Thirst Relief Mentor Auction 2014


You can bid on 90 minutes with Kevin Kubota and other industry leaders during the Thirst Relief Mentor Auction going on now! "The mission of the annual Thirst Relief Mentor Auction is twofold, to save lives and change the world by utilizing the incredible talent and generosity of the photography industry and to create better and more successful photographers." 100 percent of the money raised from the auction goes directly towards saving lives through Thirst Relief. The Thirst Relief Mentor Auction takes place via ebay February 6th-9th, 2014. The auction ends around 11pm EST on February 9th. This year they will be staggering auction times by 3 minutes so you can bid on multiple mentors up until the very end!

In addition to time with Kevin, top bidders can also receive goodies from these sponsors:
- Kelly Moore Bag - Top 5 overall bidders get bag of their choice
- BlogStomp - ALL winning bidders receive 50% off the BlogStomp app. Also the top 10 overall bidders receive a free copy of BlogStomp
- Into the Dark Room - All auction winners a free one year membership to our Pro plan ($480 value). All bidders 50% off the first year of our Basic membership plan
- Think Tank Photo - Top 2 overall bidders get free camera bag 




Do you know one of these amazing people?

Ah, of my favorite days of the year falls on a beautiful Autumn Sunday. This was our 13th year to host Family Photos in the Park Day in Bend, OR. The project started over a decade ago to provide free family holiday portraits to families in need in our local area. We rally together with other local photographers and volunteers to photograph them throughout the day and ultimately provide them with a free picture package and digital files so they can inexpensively make holiday cards or other prints on their own. This year we photographed over 200 families yesterday! 

I really love this project because it not only provides the obvious gift to the families, but it also brings together like minded friends and photographers to spend the day having fun and doing something truly awesome together. Photographers also say it's one of the best learning experiences for them as well – having to photograph 30-50 families in one day quickly hones your location portrait skills! 

Each year I look forward to seeing my repeat "customers" who bring their families back and seek me out at my photo station. It's such a joy to see how they've grown and they truly inspire me with their hearts and smiles. One such family comes every year and is headed up by a couple of matriarchs in their 70's and 90's who have adopted and care for several children with Down syndrome. This year they told me they ALSO have 6 dogs! Talk about energy and compassion!

I am truly grateful today for the generous help of our volunteers who make time in their schedules to give back to the community with us.  We certainly could not do this project without them and they all have a special place in my heart!

If you are a photographer, or heck – anyone wanting to start a project like this in your town, email me and I'll be happy to share the information on how we organize this and provide samples of all the documents we use to connect with families through local charitable organizations. 

If you know one of these good folk, give them a power hug! 

The superstars of Family Photo Day! Some volunteers had to leave before we took the photo so they are not digitally represented, but still wholly appreciated!

The superstars of Family Photo Day! Some volunteers had to leave before we took the photo so they are not digitally represented, but still wholly appreciated!

The photographers were:

Alycia White - Echo Photography

Bob Fowler

Jesse Laird

Jessica Heigh

Kimberly Teichrow - Kimberly Teichrow Photography

Marina Koslow - Marina Koslow Photography

Nathan Smith

Sandra Kunz

Kevin Kubota

Other volunteers & assistants:

Kecia Kubota - Groove Consulting

Judy Kubota

Clare Kubota

Kai Kubota - Go Summit High! 

Cindy Girror

Kevin Desrosiers

Karen Brown - Team Kubota

Miranda Brown - Go Summit High!

Patch Heatherman

Staci Demarco - Team Kubota

Kathryn Osborne - Team Kubota

Trish Crawford - Team Kubota

Anna Miller (Alycia's sister)

Chris David

Michael Conkey

Cali Clement (Team Kubota) and her sister, Abby Elvebak


Thirst Relief Mentor Auction Winner


The statistics are so overwhelming you start to think, what can I do?  1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and nearly 2.5 million people die each year due to waterborne-related disease (90% of which are children under the age of 5). From Thankfully there are organizations like Thirst Relief International whose mission is to overcome death and disease resulting from the consumption of contaminated water by providing safe, clean drinking water to those in need around the world. One of the ways they raise the funds to help each year is with their Mentor Auction. Industry leaders donate their time and often their products to be auctioned off. This year Kevin participated and we wanted to find out a little more about the person who won the auction and would be getting 90 minutes with Kevin to ask anything he'd like. Vijay Rakhra is a wedding photographer from the San Francisco Bay area. During college Vijay went to Africa and studied drumming in Ghana. During his senior year in Ghana studying abroad he made films about drumming and dancing. After college Vijay started freelancing and someone asked him to shoot a wedding. Instead of abandoning his first love which was video, he started incorporating both into his business. In recent years his company renamed Wedding Documentary has become well know for covering Indian weddings in both still and motion formats. 

After making two more trips to West Africa and learning to play drums from the masters, Vijay began making documentaries showcasing the talented drummers, which helped raise money in the villages when students would travel there to learn.  The sale of the DVD's is also helping to raise funds and several of the musicians have been able to move to the US to teach and can then support their villages back home.  So Vijay said when he saw the Thirst Relief Auction he decided it was a worthy cause to support. He chose Kevin because, "I admire his business and speaking skills. He is a great presenter and has a lot of experience. I also wanted to get the actions, as well as some of the other goodies, but at the end of it all, I just wanted some money to go back to Africa because the people, the music, and the culture, has changed my life. My experiences there, make me who I am and I appreciate life more because of it. I hope that in the future even more photographers try to do what they can to give back to their communities whether they are abroad or here in the states and that we never forget Africa!"  For more information on Thirst Relief International you can visit them online at