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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 26 Flowers, Insects, Guns and Group Picture

So this weekend we went to a family reunion at a cabin in Quanah, Texas, which is a little over 300 miles away from here in West Texas.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  We got up at 5:10 am on Saturday and we were on the road at 6.  It was a fun road trip.  Of course when I got there, got to talk a little bit and then, you guessed it, I was out on the ranch taking pictures.  I took over a hundred.  So this weeks blog will show some of those pictures then this week I can edit some of the others I didn't get too. 

How about some pictures!  First, let's get the bug picture out of the way for Mom:

This was a way cool bug for a bug guy like me.  Almost missed it.  I wanted a picture of the flower believe it or not.

This was a favorite of mine.  I love the top down effect.

Opening flowers that were by the unofficial gun range.

 Found out there were owl eggs in the gutter, so went upstairs on the balcony and, you guessed it, took a picture of an owl egg.

Owl Egg

The next picture was taken this morning.  Some of the cattle were not having me at all.  This little calf, however, was curious, which brought the other....


And then group pictures, got to use my tripod and 10 second timer:

 A picture of everyone at the reunion (the non funny one)

And then one in which a couple of people were watching the drone buzzing the cattle.....

 Okay, there was quite a bit of fun shooting guns!  I kept trying to get a shot with the gun ejecting the bullet.  I got what I needed with Ginger shooting:

If you notice you can see the bullet spinning while being ejected:

  This is Teddy holding quite a big gun.  This gun was quite loud going off!

 And Teddy Shooting said Gun:

Okay, there are alot more pictures that I have to go through.  Hope everyone enjoys these pictures and I will post more as I get time!  Lots of love to family and friends, this weekend was an awesome picture taking opportunity! 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Week 25: Father's Day and Window to the Soul

So today is Father's Day.  Some people have really good Dad's and I am blessed to have, in my opinion, one of the best.  As I sit here writing this post, I have this memory of my Dad's workbench.  It was on these work benches that we would build models, or model rockets, work on electronic projects, and even watch as Dad fixed stuff.  Looking at all the tools at the time I couldn't name half of them.  Of course now I work with my hands and most of those tools.  I thought of this yesterday as I was working on a shed for Rebecca.  As I did various tasks it dawned on me that I had watched and learned from my Dad the various things I did.  It was my Dad who gave me my eye for detail.  Last summer I got the honor of working with my Dad on a small wood project.  It was nothing fancy, but it was the fact that I was doing a project with my Dad that was so special.  

And as I sit here and reflect, I think of the spiritual journey I am on and how my Dad has always encouraged me with his wisdom.  I tell anyone who will listen that he is a spiritual mentor for me.  I was never forced to believe what Dad did, nor was I pushed in any direction.  Dad has always encouraged me to think and study for myself.  Always open for questions, he has challenged me at times, enlightened me in others.  Not judging others by face value is a trait I learned from him. 

My Dad has seen me come a long way in this journey called life.  It is a joy to reflect on these memories and I believe we have more memories to make!  I love my Dad with all my heart, for me, he is my hero and always will be! 

My photo's for this week are two.  The first is of my eye, the window of my soul I call it.  I was originally going to crop it to just the eye but it was more interesting this way!

The second photo has a bit of a story.  Last week's photo was noticed by Digital Photo magazine.  Okay, I posted it on their Facebook page to show them how I interpreted a tutorial they offered with my own pictures.  It is the picture with the moon.  Well, not long after I got a reply saying they wanted to feature the photo in their magazine!  So began some email's back and forth with one of the editor's.  One of the things they wanted was a picture of me with my camera preferably.  So I was by myself and had to think how to take one with my camera.  One word, mirror.  So I took a couple of pictures.  This happens to be the one Ginger said I look cute in and wants to frame!

So I may not get 1,000 likes for my photos, but if a magazine likes my picture that says something because they are my peers!  Anyhow, just gives you a boost because your recognized!


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Week 24: Levitating with the Moon: Touch the Sky

So this week's main picture was an inspiration.  It is a combination of techniques that came together. 

 The techniques themselves included levitating, layer masking for the moon and the tricky part of putting my fingers over the moon, and using the self timer since this was a self portrait.   I'm loving using Silver Efex Pro 2 for my black and white images.

The photo itself was inspired by a song by Hillsong United, Touch the Sky.  Right now it is one of my favorite worship songs.   The lyrics say:

What fortunes lies beyond the stars
Those dazzling heights too vast to climb
I got so high to fall so far
But I found heaven as love swept low.

The picture says, at least for me, heaven is attainable, no matter what I have done in my life.  I can touch the sky and God will meet me where I am at.  In other words, God is approachable.  I am a Christian and yet I do not pretend to be perfect.  My belief is to live my life as an example.  I have failed miserably at times and I have had soaring victories.   I believe that sparks discussion.  I believe in meeting people where they are at, regardless of who they are and what they believe.  Not judging them because we all have a voice.  I have no problem talking about my life, my failures and victories, my testimony nor do I mind listening to others talk about theirs.   I am not defined by my failures nor will I dwell on them. 

So on other notes, I took a picture in the midst of the above picture a "ghostly picture"

Just a fun picture and taken quite by accident.  Of course we do joke about the ghost in our apartment, who's name is Spooky.  Spooky actually sits on my night stand....and has a pumpkin in his hand.....

During the week, I had a little friend that would show up each morning, busy spinning it's web.  I took several shots of the spider and the web but this picture, which at first I thought wasn't going to be very good because it was underexposed, turned out to be my favorite:

Last week work was busy, hectic, and challenging.  But I am blessed.  Saturday I get to go out and work for a few hours in a completely different type of environment.  The stress begins to shed off and I get to listen as God speaks to me.  Sometimes it is lessons I have learned through the week.  Areas that I need to improve upon or areas of success.  I am affirmed, I am valued, I am loved.  And instead of looking at my problems I get to look at how I have grown.  For example.  Use to be afraid of horses.  Gretchen has changed that.  I can walk up to her, pet her, talk to her, and I swear she knows who I am! 

I do not know what this week will bring, but I know that God will be with me.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Week 23: Working Hands and Vines

This week in photographs, the first picture I want to share is of my hand.  There is, of course, a story.

I look at this picture and see the hard work this week was.  I see the chalk on my hands, the paint, the drywall mud, and the gunk under the finger nails from the bathroom faucet I changed.  I think of the three days I spent in one apartment.  Yep, three days.  Some people have no concept of why it takes so long sometimes.  This particular apartment I had to paint from the ceiling to the floor.  I had to two tone paint it, it was originally white, so I had to paint it literally twice.  I had drywall issues.  It had marker on a.lot of the walls.   And that was just the painting/drywall side of the apartment.  I still had to do the make ready, and this is while someone was putting the ceramic tile back in around the tub because the tub was changed out.  In the past two weeks I have had three apartments that have been switched from all white to two toned.  It is a good thing I love painting!  On top of that, full make ready!  But I have had much needed help at the right times that has helped immensely.  So after those three days, high pressure aside, I was able to go to Lindale on Saturday and work on the barn.  I love working on the barn.  It is the place I took the pictures of the kittens which, if I remember correctly, all have now found a home!  It is such a change of pace, my regular job and my fun job.  It is peaceful.  I get a list of what needs to be done and I go about doing it.  And climbing up a ladder two stories to hang baton's!  Yeah, I am a little crazy!

So Ginger comes home from Barnes and Nobles this afternoon and I am out in the back, on top of a ladder, taking pictures of vines.  I told you I was a little bonkers!  Sometimes the inspiration just hits.  So her favorite of the shoot was this one, which reminds her of fall, which is a favorite of both Ginger and I!

Believe it or not, taken during the day with ambient light (no flash).  The sun just happen to be shining at the right spot!  My favorite, which was taken when I went back out a second time is this one:

This one has some beautiful bokeh (out of focus background) and I like the gap between the wood behind the leaf.

I love my work process.  I take a whole bunch of pictures (this week approx. 47 pics in a couple of sittings).  Then I flip through them on the computer with Ginger by my side.  Her input is invaluable because she sees things I don't.  Her favorite, for example, above was one I didn't see the potential in until she pointed out some things I didn't see.  Sometimes the same one is our favorite, sometimes it is not.  But having her input helps vet through the pics and find some gems.  Once we have gone through them, I fire up photoshop to enhance the RAW files and convert them to Jpeg's.  Then it is all about writing the blog, which she will read when I post it.  I don't think she realizes how vital her input is (she will when she reads this!).  Of course sometimes, like with bugs, spiders, snakes, etc., it is about how much she goes EWWWWW!

Thank you to all of you who support me with your encouragement and guidance!  Hope everyone has a good week!  Though work will probably be hectic this week, at least when I get off I get to come home to my lovely wife who always has a smile and kiss waiting for me!