Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yeee-Haww !!!

Well now that summer's over maybe I'll get back to business and start sharing some of my photography again. I'm not going into all that can't think of anything to write again - that's gotten pretty old to me and I'm sure it must be to you.
 Sooo, here's a photo from the bull rides at the fair back in August, Just something a little different. That was a lot of fun hanging out by the fence and getting close enough to feel the bull's breath at times not to mention avoiding the occasional string of flying slobber that always seems to hang from a freshly rode bull's mouth.
 I was fortunate to have an expert close by that was not only friendly but full of all kinds of information about the ins and outs and the dos and don'ts of the bull riding circuit. He was one of the official score keepers and a past rider himself.  Unfortunately his name is one of but many casualties of my lack of  "do something on this blog" and too many days have passed for me to remember but he was a heck of a nice guy. Hopefully I'll run into him again some day but for now I'll continue to graze through my photos from the bull rides and other affairs that I was lucky enough to be able photograph and get back at this blog as I can...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Joi De Vivre...

I should, by now, have a whole barrel full of photos to choose from and well really, I guess I do. I've had a lot going on lately.
 A couple of months ago I was asked if I'd be interested in taking some photos at one of the Fair's concerts..."we can't pay you but...free parking, free admission, free rides for you and your family and backstage access." I couldn't really turn that down could I? By the time the fair got here ( that's the Ozark Empire Fair just so you know...) I was the official Fair Photographer for all events and any other goings on that I felt photo worthy.
 It was awesome and I'll definitely get some shots up from that but not today. I'm sorry, I don't mean to lead up to a letdown but that particular story doesn't go too well with the photo I chose so it will just have to wait. This photo grabbed me and I chose it to be the honored guest at tonight's post and since it really has nothing to do with the fair's bright lights, fast rides and the constant roar of crowd noise it can wait. But the fact that the fair story just kind of popped out before I started thinking is probably a good sign for my brain to fingers process. Maybe not such a good sign for my brain to sight process. (...you'll have to figure that one out for yourself)
 What I'm really doing here, I think, is testing the waters to see if I can write something that might get (and keep) your interest for a few minutes. For whatever reason the writing process has eluded me these last two or three months. I know that I could just post a photo but that's not what I want to do here and one way or another I'll get past this tree in the road. ( actually you can insert whatever roadblock you choose that might work better for you to envision my struggle ). At any rate, I'm recovering from abdominal surgery right now and I'll be off work for a few days so hopefully I can grab ahold a little of that joi de vivre that one needs to effortlessly put forth the words that create a picture show in the minds of their readers. (How'd that sound to you?) By the way, that's a hummingbird moth in the photo. Aptly named for their resemblance to a hummingbird at first glance. And oh yeah, I do know what joi de vivre means.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Won't Look Back...

I'm sorry to say that I don't really know what's going on in the rest of the country as far as the weather. I'm pretty sure that it's hot  though, wherever you are. (Although, I think that I did read that Seattle has actually been below normal temperatures lately.) But to be honest, I've quit watching the weather. It has literally been the same broken record for weeks now. Have I mentioned that it's hot? I have friends around the country so I like to see what's going on in their part of the world but I can't bring myself to even turn it on these days.
To make matters worse, as a lot of you might remember, I started a new job back in November so I no longer have the luxury of a summertime vacation unless I let it build for a year and a half and to be honest I hope to be relying more on photography for an income than a 9-5 (or in my case, a 7-3:30) as soon as possible. My bones are starting to feel the effects of crawling, squatting and kneeling on concrete and steel for over thirteen years.
 I've always said that if there's anything that I truly feel that God has spoken to me about, it's photography and just as soon as I know what direction I need to take it I'll take that road and I won't look back...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I can't believe that it's been over a month since my last post! To be honest I think that it was getting a little too much like work and although I know that if I was working for a magazine full time (that would be sweet, wouldn't it?) I would have to be on time all the time. But I don't and a brief respite was definitely in order.
 I think that for now I'll just post when I feel the urge to and not put that whole Wednesday, Sunday post thing back into play- for now at least. I really, really like doing this and for it to start making me feel rushed and pressed to come up with something just kind of takes the pleasure out of it.
I see that this post looks a lot like the two or three before it so I'd say that some good stories or some sort of deep thoughts are in order at least every now and then. (I won't be pressed...) so I'll see what I can do about that.
 I guess that I'll leave it with this photo of this awesome little beetle, possibly a relative of the ladybug. I watched it for quite some time as it wove it's way in and around the stems and leaves of this plant. Now that was a driven individual...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

 Well I know that I've been MIA for the last three weeks and that seems to be an inescapable by product of doing photo shoots. I really don't like missing my blog spots- any of them but the editing on these photos is very time consuming as I'm sure most of you know. That plus running my tail off at work all day and well... I actually fell asleep at the computer the other night right in the middle of editing. Quite the shock when I came to, staring at the monitor. I think that maybe for a split second I thought I was at the wedding!
 This on top of the fact that a couple of times I tried, I mean I really tried to get something posted but this antiquated (soon to be replaced) computer of mine has developed so many tics that I eventually gave up. Some days I just don't have the time or patience.
 So being the fact that it is Father's Day and I am in the middle of grilling a couple of nicely sized steaks, I'm taking what I've got and running with it. I hope to get back with the posts on a more regular basis soon. But I guess, at the same time, a few more of those paying gigs wouldn't be too bad either! Hopefully I'll be able to maintain a nice mix of both because I love doing this blog and I hope that you love seeing it...

Monday, May 30, 2011

...On Honor's Bright Crest

 "They are dead; but they live in each patriot's breast, and their names are engraven  on honor's bright crest."
 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thank you to all who serve and have served so that someone like me can state my beliefs and thoughts to the world without fear ...

Monday, May 23, 2011

...That They May Move Forward

 Well here I am, back at it on a Monday night. So sorry that I've missed a couple of  posts but I've actually been pretty busy with photo shoots and of course the editing process that accompanys  these events. I did the engagement photo shoot of Ashley and Jacob that I mentioned last ...uh, time(was that last week?) and yesterday I did a shoot for a promo pic for my friend Eddie's band which, by the way, is called Last Days. They are a Christian/ blues trio and I believe that they're on their way.
 I've got two weddings coming up in a couple of weeks so I'm starting to feel somewhat like a professional these days.
 All that aside, I've been watching the news on the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri which is, for those of you that aren't familiar with the area, about an hour west of us here in Springfield. These clouds are what I believe to be the remnants of the storm as it moved east into our area. I won't ramble on any further. I'll just ask for you to pray for the victims and the city as a whole so that they may move forward and get this behind them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Cuts Are on the Floor...

Recently, I was honored to be able to do an engagement photo shoot. I say that I was honored because as I stated before, I'm always honored when someone chooses me to capture their special moments. But this time I was especially honored because the bride to be was at a wedding that I did last summer and actually saw the photos I did and still wanted me to do her photo shoot! (I thought that was pretty awesome) I know what you're thinking but the wedding will be in Minnesota so I guess that I lost out on that one.
 At any rate, we decided to do the shoot at Close memorial Park- a very beautiful park that I sometimes go just to see what there is to see and named for Cephas Major Close who is an active volunteer at the arboretum there. [ahr-buh-ree-tuhm] - "a plot of land on which many different trees or shrubs are grown for study or display." There's a little dictionary lesson for those of us that are just a tad behind.
 So while we were shooting at the park we decided to get some shots here at the Gray/Campbell Farmstead located in the Nathanael Greene Park section . I guess that it"s technically two different parks separated by the Japanese Stroll Gardens ( pretty cool in it's own right...).
But I just thought that the idea of being newlyweds in a one room cabin (or actually a log kitchen as it turns out separate from the main house) would make for some pretty good shots.
 I'll be finding out soon enough, I guess once the editing is done and the cuts are on the floor...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day !

Although there are probably hundreds of stories I could post  that showed my mother's love for me I'm not going to talk about any of them. I kind of feel like that might take something away from the other stories I hold so close to my heart and really no matter what the story might be, a mother's love is no less or no greater in any given situation. I still see it today in my mother with me and all six of my siblings and in Brenda with Brendon and my older sons Dustin, Brandon and Dillon. Some days it might not be more than a gleam in her eye but it's there and I'm proud to be the recipient or even just to witness it. I shudder to think where I might be today without it all these years. I love you Mom and Brenda for your mother's love. Happy Mother's Day...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bring On the Flying Monkeys...

As many of you know, hiking is not all sunshine and daisys. More often than not, hiking can be a very dangerous pastime. Now I won't say that I never get into any tight spots because occasionally I do. But not of the white water rapids - cliff hanger type of situation. As a mater of fact it's been years since I've gotten myself into anything that was more than an uncomfortable situation.
 Three or four years ago when we vacationed in the Smoky Mountains I had the opportunity to hike up the mountainside to view a particular waterfall and let me tell you, that got real uncomfortable real quick. I wasn't really used to hiking straight up! Even there alone in the woods on the side of a mountain hundreds of miles from home the closest I came to any sort of danger was of the imaginary sort. You know bears, mountain lions, rock slides (I even gave a quick thought to the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz)- none of which ever materialized outside of my imagination.
 Mostly I only have to worry about slippery rocks that might lead to my backside getting wet, poison ivy, mosquitoes or spiders. And particularly spiders that tend to make their web across the trail that I've chosen to take a nice relaxing hike on. There's nothing more unsettling than to be trekking along when suddenly you find yourself with a mouthful of cottony web and a spider skittering across your face only to disappear somewhere between your eyes and the closest branch! As much as it gives me the heebie jeebies, once I've convinced myself that the elusive arachnid is far from my person I can't help but laugh a little bit at what I must have looked like walking along only to suddenly break out into the herky jerky! Personally, I'll take the bears, mountain lions and rock slides over a spider in my hair any day. And oh yeah, go ahead and bring on those flying monkeys too...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Where It Needs To Be...

 To be honest, I had reservations as to whether or not I should post anything (even remotely) relative to rain, storms, clouds or any kind of precipitation but these clouds were too magnificent to pass up.
  We've just had torrential downpours all across the U.S. and if that weren't enough there have been record numbers of tornadoes that have resulted in hundreds of deaths.
 The weather systems are changing . I think probably for good. This seems to have been the norm for the past two or three years and actually it seems to be getting worse each year. I fully expect it to happen again next year and the next after that and the next after that. I would like to be wrong on this but I just don't feel wrong. I can only hope that we can somehow get better prepared.
 There are those that are quick to say that we are in the End Times and maybe we are- I sure don't know nor do I pretend to know. I've read that the prophesies of the Bible have been showing themselves for hundreds of years and for hundreds of years people have cried out that the end is near. That's a debate that I don't care to get into. I am a Christian and I follow the Christian belief as best I can but I won't try to predict the end, I'll only prepare myself for ever life brings by having my heart where it needs to be...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Sheltered Life?...

 I sometimes feel like I've led a pretty sheltered life. It just seems as if there's plenty of things I've never seen or done. Not really big adventure type things like go on safari or travel around the world but things that are just ordinary by a lot of people's standards. A lot of people's. I've never flown on a plane. I've never seen the desert. I've never ridden a horse and I've never owned a Harley. But I guess I don't know if sheltered is actually the word that I'm looking for. After all, I grew up gallivanting around the countryside, exploring caves, rivers, forests and spent many a summer skinny dipping  in the the quarry ( forbidden territory by the way ). Me and Jimmie ran the streets for quite a few years usually sneaking out after dark to do so. We actually snuck all the way to St. Louis when we were fifteen and hitch hiked back from Rolla ( 100+ miles ) when the water pump blew on his '57 Chevy. I've snuck off to the movies and snuck into the drive-in ( in the trunk, of course ). Geez, now that I look back I did a lot of sneaking. Well... it wasn't really as bad as it sounds. A lot of my earlier adult years were filled with road trips just to go somewhere and I guess I probably found myself in more "situations" - good and bad - than I care to expand upon. So yeah, sheltered isn't really the word I'm looking for
 There's still plenty of time to do these things if I actually feel the need and it's not as if I've scratched them off of my list. But I guess if I never get around to them that'll be ok too. Because now that I look back I think I had my share of adventures. And really, I think that maybe I've still got a one or two left in me...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Has Risen!

 And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Legend of the Dogwood Tree...

Two thousand years ago, few trees in the Middle East were big enough to construct anything. However, one tree was valued above the others for its thick trunk and fine, strong wood. When the Romans came to rule over Jerusalem, their government used this same timber to build the crosses for executing criminals. A group of workers were assigned to gather wood for the crosses. Before long, every Roman official knew the best wood came from these gatherers of execution wood, so those workers became popular.
One day, the wood gatherers received a special request. An officer of the Roman court came and said, "The King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood." So, a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees with thick trunks and fine, strong wood. An extra-tall (and extra-heavy) cross was quickly made and delivered.           
Three days after the death of Jesus of Nazereth, the chief wood gatherer got alarming news. "All of our finest trees are withering!" the messenger whispered. The wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was true.
Several years later, the chief wood gatherer heard that, every spring, many people visited the old forest that had once made his job so easy. Despite his advancing years, he set out to discover why. He saw the remains of forest, now like a salty bottoms, with only a few trees still standing tall, bare, lifeless and rotting.
But what was this? As he drew closer, his feeble eyes could make out the people walking among thousands of beautiful, flowering bushes. Seeing one of his own workers there, the old man said, "No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted wood. Our finest tree has gone to the dogs!" He noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if it had been burned from the touch of a miniature cross.
As told to Ben Baston by his grandmother, Louise Brown.

There Is A Legend

At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this.
In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree:
" Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross--two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember."          The pink dogwood is said to be blushing
for shame because of the cruel purpose
  which it served in the Crucifixion.
The weeping dogwood further symbolized the sorrow.
The red dogwood, called the Cherokee, bears
the color to remind us of the blood shed by our Savior
 Of course I didn't write this. Sometimes as I'm looking for inspiration I'll look up information on my subject. As I read this I figured to inject my post with various pieces of the legend as it's written here but the more I read the more I knew that I couldn't leave out a single word. So here it is I hope you enjoy it for what it is - a legend and nothing more. There is no biblical truth to it but it is a nice story.
 I found it here at    http://www.promiseofgod.com/dogwood/ . Go there if you like. You'll find lots and lots of "inspirational stories and poems". I'm looking forward to going back...                                                                                   

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Bit of Non Conformity...

Those of you (us) that are old enough and those of you that just like to go old school once in a while and catch a 60s or probably even a 70s movie might recognize this place. It's the place where the hero (usually a long haired type that just can't seem to conform to authority in whatever manner the movie finds necessary to make it attractive to the younger audience that it's aimed at) and the beautiful girl (probably a flower child or at least one in the making) finally become well, acquainted.
 Now, I've seen my fair share of such movies... now wait a minute, before you go jumping to conclusions I'm talking about epic films like Easy Rider, Macon County Line, The Getaway (Steve McQueen wasn't really a longhair but he was definitely a non conformist ) and Bonnie and Clyde ( non conformists? really?!). I knew when I decided what this post would be about that I had to be careful what I said! Most of these movies at this point would fade out into glittering sunlight until it was nothing but a blur of pixels and we'd be left with an awesome soundtrack by someone like the Allman Brothers, Ten Years After or maybe if it was a real hippie movie, Jimi Hendrix.
 These were my teen years and I guess that these movies had a bit of a hand in how I looked at life, at least for a period of time. They most assuredly had a hand in shaping my musical tastes, probably the length of my hair, maybe the clothes that I wore, I suppose a little of how I liked to drive and I guess, well I don't know maybe, yeah probably, probably even a little bit of non conformity. I don't know...what ever! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guarded By Peacocks...

Peacocks always remind me of an old woman that used to live near us when I was growing up. We always thought that the woman was very eccentric to say the least. She lived in what we referred to back then as a mansion. It was ( and still is ) a very large and very ornate home, not really a mansion but a very nice home to say the least. It sits on a couple of acres sectioned off with an iron fence all the way around it. You know the kind - the kind that looks like it's made up of spears.
 The lady that lived there back then had peacocks that roamed the property and whenever one was startled or for whatever reason at whatever hour you would hear that peacock call from blocks away. There were a good amount of trees on the property so that the sound seemed to reverberate before it trailed off and gave it that sort of eerie feeling - especially when young children were out after dark and needing to get home.
 The lady that I speak of, as it turned out, was not necessarily as eccentric a she was more in a state of dementia. She was known to have quite a bit of money to her name but yet she lived mostly in her kitchen so that the oven could be her source of heat. It was cheaper that way. I remember that the house was full of stuff such as newspapers, clothes, boxes and tons of things that I can't clearly remember. We now know that to be what we call hoarding and it's a type of mental illness. She had more cats than what would now be a legal amount. These days the ASPCA would be called in to relieve her of probably, most, if not all of them.
 It's funny how we looked at others problems back then, or should I say, didn't look at them. People were called eccentric, funny, off kilter or just plain old weird but we just left them alone to live out there lives in the manner that they were accustomed to. At least that's how I saw it as a young boy and that's how I remember it now. Maybe there were agencies involved in most cases but I know that there weren't any involved with her. Hell, her own family never came around until after she died and that, of course was only to sell off everything. That's pretty sad... 
 There's no real point to this story, I guess. Only that any time I see or especially hear a peacock I immediately think back to a little old lady that lived in a mansion all by herself with her cats and her stuff and her chair in the kitchen of  her dimly lit home. A home that that was guarded by peacocks. Man, that little old lady sure was eccentric...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Snake Hunts

 When I was growing up I had a fascination with snakes. A lot of boys I knew liked snakes but not the way I liked snakes.I wanted to be a herpetologist. My friend Mark and I had regular snake hunts and we did this with regularity all through spring and summer. Fortunately for us there were ample woods and fields to hunt in and the snake population back then seemed well, bountiful I guess.
 I had built several snake cages and had them all filled shortly after the beginning of Spring each year. We caught the every day variety of garter snake pretty much whenever we wanted just to go find a snake. But some days fortune smiled upon us and I would come home with any of several varieties that unfortunately, I haven't come across in several years. Back then it was no big feat to catch a milk snake (and no- no, they do not milk cows I don't care who's grandpa saw it with his own eyes!), a corn snake (mostly named for the fact that they are often found in the rows of corn hunting field mice), a bull snake, blue racers ( there again, they really don't go any faster than any other similarly sized snake and as far as I know under most circumstances they certainly would not chase you!), a green snake (which are so good at camouflage that they may have been in the vicinity but my snake spotting eyes probably aren't as skilled as they once were) or even a hog-nosed snake. Now a hog-nosed snake is an awesome snake. They do have a little turned up snout thus the hog-nosed part. But they will also spread out their neck similar to what a cobra might do as a form of defense. Which is kind of weird because there are no cobras where hog-nosed snakes live so how did they even know? But when this doesn't work they'll roll over and play dead and quite convincingly I might add. If you doubt that you may look it up.
 So today as I came across this and two other blacksnakes on my walk through the woods I was once again taken back to my youth and the snake hunts. I'm not so sad that the days of the snake hunts are gone but it has been particularly saddening to me throughout the years that the species that were once so plentiful around here have either moved out due to the ever growing population or have just slowly dwindled in numbers so that any sighting would be considered a major event in the world of herpetology.
 Personally, I hope it's just my eyesight...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life Worth Living...

 Another whirlwind of a week.(and it's only Wednesday!) It took the three of us most of Monday night to finish up Brendon's science project for the science fair. Don't get me wrong, we do not / will not do Brendon's work for him. This was mostly cutting and pasting while he rewrote several notes that apparently needed to be handwritten instead of typed. He has a few advanced classes one of which is science and sometimes I wonder just how far advanced they are. ( and yeah, I'm bragging on him a little...)
Anyway, as I noted last week, I've been trying to drum up some business and so far I've netted a couple of weddings, two senior pictures, a family portrait and three hopeful shoots. I've decided to try and get an ad on craigslist and put together a cd montage for prospective customers to check out too. This, I think, would be a good move for business.
 Oh yeah, then there's the Missouri Life magazine assignment I got last week. That was a very neat shoot with a couple of high school girls that have their own apparently very profitable, chicken farm. But that story will have to wait until another time. Right now I've got to find some Beatles music for a friend at work. Hey, I've got to say- anyone who likes the Beatles is alright by me!
 But as for this photo it's just a scene that I felt was relaxing to look at and I seem to need that more and more these days. But if this is the kind of excitement that my life will be filled with then I say bring it on. Bring all you got because that's the kind of stuff that makes life worth living...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Beginning of a Great Friendship...

 Yesterday was one of the best days I've had in a long time.That's not to say that I don't have good days by any means. I do. I have plenty of good days. Like my friend Glenn says, "Every day is good, somes just gooder'n others!" I sure like Glenn's outlook on life.
 But yesterday was an extra special day for me. I attended the launch party for the April issue of Missouri Life magazine in which my very first published works are found. That's right, I am now a published photographer! (yay for me!) And yes, I was invited. Sorry, I don't mean to sound so vain. It's just that this is a point that I've been working towards for some time now and I'm actually what you might call ecstatic about it.
 The party was up in Columbia, Mo. and that's about am three hour drive from Springfield but everyone that I talked to about it (and I mean everyone) said it was the right thing to do. You know, put a face with the emails. Leave a good impression. Give them something to remember. ( I'm pretty sure that they couldn't forget this mug!)
 Every one of the magazine staff that I met was very friendly and also very encouraging about my photography. As a matter of fact, I left the party with another assignment and that in itself is very encouraging to me. I stayed the hour and a half that the party lasted and then it was back home for me. It's a good thing that I like to drive because that trip was twenty percent meet and greet and eighty percent drive time. You probably could have figured out that last percentage.
 At any rate it looks like the beginning of a great friendship between Missouri Life and me. May it last many years...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Spring!

 Man, this is what I think springtime is all about! The grass is turning green, the trees are budding and the sky is blue. Today was exceptionally great for the first day of Spring! The temperature was somewhere near 80 degrees, there was a (mostly) light breeze and the sun was shining. We raked up the dead leaves from last fall and winter and I trimmed a couple bushes to start them out right for the soon to be revealed displays of color.
 With this kind of weather and the occasional rains we've been getting the full array of colors will be upon us and then unfortunately, in a blink of an eye it will be gone. Which is too bad because I seem to have quite a few offers to do family portraits or senior pictures this time of year only to lose them to the suddenness of summer's entrance onto the scene.Then it's "well let's wait for fall" and it's the same all over again. I don't blame anyone because I know how fast things can pass without getting done. At least some part of my fence can attest to that.
 I have quite a few offers to do photo shoots and the time is drawing near to get them going so I'll just have to be a little more agressive this year and bug the crap out of these people until they set a date and we have a plan. A plan...hmmm, that sounds like a pretty good idea...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


 The fence around our back yard actually consists of four different types of fencing that were there long before us. There's the chain link that faces the front of the property (you know-proper appearances), the wire fence on the west side (this might be called high tensile fence, I'm not sure), old wire fence on the east side (again, high tensile?- I don't know) and the ever popular barbed wire fence in the back.
 Now, I don't really get the barbed wire in the back. That's where the field is. There are no cattle or horses there, no open trails (it's not that big) nor is it close enough to any thoroughfares where any stray pedestrian might want to cross over into our yard. But what is there is 'possums, armadillos, the occasional cat and last but certainly not least - skunks! Barbed wire will not keep any of these out, nor has it.
 The other problem with that back fence, is that it not only doesn't keep critters out but it doesn't keep one particular critter in- our dog Tabasco. Tabasco is a chihuahua and he doesn't require a very large space to start with so even two barbed wire fences is not enough to hold him in when he's ready to go around to visit his true love Piper. Piper, by the way, is a Great Pyrenees/Bull Mastiff mix so he comes up to about her ankle. Just thought you might like that visual.
 To put a stop to Tabasco's escapades I finally decided to put chicken wire all along the bottom edge of the back fence and that has seemed to stop him. Piper's owners have had to add an electric fence to put a stop to Piper after she discovered that being almost six foot tall when standing on her hind legs she could easily make it over the fence.
 It's a sad sight these days. Tabasco sits at the edge of the fence and watches Piper's every move as he always has only now he knows that that's as close as he's going to get. Piper keeps her distance, having learned her lesson the hard way. I think that maybe I'll throw Tabasco over the fence once in a while just to see if  he'll get tired of that giant paw swatting at him or being wallowed around by Piper's great big ol' slobbering mouth.
 But you know what? I seriously doubt that he will...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Good Sittin' Spot

 This photo isn't exactly a great photo. It could use a little more color probably. The trees could definitely stand some leaves on them and maybe the grass could be a little greener to be well, a little more pleasing to the eye.
 But what makes this a photo something I wanted to show you is the fact that I spent some time there yesterday afternoon - just sittin'. I wanted to hopefully share a little of me because places like this are what makes my life a little bit easier. Somewhere that I can just sit and listen to the sounds of the birds chirping and the wind breezing through the trees with the sun's warmth spreading over me like an invisible blanket. I value my alone time. Probably because it gives me a chance to clear my head and some time to just have a nice casual conversation with God. You know, maybe to tell Him how cool this spot is and how thankful I am for the warm Saturday afternoon that gave me cause to go out and find this spot in a season where warm afternoons are rare. Actually I've been near here more than once and possibly even took it in from another angle but this day I saw it in an all together different light and it called out to me. Most likely because I needed it to call out to me. It called to me before I even saw it but I knew it was there and I knew just how to get to it.
 It's going to be one of my favorite sittin' spots I'm sure. And if I get caught up and stay too long to go forward and find some good shots well, that will be ok too because I'll be a better person for having spent the time there. Having a good sittin' spot is essential. So go out and find yourself a sittin' spot, open your heart and listen to what it can tell you...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Almost Here...

Another seemingly exhausting effort to get something posted again tonight! This heap of a computer pretty much does what it wants when it wants, I think. The time when the machines take over the world is drawing near! (ok, whatever...)
 So anyway, back to reality. No big story here tonight. I've just been getting antsy for warm weather and the miracles of spring to get here. So when I came across this photo I could feel it drawing me into it's warmth and I didn't really want to leave it so I decided to share it in hopes that it warms you like it has me.
  Hang in there, springtime is almost here...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

You're Somewhere Else...

 Well, I guess that daylight savings time is just around the corner and to me that's just another reminder that spring is upon us. The temperatures are fluctuating daily which means that eventually I'll start leaving my jacket at work, not remembering that I brought it that morning when the chill in the air required it.
 I noticed a willow tree the other day that had just a hint of green to it. Honestly I'm not sure if that's too early for a willow or not. They seem to always be the first to show their color.
 Willow trees, for some reason, always remind me of my childhood. I don't remember ever having one in our yard. I don't even remember any of my friends having one either but somehow they affected me so that they made some sort of implant in my memory. Something to do with just being a kid. It's funny how our memories are shaped. I'd have to say that probably most of our memories are due to direct incidents- I suppose that's kind of an obvious statement. It's those memories that are more of a feeling than that of a person, place or thing that affect me the most, I think. It's a certain smell. Not necessarily one that you can identify like the oatmeal cookies that make you think of your grandmother but one that flits past your nose so quick that your not even sure you smelled it and suddenly you're somewhere else.
 It's the way the sunlight comes through a window for a moment. But it only takes a glance at the combination of light and shadow somewhere in that brief moment and you're somewhere else.
 It's the rolling of a cloud, the brush of a breeze on your cheek or the rustling of leaves and in an instant you're somewhere else.
 If you're lucky you can reach out and grab that feeling and hold onto it. Most times you can't hold on very long. But if you hold on tight and dig deep enough maybe you'll get a taste of that memory. For me, it never seems to get down to anything tangible but just to have the memory of that feeling is enough I guess... for now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Down Life's Highway...

 I've spoken before about my friend Larry and his on going encouragement. Recently Larry set me up with the publisher of Missouri Life magazine. I should probably explain that better. Larry writes articles for Missouri Life and he mentioned me to the publisher,Greg Wood, who in turn gave Larry permission to give me his email address. After exchanging a couple of emails and checking out my blog Mr. Wood forwarded my name on to the editor, Danita Wood (his wife) who in turn put me on the list of photographers to contact. I'm not sure what the list's official tag is but there were other photographers on it and they did contact me so I'm calling it the contact list for future reference.
 Twice I was asked about possibly having any photos of certain areas and twice I did not. Therefore I did what any aspiring photographer would do and I went out and traveled the highways and byways and got shots of the requested sights.This, my friends has paid off! The upcoming April issue will feature photos from yours truly! This is awesome to say the least. I can only hope that this is just the beginning- for Missouri Life magazine and whatever else the good Lord brings my way. By the way this roadside sign just caught my eye and I had to stop and look at it for awhile. I mean the message is clear but I just really like it's setting. Out in the middle of nowhere it's just a quiet reminder for those who care to take the time and read it as they're speeding off down life's highway...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Not Much To Say...

Not much to say tonight- fighting the ever oppressive cold/flu bug. I just wanted to get an architectural photo in. I haven't posted one in quite a while.
 This is the state capitol building in Jefferson City, Mo. I've got to say, I am in awe every time I see it! The work that must have went into a building of it's magnificence is awe inspiring to say the least.
 I'm not going to go into all the different types of architecture in the world. I'd love to see them all. I won't go into how one style is better than another or one particular region's buildings are greater than another's. Or how a certain architect or even a sculptor's works has made his country the envy of architects around the world because well, for one, I don't want to seem any more ignorant than I might already and like I said, I haven't got much to say tonight...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm Not Falling For It...

Well the warm weather has brought out some early crocuses (or is it crocii?) Nope it's crocuses or just crocus - I just looked it up. However you want to say it, they're here a tad too soon. Sorry to say it but spring has not sprung, not yet anyway. I'm afraid that there is going to be a lot of  spring sprunging in the next few days and then all of a sudden the realization that winter is still here will fall upon us again like a giant frozen snowball!
 March is just a few days away and that will mean the official springing of the aforementioned spring season but most of us have seen a good dumping of snow in the month of  March and some of us have even seen it in April.
 So I'm not counting my spring flowers just yet. I am not falling for it! I'm too ready for it to get here so I'll not be the one to put on my shorts and go to Lowe's to buy planting soil and a variety of flowers to put out only to get a slap in the face by mother nature's north winds. So for now, I'll play it safe. My winter clothes are staying right where they are and my gloves and boots are right by the door to the garage where they always are-every winter...

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Lifetime of Memories...

A couple of years ago my mom began to have trouble with her legs. That is to say, she began losing strength in them. As far as any of her doctors can tell us it's due to spinal stenosis. Without looking it up I believe that I'm correct in translating that to a narrowing of the openings in the vertebrae causing pressure on the spinal cord.
 My mother has basically been on her own for almost thirty years so you can imagine how it has affected her. She can no longer drive herself anywhere so although all of her children take turns bringing her dinner to her, doing her grocery shopping and taking her to her doctors' appointments she gets no real joy from any of that. Sadly, so many times we are in such a hurry that it seems that we neglect to do the important part and that's just spend time with her. Don't get me wrong - I'm not placing blame because I'm as guilty as anyone. You've read about my constant hurries here and there. I've complained about it more than once. Never any time... never.
 So Saturday I decided pick her up and just go for a drive. I tried to take her to places that I knew she hadn't been in years. Not so much in town as places in the countryside,somewhere away from it all. Somewhere that I like to think is maybe a little closer to God. So we drove. We drove wherever the road took us and although it was only for about three hours she talked and I listened to a lifetime of memories.
 I'm sure by the look on her face as I later left her house that it was an afternoon that maybe gave her a measure of joy that she hadn't had in a while. I hope so. Don't get me wrong. I'm not patting myself on the back for doing something that I should have done long before this but I believe that we'll be taking drives a little more often. After all, there are a whole lot of spots in the road in a lifetime of memories...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And Then All At Once...

 Well, I feel like I missed out on a lot of photo opportunities with this last snowfall ( I guess snowfall is putting it lightly ). Anyway, I just didn't get the chances I would have liked to to go out and get in the woods. I would have to say though that even if I wasn't working fourteen hour days I probably couldn't have gotten in and out of the places that I would have liked to go. And if I even wanted to give it a try I really couldn't have because our four wheel drive vehicle is in the shop getting new head gaskets, strut mounts and brake booster. I'm also getting a  water pump and a tune up just because. Thank goodness for tax refunds.
  All of that aside the snow has gone and the temps are soaring near seventy degrees! I'm sure that this will be short lived and everything will be back to winter soon enough. Some time back I started noticing how fast the years were passing. It seemed that winters dragged and summers flew by and then all at once another year had gone. But in the last two or three years it seems like even the winters are flying by. Now, I won't complain about that but I'm pretty sure too that it won't mean that the summers will slow down and last forever. I tend to lean towards a personal heaven for those of us that are blessed enough to go and maybe that's what my heaven will be like - orange sunsets with warm breezes blowing fields of waste high grasses and the sound of cicadas, tree frogs and the occasional night bird singing out it's last song for the day- only to be followed by orange sunrises with warm breezes blowing tree blooms spreading their fragrances across the land and the songs of a hundred song birds singing good morning - day after day after day...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Change Can Be Good

 This weekend we took a well deserved trip to Branson for a couple of days and nights to just get away and relax. This past week I've put in a couple of twelve hour days and a couple of fourteen hour days and I was plain old beat. The limousine business generates a lot of sales from the shows and the big one in Vegas is Monday so that always means a big last minute rush to get things done. Not really sure why it turns out that way- the show is on the same date every year but yet that seems to be the modus operandi of most of the manufacturers that I know of. If you've followed this for very long you'll know that Brenda babysits. That's probably all I need to say about that.
 Anyway, back to Branson. Branson has gotten the reputation of Hillbilly USA and really I guess, in a lot of ways their chamber of commerce seems to want it that way. Can you say tourism? But actually Branson is a very diverse town. This photo was taken at the Branson Landing, a riverfront conglomeration of retail stores, restaurants and well, more retail stores. I'm no expert on the area by any means and I've only been a couple of times in the last couple of years. Although we hit a lot of the stores I mostly followed Brenda around and just turned where she turned. It's a husband thing I guess.
 But this weekend I got the opportunity to go back after dark and do a little photography around the fountains. The whole Branson Landing thing is pretty new. Finished in May of 2006 ( or at least that was the grand opening ) it's become a major attraction of the area.
 I remember "back in the day" when I used to go down to waterfront and just watch the boats go by. Some days I would be lucky to see twenty people on the shore. Although I'm all about the days of yesteryear and the simple life I guess that this is a good thing. I believe that change for the most part, can be good - whether we want it to be or not...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Look To Your Own Backyard...

 Well, the Superbowl kept me from getting home at a decent time last night. Actually, it wasn't necessarily the Superbowl but the Superbowl party at my brother's house.  So I just decided to postpone this post until tonight. As it turns out it looks like I'll be working a few late nights this week so I'll just show you this photo of  blizzard left overs. Unfortunately the blizzard was just a tease for me more than anything. I thought of several places that I wanted to go to shoot but none of those places were accessible to me (or anything else for that matter) so I did the best that I could with what I had and that being my backyard and immediate surroundings. I believe that there is a saying that goes something to the effect of  "...look to your own backyard first...". I don't know it in entirety unfortunately but I like what it implies. So, not wanting to make this a long essay I'll just leave you with that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Make It Through Safely...

 I guess that I need a T-shirt that says "I survived the blizzard of 2011!" Holy moly what a snow storm this has been huh? Don't get me wrong- I don't say that lightly. We were blessed to be able to have had our electricity stay on and really no ice to speak of. There are hundreds of thousands across the U.S. right now that are doing their best to try and stay warm as the temperatures drop well below zero.
 That really gives me an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Here in southwest Missouri back in 2007 we had an ice storm that left our household without power for nine days.There is no way I'll ever forget laying in bed that night without any lights or heat listening to the sound of limb after limb creaking and snapping and falling with a great whooosh! All but a couple landed in the yard with a thud, leaving what looked like grenade holes( yeah, I know -that's quite an exaggeration but hey...). The couple that didn't land in the yard managed to cave in our patio awning but fortunately the house itself was spared.We made it for those nine days and the moment the power came back on it was nothing short of jubilation!
 We knew then and we know now that God had spared us any real hardships during those nine days and I pray for those in the middle of this storm to be able to hold on and that they will make it through safely...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It Sounds Pretty Awesome...

 Last week I mentioned that I was out taking photos to be considered for inclusion in a tourism piece on Joplin, Mo. for Missouri Life Magazine. I'm not employed by the magazine by any means but thanks to my friend  Larry, I am one of several photographers on their mailing list that they contact looking for photographs that may fit their stories.(No actual assignments yet...)
 This is Grand Falls or a piece of it anyway. This area was awesome and I have no idea why I didn't know about it before. I know for sure that I'll be back in the summer to get a better look at it!
 At any rate, I'm in the middle of going through some photos I shot this weekend for another article that led me down some of Missouri's smaller yet no less amazing highways to points (Gray's Point to be exact!) that even I had never heard of before. I can't begin to tell you what a great afternoon that was. That afternoon in itself was enough to re energize me and give me that push that I needed to go forth and shoot photos and capture moments in time for future generations to enjoy. Well, it sounds pretty awesome anyway...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Somewhere You Want To Go...

 This dang computer keeps dropping the site and even as we speak the music that I'm listening to from this blog is malfunctioning so I'm just going to make this short and sweet.
 Here's a morning fog photo that I took last winter. I really like this one. It definitely sets a tone - a tone that I can relate with some days for sure.
  Anyway, hope that you like it too. Find yourself a good song that you think fits it well and click on it to get the full effect and just let your mind wander. Hopefully it will take you somewhere that you want to go...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Little Harder To Come By...

 Just wanted to say that I hope everyone has had a good weekend. I know we had a pretty relaxing one for the most part. I got to go on a road trip to Joplin to get some photos to be considered for inclusion in a tourism piece.This isn't one of them by the way and I won't go into all of that now but maybe next time I'll give you a little piece of some of the sights I found there. We were invited to dinner by our good friends Brian and Heather. It's good to have friends that like to eat I always say. And on top of that we ran into Mark and Patty. As I told Brian, I've known these two since before I had whiskers. ( Actually, before I could grow whiskers! ) It's awesome to have such good friends as we do. Sometimes I get so caught up in the business of everyday business that I forget how lucky we are to have the quality friends that we do have. I know that in years past I've referred to more than one individual as a friend only to look back later and realize that they were only acquaintances. I guess that as I get older having someone that I can truly call a friend is probably a little harder to come by than I once thought but their friendship means so much more than it ever did with any of my acquaintances...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"If You Don't Have Anything Good To Say..."

 I guess that I'm in a post holiday funk. I seem to find it harder and harder to write about something and it takes forever to decide on a photo to post. I think that it happens to a lot of us. You know, the big let down after all of the hoopla of the season. The festive holiday season is over and now it's just winter. Cold and blustery and...cold. I don't know, it hasn't really been a problem before but for some reason this year it is. As usual there's one hundred and one things going on in my life and most everything needs attention now and what can't be reckoned with now needs a lot of thought. I need a good hike to clear my mind or at least to give me some space to let it all run it's course and get equal attention so as to maybe get everything lined out. All my ducks in a row, so to speak.
 Well I promise not to let this blog become dark with my complaining so for the near future if I don't have much text to go with the photo ( oh, there will always be the photos! ) then just know that I just don't have much to say. I know that it will all come back around. Actually it's pretty hard some nights to come home from work, have dinner, help with the dishes, try to get some quality family time in and then sit at this computer and and hope to have something entertaining to talk about in addition to what I might think is a quality photo and still get to bed at a decent hour. See, there I go already. So as I'm sure most of our mothers have told us throughout our lives... "if you don't have anything good to say..." well, you know the rest.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank Goodness...

 Well guess what? Yesterday was my birthday-yaaaay! So that being said, the yaaay part I mean, my official celebration is over for this year. We went to dinner tonight because yesterday was such a hectic day starting with the busted water pipe then Brendon's bowling tournament and getting dinner to my mom and a small list of errands that we just wanted to get a shower in and settle back. Birthdays sure aren't what they used to be...thank goodness!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Case Of The Shivers...

 Oooh, it's cold outside! I'm not too bashful to admit that I do not like the cold! Is there maybe a possibility that it has to do with getting older? I mean, my joints don't hurt or anything like that. I don't have a job that keeps me out in it. The most that I absolutely have to be out in it is the short walk across the parking lot at work. The car stays in the garage ( I'm pretty thankful for that ) and the porch is mostly covered so I don't usually have to clear off any snow or ice ( maybe once in a while ) so really, I'm not overly exposed to the elements so much as to really have reason to dislike the cold so much.
 I think maybe it's the psychology of it all. My son Brendon has absolutely no problem with the cold and snow- especially the snow ( see the February 10, 2010 post ). I myself like to sit back and relax all snuggled in on cold winter days. Yesterday I came home from work to find Brendon outside in what was somewhere around 14 degree cold jumping on the trampoline. As it had snowed some the previous night the blanket of snow that covered the trampoline's um, the uh... "stretchy part" was exploding with every jump he made. Not until I got the camera and had taken a few "action" shots did I notice that he was jumping in his socks! 14 degrees and snow! He was right though. You can't jump on the trampoline with your shoes on. I should've know that I guess.
 Anyway as for me all of this talk of frigid temps is giving me a case of the shivers. I think that I'll go get my heavy winter socks and put them in the dryer to get them all nice and toasty before I go back to snuggling up on the couch. It's supposed to get down to zero tonight!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Man...

 This is my nephew Justin. Justin has served in the military for, I believe, eight years now. That's really pretty sad on my part not knowing how long he has been protecting our country I guess. It just goes to show how much we can get wrapped up in our own little cocoons and take it for granted that the rest of the world is running fine without us. We all know how that's working out. Fortunately there are men and women just like Justin that don't feel that way and they're out there making sure that we can stay in our cocoons all nice and snuggly.
 Anyway, I know that I can't really state too many specifics as to his service in the military so I'll just say thanks Justin. You're the man, we're all proud of you!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Plenty To Say...

 Well once again it's a new year! Happy New Year!! Obviously my resolution was not to not miss any more posts. I've kind of decided that it was an unofficial hiatus of sorts. Pretty short lived hiatus but still...
 So here we are in January again and other than the usual holiday fare nothing much new to actually start this new year out with.
 I didn't win the $330,000,000.00 in the mega millions lottery so I guess that life will continue to go on as planned. Although, I did have some pretty big plans... Could you imagine that? That's over a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS !!! How is it, I wonder, that we can give away such massive amounts as this but we sometimes can't manage to get enough donations to feed and clothe our own starving citizens? How is it that a professional sports figure earns millions upon millions of dollars and our troops have trouble even finding a job once they've left the service, not to mention the mere pittance they receive in exchange for putting their lives on the line daily and way too often losing that life.
 Well, that's a subject that could go on and on and at least for now, I'm not willing to spend my time complaining about the things that I can't change. I don't mind letting you know how I feel about it though - you can always count on that. But what I don't want is to make this blog about what's wrong with the world. There's plenty of folks out there who are more than glad to do it for me.
 So happy new year to all of you. I don't make resolutions but I will tell you that I'll try really hard to get back to a regular schedule of posting. I like to think that there are those of you that actually look forward to my posts so I'll try not to disappoint. Maybe I'll find better subjects to talk about in the future. Who knows, maybe I'll win the next powerball jackpot and then I bet I'll have plenty to say...