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.

Celebrities

This is not meant as braggadocio, just facts from a guy who's been terribly lucky in a career that's afforded him the opportunity to do something he absolutely loves to do:  take photographs.  And in the course of a photo trek spanning decades, I've had the opportunity to photograph some well-known, individuals.  From Sports..... Dallas Cowboys' Legendary  Bob Lilly; Philadelphia/Chicago/Dallas "Iron Mike" Ditka, Coach Darryl Royal, LPGA Superstar Anika Sorenstrom, and golf legend Charles Coody, the 1971 Master's Champion.  From Showbiz...C&W Renegade Willie Nelson,  The Four Freshman, Las Vegas Headliner Phil Harris; and from Politics, President George W. Bush.

But it's been two recent Celebrity subjects who've had as much effect on me as any of recent memory.

Recognize this one?  It's not an original label, but I like to refer to him as "The Clown Prince of Golf"; David Feherty.  His off-the-wall, impossible-to-script observations are hilarious, whether he's walking the fairway for NBC Sports or sitting in-studio, one-on-one,  interviewing a person of note as part of  his immensely successful "Feherty" show on the Golf Channel.  But the most ingratiating thing about David Feherty is when you're with him off-camera.  Approachable, warm, witty and accommodating....and he was all of these things as both a guest speaker and auctioneer when I photographed him at a recent First Tee tournament to raise funds for this non-profit organization.

If one celebrity wasn't enough for the same First Tee event, add one other:  Everybody's All-American, Jordan Spieth.  On hand to conduct a putting clinic for tournament participants, this Master's 2015 Champion is recognized as one of golf's most proficient putters, so he knows from whence he speaks when it comes to the art of one of golf's most delicate and demanding talents.
But it doesn't take long to realize that one of the games most successful golfers, still in his 20's, isn't adverse to getting in the thick of things.  This became obvious as Jordan put on an apron, along with fellow pro Harrison Frazier, host pro of the Trinity Forest event, and began serving bar-b-que to hungry participants prior to tee-off.  Their combined "Hook  'em Horns" salute left not doubt as to their Longhorn loyalty.

The best, however, was yet to come with a tournament finale that included the auctioning off of a genuine Masters tournament flag signed by every living winner of golf's premier tournament.
And who best to stir up the crowd than the irrepressible Mr. Feherty, utilizing a talented, straight man by the name of Jordan.
The bottom line of all this hilarity was a handsome new wall hanging with a winning bid just north of $24,000, and all credit goes to two of my all-time favorite celebrities, Feherty and Spieth.  And as a final bonus, check out the driver of the cart who volunteered to haul the winning bidder and his spoils safely to his car.... a fitting conclusion to a fantastic tournament thanks to a fabulous duo.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Killer Backpack


One should never take lightly the value of protection; anywhere, anytime.  That's why, even in a casual, open environment like the Santa Fe Farmers Market, you can't be too careful.  This shopper is not relying on "concealed carry" weaponry like we have in Texas.  He's just prepared for any eventuality with a semi-hidden, highly-trained canine should protective or attack services be needed. And don't ever underestimate the old adage " big things comes in small packages" because the next person you encounter just may be "packing chihuahua".  You've been warned.    


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Make a U-Turn....QUICK!!!!

In reality, this highway sign was not installed by a macabre road crew representing The Grim Reaper. It was more a case of unfortunate placement denoting a street that ran adjacent and parallel to this country cemetery.  But in a way, it gets one thinking that maybe a "u-turn" in lifestyles might be in order, like cutting down on fats, sugars and white bread.  This photo might even be a candidate for a corporate poster for some of these "fad diets" we see advertised every day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Inspiring

Recently,  I became associated with The ALS Foundation (Lou Gehrigs Disease), an organization that is working vigorously to generate funds for research to wipe out this debilitating disease.  At one of their major fund raisers of the season, teams comprised of corporate sponsor's personnel vied with one another to see who could raise the most money.  As the final results were announced, a team member of the winning organization draped himself in the ALS Foundation's flag while making a gesture heavenward almost as if to say, "We're gonna beat this with your help?"......I can only pray that this is true.....the sooner, the better.
     

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Good To The Last Drop

Although the heat is often stifling on the 4th of July, who's gonna miss the Annual Fourth of July Parade, regardless of the community from which you come?  Especially a treat for the children, this annual patriotic activity is an absolute treasure trove of opportunity for the hardy photographer.  And when it comes to candid captures, just stand by the nearest refreshment stand and snap away as thirsty patriots of all ages make the most of the occasion.





Monday, March 13, 2017

Back After 2 Years

After an absence from the Blogspot community for nearly 24 months, it would appear from an earlier attempted post that I've lost my touch, or possibly even my mind.  I would like to lay blame on a server, a computer,  or even Blogspot itself, but, alas, I fear everything comes back to a condition that any nimrod who's ever used a computer has come down with:  the disastrous User Error.

Hopefully, my love-hate relationship as it pertains to  Blogspot has been overcome long enough where I can now publish a readable, attractive addition to my blog after a two-year hiatus.
My intention is to do one post a day over the next 30 days with narratives and graphics that will be appealing to any one wanting to follow what might come out of this photographers inventory of photos.  At the end of this 30-day period, I hope the habit will be engrained once again to share photos with you on a regular basis.
The beauty of a Colorado autumn is captured on a winding road outside the charming town of Pagosa Springs. Obviously,  there are other seasonal destinations.  Who hasn't marveled at New England's Fall colors, or the Pacific Northwest's State Highway One as it skirts the Pacific Ocean's rugged shoreline bordered by rugged stands of sequoias, pines and cottonwoods? But when you mesh the colors of Colorado forests with Rockie Mountain vistas, you've a combination that's hard to beat.
But there's a visual bonus for those lucky enough to make the trek to Colorado, in that they can route themselves through The Land of Enchantment, and experience the varying landscapes found in New Mexico.  From ancient prairie villages, to missions, to cave dwellings; this is a state that seems to have an endless choice of terrains, attractions and activities. But if rugged, pioneer landscapes aren't on your bucket list, you can go Metropolitan.  Santa Fe is home to a renowned Opera Series each year, or wander the square downtown to shop for Native American jewelry, artifacts and apparel, or stop for a moment and converse with the colorfully garbed Balloon Man at The Farmers Market in the heart of the city.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"These Boots Weren't Made for Painting"

As was chronicled in my last post,  I pointed out that plein air artists are a hardy lot, willing to brave the elements and other challenges as they reflect their creativity on canvas, paper or board.  But one thing a plein air artist strives to do is to be comfortable.  And in the case of this intrepid painter, her weathered patriotic boots just weren't accomplishing this prerequisite.  As a result, we have a Barefoot Picassa bravely perched on a concrete vantage point jutting out over the raging Puloxi River in Glen Rose TX.  The point here is that the creativity of a plein air artist extends far beyond the easel, especially when it comes to maintaining 'happy feet'.



Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Plein Air Painters: A Tribute"


I'm now well in to a decade of photographing a hardy group of painters willing to conquer (or ignore)
the elements in order to capture the beauty of their world, not from a studio setting, but in nature with      all its challenges.  Cold, wind, sometimes even rain does little to dampen the spirit of this intrepid and dedicated group of artists.  Some of these works end up in Galleries nationwide, as well as being posted in their Outdoor Painters Society (OPS) newsletter in which I'm privileged to be a contributor.



To watch these artisans work, it's literally a mystery to most.  I know it is to me.  Starting with a blank canvas, they may cover  it with colorful washes of varying hues of red or brown or whatever background they feel will enhance the painting that will eventually emerge.  Part of their process is "blocking" their composition which can either be broad strokes of black or brown oil paint loosely laid out and connected, or more detailed renderings of what they'll eventually create.  Over the next hour (or hours) their own individual masterpieces begin to take shape and this is the stage that is oft times mind-boggling to the casual observer.


Adding color here, highlighting there, detailing or darkening and sometimes even smearing to soften their images......it's all about using their hands, brushes or palette knife to maneuver a seemingly disorganized rainbow of  colors from pallete to canvas, until something magical happens.



An abandoned rusting tractor is resurrected into a thing of beauty by Randy Saffle.  A stand of aspens appears to have more brilliance than you'd even imagined because of Cecy Turner's talents.







The weathered face of an old man suddenly becomes unforgettable at the hands of John Cook.  The glow of street lights emits warmth as Jason Sacran captures a mountain village by moonlight.

Delicate berries spring to life, capturing your attention amidst bramble bushes when painted by
Ann Hardy.  And the names of these talented artists go on and on.  Jones. Lassiter. Gabriele. Longacre. Priest. Bohlman. Boren. Prikryl. Neumann. Devereaux. Kidwell. Cobb. Hubler.  Too numerous to mention all, but all with one thing in common:  they are to canvas what Copperfield
and Houdini have been to the stage...magicians!!!

If you want to experience the magic of plein air, mark April 11th on your calendar and make the effort to drop by Southwest Galleries in Far North Dallas where The Outdoor Painters Society will hold their annual exhibit.   Chances are, you'll be as much in awe by the talent as I continue to be even after nearly 10 years of photographically capturing this wonderful phenomenon.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Grill Maintenance"


OK, so it's not exactly the most modern method of cleaning a grill, but it's worthy of capturing for posterity, considering the source.  This is Murphy, a lovable rescue dog who's provided companionship, unconditional love and protection to The Rogers Houston Clan for the last few years.  But in this twilight phase of his life, Murphy has been deprived of his vision and his hearing.  However, as is evidenced by this picture, his sense of smell and taste is up and running as if he were a puppy.  So it was destiny that when he found the bar-b-que grill still aromatic from the previous night's hamburger cook-out,  it was love at first lick.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

THE RUTTING SEASON

During the fall months around Estes Park and The Rocky Mountain National Park, the elk descend to  lower ground as the frigid winter announces its eminent arrival in the higher elevations.  At this time, too, the bucks are at a yearly high of testosterone, necessary to sprout their impressive racks often weighing up to forty pounds and extending to four feet.  As the rutting season reaches a peak,  the healthy, robust bulls engage in a 24-hour-a-day mating ritual that involves sometime as many as 50 cows that make up his harem.  The eerie bugling of the bulls can be heard at all hours as they make their presence known, attracting the cows and staking their area from other competing bulls hoping to attract a willing mate to join their harem.


No matter where you spot the tell-tale cluster of cows and their offspring, you'll find somewhere in the area the majestic bull riding herd, protecting his cows from other bulls, predators and the hordes of tourists with their binoculars, cell phone cameras, Nikons and video devices eager to capture this unique, yearly ritual.


And occasionally, you're rewarded in seeing the other end of the cycle as was the case of this gigantic, aging bull (its size evidenced by the car that is dwarfed as it wisely gives right of way).  Gone are his active mating days and what once might have been a magnificent rack in his prime.   There no longer are harems or challenges from younger bulls, but even then, this lone Roosevelt Elk of Colorado is still a magnificent creature to behold, to photograph and to cherish.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Monteagle Musings"

Anyone who's spent the least amount of time with me realizes there are two subjects you don't broach unless you have time for detailed ramblings.  One is my involvement with the reknowned non-profit organization, The First Tee.  The other is my cherished Eastern Tennessee get-away, Monteagle.  And since I've just returned from the latter, having conducted my second consecutive photo seminar in as many years, I felt moved to explain what it is that's so special about this Smoky Mountain paradise.  But the more I thought about it, the more difficult it became to put into words.  So I've resorted to exceeding my usual spartan number of  individual blog pictures to illustrate my point.  Even this, however, has proven futile.  A mere thirteen photographs could have easily been three or four times that number,  considering I took more than 700 photographs during my most recent visit.  But I still don't think I can adequately do Monteagle justice.

The apparent physical beauty is a given.  Towering trees, flowers, winding paths and gentle breezes certainly are a start.

And then there are the activities:  swimming, biking, hiking, tennis and a myriad of lectures, lessons and seminars.

There's hardly an idle moment, unless you so chose.  There are relics to discover like a birdhouse on a bike, or snag some tadpoles below Moses Rock  or just leave your bicycles to cross the creek.




But when you get right down to it, probably one of the most magical things about Monteagle are the people.  The exuberance and innocence of the of children, the joy of family, the unspoken respect spanning generations,  and a warmth that permeates everything, whether it's a cheerful hello in passing or a handshake and a smile welcoming  you to Evening Vespers at the Chapel.





In reality, after much analyzing as to the "magic" of Monteagle, it was at a porch party one evening that a long-time Monteagle resident made the succinct observation, "Monteagle isn't a place or a thing, it's a state of mind".

As I headed back to my lodging that night, I only wished I'd thought of it......."a state of mind".  Amen to that!
 This post is dedicated to the "sparkling" Kathryn and that dazzling Dollar doll, LeNora, whose combined support spur me on to make this blog better (I hope) with each subsequent submission. 


Sunday, May 18, 2014

For 68 Years an Institution


Club Schmitz began operation in 1946, surviving a fire years later only to arise from the ashes like The Phoenix and until recently seemed indestructible.  It was, after all, one of Dallas's most recognizable watering holes with the coldest beer in town, soon complimented with a burger that would hold its on against all comers.  Club Schmitz attracted mechanics, Harley riders, bank examiners and presidents, a gaggle of giggling secretaries, celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, corporate pilots and airline hostesses headquartered at nearby Love Field, to name just a few.  The clientele seemed endless in its diversity.  But the one thread that bound this cross section of humanity was, simply put, a chilled brewsky and a decent cheeseburger, maybe with a side of chili.  And should schedules allow, there was shuffleboard to play, as well as the challenge of the not-quite-regulation pool table.  The old-fashioned jukebox helped drown many a sorrow, celebrate  countless birthdays and anniversaries or just loosen up the crowd as they started their week-end with a late Friday afternoon happy hour.   But then, most hours were "happy hours" at Club Schmitz.  Until recently.

It was probably an article in  The Dallas Morning news that reached the majority of Club Schmitz customers with the news that a gas station was to buy the property to expand its operation.  The article chronicled the more than half-century history of Club Schmitz and told how the family-run institution was handed down from one generation to another.

And it was after this article that the far-reaching clientele came flooding to Club Schmitz for one final cheeseburger and brew before that fateful final day of May, 2014 was to roll around.  This was the day that Club Schmitz would go dark  drawing to a close a rich, raucous saga.
Soon enough the game room would sit idle. Then bulldozers will arrive.
But in the interim, loyal Club "Schmitzers" will continue to flock in record numbers to this aging jewel to hoist a cold one in homage to a rich history.

Eventually, however, we'll all have to make that final trek over the patched, parched parking lot of Club Schmitz, taking with us a bellyfull of burgers and beer along with memories of  the good-times spent in this gastronomical landmark.    
 Thanks, Club Schmitz.  It's been a great ride!!!!