Since we moved to Charlottesville, we've been so blessed to have been a part of Evergreen Community Church.  We have truly enjoyed getting to know everyone there and have been inspired by their lives.  One family in particular, though, has amazed us since day one.  Eric and Holly Nelson are moving to Zambia with their three children, who all have Down Syndrome and were adopted from Brazil, in order to serve and care for orphans with intellectual disabilities.  They have formed an organization called the Special Hope Network and the worship service this morning served as a sendoff for them as they are leaving very soon.  You can click on this image below to find out more about them and the work they'll be doing.

I was honored when someone asked me if I could take a portrait a few weeks ago of the congregation to send along with the Nelsons as a reminder of the support they have here in Charlottesville.  I had great plans of a nicely-lit outdoor portrait on the steps of the school where our church meets, but the rain had other plans.  At first, I was a little disappointed that there were a lot of people gone that week mostly because UVA was on spring break, but that turned out to actually be a good thing since I had to find a spot indoors for the shot!  I hunted around the school for a place to get everyone together and found the gym.  I set up and tested my lighting during the sermon, shhh...don't tell Bill, herded everyone into the gym after the service and snapped 10-15 frames.  Shooting groups like this is always tricky since it's nearly impossible to get everyone looking great in one frame - especially with all the kids!  But I'm happy with how it came out.

And for you photographers, I took this shot using only two speedlights fired into reflective umbrellas with my Alien Bees wireless remotes while standing on a chair that was on the stage in the gym.  Finding a place where I could get high enough without a cluttered background was the biggest challenge.