All skills require practice to maintain proficiency and improve expertise. Photography is no exception. Whether it is a personal project or one that has been assigned for commercial work, these promote skill. Below is a brief story about a personal project that began 2 1/2 years ago, and one that I hope will continue for many years. The photograph was taken the young ladies sang after only 2 rehearsals for their parents attending an orientation meeting – amazing young women, with amazing talent. I cannot wait to see and hear them throughout the coming year. 

RISE Chorales ( began with its first rehearsal on March 21, 2016 under the leadership of Emmy Williams Burch, with the assistance of Cuffy Sullivan. The young women’s choral group was formed to promote excellence in singing, in addition to providing an opportunity for socializing and community service. The first time I photographed Emmy was several years earlier when she was the Conductor of The Savannah Children’s Choir. During the first rehearsal attended, I was almost brought to tears watching Emmy working with the children, her energy and vibrancy, her care and compassion, and always her excellence in teaching and conducting. RISE has grown since the early days and has found a home at First Presbyterian Church where they rehearse, perform during services, and offer concerts several times a year.

The majority of my photography of the group is with ambient light, except twice a year when I do headshots of the young ladies with the addition of studio lighting. The available light in the sanctuary is not bright, an understatement. I typically use ISO settings of 1600-3200 and am using f-stops between 1.4 and 3.5. Most of the photos are shot hand-held.

To view, and purchase if desired, all photos from RISE Chorales, go to and click on Client Galleries, and then RISE Chorales. Select the year you would like to view and ENJOY!

Copyright Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All Rights Reserved © 2018

Need A Camera To Take A Photo

I cannot count the number of times I have seen a photo but did not have my camera – no photograph.  One of my mentors, Jay Maisel, always has his camera. A friend of his and also very well know photographer, Gregory Heisler, on the other hand frequently does not have his camera unless he is involved in a shoot. Gregory’s thought process is that he cannot enjoy the moment (like children growing up) if he is always looking for a shot. I agree with both approaches and often have difficulty deciding which is best.

A friend of mine, Vince Lucente, invited me and several others to go fishing at Edisto Beach (SC) this weekend. A great time was had by all. I did take my camera when we went out for a drink (first photo) before a sunset cruise (second photo) and then the next morning when we went fishing (other photos). By the way, the Bull Red (fish) was put back into the water after photos. At a point, Vince asked me if I was having fun – maybe (or not) I will leave the camera in the bag for our next fishing trip.








Tibetan Mandala

Recently, on my daily afternoon walk, I gazed down the street and thought I was seeing an illusion. We occasionally get some interesting characters, but a Tibetan monk on Isle of Hope? Long story short, it was a Tibetan monk. Gary Butch, from Elizabeth’s on 37th, is working to help raise money to help build a clean water system at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India ( for more information). A group of monks were staying at his home on Isle of Hope while they were working on a Tibetan Mandala. The Mandala sand painting creates a sacred space around the area of the painting. There is an opening ceremony with chanting, of which you see a photo, and a closing ceremony, after the work is completed. This Mandala took 6 monks a total of 8 days to complete. You can see the monks using long cylindrical metal cones to precisely “paint the picture” with grains of colored sand. During the closing ceremony, the sand is placed in a box and wrapped in silk. The sand is then dumped into a river, signifying the transitory nature of material things. Speaking of Tibetan tradition, one of my favorite quotes is from His Holiness The Dali Lama. “As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery…We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.”

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All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.