck, for what seemed like hours. We were waiting for Air Force 1 to land. It was cold and raining, but I didn’t care, I was ready to see my President. Not just any President, but the first black President of the United States. So many emotions began running through my mind and then emotion started to set in. Jarrad saw it, and reminded me, to keep myself together, “Air Force 1 is right to the left and stand right in front of me and get ready,” he said.

There it was, right before my very own eyes, Air Force 1. It looked so much bigger than on TV. It was real and I was looking at it from the lens of my camera. Emotional and so ready to pass out, left eye crying – right eye focused, it was coming closer and closer to its finally stopping point. Then it stopped.

The tears began to form in my eyes heavily, uncontrollable, but I knew I was there to do a job and I had to get it together; the President of the United States was about to get off that plane and I had to get a good shot, was all I kept telling myself. The door opened, and a few moments later, there he was. President Barack Obama was in my camera frame…I began firing the shutter, carefully positioning myself to get the best shot with the space I was in. In 5 minutes, it was over; he was down the steps and in the presidential limo. In just that quick moment, the president came and went. It happened so fast, it was almost like a dream, but it wasn’t. Jarrod turned to me and asked me did I get some good shots. I told him I thought so. He said they might not be the best because of the rain and the lenses fog up a bit in conditions like this.

The shuttle took us back to our cars and that was the end of that adventure. I was so excited and couldn’t wait for the next day to be face to face with Barack Obama again. This time I knew it would be better because it was going to be indoors.

The arrival time for the speech in Ann Arbor was early; we had to arrive by 7:00 a.m. I was there around 6:15 a.m. and it was already crowded. Students and all types of media were lined up waiting to get in. While I was waiting to get checked in, I saw one of my photo mentors, Daniel Mears with the Detroit News. I was excited to see him and he was excited to see me too. He told me to stick with him and he’d show me some of the ropes. I did for a while, but then it was show time and we both went on and did what we had to do. The President walked out from behind those blue curtains and the crowd went wild. Chanting, “Obama, Obama.” The energy in the room was electrifying and really gave me so much motivation to do what I had come there to do; photograph our 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. 

MOM…

When you look at the word MOM…it’s quite interesting how it is spelled the same frontward and backward.

That’s because MOM never changes. She is the same regardless of what the situation is. We do what is necessary to make sure our children are taken care of.

Everyday I experience what it means to be a MOM.

My twin boys, Joseph and Jonathan are on the basketball team of their high school and they both were in desperate need of shoes.

Now, what was I supposed to do.

Of course, I had to come up with the money to get them their shoes.

As far as they were concerned, it didn’t matter that rent, lights, and cellphone bills had to be paid. Oh and let us not forget gas that has to be put in the van that I drive everyday. They just needed shoes.

So, what did I do as a MOM, (remember, spelled the same both ways MOM), got paid today…and went on the search for their shoes.

It’s good that I’m a firm believer in God and know that HE will provide everything. He did provide me with the money on the day that they needed their shoes.

And to make matters even  better, they won all three basketball scrimmages games. It must have been the new shoes…lol

Jo-Jon H.S.

 

91st Michigan Football Bust 2011

This time last year, I had the opportunity to experience the height of college football.

Not just any college football experience, but the Michigan football experience. Thanks to one of my classmates, at the time, Sean Roney. He knew I was getting started as a photojournalist and suggested that I should go. He told me it would be an experience that would change my life. He told me it would be something I would never forget. So, I took his advice and called around to see if I could put my journalist ID to work for me.

Sure enough, I was right there. Right in the midst of all these Michigan football fans. On Dec. 12, 2012, I was up close and personal; front and center at the 91st edition of the Michigan Football Bust which is held  at Laurel Manor in Livonia, Michigan. At this event, Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard served as the master of ceremonies. Head Coach Brady Hoke presented team awards and “M rings” to the 2011 Michigan seniors.

Photo by Tina Nelson/T. Carlita Photography

The best part about this experience for me was simply just being there with my camera capturing the moment. Sean was so helpful. I had no clue who any of the players were and at the time didn’t even know who Brady Hoke really was. Sure, I watched a few games during that season, but when those guys don’t have on their helmets, you really don’t know who they are. But, Sean sure did and he made sure I knew who Denard Robinson was too.

That night was electrifying. The room was rowdy like a true football game. When the season highlights were showing on the big screen the roars and cheers were so loud you would have thought you were sitting right on the sidelines at the “Big House.” At least that’s how I felt, even-though, I’ve never been to the “Big House.”

That night, I met so many cool and down to earth people. I sat a a table with many other media folks from other newspapers across the globe. I also met a wonderful lady named Phyllis. She was giving her Michigan connection history and to this day, we still keep in touch. As a matter of fact, she emailed me the other day asking me if I was going to be at the Bust this year. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I was, but I told her I had put in my request for credentials. When I emailed her to let her know that I was going to be there, she called my phone right after I sent the email. She was just as excited as I was. We made our pack to meet each other there early to get our autograph.

Believe me, I know who Denard Robinson is now and can’t wait to capture photos of him and the rest of the team and coaches on Dec. 2, 2012.

Photo by Tina Nelson/T. Carlita Photography