Category Archives: Photography

What bwings us togevah

I still need to burn a CD, but I’ve gotten Ashlie’s photos sorted and Photoshopped and turned a few of them into a Soundslides show. Click here to see it … or, if your computer chokes on bells and whistles, just scroll down to see a few of my favorite images from the wedding.


I usually try to avoid backlighting, but this shot and the one below were both too striking to pass up.



I broke all kinds of rules today. I almost never shoot portraits from below the subject’s eye level, because they tend to be unflattering, but this is one of those, “Aw, what the heck” shots that I got while I was trying something else, and it wound up working way better than it had any right to.


Ashlie and her mom.


Ashlie and her sister.


Ashlie and Kevin share a tender moment under a pretty breezeway.


I love this cake topper. They also used a beautiful miniature replica of a Marine sword to cut the cake, which has to be one of the ten coolest things I’ve ever seen.

As the reception was winding down, Ashlie’s mom asked if I would like to take home some of the leftovers from the fresh fruit display — a gorgeous thing involving a lot of sugar-coated grapes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a waterfall that flowed into a series of hollowed-out pineapples and melons. Here’s another reason I love Oklahoma: Nobody batted an eye when I asked if I could have the melon rinds to feed my chickens, who love cantaloupe more than anything in the world.



I probably won’t have time to post for a couple of days. I photographed my friend Ashlie’s wedding this afternoon. Beautiful ceremony, beautiful bride, handsome groom, and I’ve got the better end of 650 images to prove it … so I’m frantically trying to cull them down to something manageable to put on a CD for her mom.

Time-consuming, yes, but — oh! — such joyful work!

See you when I finish. I might share an album or two online. 🙂


Glowing history

This sign used to hang on the Bryan Furniture store in West Frankfort, Ill. The company also has a location in Herrin, so when the West Frankfort store closed this spring, the owner had his spectacular neon sign — which was something of a family heirloom — restored and moved it to the Herrin store.

I could tell you how gorgeous the sign is, or how amazing it looks with its elaborate animation, but I think the pictures speak for themselves:







You have no idea how effective that sign is at attracting attention. It’s impossible not to look at it when it’s flashing and changing colors and spelling out the word “BRYAN.” You can see it over half a mile away. It’s a glorious bit of commercial art — every bit as nice as anything in Albuquerque.


Bat boy found in Southern Illinois


Sweet Baby James models his stylin’ new bat hat.

I had a lovely weekend playing with Jamie, visiting my family, photographing Jamie, playing with Jamie, eating food I hadn’t had in years, playing with Jamie, photographing an utterly gorgeous neon sign with the most elaborate animation I’ve ever seen, playing with Jamie, hanging out in Carbondale, playing with Jamie, buying toys for Jamie, having my picture taken in a photo booth with Jamie (scan forthcoming), and playing with Jamie.


Jamie is really into drumming right now. He has figured out that an empty orange juice carton makes a good conga.


Lamb Chop and Grandpa are Jamie’s two best friends. Here he is with both of them. He wasn’t too sure about my camera, which is bigger than the one his grandma uses to take pictures of him all the time.

Another thing Jamie loves is playing horsie on Grandpa’s knee. What you can’t tell from the picture is how hilarious his hat looks when he does this. Every time he bounced, the little bat wings would flap. Ridiculous.


This isn’t the best picture I shot this weekend, but it’s one of my favorites. The stuffed animal in Jamie’s arms is my old Pooh bear. Pooh was my best friend for the first five years of my life. He’s not very soft or cuddly anymore, because I loved all the fuzz off of him when I was little, but he’s still pretty huggable, and Jamie seemed content to hold him while he slept.

I’ll post more images from my trip when I get them worked up, but in the meantime, I’m starving, and I hear a bowl of chili calling me, so I think I’ll head over to Stroud for dinner.

Hope your weekend was good.




If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit.
— Mary Baker Eddy

Sunflowers are my favorite flower, partly because they’re pretty and fun to grow, and partly because I love the spiritual implications of their growth habits.

Sunflowers have a curious tendency to thrive in areas that seem unfit for human habitation: blighted neighborhoods, harsh climates, industrial wastelands. I actually saw some growing in the middle of a toxic waste dump at a notorious Superfund site a few years ago, their stems as tall as a man and their unruly branches covered with a profusion of bright yellow blossoms with big dark centers.

Rather than letting the apparent barrenness of their surroundings distract them or interfere with their natural expression of growth and beauty, these dazzling wildflowers focus all their attention on the sun, following it through the day and waiting patiently through the night for it to return. Even when storms shove them over and bring them low, they continue to bloom, undaunted, constantly turning toward the light, constantly expressing Life and beauty to areas that desperately need it.

I have lessons to learn from sunflowers….


P.S.: I shot the photo above on Route 66 near Tucumcari during our recent trip to New Mexico. The oddly shaped mesa in the background is Tucumcari Mountain.

Christmas in October

Ron bought me an early Christmas present this afternoon: A fancy new bounce strobe for my trusty Canon EOS Digital Rebel.

I have a bounce strobe for my ancient 35mm Nikon F2, but it lacks the necessary whiz-bang-electronic-techno-magic bits that would allow it to communicate with the Rebel’s internal computer … so every time I tried putting the Nikon’s strobe on the Rebel’s hot shoe, the Rebel would override my carefully selected manual settings and default to a ridiculously slow shutter speed that resulted in nothing but blurry, unusable images.

The way the guy at the camera store explained it to me, the old strobe could give off light, but it lacked the necessary technology to express it to the Rebel in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, the computer inside the Rebel sensed something on the hot shoe, but it couldn’t recognize what it was, so it basically got confused, panicked, and — in a desperate attempt to let in the light — did something that didn’t make any sense at all.

Although we were talking about cameras, not metaphysics, my experience at the camera store illuminated more than just the subjects of my photographs.

First, I found it interesting that while the old strobe’s light may have been bright enough to produce clear images, the light wasn’t usable, because its method of expression was inappropriate, outdated, and inconsistent with the more advanced technology I’ve adopted in recent years. Substitute “love” for “light” and “understanding” for “technology,” and you’ve got a pretty good metaphysical lesson.

Second, I find I have some things in common with my aptly-named Rebel.

The apostle Paul talks in I Thessalonians about praying that our “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless.”

If I understand Paul correctly, he is saying that when we find ourselves in a confusing or uncomfortable situation, the right response is not to rely on material sense (which is notoriously unreliable) to tell us what’s going on, but to preserve ourselves “blameless” by calming down and relying on God — divine Principle — to adjust the situation, let in the light, and reveal the true picture.

Like my camera, I’ve sometimes found myself in the position of struggling to communicate with someone who was trying to shed a little light on something for me. Unfortunately, I haven’t always heeded Paul’s advice. Sometimes — like my Rebel — I’ve panicked in the midst of perceived darkness, made assumptions based on incomplete information, and reacted in counterproductive ways. Predictably, my reaction only added to the confusion instead of bringing the peace and clarity that come when we remain calm and wait on Principle to show us the light.




One of the most striking things we saw during our trip to New Mexico this weekend was an old Hispanic cemetery on Route 66 near Montoya. Juxtaposed between Route 66 to the north and I-40 to the south, with a clear blue New Mexico sky above them, the graves were adorned with plastic flowers, jar candles emblazoned with pictures of saints, small fences, smooth stones, statues, shrines, and handmade headstones crafted by anonymous artists.

The eclectic assortment of tributes to the departed gave the entire place the feel of a giant retablo.

I’m not generally given to wandering around in cemeteries, but this one was so different from anything I’d ever seen, I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera and letting it find the details for me.

To see what I got, click here.