Author Archive

Not at the Top—With the Top

Today the company I get to work for was announced by the Denver Post as one of 2018’s “Top Places to Work”. As a matter of fact, out of the 48,000 companies that applied, DigitalGlobe was announced the 20th Top Places which doesn’t give me the feeling of “being at the top” but instead I know I’m with the top.

The difference? I’ve often heard it said that “the top” of anything tends to be a lonely and cold place. Of course, the analogy alludes to an idea that not very many actually make it to this top so many seem to be striving for. I’d rather look at it from the perspective that any success I may have is not something I can solely gain on my own. It takes a team, a culture, and a sense of collaboration.

So no, I don’t feel like I’m “at the top” of anything. I’m instead with the top, in the top, and we’re only going higher together in this new renaissance of space exploration and commercial enterprise – an industry worth trillions of dollars. That’s what it’s like to be with the top. It’s exciting and something we all get to celebrate together.

So I raise my glass again to DigitalGlobe and my awesome team. I haven’t been here for very long, but here’s to many more years of being with the top places and people to work for.



Feeling AWSome

Recently I had an AWESOME opportunity to attend a free all-day event in Denver literally called AWSome Day hosted by Amazon. During this event I learned a ton that is too much to share in a single blog post so you are better off just attending the event yourself if you have the opportunity (It’s free so don’t make any more excuses!). Instead, allow me at least talk about the highlights and the core of what I got out of it.

AWS stands for “Amazon Web Services” which offers a myriad of tools that dynamically or elastically shift to meet the changing demand of any given user experience. A really good example of this was that of a University which for the duration of a semester may see a small trickle of interest in enrollment which does not need a whole lot of resources so AWS automatically adjusts itself to only give what the users and servers need to meet that level of demand. But come time for open enrollment and there is an immediate surge of applications and interest that floods the servers. One can even schedule AWS ahead of time to rev up and be 100% ready for that kind of surge. AWS takes changing behavior and intuitively adjusts itself so that resources and costs are well-regulated saving time and money. This is a big deal for not just large corporations but small ones to.

What makes AWS Day truly awesome is that it’s free. That’s right, Amazon believes their web services is so important they are offering an entire day’s worth of an opportunity to tell you exactly how great it is and answer your questions and concerns. For the most part, at least in Denver, a single AWS trained professional spoke on the many facets that exist in AWS from EC2 Cloud Computing, to S3 Cloud Storage, to Analytics, to Delivery. AWS really can handle just about anything. In between sessions there were also an entire group of AWS evangelists and gurus standing by to answer specific questions about what AWS can do for any person, company, or project.

What I was able to get out of AWS Day personally was a better understanding of how to carry out cloud computing and cloud storage. Along with a fresh outlook on web services, I was given a broad scope of what AWS is specifically capable of while gaining a profound appreciation of “The Cloud”. Of course, I could expound on these discoveries in great detail, but honestly you’re not going to gain the same experience unless you attend the event. I’m certainly no expect because of my own attendance, but I learned a lot about the lingo, general work flow, and a few best practices when it comes to managing a web service such as the Principle of Least Privilege or PoLP. I also learned that S3 Cloud storage can be implemented with MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and Amazon has a very powerful querying tool know as Athena which is an Interactive SQL service that is serverless. It can process unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data sets using ANSI SQL.

So what’s next? There might be a strong temptation to go off and become AWS certified, but until I can get more of my hands on the products and services that AWS can offer, I may hold off on that venture. On May 1st again in Denver AWS will start an Initiate Series which is the next step after attending AWS Day. What if you and myself can’t make it? Amazon does have lots of online resources if one is not able to attend these kinds of free events. Additionally there is an AWS Public Sector Summit taking place in Washington DC.

Attending AWS Day really was like drinking from a fire hydrant, but sometimes it takes a flood of knowledge to clear the mind and inspire great ideas. With the power of AWS I hope to take those ideas and not just conceptualize but also carry them out towards being truly awesome.

Seeing a Better World – Attaining Wisdom

Having a website with an actual domain always gave me a sense of pride knowing I have a real piece of Internet real estate. Taking into consideration that it will be awhile yet before I will own any real physical property, I can at least take some pride in the fact that I have a website to call my own. Yet it sits here seldom to updates, collecting digital dust along the way. Of course it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to know no one reads this anymore let alone comment his or her thoughts, but I write when I realize the importance of a major life event or perhaps just when I feel like it. So there’s a long-winded way of saying it has been awhile, but I’m not sorry about it either. Instead, I realize that sharing my life here in the blogosphere is something I need to do for myself and going forward I won’t make promises of doing it often, but I will at least try to write more which I think is beneficial when I have the time.

Without further delay let’s talk about where I’ve been. Recently I learned a lot about a simple rule about life and that’s “making comparisons can often spoil your happiness”. This comes from a book on audio I listened to during probably the hardest year of my life – working graveyard shift as a delivery milkman. That’s right, you heard me. They really do still exist and yes they are part of the hardest blue-collar workers I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know, but thank God I wasn’t doing that for more than a year. The best part about it though was it gave me enough of an income to support myself and my pregnant wife and time to listen to the Divine while depending on His providence. I remember being scared out of my wits trying to come up with a way to win bread and also provide the financial support to pay for the delivery of my first-born child. Those medical bills didn’t get paid off for the first two years of her life – It was worth every penny.

So why is making comparisons so bad? Well, if you think about it, you only really see in others what they want you to see and there’s always the age-old trope of the grass being greener on the other side. Which actually one of my favorite musical artists of the time, John Butler Trio, wrote a song titled Better Than that lyrically explains that “Life is not about what’s better than.” Those were two messages I really needed to hear in 2014. That year not only did I learn these valuable life-lessons, but I also learned how to work hard and trust that my Heavenly Father had a plan and it was up to me to gather His provision while He established my steps.

During that year I was desperate to find a way to get out of manual labor and pursue something I knew I could be good at and thoroughly enjoy. The dairy I worked for had a very dated website so I figured with my interest in design, storytelling, and the Internet, I would try and make something better with the hope they’d hire me to maintain it. Of course, that didn’t end up happening but what did happen was the beginning of my study of database administration namely MySQL and the Structured Query Language syntax. Little did I know that just this little dabbling would lead me to bigger and better things.

Eventually while attending a church in Northern Colorado I got to know a gentlemen who had worked for IBM for 20 years and was thinking about going back so he could get ready to fully retire. He assured me while knowing of my struggles working nights that he’d help look for an opening for me. True to his word, I started a process of interviewing with a contracting company that promised a 1-year contract with possible extension.

Honestly I was ecstatic to work for the Big Blue that is International Business Machines. I had hoped this opportunity would open up all kinds of opportunities and an actual career. Despite the job itself getting to a slow start, I was just happy to see the sun again and actually getting a goodnight sleep for once. Despite the job not turning into a full-time regular employment, I still took advantage of every opportunity while I was there to learn everything I could about IT and the management of data, time, and myself personally. There were a lot of major achievements I got out of being at IBM, but despite my work ethic and determination, the contracting company decided it was time to let me go and for the first time in my life I was unemployed.

Thankfully this downtime only lasted about a month when a buddy of mine from a local game store referenced me to a telecommunications company that specialized in wireless internet services. I started out there as a technical support agent for 6 months, chat support for about 4 months, and then for about 10 months I worked as a dispatcher for the field techs. The entire time I was focused on climbing the cooperate ladder hoping I would make it into a leadership position, but while I was in dispatch my new manager at the time had his eye on my potential and literally told me he felt I was “doing the wrong thing” with my career path.

For the first time in my life I found out about a field called Geographical Information Systems or GIS. I attended a conference for GIS where I heard a presenter say that no one really ever thinks to himself “I want to be a geographer when I grow up”. That was certainly the case for me, but what made GIS really interesting is realizing how not only relevant it is to society both established and emerging but how much the industry was growing and looking for talented individuals. I had always been in love with the concept of storytelling with pictures and with my recent love for data I realized I could marry the two together and pursue a technical career in something that wasn’t just about geography but also storytelling – telling the story of the world geospatially.

Today I now work for the leading provider of digital information of our ever changing planet called DigitalGlobe. At DG I help support various projects with a team of professionals who have a fundamental understanding of what Jack Dangermond (Founder of Esri) calls “The Science of Where”. Every day is a day I don’t have to commute and put in the hours of hard work: every day I GET that privilege while imaging the world to make it a better place.

To get to that point all I had to do is prove that I could obtain a foundational knowledge of GIS and the industry. To accomplish that foundation, I went back to school for a certification that ended up costing me less than $200 because of a Career, Technical, and Education grant I was awarded and being able to rent my books on Amazon. What also helped was establishing a trusting relationship during my interview and proving I was qualified for the job.

So where to next? For the first time since I was at IBM I know I’m finally pursuing a real career. DigitalGlobe is a great starting point and I hope it will launch my talents and abilities far beyond the stars. While performing my regular duties, I also use my time to continue studying GIS related topics along with Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Voice-enabled APIs. Why? Because I believe those technologies are the future. I’ve heard data be referred to as the “new oil” and AI, Machine Learning, along with other related technologies are the tools I’ll need to drill this crude resource out of the vast debts of the universe and process it into valuable information. It’s been a crazy last couple of years, but the ground is finally feeling stable again allowing me to look to the skies and fulfill my greatest potential.

New Horizons


Three years later, a few jobs later, a beautiful baby girl and here we are now working in Telecommunications as a Field Workforce Coordinator. Lately pursuing Film as both a Technical and Artistic endeavor has gone its course. Although I still have a passion for visual storytelling, I’ve recently settled on exploring the world of Data as it was put to me as “The New Oil” and thus my New Horizon.

This shift in career really started when I landed a Contracting Job for IBM’s Global Delivery Center as a Risk and Security Specialist. I certainly did not work in a highly technical field at the time, but the experience I gained as a Data Prep Administrator opened my eyes to the world of Big Data, Information Technology, and Database Administration. I believed at the time I would be able to continue to work for IBM for a while; going from a contractor to a regular employee. IBM did not have the same idea. After six months past my 1-year contract with possible extension, IBM let me go and I was unemployed for the month of June 2016. It was the end of June when I finally started a new path in Telecommunications working for a Wireless Internet Service Provider in Technical Support.

One year later in the Spring of 2017 I was offered a position in Field Workforce Coordination or to put it more simply Outbound Dispatch. Now I’m in charge of assigning and routing an average of 200 jobs per day to over 50 Install and Repair Technicians (IRTs). Within six months of working in this new position an even grander opportunity was brought to my attention – the field of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Having already an interest in Big Data and a background in Digital Imagery, the more I considered GIS the more I realized how much this field lines up with my motivational thrusts. The applications of GIS are nearly endless and the Global impact I could potentially have exhilarating. Although I will continue to work as an Outbound Dispatcher, the first steps I shall take towards starting a career in GIS is to become certified.

This Fall Semester I have enrolled into the Fundamentals of GIS Certification Program. Once completed I should be able to begin an Internship and hopefully go straight to hire from there. What has clearly solidified this decision is that not only was I quickly accepted into the program, I was also awarded a grant that will nearly cover all the costs of my tuition – this is a huge confirmation that I am meant to go into this realm of exploration and that my abilities will be needed!

Although I intend to be incredibly busy this Fall Semester with Work, School, and most importantly Family, I wish to share as much as I can through my blog, pictures, videos, and possibly even a podcast from time to time. I haven’t been this motivated about education since I got my BA in Communications. I have always considered myself as a life-long learner and my journey is still just beginning. First day of class is August 21st; tune in then to find out how it goes!

Oakley – Automation Engage!

Greetings fellow creatives out there! For this first-time post in a long time I’d like to share a Batch Script I finished writing last night and maybe get some feedback on the design and perhaps even help out some of you who are short on time like me and need a fast intuitive way to create all those media folders to contain your works of genius. This Batch Script in particular is for Adobe Premiere Pro users who would like to automate the folder hierarchy for the vast mediums used to create video projects.

So let’s dive in . . .

Note: The following tutorial is for Windows Users (I plan to create a similar script for Mac users in a future post) . . .

Now, first we’re going to create a .bat file using Notepad. If you have another text editor you’d like to use that’s fine, but when we’re finished editing the script, the last step is very important so pay attention.

To keep it simple, let’s open the Start Menu> Search for Run> Open Run> Type Notepad >Click ‘Ok’ or press Enter.

Once Notepad is open, copy and paste the following script:



@Echo Off
:: Hide Following Commands

color a
:: Changes Text to Green

Echo This batch script will create Adobe Project Folders in your C:\ Directory.

SET /P ANSWER=Do you wish to continue, Y/N?

if /I {%ANSWER%}=={Y} (goto :START)
if /I {%ANSWER%}=={N} (goto :END)
goto :catch

::if/then statement to confirm .bat file start by user

Echo Cheif Engineer, Scotty says try typing Y or N . . .
Timeout 3 >nul
goto :try

::Try/Catch Block for user input error

echo Command Accepted, engaging…
Timeout 1 >nul
Echo Batch Creating Adobe Project Folders with Subfolders…
Timeout 1 >nul

@Echo On
::Reveal commandline functions.

MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Pre_Production
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src\Adobe_AE_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src\Adobe_Encore_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src\Adobe_Photoshop_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Video
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Images
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Graphcis
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Graphcis\Lower_Thirds
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Graphcis\Titles
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Music
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\SFX
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\VFX
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\VFX\AE_Compositions
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Export
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Export\Hi_Rez
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Export\Lo_Rez

@Echo Off
::End of Batch Create, hide remaining commandline functions.
Timeout /t 2 /nobreak >nul


Echo Folders Created: Adobe Project Src and Media Folders with Subfolders

Echo Video, Images, Graphics, Music, SFX, and VFX

Echo Press any key to go to directory where folders were created.

:: Message to indicate batch create was succesfful!

Pause > nul

%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe C:\

:: Open’s C:\ Directory to where folders where created.

Echo Thank you and have a nice day!

Timeout 3 >nul


Echo Batch script terminated…
Timeout 5
exit/ b 1
::Wait 5 seconds and exit


Now the important part of the code if you want to customize the exact folders being created is this block here:

MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Pre_Production
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src\Adobe_AE_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src\Adobe_Encore_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Adobe_Project_src\Adobe_Photoshop_src
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Video
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Images
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Graphcis
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Graphcis\Lower_Thirds
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Graphcis\Titles
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\Music
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\SFX
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\VFX
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Media\VFX\AE_Compositions
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Export
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Export\Hi Rez
MKDIR C:\New_Adobe_Project\Export\Lo Rez

You can change these names to anything you like, but it’s important to realize that if you add any space to your folder name, it will tell Windows to create a separate folder hence is why I use underscores. Also, if you’re wanting to add a folder hierarchy, use the ‘MKDIR’ command followed by the desired directory path name.

Example: MKDIR C:\Project_Name\Subfolder_Name\etc . . .

Now the last part . . .

Save your notepad project  via File> Save As> “Project Name.bat” >Save as Type>All Files “*.*”

The last two steps are the most important. Make sure to save the file as anything you desire but end it with .bat. What is more, you must select All Files in the Save As Type dialog. This will keep it from saving as “Project name.bat.txt” which will not work.

And there you have it! I hope it helps and that you leave a comment!

Serving with nobility,

-Rob Oakley, Creative Collaborator


Oakley – About Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministries About from Rob Oakley on Vimeo.

Oakley – Looking Back; Looking Forward

As I look out the window of my 1800’s historic apartment in Northern Colorado, I observe the gentle breeze of a winter day smoothly gliding through the trees. Rack-focusing to the interior of my home of almost a year, I see the synchronized lights of multiple hues on my bride and I’s first Christmas tree. It’s Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is our first Christmas together and as I have time away from my job in the oilfield to sit down, write, and reflect on this past year, I find myself peculiarly found of what is to come in 2014.

For starters, I see myself with an immense desire to write more, blog more, take pictures more, and share more about my new life in the Northern Rockies of Colorado; sharing all the new opportunities, dreams, plans, and events all in between along with my dearest friend , my wife. As for new opportunities the new year plans to bring, one of which is tutoring part time on Monday nights with the International Students Inc. or ISI for short. It’s a group of individuals from all over the world including China, South Korea, Chile, the Middle East, and a handful of others. A similar experience takes me back to teaching English in Houston where I am originally from. I enjoyed it then and I fully expect I will enjoy it again next year. Training starts in January and by then I also hope to start an online certification course in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

A burning desire of mine as of late and for quite awhile, at least, ever since I came back from China in 2012  is to teach. Currently I work full time in the Oilfield as a service technician to the model homes provided to rigs all across Weld County.  It’s a great opportunity to kick start my wife and I into our new lives together keeps me very busy. However, I also hope while working in this productive industry that I can also put in some time toward helping to raise the Youth and next generation of leaders. Along with teaching English as a tutor for ISI, I also hope to start developing a private supplementary course in cultural and social studies with emphasis in Worldview and world religions. My current aim is toward middle school and high school students who are exclusively home educated (as I was during those years), but I also hope to pursue a wide range of students who would be interested in extracurricular activities. Sounds crazy that I want to involve the Youth of Northern Colorado in extra studies, but I think after a presentation or two they may find themselves extraordinarily interested in what both my wife and I have to offer. I plan to expound on this venture a lot further in the next post I plan to write so please stay tuned.

Yet another new venture I plan to take along with my writing and return to the Blog Sphere is to explore the realm of Podcasting. This past year I’ve been listening to a myriad of topics and I can’t begin to describe all of the fascinating stories, ideas, and biographies of people I’ve listened to for the last several months. I do, however, intend to share more often what I listen to on a more regular basis. For a list of current podcasts that I personally subscribe to, check out this link or refer to the end of this post. With all this being said, also look forward to a Podcast of my own hosted by both myself and my lovely wife. We plan to cover a lot of different topics, but eventually it is our goal to focus on social issues in both the realms of Education, Family, and Community.

To conclude, I’d like to mention that two of my greatest achievements this year have been 1) Finishing my bachelor’s degree in Communications and 2) Marrying the love of my life. It’s been a wonderful, crazy, difficult, surprising, lovely, heart breaking, joyful year and I am nervous, excited, frightened, encouraged, and fascinated with what is to come next.

Serving with nobility, noblesse oblige,

Robert W. Oakley



Merry Christmas!


Podcasts I Subscribe to:

NPR TED Radio Hour

TED Talks

English Teaching in Japan

The Artist in American History

Seth Godin’s Startup School



Oakley — An Aspiring Artist


Please take a few minutes to fill out my survey


I’ve created this survey to help collect data on a very important topic I’m researching and it’s also essential towards completing my degree! If you would please just take a few moments of your time to complete the survey, you will not only be helping my study but you’ll also be helping me finish my degree in communications! Feel free to share with friends and pass it on or to contact me personally if you have any questions.

Respectfully and with much thanks,

Rob Oakley

Levi, a treasured friend—September 22, 2012


Oakley — China ESL Trip 2012


China ESL Trip 2012, a set on Flickr.

Oakley – James and Kyra Rice_2012.06.02

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James and Kyra Rice_2012.06.02, a set on Flickr.

Oakley — Establishing Location

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One essential aspect to photographing a wedding is capturing the location. Location, Location, Location is extremely important in helping you, the photographer, tell a story so use it to its fullest potential.

Oakley – Summit Semester Promo 2012

Oakley — HBF Open Mic Night Final Act 2011

Oakley — Teaching ESL: Operation China

For the past month now I’ve been helping teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to Chinese students who reside in the city of Houston. Once a week I attend Crosspoint Lutheran church in Bellaire to assist in training Chinese natives in the basics of the English language in order to help them gain a better sense of prosperity in the United States along with preparing myself to teach at an English Camp in Pinghu, China this coming summer. I am very excited to be learning so much about the Chinese Culture and, slowly but surely, the Chinese language along with equipping myself with the necessary tools and experience to teach. Below are some photographs I took of last week’s class the day before the Chinese New Year. Normally we have a much larger class but due to the holiday festivities many of our students were probably away with family celebrating the on coming year of the Dragon. I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful opportunity to teach and look forward in continuing to share my journey with the rest of you. Enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for more to come!


Betty Cooke helps explain the week’s new Bible memory verse

Students range from adults of early 3o’s to late 40’s on up

We also include elementary students in our lessons!

Oakley — Renewed Outlook: Operation China



“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”


—Romans 11:33-36

As a visual artist—a rather idealistic one at that—finding Christ at the center of every frame, pixel, sound, and display of movement has inevitably revealed His perfect will and glory to me. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I believe in myself, no matter what I put at stake, Christ forever shall remain the center of attention and focal point of my existence. Now, that hardly seemed sufficient to a very prideful, vain, and arrogant young man such as myself at first, but through my parents wisdom and instruction, through the wisdom of my heavenly Father, and by His salvation was that all undone, breaking me away from the bondage of sin, and granting me an eternal place in heaven as a child of the King humbly serving in His service and not my own.


The moment I realized my reality was not my own, my existence was not all left up to me, that my life did not belong to me, I was set free. I remember never being able to satisfy my desires, dreams, and wants because the vanity of the situation was all too clear—I was meant to be His and His alone; everything I set out to do must be for His glory and His alone, and once my whole life has finally chosen that path less traveled could all the difference be made in the world. Otherwise, I would aimlessly achieve only what the material world had to offer—absolutely nothing.


The happiness so many men and women waste their whole life searching for will never be found unless their mind is set on heavenly things. This is my mission, this is my purpose, and this is my life: to reveal to men the ever satisfying, perfect sustaining, wonderful savior Jesus Christ through whatever means necessary and by far the most effective. That is why I feel called to teach and enter the media industry. As Christ instructed His people in righteousness and taught through stories so do I feel the need and dream to do the same. To teach and show everyone around the world the wonderful saving grace of God, the unprecedented sacrifice He made for us all, and the perfect loving relationship we can have with Him and each other for all eternity.


As for the calling to go to China, witnessing lately the desperate search for answers to life’s greatest questions among the Chinese people, in the comfort of the States, constitutes my whole desire to go to their country of origin. I want to learn their language, their culture, their history, and find ways to better communicate the Gospel, teach them the English language, and show them the love of Christ along with my team. Up until this point, my evaluated experiences of the past has led me to this conclusion, but even more so the burning passion and desire within my heart that I can only know God has placed within me.


We are noble men and women of the risen King; for that may we feel nobly obliged to go and serve our almighty creator LORD and one another in unity and love for ever and ever. Amen.


Noblesse oblige,


~Rob Oakley


Nathan and Shelly Reitz


Nathen and Shelly, a set on Flickr.

Oakley – Behind the Scenes: Grace Care Center

Rob Brayton setting up for Christmas Shoot with Santa

Today I had the pleasure to work with once again my mentor, teacher, and friend, Rob Brayton. We were both immensely pleased to have the opportunity to bless the senior citizens of Grace Care center with photographs of Santa Claus. Each of them will be getting a copy  just in time for Christmas to share amongst their families and care takers.

Rob working with the Nikon D7000

Rob Brayton is an experienced 2nd generation photographer with decades of study in digital engineering and the arts; his vision is to enrich the lives of people and business through visual storytelling in still and moving life portraiture—as is mine. He has taught me everything I know about film and photography and it is always an honor to work with him.

Rob with Santa

And of course the big guy himself, Santa Claus was a real treat to work with as well. He was able to bring so much joy to the citizens as they posed with the man of jolly and cheer making Christmas this year for the Grace Care center and its members a happy one indeed.

Back in the Saddle Again; Riding on the Back of a Lion

Call it a sabbatical if you will; I’d much prefer to look at it as if I fell into some vortex of a world that wasn’t necessarily perfect but pretty darn close.  All year long I can remember myself praying, “Dear God, let me see mountains again!” Who knew He’d actually answer my prayer and not only give me a mere glimpse of them but actually allow me to live among them for twelve weeks! If that wasn’t enough, let me tell you about the food—if a man’s heart is truly won through his stomach, then I left my heart in Pegosa Springs along with the cooks. And then there were the people who ate the food with me: 30 students who I not only ate with but also studied with, worked with, played with, prayed with, laughed with, cried with, and truly lived with for three months. Such adventures we had and though I keep trying to remind myself that the end is only just the beginning, I honestly cannot believe it’s over . . .

There are some things in life I always want to remember and then there are some things I will never forget. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then not even a picture can express well enough what I felt while living in Colorado. Don’t get me wrong though. It’s wonderful being home again. Being back in the city, where this city boy probably belongs, I can tell how much I missed the rush of Houston traffic, the stress free life of a stay-at-home college student, the worry free . . . Who am I kidding? The answer is not at all! Still, it is very nice to be home again. And by home I mean where my heart truly lives among my family who all five brothers and one sister I call friends, and parents who I consider wise and wealthy with God’s providence. As much as I long to go back to the mountains, I’d be dragging them all up with me in a heartbeat if I knew that I could. But who knows? God knows and that’s enough to keep my hopes up. As fretful and anxious I may get from time to time, I know who controls my destiny. Ask a fellow minister of mine how to spell love and he’ll tell you, “T-I-M-E.”

So what about my work, my art in photography? Well, in the next several weeks I will be uploading a ton of photos to Flickr featuring most of my favoritest and bestest work from places as majestic as the Pegosa Spring Mountains, to as mystical as the Great Sand Dunes, and the misty Grand Canyon in winter. Also, I plan to feature some amazing HDR photos and a few portraitures I did so stay tuned for that as well.

And as for the world of video, I plan to upload a bunch of those too as long as I can manage time to edit and upload them all.

sigh of blissful content

I really can’t tell you how exactly I feel right now about everything. I feel amazing yet at the same time totally exhausted. I feel super happy and excited yet at the same time totally depressed. But I’m making due. It brings me overwhelming joy—which is quite possible to have when you’re feeling lonely and sad—to know how much my family and friends care about me. Though they may be near or far, I love each and every one of them with all my heart.

It really is good to be back . . .

And, as always, there will be plenty more to come!

Noblesse oblige,

~Rob Oakley


Oakley – The Pikes Peak Summit Experience

Oakley – HDR Photography