Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hey, I'm Busy

...or maybe "front porch, prairie dog style."

I have always liked this picture. One of those from the archive. This is a prairie dog from the Sedgewick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and gets as much done as this industrious little fellow.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Come Sit With Me

Doesn't this little front porch just invite you to sit down and swing gently? I discovered this porch in a neighborhood near Phelps Grove Park. It caught my attention almost immediately and of course my camera a couple of seconds later. Just goes to show a front porch doesn't have to be a big thing to enjoy.

These are more of the flowers from Phelps Grove Park. They are common petunias, but I liked the way they were backlit by the sun and the way they were tall and vinelike.

I hope everyone has a good Friday and a good weekend.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Case of the Missing Roller Derby Queen

This post doesn't have a picture for one reason. We can't find the roller derby event that we want to take pictures of. I am convinced the derby is a figment of someone's imagination. We have tried two different weeks to find this. The first week came and when we got to the rink; there were no cars and it was locked. I looked at Teresa and said, "Is this the right place?" "Yes it is," was the response. Hmmm.

OK, lets get back to the beginning of this story. My wife works with a teacher who came in with bruises on her arms. Teresa, not being the shy type asked her what happened. Well the teacher tells her that she belongs to a roller derby group of women that meet regularly to get their fix of beating each other up on the skating rink. Immediately my eyes lit up and said, "We gotta get pictures of this."

So the next day Teresa asks her where this event was which is how we got the rink name. Lo and behold we find a dark rink. Of course when it comes to taking pictures Teresa is even more tenacious than I am so she calls her up and asks what happened. "Oh we decided not to do it that night" was the story. Strike one.

Well, a couple of weeks pass and Teresa gets a call from this teacher and says the derby is on for this last Tuesday. We pack our cameras up and off we go....this time is it supposed to be at a park. The directions were great and we get there but there are no fact I don't know where they could have skated at this park unless it would be on the tennis courts. So here we are stranded with no derby again. Strike two. I know this is the wrong sports analogy. I never said I was a sports writer.

I am convinced there is something fishy about this roller derby thing. Only time will tell whether we find the disappearing roller derby. But you guys will be the first to know. Besides, I only have one strike left.

The Secret Garden

This weekend we discovered a great flower garden in Phelps Grove Park here in Springfield. Just behind the flower garden was this amazing entrance to a private backyard garden. I really fell in love with this yard. After you went through this gate and the tunnel that the honeysuckle formed I could see a gazebo and generally a densely foliaged back yard.

Inside the park were a number of amazing flowers some of which I will be showing over the next few days off and on. Here is a sample:

I wasn't sure what this was until I went across and looked at a new friend's blog (see the commentary for yesterday and go to Château-Gontier-daily-photo, I will link it later today) this morning and sure enough there was what looked like a similar flower. He said it was an artichoke. So I now believe this is a relative of that plant. If anyone knows for sure let me know.

I hope everyone has a great Thursday. Tonight is our Camera Club meeting where Teresa and I announce the results of the second quarter competition. Our club is planning a big field trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone in September so I am going to try and do that one. Should be fun.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

And Now for Something Different

I have never taken sports photos, unless you count my daughter's marching band photos. Teresa and I ventured into new territory last night as we went to the Spokes BMX Track at Jim Ewing Park in Springfield. I concentrated on action shots trying to develop a panning technique. It is much harder than you think. I tried the camera on various settings from manual to automatic. I tried the continuous shooting mode. Shooting sports is harder than it looks. It was fun. I am ready to go back and try it again. It was a fun crowd and they were thrilled we were there, so we pretty much had free reign to roam around. We will be sharing pictures for their web site and will probably do more later in the summer.

Teresa took some crowd shots and "mood" shots. She used the 300mm and I was very impressed how much closer she could get with that lens. I was using my 18-135mm kit lens which I like.

Below is a picture of Teresa and one of her students. He was the one who got us there in the first place. Thanks Damian.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Westbound on a Summer Evening

This shot was taken from the Commercial Street foot bridge looking west. The Commercial Street foot bridge is a classic structure over the tracks at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe's North Yard in Springfield. It is on the register of historic places I believe although I am not sure of that.

Regardless it is a great place to watch trains and take pictures on a summer evening.

This is one of those times the picture of the means of the picture will probably get more comments than the actual picture. The foot bridge is a jewel and has been the source of many competition entries in our camera club.

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Yard Ladder, North Yard

One of those archive shots I was telling you about. I liked the simple lines in this shot. I had to get the switch stands in on the left but now wonder it the picture would have been better if I had moved the track to the left and just included rail. I will have to try that one someday.

Not much else going on. We had fun taking pictures around Springfield this weekend and hope to share some results soon.

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Front Porch on the Lake

I stumbled on this front porch to a lake cabin on a trip through Willard, Missouri. The location is a large farm pond or small farm lake near this town. It was a restful place and as I glanced it out of the corner of my eye at about 60 mph I quickly slowed the car and spun it around before Teresa even knew what was happening.

I hope everyone has a restful Sunday. Imagine relaxing with a fishing pole on this most unusual front porch.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Not a Front Porch, But a Hidden Porch

What I am listening to: Going Home, from the album The Other Side of Time, by Mary Fahl.

I love houses with surprises. This is the old McElhaney House in which I had an office at one time. I don't remember and have never been in the enclosed porch on the second floor. Oh well someday I am going up there in business hours and see if I can get a tour of this office!

It had been a few days since I had done a porch shot so I thought I had better get in the action. Not much going on today. Teresa and I are off on another photo shoot of which you will probably see the results of it later this week.

I just missed getting a chance to see and test one of the new Nikon 18-200mm VR lenses yesterday. I guess my local photo store sold the only one they had been able to get just before I had gotten there at lunch. Oh well....maybe later.

Tomorrow, perhaps my most unusual front porch yet. You all take care and have a great Saturday.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Picture for Anna and John

I framed this picture with the thought of "now how would Anna take this"?" I read John's comment on Anna's blog tonight and decided I just had to make an "extra" post to spur the debate on. Oh and maybe, just maybe it is the viewfinders on these Nikons.

Take care everyone and I will see you in the morning.

A Gaggle of Butterflies

What I am listening to: (Sounds like Anna) Original London Cast, Les Miserables: Bring Him Home, Fontaine's Death, Epilogue (Finale) & Encore 2 One Day More.

It was muddy the day we visited the Boone State Historic Site and it seems the small blue butterfly that we know as Bluets are attracted to the mucky mess. They probably get water from the mud. In this particular spot there was probably 50 -75 Bluets racing around trying to find that opportune landing spot. I got as close as I could for this shot as the overall shots were not panning out. It is one of those spectacular sights where at a distance it appears a thin, small blue cloud hangs over the ground and when you get close you realize the cloud is alive.

I have gone back through the archives last night and found several of my favorite pictures which I will be posting periodically. I will identify those as an archive post so you know which ones they are. I have grown a lot as a photographer in the past year and 3 months that I have been active. It has been a fun journey. These pictures will be a running story of the fun times we have had learning the craft.

The search in the archives explains the music posting....I mean you have to have music to search by right? I have a rather eclectic music taste. I listen to most kinds of music and collect little, but last night was the night for a Broadway show. If you have never seen Les Miserables that is put on by the traveling cast you should. I am not sure it is even going on now. Otherwise there is the album and I have seen the music performance on our local PBS station.

I am going on and on today and must get ready to work. I hope everyone has a great Friday and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nathaniel Boone Homestead State Historic Site

Well I am finally getting around to posting pictures of the actual historic site. We took these last Saturday on out little trip to Ash Grove.

Nathan was the youngest son of frontiersman Daniel Boone. The families had moved west to Missouri after too many people came to Kentucky for Daniel. The families floated their belongings down the Ohio to the St. Charles area. Nathan was so sick about leaving his girlfriend, two days into the trip he went back and married her and brought her by land to Missouri.

Nathan bought the acreage near Ash Grove later in his life and was forced to retreat there as a permanent residence when loans he made to other were not repaid and he himself got into credit trouble and had to sell the St. Charles home.

The barn above is new but the house is original. And look at that front porch!

You all have a great Thursday

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Waiting for the Train

While we were in Ash Grove I was lucky enough to catch a coal train rip through town. I wasn't fast enough to get close to the tracks but decided to walk back and catch the other cars waiting on the train.

I imagine the people in those waiting cars thought I was nuts.

These coal trains are like the blood of America. The coal originates in the Powder River Basin area of Wyoming and move all over the county supplying our coal fired power plants. We as Americans have basically chosen coal because we are afraid of nuclear power. In the meantime these coal plants spew out tons of carbon emissions and cause acid rain. I wonder which is really best?

I will leave this question for you all to ponder and debate. Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Black Eyed Susan

This shot was also taken on the Nathaniel Boone Homestead State Historic Site. It was taken at a distance with my 300mm lens. I like this lens, it can achieve the narrow depth of field effects that I have been wanting and it keeps me out of the chigger infested grass!

I guess I am not much of an outdoorsman. I can't stand chiggers and ticks as I have been having a lot of reaction to their bites as I get older. I know I miss out on a lot of photo opportunities due to this.

This state historic site has a nice variety of areas to shoot pictures, wooded, grasslands, wetlands and farmland. Our guide told us they have secured about 700 acres of the original 1000 acres that Nathan Boone once owned.

Take care and have a great Tuesday.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Puffballs and Barn

I took this picture at the Nathaniel Boone Homestead State Historic Site. We had an excellent tour from our young tour guide, Mary, and we then roamed the place. Unfortunately the hours are somewhat limited being 10am to 4pm most days so it is almost impossible to get pictures during the early morning or late evening hours.

This is the barn on the site. It is much newer than the house, being built in the 1900's by a later owner. I desaturated the picture leaving just a hint of color and decided I liked it that way. I was using a 300mm lens with a shallow depth of field. If I were doing it again I would increase the DOF a little more so the barn was a little more in focus.

Take care and have a good Monday.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Octagon Barn

Teresa and I went to Nathaniel Boone's homestead yesterday. It was a great trip. We learned a lot about the youngest son of frontiersman Daniel Boone. I will share some photos later in the week.

Just past Willard, Missouri on Highway 160 is this magnificent barn. I couldn't resist sharing it with you. I don't know the history of the barn, but I do know these are relatively rare. I wish the lighting had been better.

In Ash Grove, Missouri I found plenty of fodder for my front porch series but I am going to go back either in the early morning or late evening as the noon sun was too harsh. Perhaps a cloudy day. Many lovely porches in this small town.

OK I am leaving you with a mystery. What is it? Hint, we were hot after trodding across the Boone farm in 90 (F for my non-US friends) degree heat.

Thanks for reading....appreciate you all.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

House on the Rock

I am going to take a break from Silver Dollar City today and go back to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I was running through pictures the other day and this one caught my attention. This is the front porch of a house down there. It's a classic "if you can't beat it, just work around it" theory. Haven't heard of that theory? Well I just made it up. At first I didn't like this picture due to the profusion of power lines, but today I felt this front porch needed mentioning. The front stairs are just visible to the right. I would hate to try to get up these in one of those famous ice storms.

This is the kind of place I just love. Where man and nature get along rather than using brute force to conquer nature.

Today Teresa and I are headed to the Nathaniel Boone homestead to take pictures. Nathaniel is the son of frontiersman Daniel Boone and he had his farm near Ash Grove, Missouri. It is great being able to share your hobby with your wife. All we have to do is look at each other and say "where to today?" and we are off. It also makes it a lot easier to buy new things when you share them!

I hope everyone has a terrific Saturday. Thanks for your visits. Stacy, thanks for your kind words on your blog. It is great being able to bring the Ozarks back to you in Taiwan.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Silver Dollar City Part 2

This is Silver Dollar City part 2 and will probably be the final posting from there in this series. I may through in a couple more as I go through images later on. Teresa and I went down with the express purpose of just taking pictures. Because of this it was probably the most relaxing day I had ever spent down there. My youngest daughter and her friend spent most of their time on the rides. Silver Dollar City is probably best know for their water rides in which you are guaranteed to get wet.

They also have some cute shows. This is the only one we got to on Saturday and it is the old Silver Dollar Saloon Show. It was well done but had a smaller cast than I remember from the past visits.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. If you all ever come this way it is probably a must see stop especially if you are into old time crafts and such.
I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Silver Dollar City

Many of you will have heard of Silver Dollar City. Stacey and Elaine have probably heard it by its nickname "Steal Your Dollar City". It is a well done midsized amusement and entertainment park near Branson, Missouri.

We went down there this last Saturday and I captured a few shots with the old Olympus.

At SDC you can find craftsmen. The top picture is the blacksmith shop.

This next picture is looking into the glass blower's furnace.

You will find plenty of water and plenty of kids enjoying it.

Tomorrow I will show pictures from one of the shows and some of the rides you can partake in.

Catching up. Can you tell I missed posting?

A Different Front Porch...

These "porch" shots were taken in New Orleans last summer. I ran across them and decided they met the front porch criteria. The shots were taken one year after Katrina. The French Quarter is in pretty good shape. The rest of the city is still pretty much a wreck.

My mother in law lives in New Orleans. Fortunately she lives on the West Bank where there was little or no flooding. There was wind damage however and there are Fema trailers spotted all over here and there. Directly accross the river on one ferry is downtown, where this shot was taken. Across the river on the other ferry is Saint Bernard Parrish. It is still a scene of complete and utter destruction. Mostly abandoned, the homes are still boarded up with the search and rescue markings visible on them.

I made it back from the Carolinas. Not many pictures were taken due to time and mobility constraints. I did get out into my warehouse district a little and wonder about.

Thank you all for making so many comments on Teresa's picture. She enjoyed them.

Take care and it is good to be home. I hope to get around to your blogs soon.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Front Porches are for Rocking

As promised, the "special" front porch picture. This picture was NOT taken by me. This picture was taken by Teresa and she graciously allowed me to use it. Actually, if any front porch project comes about she will be a big part of it as she sees things I don't.

This picture is one of my favorites and was taken on the porch of a bed and breakfast in Eureka Springs, Arkansas when we where there. I have always intended on grabbing this one for the blog at some point. Teresa isn't in to the blogging like I am but she enjoys reading everyones comments.

As I stated I will be out of pocket for a couple of days for posting pictures. I may be able to comment but I am not even sure about that.

I hope everyone has a great Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. See you when I return from the Carolinas.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rebuilding the Front Porch

Those of you that closely looked at yesterday's post may have guessed where this one was headed. The house next door is being remodeled and the front porch was no exception. I like the lines of the scaffolding on this one. You can imagine the effort that goes into remodeling one of these old homes.

Tomorrow I am posting a special front porch picture and then I will be out of pocket for a couple of days. I am heading to Charlotte, NC for business. The smaller Olympus will be in tow, but without a rental car and time I am not sure any pictures will get taken.

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Contrasting Porches

Well Anna this is your day. We are finally back to a porch shot.

Today's shot was taken to illustrate the contrast between the old and the new. The open front porch to the closed confining balcony of the beast behind. (I am not letting any prejudice show am I?)

Unfortunately this was taken in the noon sun so it is very bright and shadowy. But you gotta take them when you see them.

I hope everyone has a great Saturday.

Friday, June 08, 2007

San Antonio Mission Trail

Most of you will recognize the top mission in San Antonio. The Alamo of course is a huge part of Texas History. What most people don't realize is there are about 4 other missions run by the National Park Service that are part of the San Antonio Mission Trail National Historic Site.

Take a look at these magnificent structures. They were once quite a horse ride apart. Now they are all part of the same sprawling city.

I hope everyone has a great Friday.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Bridges have always held a fascination for me. They seem to take you to unknown places. There is always a little sense of danger as you are suspended in the air. They are the promise of a better path forward.

Today's picture was taken at the Japanese Stroll Garden here in Springfield. It will probably be the last of that series.

I hope everyone has a great Thursday.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Color or Black and White?

This wood extends in two directions from the corner of a pond at the Japanese Stroll Garden. The pictures were taken in opposite directions. Which do you prefer if any? I am not going to say much about my thoughts on these pictures as I will leave that to you.

Thanks for your comments on the charging of fees at the has been interesting. I guess if anyone were to want to buy a picture that was taken in the park it would create a dilema for a law abiding citizen like me. What a world. I guess my taxes aren't enough.

Take care and have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Charges at the Update

This is copied from an email I received from the Park Board today. After I mentioned the charging of fees several of you made comments so I thought I would verify it.

There is a professional photographers fee of $25.00 (per day/session not per hour) for those that profit/generate revenue from photographing any park area per our fees and charges schedule. We do not allow people to have weddings in the Mizumoto Stroll Garden due to the delicate nature of the garden, but we do allow people to have their wedding photos taken there, this is also a very popular place for senior pictures. This fee can be paid at the garden admission gate. For any other park area, that fee would need to be paid at the main park office at 1923 N Weller, where you would receive a receipt for the date and park that you would be photographing. You would need to take this receipt with you as proof of payment when approached by a park ranger or park employee.

So I guess the bottom line is that if you make any money they want their cut.

Take care...more in the morning.

Midway Island 1942

What picture can one who lives in the middle of the United States posts that adequately thanks those that fought in the Battle of Midway on June 4 to 6 1942. I chose today's picture due to the lone star in the sea of brick. It was a position many navy pilots faced in those fateful days of June over the Pacific, flying desperately trying to locate a Japanese fleet they knew was there. Many would never return, the vast Pacific now their final resting place.

Early 1942 was probably the darkest hour for the United States. The Pacific Fleet was still shattered. Ships still lay broken in Pearl Harbor. The aircraft carrier Lexington had just been lost and the Yorktown was badly crippled after the Battle of Coral Sea and had just limped back into Pearl.

It was this time that code breakers in Washington had discovered the target of the next Japanese onslaught. The farthest western islands of the Hawaiian chain. Midway Islands. It was discovered quite by accident and persistence of a few men who believed in their abilities.

Fortunately they were able to convince Command that they were right. The US Navy had about a week to prepare. The Yorktown was hurriedly repaired. The Enterprise and Hornet were sent out to set up an ambush.

To make a long story short the Japanese Fleet was found right where it was supposed to be. The US Navy achieved the surprise they sought and in the end four of Japan's carriers, Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu and Soryu, all Pearl Harbor veterans were gone. The hapless Yorktown was the only US casualty from a ship standpoint. Many pilots were lost including all but one of Torpedo Squadron 8 of the Hornet. Out of 30 men flying antiquated Devastator torpedo bombers only one survived bobbing in the Pacific witnessing the destruction of the Japanese fleet around him.

It was the turning point of the really wasn't well known then. The Japanese lost over 300 pilots and the heart of their carrier fleet.

Think about those men today when you get a chance.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Stepping Stones

This photo was taken at the Japanese Stroll Garden at Nathaniel Greene Park yesterday during the Japanese Festival there. The park has a lot of potential for photo taking. For some reason thought the local park board is not real camera friendly there. They charge an admission in the first place and then if you look like you may be a professional photographer they want to tack on another $25. I guess this is at any of the parks but this seems to be the only one they can enforce it at.

Anyway enough local politics. These stones cross to a small island in one of three little lakes. The park definitely has a Japanese flavor. I thought there would be a lot of damage from the ice storm but in reality it looks like the most damage came from the late freeze. Many of the Japanese Maple trees were froze back to their trunks. These were 10 year old trees so the damage is significant.

I hope everyone has a good Monday.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Business Side of Stockton Dam

This is a photo of one of the three massive flood gates of Stockton Dam. Stockton Lake, if you remember, from a previous post is a midsized Missouri lake. It is considered the sailboating lake of the region from what I hear.

I played with this picture in Elements and converted it to black and white. I like the contrast B&W provides over color for this picture.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I hope to get to a Japanese Festival this afternoon so I may have some new and unique pictures to share.