Monday, April 27, 2009

More Photos From Nathaniel Greene

This probably qualifies me for something, but one of the things I was really fascinated with at Nathaniel Greene was a stand of wild oat grass that was there. It really looked like waves on the ocean with the wind tossing it around. Somehow I wanted to capture that. Here are some feeble attempts to do that. There is something really neat about vast stands of grass, of course this is coming from someone who loves to wander around in Kansas.

Remnants of a squirrel's lunch on a rock...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Camera Club Field Trip to Nathaniel Greene Park

Today our camera club took a field trip to Springfield's Nathaniel Greene Park that was sponsored by member Kay Johnson, our resident nature photographer extraordinaire. It was really windy so many of the shots were not too crisp but I got a few I enjoyed.

The top shot is in the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden and the bottom three shots are in the Hosta Garden.

Thanks Kay for the field trip.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Front Porch Friday - 3 Rockers

Wow, what a busy week! Suddenly it is Friday again, and I haven't even been out to take a picture.

This shot was taken in old Algiers and I had to wait until our camera club's scavenger hunt was over to post it. One of the commenter's on this picture wondered why 3 chairs? What story does it tell? Normally you will see two chairs, does this indicate a group of three individuals living together? The porch is so clean and the floor is like glass.

I hope you all have a great weekend and can get out on your porch to enjoy the warm spring weather!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Front Porch Friday - A Front Porch on the Finley River

This picture of course was taken at my favorite haunt of Linden Falls. I loved the boats and of course the front porch overlooking the river. Some front porches are for visiting with neighbors, this one is for the view and visiting with visitors to the falls.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Fine Art of Train Chasing

I am sure some of my readers are wondering about this term "train-chasing" that I refer to sometimes.

Well think of it sort of like wildlife photography. You are stalking big game that leaves tracks, sorry couldn't resist that one. If you are not careful you can get hurt. Some of the game you are tracking is rare and elusive, but most is common. Just like wildlife, trains are best photographed in light that is complimentary, such as that in the early morning or late evening. Cloudy days and inclement weather are also preferred times.

As you have already read I went out on an "expedition" last Friday, Good Friday, to the area between Springfield and Mountain Grove, Missouri on US Highway 60 which follows the Springfield-Memphis mainline of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, formerly the Burlington Northern, formerly the Frisco Railroad. This is a line that is dominated by coal and container trains. The first train I came across turned out to be a general freight, which is almost a rare sight. The day was miserable, gray and had a very heavy mist. I was anxious to take some shots. This scene is near Seymour, Missouri where I was able to get ahead of the eastbound train to a close crossing. This train was sitting on a siding waiting for another train headed westbound.

I shot from both sides of the train, looking for unique angles and moody effects with the mist. I was pleased with the top shot which was a more unusual angle and seems to be of an approaching train from straight on. One thing to remember is you want to always be alert as you never know when another train can sneak up on you.

From the other side you get a rather ordinary shot, this one only being different from most "normal" train shots by the heavy mist or fog which sends the end of the train into obscurity.

From here I drove on into Seymour to get a late breakfast at McDonalds. I took my Egg McMuffin, hashbrowns and coffee and drove on to Cedar Gap. On the way I passed the Westbound coal train my freight was waiting for so I knew my eastbound would be coming along soon.

The small town of Cedar Gap is very small. It has a saw mill, a post office and a few houses. I drove down to the first crossing found a parking spot near a Missouri Department of Conservation site and set up my camera on a knoll overlooking the tracks. Then the best part of train chasing took place. In the light mist, and the cold wind I settled down to enjoy that Egg McMuffin, hashbrown and coffee. That was the best cup of coffee on a cold morning. I soon heard the diesel's horn in the distance. The action I was waiting for was about to happen.

The small knoll was a great place to shoot from. It gave me a more elevated position to shoot from than normal which makes your picture just a little different than normal. The train was moving fast now and I was able to squeeze off about twenty shots using continuous focus. This was my favorite of the bunch that I took here.

From here I went on into Mansfield and then on to Mountain Grove. A few more opportunities came up to shoot and then it got quiet toward mid/late morning so I drove back to Springfield. It was fun to be out in the mist and wind. There is nothing quite like the sound of a train and the places your imagination can take you with it.

This post is dedicated to Larry Schmidt, husband of my blogging friend Lori who passed away this past Monday morning. Larry and Lori love horses, the best I can give them are iron horses. Lori, my prayers are with you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Small Things at Linden Falls

Some of the details at Linden Falls from Friday's trip.
What a wet and dreary Easter Sunday. I don't think it ever got light enough to turn our lights off!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Early Spring at Linden Falls

As I stated yesterday I had the day (Good Friday) off as a holiday from work. Teresa and Amy didn't so I decided to go take pictures. I wanted to go train chasing which is something I haven't done in a long time.

I left at about 7 am and one of the first places I knew I could get to is Linden Lure with the early morning light. The morning was grey and drizzly though but it was still fun. As many of you know I really like some of the moody shots you can get with this kind of weather.

I am always amazed how much things change around the falls. The water was really flowing on the Finley after yesterday's heavy rain. This large tree had washed over the dam and was lodged in place. Many of the gravel bars had shifted places. A lot of brush was missing and getting to the falls was much easier than it had been before.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Front Porch Friday...More Porches from Old Algiers.

The front porch is a common sight on the homes of Old Algiers, Louisiana. For those of you that missed the previous post on Old Algiers it is directly across from downtown New Orleans on the West Bank of the Mississippi River.

I love the top porch with its wrought iron fence and the beautiful lilies coming up from a planting of asparagus fern. These grow quite well through this particularly mild New Orleans winter.

The bottom porch was magnificent with its working gas lamp. I would have loved to come back down here around sunset to see the glow of these lamps.

If you ever get down to New Orleans be sure and go to Old Algiers. Just take the ferry from downtown across the river, enjoy the ride across the river and take time to walk through these quaint homes. You can also visit Mardi Gras World which is a short walk down the river toward the Mississippi River "Twin Bridge".

I learned this morning of yet another devastating tornado in the beautiful town of Mena, Arkansas. I have always loved going through the downtown of this Arkansas town and now I hear reports the downtown was devastated. Say a prayer for those in Mena.

I am actually off work today and plan to take a little photo trip. I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Well That was a Resounding Success...

Okay, so much for commentary. I will stick with pictures.

Why is it that railroads like to put locomotives where you can't see them? These GP-38's were hiding behind a long string of tank cars in Algiers (New Orleans), Louisiana. I used a wide angle lens to shoot between the tank cars. I used the cars as a frame, with one of the twin Mississippi River bridges above. What a neat place.

Have a great Easter week.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What's Your Story? --Part 1

This was the theme of a Church retreat we went to this weekend. We had a great time, and we were able to make a lot of new friends. This retreat made me think a lot about my life and my Lord, as any good Church retreat should I guess. The speaker at our retreat used stories to illustrate his points and he was so good at it. Sometime during this coming week I am going to be sharing my story, I don't know when yet so I guess you will have to stay tuned.

As we head into this Holy week take some time to stop and think about what Jesus means to you. For some of my readers I know He means very little, that He simply was a historical figure. To others He may have been a prophet or a good man. To others He is a Savior, the Son of God, or God on earth. In any case as we pass into this week consider this pivotal figure in history. Take a moment to read your Bible or someone elses, especially the closing chapters of any of the four Gospels of the New Testament. Take a moment to think about the impact this carpenter from Nazareth has had on our world.

I am not sure how I am going to work photographs into this series but we will see. Perhaps this is a series best left to pictures painted by words. In the meantime, no matter what your beliefs are, take some time to think about Jesus and his impact on history.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Front Porch Friday - The Porches of Old Algiers

Old Algiers is on New Orleans West Bank. Most of these shotgun houses are over a hundred years old having survived hurricanes old enough they were not named; then there were the likes of Betsy, Camille, Ivan and Katrina. The West Bank area of Algiers did not flood during Katrina. There was some wind damage but this area looked fairly normal during our first visit a year after Katrina. Old Algiers is the home of the Algiers Ferry which goes directly from this quaint area directly to downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter.

So many porches and so little time to shoot them all. I liked this stretch of homes because there were so many in a row. The photo was taken on a bright cloudy day so the lighting is a bit flat.

Each one of these porches is a jewel and each one is used. It is a tradition to spend time on the porch in New Orleans and greet your neighbor as well as the tourists.