Hawksbill Crag – A morning sunrise hike.

Fall is upon us, colors are starting to come in on the trees and the cooler weather is here. Getting down into Arkansas in the fall is a must around here, it’s too beautiful not to! A friend and I planned a short trip to the Boxley valley area to just take in the views, take some photos and just get away. Our normal camping site was all full so we found another spot just up the road a bit and it put us in a real good spot to be able to jump right on the main road to all the spots we wanted to go to.

We drove up Friday afternoon, set up camp and went to the local shop, The BOC. The Buffalo Outdoor Center is a nice centralized spot to meet up with other people, grab a snack, supplies, anything you can think of they probably have it and they have wifi, which is huge. There is no cell service in this area so wifi comes in handy when you need to make a call, check the map or post a IG pic. This is where we ran into my friends, friend and he joined us for the weekend. Set up camp and then he was off to to some bouldering/rock climbing. We joined him out to Horseshoe canyon while he did some climbing and then we headed to Steele Creek to capture the Milky Way. This is towards the end of Milky Way season with winter upon us.

This was one of my favorite images I had taken at Steel Creek of the milky way, and it could def be better in may ways. Campsites giving off a nice orange hue and this area is not around any big city’s so you can actually see the milky way without the camera which makes it easy to frame a shot up. Made the mistake of leaving a filter on my lens that softens the image(Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/4) or this would have been sharper but I still love it. After shooting this for awhile, we decided to get back to camp because we had a very early hike to do.

Our morning hike was to Hawksbill Crag or Whitaker Point Trail, near Pettigrew, Arkansas. This 2.9 mile hike makes for a pretty moderate hike to a very awesome view and if it’s wet and the creek is running, you can even see a waterfall. Which I have never gone down to see my 3 times visiting, as I just found out about it and it was dry this last weekend. This hike is one of the highest used trails in the area and with that said, I would suggest doing this early morning, like leave before the sun is up with a head lamp or flashlight and catch sunrise or catch the sunset. The way the light hits the valley is something else and should be seen to truly appreciate it!

We arrived right before sunrise and caught the sun peaking over the tree line and it was awesome, just like it is every time. Getting up to Hawksbill and just taking it all in really is a nice reset if you’ve been on the go and working and just need a good break. This place is always on my mind when I think I need to get away and go somewhere for a day. The drive that is close to 3 hours away stops me from going most of the time, I won’t lie but it’s always so worth it!

This trip I shot all of my photos(not all shown here) and this little video with my new Canon R6. It is taking some time to get used to, coming from my Canon 5d Mark iv. Learning the buttons and settings are a pain but the more I use it the more I will get used to it. The photos were taken with the Sigma 24mm f1.4 art with a Tiffen Black Pro Mist filter that I usually use for video and just didnt remove which is why the sky in most photos are super soft and glowing in a way. The video was shot in 1080p 120fps handheld and it’s crazy how smooth you can get handheld movements while using the slo-mo/high frame rate video mode.. plus it does have 5 axis image stabilization in body.

A post on the r6 will be coming soon, along with a post over the film photos that I captured on the trip as well.


Atlanta Wedding.. Atlanta, Kansas that is.

You read that right, Atlanta, KANSAS. A very small town to be what seemed to be ran off of one grain mill/co-op situation. Post office, a general store and a gas pump you have to have a special card to use. I found that out the hard way but a local was kind enough to swipe her co-op card so I could fill up my tank, I paid her cash in return. It’s a good start to a day of new surroundings, in a place I had no idea existed. The town of Atlanta exists in south central Kansas, south of Wichita and North of Arkansas City and it’s only 307 acres big. Now you know the surroundings I am off to find a small farmhouse where the video will start from.

A couple miles outside of town, is a little farmhouse, a barn, storm shelter and a tire swing. A house that has been in the family for decades. A place where the family meets post the passing of the mother/grandmother. Memories were had and memories will be made. Just a short distance away down a gravel road is the church. The church holds a special place in the heart of this family. Morgan, the bride who is getting married today will repeat something her mother did years ago and that was getting married where her parents were married. This little church outside of Atlanta, Kansas just a couple miles from the family farmhouse. How awesome is that. You can imagine the patina, the feelings and memories that echoed in this little church. It gives you that feeling that I don’t know how to describe but a feeling when you go back to a place you once visited as a child and it takes you back. Small churches do that for me, as it reminds me of going to church with my grandma to a small stone built church in my hometown.

I could go on and on but I will say it right now. This is my favorite wedding video yet. The feelings that went through me while I shot this were next to nothing. Leaving this wedding, I knew I had something special in this video. On the 3 hour drive home in the dark, I knew exactly what I was going with on this video. 8 hours later on Sunday, I came out with this video.

Thanks for checking out my video. I appreciate any feedback if you have any. Leave any comment on the youtube video itself on my page.

Upcoming posts will be over some films I have been shooting with, a recent trip to Arkansas for a morning hike to Hawksbill Crag, and… I bout a new camera. The Canon r6, so I am sure I will share my thoughts on it soon in blog post.

See you all next time!

CineStill 800t

What a film!

So, if you are new here, I have been getting more and more into film photography and trying out new films. My latest roll of film was CineStill 800t. Cinestill 800t started out as a movie film stock that has been changed up to be used in still photography.

This film is very unique and you will see what I mean when you see the sample photos. The way it deals with lights is something other films don’t do. I am going to keep this one short. Check out this video to see some of the images I came up with.

Thanks for stopping in and checking out my blog. Future posts will be from a trip to Arkansas that I am taking soon, my recent trip to Dallas which will come with more photos and videos of what we, my wife and I did and a blog on my new camera purchase. Stay tuned!

Investing in yourself

Getting into photography early in college I knew it was an expensive path to take and at times you think GEAR is everything as many do. To purchase my first DSLR, I opened my first credit card and bout a canon rebel t5i, weeks after that I started a internship in order to graduate college and the guy let me rent to own a Nikon d3s. The reason that camera was great for me was I fell in love with sports photography and Id like to say it came natural to me but that’s not what I am covering today but check out my IG: http://www.instagram.com/DLsports to see some of my work over the years.

Back to the subject at hand. It’s expensive, rent to own my first PRO body and sports took off for me. Sports is a hard thing to get into if you want to cover pro or even college sports. Having a couple d2 colleges around sure helped out and ive covered a few D1 games for basketball. My gear was slowly aging and my interest started to shift from sports to portraits and wedding videos and video in general to be honest.

I then purchased a 5d mark iv to allow me to shoot wedding video and have a newer body for portraits and everyday use outside of my sports gear which was my Nikon d3s and Sigma 120-300 f2.8.

As you can see here ive had some gear and there is more gear when it comes to lenses and tripods, sliders. Whatever I thought I needed I found a way but it was always so hard to spend the money. My career never really made big hops and revenue wasn’t the best despite all of my hear I had. Chump change is what it was. Newspaper was $50 a game to give you an idea and so the money I was spending was my everyday cash, savings wasn’t a thing.

Then came along 2020 and I knew changes had to be made. To preface, I had been shooting wedding films for another photog for a couple years at this point. Back to 2020, I decided I would get into wedding videos as Derek Livingston Media. I start looking at what gear I have and what I might need to make this a running deal. I booked my first wedding nice and cheap and months before C-19 came into the world.


Yep, everything is on hold. Dates are pushed around and then I book another wedding and that is pushed around. We hit a spot and weddings sizes changes and I shoot my first wedding and put out the video and it was a big hit. That is when everything changed for me and my eyes were opened to the possibilites.

What started out as a test has started a future, a bright future for my video career. 2020 gave me 4 weddings and 2021 I have 3 booked already. No promotion on my end, just the power of social media and people sharing their videos from my facebook page. You can say I am beyond blessed to be where I am now.

Some info on me, I am a full time videographer for a education company, I also freelance sports photography still and capture every moment that I can with my nieces and family. Wedding video was just another side hustle to get where I want to be. I want to be independent and able to help with my wife and I’s financial situation, just daily bills of life and also maybe someday have a full running business capturing moments for people whether that is photos or videos.

Over the years I have bought gear that didn’t pan out, gear that has panned out and now I know it’s part of the process in anything you do. You make mistakes and you also succeed. The moment that really made this all come to mind was the fact for once in my life, I have been able to purchase a camera with cash. No credit card debt, I didn’t have to sell any gear or borrow money. I was able to buy my new Canon Eos R6 brand new with wedding video money.

2020 wasn’t a year anyone expected but if anything, it really made me work for what I wanted, realize what I have and see what I need to do to keep going. I changed up my work, I started reaching out to other creatives, pushed more and more onto my social media, my youtube and staying consistent with my blog posts.

I think I got off a bit but long story short, I never thought I would get to where I am today and I am still not where I want to be but I think that is because we as people compare ourselves to how well others look to be doing. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the other person with 4k, 10k, 1m followers on IG or the person that gets 100, 500, 1k likes on a photo.

Just do you, invest in yourself and keep creating. I also realize this post didn’t end up how I wanted it to be but thats 100% of my blogs here. I start on something and I just type away and call it good. I am not a good writer and can’t focus on anything for more than 10 seconds so this is how it goes.

My socials:

Instagram : http://www.instagram.com/derekliving http://www.instagram.com/derekandfilm http://www.instagram.com/dlsports

twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thatphotog1

youtube: https://t.co/EgMQjIIcRx?amp=1

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