Thursday, June 29, 2017

"The Culprit"



This innocuous safe sits in the same place it has for years.  In fact, it hasn't been moved from the original Jack Daniel's office that still stands in the midst of the distillery complex.  But this was the item that led to "the event".  While many people would conclude that being around one of the most famous distilleries in the world,  Mr. Daniel,  founder and proprietor of this empire, might have imbibed too much for too long.  But this was not the case.  Ever the dapper, ambitious entrepreneur, Gentleman Jack Daniel was too busy overseeing his business holdings.  But one morning when opening the office, he was unable to remember the combination of the company safe and in a fit of rage (for which he was known), he kicked this 1200 pound immovable object....to no avail.  This tantrum, however,  did result in a foot injury that went untreated for a lengthy period until the foot developed gangrene, leading to the demise at age 60 of one of America's most flamboyant Captains of Industry.  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"Wet & Wild"

Actually, you're just witnessing the wet part of this activity. Before a rowdy bunch of summer campers can get wild as they participate in the much-anticipated water-bomb melee, someone has the behind-the-scenes chore of filling these colorful missiles of moisture.  Thankfully, dedicated volunteers are always on hand to make summer camps memorable, and the Nocona TX Historical Museum's "Mystery of History" is no exception.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Making a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord"

If you're of my vintage, you probably remember Vacation Bible School (VBS) down in the basement of a stodgy, old church....maybe on Main Street in the central business district of your hometown. You might have even had Miss Inez (or an equivalent), the local piano teacher, sitting at a rickety, seldom-used upright (usually just a tad out-of-tune) lending her talents to fill the room with the familiar "Jesus Loves Me".  Well, things have changed.

When I agreed to photograph the final session of VBS activities at Church of The Incarnation in Dallas (my parish), I was blown away by the professionally packaged Vacation Bible School curriculum, complete with pre-recorded music, props, apparel and a study plan to follow should one chose. VBS.....it's now an audio board mixing big sounds of catchy sing-a-longs, choreographed activities, and a happy-clappy atmosphere that's infectious.   These pictures prove the approach is a rousing success.  Miss Inez would be thunderstruck at the changes.

Make a joyful noise, indeed!!!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"BlackJack, A Quick Look"


For nearly a decade on trips to Eastern Tennessee, passing billboards touting the Jack Daniel's Distillary tour,  I'd say to myself, "Gotta make that trip".  About two weeks ago, I finally fulfilled this desire.  After all, just the name, Jack Daniel's, is an institution starting back in 1866.  No matter where you imbibe in the world....Melbourne, Toronto, Rome, Caracas, or the Lone Star State....that little jigger of amber Jack Daniel's had its beginnings in the little town of Lynchberg. This is true Tennessee Sour Mash sippin' whiskey and it's made today the same way it was since the inception of this historic distillery.  And the trip to appreciate the process, along with the folklore that accompanies this brand, was fascinating.

If you're lucky enough, as was I, you'll take a tour on one of the days when they make the charcoal from their own inventory of sugar maple slats.  Reaching temperatures of 1800 degrees, these burning skids are an imposing sight with the resulting charcoal playing an integral part in filtering what will eventually become one of the most recognized products anywhere.  

On the grounds of the distillery, silos hold corn, rye or barley malt prior to being moved to the still house where ingredients will be measured, ground and mixed before the patented distilling process begins.

During distilling,  the raw grain products go through a series of steps including the adding of sugar to begin fermentation.  At one point on the tour, one observes a clear liquid with an alcoholic punch of 140 proof flowing endlessly as it makes its way to the charcoal-filtering phase where it will be further purified and cleansed during a 5-day process.  Next up:  barreling, aging (5 to 7 years), bottling and distribution.

Finally,  after approximately an hour-and-half of touring and learning, the moment of truth arrives: the actual sampling of the finished product (if you signed up for the "Tasting Tour").

So, what did I learn?  Well, simply put, years ago there was a man small in stature (5'2") who had a grandiose dream that has exceeded his wildest expectations.  His name:  Jack Daniel.   And his legacy lives on.

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Synchronized Golf"


OK, on the count of three, everybody bend over.......  Well, actually, what we have above are conscientious golfers in coordinated efforts to repair ball marks on the course:  one on the green and the other in the sand trap.  It just so happened that both chores were undertaken simultaneously.



The other photogenic duo are just golfing partners trying in unison to coax an errant putt into that elusive little hole. Despite concerted efforts the ball failed to drop.  But at the end of the day,  both twosomes had a great time as they participated in a recent golf tournament benefiting The First Tee of Greater Dallas at the picturesque Stonebriar Golf Club, Frisco TX.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Equal Billing"

Recently, I published a photo of a group of OU celebrants following the OU-TU football victory last fall that included my beautiful granddaughter Emily from Houston.  Well, being gorgeous in the Rogers Clan knows no geographic boundaries.  It spreads all the way to North Central Texas as is exemplified by this photograph.  My Dallas granddaughter, Caroline  (far left), soon to be a Highland Park HS graduate and two of her best friends took time to pose prior to their Senior Prom.  So there you have it.....the two largest metropolitan cities in Texas are represented most ably (and beautifully) by two Texas natives coincidentally from the same family tree.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

"Catching Up With Friends"

At the recent Plein Air Southwest paint-out, it was a cause for celebration to reunite with renowned plein air artist and good friend Peggy Immel.  And as an added bonus, I was able to finally meet in person her husband,  photographer extraordinaire, Steve Immel.  After several years of following one another's blogs and exchanging notes, an introduction to this world-traveled pro was long overdue.  A talented duo they make, plus they're just plain fun to be around!!    

Thursday, April 20, 2017

"Coordination"

Anyone who's ever played the game knows what an integral part coordination plays in golf.  It's also part conditioning, part mental, part physical, where one must not forget head down, eye on the ball, knees bent, arms straight, and on and on and on.  As a fellow golfer once pointed out, "There are only 375 things you must coordinate during your backswing to insure a good shot".  But it seems that this player has taken into consideration yet another aspect: wardrobe. Even down to the Day-Glo logo on her shirtsleeve, which matches the skirt, which matches the hat, which matches the ball....this is coordination taken to the next level.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"On Fire!!!!"

Maybe this should be rephrased.  He's not on fire....and from the expression on his face, his errant golf shot is not on fire, so the only thing burning is his stogie.  And it's leaving an impressive footprint of smoke suspended in air.  Maybe this post should be retitled "The Last Bastion", because the golf course is one of the few places where a man can fire up a good Cuban import without suffering laser-like stares of condemnation.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"After the Storm"

Tranquilly shaded by trees on a sunny afternoon, the only remaining evidence of the Texas farmhouse that once stood here is the fireplace, chimney and a supporting wall.  The metal cutout of a raven seems almost menacing as it stands defiantly on the mantle, one of only a few things to survive what must have been a horrific storm years ago.

Remember This????

It's a day when it's so cold your hair hurts and there's just not much you can do about the frigid, gale-force winds other than grin and bear it.  It's called Winter.  You must remember  that season that's been missing from our calendars here in Texas for the last two years. When this picture was taken at a First Tee golf tournament,  it was as miserable as it looks and I recall the only warmth I felt for more than four grueling hours was from the beautiful smile of this dedicated volunteer.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Waves of Blue

This once imposing structure and its servants quarters sit in a field of bluebonnets slowly succumbing to neglect.  Upon inquiry as to its history, there were a number of unanswered questions except for a weather-worn sign that bluntly informs the curious of the owner's wishes.


Deep in the Heart of........

Reckon there's no need to tell you where this particular mailbox is located.   Just proves you never know when you're gonna find a Lone Star relic,  but your odds are always better on less-traveled lanes like this one to Lake LBJ outside Marble Falls, TX.  

Friday, March 31, 2017

Serenity

As an aspiring teen-age photographer, I'd marvel at the postcards I'd see in souvenir shops on family vacations from Arkansas to Colorado to the coastlines of California. These round racks of dazzling photographs set a standard for me to someday achieve, but it wasn't until years later that I discovered, first you had to have awesome scenery, then you could work the photo magic I so desperately sought to duplicate.  To my good fortune, I now have the opportunity to travel to such locations as Colorado's Bear Lake captured here on a crisp fall morning.  And with a vista like this, I just aim it, frame it and let Nikon strut its stuff.  Voila!!! Picture postcard perfect.

On Stand-By

While strolling the shores of a Hill Country Lake, it seems a fisherman's stash of equipment had been casually propped against a tree, ready at a moment's notice to go for the big one.  Here's hoping this bobber won't be victim of "the one that got away"!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Denver Inspiration

Winding my way down the usual remote roads I prefer to traverse, one can't help but wonder if you might be on one of the treks made by the late John Denver?  This particular stretch of unpaved road brought to mind "Country Roads Take Me Home" or "Rocky Mountain High".  Such raw beauty could certainly inspire a talented songwriter to put notes and lyrics to paper and come up with a musical poem inspired by the vast vistas of the great state of Colorado.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Cowtown Chic

Here's how to "Belly up to the Bar" in The Stockyards in Ft. Worth.  And look pretty doggoned good doing it.  Short skirts, tall boots, and some long legs aren't required, but they certainly add to the overall look.  If nothing else, this just goes to show you that the wild west isn't the stomping grounds for only weathered cowboys.  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Something to Look Forward To


It happens every year about this time.  I like to refer to it as 'the TV dregs'.....Why?  Because I'm not a basketball or baseball aficionado and my passion, college football, has faded to just a foggy memory and the 2017 Season seems an eternity away. But I do have one thing to battle boredom and that's to delve into the photo files from last year and relive that exciting October week-end when Oklahoma scored another victory over arch-rival, The University of Texas.  This bevy of Sooner beauties (with my lovely granddaughter front and almost center in all crimson and boots) just happened to grace the grounds of our abode long enough to pose for this portrait of exaltation.  Now that I think about it, maybe next year's opening kickoff isn't that far off after all.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Scattered Showers at Sunset

As temperatures drop, and a mist begins to fall, one wonders if early evening can get any better than it does in New Mexico.  Labeled "The Land of Enchantment",  this state lives up to their slogan year round, be it with brilliantly colored sunsets over the mountains or freshly fallen blankets of snow on a challenging ski run.     

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Wanna be best friends?"

As I toured a multi-acre property located in the heart of the expansive Dallas-Ft.Worth Metropolitan area, I formed an unexpected alliance with this bright-eyed barnyard ambassador.  Our newly-formed bond quickly took a turn south, however, when it was discovered I had no treats, snacks or literally anything edible immediately at my finger tips.  Another relationship turned sour.  Damned self-centered goat.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'm Confused

This sign outside a tattoo parlor is open to questions.  For example, I currently don't have a tattoo. But I might be interested in getting one.  Does this mean I'll need to park elsewhere until I have a tattoo?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Quartet

One thing you'll learn when in the mountains of Colorado, you can enjoy your early morning cup of coffee, but you better have your camera within easy reach.  In fact, anytime you step outside, no matter the hour, make sure a camera is on the check list..... over your shoulder, in your hand, or next to you as you drive, because the mountains of Colorado are a continuing photo-op.  The validity of this bit of wisdom was confirmed on the deck of a cabin in the mountains, 9 miles  outside of Pagosa Springs.  Mom and the kids just  happened to be munching breakfast goodies when this two-legged intruder stepped out with a mug in one hand and a Nikon in the other.  The result:  a candid capture of wildlife that beckons my return every time I look at this picture.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Travesty


This shot was taken on the main street running through The Stock Yards in the shadows of downtown Ft. Worth.  This is "Where the West Begins". This is "Deep in the Heart of Texas". Wouldn't you think these clueless clods would have at least had the common decency to litter with Lone Star Beer????

Cruisin' The Gorge

Not far from downtown Taos, as you traverse Highway 64's barren plains with mountains fading in your rearview mirror, there's a bridge in the distance.  As you approach this almost abstract span of girders, bolts and concrete,  you begin to notice cars, roadside vendors, and activity. There are people walking or pausing along this 1,280 ft.  bridge to absorb the vistas.  What you don't realize until you are almost to the bridge itself is a breath-taking drop-off of more than 800 feet where the Rio Grande River winds it's way on a 50 mile route from the Colorado border through Southeast Taos.  To put things in perspective, you could take Dallas' famed Reunion Tower (the building with the ball on top), set it in the gorge and from your perch on the bridge,  you'd be looking down on it.

Too squeamish to encounter  this stomach-churning adventure?  There are access roads that will take you to the floor of the gorge where you can drive for miles along the river experiencing the same rugged beauty but from less stressful vantage points.  Or like the couple caught "riding the river" on waterboards, let the Rio Grande guide you on a picturesque tour between rugged canyon walls. But be forewarned...... there might be white water ahead.