Karate Atlanta – Or When I Was The Safest Photographer In Atlanta On Monday

Before the crack of dawn on Monday morning, I was on my way out to the corporate offices of Karate Atlanta to finish setting up my gear to photograph the instructors from their eleven Atlanta schools.  Here is a behind-the-scenes shot of my main shooting space in their large training room.  The room was well lit with the fluorescent ceiling lights, but it looks dark because I adjusted my camera settings to expose with my strobe in the softbox for people standing on the blue screen.

 I started off photographing ATA’s Grand Master Soon Ho Lee.  Similar to a CEO in other large businesses, this is the highest position of great honor and respect.  The Grand Master is a quiet, humble man and very kind.  I love the values that he and his late brother, the Eternal Grand Master H. U. Lee have instilled in the American Taekwondo Association and all their schools.  I love that my children are part of this program and learning not only self defense, but confidence and respect for themselves and others.

 I was thrilled when the Grand Master (9th degree black belt) asked if we could go beyond simple portraits to  capture a more creative side through my camera and action shots of him.  A ladder was brought in for me to stand on the top and shoot down.  Awesome!

 Mr. White (left, 4th degree black belt) is the head instructor of the Brookwood school.  Mr. Burns (far right, 5th degree black belt) is the head instructor of Johns Creek.  Mr. Van Eck (right, 3rd degree black belt) is also an instructor at Johns Creek and he has mad skills with extreme martial arts.  My kids were both excited and jealous when they heard I photographed Mr. Van Eck as they have been amazed on several occasions when they saw him perform at tournaments.  Both Brookwood and Johns Creek were named in the Top 10 schools for ATA.  Congratulations!

 Mr. Bell (center, 4th degree black belt) is the head instructor at the Milton school, which just ranked in the Top 5 of all ATA schools.  For a little perspective, there are over 1,500 ATA schools worldwide.  The fact that there are three Karate Atlanta schools in the Top 10 of these 1,500+ schools speaks volumes for their program here in Atlanta.  Amazing accomplishment and honor for the Karate Atlanta organization!

 I wanted to share the photo of the Roswell location, as this is where my kids attend.  We think these instructors are the absolute best!  Mr. Poole (center, 4th degree black belt) is the lead instructor and so fabulous at maintaining control with respect and good humor of dozens of children.

 My day ended with all schools coming back together for a photograph of the entire staff under the pergola the Grand Master has built inside the training room.

 Thank you, Karate Atlanta, for asking me to photograph all of your instructors and the Grand Master.  I was truly honored.  And humbled to be surrounded by dozens of men and women who have spent decades learning the forms and methods of the American Taekwondo Assocation and made it their mission to teach others.