Thursday, August 27, 2015

Revisiting My Happy Place

If you have been to this blog a few times you might recognize the place in the image below.  It is the spillway adjacent to a private lake in Bella Vista, AR.  I go there several times a year to photograph the water fall.  Every time I go, it is a different place.  Most of the time I will get an image similar to the one below and the primary difference will be how much water is flowing, based on recent rainfall.

As you can tell, there had been more rain fall prior to the image below.  The images were taken about two weeks apart. The image below was taken on August 19.

Back in May, we got a lot of rain and the falls looked like this.
When I took the image on August 19, I decided to get some images from an angle I had only done once before and there was much less water.  As the country comedian Jerry Clower used to say, "I got down amongst 'em."  Here are the results.
 I am no longer shooting from the bank, but I am actually in the stream bed. This is the area just above the falls in the previous images.  That water in the foreground is traveling to my left and forming the falls in the images above.  In the previous image above, I would be standing in about knee deep rapid flowing water.  Well, probably not standing.

If you move a little closer to these upper falls you get this image.

Behind that big boulder on the right in the one of the images above, you will find the primary source of the water flow.
The best time to photograph these images is early in the morning (within one hour of sunrise), or on an overcast day.  You need to be able to shoot with a shutter speed between 1 and 3 seconds in order to make the water silky, which means you must have a tripod and preferably a cable or remote shutter release.  If you have a DSLR camera, you set your ISO at 100 and your fstop as high as it will go (f16-f25).  Then you experiment with your shutter speed to get the look of the water.
I've got images of this water fall with almost no flow and I've got it frozen in the winter when temperatures were in the teens.  Like I said, every time I visit this place, it is different.  It is my photo happy place.  Find yourself a photo happy place and return to it often.  You'll discover just how photogenic it really is.
My plan is to enlarge a few of my images, frame them and hang them in the hallway of our home.  Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday - Home Town Proud

School has started and high-school football season begin in a few weeks.  In small town America that usually means one thing.  The community gathers at the local stadium to be introduced to the local teams and given the opportunity to purchase some of the latest fan gear.  Since the mascot for the high school is a tiger, the even is call Tiger Pride night, even though it starts around 3:00 in the afternoon, but runs until about 8:00 in the evening.  In Bentonville, AR.  All of the fall sports teams are introduced from the junior highs and the high school.  There are currently three junior high schools and one high school so there are a lot of teams, cheerleaders, and dance teams to recognize.  Our youngest grand daughter is a cross-country and track distance runner, so she was required to attend part of the festivities.  We didn't stay for everything.  In fact we didn't see any of the high school teams.  All of the images here are from the junior high portion of the event.

One thing that impresses me is the sheer energy and enthusiasm of youth.  I'm sure that I had that I possessed the same traits at this age, but it was so long ago that I just don't remember.

I think most of these activities are great for kids.  It keeps them physically active, teaches them team work and provides them the opportunity to interact with others that they might not otherwise know.

Regardless of your personal feelings about football, it is the king of sports in the South.  Like most sports, it has it's risks, but team sports also teaches kids a lot of life lessons that cannot be learned otherwise.  
This post wouldn't be complete without the reason for my attendance.  The youngest grand daughter giving her best "parade wave" as she is introduced as a part of the girls cross-country team.

If your kids or grand kids are involved in extra curricular activities, support them.  Family time is quality time, regardless of the venue.  Have a blessed week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Arachnaphobia

A huge spider has taken over the courtyard and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  It looks like something from a 1950's scifi movie or a character from the new Star Wars episode due in theaters this December.  The exhibit is temporary.  I don't know how long it will be on display in the outdoor central courtyard, which, by the way is two stories below facility that surrounds it.  So how do you get a 30 foot tall spider into an sunken enclosed courtyard.  Here's how it's done.

Pretty impressive huh.  I am sure that removal will be just as impressive.

Even though he is impressive in size, I've been assured that he is harmless.  Still, I don't think that there is enough Raid in Bentonville to bring him down, should he get out of hand.  He's not all that scary if you keep your distance, but...
he can be down right intimidating if you venture too close.
There are a couple of new exhibits inside the museum but I didn't really have the time to explore them.  Maybe next week.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday/Inspiration Thursday

It has been an unusually wet year in Northwest Arkansas.  Usually the lawns are beginning to get a brown tint, as the Bermuda grass dies, and the daytime temperatures approach the century mark.  Well, we have had some hot days, but today was overcast with a little rain and the temperature did not break 85 degrees.  That means one thing.  I head to my favorite photographic site and snap a few images.  This place is part of the spillway that is adjacent to the dam on a private lake in Bella Vista, AR. Depending on the amount of rain, the spillway is different every time I go there.  I have images of this location from every season this past year.  I have a little project that I am working on, but I need a few more really nice images of this place.  I will probably continue to shoot this place through the winter and into next spring before I decide which images I want to include in the project.
As a photo enthusiast, places like this inspire me to make better images.  One way to do that is to return to the same location and make new images.  Experiment with the exposure, shutter speed, ISO, etc.  Then take your images home and experiment further in PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements, or whatever post processing software you own.  The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Inspiration Thursday/Skywatch Friday

Last week we took our annual Family Vacation to Branson, Missouri.  This is the fourth time in five years that we have stayed at the same resort on Table Rock Lake.  The grandkids are getting older
(the youngest will be 12 in September) but they still love this place because they can go from the pool to the lake in five minutes.  There is something for everyone.  It's hard not to be inspired by sunsets on the lake.  A little yellow, a little blue, and a whisp of pink is just a reminder that our Creator loves us and wants to say good night in a very special way.  It's hard to look at a glorious sunset and not shout, "Glory to God in the Highest."  Have a blessed week-end.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Not Exactly

Recently we spent a couple of days in Lee's Summit, MO visiting my wife's brother and his wife.  Lee's Summit is a south east suburb of Kansas City.  One morning we took a drive downtown and I took the opportunity to capture a few images of the old buildings that have been re-purposed into a thriving retail area.

This cast concrete sign was set over the side entry to one building.  I know that this is not the original location for this sign, but I am glad that someone saw fit to save it and give it a new home.  I love this type of signage.
My favorite find of the morning was this old Methodist Episcopal Church.  I love the brick details and the cast stone decoration.  You just don't see this done anymore.  Following are a few details.

If you ever see the term Paladin window, this is basically what they are referring to.  Almost any grouping of three arched windows, especially with columns makes up a Paladin window.  Just look at those brick details..

I think that every entry into a church should remind us that it is a place of prayer and worship.  I love the headers over these doors.

The Chamber of Commerce now occupies the old Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot.  The caboose is a reminder of the original purpose of this structure.  Too many of these buildings were demolished when the railroads discontinued passenger service.

Shifting from cast stone, here is an example of terra cotta, which tells me the building was probably built in the mid twenties or early thirties.  Again, you just don't see this kind of detail in newer buildings.  We are seeing more decoration/details in some newer structures, but nothing to match this level of craftsmanship.  Well, that's all I have from Lee's Summit, MO.  Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Inspiration Thursday

What inspires you?  Do you see a human interest story on the evening news that is inspiring?  What about hearing a speech that was meant to motivate or inspire others.  It seems that the older I get, the more difficult it is to be inspired about some things.  I don't wash and wax the car as often as I once did and I am usually found at the car wash instead of dragging out the bucket and hose in the driveway.  While I love college football but I may never again venture into an 80,000 seat stadium and fight for my 18" of bleacher seating, and then fight the traffic after the game.  I prefer to stay home and watch it on cable.  One thing that has always inspired me is music.  I don't play an instrument or read music, and I don't sing well, but I have always had a love for music.  I grew up listening to Ray Charles, The Everly Brothers, The Temptations, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.  In my 20's I listened to Gordon Lightfoot, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Elton John, and Lynard Skynard.  In my 30's it was The Eagles among others.  By the early 90's I was listening to Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, but the Eagles were still there as well.  With all of that said, there has always been a thread of inspirational music in my life, even when I wasn't the most spiritual person around. I grew up listening to Tennessee Ernie Ford and I sang the Hymns in church.  Today, inspirational music is what I listen to most.  I love the hymns, Southern Gospel, and Contemporary Christian music.  I find myself inspired by these songs.
The hymns are where most of us first learned that "Jesus Loves Me" and scripture is easier to memorize when it is set to music.  The Bible tells us to hide God's Word in our heart in order that we may resist sin.  Furthermore, God tells us that,"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God my be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16). Proverbs 22:6 tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  He may wander off into the ditch occasionally, like the prodigal son, but if a child is grounded in scripture He is more likely to return to those teachings as an adult than to continue into destruction and I am an example of this.
Now, I find inspiration in God's Word, and I find it truly inspiring when set to music.

Okay, I'm inspire now. How about you? Have a blessed day.