Friday, February 12, 2016

Skywatch Friday

I haven't posted many new Skywatch Friday photos this year. A year ago we moved from a relatively rural, wooded setting into town. We downsized our home and simplified many aspects of our lives, which was a very good thing, but the views at sunrise and sunset are much less spectacular because I don't really care for rooftops and power lines in my photos. Some days the colors are just too good not to capture. Regardless of the urban clutter, the sky makes the image worth capturing. Have a blessed week-end.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Inspiration Thursday

I took a drive around the outskirts of our town the other day. There is so much construction going on in town that it is hardly recognizable any longer. I'm not complaining. I'm just stating that our city is growing and a lot of the old, outdated structures are being replaced with new buildings. And the ones that are not being replaced are being repurposed. The feed store will soon become an upscale restaurant. A historic hotel served as the library for many years and is now an urban bicycle shop. The 20 & 30 somethings that couldn't wait to get their first car are now donning spandex and helmets  and riding newly constructed bike trails around the area. I'm not sure that all of the resident wildlife are thrilled about the changes.
Occasionally I find an old barn, chicken house or other out building that reminds me of quieter, simpler times. I see the weathered wood, the rusted hinges and tin roof and I want the building to tell me it's story. What has it seen? What has happened within its walls and on its property? People are a little like old buildings. Some of them have amazing stories to tell, if only we would take a few minutes to stop and listen.
One of my regrets in this life is that I failed to sit down an interview my great aunt Elva. She was a true pioneer woman. Born in Kentucky in the late 1800's, she traveled to Oklahoma in 1901 and became a school teacher. She was teaching school in Oklahoma Territory six years before statehood.
Aunt Elva eventually taught high school home economics and later taught at Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State University. She became a county extension agent and wrote articles for the local newspaper. Her connection to the university gave her access to the governor and led to the implementation of the statewide hot lunch program in public schools. Aunt Elva was some kind of woman and I wish I knew much more about her life. If you have a senior adult in your family, get to know them. Ask them about their childhood memories. They are walking, talking history and much more fun that reading a book.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Just a hop, skip, and a jump to the feeder!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Let there be light.

This lamp, in our home office has been a part of my life for nearly forty years. It is a Dazor swing arm drafting lamp. I bought it in the early 80's when I was working as an architecture intern at a Tulsa office. I also bought a Mayline four post metal drafting table. I got both of them second hand. I finally retired the drafting table a couple of years ago and it is currently in storage. I seriously doubt if I will ever use it again. This drafting lamp is about to become a work light in the garage because I have found a replacement.
This Dazor model  1000 desk lamp uses the same fluorescent tubes as the drafting lamp and to be honest it's probably older than the drafting lamp that it replaces. It is simply a more suitable scale for the desk. The desk lamp was manufactured sometime between the mid 1940's to the mid 1960's. The drafting lamp was probably a product of the mid 1950's though the mid 1970's. By today's standards, both are considered vintage mid-century industrial design.
In the mid 60's every architect and engineering office in the country had these drafting lamps in their production rooms. Any office that had a drafting department was filled with these fixtures. The desk lamp is more of a product of government offices. Whether local, state, or federal, you would find the iconic metal desk, chair and this lamp. They are great.
I have a few other tools of the architect/engineer professions that many of today's practictioners would either not recognize or would be considered tools of the stone age. That's okay. I'm a bit of a dinosaur myself. Have  you got any tools from your past that you still use?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Skywatch Friday

I was out scouting some possible locations for future photo shoots and maybe find a couple of suitable subjects for this week's Scavenger Hunt Sunday. I found what I think will be a new fishing spot, but that's not why we're here. I just realized that I have NO image for Skywatch Friday. Looking up, the sky was crystal clear, which is not good if you want a great sky image. I have a rule, when the sky is clear, stick something in the foreground to grab the viewers attention. How about a tree?

A tree along a creek or stream has a hard life. It is subject to floods and high water. You can see that much of this root ball has been exposed over the years and stones inhabit parts of the root system when the water is high.  Through all of the trials and tribulations of being a stream tree, it's root system has developed quite a character.

You can see that this tree has really had to struggle just to keep it's place in this world. Life can be like that. We see people who don't seem to have a care in the world. They are well educated, have a good job, a great family and nothing bad ever seems to happen to them. What we don't see is their root system. How did they get where they are. Many have had to overcome great adversity. Some struggle with invisible disabilities, personality issues, or physical abuse that we know nothing about. We just see what is above the ground. The people that I admire the most are those who are truly thankful for where they are, regardless of where they came from. Have a blessed week-end.

Inspiration Thursday

This past week our family lost a friend. She was a Bible study teacher to our daughter, a mentor to our grand daughter and a friend to my wife and I. Most importantly, Kathy was a devoted child of God. You have probably heard the saying, "You can't take it with you", when it comes to dying. When it comes to material possessions, that is exactly true. When it comes to relationships, Kathy shared the truth above.
God expects His people to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world around them. Those who acknowledge their sinful state, are willing to repent and invite Christ into their lives, by asking for His forgiveness will spend an eternity in a place prepared for them in Heaven. Therefore, if a Christian leads a family member or friend to the Lord and they are saved, both will be in heaven. So, if I have friends or family members that I love, and want to see on the other side of the grave, I need to introduce them to the only one who can forgive their sins and give them eternal life. Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) In a world that is always looking for an alternative, loophole, or another way, this seems pretty unfair. The truth is, it is the most fair. Everyone is treated the same. We receive salvation only through Christ, regardless of our age, wealth, social position, race, nationality, education, strength, etc. By the way, Kathy would also tell you...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Everybody in the Pool!

One of the benefits of senior citizenship in our town is that seniors get free all sports passes to the high school sports...all of the sports! I was at the local community center on Monday and saw a sign that said the pool would be closed on Thursday afternoon because of a high school swim meet. I'm thinking, I've never photographed a swim meet. So I gathered up my gear and headed to the pool on Thursday afternoon. The place was very busy as there were several schools participating.

The first thing I needed to find out was where to position myself to get the best images. Answer, different places for different events. For the start of any race you need to be forward of those starting platforms. It's not much different than a track meet.

Any photography of people is better when you can see their face. So, for freestyle you want to be on the side of the pool. If you have a particular swimmer you want to photograph, then you need to know which strokes they breath on so you are on the correct side to see their face. Some of these kids only come up for air a couple of times per lap, so you have to know when that's going to happen. I just got lucky here.

The breast stroke may be the most passive looking event because there doesn't appear to be much water movement. Here, you want to be at the end of the pool, so the swimmer is coming at you.

You can stay at the end of the pool for the backstroke and wait until the simmer is moving away from you. Again, I got lucky because the arm in motion does not block the swimmer's face. It helps if your camera has a continuous shooting mode. Mine will shoot 7 frames per second when set correctly. I have six bad images of this swimmer and this good one. One is all you need, right?

Like the breaststroke, the butterfly is best photographed if the swimmer is coming toward the camera. I think it is the hardest image to capture correctly and I missed the right moment in both of these. There is a point when the head is up and the arms are out of the water. It happens somewhere between these two images. I learned one more thing. I'm going to do this again. I love shooting sports and I love the challenge of capturing the right moment in time. I had a couple of wins and a couple of losses today. There's always next time. Have a blessed day.