Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas Spirit...


 Well we made it! We made it through the all the wrapping paper, the endless bowls of candies, breads, cakes and pies, the Christmas dinner(s) and the family get togethers. Oh I know, the season's not over yet and I'm not saying that I want it to be. New Years' is just next week but to be honest with you, that hasn't held a lot of excitement for me in quite some time. When I do stay up until midnight or later it's either at this computer or lying in bed trying to sleep but not yet getting there. So anyway, the rush of Christmastime is over. I'll be taking the Christmas CDs out of the car and putting them back in their spot until next year. Probably some time this week the tree will come down and if I have time, the outdoor lights will be taken down and rolled up as best as I can ( I'm not even going to discuss how that usually turns out...).
 It's funny how Christmas starts to take a hold of us and day by day we start getting into the "Christmas spirit". Slowly all of the gift buying, the candy making and decorations that adorn our houses builds to a crescendo until the day comes and it's here! And then with just the tick of a few very short hours it's over. But you know as well as I do that it doesn't need to be over and really, it shouldn't ever be over. Look at old Scrooge and even the Grinch. They learned to live like Christmas was everyday so surely we could too. I tend to think that as each year passes I've been able to take a little Christmas spirit and tuck it away to be used at my discretion at any given time and place, each year adding to that which I've stored from the years before. I can only hope that the people that know me(and maybe even more so, people that don't know me) have been able to see that in me.
  At any rate, the new year is coming and that means that another year has passed. They sure do seem to fly by any more. One of these days I'll tell you my theory on that...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas In My Heart...


 Several years ago we began going to the Children's Mass at St. Agnes Cathedral on Christmas Eve with my mother. We used to go to the Midnight Mass but I don't have to tell you, that makes for an awful long Christmas Day when you're up early with the kids. And besides, the Children's Mass is at 5:00 and that's plenty of time to go out for Chinese food afterward. I guess that that in itself has become a little Christmas tradition of ours too. I'm not sure but I think that it might stem from the movie "A Christmas Story" and if you're familiar at all with the only movie that I know of that's played over and over for 24 hours you'll know that the Bumpus' hounds break into Ralphie Parker's house and make off with the Christmas turkey leaving Ralphie and his family with the only restaurant that's open and that being the aforementioned Chinese restaurant. (whew...) So yeah, that's become a little tradition of ours.
 I guess that there's a few things that have become a Christmas tradition for us now that I think of it. Charlie Brown Christmas , The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, not to mention actually watching A Christmas Story over and over (and over). We have to listen to the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi while we're decorating the tree, we have to.We find ourselves getting out the movies of Brendon when he was four years old and singing Feliz Navidad at which Brenda always tears up. And every Christmas Brenda makes tons of candies, cakes and breads that get distributed to our friends and neighbors. But all that aside, I do enjoy the Children's Mass. It's always an amazing experience of sights and sounds. But most of all it let's me feel Christmas in my heart and that's where it should be...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On Your Best Behavior...


 Better watch out, better not cry, better not pout I'm telling you why! Santa Claus is coming to town! There's less than a week to go kids and I don't think that I've gotten to bed before midnight in the last week so I'm not going to stay up late tonight.(although, it's 11:15 now). The new job has me up before 6AM and I'm just not getting enough sleep with all of the Christmas goings on uh, going on. So you know what you need to be doing.(he's making a list and checking it twice!) There's still time to be good (gonna find out who's naughty or nice...) and I'll be back on Wednesday hopefully all rested up. But for now, goodnight and I sincerely hope that this Christmas season is finding all of you well and on your best behavior!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Now That's Magic...


 I really wanted to just jot down a few words tonight. I knew I couldn't skip it again this week but I've had a little trouble lately finding the words to write. I went and finished (yes, I said finished ) my Christmas shopping tonight and I'm sure that it was past midnight by the time I got to sleep last night so I momentarily gave the idea a thought.
 But then I thought about Christmas being just around the corner and what an opportunity it would be to write something profound about world peace or helping the needy or volunteering our time or just plain ole being good to each other.
And I guess all of that is good to get up on our soapbox about but as we all know it's not supposed to take it being Christmastime to be good to each other. We're supposed to always be that way. "Love one another..." that's how it goes, isn't it? It was never supposed to be that hard to do.
 I suppose though that I am thankful to those that at least use this time of year as an excuse to shed that rough exterior that they carry around all year long, if only for a few days, and show the world some compassion.
 So now that I have spread the message of love thy neighbor- however inadvertently it came about- I just wanted to show you Kierra. When you hear about the magic of Christmas I'm sure that it conjures up all sorts of images but this photo of  Kierra seemed to sum it up pretty well for me. There is nothing more special than a child and there is nothing more wonder filled than a child's mind. We're very blessed in that Brenda has been able to help raise several children through her baby sitting and I'm very blessed to be able to get the chance to play with them all and watch their faces when they've discovered something new and even lend an ear once in a while when one of the babies actually tries to explain it to me. I've often thought that if I were to suddenly go deaf I think that the last thing I would want to hear would be a child's laughter. Now that's magic...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just A While...


 Well here it is - my annual first snow photo. That's right, we woke up this morning to a thin layer of the white stuff. The unfortunate part is that the temperatures are dropping to single digits and that just seems to take all the fun out of it! I always said that if I didn't love the Ozarks so much, I'd move to a far warmer climate and just visit once in a while. But I'd never do that. This part of the country is awful special to me. Anyway, the snow obviously presents a whole new batch of photo opportunities and that's something I can really appreciate. I just don't get the opportunity to travel much what with everything we have going on and that can be a real problem for a so called "outdoor photographer". I have quite a list of  places I like to frequent in the immediate area and they're some pretty awesome places but eventually burn-out can set in and sometimes, as much as I hate to admit it, it starts to be the same old thing.
 So when snow comes it changes everything and makes it fresh again. It's amazing what even the smallest amount of snow can do to a landscape. It makes the drab colorful. It makes the stale fresh. It breaks up the colors of the forest and gives everything a crisp edge again. It just kind of makes all the old things new, at least for a while. And that's all I need to recharge my batteries and remember why I love doing this so much -just a while. Because after all, we're only here for a while...     

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brittany


 It seems like it's getting harder and harder to decide what to post. I don't know if I'm getting more critical of my photos or maybe the words just don't seem to come some days and I'm too focused on my writing. After all, I am trying to develop some sort of writing skills to go along with whatever I  decide to post.
 At any rate, it really should not have been that mind twisting to come up with a photo that I thought you might enjoy. In the last post I referred to a recent shoot for senior pictures and this is one of the results of that shoot. This is Brittany and I (with the aid of Bridgett of course) was privileged to do her senior pictures. I've known Brittany since she was a little girl and she sure has grown up fast! I think she must have been in about the first or second grade when I started working with her dad, Larry. Although I saw Larry at least five days a week I would only see Brittany occasionally so that every time I did see her she was one or two grades further along. Now, all of a sudden, she's a senior in high school! I'm sure that I don't have to tell you that that's just another reminder of how fast the years go flying past us. Well she's got five younger sisters that are all growing up just as  fast and (yes, I said five) hopefully I'll do their senior pictures and who knows, maybe I'll be shooting their weddings too...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back In The Day...


 These horses caught my eye recently when I was doing a photo shoot for some senior pictures. The landscape that day was spectacular to say the least adding to what, I think, was a very good session. Scenes like this always make me think of  past eras when it was not uncommon to wander upon a herd of wild horses. When it was far from unusual for a man (or even a boy) to go out and find his next means of transportation. Kind of like an old west car lot if you will.
 You know, I'm one of those people that from time to time likes to imagine how I would like to live back in the days before all of the "modern marvels" crept their way into our society. Before things got so complicated. I like to tell people how I would love to have been back there- back in those days. Well, I guess that a large part of that is true, but I'm not really so sure that I would want to go back and actually live in those times.
 It would be cool -to an extent. There's not much I do enjoy more than being away from the hustle and bustle. Having a place with lots and lots of acreage (I couldn't put a number on how many acres I'd really want) is what I've wanted for what seems like a very long time. That, unfortunately doesn't seem to be in my financial near future. But to be honest, I like modern conveniences. I like having a warm car in the morning. I like a coffee pot that has my coffee ready 15 minutes before I get up. I like my digital camera... I really like my digital camera! And I like sharing my thoughts via the internet with all of you that check out what I have to share a couple of times a week.
 Back in the day will just have to remain back in the day and maybe from time to time I'll be able to go back by way of some awesome vacation or who knows, maybe even one day I'll own lots and lots of acreage and I'll have my own herd of wild horses that I can just go sit and watch and think about the good ol' days...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Berry!

Occasionally I get to photograph a wedding and being as I'm not actually a "wedding photographer" so to speak, more often than not the wedding is of a friend. I'll have to say that I'm starting to enjoy them more than I used to. I've done a small handful in the last 2 or 3 years and they really are getting easier. The fact that I've been able to enlist the help of my friend Bridgett has made a world of difference. She really knows what she's doing I'll have to say.The aid of an assistant can be the difference in a good set or a really good set of wedding photos.
All that aside, these are my friends John and Debbie Berry. They tied the knot November 20, 2010. I should say that I felt honored to be asked to do their wedding. I really mean that. For someone to trust me to take photos of  what will be memories of a lifetime well, there's just not another word that conveys how I feel about that. Thanks John and Debbie for putting your trust in me! May your life together always be filled with laughter as it is here. I know that it will be just for the simple fact that I know you have God in your hearts!
 
Congratulations to you both and I wish you nothing but happiness...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

From Thy Bounty...


 Well, I'm plenty full of turkey, ham, smoked pork and all of the usual assortment of casseroles and veggies. Not to mention more desserts than "Man vs. Food" could manage to eat in his usual allotted time. (It's a television show- you'll just have to look it up... )    So, I just wanted to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone.I hope that there's never been a moment on this blog that I haven't conveyed how thankful I am for all of the blessings I have in my life...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Place In Our Hearts...


 I'm not sure which I like better, the big red barn with it's loft full of hay and the rope and pulley hanging out over the hay loft door or the old weather beaten, run down barn with it's boards that no longer hold any paint (or many of the  nails for that matter). Barns have always had a place in American literature and therefore a place in our hearts.
  There's the barn with the loft that became the secret hiding place for many a child that grew up out in the countryside where the neighbors were few and far between. A secret hiding place to escape the daily chores or maybe even the switch for trying to escape the chores!
 Sometimes the barn was the next best thing to a ride at the county fair when the rope acted as a swing for a young daredevil to launch him/herself into a mountainous pile of hay below, oftentimes resulting in the acquisition of a new cast on one limb or another.
 Then there were those times that the old barn acted as a hide out for some outlaw that was on the lam. Of course more times than not he was the victim of an over zealous law officer who happened to catch his girl giving the aforementioned outlaw the eye which resulted in his unfortunate and untimely incarceration which, in turn led to his escape (with her help of course). All of this culminating in a showdown at the barn that, unfortunately but most probably, led to the barn burning to the ground after the lantern is knocked loose from it's perch during the scuffle between "good and evil"!

 Whew! All that being said, you can't deny the romanticism of the barn. Now I know that there are plenty of other situations that the hay lofts of America might bring to mind but I won't be going into all that here. It's not that kind of a blog...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ol' What's His Name


 Once again I'm at a loss. I've got a great site for bird identification - The Cornell Lab of Ornithology; All About Birds. For those of you that are interested you can find it at :
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1189   Just in the browse for name and/or shape section there are over 400 different bird pictures! 
  I'm pretty sure that I've scanned every picture therein in hopes of identifying this particular bird. But nooo. I haven't been able to even come close as far as I can tell. I know that I should know what it is. I've seen several around. As far as I know, it's probably one of those that is so common that the site doesn't bother identifying it. Surely you know what that is! Everyone knows what kind of bird that is! I mean, come on...
 But I don't. I can't find it at all. So I guess we'll just skip the formalities and move on. This particular "bird" here made him/herself known to us last Sunday evening when it decided to try and fly through the window not once, not twice but over and over and over again. Now I understand the "clean window" thing but what makes a bird fly repeatedly into an obstacle that it obviously cannot pass -whether it can see it or not? This photo was taken as it was resting in between kamikaze attacks. Maybe it was planning a new strategy, I'm sure I don't know. But apparently, if it was, it decided against whatever new approach it might have come up with because the bombardment repeated continuously until dark.
 Maybe, even in the bird kingdom there are a few crazies out there. Maybe once in a while a bird has had all it can take for one day. And I suppose that maybe there are some things that are just enough to make a bird cuckoo...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just To See What There Is To "C"


 This is Commercial Street at sunset. I, like I'm sure a lot of you are, am very attracted to the older architecture in my town. I'm compiling photos from around the Springfield area in hopes of doing a photo book in the near future. You know, not something from a major publisher but one of those web sites that you can do the layout and they send you back a nice book. I've done one so far - a compilation of different subjects- and was very happy with the results.
 But anyways, as I was saying, this is Commercial Street at sunset. Obviously Commercial Street is in an older part of Springfield. There's a lot of history on Commercial Street. At one time it was the dividing line between North Springfield and Springfield. This was way before my time though and I don't intend on giving a history lesson about this particular subject just now.
 I do remember being dragged by my mother in and out of various stores and agencies back in the 60's and that it was a pretty busy area back then. In the 70's and 80's it's reputation grew as a more shady part of town, getting most of it's publicity for the hole-in-the-wall bars that lined the street and for the unsavory characters that frequented them.
 But now thanks to the North Springfield Betterment Association there has been a major overhaul of the area and it is quickly becoming an attractive place to frequent. As a matter of fact, the building in the photo was once a firehouse ( probably had more calls on the block than not ) but now those windows are the view from somebody's loft. Lofts, coffee houses, clothing stores and yes, a bar or two line the street now and people actually come to C-Street as it's more commonly referred to these days, just to roam around and see what there is to "C"!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And So It Is...


 Well it's up and at 'em again for me. Started a new job Monday and I'm once again amidst the ranks of the employed. I wasn't really unemployed for that long and don't think for a minute that I'm not thankful! But when the lady called Friday afternoon and asked if I was ready to come to work on Monday what I really wanted to say was "No, no probably not this Monday. I'll need a couple of weeks to go hiking and get in some quality photo time. I'm still working on the man cave and there's the spare bedroom to get back in order once the last remnants of the guy room have been transported out back to become a part of the aforementioned man cave. I've got some senior pictures to do and a family portrait sitting lined up and I really need to do them at the right time of day- lighting's very important you know. And maybe I'd like to sleep 'till 9:00 a couple more times. No, this Monday is probably out of the question. But I'll tell you what. Call me back in two or three weeks and we'll have a deal."
 But I didn't. I said Yes, ma'am I sure would! And so it was and so it is. Up at 5:30 and off to a new beginning...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sorry I'm Late...


 Alright. I've decided that I'll no longer apologize for missing or being late with a post. I mean, sometimes it's just unavoidable. Sometimes I just can't help it. Sometimes I just have too much going on. I need a break, a little rest, a breather- you know, a time out... aw what the heck. I hate it when I miss a post! This blog has grown to be such a part of me that I actually feel like I've left a friend behind when a Sunday or Wednesday has come and gone and I didn't share some part of myself with the rest of the world. That's what we do you know, we photo bloggers. These photo blogs that some of us are fortunate enough to be a part of - they're just extensions of ourselves or maybe I should say our inner selves. A window to our souls if you will and sometimes we like to give a little glimpse of what's going on inside.
 Well anyway, I am pretty tired tonight. Last night I was just busy. Busy, busy, busy. But tonight I'm tired. So tired that I think I'm just rambling.(I wanted to say "rambling, rambling, rambling" here but I wasn't sure if you'd catch the humor or just think that I was delirious!) So I believe I'll just leave it at that. You can take it for what it's worth and know that I only speak for myself  and I'm not the voice of photographers everywhere. But the next time you look at a photograph, really look at it and ask yourself who you think it is behind the lens. You may make a new friend without ever meeting them...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Way or Another...


 I happened to be watching TV the other day when I came across Roger Ebert on one of the channels. Roger Ebert, as many of you might know, is one of the most (if not the most) powerful film critics ever. He's also a screenwriter and an author of over 15 books - the latter of which I did not know. He was apparently talking about his career as a writer when he made the statement that inspiration does not come to you before you begin to write. It comes to you during your writing. In other words, you just have to jump in and get started and let it come to you.
 This is interesting to me in the fact that many a time I've sat at this computer and tried to put something of interest down to accompany my photo only to sit and sit and sit waiting for the right words to pop out of my fingertips through the keyboard and onto the screen.
 I like to write. Actually, I always have it's just that it kind of got pushed aside for a lot of years - that is until I started this blog. Don't get me wrong, my real passion is for photography. I don't know what I'd do without it. But the writing is starting to push it's way through and I'm liking it.
 Recently my friend, Larry Whitely gave my blog a look. Larry as a matter of fact, is a writer himself. He writes a column that's published in over 3,000 newspapers, he has a syndicated radio show and he also writes for six other magazines and web sites here in Missouri! Not to mention that he's one heck of a nice guy! I guess the reason that I'm telling you all of this is just to say that Larry sent me an email that was so flattering and was so encouraging that I've kept it and I often go to it and read it for inspiration. I'm currently looking into a few publications to submit my work. What the heck, huh? Maybe that's my niche, maybe not. But I'm going to give it a try. I do believe that the good Lord has given me this option in life and intend to do my best to give it all that I've got in return. One way or another, it'll come...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Witch's House


When I was a boy growing up I had to walk to school. From the second grade through the sixth grade I walked the same route every weekday to and from school and yes, it was uphill both ways. I'm sure that it wasn't as far as it seemed back then but then again, maybe it was. At any rate the highlight (or lowlight) many of those days was the passing of the witch's house that sat on the corner (don't they always?). This particular witch's house was a tiny rock house that sat back on a fairly small lot that seemed to always be overgrown with weeds and was thick with overhanging trees.
 Now one might think that the reasoning behind the popular belief that this was a witch's house was already apparent. But actually an old woman did live there and she actually did resemble the conception of  what a witch might look like. She was old (ancient to us), she had long gray hair, her dress was loose and drab and occasionally she would even scream at one of the children that ventured too far into her yard on a dare.
 As I've looked back through the years and recalled the little old woman we called the witch and her dark little house I've often wondered what her story really was. Was she having a blast scaring the bejabers out of all those kids year after year or were they really driving her crazy with their endless taunts and ventures onto her property just to claim the right to say that they did? I'll never know but I do know that one day she just quit being there. Rumor had it that she had died. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't. I personally have always hoped that she just moved to a more friendly neighborhood. I guess that I'll never know but I do know that on one particular day on the way home from school I looked up just in time to catch her gaze as I passed her house alone. I could barely muster a shaky "Hi" as I hurried my step trying not to freeze and not daring to look away.
 Then she said the craziest thing I could've ever imagined. She stared straight into my eyes and and as a grin spread across her chin she said..."Hi" right back at me. A few days later she was gone...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time to Start a New Chapter...


 Well today I attended the auction at my former place of employment. Everything went-some stuff at way more than I thought it would and some for pennies. I was there for twelve years but I guess that's really nothing compared to the 18, 24 and 27 years that my friends worked there. I thought that I would retire there -after all, building limousines is a pretty neat job. At least it's no longer a shock. We've known since April, I believe. We've had all summer to digest it and now it's come to fruition.
 During these past few months I've relived a lot of the good times and the bad too. I seems though, that at a time like this the good times are what you lean on to pass the day. Some how it makes you feel more like you've been a part of the history of the company.
 At one point this morning I decided that I'd bid on some shelving that had been part of my personal work space for the last twelve years. Not just a rack or two but my racks! The place where I had written down figures from a measurement  that was integral to the building of some specific model. The place where I had hot glued my yellow velour sun (with sunglasses) cut from the material that a yellow painted car with gold tint destined for Holland was completely upholstered in. Yes-completely! The place where once a year at Christmastime I attached my Santa (actually it was the sun dressed as Santa) and his reindeer Rudolph (with walnut carved antlers). The very same racks that held my son's yearly Mighty Mites picture from first grade till now until I got too worried that it would get torn and put it on the lid of my tool box.The shelves that I hot glued my KC Chiefs arrowhead to. The arrowhead that was made of vinyl and had once been taped to the back of an Oakland Raiders fan's jacket just to cover his logo. It actually pulled part of that Raider logo off when he pulled the arrowhead off of his jacket. That didn't set too well at all!
 But you know, I got to thinking about it and the more I thought about it the more I decided that it was best just to let it go. I guess it's time to start a new chapter... or maybe even a whole new book!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sights and Sounds...


 I hope that when you all check out my posts, you also turn up the volume and listen, at least for a while, to the music that I've added to my blog. More often than not I try to match the music with the photo. Sometimes it couldn't fit any more perfect and then other times it just kind of compliments the photo. Music, as many of you that follow me regularly know by now, is a very, very important part of who I am.
 As I've stated before- I like most any kind of music depending on my mood. Sometimes the mood dictates that I listen to something that compliments my being for the time and other times I have to listen to something that changes my whole outlook for the day. The funny thing about the right song at the right time is that you can shut your eyes for a moment, if only for a brief moment and see in your mind's eye pictures that you'll never be able to capture with a camera.
 And inversely so the right photo, when it's just right and everything comes together, will play you a sound so incredible that no matter how hard you try, you probably won't even to be able to tell what kind of instruments are playing!
 What I guess I'm trying to say is, I'm so thankful for the sights and sounds I see and hear everyday. I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with what some people have referred to as a talent and a way to share it with people all over the world...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Those I Know and Love...


 Last week I was able to get some really nice "fog photos" mainly ( if not only ) because Brenda woke me up early enough to let me know that it would be a great chance to get out and get some really good shots. Later that day my neighbor told me that she had seen how foggy it was when she got up and just knew that I was "out in it" snapping away. My sister has called me more than once to make sure that I was somewhere that I could see the beautiful sunset in case I wanted to get some shots. A buddy of mine called the other day to see if I had noticed the unusual cloud formations that were hanging overhead.
 Over and over friends and relatives have called because of something extraordinary that they saw and immediately thought of me. I can't explain what an awesome feeling that is to know that the beauty in God's world has made them think of me! And what's more, they want to share it with me. How cool is that ? I'm telling you, that's something that goes very deep. I can only hope I continue to make that parallel with those I know and love and those I will...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Full Experience...


 Every year I manage to come down with the flu (or whatever it's called these days) and fortunately it's only once a year. Unfortunately, more years than not it comes in the latter part of winter. I say unfortunately because this year it came in the first part of the season- as in yesterday and to me that just means that I'll probably get it again before the "cold and flu season" is over. I don't know, I guess that I might just figure that my one encounter with the dreaded aches and pains is over and out of the way for the year and I can sit back and cruise through the rest of winter. I can only hope!
 At any rate it's only the 24 hour thing and my time is just about up. My achyness is turning to sleepiness now so I think that I'll try and catch up on what I didn't get last night. I need to get out and explore in the next few days and I need to feel good when I do it so I can take in every last sight and sound - you know, get the full experience...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Still A Little Foggy...

To be honest with you, I'm pretty tired of trying to get this post up. We decided that we needed a new  computer and ever since then I've been trying to figure it out! The type on this keeps changing sizes on me and it took forever to just to get my picture sized right. I really don't know if the font is right ( it was preset ) and I have no idea if the picture will be centered correctly.
 All that aside, I awoke to a great foggy morning Monday- actually Brenda woke me up to let me know that it would be a good day to take pictures. Usually, I don't get very far before the fog starts to lift but this morning it lasted for hours. As a matter of fact I drove from this spot at Valley Water Mill (see my labels for previous posts from there) a few miles through the "pea soup" just to find out that the spot that I had in mind was just on the other side of the fog bank. It was one of those perfect days for photography and I took every advantage of it. 
 I promise to post more from this day but for now, I'm anxious to see how this format has turned out. I'd say wish me luck but by the time you're reading this it will be too late for luck. Either way, bear with me and I'll get it figured out. It's all still a little foggy...
 (By the way, I did have to go back and change the font and I need to figure out why the photo size is off... oh, brother)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Magic Kingdom...

The mighty Bullfrog. These guys are awesome! I mean just check this guy out- he's the ruler of his world. At least until a water snake comes slithering through or an owl or hawk comes gliding overhead. But actually bullfrogs have been known to devour the occasional snake or just about any other animal that it can fit into it's gaping mouth. Really though, he must be doing something right. I would guess from my vast knowledge of bullfrogs (you're buying this, right?) that this one is at least 2-3 years old and in his sometimes violent world, that's a long time! I found this one at Compton Hollow in an area where a small stream trickled over the trail and pooled into a uh, well... a pool.
The pool itself caught my eye well before the frog did. It was what I call one of those magical spots that I could have played in all day long when I was a kid. The trickling stream formed a nice little waterfall and pushed the tiny waves back under an overhanging tree that enveloped most of the pool allowing only a bit of sunshine here and there, depending on the time of day. There were minnows that tapped at the surface once in a while, catching something probably not much bigger than a gnat. I would guess that the pool was probably 3 or 4 feet deep in the center but not much more than 6 or 8 feet wide making it the ideal world for this frog to keep an eye on not only his next meal but those that were interested in having him for dinner!
I could go on about this bullfrog and his little kingdom but mainly I wanted just to let you know about the spot and how there's magical places like this all around us... we just need to look for them.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just Bad Luck...


I want to make this clear right off the bat- I do not like spiders. The mere sight of one of these eight legged arachnids ( I suppose that's being redundant but I want to make sure my point is clear) makes my toes curl. I've had way too many encounters with these creatures to ever change my mind!
Just in the past few days while we have been cleaning shelves and moving machinery at work to get ready for auction I personally have had my hands mere fractions of an inch away from several, what seemed to be very large, brown recluse spiders.
Then there was the time that I was lifting an overhead door at another warehouse and as I got under the door and pushed up I smashed a black widow in the palm of my hand. Fortunately she was face down at the time. Brrrrr-dang, that still gives me the shivers.
Now, some spiders are definitely not as creepy as others. Any of the fuzzy kind just seem a little more cuddly than others. Did I really just say cuddly?! Anyway, like that little black fuzzy jumping spider that you find on your house plants. That's what I call them, mainly because I probably won't ever study spiders long enough to know all of their names. Those come the closest to being as cute as a spider can be.
I've heard that the Japanese say that it's bad luck to kill a spider and of course we could all say "Yes it is... for the spider!" And I'm really very big on the whole live and let live thing but it's too hard for me to think about the fact that I'd better get it before it gets me and that always seems to win out. As a matter of fact this whole post has brought to mind the fact that my neighbor pointed out a spider on the ceiling last night and I somehow let the moment pass and now as I look up, it's gone. Well, hopefully he didn't run into the ol' gal in the photo here because, apparently she doesn't do well with others. (Maybe that's why they're called Crab spiders.)
Doesn't she know that that's just... bad luck!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Not Just Yet...


Wow! I'm telling you, Brendon rarely slows down. Actually he's bouncing off of the walls most of the time usually while quoting some obscure line from a TV show. Until recently, I thought that it was just him but the more I get to know his friends and more importantly, his friends' parents the more I see that it's just a growing thing and I'm now sure that all sixth grade boys are as nutty as a pecan pie!
He's a good boy though. He rarely gets anything less than a B grade in his school work( and that includes his advanced courses he's taking this year), he's doing great in football (that's another story for later) and when we do get his attention long enough for a conversation he says things that make us stop and wonder if there were a few years we might have missed.
My favorite time with him though, is bedtime. I always try to go in and set on his bed with him where we talk about anything from our favorite sports teams to what was on MSN's homepage for the day to that girl that gave him the silly band that's shaped like the word ROCK. (he hasn't given me much info on that subject yet...) He drives us nuts most of the time these days and as I'm sure any of you that are parents could attest to it seems like it will never end. But the truth of the matter is we know that when it does end so will this age and I'm not quite sure that either one of us is ready to let that go just yet...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Right Where We Wanted to Be...


Well the sedum has bloomed and that's always a sign that the end of summer is near. Yes, I know that it actually has officially ended but as long as the temps are relatively nice
I don't really consider it over. The last few nights have been pretty cool and the days have not really been what you would call hot so maybe I should just resign myself to the fact that "fall has fell" and start getting out the long sleeves.
Fall and I have a sort of love-hate relationship. I never want summer to end but I get sooo tired of all those days that are so hot you just can't seem to get the will to get those extra projects done.
I guess that like other areas of my life right now I just need to move forward with the changes and embrace them. Fall is a sort of magical time and we can draw a very close comparison between the seasons and our lives. With the dying off of one phase the beauty of another emerges and before we know it, we're right where we wanted to be all along...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Greener Pastures...


There was a very nice full moon the other night and the field behind the house ( sounds like a scary movie doesn't it?- The Field Behind the House...) anyway, the field was all lit up and the layer of fog had just settled over it. I suppose that that could be sort of scary but to me it was beautiful. I felt like a cat or some other nocturnal animal staring out over the moonlit pasture watching carefully for any kind of movement.
Whenever I take night photos of the field I always get this glow from the city lights. So according to the moon's light I get varying degrees of color in the night sky but it always seems to work well with the scenery. Although, I would prefer a nice dark blue, starry, moonlit sky.
I'm worried that someday this field will be little more than subdivision plots with the glow of streetlights and kitchen windows that never changes no matter how bright the moon is. That, I think, will be the day that the Farabee household packs up and moves to greener pastures- literally...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting Refocused...


I can't begin to tell you how busy this summer has been -as I've said countless times before. I'm not looking for pity here it's just that it does seem to be an effective lead-in for some posts. And what I'm leading to here is the fact that I've had little chance to go hiking this summer so I haven't been able to savor the great outdoors as much as I'd like, much less get many good photos from the trail.
My lack of spare time has been a sort of mixed blessing, so to speak. We were notified last spring that our company at which I've been employed for the last 12 years will cease operations at this facility and I'll soon join the ranks of the unemployed. The blessing part is that we have been able to get a lot of hours in for the last 5 months -the mixed part is that I haven't been able to enjoy my favorite past time as much as I'd like.
I'm a firm believer that God puts us where we need to be and I think that if I had more time and space I could back that up with more than one instance from the last 12 years. So we'll just see where he needs me next.
Meanwhile, I don't plan on being unemployed for long ( I have a fall back plan if I have to) but hopefully I can save a spot or two during my time off for some long needed nature communing where I can get "focused" again. Get it? Focused...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shall We Gather At The River...


Last week I attended an event that I know I'll never forget. I've mentioned once or twice about our attending the Cowboy Church and how we truly think that we've found our place to worship. The people there are probably the most sincere and genuine group of people I've ever met and I knew that the very moment I entered the building. As I've said more than once, I've found myself looking more and more for that "small town" feel - you know, the Mayberry thing and it's definitely there.
I could go on about that but it might take me away from what the big event was or maybe I should say is because it's only the beginning for some.
Last Sunday we had our baptism at the river where there were over 30 people baptized. I can't name names or show other faces because I haven't got their permission to do so (although I can tell you that that's Pastor Scotty on the left there) but one generous soul donated the use of several acres of his land (there were over 400 people in attendance) . Several individuals donated their time to get the areas in shape for company and their time to make sure that the land was left in as good of shape as it was to begin with. I believe we had 3 lines for some of the best home cookin' I've ever had the pleasure to sink my teeth into and our ears were treated to a trio of bluegrass bands that kept the toes tapping even in the chow lines.
My heart was full that day. I can't remember the last time I felt so good about the people I was with or what we were doing.
The 10:30 service we go to (hey, I like to get a chance to sleep in at least once a week!) has an excellent speaker that, along with the announcements, gives us a little food for the soul, so to speak. Each week he has a story that is guaranteed to touch your heart but the part that touches my heart the most is when he says "...you're not just coming to church... you're coming home."
I believe I have...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jeff didn't post last night. He's been too busy. That's not an excuse, just the truth of the matter. I decided (his wife) to post this to/for him. Brendon is playing his last year of Mighty Mites football. Jeff has assumed the role of head coach instead of just assisting, so we're even busier than usual. In the fall, we get so busy with games and practice. Then we try to fit in watching all the Chief's games and actually making it to a couple home games each season. It seems like a whirlwind time for us every year. This picture is one Jeff took of him and Brendon. Arrowhead used to have an annual open practice so fans could go and be part of the fun. The guys in Jeff's family would make it a big event with tailgating, parking lot games, autographs, etc. They looked forward to it each year. Brendon was so proud just to be there and be a part of it all. He loved it as much as being at a real game. I guess I say all this to let you see a little of what kind of guy Jeff is. He believes in keeping the traditions alive. I never knew Jeff's dad. I only know stories. If there is anything I've learned that he wanted to pass down to his sons, it was the love of family and football.....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Sense of Curiosity...


The other day my son Brendon and I were taking a drive somewhere or maybe we were coming back from somewhere (sometimes I don't know if I'm coming or going) and as is often the case here in the Ozarks we were treated with a beautiful view of the hills that make up our part of the Ozark Mountains. Now I'm not generally a very good judge of distance when looking out over the landscape but I do know that generally speaking, we can often see "for miles".
I enjoy this part of living in the Ozarks almost as much as anything else. So as we were driving along I did my best to check out the scenery as best I could without diverting too much attention away from the road.
"Brendon," I asked."Do you ever look out across the forest and pick a spot and wonder what's at that exact spot in the woods?"
"No."
"No?!" I guess it took me off guard because I really thought that everyone did this.
"No, not really."
So I began to try and explain to him how I feel about being in the woods and how the unknown excites me. So much that I feel like I have to know what's there. What's around that next bend or in that wooded area up ahead.(especially the wooded areas!) I told him about how, as kids, my brothers and I (and our neighborhood buddies) would hike and explore all summer long, no matter how many times we had explored it before. We actually camped down on the creek on spots that were 3 or 4 miles from home when we were just kids! We were probably Indians in a war party or maybe cave men hunting a very dangerous T-Rex! And sometimes, maybe more often than not, we made the trek back home somewhere around dusk and still felt like we were explorers.
Times have changed, though and what was once normal behavior for kids has become probably a little too chancy to attempt. So as much as would like Brendon to have a little more explorer in him maybe it's just as well that he doesn't- for now, anyway.
Don't think for a minute though, that I won't continue to try and encourage his a sense of curiosity about places and people and things because once we quit being curious we become nothing more that just sediment at the bottom of the puddle...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ethereal


Ethereal (ih-theer-ee-uhl)
-adjective
1.light, airy or tenuous: an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination.
2.extremely delicate or refined: ethereal beauty.
3.heavenly or celestial: gone to his ethereal home.

The word ethereal immediately came to mind when I was finished with this picture. After looking it up and reading the various definitions I feel like it is a proper description. So let it be your word for the day. Say it a few times to yourself, get the feel of it rolling off of your tongue and see how it makes you feel to say it. Ethereal-I like the way it sounds, I think. Or maybe I should say methinks...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

You Say Tomato...


We don't really have the time to plant any kind of real garden but we do manage to get out some tomatoes each year. This year we planted Romas and boy have they been deeelicious! We did get them out a little late so some, like these, have had to ripen on the back porch. This batch not only got the appropriate sunlight but the rain storms that passed through washed them down and gave them that "take me now" look!
I'm of Scotch-Irish descent but when I was a kid my grandpa used to always tell me that there must be some Italian blood in me somewhere (he always pronounced it I-talian) because of my love for pasta - especially pasta with tomato sauce. "If it ain't the spaghetti kid," he'd say and I know that I'd puff out my little chest, proud as I could be with my title. Well, these days I have to fight back the urge to see just how much spaghetti my belly will hold (I'm sure that it would be way more than it should) and some of these tomatoes even went on a couple of very tasty salads. But for the most part, when you say tomato, I say...spaghetti sauce!
By the way, sorry for missing my mid-week post all together this last week but the aforementioned rain storms came with some pretty heavy lightening so for two nights in a row the computer was off. I've posted a two-fer tonight and I hope that, if nothing else, these photos will make you plan your next meal to include something tomato-y...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

There's Just A Little Hippie In Her...


This evening our neighbor Faith had a treat for us. We had to go for a drive though, to get it. "Not far", she said. So we loaded up and took off. Faith teaches in one of the many rural schools around this part of the state and so she's blessed with a beautiful scenic drive through the countryside every morning on her way to work. Not far was right and after about 20 minutes we arrived at a huge field of sunflowers. What a beautiful sight it was too! Now I'm sure that in other parts of the country a field of sunflowers isn't such a find as this one was but around here it's a rare sight to see. This great big blanket of yellow definitely set itself apart from the rest of the countryside.
Every now and then Faith wants to be a little ornery with me and she'll call me something to the effect of a hippie.( I assume that it has something to do with the length of my hair.) Now I know that a lot of people consider hippies as a dirty unkempt lot. But for the most part, my memories of hippies have always been more of the peace, love, why-can't-we-all-get-along types and that's the way I prefer to remember them so don't try to go and change my mind with any 30-35 year old Time Magazine articles that might point to the contrary.
Anyway my point after all of this is to say that I think maybe Faith may have just a little hippie in herself (whether she likes it or not) because anyone that sees the majesty of a field of sunflowers so much so that feels the need to share it is, well, just a really good soul. Thanks Faith, for the surprise.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Over and Over...


Whew! Last night I woke up around 3:00A.M. and could not go back to sleep. Sometimes when I lay there at night I start to go over things that I need to do, or I'm in the middle of doing or I'm planning on doing or any one of what seems like a hundred things I should be doing and they all just roll over and over in my mind. I guess that's a side effect of the busy life style we lead. I've not been able to get out and enjoy a good hike as much as I was able to last summer. I got spoiled, to say the least. I know the therapeutic value of getting out and relaxing against a tree in the woods while a cool breeze whispers past and clears my head and I know that that is exactly what I need. Maybe soon- the temperatures are down, just right for that cool breeze...
Anyway, I finally got to sleep- shortly before it was time to get up for work. And then came that really weird dream...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peace...


Just wanted to say that I hope you're having a nice relaxing Sunday. Usually I'm filtering through different photos trying to see what I want to post and how I can relate my thoughts relevantly. But today has been an unusually relaxing day so I seized the opportunity to get something posted early and not be at it up into the night.
So, no deep thoughts today except maybe this one- peace be with you and yours...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Molly Hatchet


A little while back the fair was in town and as always (other than the photo exhibits) my first interest is who's playing the concerts. Believe me, I've seen my fair share of concerts. As a matter of fact, I've seen so many concerts I occasionally forget seeing someone that "I think I'd like to see." Springfield still gets quite a few concerts but it seems that the venues have changed to smaller places- some with very limited seating. It's just not the same but then nothing is, I guess. Maybe I work harder than I used to so I don't like to stand for too long at a time, maybe I can't stand being crowded as much as I used to or maybe-maybe I'm just getting older. So when a band comes to play somewhere that I can sit semi comfortably and still have a good view and it's someone that rocks, I'm all about it! This someone was Molly Hatchet and yes, they rocked! Southern style.
I know that most of my favorites qualify for the oldies stations these days but I've gotten used to that. I still like a lot of the bands that are hitting the charts now. I've probably said before that I like anything from smooth jazz- Dave Koz, Boney James, Euge Groove to metal -Five Finger Death Punch or Mudvayne but I'll always have a spot for the music that I grew up with. That's the stuff that takes you back and the older I get, the more I like to go back.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Night Clouds...


We live on the north side of town so therefore any night shots I take to the south will reflect the lights of town. On this particular night the clouds from the south kept forming and breaking up all the while taking on an eerie glow from the city lights. I took this shot as the moon was trying to peek out from behind the clouds casting it's light into the dark night sky as it seemed to be the catalyst that caused the clouds to melt before my eyes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

League Champions!!


Back last spring, knowing that school would soon be out and Brendon would have the whole summer to "get bored " Brenda and I began to try and figure out what he could do to pass time and keep busy. His best friend would be gone for the summer (at least most of it) and his options being the only child left at home didn't exactly excite him. There would be the occasional swim day and other odds and ends of things to do but no real plan for the summer.
For the last two or three years I've tried to talk him into joining the ball team that some of his other school friends play on but never got too far.I've always known that Brendon could play baseball because of the time he and I put into pitching, hitting and just playing catch. So this year was his year! I guess he was a little nervous being it was his first attempt at organized ball but he took to it like a fly to honey.
I have to be careful here or I'll go into details about the time he stole that extra base and barely avoided the tag. Or how he grinned from ear to ear when he got his first hit. Or how his good eye ( that's always what everyone yells-good eye!) got him walked more than any other batter.
But to make a long story not quite as long, his team, the Bulldogs, went 11-0 and won the league championship in a very close 1-0 championship game!
I'm a very proud dad to say the least!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some Sort of Understanding...


I was digging around my pictures tonight for a little project I'm doing and I came across this. I believe that it's an Angelwing Begonia but I'm not in the mood to research it tonight. That's not important anyway. It was the photo itself that caught my eye. To be more specific the depth of the photo. I may not be using the correct terminology but that's what I'm calling it-depth.
This was taken several years ago with my Nikon FG 35mm film camera. I swore, as I'm sure many of us have, to continue to use the film camera once I got my digital but it seems that that has been an empty promise to myself. I miss the qualities of the film camera but honestly, I've been able to teach myself what I've learned so far by the trial and error method ease of the digital. I've amassed over 16,000 pictures in the last couple of years and and I just could not afford that in film. Much less the hassle of all of the over/under exposed pictures.
This photo grabs me and makes me look at it every time I pass it in it's folder and I'm always happy to stop and study it's subtle differences from the digital photos I now spend so much time on.
I think though, that I'll get out some of that film that's just sitting in the camera bag and grab the Nikon and see if I can transfer some of what I think I now know about photography and maybe, just maybe I'll fall in love with the film camera again and see if there can't be some sort of understanding between the three of us where we can all get along together.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sabatia Angularis


Otherwise known as Rosepink. I don't really think that that name needs any explanation. I mean, just look at it. You know, I've been asked more than once how I manage to get the pictures that I do (and yes, I do take that question as a compliment!). Really to me it seems easy.When I'm walking through the woods I don't necessarily look for subjects - I let them look for me. And when they do find me some will let me know by the slightest of movement that might catch a ray of sunlight. Some subjects may embrace a wind that momentarily bends and molds it into something that it might not ever be again. And some subjects like this Rosepink make it very easy just by being there. A flash of color! All of these things catch my eye and make me look at them.
So the next time you're in the woods just let the woods speak to you. It will introduce itself to you and when it does , you'll definitely be glad you met...

Monday, August 2, 2010

There Was That One Time...


Alright, I know that the date says Monday and I've often stated that I post on Wednesdays and Sundays but just so you know, I started this on Sunday- so cut me some slack.
The reason I made a point of this is to let you all know how important this blog is to me and that I feel that I owe it to those of you especially that follow my blog. I really appreciate you and your comments so I just feel that I should do my best to be here when I say that I'll be here.
All that being said, kind of a neat old truck, huh? Do you ever look at an old rusted out vehicle and wonder what kind of stories it could tell? This particular truck wasn't in a junk yard per se but it was keeping company with some other ol' boys that I'm sure had their fair share of stories from days past. Probably one or two of them were pretty fast in their time I'd bet. And I'd bet too that it's a good possibility that Mom and Dad never really appreciated that fact as much as Junior did! But I'm thinking that this old truck here was more than likely just a good hard working farm truck that never really got out and cut loose. And I would imagine that that was just the way he liked it. Probably lived a good long life that way. But on the other hand there was that one time that Grandpa let Junior borrow it - just that once when he had that extra special date with that extra special girl...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One By One...


These days of 90 plus degrees I just felt that a nice cool pool of water would be appropriate to maybe cool down the senses a little. Kind of makes me reminiscent of the hot lazy summer days when I was a kid and all we really had to do was go down to the creek and splash around for a while. The thing is - that creek wasn't out in the country, it ran through town. Our part of the creek actually ran just outside the city limits but still it journeyed a ways through the neighborhoods and even past a few businesses.
My point is that now, I probably wouldn't wade in that creek much less play in it. That's if there's even enough of it left to get the bottoms of my shoes wet. I suppose that that's just a side effect of progress. Well that's progress I can do without. Little by little I catch myself thinking back to the secret places we had as kids and wondering if they're even still there, much less a place that I'd like to revisit. I'm thinking probably not.
If we're not careful, one by one these places that we've all held near and dear to our hearts will be gone...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just a Glance Away...


Sorry, I seem to be at a loss for words tonight. I've been sitting here thinking (and thinking) about how I can relate some story to this photo and I just can't think of any. So I'll just tell you a little about the picture itself.
I actually got to set this one up. I had an idea in mind, I waited for my chance and I took it! It came out just as I pictured it too -cool. I was looking for a contrast of nature and civilization and how the two can coexist. Roadsides (as I hope is evident in this photo) are a perfect example of this. Fortunately for those of us that like to get out and travel the highways and byways there's always some reminder that nature is just a glance away...