Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Changing Mountain

These Shots were taken in order from the time we arrived at the cabin to the morning we left. I was fascinated with the way the mountain outside the cabin changed constantly. This was taken from the deck of the cabin.

The afternoon of day 1 was probably the clearest. The small dot in the lower left corner was another cabin.

Morning in the Smokies.

Another morning shot...

Building thunderstorms later that afternoon.

Later that evening......Moonrise the same evening....

After the rain the next morning.

I think this was my favorite part of the vacation just sitting there watching the mountain out of the window and off the deck.

Take care and have a good Tuesday.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Home Away From Home

OK, this was the coolest vacation ever. We actually stayed put for 2 1/2 days and this is where we stayed put. Believe it or not this was our first "cabin" experience. I loved being on the mountain and exploring our little piece of the mountain. The cabin was only a couple of years old and had all the modern conveniences such as laundry, dish network, dish washer and a terrific view as you will see in a future posting.

From here we explored Smoky Mountain National Park. The only issue was getting through Gatlinburg. You would think they were giving something away there, it was SO crowded. We stayed on the less popular northeast side of town about eleven miles out from city center and it was wonderful and not crowded at all.

This picture was taken on the farm on the Cherokee side of the park. The National Park Service had a small flower bed and a large garden planted on the farm.

So many things to show and tell about. That is it for today though so have a great Monday.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Home Again

Hello again from Missouri, I have managed to process a couple of the photos from our whirlwind trip to the Smokies. I am posting today a picture from that crossing. The picture was taken from a stop just below Newfoundland Gap which is the highest point on the highway that crosses the Smoky Mountain National Park.

I have many more pictures to come. We went to the Biltmore Mansion in Ashville, NC and two Civil War battlefields in Tennessee. Frankly, I am just plain worn out in a good way. Not having done this extensive of a road trip in a couple of years has gotten me out of shape.

Hope to make the rounds today and tomorrow, in the meantime have a great rest of Sunday!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dad's Worst Nightmare

Picture by Anne.

What I am listening to: Long Way Home, Nora Jones. (Seemed fitting)

My youngest daughter Amy went to a band event at her high school last night. She came home with this picture. Hmmm, maybe it is a good time to get HER out of town.

Thought you all would enjoy this shot.

See you all on Monday. Take care and be safe.

Isn't This Refreshing?

The last of my pictures from Linden Falls. I loved the expression on the guy above. This was about the best one I got and they all had a "Rocky Balboa after the fight" quality to them. This guy seemed whipped and thoroughly enjoying himself in the falls. He must of had a rough day.

The young lady above was the friend to the one posted yesterday as she made her way across the top of the falls. Both young ladies made their way across the falls to the other side without falling. I have no idea whether they got wet coming back.

You all take care and enjoy yourselves. I will see you in about a week unless I manage to post something from afar.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Crossing the Falls

These pictures are of a young lady crossing the falls on foot, treading her way very carefully. I like the top picture the best due to the position of her body the curve of it almost offsetting the curve of the falls.

These pictures were also taken at Linden Falls. Low light condition at 100 ISO. As you can imagine the person had to be standing fairly still. There weren't too many people there at one time but the traffic was steady and there were people swimming up and down the Finley, not just at the falls.

Hope everyone has a great Monday. I hope these pictures bring you some relief from the summer heat or bring back memories of times past when you waded into the local creek or pond to beat the summer heat.

Tomorrow will bring the last pictures from Linden Falls then I will be off for 5 days to the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. My first real vacation in two years. There will probably be no posts during that period but hopefully some good pictures of the Smokey Mountains.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An Evening At Linden Falls

Linden, Missouri is about five miles south of Rogersville, Missouri on State Highway 125. The town barely exists, containing a few houses and a couple of abandoned stores. What is there are the remains of an old mill and its dam on the Finley River. We heard about this from some people who used to go there swimming. As you will see over the next couple of days it is still a popular swimming hole.

Above a young man watches downstream and waits for his friends to catch up to where he is.

The bottom picture is just a small section of the falls where a particularly large amount of water is coming over. Water has eroded a small trough in this particular stone. As you can tell the dam was built of individual large stones.

Tomorrow more from Linden Falls.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

157 Shopping Days Until Christmas

I saw this rather beleaguered set of Christmas lights hanging out of a tree in Downtown Springfield. Immediately the sense of urgency to get my Christmas shopping done came over me. Seriously, it will be here before we know it.

The large white marshmallow behind the lights is one of those thunderstorms that was threatening the area that night.

Have a great Saturday.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Advantages of Being Up

OK, I am drawing to a close on my downtown field trip pictures. The place we ended up for most of these pictures was the third level of a parking garage. For the first time I was able to look down on some things. These lights cover then entrance to a alleyway. There are actually four in a row. The effect of the telephoto lens brings them apparently close together.

Last night Teresa and I found a new location to shoot. Actually she found it and I followed. She was giving Pherisis at the Red Cross here and they were telling her about Linden Falls. Linden Falls is an old swimming hole for a lot of them on the Finley River. It is located about 8 miles out of town. So we went down there and checked it out. I will post a few photos in the next couple of days.

These are different photos of the same lights in different locations from the same vantage point. The first one above is looking down the alleyway and the one directly above is across the street from the opening photo.

I hope everyone has a great Friday.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


The base of this old water tower stands defiantly in downtown Springfield. It is but a ghost of its former self. I do not know what purpose it served or who actually built it originally. Just like the thunderstorm behind it, its' time is limited. I encourage each of you no matter your passion in photography to capture the buildings around you. We are going through such a time of demolition and rebuilding that many times places like these will only survive in your files. Perhaps someday one of your files will be the inspiration for someone to answer those questions. What was this place and who was there? Get out an take pictures of old buildings before it is too late.

Take care and have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Twilight's Last Gleam

This shot was taken in downtown Springfield toward a thunderstorm to the Southeast and the last vestiges of daylight to the west a surreal light was on this building as we walked to our car the other night. A few moments later as we drove away the thunderstorm won the battle and let loose its' barrage of heavy rain.

This was taken during the field trip downtown with the camera club. A very enjoyable evening. We discovered some of the advantages of parking garages and the heights they command.

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In the Heat of the Night

Our camera club did a downtown field trip the other night. I took this shot from the third deck of a parking garage. Springfield does not have a true downtown like other major cities with a large skyline. It is a very traditional downtown with small shops, bars and restaurants. It is slowly being revitalized, but still has its share of problems including a recent uptick in crime.

I hope everyone has a great Tuesday.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Y Bridge Part 2

This is a view from the Deck of the Y Bridge looking south on the James River looking toward Table Rock Lake. In the distance you will see remnants of an even older prior bridge. This one would have been used prior to 1927 when the Y Bridge was completed. In the far distance is the Missouri & North Arkansas (formerly Missouri Pacific) railroad bridge across the James River.

Teresa and I didn't make it very far on our Saturday journey as she came down with a stomach virus. These were evening shots and Galena, Missouri ended up being our only stop.

No, it isn't Friday (Cat Blogging Friday for those not familiar with the tradition), but this is what seems to be the only permanent resident of the Y Bridge. This cat was laying on the bridge, apparently injured or sick and people were feeding her or him. Not sure which.

I hope everyone has a great Monday.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Y Bridge

This is the old Y Bridge at Galena, Missouri. I had forgotten about it until one of my friends reminded me of it. It crosses the James River and has been closed to highway traffic since 1986 when a new wider span was completed to the north.

What makes it a Y bridge? Well the east end splits about 3/4's the way across to go north and south. It is no longer in use but is still standing due to a federal water gauge mounted on it and it is now on the Register of Historic Places. You would think that would save it but it is slowly crumbling back to the earth to which it came.

More on the Y bridge tomorrow. Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wood and Stone

We may be done with the Wilson's Creek series but we are not done with pictures from there. This was taken at the small cabin that sits in for the one that was General Price's headquarters. I was fascinated with the stone work on the chimney of this little cabin. I kept trying to figure out a way to take an interesting picture of it. Then I saw the lines of the wood siding and figured in my head "at least Anna would like this" So here is the result. Two primary Missouri building materials put together. We have plenty of rock and plenty of wood.

I am off to deep Southwest Missouri today looking for new places to take pictures.

See you tomorrow, in the meantime have a great Saturday.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wilson's Creek Part 5 - Postscript

I thought I was going to end the Wilson's Creek series yesterday but this image kept haunting me. I just had to get it off my chest. We were astonished to find a new high voltage power line crossing the National Battlefield's northwest corner. True, it did not cross any of the important sites but it has become a backdrop against some of the battlefield sites. This for instance was taken at the Bloody Hill site and granted it is at full telescopic 200mm the newly built line does create a backdrop that does not match the Civil War era very well. I am disturbed the National Park Service allowed this to happen. What next: power lines across Yellowstone?

Note the pulley's on the poles. This is what they use to string new lines. As the line reaches its' next substation the lines will become permanently attached. The picture was taken at sunset.

I don't know how many of you are fans of CBS Sunday Morning. It is the only news show I truly enjoy because it is more like a good news or informative show. Anyway they always end the show with nature shots and peaceful noises of nature, no words.

Today I am leaving you with an experiment in back lighting. A Queen Anne's Lace flower was back lit the other night so I took this picture. I like the way the sunlight comes through the green stems.

I hope everyone has a great Friday and weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wilson's Creek Part 4 - The Implements of War

Cannons are a part of every Civil War battlefield. They are like the dinosaur fossils of old. Somehow they remain after all the smaller implements of war have disappeared. Many times they still rumble in defiance to the ages that have passed. Men of our time dressed up to man these ungainly beasts and it gives us another opportunity to imagine what it may have been like.

The top photo was taken at the Pulaski Arkansas Battery. This Confederate battery overlooks a field in front of what is now known as Bloody Hill.

The middle photo was taken at Guibor's Battery on the opposite side of the battlefield. This Union battery overlooks the same area on the other side of the battlefield.

The battle culminated on Bloody Hill which Union forces managed to hang on to throughout the battle. In the end, 1,700 Union and Confederate soldiers had been killed or wounded there.

Throughout the area around Bloody Hill there is a small orange wild flower growing. It reminded me of stains of blood in the ensuing darkness. They made me think of those men who never got to return home to families and sweethearts. They passed from this earth on a hot Missouri August evening doing their part in one of the most epic struggles of history.

God bless both sides, they both believed they were doing right. In the end God decided, but the struggle was much longer than they ever imagined it would be.

If you want a flair for the feelings of the war watch the movie Gods and Generals. It is the prequel to the movie Gettysburg.

I hope everyone has a great Thursday. This may be it from Wilson's Creek. I hope you have enjoyed the tour.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wilson's Creek Part 3 - Transformation

It was with great surprise that I read the following on the park brochure we get when we enter Wilson's Creek.

" When Private Eugene Ware wrote the history of the regiment in which he fought at Wilson's Creek -- the 1st Iowa Infantry -- he remembered the battlefield as "having some scattered oaks and an occasional bush" but otherwise open ground upon which "everything could be distinctly seen..." Time has changed all that. Today, visitors must stretch their imaginations to picture the battlefield as it appeared to Private Ware and other soldiers."

This is so true. The battlefield generally has a lot of wooded areas as is depicted above. The National Park Service is on a project, however, to "deforest" the battlefield which will make it look more like the pictures below. Wide open fields and drifts of grasses and wild flowers. A large section of the southern battlefield is planted in corn as is appropriate. It is hard to believe time can make such a difference.

Nowhere is the forestation more apparent than Bloody Hill where most of the hand to hand and close combat took place in the battle. I guess people in latter years shied away from the hill, because it is heavily forested now.

That is it for today. I hope everyone has a great Wednesday. I have been running short of time with all the field trips to Wilson's Creek. I hope to get around to everyone's blog soon. Thanks to all the new visitors. It is encouraging to see the heavy response to Wilson's Creek.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wilson's Creek Part 2 - Imagining

Close your eyes and imagine what it may have been like back in 1861. There were no modern conveniences such as phones, air conditioning, or even bug repellent. You are a soldier under General Lyon's Union Command marching down from Springfield ten miles to the northeast. It is August in Missouri, the temperature is near 100 degrees, the humidity is almost unbearable and you are wearing a wool uniform. You have spent most of the day marching through tall grass with chiggers, ticks and mosquitoes your constant companions. You are now settling down in a creek bed where it is thick with poison ivy. You know the next day you will meet your enemy, boys from Arkansas, where they talk a little funny but they share the same aspirations you do, perhaps to own a farm or start a store and get married to their childhood sweetheart and settle down. You talk nervously with your companions, tired but too nervous to really sleep. The bugs and the heat, how in the world did I ever get here? The noises of the day and night are all around, cicadas and tree frogs make a constant drone of noise day and night and if they ever stop you better be alert.

This is what I imagine it may have been like to a soldier on his way to Wilson's Creek in 1861, you may have your own thoughts. The top photo is of the east battlefield overlook. The sun in the picture reminded me of the heat that those soldiers must have endured. The bottom photo is of the many flowers in the region, but I bet none of those guys paid much attention to those.

More tomorrow from Wilson's Creek, in the meantime have a great Tuesday.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Saturday evening Teresa and I went to the local Civil War battlefield. It is named after the small creek that meanders through the area. Wilson's Creek was the largest battle fought west of the Mississippi River and saw the first casualty of a Union General. The battle was technically a Southern victory, but it was a victory not capitalized on, as Southern forces never were able to get a strong foothold in Missouri, a key border state. The battle took place on August 10, 1861, early in the epic struggle between the states.

The picture above is of the Visitor's Center at dusk and after closing. Due to the ensuing darkness a tripod was used to stabilize the picture.

Thess are pictures of the Ray House. It is stop number 2 on the driving tour of the battlefield. The Ray children hid in the cellar under the house for most of the battle with their two slaves while the parents watched the battle unfold from their front porch. (I told Anna there would be a front porch in this series.) The house later became a Union field hospital.

There may be some of you who are wondering what happened to stop 1 on the driving tour. It is the only trail still closed by falling trees from this past winter's horrific ice storm.

Tomorrow we move on to the Southern Headquarters.

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Favorite Portraits

I have two favorite portraits I have taken over the past year or so that I have been into this photo thing. They are both of people I don't even know.

The top shot was taken at Vicksburg National Military Park. This gentlemen was one of the re-enactors there and this was in between demonstrations.

The second shot was during an urban photo shoot that our camera club had. This young lady, her name was Sarah, I believe was one of the three models we had.

These are some of those shots that I have always wanted to post but never had a reason.

I hope everyone has a great Sunday. Tomorrow I will begin a series on Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. I even will include a couple of front porches, Anna. Teresa and I went there tonight and between the two of us took over 400 pictures.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Springfield Skate Park

This photo was taken at the Springfield Skate Park near JFK Stadium. This park was designed to give skate boarders a place to do their stuff without damaging other facilities. This has worked fairly well except Founders Park which is all concrete has suffered their wrath as it is almost immediately downtown.

This shot was taken with a high ISO so it is very grainy but I liked the angles of the various platforms as well as the boarders.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Allure of Trains

I caught this little train fan watching his train at the Branson Landing last Saturday night. The train locomotive is an old EMD F-7 of the Branson Scenic Railway.

Which brings me to the question, what is the allure of a train? Travel into the unknown, romance, a sense of adventure? Is it the people you meet, the gentle swaying of the cars? What is your opinion? Do they still hold that allure for you?

I hope everyone has a great Friday and a great weekend. Take care and take a train if you dare or can.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sedum at Sunset

I took this picture a couple of nights ago at Phelps Grove Park. It was nearing sunset with a rain shower just beginning. I caught this little jewel of a sedum out of the corner of my eye.

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

Sounds like a movie...doesn't it? Anyway to my US based friends and Americans based elsewhere happy Independence Day.

These shots were taken last 4th of July in the sky's over Lake Taneycomo near the town of Forsyth. One of the guys from the camera club lives down there and they always have a big fireworks display. I learned a lot about shooting in the dark that night. These were a few of the shots that were really focused well.

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday and a happy 4th.