Monday, April 30, 2007

Down at the Station


Another picture from Abilene, Kansas. This was taken at the old Rock Island Railroad station there. I converted it to black and white and kind of liked it better than the color version.
I am real short of time this morning so I will simply close by saying have a great Monday.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Prom

Today I am sending a picture of a time honored event, the high school senior prom. My oldest and her boyfriend were getting situated for "formal" pictures when I took this shot. The high school prom has evolved over time from my days. Tuxes and formal dresses remain the same but now there are limos, flowers, hair dos, nails, tanning and everything else that has to take place too. My oldest has been getting ready for this for weeks.

When it was all over they had fun but my oldest, ever practical, said "it was just kind of like every other dance." Oh well.

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Anna's Interview

Since I was up so late I decided to give Anna's interview a try.

What are you most passionate about in your life? Like most people I have gone through a lot of passions. Right now photography is high on my list. In the past scale modeling, reading and traveling.

Pick a song that best describes you. This is a tough one. I like lots of music and pinning something down is difficult. There is a song by the group Nickel Creek that I have been fond of for some time it is called "When You Come Back Down" Perhaps that is it.

In a quiet moment you get to yourself, what do you do? Normally if time is short I try to read something. If I have a longer period of time I try to tackle one of the yard projects I have been dreaming up or I work on my model railroad. Lately I try to dream up my next photo shoot.

What surprises you most about other people? I think the thing that surprises me most about others is the levels of self absorption most people have. I know it shouldn't surprise me.

Who has made the most impact on your life? There have been a lot of people (and more than people) that have impacted my life. God, Parents, My wife and children, Grandparents. I want to focus on one person that has had a huge impact on my life and that was my best friend in high school, Danny. Why? High school can be the best of times and the worst of times. Danny was always a rock during that time. We had fun talking, building models together, sharing dreams. College years separated us and unfortunately a couple years after I was married Danny was killed in a terrible car wreck. I miss him dearly.

Share one sure fire way to get to your heart? Just a smile normally.

What is one thing you own that would be hard for you to give away? My model train collection. Not valuable by any means but meaningful.

Share something that you hope to do one day. I would like to do our trips around the United States again. This time with my camera and my new founds skills and passion. I would love to write a book. Maybe by the time I am 80 or 85 I will get around to it. Don't laugh, my Grandmother did just that.

Thanks Anna for the interview opportunity. It was fun and different. Although I didn't strictly volunteer when you are up at 1 am and can't get to sleep sometimes you do crazy things.

The Milwaukee Road


Well it is about 1 am in the morning and for some reason I am wide awake. I looked through my pictures and settled on this one for today's post. This is an old passenger car that was on a tourist road operation that ran out of Abilene, Kansas. I was totally surprised when I ran across it.
The passenger car is part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad (more commonly called The Milwauke Road) fleet. Judging from the colors it was part of the later year Hiawatha fleet that was jointly operated with the Union Pacific.
I hesitated to even post this picture as I am desperately trying to not post train pictures. (I don't want to become fixated on them in this blog as I love trains so much.) This passenger car was such a treasure that when I ran across it in the archives I just had to post it and tell a little bit about the Milwaukee Road.
The Milwaukee Road was the last of the transcontinental railroads built. It was not finished until the early 1900's which was extremely late. It should have never been built as it had the worst route of the major northern transcontinental railroads. The other two northern transcontinental railroads were The Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railroad. It struggled through most of its existence in it long route from Chicago and Milwaukee to the Puget Sound. It boasted the longest stretch of electrified trackage in the United States. Its Rocky Mountain and Cascade divisions were electrified. Due mainly to the merger of the other two transcontinentals into the Burlington Northern and its lack of online customers the Pacific Extension was abandoned in the early 1970's. It struggled on as a Midwest line for about ten more years before being bought by the Soo Line in the early 80's.
The Milwaukee Road is just history now but every once in a while you can run across a trace of this most classic of the western railroads. Every time I do I can visualize huge electric locomotives pulling trains over enormous trestles in the Cascades or small diesels pulling shorter grain trains across long stretches of the vast Dakota plains. I wish I could have personally witnessed it.
Check out the Milwaukee Road at your local library or bookstore. It was a fascinating railroad.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Route 66, The Mother Road


Today's post is a simple shot. I did it with a telephoto lens to accentuate the hills that are present on this stretch of old Highway 66. The picture was taken just west of Springfield looking back east toward town. As I look at this picture I am drawn into it, wanting to climb into my car and start driving.
I want to explore and see new things. I wonder sometimes if that is the nature of most Americans. We are a nation of those who dared to take out and start exploring, many making long journeys from elsewhere on the globe to get here. A nation of those who strove to make a new and better life for themselves and others.
I thought this may be an appropriate post for a Friday. The day many of you will hop into your car, jump a plane and go somewhere. Good travels and have a good weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Considering a Time Past

This is my oldest daughter, Katy, considering a display at the Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library in Abilene, KS. Most of you will recognize the sculpture and the photo behind it as the famous photo taken during the New York parades celebrating the end of the Second World War.

We have visited several of the presidential libraries which range from honest assessments of their time and administrations successes and failures (Eisenhower, Truman and Bush 1) to glorious "look at how great I am" montages (Clinton). I have to admit I am biased to some degree on this statement but it was too painfully obvious.

I love the Presidency and reading and studying the men (so far) that have served there. It is a great institution.

I bet this posting will generate some heated discussions. I hope everyone has a great Thursday.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spring Part 2

I am joining the chorus of those here in the US that are celebrating the re-return of spring after the bitter freeze that basically killed everything. Somehow through that freeze my ferns managed to hold on and and prosper. Here is a picture of one that is now emerging from its winter hiding place.

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday. Hopefully tonight will give me more time to make the rounds.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Library


Libraries have long been a part of my life. How much so I would have never realized in the beginning. My first memory of a library was in northern Iowa where I spent my early childhood years. My mom would bundle me up and we would fight the cold Iowa winter to go to the local Carnegie library.

The one I really remember is the one in Lamar, Missouri which was in the back of some business building, kind of out of the way and small, but it was rich in the books that I wanted as an older elementary, early junior high type. This library saw me about every week during the summers.

I had a break from the public library life during high school, more because I was more interested in girls and other high school life than going to the library. Although the little town I lived in didn't have much of a library that I can remember.

During my college years the library was the center of life. It was there that I really met and got to know my future wife. Little did I know that several years later she would become and enjoy being an elementary librarian after teaching in the classroom for years.

This shot was take with me lying on the floor through the stair banisters looking at a stain glass window in Springfield's oldest library, the Carnegie branch library. Springfield has the nicest library system I have ever seen. I have also included a shot of the outside. The flag is at half mast for the Virginia Tech shootings.

I think public libraries are one of the strongest parts of the United States. A place where everyone, from the rich to the poor can seek out information to improve their lot in life.

I hope everyone has a great Tuesday.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Heart is Frozen

Or I should say my bleeding hearts. A couple weeks ago we had a major, and I mean major, freeze. Everything that was leafed out or in bloom basically froze back to wood or the ground. This is a shot of the flowers on my bleeding heart after the deep freeze. For those of you not familiar with this plant the normal flower would be a deep pink with the "bleeding" portion white and pink out the bottom.

The bleeding heart was one of my mother's favorite flowers. She used to be so excited when they came out every spring. Typically they grow best in a shady area.

Things are beginning to recover but after our major ice storm earlier and now this freeze I am afraid things are going to be very stressed this year.
I hope everyone has a great Monday. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Nebraska Meet


Well it is getting late and I didn't have anything new to post so I am reaching back into the archives today for a post. This picture was taken on the Nebraska trip that I have shown several pictures from. It is in Eastern Nebraska along the double track Union Pacific mainline. It was taken fairly early in the morning hence the haze and relative darkness.
This was a totally enjoyable trip, off the interstate along the Union Pacific and Platte River. The people of Nebraska were nice, welcoming and tolerant of a Missourian taking train pictures. This first day I travelled the back highways from Council Bluffs, Iowa to North Platte, Nebraska.
I love road trips, especially when I can get off the interstate with the windows down, the CD playing my favorite songs and nowhere special to get to at any time.
I hope everyone has had a great Sunday.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

If You Can't Fight City Hall....




...take a picture of it. I hope I have my old sayings correct. These pictures are of the old city hall here in town. It is a magnificent structure carefully saved. On the third floor is council chambers and the History Museum. Other city offices occupy the remainder of the structure.
Adorning the top of the building are some of the most grotesque gargoyles I have ever seen. These things are huge. Gargoyles were originally used as ornate waterspouts to deflect water from the sides of buildings. This entire structure is out of sandstone blocks and carvings.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2007

1918



OK, I am just playing with my Elements program, but I kind of liked the way this turned out. I was going through some stuff in the garage last night and I ran across my Grandfather's WW1 helmet and canteen. I thought about them and considered a still life. Color didn't do anything for me and the black and white was more impressive. Then I got carried away.

You don't hear much about WW1, it was completely overshadowed by Hitler and WW2. Although the way the victory and the vanquished were handled at the end of WW1 probably led to Hitler and WW2. The stories that my Grandfather used to tell were bone chilling, he really didn't talk about it very often. He saw Paris and much of France. He was present at the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson before the War.

I hope everyone has a great Friday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The "Modern" House


This is the "modern" house at Nathaniel Greene Park. It was build almost directly in front of the log cabin in yesterday's post. Living history displays are presented here. The viewers go in the right door which is the kitchen and exit the left door which is the living area.
Volunteers staff the house and do the living history display. Many elementary children visit here in the Spring and Fall.
I hope everyone has a great Thursday. I hope to catch up on my visits soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Old Homestead

This picture is taken at our Nathaniel Greene Park. A portion of the park is devoted to the old Nathaniel Greene homestead. In the park is an old barn, a couple of log homes and a "modern" house. (perhaps tomorrow). One of the log homes is shown above.

I am running short of time today so I will simply wish everyone a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Flying High



I debated on what to post after news of the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech. It is sad our nation has to continually be bombarded with events such as this. Why one person can ruin the promising lives of so many young and talented people and the people that teach those students is beyond me. I am sure we will learn more as the hours pass into days and the days pass into months.

I mourn the loss of so many and pray for all of those who are hurting, whose lives may be constantly affected or shortened by the wounds of this day. When can we learn to live with one another?

Anyway, today's shots are in one of our local parks where a couple were working to get airborne a rather large kite. I remember the joy of kite flying. It took me back to a time when life was a little easier, less traumatic than the day just past.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Wedding, Part 2

Today we have a picture of the Bride and Groom. This was taken when they were cutting the cake. I converted it to black and white to see if I liked it.

As I said yesterday, this shoot was done as practice, as they were originally not going to have any photographer other than the multitudes with their small digital cameras. As such you are competing with a lot of people with cameras. As a true wedding photographer you would have to be clear that you are the one photographer and they are to pay attention to you. Handling "family and friends" with their own cameras is one of the challenges you will face as a wedding photographer.

Take the shot above for instance. I had the full attention of the groom, but the bride was distracted elsewhere. While I like this shot I can't help but wonder if it would have been much better if she had been looking directly at my camera.

The challenges of wedding photography.

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Wedding



My Wife and I were privileged to help a friend's daughter out by serving as their wedding photographers. This was our first wedding and I was...well a little uptight about it.

It ended up going well and the pictures turned out great from both of us. I will share a few of the pictures just to give you an idea of some of the scenes you might be expected to capture. Weddings are a chaotic place to practice your trade. Someday I hope to do this more often but I have to get to really like taking people pictures. My wife is a little more of a natural at it, but then she has had more practice.

When was the last time you took a risk and did something totally out of your comfort range but really want to do?

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Self Portrait, Sort Of

This is another shot I took at the "Motorcycle" store. These bikes were so clean and shiny they created an almost accidental self portrait.

It is fun to look for shots in unusual places. Take this morning for instance, and of course I did not have my camera with me; it was snowing, the sun was shining (figure that one out) and I went by a high school soccer field with a game going on. What incredible light and action shots no less. Oh well.

Your turn: What shots have you missed in the last few weeks?

My wife and I are shooting our first wedding this afternoon. I am really nervous about it.

Take care and have a great Saturday.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Elegant Entry


During our recent trip to Eureka Springs we spotted this restored front entry way. I love the classic simplicity of this entry and porch. The house dates from the 1880's. The simple light is lit by natural gas.
Is your life simple or complex? Mine is complex moving to simple (or simpler)!
We are scheduled for a heavy rain event today with rain and snow mixed tomorrow. What happened to Spring?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Work of Art


Masonry and rock work has always fascinated me. This past weekend my wife and I were downtown and we took some pictures at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church construction site. This is one growing Church. I is one of the oldest Churches in town and is doubling in size.
I was intrigued by the way the masons were fitting everything together and the multitude of equipment and precast masonry they had stacked around.
Unfortunately I am short of time this morning, so I hope everyone has a great Thursday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Late Great Front Porch


American homes used to always have a front porch. On that front porch, sheltered from the elements and sun, people would gather and discuss the farm markets, business, church and politics. Neighbors would great one another and it was part of the social fabric of the community.
Since WW2 and the advent of the suburb and the ranch style house the front porch has been missing. What a loss. We have turned inside to the television and air conditioning. Could this be the cause of the huge gaps in viewpoints in the US? Hard to tell.
What things have been lost that you think have made a big impact on society?
Go out on your front porch tonight, no matter how big or small, and sit there for a while. Think about what you have been missing as your neighbors walk by.
Take care and have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Victory

I have to admit that I am not a motorcycle fan. I have known far more people that have gotten hurt on them than those that enjoy them. My wife and I were heading downtown to take some pictures and we went by a new Motorcycle "Store" "Lot", not sure what to call it, and saw some impressive displays. We decided they would make some neat pictures.

The Victory motorcycle shown is a new American brand. I like the way the cylinders on the engine create the "V". These cycles were absolutely immaculate.

It was sooo... cold that morning I think we both got frostbite trying to take these pictures. She claims it took her a whole afternoon to get feeling back in one finger. It was in the low 20's which killed all of our flowers and seemingly overnight turned what had been spring back to the dull colors of winter. Another weather disaster.

The motorcycle shoot was fun and definitely something different. Will share more of it later in the week.

Hope everyone has a good Tuesday.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lost and Found

People occasionally lose things along the trails here in town. Most of the time they are set up someplace where they are easy to see such as this scarf. The scarf had been there a couple of days when I took this shot. It's bright colors lighting up a section of trail that has no flowers at this point. I hope its' owner finds it.

Have you ever lost anything that has meant a great deal to you?

I hope everyone has a great Monday

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sunset in Eureka Springs

This is a Catholic Church in Eureka Springs. It is just down the hill from the Crescent Hotel. In fact I was in the Crescent's courtyard looking down on the Church. I thought this was a pretty setting at a great time of day.

Thought I would share this as Easter weekend draws to a close. I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Final Hours

I took this picture back in 2005 at the Atlanta IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) National Convention with my trusty Olympus C-740. (At the time that was my only camera.)

I felt this was an appropriate post for this weekend. If you click on the picture I have left it full size so you can enjoy the detail. Unfortunately I do not know the modelers name as I would have liked to given him or her full credit.

Teresa and I went to a presentation last night put on by a local Church of the Lord's Last Supper. It was very well done. Remember the meaning of Easter as you go through the rest of this holy time.

Have a great Easter.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter Special




OK, to be truthful I was looking for a reason to play with my new SB-600 flash and I spotted my oldest daughters White House Easter Egg collection. Her uncle works in the White House and gets her one of these every year. So I thought I would share them with you.

The top shot is an overall collection view. The years represented, not in any particular order, are 2001 to 2007. The second and third shot show each year although some are very difficult to read even in person.

The one to note is the one on the right side. It is black with a dull gray writing. This was the 2002 egg which was the first egg after the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the Crash in Pennsylvania. It was made this way to show we were still in mourning.

The final picture is of the 2007 egg which is my favorite with its gold lettering.

I hope you enjoy our little White House Easter Egg collection.

Have a happy Easter. My normal post will take place in the morning.

Look Up


Sometimes you find an interesting photo in the most unusual place. On the South Creek Trail there is a large Eastern Red Cedar that you pass. It catches my attention every time I walk by it. Yesterday I decided I was going to take a picture of this tree somehow so I went over and looked straight up the trunk. I decided it was worth a try.

Here is the result. It was near noon so the sun was a huge factor in the shot, but I kind of like the way it turned out.

Has something ever bugged you until you finally decided to take a picture of it?

Hope every one has a "Good Friday".

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Odd Man Out

I am not really sure where this expression originated, odd man out, but it was the first thing that entered my mind when I saw this group of tulips at Nathaniel Greene Park. All of them were purple except for the orange stand out. Was this the musing of a gardener with a mischievous streak? Or perhaps an artistic flair? Or could it have been an error on the sorting table at the bulb packaging plant? We will never know for sure but it creates a sense of excitement to an already quite pleasing scene.

What have you done lately to add some excitement to your life? Or better yet, what do you do to stand out?

I hope everyone has a great Thursday. Maudy Thursday, the night of the Lord's Supper.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Stroll in the Woods


I took this picture at Nathaniel Greene Park/Close Memorial Park here in town. I was beginning my lunch walk/photo safari and saw these two Canadian geese in the midst of a grove of young walnut trees. The Canadian goose has become extremely common place here in SW Missouri almost to the point of becoming a nuisance. They are beautiful birds though.

We have had a major cold front come through. On Monday we were approaching 88 degrees today we will be 48 degrees for a high with a chance of freezing for the next 3-4 nights. Welcome to Missouri!

I got an SB-600 flash Friday but have not had a lot of opportunity yet to try it out to the point I would post anything from it. I have used it enough to really appreciate it already. I have had it in use both on the camera and off it. So it is extremely versatile.

I hope everyone stays warm today, take care and have a good Wednesday

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tree Farm

While on our way to Eureka Springs the other day we went past a tree farm. There were rows upon rows of young Bradford Pear trees in bloom. My wife and I looked at each other and I turned around and we both got down into that field where the trees were and took several shots. Although I wasn't real pleased with the results I do like the mass of trees.

Bradford Pears did not fair well in our recent ice storm. They grow in a vase like shape wherein all the main branches kind of radiate from the center. The wood is weak and they are prone to giving way in any ice or wind conditions. They do bloom first every year which makes them popular. It will be interesting to see if people plant them in numbers like they used to since they have spent so much time hauling them off.

Hope everyone has a good Tuesday.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Back to Nature


After posting a series of building shots I thought I would get back to nature for a time or two.
This is a seed ball off of a sycamore tree. The balls fall to the ground relatively intact and then start the breaking down process which is when this photo was taken. Shortly after this each of the feathery seeds is on its own taking flight with the wind.
These seed balls almost remind me of Tribbles, from the old Star Trek TV series.
Take care everyone and I hope you have a good Monday.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

From the Old to the New


Last Saturday we were in Eureka Springs marveling at the old buildings and homes. This weekend we were closer to home at Burrell Park here in Springfield. Sometimes modern architecture can be just as beautiful as the old stuff. But, as Carmi discussed a couple weeks ago in his blog, Written Inc., will it have the same staying power or timeless attraction. I doubt it, but what do you think?

I love architecture of all types. I guess I should have become an architect or engineer instead of what I did chose. I've seen some pretty ugly buildings out there. Perhaps we could run an ugly building contest.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.