Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chalmette Ferry

Here are some shots of the Chalmette Ferry which is what we took to get from Algiers on the Westbank of the Mississippi to get to the east bank. I guess they don't get too many people taking pictures. This nice lady gave me a real hard time about it! Besides me Teresa and her brother Tom were taking pictures. I am sure the drivers sitting in their cars were having a good time talking about the nuts with the cameras.

In the end we talked for a while and enjoyed the warm weather and the wind as we finished our crossing of the Mississippi on the return trip.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Orleans Skyline

A barge moves downstream and passes both the sunset and the New Orleans skyline. The highway 90 twin span bridge to the left and about 1/2 of the downtown to the right. New Orleans is alive again!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

St. John, Port of New Orleans

A tugboat, the St. John, races up the Mississippi River. In this visit to New Orleans, I was impressed with the way the city has recovered three years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. We took the Chalmette ferry over to Saint Bernard Parrish which was one of the most devastated portions of New Orleans.

Two years ago we made this same trip and the community was still pretty much boarded up and there was still a lot of debris around. Today the debris is gone and the homes are rebuilt and occupied. It was great to see.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I learned this framing technique in the October/November issue of Photoshop User Magazine. It is designed to be a template so once you set it up it should be good. I would assume you should set up a template for each of your normal sizes of pictures. This particular one is for an 8X10 inch format.

The subject of this post is frost that was on the window of our back porch Sunday morning. There were many examples of this on our windows as the temperature was near 4 to 5 above on this morning. The picture was taken with a macro lens.

Let me know what you think of the frame and the picture if you get a chance.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Christmas Story

A few years back Teresa found some material which had printed on it a manger scene you could cut out, sew together and stuff to make a soft manger scene kids can play with. Teresa loves manger scenes and this one was added to her collection and proudly put out year after year.

This year the "soft" manger scene was placed under our Christmas tree for all to enjoy.

Sunday arrived and Katy and Chewie came for their weekly visit. It wasn't 20 seconds after Chewie got his normal greetings out of the way we noticed he was playing with something (you know where this is going don't you?).

Katy hollers, "Chewie, put baby Jesus down!" He took off relishing the attention he was getting and having a grand time with everyone after him. Around and around the house he went with the three of us trying to trap him and rescue the infant from the clutches of this monster dog. Left, right and around the house again, boy was he having a good time and we were laughing so hard which was just encouraging the little rascal.

Finally he dropped the little Jesus and Katy dove in rescuing him. Chewie, recognizing his error ran back to the manger and tried to make off with a camel but Teresa cut him off and we pick up the now scattered manger and move it to the coffee table on the back porch.

The next week he spots the manger again and have a picture of him in the act of trying to kidnap baby Jesus again!

I hope you take some time to remember what Christmas is really all about and stop and think about that young mother that bravely gave birth to the Son of God in a manger so long ago.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Harvest is Over

Two large combines sit in a barren soybean field near El Dorado Springs. These things were huge and this was 2 of 4 of them! Talk about a lot of money in one spot.

Not much new here. I have not been getting out too much lately to take pictures. We did have a photo shoot over the weekend that was really fun and I have been absorbed in that. The shoot was a family of six delightful individuals. I will be sharing more of that on Ozark Faces when I am able.

I finished my portrait class the other night and unfortunately had to miss the last class. I wish everyone in the class great success. I admire their work and enjoyed taking the class with them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Lights 3

This is the finale on my Christmas light special! These two shots were taken in between the other two and I am happiest with these. The top picture was a house where I had to shoot east away from the setting sun and the bottom one was taken west into the setting sun. I am particularly fond of the bottom one with the aura of light around it. But then I couldn't not take a picture of the house across the street with the nice front porch.

Hope you all are enjoying your lights. Get out and take a few pictures and share your results. Is this a challenge? Why not?

Take care until next time.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Lights 2

This is the opposite extreme of my trials of shooting Christmas lights with ambient light. This is the first home I photographed Sunday evening. Let me know which you prefer. I wanted to get some of the sunset into this shot.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Front Porches Are For Christmas

There are several spectacularly decorated homes in or near our neighborhood. Of course I just had to put one with a really great front porch as my first shot.

I read someplace that the best way to photograph Christmas lights is to do it when there is still some light. That way there is still some ambient light to work with and he makes the Christmas lights stand out. This is actually the last one I took tonight trying this out. I will share some later this week that were taken earlier in the evening.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

December 7th, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt called it "a date that will live in infamy." Early on a Sunday morning in beautiful Hawaii, hundreds of Japanese planes from six aircraft carriers flew in low over the lush green mountains. The red circles gleamed in the sun on thier sides and wings. The planes split; dive bombers climbing high, torpedo bombers going in low and the fighters in the middle looking for American resistance. There would be none and it quickly became obvious the attackers had achieved total surprise. The code words Tora, Tora, Tora crackled back to the ships the planes had come from.

Within minutes the United States Pacific Fleet was in ruins. Thousands of Americans would be dead and America would be drawn into the war which had engulfed Europe for years.

The Japanese were cautious; perhaps too much so. They retreated from thier attack leaving the US Pacific Fleet's oil tank farms intact. They retreated north back to Japan instead of taking a southern route home thus missing thier primary target, the American aircraft carriers. The United States aircraft carrier fleet was safe. In fact the carrier Enterprise entered Pearl Harbor just hours after the attack, refueled and left to search for the Japanese fleet.

In the meantime the battleships of the Pacific fleet were burning, men were dying. The great battleships California, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arizona were sitting in the mud of Pearl Harbor. Maryland, Nevada and Pensylvania were damaged. All except Arizona and Oklahoma would return to the fleet and would play crucial parts in the struggle.

America would rise to the occasion. In fact the Admiral of the Japanese Navy Yamamoto would later be qouted as saying " I am afraid all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant."

I hope that giant still rests in us...

God bless America.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Visitor

Encountering nature in our neighborhood is not unusual, but it usually doesn't get quite this close. Tonight as Amy walked out of the house this small purple finch flew in. Apparently he had decided our small front porch was a good place to roost for the night and Amy startled it. It took about 20 minutes to coax it out of the house. We finally had to turn all the lights off in the house so it would fly toward the only light available the front porch light.

The little guy's favorite resting spot was the star on top of our Christmas Tree. So of course I had to grab a camera to capture the event. I am sure he was glad to get back outside and away from the two crazy humans chasing him around the house.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

El Dorado Springs, Missouri - The Bandstand

The bandstand in the park in Downtown El Dorado Springs sits empty now in the cold breezes of Autumn but during the Summer it is alive with bands playing and people listening. Thinking about those summer afternoons brings back deep and fond memories.

Most of you know I love eccentric music. I found a Barry Manilow album once called "The Summer of 78" where he goes back and sings the popular love songs of that Summer. I still listen to this album and it like this picture above takes me home for a while.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Celestial Meeting

I wonder just how many pictures of this event were taken? This is a not so hot shot of the crescent Moon, bright Venus and just slightly dimmer Jupiter taken tonight. If I remember my facts right this will be the only time in the next 40 years this close of a line up of these three heavenly bodies will occur.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One That Gets to Walk Away

This lucky fellow (gal) has no idea what happens to millions of his domestic farm raised counterparts.

Taken today at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. This was a close as he (she) would let me get! Just think, if Ben Franklin had his way, this would be our national bird. Wild turkeys are plentiful and a popular hunting subject here in Missouri.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Main Street - El Dorado Springs, Missouri

Like many small towns in Missouri the downtown of El Dorado Springs is struggling as many business move to the main highway or fire takes it's deadly toll. I took this shot with my wide angle lens which made the street look very broad! I also played a lot with this picture in Photoshop wanting to enhance the moody skies that were prevalent that day. I did that and then kept going. I really liked the way this one turned out with it's "old postcard" look.

We spent the day taking pictures and then spent the evening with our dear friends Howard and Virginia. They were my first employers and good friends of my Mom and Dad, both of whom have passed on. Howard sold and worked on TV's and I helped him. We used to work on TV antennas and I always dreaded those that were on old 2 story farm houses. I couldn't stand being on that wobbly ladder! It was a great first job and I give a lot of credit to Howard and Virginia to get me started with good work habits and teaching me so much about myself.

The other person I always visit when I venture to El Dorado Springs is my best friend Danny. Danny was killed in an automobile accident about 20 years ago now. He is buried in a small rural cemetery near Filley, Missouri. We used to build ship models together during the summer evenings in my garage. I put one of those models on his grave about 19 years ago. It remains there to this day.

This has been a very hard post for me, but one that is long overdue. Thanks for taking the time to read along.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sixth Folder, Sixth Shot

Lori has posted a picture from a tag that Lisa started called sixth folder, sixth shot. The premise is that you go into your "my pictures" file and go to your sixth folder and get your sixth picture. I got lucky and pulled one of my Colorado shots. Bent's Fort to be exact.

Give it a try. It was fun.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Best Place in the World - El Dorado Springs, Missouri

"There is no place like home" was a line from the Wizard of Oz that will live on forever. This is a shot of the park and spring in Downtown El Dorado Springs, Missouri which is the town I call home. I lived there from the eighth grade until I married. Sure it was a small town, but you had family and friends and gas was under 50 cents a gallon so you could get to Springfield or Kansas City if you wanted more. It was a place where I first loved and was loved. It was a place where you could go to a drive in movie or Simone's Drive In. It was a place to learn and grow, from teachers who really enjoyed their students. It was a place where friendships to last a lifetime were formed, even if some of those lifetimes were way too short. It was the place I learned of God and he set me free. It was a place to come home to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thank you El Dorado Springs, I will always call you home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where are the Ducks?

These photos were taken last weekend at the Schell-Osage Conservation Area near Schell City, Missouri. I remember once coming here and there were thousands of water fowl flying it creating immense moving clouds of birds. This time there were very few. I remembered it was this time of year so we stopped by the headquarters so I could ask. They were wondering too! Normally on this weekend they would have 34,000 birds. The attendant said they counted just 3,400. They are as puzzled as I was. So the question remains...where are the ducks?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Signs of the Times

This is on top of the new parking garage in downtown Springfield. I liked the combination of the warm glow from the setting sun and cool blue light. It is just too bad we have to have gadgets like this.

Take a look at the results from my new studio lights on Ozark Faces .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Warming You Up

This is my cup of hot chocolate from Saturday morning which greeted us with snow flurries. We were out of small marshmallows so I went "big".

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ozarks Model Railroad Association Fall Swap Meet

I haven't been to a train show for about a year, primarily because I tend to spend a lot of money at them. This time I took my camera to control the urge.

The lighting was atrocious but I managed to capture a few shots. If you want to go someplace where there are a bunch of happy men and boys then go to a train show. There were even a few happy gals, in fact there were more than I think I have ever seen at a train show.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yet More Final Fall Shots...Autumn Hangs On

I ran across some more fall colors today despite snow flurries yesterday morning

These were taken today in the parking lot of my eye doctors office, Mattox Nue Prater. You just never know where you will find a shot. I just happened to drive by there today and since I pay them so much I figured I could take some shots of their trees!

The bottom shots are of flowering kale with some gray dusty miller thrown in. Both of these hang on in a garden to provide late season color.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Final Fall Shots

This shot was taken in my front yard a couple of weeks ago with the little Olympus. I just got them downloaded.

These were taken at Springfield's Nathaniel Greene Park over my lunch hour. There was a small group of late turning maples that I was able to capture. Most of our leaves are rapidly disappearing especially after a gusty Monday.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunset in Downtown Springfield

Sunset on downtown Springfield. Taken with my 18-200mm wide open to 18 gives a distorted effect which I liked in this photo.

I spent most of my weekend working at work and on wedding pictures Teresa and I took Friday. You will be able to see those pictures at Ozark Faces Congratulations Nancy and Don!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hercules Church

This small Church stands near the old community of Hercules. This is near the Hercules Glade National Wilderness Area. What a section of Missouri to explore! Glade Top Drive near this area is a 20+ mild drive through some of the rugged Ozark Mountains. There are places (see the panorama picture in the title) you can look out and not see a building. Truly spectacular. All this is located to the South and Southwest of Ava, Missouri.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Auntie Amiee Comes to Visit

Old Auntie Amiee has come to visit. If you want to learn more about her you will have to

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Downtown Field Trip

This was taken from the new parking garage downtown. I closed the shutter down creating an 6-8 second time exposure. The city buses cooperated with three leaving at the same time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It is a Great Day to be an American

I spent about 45 minutes in line at the polling place today. No matter who wins it is great to see so many people voting.

Regardless of the party in power, life will go on. Half of us will complain about the new Administration and half of us happy with it! About 27 months from now we will start the whole process over again. That is America and I am proud to be a part of her.

The Pickpocket

We had a downtown field trip with the camera club Sunday evening and one of our members ran over to this brick wall to be our "model." The sun was setting and cast a long shadow on the wall and the way he had his hand positioned it reminded me of a "pickpocket" reaching for him, hence the name of today's post.

I played with this in Photoshop, the original image was much brighter but I felt like the "pickpocket" theme demanded a more night-time look so I cut the saturation level quite a bit. I may display the original later in the week and you can tell me whether you like this or it better.

Got several neat pictures with an urban feel to them so it was a very good trip!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hidden Meanings?

Our camera club had a downtown field trip Sunday evening and I figured I needed to post this picture before the whole election was over Tuesday evening. Couldn't resist a picture with an Obama herald, a stop sign and a left pointing one way sign. Wonder if the Democrats thought about that before they painted his name on their headquarters?
Get out and vote tomorrow!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Turner's Station

An early morning shot of Turner's Station, a well known Ozark's landmark. Turners is located just east of Springfield on Sunshine or Hwy D. The station is located right on the BNSF mainline to Memphis and it is a great place to take train shots.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


A new blog! I am setting up a new blog just for my portrait class work. This is my first shot with my new 50mm prime lens. Amy patiently set through a few shots, it is great having willing models in the house! The light is actually a single SB-600 flash. It was directed from stage right and had no diffusion. Tomorrow I hope to get a little more sophisticated.

You can check out my new portrait blog Ozark Faces by clicking this link or the new link under "other important sites" to the right.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Golden Glow

Just prior to sunrise on a cold Ozark's fall morning at Turner's Station. A westbound train of empty coal cars approaches in the early pre-dawn.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Light on the Other Side of the Wall

The steam rising off of the Finley River offered this neat shot. I could see the effect of the sun rays coming through the trees, the problem was capturing what I saw.

This somewhat mysterious shot will have to be my Halloween shot. I hope everyone has a great All Hallowed Eve.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Early Morning Traveler

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe coal train passes Turner's Station just east of Springfield. The similarity of the cars passing during this time exposure creates the eerie feeling of one solid car.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Color Comes to the Ozarks

A lull in my work schedule has enabled me to finally get out and get some fall color shots for Stacy. Nature has cooperated with my schedule magnificently.

Yes, I did get up and out at sunrise to get my fall shots. I am finally a convert to the golden light hours.

This shot was taken on the Finley River near Linden, MO.

Friday, October 24, 2008

One More From the Rock Show

This one reminds me of Ireland or at least moss! I could not believe this beautiful green on this rock.

Check out your local rock show or rock, gem and mineral society. I bet the members would love to have you come to a meeting and take pictures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Different Directions

Next Thursday evening I begin a series of classes on portrait photography. Fortunately I have a willing subject to practice my lighting techniques on. I have been studying various artists lighting and I like the concept of minimalist lighting. I will be using mainly flash units in my work on this class so I will keep you posted periodically on my progress.

In the meantime please take a look as the the link on the right called The Strobist. This site is all about lighting.

Watch out, I will be looking for models for the next few weeks. If you live in the SW Missouri area and want to be involved email me.